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 15?L x 9?W x 6?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.

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.

 

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.