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

Jul 172013

My parents babysat for us in the evening recently, and I asked my mom to think about what she would like for payment. (They take care of our kids while we’re at work and we’re living with them right now, so they definitely deserve something when they do extra babysitting.) She came up with a fee I really liked — she asked me to sew some thank you presents for my two aunties and uncle who were treating my parents to a fancy dinner. Yay for some fun small projects!

Mom asked just for three stay put towels (which I forgot to take pictures of), but that seemed like not enough, so I also made some market totes. Using stashed home dec fabric meant that I could skip interfacing the outside, which was fantastic because I’m such a slow sewerer that it somehow took me six hours (from midnight to the morning) to make these three bags. I was falling asleep during the endless top stitching! The two Outside Oslo ones were for my aunties, and it was so nice that my two very generously cut half yards of Flea Market Fancy coordinated perfectly.
Outside Oslo market bags

I left the bags out for my mom to find when I went to have a little nap before the kids woke up, and my mom could tell that the Puti de Pome bag was for her — she likes quirky prints. Those grouchy kids are funny!
Puti de Pome market bag

I didn’t make a bag for my uncle — I mentioned to Mr. Yazoo that I was trying to think of ways to quickly stencil a plane on fabric (my uncle likes to build model planes) so I could make him a tote, too, but he said that my uncle wouldn’t care about not having one. It’s good to run things by him for the boy perspective!

Later on, I met up with my former Japanese teacher to say good-bye because she was moving back to Japan. Since totes were on my mind, I made her one with a version of her business logo on it for a bye bye present. Her real logo has too many small bits for lazy me to replicate exactly:

… and this is my simplified version:
nacos bag closeup

A long time ago, I bought some twill tape labels that I only just noticed have the design printed on iron-on transfer stuff. I usually use them for quilts, but this time I used them for these bags, and when I pressed the side seams to set the stitches, the iron-on stuff melted a little and stuck to the fabric. Oops! It wasn’t too bad for the Outside Oslo and Puti de Pome bags, but it left noticeable schmutz on the gray canvas. Doh!
nacos bag label schmutz

At some point, I want to make a market tote for me — they’re perfect for going to the library, because they hold a ton. My mom lent me an old one of hers, and it just about perfectly fits around twelve kiddie picture books and few grown-up hardcovers. In case you were in the market for a practical library bag. :)

Jul 092013

Back at the end of May, I went to pick up Cosmo from preschool, and there were signs all over reminding parents that they should collect their kids’ stuff because it was the last day of school. Oops, I had no idea! I’d wanted to give them end-of-the-year presents, but since they’d all be there for the summer session, I put it off a little more. Then last week, we got a letter saying that Cosmo’s original teacher had resigned (she wanted to spend more time with her baby) and his favorite replacement teacher was cutting down to part time to go back to school. Time to get into gear!

I made buckwheat pillows since we’ve been using ours a lot lately (Cosmo keeps banging into things). I’m often too lazy to dig through my scraps, but I ought to do it more often because I’m always happy at the end!
buckwheat pillows

I also made an extra lunch bag for Cosmo’s favorite teacher cause she’s my favorite teacher, too. :> (Sorry the picture is terrible — I only had time for a nighttime shot.) I found these cute printable thank you cards and tags, so I wrote to tell her that Cosmo calls me by her name at home because he loves her so much. :D
Pink Penguin lunch bag for teacher

How do you wrap your teacher presents? I’m so bad at wrapping things — I just grabbed the smallest bags I could find around the house and threw stuff in. >_<
bad wrapping job

Cosmo’s preschool is fantastic — the teachers are wonderful, and it’s so fun when Cosmo says something funny and new, and Mr. Yazoo and I just know that he learned it at preschool. I hope most of his teachers like their presents, though I did see a funny card that said something like, “I was going to make you present I saw on Pinterest, but here’s a gift card instead.” heh.
buckwheat pillows piled up

May 162013

I’m still here! I’m still sewing, too, but I’ve been playing video games instead of goofing off online. :} Anyhoo, I made two kiddie backpacks recently-ish. One was for Cosmo because his preschool said he needed one for field trips, and the other was for a present.
kiddie backpacks

I made both of these by generally following the Owl Tag Along backpack pattern at the Moda Bakeshop. I left off the side and interior pockets, added an exterior zippered pocket, and did the adjustable straps differently. For the car backpack, I used the back pattern pieces, which makes the backpack sit higher up. I guess that’s so your toddler won’t tip over, and it kind of looks okay on Sunshine, who’s two…
car backpack on Sunshine

… but it looks weird on Cosmo, who’s four. Oh, but a four-year-old isn’t a toddler, is he? And I just noticed that I could have loosened the straps for him. User error all over the place!
car backpack on Cosmo

The embroidery on the pocket is Shiny Happy World’s vroom vroom pattern.
vroom vroom pocket

On the pac-man backpack, I used the front pattern piece to cut the back, and I sewed the straps into the top seam like normal backpacks. I think that looks a lot better!
pac-man backpack on Cosmo

I had these grand plans to embroider Caleb’s name on in the style of this google game picture, but then I got lazy and just freezer-paper-stenciled his name on the pocket using a pac-man-like font. I like the way the tutorial tells you to put in the lining — it’s not awful on the inside, the double lines of stitching on the outside look pretty nice, and there’s no hand-sewing!
stitching, close up

I’m often kind of mean about using really cute fabric for linings, but I’d hoarded my whale fabric for so long that it had gotten faded along the parts that were exposed to the window, so I didn’t mind using it all up. O_o
backpack linings

I didn’t put on piping since I didn’t have any (plus, I feel like making piping uses up a ton of fabric!), so the backpacks don’t hold their shapes as well as they could. I did put stabilizer behind everything except the zipper pieces so the backpacks wouldn’t completely collapse. I think it works well enough, especially since field trip chaperones end up holding the kids’ backpacks, anyway!
backs of backpacks

That was an awful lot of pictures just for a pair of backpacks! :D

Mar 122013

Sara released her Petrillo Bag pattern yesterday, and I was lucky enough to be one of her testers for it. I was excited to make it because the teardrop sides make for an interesting shape.
petrillo bag

I had a fabric happy and a fabric sad when I made this — my fabric happy was that I had a perfect shade of orange-ish solid to go with the orangey diamond fabric on the flap. That was pretty amazing because I only have about three kinds of orange solid in my stash! My fabric sad was that when I laid out the grey flower print on my cutting mat, I found out that the yard of fabric was actually only about 32″! I don’t think I bought a remnant, I don’t remember which fabric shop I bought it from so I can’t check my receipt, and I definitely didn’t get any short cut notifications or mini refunds recently… boo! And harrumph. When online fabric stores run out and send what they have, they usually give a small refund, yesno?

Anyhoo, I had a crazy time getting those sides on — look at this porcupine!
petrillo bag, pinned side

I totally dig the teardrop shape of this bag, but I kept wanting it to be a messenger bag or backpack. The bag has a big padded pocket for a tablet; unfortunately, I have no tablet. I must be secretly grouchy about that, because I took a picture of the zippered pocket instead of the tablet pocket. :D
petrillo bag, inside

The first time I finished making this bag, I found out that I’d put the magnet that’s inside the top flap an inch too high, so the bag didn’t close correctly inside of the straps. Gahhhh! After some pouty time, I ripped things out and put it back together properly. I keep having to relearn that the time I spend being mad and anticipating the hassle of ripping things out and fixing them is longer than the time I actually spend ripping things out and fixing them. heh.
petrillo bag, lounging against a tree

Feb 232013

Sara at Sew Sweetness released her Locked and Loaded bag pattern, which means I can show the bag I made to help test the pattern. This bag is nice and roomy, and I really like the shape!
Locked and Loaded bag

I tried to be a good tester and follow the instructions exactly, but I couldn’t keep myself from adding a patch pocket that’s not in the pattern.
Locked and Loaded, patch pocket

As you can see, I had to get creative with my lining fabric, since I didn’t have enough of that pinkish stripey print (that matched the Echino really nicely, boohoo). And then I got annoyed at myself because I put my lining in backwards from what I prefer, since I like to have interior zipper pockets on the back side of the bag. Once I flipped my bag right-side-out, I had to keep telling myself that my sister (who said she’d take the bag) wouldn’t care. >_<
Locked and Loaded, zipper pocket

One of the fancy features of the bag is the twist lock, and it’s the first time I’d ever installed one. I think it looks nifty! My cheapskate side tells me that twist locks probably won’t become a regular feature of the bags I make, though.
Locked and Loaded, twist lock

I think this is a super cute tote that’s the perfect size for the kind of mom who probably ought to still carry around one or two diapers and a couple of toys along with her normal stuff, but doesn’t need the entire gigantic diaper bag all the time. In other words, me. Hah! :D

Feb 212013

I made a couple more things for the kids’ second Valentine’s Day on Saturday; first was a new bag each for Cosmo and Sunshine. They both have the same reverse applique heart and birdie embroidery (although I forgot to include the wing on Cosmo’s). Since Cosmo can work zippers, I made him Noodlehead’s wide open pouch. It was also kind of a test because I was thinking of making these for end-of-year teacher presents, and I wanted to see if I liked it.
Cosmo's and Sunshine's Valentine bags

Sunshine’s bag has closed, finished handles because of Ikat Bag’s fantastic Make a Bag series. I love these! I’ll never make an exposed open-ended bag strap again!
Sunshine's Valentine bag handle

I put in yummy (I want to buy more for meee!) almond cookies and candied squash. It looks kind of empty in the kids’ bags, but that’s all I could fit in my niece’s goodie bag.
Valentine bags, goodies

For my sister-in-law and niece, I made heart-shaped ditty bags. I like them! In person, though, they remind me of 80’s Madonna pointy bras. :D
heart ditty bags