Zip Away Organizer

Zip Away Organizer - closed
Zip Away Organizer – closed

Frankly, I never thought I could make something like this. This is another pattern from the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club. It is one of the bonus patterns. I think it would make a great gift.

I did, though, and while I struggled with some parts, it wasn’t as hard as I thought.

I feel like I am becoming a zipper expert. I can certainly get my zipper foot on and off the machine (screwdriver is involved) with lightening speed. I can now shorten zippers with confidence (remember my fit about the zipper shortening with the Sweet Harmony bag?). I have put in 16 zippers, I think, in the last month. WHEW!

Zip Away Organizer - open
Zip Away Organizer – open

I am trying to think what I can put in this bag.

I reversed the pockets by accident, so the vinyl pocket is on the wrong side. It isn’t so wrong that I felt I had to rip it out, but I will get a zipper pull to help pull the zipper away from the spine.

The fabric for the outside and the inside slip pocket are both from the Cosmo Cricket line. I made the first Stepping Stone quilt out of that fabric. I am out of the typewriter key fabric in black, which is a shame, but I will use another black that works. I used the stripe on the inside, because it works so well in my handbag (purchased, by Pixie Mood). I’ll use it again in other projects in this club.

 

Roadtrip Bag

I thought I had mentioned the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club, but I can’t find a mention of it.

Angela is helping with a bag project on which I am working and she pointed me to the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club. I looked at it, watched the video of the bags the club would be making and thought about it. Finally, I joined. The club’s early bird special came with 2 free bonus projects, but I didn’t do anything until I saw an IG post by Angela and how much she had done! Then I was embarrassed, so I got busy.

Roadtrip Bag - front
Roadtrip Bag – front

The first non-bonus project is the Roadtrip Bag. This one is made to clip onto a later project. I am trying to make the various projects coordinate. I originally thought I would put a rainbow stripe in each one like RockBaby Scissors does on many of her projects. I didn’t do it. I am just going with black, grey and white. I will be using some of the same fabrics for each of the projects.

Roadtrip Bag back
Roadtrip Bag back

I think this could be used for a small-ish project. It would definitely be a good gift.

Sew Together Bag Progresses

This bag and the gift Sew Together Bags have been on my list for a long time. As usual, the cutting took forever. As I mentioned, last week, after the March Sew Day I decided to get busy and get these done.

PJ Sew Together Bag in process
PJ Sew Together Bag in process

I remembered, after laboring for what seemed like hours, why it has been awhile since I made any more of these. The layers you have to sew through is daunting. These are very useful bags, but a pain to make.

Last time I made some I had the following advice:

 

  • ink the strips for the long zipper would lay better if they were on the bias.
  • The bag needs some feature to which Wonder Clips can be clipped.
  • I tried a few different things and cannot get the top stitching to look good where there are many, many layers.
  • WonderClips are a godsend for making this project. I used about 12. They are not listed on the supply list, but I think they are essential for this bag.
  • Make the pincushion (mine is a little too large on this one) and the exterior at the beginning of the bag making process. It is such a hassle to stop and do the fiddly bits when you are so close to finishing.
  • Use a two sided zipper pull

I tried out my bias advice. The binding strips still do not lay completely flat once the bag is sewn together. It could be the difficulty of stitching through so many layers.

I would also add: make sure you don’t get an invisible zipper. I had to rip out the stitching on the main zipper several times before I got it to a point where I could stand to look at it.

I am almost finished with this bag. I am working on two others and am not sure I will ever make this bag again. I’ll probably forget the drama and make more at some point when my rose colored glasses are back on.

 

EPP Travel Pouch

Gerre's EPP Travel Pouch
Gerre’s EPP Travel Pouch

I finished the EPP Travel Pouch I am giving to Gerre for her birthday. I like the way it came out. I probably should have used more orange and pink to really suit her tastes, but I just loved that ice cream print and had to use it. I really hope she likes it.

The two times I have made this bag, I have thought it would be a quick project. There is so much handwork that it turns out to take longer than I expect the handwork to be relaxing, but it takes a big needle to push the thread through the many layers.

EPP Travel Pouch Open
EPP Travel Pouch Open

The other thing is that the directions are somewhat confusing. I made notes on them this time so, if I make this again, I won’t make some of the same mistakes again. The only thing that bugs me is that the piece does not have a handle. I really think it should have a handle. I am not sure where or how I would add a handle, but I’ll have to think about that.

EPP Pouch: Open with sewing  items
EPP Pouch: Open with sewing items

Still, this project comes out well and has some clever elements.

I finished the inside of the Altoids tins to make them into little sewing kits and storage kits. I’ll have to figure out a decoration for the top next time. I wasn’t up for that challenge this time.

EPP Travel Pouch Open & Filled
EPP Travel Pouch Open & Filled

Gift Post n.3

Mom and her Jane Market Tote
Mom and her Jane Market Tote

That paintbox fabric has been hanging around and I have not used it to make the set of sewing items for my mom as intended. I dug some out and made her a bag to replace one I made her several years ago that is becoming threadbare and dirty.

I used the Jane Market Tote pattern, but added some extra pintucking and interfacing. I like the way it turned out. It has some body, but can still be rolled up.

Jane Market Tote in Paintbox fabric
Jane Market Tote in Paintbox fabric

Fortunately, it was just what mom wanted. She had been reading the blog and was feeling sorry that I wasn’t making her a bag after reading about Mary’s bag and the bags I made on the quilt retreat.

The design of the bag makes a smallish shopping tote. I had forgotten the size. It seemed to work for her and the bag really goes together well after getting all the pieces cut.

Mom recognized right away that it was the same fabric as her Sew Together Bag, which I made last year.

Mom's Jane Market Tote-interior
Mom’s Jane Market Tote-interior

I realized that I had forgotten to sew up the turning hole when I started to photograph the bag. I had to do that on Christmas Day before we went off to our further celebrations. There are worse ways to spend a holiday than by sewing.

Gift Post #1 – 2017

One of the reasons I didn’t make more progress on En Provence over the Thanksgiving Weekend was that I needed to make a gift. The BAM Winter Extravaganza Palooza Party and Swap was yesterday. I had decided to participate, but sewing time was short, so I picked a pattern I knew well and devoted a day to it.

Jane Market Tote for Mary
Jane Market Tote for Mary

Mary C wanted a grocery bag, so I got out the Jane Market Tote pattern and made it using some Carrie Bloomston fabrics that I have had for awhile. Her request was that the bag be made in green. The fabric is green, but tending towards teal/turquoise so I hoped it would be ok. I made an effort to do a  really nice job sewing. For once, I paid attention to the top stitching and did all that the pattern suggests.

I sew my straps on differently than the pattern suggests, so I also did some top stitching with a decorative stitch at the top of the bag. I made a note to myself on the pattern to leave a little more of the strap in the seam allowance next time. I hope that the decorative stitching will keep the handles from pulling out.

Jane Market Tote: Amazing Piecing!
Jane Market Tote: Amazing Piecing!

When I looked at the outside, I was shocked to see some of the amazing piecing. I can’t take much credit, though, because I couldn’t really have lined up the fabric any better, if I had tried. And I didn’t try!

I don’t know how I did it, but was very pleased when I saw the way the joins had come together.

Jane Market Tote: Amazing piecing by pocket
Jane Market Tote: Amazing piecing by pocket

This amazing piecing happened in a couple of places. I knew that Mary would notice eventually so I showed her after she opened the gift and she was pleased. She appreciates stuff like that.

The inside is plain. No pockets. I have to figure out where would be appropriate to add an inside pocket sometime. I didn’t do it for this iteration.

BAMaQG Retreat

I have discussed the Retreat in passing over and over, so finally decided that I should get around to writing about the retreat itself.

BAM 2017 Scrap Attack
BAM 2017 Scrap Attack

The Retreat started on Friday at 10am. Following along with our year long theme, Scrap Attack, the Retreat followed that them as well.

Before arriving at the Retreat, I went to the gym, ate breakfast and packed the car. I had two days at home alone (YM gone at school, DH on a NSGW trip) in the evenings during which I prepared and packed and organized. After leaving to go to the Retreat, we stopped at Always Quilting and The Granary. I wanted to find an open toe Acufeed foot for my Janome 6600. I planned to quilt the Thanksgiving tablemat and needed to see where I was going. The Acufeed foot that came with the machine is good, but not for seeing exactly where the foot is going or following a line. I didn’t get my hopes up for the foot to be available at Always Quilting and I wasn’t disappointed. I resolved to try to quilt the tablemat anyway.

We went to the Granary, because I like that store and SIL had never been there. I bought a couple of pieces of fabric, thinking I might make an extra Cell Phone Wallet with one of the pinks.

Sewing Nirvana?
Sewing Nirvana?

Then we headed the 8 or so blocks to the Wild Palms hotel and to sewing nirvana. We didn’t arrive until about noon, but we set up and got to work right away. Nirvana isn’t easy and setting up took some time.

Once I got set up, my first order of business was sewing together all seven Cell Phone Wallets I had cut out.

Lesson one for quilting retreat is prep your projects. Having several projects already cut out made my output much better than expected.

7 Cell Phone Wallets
7 Cell Phone Wallets

I had cut out seven Cell Phone Wallets from fabric leftover from dresses and tunics. I spent Friday making them. I didn’t think I would get as far as I did, but I was able to finish all except for weaving in the last two ends from top stitching. I was shocked that I even had time to turn the pieces. Turning these and poking out the ‘corners’ is not for the faint of heart. I rose to the challenge and got the job done. Now I am going to feel a lot more confident when wearing my dresses, skirts and tunics. I made all of these with D rings and will use the same chain for all of them. I also think I can use the black one with other black outfits.

Thanksgiving Table Mat
Thanksgiving Table Mat

Next, I started quilting the tablemat. 🙁 It didn’t work. I want to follow the lines of the leaves and other Thanksgiving motifs and I just couldn’t see where I was going. I ripped stitching out three times before I gave up. I would really like to get it done before Thanksgiving. Not only to I want to count the yardage as fabric used, I also want to have one less item on my to do list. I have ordered new feet from Sew Vac Direct, a suggestion from Gerre, so we will see.

Poolside Tote
Poolside Tote

No rest for the sad or wicked. I was determined to get as much done as possible. So, next up was the Poolside Tote. Not only had it been taking up horizontal surface space for a long time – ever since I cut it out at Scruffy Quilts back in May, but Tim and I had decided to work on ours together. Julie said she would make one as well, but she wasn’t at the retreat and I have only seen quilts coming out of her studio. You can read about the sewing, etc of this tote in the post from earlier in the week. I am not sure if I will make this tote again. I may need to as it is large and popular.

Mostly Manor Lozenge Quilt
Mostly Manor Lozenge Quilt

I worked on this all day Saturday and a little bit on Sunday morning. Next on the list was the Mostly Manor Lozenge quilt. I had the blocks made so all I had to do was sew them together. Lucky for me, the raffle prizes had all been given away (I won a charm pack of grey Northcott solids-YAY), so I had a table right behind me to use as design surface space.

I sewed fast and got this top done in a couple of hours. I used the Terrain donation blocks as leaders and enders.

In between everything I made three donation blocks. We received kits for 3 donation blocks in our goody bags. I didn’t have a lot of leaders and enders opportunities, so I rushed at the end to get these done. The Committee gave extra raffle tickets for handing in donation blocks and charity quilts and tops.

I really didn’t want to leave and stayed until the bitter end. The Retreat Committee did a great job organizing everything and I was thrilled to get so much done.

Poolside Tote

Remember when I cut out all of those pieces for the Poolside Tote? Remember when I laid it out on the floor to look at it? Well, now it is done.

Poolside Tote
Poolside Tote

This past weekend was the weekend when I sewed the whole thing together. Tim and I sewed ours at the Retreat. He got busy first and I followed his lead. I had to rip a bunch, so I got behind. It was a great to have a buddy and Diana L acted as mentor to us with some tricky parts.

I love the fabric that Tim used. He fussy cut birds for certain parts of the tote.

Having all the pieces cut and fused was awesome! It made the tote so much easier to put together. Yes, I did have to cut them out at some point, but not having to cut them out and them sew them at the Retreat made everything go much more smoothly.

Poolside Tote facing
Poolside Tote facing

I am not sure about making this bag again, though I have the fabric to make a pink version. It wasn’t difficult, but it was fiddly.

The sides have rounded centers, which are kind of a pain. There is a piece of facing that is sewed around the top edge to cover all of the raw edges. In general, I thought it was a good way to cover the raw edges, but it was difficult to sew on. I pinned a lot and still got puckers. It might be useful to fuse down parts of it.

The facing was large enough so I wasn’t sewing right on the edge where the bag was thickest, which was helpful. I sewed slowly and used a walking foot for most of this project.

It would not have been possible, or perhaps convenient is a better term, to use the add on style of walking foot. The 6600 has the integrated walking foot and, while not perfect, that thing is awesome. It was great for bag making, especially after I adjusted the foot pressure to the correct number.

Poolside Tote - inside
Poolside Tote – inside

I sewed the inside smaller than the directions said (using a larger seam allowance) and it was still really large. You can see the extra fabric really well. I am not sure how much more to adjust it.

I forgot my zippers and swivel hook, so I made slip pockets for the outside and put a metal loop on the inside. The inside has no pockets, which is kind of a design fail, so I think I will make a zipper tote in the same fabric with a swivel hook and clip it on. Either I, or my giftee will be able to put items in there securely without worrying about someone reaching their hand in and easily grabbing them.

Tim & Jaye
Tim & Jaye

I am not sure how I feel about this tote. The lack of inside pockets or a pen pen makes it more for carrying large items rather than everyday use. I guess Poolside Tote is a good descriptions because it would be great for towels and swimsuits.

More New Projects

Yes, I have lost my mind.

Yes, I have started another project, a small one, but another project for which I have to find time.

EPP Travel Kit - Bright and Cheerful
EPP Travel Kit – Bright and Cheerful

I am making another EPP Pouch like the one I made for Mary. I intend for this one to be much brighter and more cheerful. I also intended for it to be at the point where I could do the hand sewing while I was away, but that didn’t happen.

The photos shows my intended layouts.

Boxcar Tote

Boxcar Tote by Green Bee
Boxcar Tote by Green Bee

Yes, I cut out another tote. Are you screaming at me? 😉

Cutting out and prepping the Poolside Tote at the Scruffy Quilts Sewcial went so well that I decided to repeat the happiness with the Boxcar Tote. There were several factors:

  • I knew I would have very little time over the weekend to sew; AND
  • I actually knew when the Sewcial was
  • not to mention I would miss Sew Day

Also, I need to get this tote done in the next week or so as it is a gift I am giving in the next two weeks.

I bought this pattern on a whim from Hawthorne Threads in April. I liked the shape and thought this would be a great bag for a friend. I have a number of bag patterns waiting to be cut out, so I kind of surprised myself by gathering the materials for this one then finding an opportunity to cut it out relatively quickly considering when I bought it.

Boxcar Tote in pieces
Boxcar Tote in pieces

Again, the Sewcial provided the right kind of space and also a bit of sociability which enabled me to cut out this pattern and prep the pieces for construction.

I am using some cactus fabric I bought plus some of the winnings from the recent BAMaQG meeting.

It wasn’t all peaches and roses as I ran out of the stiffener. Fortunately, oh so fortunately, Scruffy had something similar and I was able to move on. Still, it took me less than 3 hours to cut out and apply the stiffener to the fabric (one side was fusible).

I was annoyed at the pattern, because the designer expected me to cut out square pattern pieces, pin them to fabric and cut the whole mess out. For non-square pattern pieces, I always make a tracing paper pattern, so the original stays pristine. Since these were squares and rectangles, I measured them and cut them out with a rotary cutter, not using a paper pattern. Not sure why the designer didn’t tell me the size of the rectangles. It wasn’t rocket science and seems like a crucial piece of information. I’d like to make another one so I wrote the sizes on the pattern and cut them out with a ruler.

This is a pattern with all squares and rectangles, which means I will have to insert the bottom (a rectangle) into place by matching up corner dots. Not my favorite method of constructing a bottom, but I am reserving judgment. I am thinking that I may make it a little differently the second time around. We’ll see.

I can’t wait to see how this bag comes out.  I really want to work on some bags. I am also curious to see the final size.

Poolside Tote in Process

Poolside Tote in pieces
Poolside Tote in pieces

I thought I would be able to sew the Poolside Tote together over the weekend, but no such luck. The project is still waiting for me to have time.

I was engrossed in En Provence and the Carpenter’s Wheel, as you know.

While the pieces laid on my floor (all horizontal surfaces are fair game for storage), I noticed that the random letters, in certain cases actually made words.

Hhmm.

Poolside Tote in pieces, annotated
Poolside Tote in pieces, annotated

I am not sure how I feel about that. I have pointed out some of the words I see.

The text fabric will be on the inside of the tote, so they won’t be very prominent. Making up stories using the words is a challenge.

On another note, the text fabric is VERY loosely woven and frays quite a bit. I might stitch the edge like I would a quilt with no border. I am just worried that another layer of stitching will make it hard to sew a bunch of layers together.

Remember the Poolside Tote?

Not long ago, I talked about assembling the fabrics, etc to make the Poolside Tote. I know you thought it would be forever until I made it. Angela inspired me to get off my duff and said she would offer advice. Then Tim (both BAMers) said he wanted to make one as well. Julie also said she is going to make one. I might be leaving my two pals in the dust, however, or inspiring them to get off their duffs.

Poolside Tote: outside bag (tote 1)
Poolside Tote: outside bag (tote 1)

I went to a Sewcial on Thursday and cut out one version of the Poolside Tote. I used all the linen I bought and the AGF text print. It was a three hour Sewcial at Scruffy Quilts and I was able to cut out an  entire bag except for the Soft and Stable.

I was kind of shocked at how much fabric this bag took. I don’t remember using up so much fabric. Well, I don’t remember using almost the same amount of fabric that the pattern demanded.

Poolside Tote: lining bag fabric (tote 1)
Poolside Tote: lining bag fabric (tote 1)

The other thing that was a surprise was how loosely woven the AGF text fabric was. It was actually kind of a pain to cut because it kept shifting because of how loosely the fabric turned out to be.

Still, I got the whole thing cut out. I just focused and did it. I started to think I could do a second one, then I realized I probably didn’t have enough handle fabric and I had forgotten to cut the handles out anyway!

Emerald Philip Jacobs Cell Phone Wallet

Emerald P.J. Cell Phone Wallet - open
Emerald P.J. Cell Phone Wallet – open

This was another almost finish that I finally did finish. I need these cell phone wallets to wear with dresses that have not pockets. This means that I had to finish a few of them before Grand Parlor. I knew I would be wearing the dresses and tunics, so I had to get sewing. You know I finished the Red Dot Cell Phone Wallet and the Habitat Cell Phone Wallet. Just before we left I finished the Emerald P. J. Cell Phone Wallet as well.

Emerald P.J. Cell Phone Wallet - closed
Emerald P.J. Cell Phone Wallet – closed

I find it hard to determine where the fabric will end up when I use the pattern. On this one, I really wanted to the flowers you see to end up on the outside, but they ended up on the inside.

The leaf that did end up on the outside is nice looking, but it isn’t the flower that I wanted.

The pattern calls for a snap on the flap (photo above right), but I haven’t put one on any of the pieces yet. I don’t feel like I need one.

Emerald P.J. Cell Phone Wallet - closed with phone
Emerald P.J. Cell Phone Wallet – closed with phone

These bags are so helpful when I am at an event and don’t want or need a full purse. I keep my phone and hotel key in it. I can also put a few other small things in each one. I try not to stuff them too full so they stay flat-ish.

The last photo shows my phone in it. The design is such that I don’t have to open the flap to get my phone out.

EPP Travel Kit

EPP Travel Kit - closed
EPP Travel Kit – closed

I really like this pattern even though it gave me a few fits before I finished it.

I found this pattern somehow. It is free (for personal use only) from Zen of Making*. I wish I had thought of the name, because there is something zenlike about making and the name is cool.

Anyway.

The travel kit is part of a three part series, which includes a lesson on making the hexie flowers. The final piece is making a pincushion out of smaller hexies to use with the EPP Kit. I had plans to make that as well, but ran out of time.

EPP Travel Kit - open (front)
EPP Travel Kit – open (front)

This travel kit is awesome and the problem I had really had nothing to do with the pattern, but with the supplies I had on hand. I hand on hand, and wanted to use, some sew-in invisible  magnet closures. Sara of Sew Sweetness uses these in a lot of her patterns and I find I have better success with them than the models with the ‘legs’ used in this pattern.

The closure is pretty awesome. I love the way the hexie flowers stick together. Very clever.

Once I figured out how to get the sew-in magnetic closures oriented in the right direction, the assembly went pretty smoothly. There is a lot of handwork in this pattern, which I wasn’t expecting.

The open look (right, slightly above) is a little odd. I think it might be because of the scrappiness of the whole piece. I think I should have used a backing for the flap hexie flower that matched the hexie flower (the one with leaves and a turquoise center). I do kind of like the scrappy look. I think I will make one that looks like a Dia de los Muertos celebration for a different friend. I definitely want to try different colors.

EPP Travel Kit - inside view
EPP Travel Kit – inside view

Altoids tins fit nicely inside and Haley (blog owner/designer) calls for two of them for this project. I had to scrounge them up. I put a piece of felt in the bottom of each tin to make them less rattly and a little nicer.

I cut and added some 5″ squares, and an EPP book to make the kit look full and fun.

 

 

 

 

 

*It appears that the name of the blog has changed to Red Handled Scissors. Not sure why, but the pattern is still there.

Sunflower Big Tote

Sunflower Tote
Sunflower Tote

I have decided that I like that Big Tote pattern from the Make It Take It book.

This will be the carrier for the other gifts, such as the cloth napkins I talked about earlier this week, DH will present to the NDGW Grand President. This is the first one I made with just two fabrics. No mosaic piecing. The bold print works very well, but I think smaller prints would look better using the mosaic piecing method I used for the second one I made.

There are some things I would like to try, e.g. pockets. In my mind pockets are essential. This isn’t a huge tote, so I envision it being used as a handy bag to put a few things in when you weren’t planning on buying anything.

Kaffe print inside
Kaffe print inside

I couldn’t resist adding a little of my own personality to the inside.

You can see some of the other gifts inside the bag.