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

Feb 122013

Last month, I treated myself to a couple of Architextures prints and the Day in the Park Backpack Tote pattern. I love bags that can also turn into backpacks! It makes it easier to chase after my boys in stores while bystanders wonder why that mom doesn’t have her kids under better control. :>
Day in the Park backpack, front

The bag closes with a magnetic snap, and I’d like to say again that I dooooon’t like sew-in magnetic snaps. I can’t sew around them neatly! After I finished the bag, I vaguely remembered that it might work better if I sewed the magnetic snap to the sew-in interfacing instead of the wrong side of the bag lining, but pfft. I think the prong magnet snaps look nice, so I’ll just use those in the future! Plus, this bag never closes anyway because it’s always stuffed too full.
Day in the Park backpack, inside

This had an awful lot of pattern pieces, so it took me a while to cut just because I kept forgetting what I was doing and kept flipping through all my bits of paper. Some of the pattern pieces were just rectangles, though, and I understood that they were included because of pressing guide marks and things like that, but it added to my paper overload confusion.
Day in the Park backpack, back

These straps are ingenious and so comfy! Plus, I like that when I put on or take it off as a backpack, it doesn’t go sliding off wonkily sideways the way it would if the backpacky straps were one long piece. Mr. Yazoo said this is his favorite of the bags I’ve made myself so far. :)
Day in the Park backpack, backpack style

I want to make more of these, and maybe I’ll be ambitious enough to try to add an inset zipper at the top!

Feb 012013

Yesterday, Sara at Sew Sweetness released her new bag pattern, the Dot Dot Dash Bag. Earlier in the year, she’d asked if anyone would be interested in helping her test patterns, and I was all, ooh ooh me! I often read about people getting to test patterns and felt jaaaalous, so was super excited that this time that I could be a tester, myself.

This is the bag I made!
dot dot dash bag

The pattern’s marked as intermediate/advanced, and I guess that’s at the very tippy edge of my current bag-making ability, because that dang inset zipper took me two hours to finally get in. I ripped things out many, many times, and when I finally got it in, the bag looked like this:
dot dot dash bag, after attaching zipper panel step 10 - full

It was totally worth it, though, because now I (theoretically) know how to add inset zippers to other bags! I already have another bag in mind for that treatment… but anyhoo, it came out pretty nicely on this bag, if I do say so myself, despite how awful it looks on the inside.
dot dot dash bag, interior zip pocket

Oh yeah, the pattern doesn’t call for it, but I added interior zip and patch pockets. You know, because the bag didn’t have enough compartments. ;> I ended up giving this bag to my niece — it’s so padded that I thought it would make a good bag for her laptop. Also, I really wanted to use that funny musubi print when I saw it in the store, and she was the only person I could think of who wouldn’t give me a look for it. hehehe.

Congratulations to Sara for releasing her pattern! I’m so impressed by people who have the kinds of brains that want to design things!

Jan 112013

Back in the fall, we had a family trip planned to New York, and so I needed to make myself a Weekender for my carry on bag. This is what I made!

zig zag weekender bag

Since it was for me, I excused myself from the hassle of trying to match up the zig zags on the pockets and zipper whatsadoodle. I also skimped on the length of the green shoulder straps, hoping that quilting wof would be enough. It wasn’t quite, and made those handles a little hard to use. I didn’t notice much, though, since one-inch straps are uncomfortable anyway when such a big bag is full of stuff, so I hardly used them at all.

I made eighty jillion (or four) pocket modifications: I added a zippered pocket inside one of the outer pockets, slip pockets and a zippered pocket inside the main body, and I changed the back outer pocket to a zippered one.

zig zag weekender, front zip pocket

Like the interior of the bag? This is what happens when you only buy half-yard cuts of all your fabric. :D

zig zag weekender, interior

Finally, I added a shoulder strap, but I attached it to the bag waaaaaay too low down, which meant that the bag had a tendency to want to tip over when you used the shoulder strap! That bugged me the whole trip; fortunately, Mr. Yazoo mostly carried my bag for me, so I didn’t have to struggle with it. I’m thinking I might try buying some rivets to make the strap attached higher to the body so it’s more useful. :P

zig zag weekender, side

This sucker is heavy, even when it’s empty! It was an awesome carry on in that it held a ton and fit pretty nicely under the airplane seat, but it was a huge pain because it was uncomfy to carry, heavy, and tippy. The one thing I really love about it its awesome vintage zipper. I can’t bring myself to rip it apart to reclaim the zipper, so now I’m waffling about whether to try fixing the shoulder strap, and then whether to keep it for our next big vacation (yeaaaaars from now) or to give it to my sister since she travels a lot and is always super nice about things I make. heh!

Jan 052013

For Christmas this year, I made my ten-year-old niece a fish purse using Make It & Love It‘s adorable tutorial. At first, I thought she might be at the age where she’d want a more grown-up purse, but Mr. Yazoo thought she’d like the fish purse better, and he was right!

I also made her a zip pocket coin purse, but I don’t think she was as excited about that one. :D