Oct 212014
 

While I was on vacation, my review of U-Handbag’s It’s a Cinch Tote went up at Sew Sweetness as part of this autumn’s Purse Palooza. I was not together enough to schedule a post about it to go up while I was away. aheh.
its a cinch - cinched

tl;dr: the bag’s really cute, but the instructions leave something to be desired. :}
it's a cinch - rock wall

My friend seemed to really like it! I hope she did — she’s really super duper polite and would never let me know if she didn’t…

Oct 092014
 

I found myself in need of more luggage (also, I was trying to justify recent purchases by using my stash, hehe), so made an owl-riffic portside duffle bag. The exterior fabric is all bought locally for once — I got the owls (at full price O_o) from a local fabric shop, and the base and handles are made from my twill maritime shorts’ leftovers.
owl duffle skyline

Having started my grown-up sewing from the quilting side of things, I thought it was interesting how the portside instructions and pattern differed from indie bag patterns I’ve used in the past, considering Grainline Studios is generally focused towards apparel. Specifically, I found myself printing out eight jillion pages in order to end up with a bunch of pattern pieces that were rectangles. >_< I've read apparel-focused people getting frustrated when pattern pieces weren't included for every single thing, so it makes sense that Grainline would write a bag pattern this way, but I kept grumbling, "just give me cutting measurements! ARGH!"
owl duffle right side

Even more frustrating was that the yardage required was given for the entire set, not for individual pieces in the set. The first time I made this bag (oops, this owl version is actually the second one I made — I gave the first one away before I could take pictures of it), I bought way too much because I bought the recommended yardage even though I only wanted to make the duffle. doh!
owl duffle left side

This bag could definitely benefit from piping, but I tend to fall on the side of laziness when it’s not explicitly called for in the pattern. :> Anyway, I’m looking forward to using this bag — it’s huge, and there’s no way someone can try to pretend its theirs and walk off with it. muhaha!
owl duffle on ground

Oct 022014
 

I recently got hooked on Massdrop, and I one of the things I bought was a Noodlehead pattern 3-pack that included her Runaround bag. I actually bought the pattern pack because it included the super tote and divided basket, but then I ended up making the runaround bag first because it was perfect for a quick present for my niece!
runaround bag

My first impression when the runaround bag pattern was released was that it’s too smooshy/formless for my taste, but after I made it, I found out that it’s really a comfy and convenient bag to use. Comfy and convenient always wins for me since I forget what I look like when I’m not in front of a mirror. Also, I love that the pattern’s instructions are impeccable, which I dooooon’t take for granted anymore. >_<
runaround bag sunshine

I do think that the magnetic snap could stand to be maybe 1/2″ higher. And I swear I followed the instructions, but my zippered pocket looks waaaaaaay too low. While I was sewing, I was even thinking that the zipper looked like it was in a strange place, but I was in verbatim compliance mode and didn’t just move it up, doh.
runaround bag lining

I had bought some metallic gold thread on a whim, and I tried using it on the patch pocket. It’s pretty cute, but I didn’t remember to adjust my tension or anything to accommodate the thread and it kept shredding. ugh!
runaround bag patch pocket

When my niece was opening her presents and got to this, one of her friends said it looked like Santa’s bag. She didn’t even see it when I tried using gold thread to topstitch the binding — then it looked super Christmassey! I ripped that out and used plain brown thread instead.
runaround bag close

Since it’s nice seeing bags against people for scale, here’s the runaround bag on a five year old. :D
runaround bag cosmo

May 212014
 

Ooops, I found pictures of some small things I made half a year ago and forgot to post about. Must document everything (hah)! :D

Last year, While She Naps made a free tiny kitty pattern that’s super adorable, so I put together a couple of them for my kiddos.
two tiny kitties

I used fleece for Sunshine’s one, which wasn’t the best choice since it came out not quite as poofy and cute as the other one. Wait, why is this one grey with blue eyes? Oh! I remember now — I had made three; the grey one that Sunshine’s holding is his, and the purple one in the other picture is his cousin’s. Sunshine refused to give up his kitty for the group photo, that’s why. I know you really wanted to know all of this. ;)
fleece tiny kitty

Cosmo’s is made out of super soft minky. It came out cuter since the minky was stretchy and could poof out more, but I had to watch out because the stretchiness meant that I almost made the head too big. And later on, the minky attracted dirt like craaazy!
minky tiny kitty

Then at Christmas, I made my aunty two bags for her Secret Santa present. Gah, you can see here that I forgot to make the two sides of the right bag mirror images so the fabric would line up correctly at the bottom!
two bags for Aunty

The left one is Michelle Patterns’ grocery bag. I really love making these now with denim for the exterior and handles — it looks really cute this way, and I don’t have to stress about coordinating three different prints. hehe.
woodpecker grocery bag

The right one is Echinops and Aster’s spa bag. My aunty complimented my mom’s one, so Mr. Yazoo pointed out that I ought to make her a similar one. I cropped out the evidence that I put it together wrong, muhaha!
Aunty's spa bag

Apr 102014
 

My old bag was looking rather worn (plus, it’s a little too small for three waterbottles, assorted cars and trains, and my actual stuff), so I made my annual new bag-to-use-daily. I love it! It’s floppy (makes it easier to stuff full), big enough to hold a normal amount of kiddie+me stuff, and comfy to carry. I don’t know if I look doofy being a grown-up who prefers to use a backpack over a normal purselike, but I don’t care because I can’t see myself!
cloud backpack

I’ve been waiting for the longest time to find something I could embroider this cute cloud (free pattern!) on. It fit perfectly on the flap and is in such a cool style. I printed it out on a sheet of Sulky sticky fabri-solvy, which is so awesome, and then just slapped it on the fabric and started embroidering away.
cloud backpack embroidery

The bag itself is actually Michelle Patterns’ messenger bag (retired); I just printed the pattern out at 150% and then replaced the cross-body strap with backpackish straps (which I didn’t make adjustable since it’s only for me). I also made the back pocket zippered — I aaaaaagonized about whether to figure out how to put an inset zipper at the top of the main compartment, but finally decided that having a zipper on the back pocket would be enough of a semi-secure option. (Um. I just noticed the background of this picture — that’s a seed pod, not a dead bug. Sorry!)
back of cloud backpack

Prior to this bag, I thought that elastic-topped pockets looked kind of frumpy, but now I love them! They’re nice and deep, and the elastic makes me feel like things won’t just slide out, so it’s been super convenient just to chuck my phone in there.
cloud backpack front and elastic pockets

Slip pocket, zippered pocket, key dingledangle, as usual. Nice and roomy! I’m a little worried about that white birdy fabric — it’s so bright white that I suspect it’ll look dingy more quickly. Ah well!
cloud backpack inside

I had been thinking about making a backpack without a pattern, but I’m glad that I made this one instead. It came out to be a great size! When I’m on my own, I tend to overestimate how large bags ought to be, heh.
cloud backpack on

In other news, I made another Renfrew top. It’s my funny Christmas version — it’s kind of like I’m wearing a reindeer sweater vest! Mr. Yazoo doesn’t think it’s that funny… :P:P:P
Christmas Renfrew top

Oct 302013
 

Last month, I won a copy of Quilting Arts Gifts 2013 from Esch House Quilts, and when I got it, Cosmo flipped through it with me. We both liked the trick-or-treat bag project, and I managed to make a couple in time for Halloween.

Mr. Yazoo helped by drawing the faces for the bags — he made a meanie face for Sunshine cause he’s been having a little bit of his terrible twos.
halloween bag - grouchy

I found some cute Halloween fabric that I’d hoarded from last year to use for the bag lining, and I substituted automotive headliner fabric for the batting, or whatever it was the project called for. Oh, and I have an opinion about automotive headliner fabric, if you care. :D

I’ve used both Soft and Stable and automotive headliner fabric, which I bought specifically because I read people on the interwebs saying that it could be used as a substitute for (the expensive and unavailable-locally-for-me) Soft and Stable. I think headliner fabric is fine for small, semi-disposable things, like kiddie treat bags, where you do want it to stand up by itself, but you don’t necessarily want to use your good supplies. However, it isn’t a good substitute for nice bags (like, say, a weekender) because it’s nowhere near as sturdy as Soft and Stable — it’s much, much thinner and kind of fragile. On the third hand, it is a good substitute for grown-up bags IF all you want to do is take a picture and show off your pretty-bag-that-you-couldn’t-get-Soft-and-Stable-for-but-still-want-the-look-of-it. ;) That’s my opinion!
halloween bag - inside

Anyway, back to the halloweenie bags, Mr. Yazoo draw a happy face for Cosmo since he’s been a sweetie lately. heh.
halloween bag - happy

Happy Halloween (in advance)!

Oct 282013
 

I’m totally one of those women you see walking into the office carrying two to four bags: one regular purse, a tote bag with stuff I need for the office but doesn’t fit in my purse (like lunch and emergency candy and assorted snacks), and yet another bag with current-crafting-project stuff. I really wanted to make a new weekender for when I went back to work a couple of months ago, but I didn’t get around to finishing it until this weekend (because I wanted to be able to use it at the speech tournament I helped judge at, since speech tournaments are another occasion when I carry around a lot of stuff just in case I have a bye round). I stayed up all night and just barely finished in time, even though almost everything was already cut out and basted. Six hours to sew basted-together bits together! Whyyyyy am I so slow?!
homelike weekender

I loooove my homelike weekender, though. It’s got crazy fabric, but I realized that the bags I love best are the ones where I just use fabric I adore, rather than trying too hard to make things coordinate, and then ending up with something kind of boring. So for this one, I used a funny [easygoing, homelike] cat panel (bought from Super Buzzy a long time ago), Heather Ross ugly ducklings, some hoarded Japanese canvas, and silly retro kiddies. They make me happy!
homelike weekender, diagonal view

Here are the retro kiddies in the pockets:
homelike weekender, inside of exterior pocket

I cut apart my old weekender in order to reclaim the zipper I love — that previous weekender was really heavy when it was empty and the straps were too narrow. This time, I used Soft & Stable instead of all the interfacing, and it’s so awesome for this bag. That included using Soft & Stable in place of the three layers of interfacing on the zipper panel, and that was perfectly fine (it wasn’t too puffy or anything). I followed the regular instructions for making the exterior zipper panel, but since I didn’t want saggy baggy lining this time, I basted all of the lining pieces with the exteriors. For the zipper part, I pressed the straight edges of the lining pieces, basted them to the underside of the zipper, inserted that muslin bit in the space between lining pieces, and sewed the zipper+lining normally to the exterior. Clear as mud? Picture is better!
homelike weekender, main zipper

What I meant to say (and missed in rambling off) was that using Soft & Stable makes my weekender super light and still shapely. Super light, yay!

My bias-bound raw edges look terrible, as usual, but I care more about having lining that stays put than funny-looking edges that I don’t notice when I’m actually using the bag.
homelike weekender, crazy inside big pockets

I even ran out of bias tape and used not-matching, leftover quilt binding to finish up. I was seriously falling sleep at the machine — I kept veering off the seam allowance and just sewing the bias tape to itself. But! The lining stays put!
homelike weekender, crazy inside birdy pockets

I didn’t even have to make (or, really, steal-from-my-old-weekender) the false bottom, because it’s totally stable enough.
homelike weekender, bottom

I made the straps with rectangle rings (the way Pink Chalk did), which is fantastic because it was easy to adjust the shoulder straps when I realized they were too long, and also because I can hook a cross-body strap into those rings when I need it. Have I mentioned how much I love my new weekender? Also, I’m totally getting my money’s worth out of this pattern! :D
homelike weekender on a swing

Sew Sweetness
Oct 212013
 

After a month I’ve finally finished making a diaper bag for my sister’s third-baby-present. That’s what I get for not buying a pattern.
ish diaper bag

I made the diaper bag she’s currently using a couple of years ago when I didn’t know much about making bags (the crossbody strap isn’t adjustable!), so I wanted her to have a nicer one. I couldn’t find a pattern to buy that I liked, so I looked for a real bag to copy and landed on Petunia Pickle Bottom’s Wistful Weekender. I know, I’m such a meanie! I use my sewing abilities for evil.
ish - snap tab

Anyway, I spent a couple of days making pattern pieces out of butcher paper. Then I was going to be good and make a test bag out of the small cuts of the Jessica Jones canvas I already had… but partway through sewing it together, I knew I’d never want to make a second one, so my sister was going to get this funny version. On to features!
ish - zipper top

There are three ribbon loopies for keys/binkies/other dangly things — one each for the exterior pockets and one in the bag.
ish - binky loop

The snap tabs on the ends allow the bag to kind of cinch up smallerhugish or open up to gargantuanhuge.
ish - snap tab open

There are ten interior pockets: four gathered pockets (two on each end), four regular patch pockets (two on each long side), and two zippered pockets. It’s pocketastic in there!
ish - inside pockets and binky fob

After a ton of overthinking, I put in the separating zipper flappies that the original has. I got the zipper from zipperstop, sewed each side into 3″ wide flaps, sewed the flaps to the interior fabric, and then covered the raw edges with cotton tape. It took less time than I had spent thinking about it.
ish - zipper flap

I wanted to give the bottom a little support without making it too heavy, so after assembling the exterior, I sewed a plastic cutting board (cut down to the curvy shape) between two pieces of heavy sew-in interfacing, and then sewed that whole sandwich to the bottom of the bag. It’s oooookay… it strikes the right balance between structure and weight for me, but it is still pretty bendy.
ish - bottom

I did a ton of top-stitching — I sewed two lines outside of every seam, including the seams in the lining. I was so pleased with myself… until I realized (after finishing the exterior and lining) that I’d left myself no way to turn the bag.
ish - inside stitching

As it happens, I wouldn’t have been able to do the turny-right-side-out way anyway because of the way I made the pattern pieces. Fortunately, the quilt binding-ey finish doesn’t look too crazy. But that’s not what I have pictures of — here’s more proof of top-stitching!
ish - stitching

Also, piping! The actual making of piping doesn’t bother me, but the amount of fabric I have to cut up to make it does. I can’t argue that piping doesn’t make bags look better, though, so I put on. I didn’t cut the piping fabric on the bias, but I think that actually would have worked out okay if I hadn’t also been double dumb and used twine that was not thick enough for the cording instead of the actual good piping cording that I have but still chose not to use. guh.
ish - piping

Last of all, I made a regular old adjustable cross-body strap that can hook onto the metal rings for the shoulder straps. I dithered a ton about whether to make dedicated stroller straps, but decided they weren’t necessary — Mr. Yazoo forgets that we even have them on our bag and just uses the cross-body strap to hang it over the stroller.
ish - crossbody strap

I initially made the strap waaaaaaay too long and had to cut it down twice so it would be short enough for my sister, who’s almost as tall as me. (hehehehehehe! Just kidding, we’re the same height.)
ish - crossbody with yazoo scale

The bag is supposed to be 17″ wide x 12″ high x 13″ deep, but it sure feels huge. You can put a baby in it!
ish - glowbug scale

Or you could be a normal person and not get arrested for carrying your baby in a bag.
ish - shoulder straps with yazoo scale

Sep 102013
 

Back in March, I made my sister Day in the Park backpack since I loved mine so much and because I figure mom types can always use a bag that doesn’t try to fall off every time you need to chase kiddies. (These pictures are old! I took them at our old place… I had such an easier time getting good pictures there. wah.)
birds in the park backpack

I only had half a yard of the birdy fabric, so I couldn’t (make a half-hearted attempt to) match the pattern at the top. I recently noticed that, even though it looks cute when the bag’s empty, having the short straps come out at the bottom of that pieced bit at the top makes the top strip fall in when the bag is closed, so in the future, I should probably either just leave out the pieced bits and cut the front and back whole, or I should sew the short loops to the bag up to the top edge. OR I should grow up and finally learn to use the rivets I bought ages ago.

I put in the usual patch pocket + zippered pocket + hangy loop stuff inside. I’ve been using my hangy loop to corral Glowbug’s binkie instead of my keys, which means I’m always digging around for my keys, but I can pop a binkie into Glowbug’s mouth no problem, hah.
birds in the park backpack, interior

Since I use my day in the park bag mostly as a backpack, I’m always vaguely wondering if it’s a bad idea to have my wallet floating at the top of my things inside of a pretty open-to-the-world bag on my back. I haven’t yet figured out how I want to close it up (an inset zipper would be fine when the bag’s being used as a tote, but it scrunches up differently when it’s a backpack), so I just added another zippered pocket on the back for my sister to put her wallet in.
birds in the park backpack, back

Now to doubly pull in the post title: this weekend, we went to the zoo, and Husbo kept asking if I wanted to put my bag in the stroller, but I insisted that I liked carrying it. It was a good thing I did because a bird pooped at me, but got my bag instead of me. Muhaha?

Aug 202013
 

Sara recently asked for testers for her new lunch bag pattern, so I once again shoved aside my plans for my poor sister-in-law’s new pillow case (the old one I made her has her ex-boyfriend’s name on it, and it’s been half a year since they broke up and I still haven’t replaced it!) and glommed onto the shiny new project. I even treated myself to a kid-less hour in Fabric Mart since I didn’t have any laminated cotton.
pair of lunch bags

That ended up being a bit of a tactical error — I got really excited about finding some surprisingly cute flannel-backed vinyl (and it was only $6 a yard), so I made my lunch bags out of vinyl, InsulBright, and laminated cotton (only $7 a yard!). They certainly held their shape, but it was murder trying to top stitch the handles. On my first bag (the top zip one), I tried using actual top stitch thread, and it took me a jillion tries to get reasonably decent results. There are a lot of needle holes under those stitches.
top zip lunch bag, handle

I tried again with the top stitching thread on the round bag’s handle, but that was an utter failure, so I went back to (Aurifil) 50 wt, which was muuuuch easier. I had a bit of a problem with skipped stitches when I attached the handles to the bags because of all the thick layers, but I just went back and forth a lot and called it good enough.
round lunch bag, top

When Sara showed us a picture of her lunch bags, I volunteered because I wanted to make the round one. But once I got the instructions, I felt like I ought to be more helpful and make the top zip bag since it was supposed to be more difficult. I knew ahead of time, though, that I would be very grouchy making it because I’m terrible at finishing exterior edges with bias tape (I think that’s why I’m so bad at making pot holders), and I hate doing things I’m bad at. And you know what happens when someone who hates bias tape finishes makes a bag with bias tape finishes? It looks like it was made by someone who hates bias tape finishes! Look at this horror:
top zip lunch bag, bias tape

I also missed the instruction that tells you to tuck the zipper ends into the bias tape to enclose them. Poo. Oh wait, was I supposed to sew the bottom zipper to the outside of the bag? Oops!
top zip lunch bag, inside

My pretty round lunch bag consoles me… but my mom pointed out (and is right, dagnabbit) that the top zip one is more useful. Argh. Since I gave the samples to my mom, I might have to try again with the top zip bag for Cosmo. I should always strive to improve my skills…?
lunch bags