Saturday, December 5, 2015

Brandt's Boulevard by Chris W Designs

Brandt's Boulevard wallets I made during the pattern testing

This blog features the second pattern in the new Easy Street line by Chris W Designs -- Brandt's Boulevard. It is a full-featured wallet that is quick and easy to sew (in fact I made three during the testing process). It makes a fine gift or a fast project to sell. 

It is a nice slim design that still has 4 card slots, an ID pocket, three slip pockets (one large enough for an iPhone 6 Plus), and a zippered coin pocket. It secures with a nice tongue lock and can be made with a removable wrist strap or a cross-body strap or with no strap. It is approximately 7.25" wide x 4.25" high and 7/8" deep when finished. 

This wallet requires just a bit of fabric. I even used fat quarters for the first one. All the fabrics used were quilting cotton weight from my vintage stash. The directions (as with all of Chris W Designs patterns) are clear, well illustrated and easy to follow (even during the testing phase). This line (as I mentioned in the Abby's Alley blog) is simpler and has fewer pages of instructions to print, usually 20 pages or less, that are still full of step-by-step illustrations.

       The above three photos show the front exteriors of the wallets I made.
    Interior of  first wallet

    Interior of second wallet

    Interior of third wallet

    Interior of third wallet showing inserted items to make features more visible
    I had a lot of fun making these wallets and plan to make more. One can easily be made over a weekend, even with lots of interruptions. The card pockets and ID pocket are done in a manner that was new to me (more of Christine Welsh's wonderfully unique and practical fabric engineering). Get your own pattern here -- 
     Brandt's Boulevard.

    Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!

    Abby's Alley by Chris W Designs

    Abby's Alley exterior front
    It's new and exciting! Have you heard? Christine Welsh of Chris W Designs has just released the first two patterns in her new Easy Street line of of quick to sew and sell patterns. This new line is simpler and quicker to sew, with fewer pages of instructions. 

    Abby's Alley is the first pattern in the Easy Street Line and is a quick to sew roomy tote. In fact, it can easily be made in an afternoon. It has four large outside slip pockets that are mirrored on the inside for a total of eight pockets to keep everything organized. The approximate finished size is 18" wide x 12.5" high x 5.25" deep. The pattern comes with directions for rope handle for a casual look. But you will see that I chose to add web handles because I thought they went better with the cheerful denim stripe fabric I used for the exterior. Some of the other testers even added classy leather handles.

    There are minimal pieces to cut out, but they are large so clean off your cutting table before you begin. I loved the way the interior and exterior pockets are cleverly engineered to be part of your main fabric pieces.
    Exterior side view

    I had this perky denim in my stash and had been saving it for just the right project and it was perfect for Abby's Alley.

    Interior view showing pockets
    I used a lovely bright salmon fabric for the interior and neutral webbing for my handles. I love rivets and chose to add security to my handles by adding rivets. 

    Holding Abby's Alley  
    These will be very popular year round, great for the beach, toting books and school supplies to class, carrying sewing supplies to a workshop, keeping your current knitting or crochet project handy. The list of uses is endless. Abby's Alley makes a great gift, quick to make and sell, or just for personal use. You can get your own pattern by clicking this link -- Abby's Alley.

    In my next blog, I will be reviewing the second new pattern in this same line, a quick to sew and sell wallet called Brandt's Boulevard. 

    Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!


    Saturday, November 21, 2015

    The Kiss Clutch by ChrisW Designs

    Front of first Kiss Clutch

    Front of second Kiss Clutch
    Recently, I participated with a large group of sewers in a sew along to make the Kiss Clutch by ChrisW Designs.  Since I am already thinking about sewing for Christmas, I decided to do one using Christmas themed fabric scraps left from previous years' Christmas projects. I chose to use a technique called  Quilt as You Go (QAYG) to create my fabric pieces. After I finished and posted my first one, people wanted to know how I had created my fabrics, so Christine Welsh of ChrisW Designs asked if I would write a short tutorial for her blog. Wow! I felt honored and so quickly made a second Kiss Clutch taking photos for the tutorial. Christine has just posted my tutorial as a guest blog on her site that you can see  here.

    This is a great little pattern that offers room for lots of personal expression. It is very easy and can be completed successfully by all levels of sewers from beginning to advanced. It has very few pieces to cut and the directions are very clear with excellent photos. It is a comfortable size, finishing to about 8" by 5" by 1.5". The flap secures with a magnetic snap and inside is a handy slip pocket.

    Back of first Kiss Clutch
    Back of second Kiss Clutch
    Front of first Kiss Clutch under the flap

    Front second Kiss Clutch under the flap
    For the first clutch, I also created the slip pocket with the QAYG method, but it made the pocket pretty thick, so I just used regular fabric for the pocket in the second one.

    Inside of first Kiss Clutch showing slip pocket
    Inside of second Kiss Clutch showing slip pocket.
    This is a really fun project that goes quickly and makes a fine gift for family and friends. (Hmm, I wonder what I might make for some Christmas presents?) As we saw in the many versions made during the sew along, the Kiss Clutch can be made ranging from fancy to casual. The sew along was led by Rachel Anaya on the Chris W Designs Pattern Group on Facebook that can be joined here.  You can get your own pattern here.

    We will be celebrating Thanksgiving here in the U.S.A. later this week and I just want to thank all of my readers and wish everyone who celebrates a Happy Thanksgiving and safe holiday weekend!

    Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!

    Friday, October 23, 2015

    Diana Tote Bag by Delinda Boutique

    Diana Tote Bag front
    I recently tested a new pattern from Delinda Boutique called the Diana Tote Bag. This pattern is  easy to sew and has very few pieces. It is quite large, finishing to about 20" wide and 23" high. It is a soft, floppy bag that is perfect for shopping and can be sewn up in just a couple hours. It has three pleats on the bottom that give it a nice shape, closes with a magnetic snap and has two slip pockets inside. Of course, you could easily add more pockets.

    I used a pintucked suede type cloth for the exterior and a cotton blend for the interior. The pattern includes directions for an optional scrap fabric flower decoration, but I chose to use a ribbon flower. (I have made ribbon flowers for years and was delighted to have one that looked great with my fabric.)

    This is a free pattern and you can get your copy here.

    Exterior front cut with flower prior to assembly
     Note that the photo above shows the truest colors of the fabric I used. I think the way the suede cloth reflected light made it hard to get photos that were true to color.

    Close-up of ribbon flower
    The interior is very roomy, has a double slip pocket, and can hold lots of treasures!
    Interior showing slip pockets and pleats in the bottom
    I did add 3" in length to the handles because the 6" called for seemed a bit tight.

    The bag is a lot of fun to make and as I noted above, the pattern is free.

    Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!

    Monday, October 19, 2015

    The Snazzy Slouch by ChrisW Designs

    The Snazzy Slouch front
    I just finished my first Snazzy Slouch by Chris W Designs. This is soft, slouchy, roomy bag with lots of features. It finishes to about 12" wide by 9" tall by 5" deep. It has 4 large exterior slip pockets, 4 interior slip pockets and an interior zippered divider pocket, a nice wide adjustable strap and is secured with a top zipper. Of course, you could always adjust the pockets, add an interior zipper pocket in place of or in addtion to the slip pockets.

    If you tend to carry one of the larger clutch wallets, like the Penny Inn, this bag has plenty of room for it. You could even keep your wallet on one side of the divider pocket and have room for your tablet on the other side of the divider pocket.

    Interior showing center divider pocket partially unzipped

    Interior showing center divider pocket zipped and all 4 slip pockets
    I chose to use vintage home decorator weight fabrics for the exteror and a cotton blend lining. I think fall has had me on a burnt orange craze for the past month. I found that this bag comes together quickly. Virtually all the smaller segments are made and then you just pop it together.
    Top showing zipper closure
    Detail of the top showing strap 

    Detail showing the strap attached with rivets

    Close-up of the front of the purse showing large slip pockets and adjustable strap
    I really enjoyed making this Snazzy Slouch. It is perfect for keeping everything organized and handy.

    This pattern is not difficult but it is listed for intermediate sewers and I think that even advanced beginners could make it without too much difficutly. I found the text version of the directions very clear and only referred to the more detailed directions with photos a couple of times. As with most ChrisW Designs patterns, this one has incredibly detailed directions with photos that I usually just view on my laptop and only print the shorter set of text only directions.

    You can get your own pattern here.

    Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!

    Monday, October 12, 2015

    The Epiphany and The Penny Inn by ChrisW Designs

    Front of The Epiphany

    I was delighted to be able to test The Epiphany bag for ChrisW Designs (link to her site on the right side of this page). It is a very stylish and roomy 14" wide x 11" high x 5.25" deep. I chose quilting cottons and a medium weight deco fabric for the exterior and a blend for the interior. It has lots of nice features to keep everything organized: a slip pocket on the front and a zipper pocket on the back, two slip pockets, a pleated pocket and a pen pocket on the interior with an option for an additional zipper pocket. It secures with a recessed top zipper.

    The pattern is very detailed (as with all of ChrisW Designs' patterns) with lots of tips and photos. You have the option of printing just text directions and then simply looking at the step by step photos on your laptop, tablet or computer screen. The pattern also has options that I did not use on this bag for feet, side grommets with gate rings to attach an adjustable crossbody strap and the aforementioned extra interior zipper pocket.

    Front of The Epiphany showing the exterior slip pocket

    Rear exterior of The Epiphany showing the zipper pocket

    Top showing recessed zipper
    Interior showing pen, pleated and slip pockets

    This bag is a lot of fun to sew and easy to personalize to individual tastes. It is a bit complex, but is not really difficult although it is listed for advanced sewers. The other testers used a variety of fabrics from cotton to faux leather and it looked great in all of them. You can view them all on ChrisW Designs site by clicking on the link in the right margin and you can get your own pattern! 

    The Epiphany (back) and The Penny Inn
    I also made a coordinating Penney Inn. I did this Penny Inn as part of a sew along led by Ellen Wiedman on ChrisW Designs blog. Ellen provided some helpful tips that made it easier to do. It is a fine wallet that I reviewed in an earlier blog.

    Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!

    Sunday, September 20, 2015

    Simona Bow Clutch by Delinda Boutique

    Front of the Simona Bow Clutch 
    I recently was able to be part of the Delinda Boutique pattern testers for the Simona Bow Clutch. This is a great clutch that can be dressed up or down depending on your fabric choices and comes together quite quickly. It finishes to 11" wide by 5.25" high and is perfect for that evening out. You can get your pattern on Craftsy by clicking here just in time to make one or more for all the upcoming holiday special events. It would also make an elegant clutch for members of a wedding party.

    I chose to make mine a bit dressy by choosing a special fabric for the exterior I had been saving for just that perfect item and this clutch was it. I chose a lovely vintage cotton print that had a green in it that matched the exterior color.

    Fabrics selected
    The clutch has a top zipper that opens to a roomy space with plenty of room for a cell phone, slim wallet and other accessories for a night out!

    Simona Bow Clutch from the top showing the roomy interior and zipper closure
    Although the bow appears tricky, it really isn't and the pattern has clear instructions accompanied with excellent photos. There is a bit of hand sewing at the very end of attaching the bow, but it takes less than five minutes to do (even for non-hand sewers like myself). It comes together rather cleverly and really is a stylish addition. Top stitching at the end around the top is optional, but I really liked the professional finish it adds and it keeps the zipper panels sitting nicely down into the clutch. I just sewed slowly using a longer stitch length and it worked great. Then, I added a cute heart charm as a zipper pull just for fun!!

    As with previous tests for this designer, it was great fun to be part of the group of Delinda Boutique testers. 

    Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!

    Saturday, September 19, 2015

    Pick A Pocket Wallet by ChrisW Designs

    Early this past summer ChrisW Designs came out with the Pick A Pocket Wallet that is a relatively slim wallet and I immediately made the wallet shown at the top. As soon as I had time, I made the one in the middle and at the beginning of this month, I just finished the purple batik one as part of a lovely sew along. The first and third have quilting weight cotton exteriors and the middle one is made with a faux leather exterior.

    All three have twelve card pockets, one zipper pocket, an ID window, three slip pockets for cash or receipts and one slip pocket that will hold most phones. There is an option for doing two zipper pockets and only four card pockets. I made all three of mine with the twelve card pockets - one zipper pocket option. The wallet finishes to a closed size of about 3.5" high x 7.5" wide by 0.5" deep.

    Interior of first wallet made with a blend fabric.
    Interior of faux leather wallet made with quilting cotton.

    Interior of purple wallet made of quilting cottons. Although the turquoise pattern is predominant in this photo, there is purple in the swirls that matches the purple exterior.

    Back of faux suede wallet featuring a lovely border that was printed along one edge of the fabric. I love the gold shimmer in this faux leather and plan to make more items with it.

    As most of you know, my fabrics are almost always vintage from my stash (which has been augmented over time with fabrics from others) and that is true of all the cloth fabrics. The faux leather is newer and I got it from a friend of my daughter who is a costume designer so I have no particulars about any of them. 

    I really enjoy making this attractive and practical wallet pattern (in case you can't tell). It is not hard, but accurate cutting and sewing is mandatory. I was impressed at how easy it was to do with the faux leather, but it could be difficult if your faux leather was thick because the final assembly requires sewing through multiple layers.

    As always with patterns from ChrisW Designs, the directions are very detailed with lots of clear photos. I usually just print the pattern pieces and the text-only directions and pull up the more detailed directions with photos on my computer to refer to as I go along. The sew along was on ChrisW Designs' delightful blog and had some cool tips for making the card pockets. 

    You can get your own pattern and find Chris' blog by clicking on the ChrisW Designs link on the right side of this page. 

    Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!