Sunday, December 14, 2014

Willow Tote Bag

In November Kylie Gersekowski was looking for pattern testers and I was looking for a nice simple bag to make so it was just perfect when our paths crossed.
It's my first time testing for Kylie and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Willow Tote Bag is so easy to make and has a lovely boat like shape to it. It's perfect for taking out shopping and looks wonderful in different fabrics. Check out the inspiration photos on Kylie's blog HERE of the bags she made. From tomorrow you'll also be able to see the tester's bags. Because it's such a simple shape you can do as much or little as you like with it. You could add more pockets inside and out or just leave it as it is.

I wasn't sure if this would go down well with my customers because there is no main zipper just a magnetic button but it sold quickly and now I'm looking forward to making another one.
This could be the front or back view. This side has a zipper and the other side is plain.

I did my usual wavy line quilting. The bag called for fusible fleece. I used ordinary fleece and then did the quilting to hold it in place.

I thought instead of just doing straight stitching on the handles I'd mimic the squiggly lines on the bag. I quite like it, it looks different.

The pleather I used was a meter left over from when hubby had his car reupholstered.

There's no fuss to this bag. Inside there's loads of room and a couple of slip pockets on one side.

If you were to leave out the zipper then it would be a totally beginner bag but the zipper isn't that difficult and the pattern offers two options for how to sew it.
There are clear photos, step by step instructions and you'll find loads of tips and tricks to sewing with leather/pleather.

The Willow Tote will be available on 14/12/2014 from 12 noon (QLD time) via Kylie's WEBSITE. It will be on special for $5 (RRP: $8.50) for the first 24 hours.
Coming up in a couple of days is a clutch I tested for another new designer to me. I love it so much I tested one yesterday and then made another today. Who knows I may even make another tomorrow.
Happy Sewing
~ Maria ~


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Serendipity Hip Bag

Even though I love blue, when a customer came round and ordered the Serendipity Hip Bag and chose these fabrics I wasn't sure it would look nice but I really like it. I don't think I'd use anything as bright as this myself though.

The first Serendipity Hip I made was a test pattern for Christine Welsh at ChrisW Designs. I misread the pattern and added a zipper to the outside back of the bag instead of the lining but I liked the result so have done this one like that too. You can see my first one HERE. It was supposed to be for me but a customer saw it and loved it so she bought it from me and ordered this one for someone else as a gift.

The front has a zipper pocket

and behind the zipper pocket is a slip pocket with another pocket for a cell phone. 

I quilted the main body of the bag with wavy lines. It helps make it a little stiffer and also as I don't have fusible fleece it help keep it stuck to the outer fabric.

This is the back and shows the zipper pocket that should have been on the lining. This isn't a large bag so I think the zipper on the outside is easier to use than having it in the lining.

This wouldn't be a Christine design if it didn't have even more pockets inside. This one is a card holder with a slip pocket behind it.

Approx measuring: W 20cm X H 25cm X D 4.5cm. (W 8" X H 10" X D 1¾”) it's perfect for those trips out when you just need the essentials. Although small it's packed with pockets to keep your things organized and easy to find and it also has an adjustable strap so you can choose to wear it as a cross body bag or shoulder bag.

As usual Christine's pattern is excellent packed with loads of photos and very clear instructions. The pattern also includes a printer friendly section 'Text Only Instructions for Printing' to save on ink.

The Serendipity Hip pattern can be bought over at Christine's pattern shop HERE or etsy HERE.

Today I completed a wallet and I'll be showing you that in a couple of days.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Kentucky Bag

Another custom order crossed off the list.

When I first made the Kentucky Bag I loved the design and have been using it ever since. It's designed by Sarah Goodall from Numbskull Patterns. Over a month ago a lady asked if I could make one for her exactly like mine. I was delighted to make it as it's an easy and quick bag to make.

The pattern doesn't have photos but has clear digital diagrams with very clear instructions and all the steps flow beautifully. 

My photos aren't fantastic. I had to deliver the bag to the customer and the lighting was really bad.
I love everything about this bag. The shape and all the pockets, the size is perfect and it has an adjustable strap too. The pattern uses a twist lock closure but I couldn't get one so used a magnetic button.

I liked the wavy quilting on the one I made for myself so have adopted this method for most bags I sew now.

Under the main flap is a zipper pocket.

On the back there is another zipper pocket.
I couldn't get a decent photo of the inside of the bag but it too has two zipper pockets like the ones on the outside of the bag.

Good thing about the poor lighting was it shows up the stitching really well.

The size of the finished bag is 16" High x 12" Wide x 2.5" Deep not including the strap.
If you'd like one for yourself then you can buy the pattern HERE.

Next I'll have one more bag to show you and then it's onto wallets. I was supposed to be making a wallet/clutch today but I just had to get the Christmas tree up and even managed to make some bows. These went on the tree.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Gizmo Garage Laptop Bags

The first week of December has passed already and I still haven't put up my tree and decorations. I'll have to do that in the next couple of days.

As usual I've been busy. This week has been quite productive. I've finished these two Gizmo Garage Laptop Bags by Christine Welsh, check out Christine's and the other tester bags HERE, which were started just before December came along. Since these two I've also made another two bags that were custom orders.

These two were a custom order for a lady who wanted one for herself and the other for her sister. She had seen the one I tested for Christine when I took it with me to her office. She works for a cookery magazine, they are in the process of putting together another magazine for craft tutorials and my daughter is doing the tutorials. I can't wait for it to be published to see how they came out. I just had a thought, being as I don't have the time to do tutorials for my blog maybe I can get permission from the magazine to put them on my blog. I'll have to remember to ask.

Ok onto my laptop bags. Just let me say that a lot of sweat and swearing went into making these LOLLL

I don't know why these gave me so much trouble because I used the same fabrics as my first one. Some parts got so thick that even my heavy duty machine groaned.
Just goes to prove that you should follow the designers fabric recommendations.
Rather than make one at a time I made them both at the same time which meant if I made a mistake on one then I'd do the same on the other and I did so it meant unpicking two.

I swear that if these hadn't been an order they would have been in the bin by now which would have been a shame becasue I'm really happy with the way they turned out. I'm not one to persevere with a project that doesn't go smoothly so these were a real test on the nerves.
Lesson learned is never to give up.

Here's the front and back view.

I didn't have the same fabric as mine for the two front and back panels so I bought this one and the customer liked it.

My hooks were shorter than the ones Christine used and didn't take that into account when I tested mine so this time I made the D ring strap a little longer to compensate.

The inside main pocket doesn't have any other pockets so your laptop won't get scratched.

All the pockets are on the outside and there's more than enough to hold everything you need. In the photo below you can see I've put my mouse in one, external hard drive in the one next to it. Under that are two more pockets, one for a cell phone and pen and just above that which is hard to see is another pocket where you could store your charger.

You can see the third pocket better in this photo.

The back pocket is perfect for an ipad or tablet.

The bag has an adjustable strap and I chose to do the stitching in red to match the lining of the bags.

The customer also ordered a Necessary Clutch Wallet by Janelle the pattern for which you can find HERE.


Despite the problems I had, which were totally my own fault for using fabric that was so thick and then padding it for fear of the laptops getting bumped and damaged, this is an easy pattern. There are no zippers so it's classed as an intermediate bag.

The pattern comes in three sizes to accommodate different laptops. I made the largest one.
These are the sizes.

Finished bag size.

Approx. size of SMALL version: W 21.5cm X H 35.5cm X D 5cm. (W 8 1/2" X H 14" X D 2")

Approx. size of MEDIUM version: W 24cm x H 40.5cm x D 5cm. (W 9 ½” X H 16” X D 2")

Approx. size of LARGE version: W 26cm X H 43cm X D 5cm. (W 10 1/4" X H 17" X D 2")

The pattern for the Gizmo Garage has a full requirements list with suggestions on where to obtain your hardware, 36 pages of comprehensive instructions which include 69 step by step color photos. Included are printing instructions and test squares to print to check your scale. 23 Pattern pieces in total for three bag sizes are included PLUS measurements were possible for those that prefer to cut from measurements!

PLUS a TEXT ONLY version of the instructions (8 pages) comes  with your pattern for printing purposes, should you not need or wish to print all of the photos! Simply refer to your electronic versions for photos if needed! Saves on ink!

If you follow Christine's fabric suggestions, like I didn't, then you'll have no problems making yourself one of these. I love Christine's patterns becasue not only are the patterns first class but you get a nice professional looking bag at the end of it.

Give it a go I know you'll love it. You can find the pattern HERE on Christine's Etsy. Whenever I go out with mine it always gets loads of attention. Mostly becasue everyone has the ordinary standard black laptop bags and also becasue of the shape, it goes in length wise rather than the normal width wise.

Now I'm off to test a wallet/clutch which I've been dying to start. After that it's back to my orders. Only another three wallets to make and that should be it.

Happy Sewing

 ~ Maria ~

Ooops just popping back in to do an edit. I forgot to show you how I deal with realllly thick seams. I squeeze the heck out of them with a pair of pliers protecting my bag with some fleece. Another method I use is to take hammer to them, again protecting my bag fabric.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bag Of The Month Club

This year I took part in the Bag of the Month Club although I'm sorry to say I only got one of the 6 bags done. Next year it's on again with 6 fabulous designers designing a bag for each month starting in January.

I copied the bit below from Christine's blog because I'm short of time and just wanted to quickly pop in and let you know about the offer so when you get to June and it says (that's ME) it's not actually me it's Christine LOLLL

These are the designers taking part.

January - Samantha from Sewing Patterns with Mrs. H. is a Welsh pattern designer with a group of pretty yet practical bags in her pattern library. I heard about January's bag design and I was very excited, as it's a piece of purse hardware that I have never used before, but always wanted to. Look out for January's bag, as it's going to be amazing!
February - Sara of Sew Sweetness. Sara likes bags with a lot of pretty details, and since we had a lot of requests last time for smaller bags, she is going to see what she can come up with! Sara has lots of fun, modern bag patterns in her pattern shop here.
March - Anna from Noodlehead has many versatile free tutorials and paid patterns on her site, many of which are wildly popular with quilters! Anna's first book is due out in February, called Handmade Style: 24 Must-Have Basics to Stitch, Use, and Wear.
April - Janelle of Emmaline Bags. Janelle has a thriving pattern business, where she also sells all the hardware, handles, and interfacing needed to make the bag patterns in her shop. Janelle's first book is coming out in 2015.
May - Betz White is a bag designer and textile artist, and she is the author of three books, most recently Present Perfect: 25 Gifts to Sew and Bestow. You can find her patterns available on-line in her pattern shop, as well as her video classes on Creative Bug and Craftsy.
June - Christine of Chris W. Designs (that's ME!) I have yet to decide just what I am designing for June ....mysteries are such FUN, don't you think? LOL

To find out the rest of the details go over to Christine's blog HERE

~ Maria ~

October & November In Pictures

October came and went and I didn't have the time to post October in Pictures so I thought I'd share October and November together.

October, I didn't realize I'd done quite so much.

November appears to be slower than October but there are a few other things I made that I can't post just yet because I'm waiting for pattern releases.

All in all I'm quite pleased.

~ Maria ~

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Necessary Cluch Wallet # 9 and 10

I've made ten of the Necessary Clutch Wallets by Janelle at Emmaline Bags and can you believe I still don't own one myself.

These are my latest two. One is a custom order to be sent away with two Gizmo Garage Laptop Bags that I'm hoping to get done tonight. There's been a few swear words making those and I even took to using a hammer but I'll tell you about that when I've finished them.

These wallets are a brilliant design and my customers love them. They hold everything you need and can be used for different things. Holding a cell phone, coins, notes and cards as a wallet or use it for your sewing things. Plenty of room for thread, needles small scissors and more or you could use it as a makeup bag. Made in a nice fancy fabric and you could use it as a clutch for an evening out.

There is also the option to add a wrist strap or long across the body strap.

I've kept the second one so customers can see the design and then choose their own fabrics.

I highly recommend you make one if you haven't yet. The pattern is well written with instructions, digital diagrams and photos.

If you want to make one you can find the pattern HERE.

See you all in December when with any luck I'll be showing you my finished laptop bags.

~ Maria ~

Tins & Magnets

About a week ago I took an evening off from sewing to play around with some old tins I'd saved until I could decide what to do with them.

As I'm very slowly trying to change the colour scheme of my sewing room into pinks and blues I thought I'd cover these tins in fabric and add some paper flowers and a bow.

Then I wanted to play around with felt that I'd recently bought on my last visit to my daughters. After searching the internet for a few hours, it's amazing what you can find on here, I came up with these. They aren't tutorials, just photos I saw and liked.
I drew some templates and then cut out the felt from them.

Next up I wanted to play around making candle holders from glass cups. I didn't have any nice Christmas fabric but I do have a nice collection of paper napkins so I cut one up and stuck it onto the glass and trimmed it with some ribbon. I didn't have any modge podge so I used wood glue diluted with a little water and it worked perfectly. I also used this for sticking the fabric onto the tins.

Lastly I had a wedding invitation that I'd kept becasue it was so unusual. It's made from wood and lined with paper. On the front in the center of the heart was the name of the bride and groom, luckily that was just lightly stuck in place so came away without leaving a mark and I stuck a paper bow in it's place with some pretty paper flowers in the corner. I could also have removed the paper lining and replaced it with fabric but this particular evening was for making quick things.

I had great fun making these and wish there was more time for crafts like these but I have to get back to my orders. Another two customers turned up and ordered a load of stuff so I'm well behind and I have a gorgeous test pattern for a clutch/wallet to make which I'm dying to start. I'm testing it for another new designer that I haven't tested for in the past, in fact I've just recently found out about her. I quickly looked through the pattern today and it's realllllllllly good so hopefully in the next week I'll be able to show you that and give you more details.

I have one more post to show you before November finishes so I'll do that post tomorrow. Until then happy sewing.

~ Maria ~