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Sometimes, saving fabric scraps can be useful for mending. Yesterday I managed some pretty good pattern matching to patch a hole on the Boy’s favourite trousers. Not exactly amazing sewing, but I’m feeling pretty smug right now. I haven’t told him about the hole or the patch, I’m curious to see if he notices!

I also managed to finally mend the cycling jacket that hubby ripped on a rosebush last summer (whoops) and the unravelling cuffs on my festie (a fleece lined knitted hoodie to where when camping at festivals). The latter was in anticipation of trying out our new van this weekend. Unfortunately not long after phoning us to say it was all ready to pick up the garage phoned back to say that they’d double checked the new seatbelts and one of them had broken when tested.  Best place to discover the fault though.

So, not much actually sewing here, but I need to get cracking as I accidentally came back from buying a replacement jeans button (cannot find the one I bought before anywhere) with a haul of fabric. Whoops.

A brace of Anya’s

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So, all that thinking about making bags reminded me that I hadn’t made the Anya Bag pattern up yet that I won before Christmas. It was a condition of winning that I blog a bag within 4 months, but, you know the drill, all opinions are most definitely my own.

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I had a plan to use this to make something for my friend (as I’m not really into handbags), but that idea wasn’t with scraps. Now Zoe herself says this bag is a great scrap buster and as I know that she is into reducing the impact of her sewing and as I had just posted all about sewing bags from scraps, I thought I really should have a rootle in my scrap bin for something appropriate to try the pattern with. What I found there was some left over cerise boiled wool from making a Princess Anna inspired cape   – perfect.

There were two little problems I found when cutting out. The first was that it was, err, oh so very very pink. Extremely pink. I felt it needed breaking up a little. So I had another rootle and found some more boiled wool scraps, green this time (from a waistcoat for LSH) and improvised a little leafy design. It came out rather well if I do say so myself. As the boiled wool won’t fray I didn’t have to worry about finishing edges or even sewing them down. I just cut the leaves out, tried some arrangement, pinned when I was happy and then sewed them freehand on my normal sewing machine.

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The second problem was that I didn’t have a big enough piece of fabric left to cut the straps and by this stage the bag was looking quite smart so I didn’t want to piece some together. Instead I bought some from my local fabric shop. There was a limited range of colours, so I chose navy, which matched the print on the lining.

The lining wasn’t techincally scrap, but it did come in a bargain bundle of fabrics and I’ve never been quite sure what to do with it. It’s perfect for a lining though, pale yet interesting, and the tree’s inside match the leaves outside.

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Next up, bag number 2, for my friend, who is not really a pink kind of person. I was quite happy to make 2 in a row as this is a fun, quick pattern and I also wanted to see how it looked in different fabrics. This is my Zombie Apocalypse version with a blood splatter velvet pattern on a soft drapey denim. This time, the outer is new fabric, and the inner uses scraps, red for the yoke and white waterproof lining fabric for the inside (which was hell to work with).

So, pattern review then.

PDF: short and sweet (4 pages), taped together easily, full marks.

Instructions: very comprehensive, lots of photo’s, in fact, I was finding them a bit too detailed, then I found the condensed 1 page version at the end which was just what I wanted. So something for everyone. Full marks again.

Difficulty: Fairly easy, there are pleats, curves and an optional buttonhole (but you could use a secret snap/popper) and all well explained so I think a beginner would be fine with this but maybe not as a first project.

Pattern drafting: Good, everything matched up tickity boo.

Trickiest bit: The button tab, surprisingly. My first attempt ended up a little wonky and unsymmetrical and it was really noticable. So then I traced the stiching line onto my interfacing before ironing it on and used that for a guide which worked much better. Oh and the buttonhole, but me and my machine aren’t seeing eye to eye with buttonholes at the moment, on a different machine that would be fine (and you can leave the tab off).

Overall: I got two very professional looking bags that don’t particularly look home made, especially the boiled wool one. What I didn’t get to do is add a pocket (I’m a bit of pocket addict), the pattern doesn’t have one and I couldn’t think where to put one what with all those pleats.  This pattern is great for using up leftover fabric and there’s lots of scope for playing with contrast fabric and decoration (piping along the yoke seam? or maybe ric rac bumps sticking out?).

Make again? Maybe, as I said, I don’t really do handbags, but if I wanted to give one as another gift this is a quick make.

 

Is it Sunday yet?

Yesterday was Finish Something Saturday over at the Stashbusting sewalong. I had plans. I had great plans. I did finish something, but something I started on Friday night and none of the planned sad projects that have been languishing a while.

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  I’m dancing around manically because        IT WAS COLD and LSH was taking too long with the camera!

Today, however, I finally finished my purple jeans.  And the happy dance is partly due to the jeans, and partly due to the camper van in the background, which we just bought.

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The reason that these jeans were languishing is because when they were nearly done, I discovered that there was a frankly obscene fold of fabric at the front. Which is odd because this is the same pattern I used for my foxy jeans, which have no such problem. Anyway, eventually, after sulking at them for a while, I unstitched the crotch seams and got my husband to pin them to try and get a better fit. Then I tacked and expectantly tried them on again. It was worse. Argghh. I ripped out the tacking and redid it a random way. Bit better. Then I got invited round to my friends to do some sewing with her. Aha. Along came the jeans. She thought I was going to help her, little did she know, instead she ended up repinning my crotch for me. Lucky me because the third time, if not exactly the charm, was at least wearable.

Hmm, this me removing a wedge that I’m pretty sure is almost exactly the same as the one I ended up putting in for the foxy pair to help with the fitting issues on my first pair. This fitting malarky makes no sense I tell you. We did end up taking more off the front than the back to help pull the creases out, that’s why my seam allowances don’t match up.

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Anyway, all done now, phew and I’ve been wearing them today.

Out on a walk, admiring the details (like lining the pockets with the remains of LSH’s old pj’s).

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Actually I’ve told a bit of a lie. Whilst they’ve been languishing I, err, misplaced the proper jeans button that I bought. So, as it’s Sunday I just wore them out with a belt, especially as my machine was eating buttonholes yesterday. But I will find the button or buy a new one and attach it and make a buttonhole soon. Promise. In the meantime, here’s more van!

Have you finished anything this weekend?

That’s my boy

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Engrossed in a comic explaining gravitational waves, after hearing about them on the radio this morning while he was washing up the breakfast things.

Hat update, the hat has found an owner, turns up it wasn’t quite as small as I thought (just smaller than I intended). The only disappointed was when I had to tell him there wasn’t enough of the fabric left over to make a matching bigger one for his dad.

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The same hat owner also finished off the rat today that he started earlier this week (he came home from school one day really keen to make a rat, no idea why, his sister thinks it might be something to do with Chinease New Year). We used this page for the pattern pieces by the way, but followed my nose for construction, sewing it on the machine with the seam allowances on the inside.

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Next up, “can I make a dog?” (his Chinease zodiac year). 5 minutes before bedtime of course. Of course, I said, just not now, why don’t you draw a picture of what you want the dog to look like and we can work out how to make it in the morning. So he drew a plan. Including 2 pieces to be the side of the dogs face and a strip to go around in between them giving them depth. “Of course we’ll have to get the sizes right”. I was however told that it would be ok if I found something useful on the internet.

Good job it’s the start of the half term holidays then!  Do you have any plans for this week?

 

Scraps to Bags

Last week we looked at clothes making from scrap fabric, this week it’s the turn of bags, purses, totes, pouches and all things you can stuff things into!

(I have to be completely upfront here: Rosemary has done all the heavy lifting on this post. My bag-making resume is sadder than sparse…it’s practically barren.)

I love making bags, lots of straight lines and no fitting! I mean, the pieces have to fit together, but if it comes out an inch longer than you intended, it’s no big deal. There are no scary FBA’s to do or anything.  And here in the UK, with the recently introduced tax on plastic bags, handmade ones are bang on trend (err, did I really just type that?). Someone’s been spending too much time with the kiddos–busting out slang now…

There are a couple of approaches you can take to bag making. One is to start with with the fabric you have and go from there. “If I fold this piece in half, it’s about the right size to put X in”, or “I need something co-ordinating for the back”. Or, “this pieces is wide enough but too short, what could I piece it with?”. “Oh look, a jeans pocket, I could sew that on here.” And more power to you creative as-it-come types, but this approach terrifies me!

If this approach seams a little scary for you, (hand raised here…anyone else?), then the morsbag tutorial is a great place to start and they have loads of inspiring images and good motivation for getting going. (That website is fascinating, there are groups all over the world making and giving away these bags!) Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start playing around with sizes,  adding depth to your bag with mitred corners, playing with pockets, decorating with trims, applique, fabric paint, screenprinting, the sky’s the limit. It really does seem like a basic bag is the best blank slate for using up all kinds of tiny bits as embellishments…

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For instance, check out this bag entirely made from selvages, how cool is that (Sorry, I don’t know whose pic this is to credit them or link up). WOW, that bag is cool!

The other approach is to use a pattern. (Now you are talking my language!) There are loads of patterns out there, just search.  Here are some of our (lets face it) my favourites.

At the end of last year Sue over at Fadanista released a free Japanese knot bag pattern and over at the sew-a-long group we had great fun knocking these out, they’re a quick sophisticated make and ripe for embelishment and using up left over bits of precious fabric. (I’m embarrassed to say I still haven’t made one. But Rosemary has made them to use as gift bags. It’s a great colorblocking pattern.)

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 Melissa shared this wristlet pattern and tutorialwhich has a cool twisted tuck detail and is perfect for using up scraps.


 

Another favourite pattern of mine is Seamstress Erin’s Presido Purse pattern, which is just so large and useful – I call it my Mary Poppins bag. I have made this an embarassing number of times (2ce to keep, the rest as presents) and I’m quite the fan girl! It introduced curves to my bag sewing, upped my zipper game and has great tutorials. And all of the bags above are made from remnants, left over fabric, and in one case a cut up pair of trousers! It works well with thicker fabrics on the outer, such as home decorating fabric.

If you only have smaller pieces, check out this scrappy quilt panel tutorial I used this technique to make the tablet cover above and just used fleece scraps instead of batting as I don’t quilt. It worked fine.

Looking for something a little smaller? I upcycled a pair of old trousers into a zippered pouch incorporating the back pocket.  Here’s a tutorial for some even more  gorgeous zippered pouches from scraps to get you started.

I have leftovers of boning, ribbon, velcro and some tent-red rubber-backed raincoating. Plus, I have lots of car trash. I need to make this car trash bag. http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2009/04/trash-bag.html

Drawstring bags make great presents for kids about to start school (or much bigger nieces who can’t find something large enough for their trainers!).

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And, in a fit of madness, I sat up until midnight making personalised bags out of scraps as a more eco friendly alternative to the all pervasive party bag.

Oh, and on the not actually bags  but still containers front, how about a purse/wallet?

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Or storage baskets? (You could even use them to keep the rest of your scraps in).

But like I said before, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bag/tote/purse patterns, I’m sure you can find your own favourite and get busting.

We’ll be back next week with the last of our set of ideas, if you have any scraps left by then!

In the mean time, happy sewing!

Small but perfectly formed

I thought I’d just sneak in a quick clothing from scraps make before the week is up.

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It’s the flat cap from Urbandon’s pattern and tutorial that I told you about last week. It’s a fairly quick make and I would say it was simple: apart from the sewing together of fabric that curves in different directions from each other, which is a fairly big caveat!

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I’m pretty sure I originally bought this (suspected) wool (I haven’t tested it) as a remnant decades ago. I know that I once made my brother a bag out of it with a bicycle embroidered on. The lining are from the remains of a defunct pair of linen trousers that were LSH’s. There is proper petersham in it too that I bought in a job lot of ribbon someone else was destashing. So all in all this really is scrapbusting.

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Which is for the best really, as it’s come out way too small. Too small for LSH and I will find out in the morning if it’s too small for The Boy too (mind you, we are a family of Big Heads). Never mind, I shall find something to do with it and it was fun seeing how it all came together, although I’m not totally convinced I understood what I was doing with the band (you start by cutting a rectangle 3.5x 56 cm and next thing you know one of the long sides is being referred to as longer than the other?).  Maybe I’ll try again with some more scraps.  In the mean time, I will unpick the embroidered secret message (well, I was going to give it to him on Sunday).