Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Where I have been and what I'm doing!

New things!

I haven't been posting here at all lately.  I have been busy sewing as always, but things are a bit different now.  
  • I work part time now
  • I am sewing more bags and purses
  • I have a website and have opened my own Etsy store.
I'm certainly not going to take the market by storm - there are so many other crafty, arty, talented people out there, but it has given me a focus for all my sewing and creating and I want to give it a good try.

So, blogging about my classroom isn't the focus anymore.  I still create and love working with my students, and the ideas they come up with are always exciting!  I will still be developing new design briefs with them, and creating the resources to accompany them.  I am still working on my I.T. skills and ways to incorporate them into the classroom.  I just wont be here that often.

Doesn't mean I don't value you Dear Reader.  I will still maintain this blog and keep it open.  I hope there are still things here to provide ideas and inspire.

But for now, its just evolving into something different.
Thanks for your 'follow' - you are all busy and taking a moment to read this is appreciated.

Where I am heading now

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Promise Ring Backpack - Test Pilot reporting for duty!

Those of you that know me know I have a new 'favourite' bag every week!  My sewing bag obsession is pretty 'full on', and with the Bag of the Month subscription, and one with Swoon Vintage too there are plenty of new bags!

Case in point!  This little gem from Sew Sweetness - the Promise Ring backpack.

It's a little cutie and a quick put together.  I used the same fabrics I did previously with two of Sara's other patterns -  so I have a travel ensemble now!

I hand finished the binding around the sides - I didn't fancy fighting with twisting bias and the layers late at night!  Sara's instructions were very clear and had great tips but my gusset fabric was a thicker upholstery fabric and together with the Soft and Stable and interfacing and fabric it was getting a bit of a challenge for the machine!

The mandatory addition of Emmaline's bag bling is always a nice touch!  My other hardware was from a salvaged bag from a Goodwill thrifting expedition one day!  Clips and D rings for this cost me $1!!!

Make it!  It's just the fight size for the tablet, NCWallet and other bits and bobs....including room for a snack!

I think this can become a new pattern for the students at school when it is released!    

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Playing with the idea of being a Virtual Teacher

I don't mean virtually being a teacher!  I mean the idea of not being there in the room, but still teaching.  Being 'Virtual'.  Get it?

...just another end of day at 'Everyschool' High

It doesn't involve a stunt double or clone.  it involves some time to play with some 'virtual' avatars and animations to deliver information to students.  Some might say it's a 'flipped classroom' technique....where students get the info 'out of school': that is, listen to the lecture or view the demonstration at home on the internet, and then,come into school to work WITH the teacher, not sit and listen to them only to go home and try to nut it all out!

Probably the worst description ever!

Anyway, here is a link to my info sheet with examples I have been playing with.  I have shown them all to my students, and I regularly use the sewing safety one with my Yr 7 and 8 students.  My 'kids' know I like to play with new ideas, so they are used to me coming at them with, "Hey, I tried this, what do you think?"  Believe me, they will let me know if it's 'crap' or suggest better ways of using my time!  You have to love the honesty of a teen!

There are quite a few but this one I love because of the music!  I got a kick out of it, the kids reckon it was a bit over the top!  Cant keep them happy!  :-)

I love this one because I like the way you can get the expressions and closeups!  Only 2 characters at a time, but there is scope to do so much, or to get a message across simply!  Good fun writing scripts and previewing too!

If you want to try something new, you can take a few minutes and give it a go!  It could be a great way for students to share information, go 'multi-modal', use info tech for work by them, not just a cut and paste quickie!  If you re in a school, you will know what I mean!

Have some fun!  Don't be afraid to try!  Mistakes can be fun!

Playing with spoonflower

Have you?  ...Played with Spoonflower?
As part of my Stage 1/Year 11 Fashion and Textiles class I have the students develop hand drawn repeat patterns and finally upload one to the online fabric printing company "Spoonflower".  At the end of it each student will have a 'test swatch' that is just the right size for the inner pocket of their NCW wallet.  Yes, these students make the original or mini Necessary Clutch Wallet from Emmaline Bags.

Here's my design with some Picmonkey edits printed onto canvas
I will share the final pieces from the students once done.  I did however use my canvas for a Betz White bag  - the Field Study Tote!  I tried to do the Sew - A - Long, but I couldn't wait, and went on to finish it!

As the fold over messenger bag style

Opened up as a shopping tote

Love the fancy tab end treatment in Betz' bags

Padded and zippered pockets inside.  Ooooo!
Great size and I love the versatility!  I recommend this one for beginners and confident sewists.  I reckon my yr 9's could manage this one.  Even though they all have their eyes on a Sew Sweetness pattern I just trialed and yet to be released.
....more on that one later!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bag of the Month Club 2015 - April - the Manhattan

This months bag was from Emmaline Bags.  A terrific bag with storage and secret pockets!  This one fits my wallet with ease!  (Also an Emmaline pattern!)

Bag bling from Emmaline too!

nice big pocket in the bag

Pocket on the front. I also added one large magnetic catch not the suggested two - what I had on-hand
Good size with darts to form the curve and base. I made an extra long adjustable strap - I'm a messenger bag style of girl - hands free and bag secure across the body.
I had some trouble with the top-stitching on the closing flap - with the sipper - don't know why, there is nothing tricky about it.....maybe it was getting late in the day! I added another pocket in the flap with a zip. Handy for personal items that don't need to got at all the time - but nice to have just in case...someone always needs a bandaid or something!

...big pocket in the flap - and I added another small one in it!  

The zip was a double ended thick nylon one.   I would have liked a metal zip as a the metalic feature, but didn't have one on hand.  It sewed into the curve quite well but its thick teeth show up any seam allowance inconsistency I think.  (Im fussy, and I didn't notice it until it was too late to un pick....grrr)

I used fusible Bosal foam interfacing and trimmed according to Janelle's instructions, but in hindsight I will keep the interfacing the same size and trim back AFTER the seam is sewn.  (Some seam sections didn't quite catch the interfacing, and while the fusing seems secure. Id rather have the machining to hold it all in place to!)  I normally use Soft and Stable or Innoware foam, but tried Bosal this time - Lisa from U-Handbag recommends this one.  I like it!  Wish I could just go to a shop and buy any of them!  My only option is to go online for all three - thank goodness the postage is reasonable quick from  here in Australia, or the UK or US!  It just means I always need to have it on hand - I have a sewing 'pantry' of interfacings and bag bits!

...two more big slip pockets inside - with some red poplin trim on one so I remember which one to look in for the phone!
Will I make this one again?  Probably!  But now Im off to make the February BOM by Sew Sweetness.....the Hyacinth bag!

Exterior fabric from Spotlight - cotton drill
Feature pocket panel on from - linen copper screen printed remnant from Ink and Spindle
Braid trim - really old piece from the stash!
Llining - a remnant from Kaffe Fassett I think (had it for a long time)
Bosal fusible interfacing

Monday, April 6, 2015

Campfire Messenger Bag by Noodlehead - Easter sewing

Ive purchased a number of Noodlehead patterns before and always admired her work.  Now it was time to finally make one!  This was Bag of the Month for March.

The Campfire Messenger.

The closed front

Not as large as I originally anticipated but it sure has the pockets and storage to fit in all my goodies, and the Samsung tablet too!

Good clear instructions.  Well organised and presented.  Very good drawings rather than photos for step by step details.  Terrific!

Flap open - note the long pockets and a hidden zip pocket too!  BONUS!

The back has a large slip in pocket - perfect for the tech!

Id say this one suits an intermediate sewist.   Bit too fiddly and tight at times in the machine for a beginner.  But, if you are keen to try, do!

Main body fabric - Ikea 'as is' cushion cover - also known as a BARGAIN! ( a big zip and enough fabric!_
Accents - Hand printed linen from a remnant bundle from Ink and Spindle.
Buckles and 'rings' and slider from UHandbag
Soft and Stable in the main body.
Fusible H630 in the remainder - probably didn't give as crisp a crease as the bag samples presented on the pattern, but I was running low on supplies!  :-)
A medium/ heavy weight iron on for the gusset outer.

Plenty of storage!....and not so big as to never locate anything!

This one will  be used immediately!  When my order of Soft and stable arrives soon I will make this one again!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hepburn Bag - Trying a fixed frame for a change.

U-Handbag released a new pattern and  frame.  So of course I had to give it a try!

The Audrey Arch handles and Hepburn pattern.  I installed a zippered inner pocket to mine.  Linen pieces from two off-cut bundles from Ink and Spindle. Some piping and a lining from Spotlight.


I must confess to struggling with the tiny screws and keeping the edges in the frame.  That step took longer than making the whole bag!

inner  - notice screws and pocket.

Next time I make it I will insert some extra thickness in the top edge... the recommended paper rolls did not always secure the edges. Even with the linen, fleece, Soft and Stable and lining there was still enough of a gap between the frame to slip out as I tried to secure it.  

More practice required I think!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ansel Camera Bag - Test Pilot reporting for duty!

Tower to Test Pilot, come in, Over....
Test Pilot here, Over...
Have you got it? Over...
Roger that, Have completed the mission. Bag is in my possession. Unsure of status of microfilm in camera.  But bag looks fabulous. Over...
Roger Test Pilot.  Bring it in so we can all have a look.  Clear for landing.  Over.

Phew!  Its over!  ...and who is Roger anyway?   I always think of that line in Flying High..."Stop calling me Shirley"   (surely)

I had some time and decided to make the bag straight away!  When you're on a roll....

Another terrific pattern from Sara of Sew Sweetness.  This one is very cool! Extra padding and Velcro for adjustable camera pockets, adjustable strap, snazzy closures.  I loved making this one!  (...and I made sure the fabric was a suitable weight this time, no heavy suede!)

I made the medium size.  I don't have a digital SLR camera with lenses.  I've always wanted one.  I'm saving for a manual honey extractor at the moment - about the same cost as the camera and bits, but the camera will have to wait.  (yes, I 'keep' bees too!)

You can see the extra pocket I added in the foreground

divider can be placed anywhere along the velcro1

When I went to test the pattern I didn't have two of the larger plastic side release buckles, but did have a stash of these lovely shiny ones.  Not quite as high as the plastic i should have thought of this and allowed for them by extending the buckle pieces in the solid fabric.  It does pull the lid on firmly over the bag, and pushes out the side a bit, but the camera and goodies would still be secure.  I also didn't have two metal rectangles for the strap, so secured it to one side and worked the extension and slider on the other side.  This still works really well.

I like double stitching on the top....oooo, shiny!

I also added a small pocket on one inside panel.. I wondered if it might be useful for the lens cap or a little notebook....anything really.  I had a little piece of one of the lining fat quarters left so used it.

Don't wait to get a camera.  Make it!  Its easy to follow and comes together easily.

...a lovely ling adjustable strap that can be worn messenger bag style across the body.  
a collage....because I can!   :-)
Fabric: Home deco-weight outer, three fat quarter pieces (Spotlight)
Buckles and slide - UHandbag
Soft and Stable - Punch with Judy
Craft foam - Clark Rubber

Sloan Bag for Sew Sweetness - Test Pilot reporting for Duty!

Occasionally I am fortunate to test patterns for Sara.
I love trying other peoples ideas out, and it tests my skills as I interpret someone else's instructions other than mine!  I get to feel like my students!

Sewing pattern instructions have their own 'lingo'  and form.  I get my classes to go through them and we highlight the verbs (the 'doing' words or action words).  I tell them its about physically playing with the pieces and taking each verbs and the phrase accompanying it to crack the code.  ..."MATCH the right dies of the main pieces together..."  means pick up the main pieces.  look for the right side - the coloured or printed side you want - and match the raw edges.

And so it is when I read others' instructions!

Enter Sloan.

Well written, illustrated and with hints for success.
Sloan is a big overnight bag. zippered pocket at the front and two side pockets to pop little bits into.
A big pocket or two on the inside, a an elasticised key tab....brilliant!
As you can see I have used different fabrics for the lining.  Spotlight had a fat quarter sale.  I pretty much cleaned out two stores!  $1 each!  You bewdy!

I love colour - you didn't know that?  :-)
I love contrasting pattern and a pocket surprise!

I used some Spoonflower suede.  I had it on hand, having played with pixel sizes using a photo of some scrappy patchwork I had done earlier.  It was very thick together with lining and interfacing and Soft and Stable.  Lets just say there was some quiet cursing and mumbling under my breath as as I completed the top seam and top stitching!  I would not recommend this combination of fabrics on a domestic machine!  BUT, it does provide excellent stability and body!

Give it go!  It has already had a trip to school loaded up...Im thinking of a bigger trip away to really give it a test!

Great work again Sara!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Making Kimono Wraps

My Year 11 class have been playing with silk and dye!

Going for the Boho-Festival look, they are creating a simple kimono influenced 'cardy' (I know Girls, you say its a bit 'nana' to call them that!)
I designed their major task and design folio around it for their semester course.  Off course I had to create a couple for mock ups and because I love doing this!

Why do I love this?

  • experimenting with the microwave to set the ink ( Much better then the 3 hour steaming I used to do!!! But watch the timing on different size pieces!)
  • taking a very random approach to how the due is applied - except of course COLOUR COMBINATIONS!  (I provided the class with some YouTube clips and they did some searching too)
  • working with a limited 2 metre length and minimising waste
  • experimenting with folding and twists to create the pattern....I love a bit of 'fabric origami'!

  • a-line shaping
  • bit of a sleeve for coverage
  • funky fringe at the base.  (the Girls are want to get some of this I'm sure, its not in their provided supplies)

Here's the assessment task and rubric for the design folio.  (To suit Technologies - Materials Products SACE for those of youi n South Australia)  Its quite structured as I have some in the class that have had no experience in Textiles since Yr 8, but still allows students to reach an A grade within it.  I've also staggered the due dates.......are you a last minute worker!  :-)  As Ive said to the class this task is about exploring the design process and making a product to the highest standard they can.  Its simple to sew, but the habutai silk can be tricky and the need to seam neatness is paramount.  

So far the dyeing has been brilliant!  I'll share photos of their lengths later.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Drawstring Bags of Love

I know!  It's been AGES since I posted here!
I have been sewing on and off over the Christmas New Year, mainly pattern testing for Sew Sweetness - a big overnighter bag and a camera bag - and sewing for 'Shoeboxes of Love' - an charity that makes care packages for volunteers and the victims of disasters.  (We had some major fires here in Adelaide.)

So I thought I'd share the task I did with my Year 9 students, focussing on collaborative production line sewing to make more drawstring bags!

Three weeks to start off the term.  They each got to make and keep a few as they learnt the skills then we spent four lesson x 50 minutes one week in teams pushing out as many as we could.  Fabric donated by friends and community was used.   Teams of two or more - we had some reluctant group participants - but most were in groups of four.  over the week they collectively made 125 bags, but after their quality control process they whittled it down to 110.  (Issues of consistent size and seam accuracy were their biggest concern)

two teams working at the back
From a teacher viewpoint it was terrific.  I was machine trouble-shooter, but as I had spent the first week showing and having them all conduct a basic sewing machine maintenance -dust, oil, tension checks - I was able to just watch it all evolve.  So I took some notes on group processes and cooperation.  Lovely!

At the end of the task the group discussion about piece work and payment for jobs done was interesting!

Now to deliver them!

...they wanted a graduation shot - "Can we throw them in the air Miss?"
So here is my developed task.  I've included assessment task, unit planner and assessment rubric.  If you are a teacher in Australia you will know about the Australia Curriculum and all the machinations involved.  My interpretation here is just that - an interpretation, and in it's early stages!  I'm no expert but  you are more than welcome to have a read and give me any feedback!  ( I also generally share things as generic high school rather than my actual site, but I figure you know me and where I am anyway!  :-) )

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Stop Press! Year 9 reads instructions! ...making the Noodelhead Trail Tote

Those of you in a classroom will know this is very exciting!  Such was her confidence, Maddie decided to try this pattern and all I can say is SUCCESS!
Asking for clarification and advice rather than 'What do I do next?"  Maddie did a brilliant job and is very proud of her work!

It's one from Noodlehead - the Trail Tote. 

An inset zipper gusset for the top - unfortunately we didn't take a shot of her
 fluro orange lining and pocket!  WOW!

...adjustable straps and buckles - really serious bag making now!

I'm excited by her fabric combinations - a raid in the fabric store room at school of her own choices - and the way she went about the construction.

My work here is done!

....Unfortunately Maddie has not selected to study Year 10 Textiles and Fashion next year....  sigh......She leaves my class at the end of the year with a great range of skills and the confidence to interpret and problem solve from instructions to real applications.  Cant argue with that!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tudor Bag - a test drive for Sew Sweetness

How many bags can a girl sew?  Apparently there can never be enough!

I love the tailoring and precision required in them - like tailoring, without the expense and accumulation of hand crafted jackets!

I answered Sara's call for testers again recently and created this one!  The Tudor bag.

Terrific for a confident beginner.  Lots of options available, with handles, straps, pockets, zips, magnetic closures...you pick!

large divided pocket inside.

The patterns is available from Monday via her website/blog.  If you are looking for a bag with lost of possibilities, this one could be for you!

Fabric constraints meant I put one of the lining pocket across the back of the bag instead.
Undivided it fits a magazine or my tablet easily
I made mine without the handles - they look lovely but I really am a messenger bag across the body kind of girl...I did make a metric conversion mistake and the front placket is double the size of that in the pattern - probably shouldn't have done the conversion and drafting while my Year 10 class were sewing and asking for help with the base insertion on their oval cases!!

Lovely zip pull 'bling' from Emmaline Bags

Fabrics from my stash" some Tilda for the lining, Spotlight home-deco weight for the main outer, a lovely piece of Phillip Jacobs for Rowan "Lilac Chintz" and some unknown remnant pieces from a Fabric Traders mystery bag . Coordinating pieces to limited size pieces of fabrics took a bit of time. Of course no one else know the combinations I could have used, so I don't know why that always takes so long....maybe its more like - "Do I want to use that special lovely bit for this project or save it for another?"   Do you do that?

I made my strap adjustable but fixed at one end...in case I ever want ot make it into a short handle I can, by feeding the clip in end through the ring and back onto the ring I inserted on the strap at the back - the length of my fabric strap required a join - and a feature ring does the trick without the strap bulk a seam would create.

Sara's bags use a firm but easy to work with knit covered foam product. I use Inn-Control by Creative Craft Products, and buy it online through Punch with Judy here in Australia. Together with an iron on medium weight on lining pieces and the Inn Control on the outer it forms a good sturdy bag that holds it shape even when empty. I trim seam bulk away but you can leave it in place for a quilted look.

I have a couple of year 9 girls that would manage this one I think. One recently created a Noodlehead bag and did a brilliant job! I will pop the links and photo in a post for you!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Stitch Craft Create...time to play!

I love checking out the magazines at my newsagent!
Confession - if it says new, I'm pretty much going to buy it!

I've been reading the new Australia /New Zealand issue of Stitch Craft Create.

Many things caught my eye.  Here are a couple my scrap bag at school allowed....couldn't come at marking so I crafted!  Do you do that?

The Tilda teaspoon lady is meant to live in a small china tea cup - I have a few - they need to be VERY small ( like a fancy child's tea set) but they are in the china collection at the back of the shed - and a million things are in front of it!  I checked out all of the local op/ thrift shops around me with no luck so bought a new tiny 'gravy' boat for her.

The deer is sitting in an IKEA frame I had at home.  (...as you do)
While I love the idea of fabric taxidermy, I'm a bit 'creeped out' by what it represents...the notion of killing animals and mounting their heads....I'll workshop through it of course!  I thought of making three different sizes, as an homage to the three flying ducks on the wall idea!  Probably wont though...a new project is always on the horizon!

Meanwhile they are sitting on my desk in the classroom and they promote a lot of discussion!
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