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 Finished

Finished: Tool Tote
Finished: Tool Tote

I finally finished the Tool Tote. Now I can just stare at it wondering, a little, what I was thinking.

Looking at in this photo, it looks great, but I am not sure about actually using it. The Tupperware box I have used forever works fine for tools and is hard. How would I fit this thing into my travel system? On the other hand, it has handles and handles are always a good thing.

Tool Tote: Zipper Tab with Soft & Stable
Tool Tote: Zipper Tab with Soft & Stable

I was almost finished the other day, but I put the zipper tabs on and they just looked terrible. Using Soft & Stable in a zipper tab is a dumb idea. I wouldn’t have known it was a dumb idea unless I had done it, though.

The photo of the zipper tab makes the thing look fine. It isn’t fine, though; it didn’t stay together and on the back the top hem was popping out and looking awful. I also went around the whole thing 3-4 times and couldn’t quite match up the stitching as the whole bag was attached to the zipper tab. The whole thing was a mess.

Tool Tote with new zipper tabs
Tool Tote with new zipper tabs

I ripped off the Soft & Stable zipper tabs and made some new ones with ShapeFlex instead. It worked like a charm and the zipper tabs look a lot better. I changed the fabric used and that helped make the tabs look better as well.

If you make this bag, definitely make it with fabric for the zipper tabs matching the outside pocket.

Tool Tote: big mouth opening
Tool Tote: big mouth opening

I had big plans to make a bunch of these, because of the Big Mouth design. I really like the way it opens up all the way, so you can see all of your stuff. It was a hassle to make and I didn’t think the directions were great. They were very chatty and friendly, but not very useful. I think I might be ruined by the Crafty Gemini style of learning. I do know that if I make more I will get better at making them.

As I said, I am not sure what to do with it. I could get another set of tools and fill the thing and keep it with my guild stuff. Not sure if  really need that.

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.

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.

Starting my New Sew Together Bag

I decided it was time to make another Sew Together Bag for my embroidery/Big Stitch stuff. I actually decided a long time ago and just finished cutting everything out on the last Sew Day at the beginning of the month.

Sew Together Bag Panels
Sew Together Bag Panels

My first Sew Together Bag is getting stuffed and I use it a lot. I might actually have to make another one for EPP as well, but that might be going too far. The point is to have everything handy in the bag so I can grab and go. this means, I need multiple pair of scissors, etc, and I am not sure I want to buy more. We’ll see.

Sew Together Bag/Walking Foot
Sew Together Bag/Walking Foot

I am using the Quilt Barn tutorials again and the process is going pretty smoothly. That is not to say there hasn’t been some ripping and bumps, but all-in-all, the process is going well. They suggest a walking foot and since I bought all those new walking feet, I decided to take their advice this time. It is nice! The zippers are causing me very little hassle.

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.

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!