Have bag, will travel…eventually…

While perusing Pinterest one day, I came across this rather nifty duffel bag sewing pattern. I had been looking for a decent size weekender bag for sometime & all the ones I had found were either not quite the right size or pretty darn expensive, but this bag looked to have all that I needed and gave me an excellent excuse to finally use that yard of Kokka Trefle fabric that had been in the fabric stash since Abi was 2.

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Robots! How fun!

The duffel pattern is a .pdf, which I’m rather fond of as they allow for a certain level of instant gratification and I can print them out on a heavier paper than that tissue paper traditional patterns are printed on.

With patten printed & taped together, I made a run up to my LFS (Local Fabric Store) for the few supplies I needed, read through the instructions and got down to business…and this is about the time things went a bit wonky… I am a visual learner, written instructions and I are just never a good combination no matter how well written they are and the Duffel pattern has REALLY GOOD written instructions, my brain is just not wired to work that way. I need pictures! Well defined & clear pictures, or video. Give me one of those shop manual blowouts of an engine & I can rip that Ducatti engine apart, clean it and pop it all back together in a weekend, give me written instructions and you’ll be lucky to see it back together in this lifetime. All this is to say that at some point in the construction of the duffel, I messed up a few times.

First mess up was I bought a separating zipper when I needed a zipper with a stop at the end. After a bit of internet perusal, I figured out a fix that would give me a non-seperating zipper.

My second OOPS! was I realized that according to the instructions, the outside of the bag was sewn first THEN the lining was attached. I had sewn all the layers together and ended up with raw edges inside the bag…WTF?! that was not how the examples I had seen looked…upon re-reading the instructions, I discovered my error and quickly set about fixing it. By “fixing it” I do not mean ripping apart all my seams and re-starting, that is just not my style, unless it is the only solution then I will crack a beer and accept my fate.

I had in my sewing stash some bias tape and it was the perfect width to cover almost all the raw edges, there are a few that will need a trim with the pinking shears…but we won’t talk about them.

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Applying the bias tape through 4 to 5 layers of fabric was slow going but I eventually got it all done, cleaned up my loose threads and turned everything right side out just as Liam came downstairs, saw the bag & with his eyes all lit up and said “ROBOTS!!!!!!!IS THAT FOR ME???!!!!”

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Yes, my little man…this is now for you.

Abi has requested a bag of her own as well…perhaps this time I will make it according to the instructions…

 

Oh…I’ve been a busy bee

My plan to post more often went completely off the rails, but for good reason! I’ve been a busy little crafting bee!

It started with my turning 6 pairs of pants into knickerbockers. I’m planning on posting how I did this at a later date, but really it was pretty dead easy. I need to pick up some fun knee high argyle socks to complete my English Estate look and perhaps get a few Oxfod Cloth Button-down shirts & cravats so I can look like a complete Blue Blood tosser!

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Then I finished Innisfil. I wore it to the Knitters Frolic and received a few compliments which left me chuffed as it’s nice to have your hard work appreciated by complete strangers.

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On the tails of my knickerbocker success I set about sewing up some new spring frocks. Two have been finished thus far (one on black linen & one in red linen) using Sonya Phillips pattern from the 100 Acts of Sewing project she did last year. (not the greatest shots, I know, but my camera battery was dead and had to use the mobile camera.) Both dresses have already seen a lot of wear & I need to get cracking on the purple version. I can totally see this dress becoming a staple of my wardrobe and I have plans to sew a few heavier wool versions for cooler weather. This is a super easy pattern and really good for a beginning sewer as you just have 4 seams and a hem. If making your own bias tape is a bit intimidating, you can use store bought.

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I have also finished a Hugin & Munin shawl, there is no photo as it will probably become a Christmas present.

This massive upsurge in creative production has been the best therapy, things have been busy around here which has led to my not getting out to socialize as much as I should/need. Being able to hunker down in the Girl Cave and emerge a few hours later with a new dress or take to the couch with my knitting at the end of the day has given me a nice sense of accomplishment, some new skills and taken the edge off my lack of socializing. The only real down side from this flurry of activity is I’m getting more ideas for projects than I have hours in the day and with the Summer Break looming about 6 weeks off I’m going to miss this time…perhaps I’ll institute a Afternoons are for Crafting rule while the kids are at home…

 

 

Being a practical sort…

I need sundresses. Natural fibers, roomy (but not a circus tent!), fun and long enough to cover my butt. This was not going to happen with the retail options available to me. The dresses I found were either an atrocious print/pattern, a heinous material or of a wholly inappropriate cut unless I wanted everyone to be able to inventory all my tattoos…

While commiserating with a friend over this lack of sundresses…I got worked up (read: tipsy) enough to make some variation on the following statement: “Screw it! I know how to sew! I’m a gonna make my own!” The next day found me perusing the internet for both pattern and fabric inspiration…

And this is what I found: Dana Top/Dress & Meghan Peasant Dress, the neat thing about these patterns are that they are .pdfs so I can save the file and not have to worry about making an error in the cutting/piecing which is a bad habit I have! The other bonus to having the file as a .pdf is the instructions are really detailed with lots of great photos! Beign the visual learner I am, this was a flipping godsend!

Once I had me patterns, I was off to the fabric store…It had been a while since I had done any sewing…I had forgotten that fabric stores are just as bad as yarn stores!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine yards of fabric and a bag full of thread, biased tape and fusible interface later, I was set to start sewing once my counter productive side kicks were in bed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided on the Dana dress without the flutter sleeve as the first project, over the course of three nights I was able to complete the dress, it would have gone faster but I ran into an issue with my biased tape; it was way too narrow, luckily I found some at a fabric store that is close-ish to my house.

The final dress is just what I wanted: comfy, fun and a suitable length.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m hoping the side kicks will comply and I can get another done by weeks end…

The skirts.

I was going to wear one of them out to Lettuceknit tonight but I’m having a “it sucks to be a girl sometimes” day and will instead be hugging the water bottle and sucking back gallons of raspberry leaf tea…but enough about my plumbing…

The Skirts:

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And

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Turns out I could have quite easily made the next size down as they are sitting just a bit too low/loose on the hips and if I loose 5 lbs they will be falling off, of course if I get pregnant before then they will be great maternity skirts either way I’ll be making some adjustments…I agree with Laura about the frustration with patterns and getting a good fit…

The zippers almost got the better of me!

Since the Counter Productive Side Kick is still at Camp Nana and Poppa I decided to get a hustle-on making those skirts I mentioned in yesterdays post.

First thing this morning with coffee in hand I cut out both skirts then sewed up all seams except for the sides as I discovered my zipper stash was cleaned out at some point of the size I needed…Who knew that would happen?! So before lunch I ran up the road to the Den of Evil (Walmart) to gather some other needed items as well as the two zippers and twill tape. The size I needed was sold out so I grabbed two 9″ zippers in the appropriate colour (black) and I truimphantly returnd home only to realize that the zippers were so not going to work…they were seperating zippers, the kind that get used in coats. What a freaking drag! But it’s all good…as I have a sewing repair/supply store up the road in the other direction…after lunch I struck out on foot with WeaveCast playing on the MP3 player.

The sewing repair shop was also out of the size I needed (7 inch) but luckily they had two 9 inch zippers (these were actually the last two they had) but no twill tape…Clearly I wasn’t meant to win today! I trudge back home where I spend the rest of the afternoon either sewing, pinning or ironing these skirts and just after a quick stop for dinner I was done both of them with the exception of the hook and eye at the top of the zipper seam. As I was meeting Ms. Jenn for bellydancing class before she boarded her plane to jolly Ole England I quickly sewed a hook and eye on what I’m calling (for obvious reasons) the Sailor Jerry skirt and booked it out the door.
I’m mostly happy with how both skirts turned out except that I probably could have used the next size down as they are sitting quite low on my hips…I’m trying to figure out how to fix this without having to take the skirts apart…suggestions would be great.

Photos will come tomorrow after the batteries have charged.

The Post likes me today!

What a way to start one’s anniversary day! Mr PostMan was nice enough to deliver my order from Equilters this morning.

In the package was 2.5yrds each of two diffrent fabrics.

The first is a hard to find in the black Alexander Henry design that for obvious reasons I’m totally in love with it.

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The second is an Amy Butler pattern from her Belle line.

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Both of these fabrics are going to be made into skirts using New Look #6496. I’m really excited to get started on making these skirts as Abi is at Camp Nana and Poppa til tomorrow and I think I might just be getting over my issues with sewing…

In the spirit of using what you have…

Right now I really hate my wardrobe, it lacks what you might call inspiration and fun. Years of working places that have a uniforms or dress codes add in my time in chef whites and a small child oozing from all ports has taken it’s tole I have what I have always feared…a suburban mommy closet, I don’t even have fancy panties anymore to compensate for the dull that is my clothes.
Since money is a bit tight (when isn’t it when you have a kid and a house?!) and I’m saving for Rhinebeck I have decided to reallocate my clothing budget to try to fancy up that which I already have instead of buying a bunch of new stuff. Yesterday I recon-ed another old pair of jeans with the help of this tutorial and used up some material I had kicking arround to make an A-line skirt using New Look pattern #6274.

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My plan for today is to try to finish up one of the two unfinished dresses I found while trolling through my craft bins and to take an old pair of boots to get their zippers replaced. I had these boots for less than a month before Smaug (the rabbit) decided the zipper was a tasty treat and nibbled it just enough to make the boots useless…we almost had rabbit stew that night…he was saved from the pot by his youth and lack of any real meat on his bones…so I have been carting these boots arround for about 5 years now and have finally found a good shoe repair.
I also have plans to order a few yards of this from ReproDepot and perhaps a few yards of this to make two more skirts as well as track down a few more patterns to make some other stuff…Fingers crossed this will help me regain my sewing skills as they have totally tanked over the past few years from lack of use.