I was on a roll after yesterday’s finishing of the Red Dot Cell Phone Wallet. As a result, I decided to add to my fabric usage report by finishing the Habitat Cell Phone Wallet.
I forgot to mention that this goes with the other pattern by Valorie Wells called Little Wallet. I have made a few of these as they are really useful when giving gift cards and don’t take very along.
This goes with the same dress pattern as the Red Dot version. No pockets in a dress or tunic is something I will avoid at all costs in the future.
This fabric is an older one by Jay Carroll and I had enough scraps from the dress to make this. You can see the details of this version much better because of the asymmetricality of the fabric motifs. The piece has four pockets (one of which is in the back and you can see in the last photo), all with graduated sizes.
I did not put a closure on the flap, though the pattern calls for one, because I wanted easy access and wasn’t expecting to keep anything of great value in it.
I find that I do not need to interface all but the covers. The rounded corners are quite bulky and difficult to turn. I did not topstitch the bottom part of the piece. I stuck to the flaps as my needle would not go through those corners no matter what.
I have a black one I want to make and may try the fabric strap. I also have a green one in pieces. I need to find the pieces and sew that one together.
I decided to wear my red dot dress to Easter, despite the rain. That meant no pockets so I needed to finish the Red Dot Cell Phone Wallet. It had been languishing for months and only needed some topstitching. I sewed the topstitching and sank the threads really quick Easter morning before we left for the party.
My SIL noticed right away and I was pleased to have finished the bag. It was very useful for its intended purpose.
The pattern calls for a strap made from fabric, but SIL gave me the idea of an interchangeable strap. I bought those small rectangular ‘rings’ and a long chain, which I use for this one and two others I have. There are two things I don’t like about the chain. First, it stands out from the dress when I wear it. Second, it is of a sufficiently intricate nature as to get caught in my hair when I am not careful or needing a haircut. If I make more, I may make straps. We will see.
It is a pretty easy pattern and useful for the purpose of providing a pocket in a dress whose pattern does not lend itself to pockets. There are several pockets for cards, though I only use it for a hotel key and cell phone. I have put my keys in there, but my car keys are too bulky because of the clicker for DH’s car. I toss them in and they ruin the slim line of the bag.
After wearing the dress, I think I will bring it with me to Grand Parlor to wear at one of the less official events.
I thought I would write a little more about this pattern as it is a pretty good pattern and has interesting construction techniques.
The bag pattern is included in a book called Make it Take It by Krista Hennebury. The bag is a cover girl and is what attracted me to the book.
I had a gift to make and thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try the pattern. I made the Little Patchwork the first and was a little disappointed at how little it was. I hadn’t planned to make both, but I needed a larger tote for my gift. From the photos in the book, I thought the little tote was more of the large tote size and the Big Patchwork Tote was larger – almost the size of a Chubby Charmer.
The pattern calls for patchwork sides and gives instructions for making a strip set. Fortunately, the pattern also gives the desired final size of the strip set, so the maker can cut the piece from one piece of fabric, if desired. This dimension also allows one to use something like mosaic piecing techniques if strips are undesired. Since I am using a fat quarter stack for this project, I didn’t have pieces large enough for the strips. I pieced strips together and used those. You can see that in the photo above if you look for vertical strips. I recommend piecing the desired fabrics together well in advance of the deadline for this bag as that takes a lot of time.
I used fusible fleece on the small bag and Soft and Stable on the larger bag. Both work, but I found the fusible fleece to be easier to deal with. Of course, if I had remembered to attach the Soft and Stable before I put the bag together, that would have made a difference. 😉 In the future, if I plan to use Soft and Stable, I will attach it (in the ditch stitching, perhaps) to the exterior before I put the bag together.
The interesting part is how the bag goes together. Instead of putting the exterior inside the interior, right sides together and sewing around the top, as the maker does in most bags, this one asks the maker to fold and press the interior and exterior in half and layer them. It is an interesting method that seems to work, though is hard to understand until you do it.
The problems with this bag are: no pockets, no closure. Considering the method of construction, I am trying to figure out if I can add a pocket or sew-in magnets as closures.
All in all this bag has an interesting shape and lot of room for creativity in making the exterior. I encourage you to buy the book and try it.
The Winter Extravaganza Palooza swap was yesterday at the BAM meeting. Being the blog editor, I had compiled a giant list of tutorials and patterns a few months ago for inspiration. It is an impressive list, so take a look. 😉
My swap partner wanted a bag, so I pulled out one of the bag patterns I have had sitting around and tried it out. I know I could have used one of the tutorials I just crowed about, but I didn’t. I wanted to plow through some of the bag patterns I have purchased and this was the perfect opportunity.
I wasn’t hopeful that this bag would be successful (unlike me, I know!), so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this bag came out pretty well. The flap is a great opportunity to do some machine embroidery or applique’ or other type of embellishment. I chose some interesting, if black, modern fabrics for the outside, so it wouldn’t show the dirt.
The pattern is Flip Flap bag from Totes by Sandy. The pattern is not 100% clearly written, though the interpretation could have been my problem. I had some trouble with some of the steps, but it all came out in the end. I would have made the lining section much smaller. I did make it a little smaller, knowing from past experience that it didn’t need to be the same size as the outside. I didn’t make it small enough and the inside sags a little. 🙁 I don’t know what the normal reduction is for linings – half inch? a whole inch? I could experiment, but probably won’t.
I made the inside light so my partner could see her stuff.
I am thinking about making this again, as I think it is a good size. I wonder about adding more pockets. The handbag I use now has a section at the front for cards, lipstick, etc and I wonder if that could be incorporated into this design. Perhaps not with the asymmetrical flap.
My third Petrillo bag has been on the To Do list for a long time. Before I went on my trip, I decided to sew it, as I mentioned when I enumerated the bag hacks. I also worked on it, because the Peacock was acting like a beast and I wasn’t feeling the quilt love, in general.
I really was almost done cutting it out. I felt kind of stupid the whole time I finished the cutting for letting it lie so long. It took me a few days to sew it, longer than it should have, because I had to rip a few seams and make a new main flap.
I have used it a few times and am linking it. I haven’t filled it to overflowing, so I don’t know if it will really work for a long conference where I can’t easily return to my hotel, but so far so good.
The hack I sewed to the stabilize pocket makes a huge difference when I carry things around. The zipper pocket doesn’t sag. I am mad at myself for not adding vinyl to the bottom. I have to worry a lot more about where I set it.
I spent some days on the weekend finishing the Petrillo Bag #3 (Buy the pattern from Sew Sweetness). I have a few threads to weave in before I can say DONE, but it is close.
In this bag, I made a few more changes to the original pattern.
First, I made the bag larger again, but instead of using clips like last time, I bought some wide elastic and used that. The reason I need to use something rather than let the bag be free is because I want the front closure to still work. It is a magnetic closure and probably wouldn’t be strong enough to keep the bag closed if the shape weren’t similar to the original bag. I want it bigger to be able to get stuff out easier (this bag is GREAT for conferences) and be able to stuff a sweater in for cold conference rooms.
I didn’t have enough of the sew-in magnetic closures that Sara of Sew Sweetness recommends, so I bought one more at Joann. Big mistake. Use the ones that Sara recommends; they are MUCH better.
Next, I needed a way for the interior zipper pocket to be stabilized. I use the zipper pocket a lot and it was completely saggy. You can see the outside folded over to the inside from the weight. One solution was to lessen the amount of stuff in the pocket.I do like my stuff so I sewed close to the edge on the top of the pocket as one possible solution to keep the pocket stable.
However, I thought of a solution that would allow me to keep the same amount of stuff in the pocket and not be saggy. I thought of this at the last minute when the bag was almost completely together, so my options for making it super nice were limited. I sewed tabs on to the ends of the zipper. They were sticking out just enough to allow me to do so, then I sewed the tabs into the side seam.
I didn’t finish the tabs, but I figured it wouldn’t matter much since the stablizers were on the inside. I would finish the edges and make real zipper tabs if I were making the bag again.
In a further effort to stabilize the interior zipper pocket, I also added a slip pocket to the outside of the padded pocket. I got this idea from making the Cargo Duffle. I hope to put the pens in this pocket instead of in the zipper pocket, which should help the stabilization. I divided the slip pocket into two sections using my phone as a guide for size.
The slip pocket isn’t in exactly the right place. I should have put it down a little further, because in its current location, it interferes with the padded pocket flap. Thinking about this made me realize that I probably don’t need a flap over the padded pocket.
I think I will have to make this bag again with further refined hacks.
The 3rd Petrillo Bag has been cut out and on my to do list for awhile. Last Sew Day was the day to start it. I worked on the donation and when I finished that, I started working on this bag. I decided that I needed to clear off my To Do list and I also want my first Chubby Charmer back. I have been using it as a storage space for the pieces to this bag.
I really don’t know why I waited. It has gone together fairly easily thus far even though I have had to do some ripping.
With this bag, you get a lot of bang for your buck quickly. Within a few seams, you get something that looks like a bag.
Is it finished? No, but I am making progress.
I had some trouble with the flap and after ripping a few times, I decided to remake. I am also making a couple of adjustments. I am making the bag larger again, but using elastic this time. I wasn’t careful when I sewed it in and needed to rip it out and sew it more securely.
Mom had a great idea, which I will also do. I have a pen problem. I always have several with me. I have been using the hidden zipper pocket to hold them and everything else, which makes the bag sag. She suggested I put a slip pocket on the padded pocket and put the pens there. Brilliant!
I am still trying to figure out how to stabilize the hidden zipper pocket. That is a bit of a holdup, but not terrible.
Pattern: Petrillo Bag by Sew Sweetness Fabric: Home Dec, Pristine Poppies by Joel Dewberry; various dots for trim and Art Gallery Red (not sure this is the name of the colorway) solid for some of the pockets and other trim.
I spent the Sunday after the workshop finishing the Cargo Duffle.
I really, sincerely disliked all the prep work, but was thrilled to see how this bag turned out. it has substance. I was going to give it away, but I am keeping it. I really like the fabrics I chose, even though I chose the green because I thought I would give it away. I love that text fabric.
I am also thinking of making another one. I know. I know. I am crazy, but I keep thinking about how I would make a second one differently. I want to see if I can do it again better. ALSO, I do have to make a bag for one of the guild officers.
For example, after cutting out the straps, I would just sew them. After cutting out the pockets, I would sew them to the lining. I think it would be less confusing. Yes, I would still have to quilt a bunch of pieces and panels,, but I think it would be easier. It might not have worked when I didn’t know how to make the bag, but now that I have an idea, I think it would work better for me.
I am behind in posting, but I also don’t want to bore you by posting on one project or topic day after day.
You know that I have been prepping for the Cargo Duffle. It seemed interminable, but paid off. On the first Saturday in August I went to the BAMQG workshop and worked on assembling the Cargo Duffle. I arrived in good time after only getting a little lost*. 😉
Gerre arrived right after I did and we quickly decided to sit together in the back of the room. That way we could have a whole table to ourselves. There was a bit of table shortage because their day camp program was using the long rectangular tables we like. We ended up with two tables, mostly because I decided we needed a separate table on which to layout all the pieces we had prepped. It is always great to work with Gerre. On the day of the workshop, I was on edge (not sure why – a lot going on, maybe) and she kept talking me down off the ledge. I reciprocated the favor by keeping her calm when parts of the bags weren’t going as planned.
It was also good to see that some people had done less of their homework than I did, not to be mean to them; it just reduced my stress a bit.
We started out with the slip pockets and my first problem was with what pieces needed to be used. Jaime helped and once I got that problem sorted, the “which piece was which” problem sorted itself out. Even though I had all the pieces labeled, with this bit of help, I had a frame of reference.
Seeing what other people were doing and having access to a teacher also made me calm down quite a bit.
My first huge accomplishment was finishing the lining. Yes, I finished the interior slip pocket and the interior zipper pocket, which help to make up the lining, but seeing a real 3D item made from all that prep work me very happy.
I made mistakes and had to rip, which I am sure others were doing as well, even though I didn’t see them. I also had to change the way the main zipper worked, which Gerre talked me through. I may post the steps for you later. Not sure, but stay tuned.
Still, it was a super long day and I didn’t finish completely, but made really good progress. By the end of the day I only had to sew the rest of the exterior together and then insert the lining. I really don’t have a lot to complete and feel like I accomplished quite a bit by the time the day was over. Do I wish I had finished? Yes, of course, but I have to be happy with what I was able to do.
Gerre finished her bag and it looks great! Cheryl, Amanda and Karen all finished their bags as well.
As you know I have been working on the homework for the Noodlehead Cargo Duffle*. This is one of the most difficult bags I have ever made, including the Liesl Backpack, though I think the directions are the problem and not the actual bag. Also, there is a lot of prep and, as you know, I like to get straight to the sewing. As I have said, the directions are too brief for me.
These handles can be used for other types of bags, so this tutorial creates a useful skill.
In this case, I couldn’t understand the directions for making the handles. I looked at them several times until I decided just to try what they said and see if that worked. I did what the directions said, though they didn’t make sense, and the directions actually worked! Me or the directions? You decide.
Since I think the pattern instructions just need a bit of explanation for those of us who need to know more why in their patterns, I wrote up a tutorial.
Cut strips according to the directions or according to your needs. I made mine a little longer as I wanted to have more carrying options.
2. Sew strips together. They are not the same width so they will not line up, width-wise, exactly.
3. Press seams open. This is not critical and if you don’t want to, press how you like. I press seams open on handles, because I want to reduce bulk. You get a lot of bulk in handles, especially if you add some kind of filler like cotton webbing, which I used in these straps, or Soft & Stable or any other kind of interfacing. Pressing the seams reduces bulk.
Optional: At this point you can add some ShapeFlex to the handles to add strength. If you add ShapeFlex, cut a piece that covers both strips and covers the seam. It will add strength to the seam.
4. Fold the long side of the raw edges towards the center seam. I folded the Pearl Bracelets green piece first, but where you start doesn’t really matter, I don’t think.
5. Press fabric so there is a crease in the fold.
6. Next, fold the second long side, raw edge towards the center seam (yes, it is slightly off center, which is part of what confused me). This is the fabric (text fabric) with the smaller width.
7. Make sure to line both raw edges up with seam you just pressed open. Each different fabric will be a different folded width.
7. Press just folded fabric so there is a crease in the fold.
8. Fold the fabric with the smaller width (mine is the alphabet fabric) up towards the wider fabric (green Pearl Bracelets). There will be some green showing, which is what you want.
9. Press so you have crisp folds. Some of the wider fabric (green Pearl Bracelets, in my case) will show. This detail makes an accent.
10. Now unfold and add your cotton webbing or other stiffener. I used 1/5″ cotton webbing. I had never used this and was pleased at how well my machine sewed through it.
11. Refold so the cotton webbing does not show.
12. Quilt lines lengthwise, approximately 3/8″ apart, starting with the open seam. This will make the handle is very dense with quilting and add to the strength.
Ta da! You have very nice handles that will be sturdy enough to carry a heavy bag.
Ruth, being the super intelligent woman she is provided a link after I had figured out how to make these handles. I did search, but didn’t come up with the tutorial. I hope you like my instructions for the Cargo Duffle handles, which will, with any luck, come up in search results for others who try to make the Cargo Duffle.
*I really don’t know if the project includes the spelling ‘duffel’ or ‘duffle’. I am going with ‘duffle’ as that is what the dictionary says. You may want to search both, if you do any Google searching in order to get all the results.
As you know from a previous post, I have been working almost exclusively on the prep for the BAMQG Cargo Duffle class. I haven’t had tons of time to sew. What I have had I have spent on prep.
I like making bags, because I have something useful at the end of the process. Also, people seem to like them when I give them as gifts. I do not, however, like the prep required, regardless of whether I am just sewing a bag on my own or preparing for a class. In fact, I always swear a lot and then swear I will never make another bag again when I am in the bag prep process.
Part of this feeling has to do with my, well documented for you, difficulty in reading pattern directions and understanding what the designer is trying to say. I’ll take some, but won’t take full responsibility because I believe that the directions for this bag were briefer than necessary. I understand why, especially after working with Alison, because patterns need to be printed and printing 60 pages of directions including photos is daunting.
One of the things I had to do, which was different for this pattern was to quilt a lot of the parts. I understand why, and you will as well after seeing the finished piece, but it made for a lot of extra work.
Friday night I stayed in my workroom until 10pm sewing on this project. Finally, DH called me down to watch the parade of nations for #Rio2016. I decided that I would have to work on whatever I didn’t finish in class. I estimate working on the prep for about 20 hours. I didn’t keep strict track, but I think that is in the neighborhood.
What I really needed was a chart showing the pieces and giving their sizes with arrows pointing to the piece on the finished bag. I really needed that visual. I think it would have made my life a lot easier. I didn’t really understand what a gusset* was, especially in this context, and that added to the confusion of all of the parts and pieces.
I am not criticizing the teacher who was extremely patient on her first outing as a teacher. She responded quickly and non-snarkily each time she got a question on the guild forum from one of the 20+ students.
I would have liked to have seen more meshing of the pattern and the hacks/supplement (by our teacher), including references back and forth to when to go and do a step from the pattern and when to stop. This addition would have required a lot more time on her part and we weren’t paying her so I think that would have been too much to ask. It might have been nice to get together with other students beforehand to work on the prep.
I constantly learn from creating new bags and, though, this isn’t the kind of bag I would tend to use, I am learning quite a bit from making it, not the least of which has to do with gussets. 😉
The definition of gusset didn’t match what I was seeing in the Cargo Duffel pattern so that created some confusion. Wikipedia’s definition is similar to the American Heritage and Merriam Webster. I didn’t didn’t find any of them to be super helpful in the context of this pattern: “In sewing, a gusset is a triangular or rhomboidal piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing. Gussets were used at the shoulders, underarms, and hems of traditional shirts and chemises made of rectangular lengths of linen to shape the garments to the body.
Gussets are used in manufacturing of modern tights and pantyhose to add breadth at the crotch seam. As with other synthetic underwear, these gussets are often made of moisture-wicking breathable fabrics such as cotton, to keep the genital area dry and ventilated.
The phrase “don’t bust a gusset” (a variation of “don’t blow a gasket”) is an admonition to calm down; becoming so enraged and inflated that one busted a gusset would imply extreme rage and expansion beyond one’s clothing capacity.
Gussets are also used when making three-piece bags, for example in a pattern for a bag as a long, wide piece which connects the front piece and back piece. By becoming the sides and bottom of the bag, the gusset opens the bag up beyond what simply attaching the front to the back would do. With reference to the dimension of the gusset, the measurements of a flat bottom bag may be quoted as LxWxG.
Pillows too, are often gusseted, generally an inch or two. The side panels thicken the pillow, allowing more stuffing without bulging.
Gussets are also used in other areas of manufacturing, e.g. bicycle frames employ gussets to add strength and rigidity.[clarification needed]” (Wikipedia)
I am taking a workshop to make the Noodlehead Cargo Duffel in a few weeks. The class isn’t just making the duffel, but we are making it with some hacks that Jaime figured out.
I spent a few hours the day after the BAMQG meeting familiarizing myself with the pattern and beginning to cut the pieces. There are A LOT of pieces in this pattern. Last Saturday and Sunday, I spent time cutting the rest of the pieces.
I now have to do the rest of the prep. This involves buying a couple of zipper and sewing bits and pieces together. There is homework because this is a serious bag and it can’t all be done in one day.
I am happy to do the prep even thought I was confused at the beginning. I think it makes for a better start for me once I am in the class.
I actually contemplated cutting out another whole bag so I could make two at once. I am trying to restrain myself. 😉
I have Sew Together bags on the mind. I don’t know why, but I want to make more. They are somewhat frustrating, the directions are vague, they take a bunch of zippers and all sorts of special gymnastics to make.
Still, they are pretty. I see mine, which is one of the most useful bags I have made, and I want to make more. I use mine all the time. It has exactly what I need for EPP as well as basic hand sewing, so I can grab it and go. I might want one for every outfit. 😉 I keep looking around and at people critically and wondering if I should make that person a Sew Together Bag.
One thing I like about the one I made for myself is the fabrics. I really chose well. I might choose something different for the outside of mine, but I think it is great and I absolutely LOVE the fabrics on the inside. I am so glad I chose fabrics that I thought more of than “this will be fine”
I know that not everyone is as smitten with these bags as I seem to be. I think it is more about the making of them than anything else. They are very satisfying to make (as long as you use the Quilt Barn sew-a-long tutorial in conjunction with the directions), and, as I said, useful. I love making quilts, but there is only so much usefulness you can get when you have too many wall hangings and not enough walls.
Right before we had to leave for the NDGW Grand Parlor, I decided the front of the Heart Bag needed something more. I didn’t have a suitable button which I have put on other versions of this bag. Finally, I decided (perhaps SIL suggested?) to applique’ a heart on to the front. I cut out one of the hearts from the scrap of fabric I had left. I used raw edge applique to sew it on and an Aurifil thread that matched pretty well.
I don’t think the placement will be in the way too much and I sewed it very close to the edge to minimize fraying, though there will be some.
I am pleased with how it turned out. I think it breaks up the expanse of red just a bit.
The recipient really liked the bag, which was gratifying.