Thursday, September 25, 2014

Embroidered tote

I belong to Betty Falasca's embroidery group and she regularly runs a monthly contest for us to show what we have created using her designs. Betty is a wonderful designer and has many lovely designs that can be found on her site:

This month, I was able to eek out the time to participate. She had some lovely angel designs and I decided that one of the designs would be perfect to feature on the front for a tote. So I stitched out the design on my embroidery machine (Brother PR 600 II) and the began designing a simple tote that would highlight the embroidery. I also had a stash of batik fat quarters that were begging to be used.

I decided to work with these fall leaf colors. So here is a shot of the selected colors and a zipper for an inner zipped pocket. The muted orange piece on the bottom will become the lining.
The embroidered angel panel is surrounded by burgundy and orange batiks.
This will become the back of the tote utilizing the colors from the front with one additional orange. I have not yet added the top and bottom strips that will match the top and bottom strips on the front.
I first fused Pellon SF 101 to the pieced front and back. Then I added fusible fleece, sewed the front to the back and boxed the corners. I added 2 pieces of Peltex fused-together to give the tote a firm base.

Then I made my lining with an inset zipper pocket, added the cross-body strap and here's the finished tote. I used portions of 4 batik fat quarters for everything except the embroidered panel. I think it made a very cute tote, that is a nice medium size.
Finished cross-body tote showing the front.
Finished back of the same tote.
I am toying with a pattern and directions for this simple cross-body tote and took photos of the process so that I could use them in the directions. There are several refinements running around in my head, like a top inset zipper, an adjustable strap and inner slip pockets. However, I will be busy for at least the next few weeks testing new bags and tote patterns for others, so won't get back to this tote for a while.

In the meantime, may your lives be filled with our Lord's Blessings and may your days be filled with lots of lovely sewing. Come back soon, for I will have some great new bags to show (as soon as I can talk about them).


Friday, September 19, 2014

The Spectrum Tote by Cozy Nest Design

Hello all! I am delighted to be able to share what I was working on, but couldn't talk about during my Around the World blog. I was again privileged to to a tester for Sarah Gido of Cozy Nest Design (link to her site is on the right).

The Spectrum Tote with me holding it so that you can see how large it is.

 As you can see, this is a nice large tote with an inside zipper pocket. I found the pattern easy to follow even though this tote has quite a few pieces. Sarah has a nice set of labels you can print and stick on the pieces of fabric as you cut them out to help keep everything straight.

I used Pellon SF101 as the interfacing for my fabric and then used canvas as my interlining. It was the first time I had ever used canvas and found it quite east to use. I did switch to a size 16 needle once I got to the part where I was sewing the canvas along with the fabric. Sarah also used a great way to do the binding around the handles that was easy and gives a great finish.

The Spectrum Tote front view
The Spectrum tote side view

The Spectrum Tote showing inside zipper pocket.
Some of the other testers added more goodies inside their bags, such as slip pockets, a laptop pocket (yes, this bag is large enough to carry your laptop or tablet), and a key fob. So you can see there is lots of room for creativity. If you check out the Cozy Nation Design link on the right, you will find lots more photos of this tote done by the other testers. Depending on your fabric choice, it can look anywhere from very casual to very elegant.

It would also look great in seasonal or special holiday fabrics.

To see the other testers bags click here. The variety is amazing and they all look great!

Well, I have another tote that I created around an embroidery design that I will be sharing very soon.

Hugs and happy sewing!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour

Hi! Today is my day to post as part of the Around the World Blog Tour. I was invited by Lorena of my way of blog. I recently got acquainted with Lorena while testing the Convertible/Reversible Bag for Sarah Gido of Cozy Nest Design (see her link on the right side of my page). We had great fun testing that bag and the post about it can be found in my July 31st post. Lorena is a talented bag maker and tester who also crochets super-cute creative toys and dolls. Be sure to click on the link above to see her work.

So here goes....we were all asked to answer the same four questions....

What am I Working On?

Well, what I am working on today is all very hush, hush because I am testing a new pattern that has not been released yet. But as soon as the testing is finished and the pattern released, I will definitely blog about it!

However, I am delighted to share what I have just finished....The Maryland Bag by Sarah Goodall which can be found at Numb-Skull Patterns.  It was a fun bag to sew.
My finished bag from the front. It has a front zip pocket and an under-the-flap hidden zip pocket. It is a cross body mini messenger bag.
This shows the bag open with one inner zip pocket.

I had this lovely fabric remnant I had been saving for years for just the right project and it was great for this purse. The pattern is clearly written and was easy to follow. My main change was to quilt the fabric along some of the stripe lines. Unfortunately, my quilting is too subtle and the quilting doesn't show in the photos. I also re-purposed a strap from an old bag that matched the silvery gray in the fabric, so I didn't make the straps suggested in the pattern. I discovered a bit of matching colored ribbon in my stash and used that for the zipper pulls.

A close-up of my version of the Maryland Bag that shows the colors better than the first two photos above.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm, is this a trick question? My work differs because of my own personal preferences, selections of fabrics, just like most other sewers. We each add our own touches...that's what makes sewing such a creative activity.

Why do I write/create what I do?

Well, I started my blog just a few months ago so I could be part of the Convertible/Reversible Bag Tour and Giveaway. I had so much fun working with the group testing the bag that I couldn't bear to be left out of the blog tour, so I started my blog. As to the why I write and create....I have to! It is part of who I am. I have been writing and creating artwork, sewing a wide variety of things from clothes to stuffed animals for my daughter when she was little, to quilts and now bags and purses. I find that spending time creating something is almost as necessary to who I am as breathing is to keeping me alive. 

How does my writing/creating process work?

Fits and starts and stumbles....well sometimes it seems that's how it works. For me, it seems to work differently depending on the activity or project. I sometimes like to just put stuff together to see how I like it. Othertimes, I am very step-by-step and overly organized. Most of the time, I work using a combination of the two extremes. I really am very concerned with craft-ship. I want things to be done the very best that I can do them, so I am often spending time with my seam ripper, or cutting another piece of fabric because I don't like the way my first choice worked out.

The photos below show the highlights of my process while creating the Maryland Bag (link to the page where you can order your own downloadable pattern is Numb-Skull Patterns):

First, I had to spend a lot of time auditioning fabrics from my stash. Above you see my selected zippers and fabrics. The exterior fabric pieces have also been interfaced with Pellon SF 101 and Fusible Fleece (since I had decided, or more honestly let the fabric decide, that I would quilt it).

Here, I have quilted and added the zipper pocket to the front panel that is covered by the flap.

Exterior assembled, front of bag with flap, d-ring tabs for straps pinned to sides. 

Assembled exterior with flap up showing flap snap, flap zipper pocket, and front panel with zipper pocket and strap d-ring tab pinned to side. 

Back of assembled bag.

Completed bag showing interior zipper pocket.

Completed bag showing the back view.

Final completed Maryland Bag hanging and laying flat with straps attached. Mine finished to approximately 8" wide by 9" tall by 3" deep. A great  smaller cross body bag that is perfect for running errands. 

Unfortunately, everyone I contacted was already part of this blog tour, so I have no new blogs to suggest for this tour, but I am sure that if you search for Around the World Blog Tour or Around the World Blog Hop, you will find a number of other posts. 

Thanks for stopping by! I recently won two patterns from blog giveaways that I will be talking about soon as well as the "hush, hush" test I am currently doing.

Ah, too many ideas and not enough time and energy (even though I am retired).

May God be with you and yours until we meet again.

"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."  Psalm 91, NIV