Mondo Bag Start

You know that I often like to make projects multiple times to get the hang of the process. The other day, avoiding FOTY 2017 and having some time at Craft Night, I started on the Mondo Bag. I bought the pattern at Golden State a few weeks ago when I was in San Jose.

I have been wanting to make the larger size of this bag since I took the Scruffy Quilts Midi Bag class. I like the Midi bag and wanted to cement the process in my head. Recently I was thinking that my, as yet unstarted, new knitting project would fit better in a larger bag. Thus the perfect opportunity presented itself.

Mondo Bag start
Mondo Bag start

The process is that you press 2.5 inch squares on to an interfacing pattern, then fold and sew until you have a panel. Since I was at Craft Night, I pinned the squares to the interfacing. I did this for convenience, but also so I could contemplate the design before I pressed everything down permanently.

I am using Flow and Basic Mixology mini-charms. I had some packs from QuiltCon, I think, and they seem to go together well. Not perfectly, but well. So far, I am pleased with the results. The mini-charm packs have been hanging around for awhile. I was waiting for this project to come along so I could use them.

Classmates Tote Gift

Gerre's Classmates Tote
Gerre’s Classmates Tote

I decided to make another Classmates tote for my friend’s birthday. I didn’t mail it until Monday, so I hope she has it by now and the surprise won’t be ruined.

This one went a lot more smoothly than the first one. I learned different things this time, such as color placement. I am thinking I will make one to contain all of my random suitcase flotsam. I meant to see if it all would fit before I sent off the bag, but didn’t do it.

Gerre's Classmates Tote- open
Gerre’s Classmates Tote- open

I went through the pattern and marked the cutting chart up so I would know what I was cutting, which would help me with color/ fabric placement. My plan worked very well.

One thing that sent me over the edge in liking this project is the number of pockets. I knew as I was making it that I would get a lot of pockets, but I found, once I put the whole thing together, that there were even more pockets than I thought. This turned out to be because when I put the pockets I had made separately on the lining, additional pockets were created. The bonus pocket behind the center zippered pocket could hold a 6×6 inch ruler! Or nearly.

Gerre's Classmates Tote- outside cover, open
Gerre’s Classmates Tote- outside cover, open

I am pretty thrilled with how this one came out. I worked really hard and did my best work. The one thing I would change is the binding. It looks great on the inside, but doesn’t go very well with the ice cream fabric. I am not sure what I would use. I might need to change the linking to go better with the outside. I wanted to make sure the piece was cheerful, which is why I chose the lining fabric. I also wanted to use the ice cream fabric so this bag would go with the sewing machine mat and other items I have made for her. I thought it would be segregated enough to not matter, but I didn’t thinking about the binding and how that would united the outside with the lining.

Gerre's Classmates Tote- partially open
Gerre’s Classmates Tote- partially open

I think I would also change the handle a bit. I think it would be good to add a little padding to it. I am not sure my machine could make it through an additional layer of padding.

I am pleased with how the lobster clip and ring line up. That was a concern on the first one and this effort came out perfectly.

Drawstring Gift Bags

Finished Jeni Baker Drawstring Gift Bags - Snack sized
Finished Jeni Baker Drawstring Gift Bags – Snack sized

I finally finished all of the gift bags I started at Gerre’s house a few weeks ago. I know I showed one of them previously. Sometimes I just have to show progress in order to make it seem real. The gifts are in them and ready for Christmas.

Crazy, I know, but those gifts arrived late for Christmas 2018, so I’ll just save them.

I am not sure I will make more of these bags for gift bags as they take quite a bit of time. Still, I bought some twill tape so I wouldn’t have to suffer through making drawstrings and I want to use that up. We’ll have to see.

As mentioned previously, Jeni Baker sells the pattern, which includes multiple sizes including a laundry bag size which is good for those of you sending kids off to college.

Organizer Club So Far

After completing the All Rolled Up Tote, I thought I would layout the massive number of projects in the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club that I have completed.

Crafty Gemini Organizer Club completions, February 2019
Crafty Gemini Organizer Club completions, February 2019
Sewing Machine Mat from front
Sewing Machine Mat from front

Four.

Yes, I have completed 4 projects. I still have 3 more projects to go to complete the club. I do want to make all of the projects since I did sign up and pay for them. I did not sign up for the subsequent clubs since I have not yet finished the three projects left in the club. Also, I have a lot of other bags and organizer type projects I want to make.

I also want to make another Roadtrip Bag that has a vinyl window rather than using vinyl all the way across the front. I realize that is not the design, but I want to try my design change in order to not have to turn the vinyl. I am not sure how I will use the Roadtrip bag, but I like the design.

Crafty Gemini Organizer Club completions, February 2019-open
Crafty Gemini Organizer Club completions, February 2019-open

You can still buy the club (no affiliation). Check out the video showing all the projects.

All Rolled Up Tote – Finished!!!

All Rolled Up Tote - finished (closed)
All Rolled Up Tote – finished (closed)

I am thrilled to tell you that I finally finished the All Rolled Up Tote!

Yep. Finished. Done. Complete.

It was a big project. Not difficult, but with a lot of steps. The steps made it somewhat daunting. I say daunting only because the project was unfamiliar and the sheer number of steps seemed impossible to complete. I had done most of the techniques before, if in different patterns, so that wasn’t the problem. I have a new appreciation for video tutorials.

All Rolled Up Tote - size comparison
All Rolled Up Tote – size comparison

The Tote is HUGE. I didn’t really understand how huge until I had sewed the main parts of the project together. It is really hard to understand the size without seeing the thing in person. I have included a photo with my most recent Sew Together Bag side by side with the the All Rolled Up Tote for comparison. I know many of you are familiar with the Sew Together Bag.

All Rolled Up Tote - open
All Rolled Up Tote – open

I am thrilled that I made such a complicated and different project. It is similar to the Sew Together Bag, but the construction was different in some places.

The other thing I did differently was the front panel (see blue/turquoise vertical strips). This panel calls for a 1/4″ piece of elastic to be installed horizontally. I didn’t want any pens I might want to carry around to be accidentally opened and bleed on to my fabulous Philip Jacobs fabric. I also thought the 1/4″ inch elastic was not sturdy enough and looked a bit cheap. I decided to install wider elastic, which I happened to have, having bought it somewhere along the line. I measured out a few items that I might want to have with me, if I carry this around as a project bag, and sewed the elastic down. I think it looks nice.

All Rolled Up Tote - sleeve view
All Rolled Up Tote – sleeve view

One thing that was hard to understand without the video was the sleeve. I tried to understand it before watching the videos and it was a mystery. Finally, I watched the videos and could see what it was for. There is an extra area below the pockets (thus the changes in construction in comparison to the Sew Together Bag) where one can store flat items. I put a ruler halfway into the sleeve (see right), so you can see the sleeve. I haven’t tried filling this bag yet as I haven’t quite decided how I will use it, so use of the sleeve may change once I decide.

My pouches fit nicely in the Tote. Of course they are the correct size, but my lobster clip plan worked well. It was pretty easy to clip and unclip them from the D-rings on the tote. Crafty Gemini shows putting WonderClips into one of the pouches, which might be a good idea, since I could take the pouch out and put it somewhere if I knew I had to refill it because I had used my ‘on the go’ supplies (like clips) for a project. I also think that these little pouches might make good small gifts. They do require a lot of steps, but are unique as well.

One issue I had with the pouches was zippers. I happened to have zippers that were the exact right size. Crafty Gemini doesn’t say anything about having zippers the right size. In terms of whether we needed to secure ends or add a zipper tab. I might do that next time just to make sure everything was sewn together tightly. I am concerned that the zipper ends will come out.

Some of the problems I had with a recent Sew Together Bag were alleviated by the pattern’s suggestion that makers hand sew on the second side of the binding. I did hand sew the second side of the binding. It took me somewhere between 4-6 hours, I think. I am pleased with the way the binding turned out. No sloppy looking stitching because of multiple layers and a cranky sewing machine.

I am I still contemplating handles. Some of the other people in the Organizer Club who made this project added handles, but I wasn’t completely happy with their design. If I were to add handles I think that I would like to add them all the way around the bottom of the project in a loop design. I imagine that these would not go over the top of the bag, so access would not be impeded.

Off hand I can’t think of other changes I would make to another version of this bag, but I have the feeling I want to make another one. *I*, of course, don’t need another one, but I am sure I know someone who needs it as a gift.

All Rolled Up Tote – Pouches

All Rolled Up Tote - pouches (front)
All Rolled Up Tote – pouches (front)

Part of the All Rolled Up Tote pattern includes some pouches that can be clipped on to the D-rings I inserted when installing the pockets.  I worked on those over the weekend and was able to finish them up. I am not 100% happy with the zipper ends, but done is better than perfect.

They turned out larger than I thought they would. Yes, the finished dimensions were readily available, but somehow I had it in my mind that they were about 3/4s the size.

All Rolled Up Tote - pouches (back)
All Rolled Up Tote – pouches (back)

I am pleased with how they turned out. The fabrics are cheerful and they fit well into the Tote itself. I also think the pattern would be useful for gifts to others. Even without the Tote, they could be clipped to other bags.

The clips are the one thing I did differently than the pattern suggests. I put the lobster clips on the pouches rather than in the All Rolled Up Tote. I wanted to minimize interference with items I put in the Tote and thought the D-ring in the Tote would be less obtrusive. I also thought that I might want to fill these with something that I would want to transfer to other bags, so the lobster clip would allow me to clip the pouch on to other bags without needing that other bag to have a lobster clip. I’ll have to start adding D-Rings to my other bags!

I just have a bit more to complete before the All Rolled Up Tote itself is complete.

All Rolled Up Tote – Serious Progress

The All Rolled Up Tote is finally starting to look like something. It is amazing to me how I can sew and sew on a bag project and it looks like a bunch of disparate parts, then all of a sudden it looks like something. It’s like magic.

All Rolled Up Tote - pockets assembled
All Rolled Up Tote – pockets assembled

Just as I needed the sides, the fabric arrived from HipStitch and I had time to wash it. For once I cut the outside properly and was able to move forward.

As I said, it is similar in shape and use to the Sew Together Bag, but much larger. The finished size is 15in./L x 9in./W x 6in./H. I placed my rotary cutter in the photo above so you could get some idea of scale. This bag is much larger than the Sew Together Bag.

I am also finding the construction to be a little different. For example, the pockets are assembled separately unlike the Sew Together Bag. I am sure I will find some other differences when I get farther along.

All Rolled Up Tote – Pockets

All Rolled Up Tote pockets
All Rolled Up Tote pockets

I finished the pockets for the All Rolled Up tote. As mentioned, this is part of the Crafty Gemini 2018 Organizer Club. You can buy the stand-alone pattern on her site. Above three of the pockets are shown. I have decided to alternate where the zippers start to lessen bulk.

The first pocket, which will go in the front of the bag has elastic on it for writing implements, glue sticks, etc. the pattern calls for a 1/4″ piece of elastic placed horizontally all the way across. I thought a thicker elastic placed vertically would work better for me. I didn’t want tips of pens to be too close to the fabric in case they should open and stain. I am also not a fan of that 1/4in. elastic. I think it looks a little cheap. My fat turquoise elastic (I wish I could remember where I bought it in case I want to make another) looks super fun as well.

Progress!

All Rolled Up Tote Progress

All Rolled Up Tote pieces cut
All Rolled Up Tote pieces cut

I am working very slowly on this All Rolled Up Tote bag, but I am making some progress.

I started cutting back in September and haven’t really put it on the front burner until now. It is part of the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club that I bought last year. I bought the course and am determined to finish all the bags in it. I have made several and plan to alternate them with quilts in the beginning of the year.

It isn’t difficult, but the bag has a lot of steps. It is similar in shape and use to the Sew Together Bag, but much larger. The finished size is 15″L x 9″W x 6″H. I am also finding the construction to be a little different. I should have watched the videos before I started cutting, but didn’t think I needed to. I know how to cut, but there are some tips and tricks. It would have helped.

The videos are a great way to make a bag. No fumbling with written directions and trying to figure out what they mean. I don’t even really like watching sewing videos, because I can’t listen to an audiobook while I am watching a video. I am, however, getting more into the swing of video courses.

I had to get some more fabric for one outside piece as it was challenging to cut and I cut it wrong.  Twice. Bleah. I can continue on and go back to that piece when the fabric arrives.

BAM Swap Bag

I signed up for the BAM swap and received Lindsay. I don’t know her very well. I talked to her briefly at a recent meeting as she rummaged through a stack of donation blocks I had recently donated. You know I love it when people use my blocks. 😉 It is such a great feeling of collaboration.

I kind of like doing the swaps,though this one was hard. I kind of gave up on the theme, though Rhonda, the organizer is pretty lax about sticking to the theme. I have to learn to be more like her.

Classmate Bag by Terry Atkinson
Classmate Bag by Terry Atkinson

I went through my patterns after I saw that Lindsay requested a bag. I have a lot of bag patterns and need to start plowing through them. I came up with the Classmate Bag by Terry Atkinson. It is not a large tote sized bag, but I thought it would be useful for going to class.

I have heard good things about Atkinson designs patterns and the company certainly has a lot of patterns out. I can’t remember ever making something from their line.

This bag went together pretty well, especially when I was able to concentrate after Thanksgiving.

Classmate Bag for Lindsay - BAM Swap
Classmate Bag for Lindsay – BAM Swap

The problem I always have for these types of swaps is fabric. I don’t buy a lot of the lines that modern quilters seem to swarm over. I chose some leftover Tula Pink fabric from a project for which I made a block for Kelly.

It looks pretty good on the outside, I think. I am surprised to see how well the pattern of the fabric matches up. That was a happy accident.

Classmate Bag for Lindsay -open - BAM Swap
Classmate Bag for Lindsay -open – BAM Swap

This was a good enough pattern to make me think that I might make this bag again for another friend. Stay tuned.

Boxy Bag Class

Boxy Bag - closed
Boxy Bag – closed

I took a class on Saturday at Sew Day. We don’t usually have classes during Sew Day, but we had this one. People were still allowed to come to Sew Day if they weren’t taking the class. They could listen in, but I didn’t see any of them trying to horn in on the class. We just aren’t that kind of group.

I did some of the home work during the week. I pulled the two fabrics off my ironing board and the pattern called for pieces almost the size of the fat quarters. This means I won’t have slivers of them in my FOTY 2018 quilt. 🙁 C’est la vie!

Boxy Bag - open
Boxy Bag – open

Lynette taught the class and she is a great teacher. Here handouts were stellar. Her teaching was really clear. The project wasn’t complicated, but a little tricky in places. She did a great job explaining  the tricky parts even when two sets of students diverged when a group went and had lunch while the other group kept working.

I like the way this project came out. It is fully lined and very nicely finished. I immediately wanted to make a bunch of them. I think I’ll finish the aprons first.

Tool Tote Again

Outer Edge with Zipper
Outer Edge with Zipper

This tote has been moving around my workroom half made. Over the weekend, after finishing the Ends n.5 donation top and back, I got back to the Tool Tote. I am nearly done.

The inside and the outside were both made, but I had to put them together and install the zipper.

I just kind of got to it and began. It is hard to pick up after three weeks, but I just did it.

Weird Zipper Ending - Tool Tote
Weird Zipper Ending – Tool Tote

Fortunately, I have done a lot of zippers this year already with two Sew Together Bags, the BAM Pillow Swap, the Zip Away Organizer, the Roadtrip Bag, the Walking Foot Wow Pillow cover, my Sew Together Bag (for embroidery), and the Merit Hexie pillow, so I have plenty of zipper experience. It turned out that this zipper was no problem. I had no trouble with this zipper. I barely even registered that it was zipper installation. I didn’t really like the way the endings looked. I didn’t understand the ending – there wasn’t enough explanation for me. It worked, but I thought for sure I would have to rip.

Tool Tote - zipper in
Tool Tote – zipper in

It looked pretty good once I did the sewing. I think I didn’t think about it too much and that worked for this project.

I kept testing the zipper all the time and it kept working. It doesn’t look like the picture, but it works. We’ll see if it works when it has stuff in it.

The directions on this project aren’t as good as I would like. I thought that this pattern would be a good one for gifts, but the directions are a challenge. I can’t decide if I want to make other ones or if it is just too much hassle.

Tool Tote Progress

I was so thrilled with the cutting of the Tool Tote the other day that reporting today is kind of depressing.

The good news is that I am making progress. The bad news is that I am having trouble with the directions. This is a weakness of mine as I have mentioned, so I am willing to take some of the blame. However, I had Gerre try and help me interpret one step and she agreed that she thought something was missing.

As the pattern suggests, I emailed the designer and have not heard back. It is a sort of holiday week so she may not be at work.

Regardless, I will finish this bag. I know enough about bag making to make up some parts, if necessary. It won’t be done by this weekend, which is a shame, but can’t be helped.

In the photo above, you can see the pieces with their little tags as well as the work that I have done. Quilting on all the pieces is complete, though I would have made the pieces bigger, quilted and then trimmed, if I had been thinking. Some of the pockets are sewn on. Handles are partially sewn (this is the problem step).

So, yes, I am making progress.

Tool Tote Finally

I have been thinking about the Tool Tote a lot lately. Since I finished the Stepping Stones n.2 last week, I thought it was time to work on a bag. I have a lot of bags on my project list and never enough time.

As you may recall, I bought the pattern at QuiltCon from Elk Horn Quilts (great shop, BTW). I took some time several months ago to cut a few pieces at a Sew Day, but hadn’t made any other progress since. It was time to move, so I took out all the pieces and started cutting.

Quilts Illustrated Tool Tote chits
Quilts Illustrated Tool Tote chits

OMG! The Quilts Illustrated pattern was fantastic. You have probably seen the post-it notes I attach to the pieces I cut for bags. This Quilts Illustrated pattern had a sheet of bits of pattern chits included. they were already made!!

These made life so much easier. I took the sheet, cut off the chits as I cut the pieces and when there were no more chits there was no more cutting. I didn’t feel frustrated and exhausted. It was awesome.

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.