Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Bag from the Underworld

My aunt came for a visit over a month ago, and while she was here, she requested a new purse. I had made (also at her request) a very large tote bag for her about five years ago, which she used to carry my grandma's laundry back and forth to the nursing home. She said that she still uses it but wanted something similar but smaller that she could use as a purse. While she was here, I had her pick out the fabric that she wanted - blue denim for the outside and a Charlie Brown print for the inside. Then after she left, we had a long email conversation about specific features of the purse.

I chose Simplicity 9958, which was already in my stash. In fact, it was one of the two patterns I had used to make the original tote bag. The only real changes I needed to make to the pattern were to line the bag and add inner pockets. I used a double strand of white thread for all topstitching that would be visible on the outside (I had tried topstitching thread, but for some reason, my machine was most unhappy with it.)

The lining fabric was interfaced with Pellon's ShapeFlex, as recommended by a JAF employee. The interfacing is a bit pricey for me ($5/yd), but I have to say that it worked really well - gave it stability and strength, but it still drapes nicely. I added two inner pockets. This larger one has boxed lower corners to give it more width than a patch pocket, and I added elastic to the top. It is self lined for strength and better appearance.

I also added a zippered pocket for a cell phone or small wallet. When I made my Amy Butler Swing Bag a few years ago for use at a conference, I added zippered pockets for cell phone and wallet, and I really liked it. Made it much easier to find a ringing phone. I also added a D-ring below the pocket for attaching a key leash, to make finding one's keys quick and easy.

As an extra bonus, I made a matching key leash from a Craft Stylish tutorial and a small tissue cover from a Quilting Board tutorial. Both were quick and easy, and I think they just add a little something to the bag.

I like the key leash and may make myself one soon - that would be handy if I could figure out where to attach it in my backpack. And I think the tissue cover will be a great addition to teacher gifts this Christmas! Cute and practical, and very very quick!

Despite how many times/ways I screwed up this bag, I still really liked the finished product. I cut a second one out when I cut the first, so after some "forgetting the pain" time, I'll be making it again at least once. After that, well, we'll see....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More baby stuff

The Husband has a work colleague who just had a baby, which is always an excuse to have fun with baby gifts, right? I did some snooping on her baby registry (always useful for things like colors or finding out what baby-related paraphenalia they already have) and discovered that she wanted neutral colored sheets for a pack-n-play. So I whipped up one from a white flannel sheet and one from a white jersey sheet with light-colored vehicles (planes, trains, trucks, etc.) on it. Both sheets were from thrift stores, and both yield multiple sheets, making them an economical source of fabric when available. I cut two sheets from each one, as you might as well make extras to store for future gifts, since they're so easy....

I also saw a tutorial for making newborn gowns out of recycled adult T-shirts. This got my creativity going. Both parents like to ride motorcycles, so I thought it'd be really cool if I could find a Harley T-shirt at the thrift store, or at least something with motorcycles. It took 5 thrift stores, but I ended up finding 4 T-shirts to use in this way! The motorcycle T-shirt is next on my list, but I wanted to make a prototype first to test the pattern, so that I won't screw it up on the motorcycle one.
This is for my niece, since my brother is a total computer geek. I figured he'd appreciate it - hopefully his wife will, too. ;) But while I liked the shirt enough to use it in this way, I also knew that it wouldn't really bother me if I screwed it up. However, all went well, so I'll be moving on to the motorcycles....