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

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 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 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.  ( 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!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Things we are making" Thursday...Friday...

Oops! A WAY over due post for you!
Return of the classroom pics...projects completed by students recently!  'Show and Tell' time!

Year 8 Fold up shopping bags.  Calico and scraps for the pockets.  These students have blown me and themselves away!  Being a short term we only have 4 weeks  ( 4 x 50 minutes per week) to inspire and excite Year 8 about using a sewing machine for the first time!  These students have created this in only 7 lessons!  OK  they are stars!  Not evryone is that 'on the ball' but they are now looking  at a couple of ideas they will develop and create into a softie!  Last I overheard two of the girls wanted to make moustache shaped cushions!  They'll bring sketches tomorrow for discussion!  One boy wants to try a simple teddy. I love the variation of ideas.

Year 9 students have been making Buster from Happy Shiny World and a few have also broken away and negotiated to make other goodies that fit the brief!

Lily made her Buster in record time and wanted a challenge!  Huge lined bag with zipper from Bags book.  Top job!

Another negotiated project of the students own design!  Donuts!

Same pattern, everyone so different!  But all lovable and a good laugh!

10s are beginning to complete their oval vanity cases.  Adaptations between Homemade magazine last year, You Sew Girl and U-Handbag versions.

They have all done such a fantastic job - especially when I remember the limited sewing experience most of them have!  So proud!  ...and they are too!

Mind you, there are a number that have made such SLOW progress....or a lack of!  Pity, but creating isn't everyone's passion.

Now some cute shorts and skirts are in the making and a few wallets and it!  But my mind has to do back flips a few times each lesson to help out each different students and project!  Phew!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Swirl clutch wallet a.k.a. just follow the pattern as is!

I must learn to make the first one of any new pattern exactly the way it is written.

But, no, I decide to make some alterations and find that they don't always go to my plan!
Case in point: the Swirl Clutch Wallet pattern from Berry Birdy.

I was looking for a wallet or purse with a zippered coin section and enough room for cards that could be securely fastened quickly. It also needed be a quicker sew for my Year 10 girls looking to make another project in the last few weeks of term.  A couple of them , very competent sewists, have completed their oval 'vanity' case and were looking at making the Sew Together Wallet I made previously.  I thought they may struggle with the time left so I searched and came to the Swirl pattern.

....and the changes I decided to make...zipper end tabs and the addition of Vilene H360 iron on batting along with the firm woven iron on interfacing.....


Result, a bit too bulky and the loss of the crisp finish.. I originally added it thinking it would help smooth out and take up andy 'slack' in the wallet, keep it in a good shape once filled.  No Need. Too thick and tricky to manipulate the sewing og the outer panel and zip.  The zipper end tabs just complicated the fit.  I will use a longer zip next time for sewing ease then trim back after with the tabs I think....see?  Already making changes again!  I must stop it!

Bag 'bling' in the shape of the lovely chrome "handmade" tab once again from Emmaline. Love them!

Will I make it again?  Absolutely!  Will I make it just as described?  Yes.  
Lesson learnt....until next time!  :-)

Fits quite a bit and fastens easily with the zip. 
Fabrics from Spotlight stores: Fat quarters on special $2.99 x 3.  (left overs for another!)
I had the zips and interfacings on hand.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tea and cake for one please....

Another use for those scrap pieces of fabric I create from the little bits I cant bear to throw out! My nightly blog reading brought me to one I regularly follow, Ric Rac.  ....and there it was, a  tea set!  Fond of 'mix and matching' my vintage tea sets - I have enough for a small cafe or tea room I think - this project really appealed to me today.

I do love a bit of food related fabric sculpture.  I've made cakes, crocheted vegetable and cakes, made fabric carrots for Easter, tweedy mince pies and puddings for Christmas

Unfortunately I don't see too many of my students having the patience to do all the hand sewing of fabric covered plastic discs and slightly fiddly button attachment at the cup handle, but it will sit on my desk in the classroom and be there for inspiration, and we will see who 'bites'!

I haven't made the teapot...yet, but enlarged the saucer to make a tea plate, for the cake of course!

I love Jodie's work!  Her toys are fabulous and have a cheeky personality to them!  I've previously made the disco bot and have yet to make the animal bag....but they are on the 'to do list' and the fabrics are sitting ready to go with each pattern in a large zip lock bag so I cant be tempted to use them on another project.

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