Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Necessary Cluch Wallet #8 A Gift For A Friend

My friend Samantha Hussey is expecting a baby girl any time now and she's been very quiet today so for all I know she could be in labor.
Some time ago I saw her mention that she'd love a Necessary Clutch Wallet that she could use across the body. I had been wondering what to send as a gift for her new baby daughter and suddenly thought I'd make the wallet for her instead.

I figured baby Elvis would be getting loads of gifts and poor mum would hardly get any. Such a shame after all the hard work of pregnancy and finally delivery so I decided a gift for Samantha would be better. I made the wallet over 2 weeks ago but had to wait until it arrived in Wales and not England like I wrote on the parcel. The postman was probably not too pleased LOLL

This is the eighth Necessary Clutch Wallet I've made but the first one with a strap and it happens to be my favourite one of them all.

I love the pretty floral fabric, very feminine. It had to be pink becasue she's having a girl.

I love this wallet design and never tire of making it. I really need to make one for myself.

 It has so much room for all the bits and pieces that you carry. Loads of space for cards, cash, lipstick, keys and even your cell phone.

Janelle has a tutorial for adding a long strap or a small one to use as a wristlet. The tutorial is different to how I made mine. Can you believe there's a FB group for this wallet and it was on there that I saw this way of doing the strap.

I highly recommend this wallet, if you would like to make one you can buy the Necessary Clutch Wallet HERE and Janelle also stocks bag supplies and hardware.

Keep checking back as I still have loads more to show you.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Drawstring Sling Bag

Before I went away to visit my daughter this bag came in for testing. I didn't have time to make it before leaving so yesterday quickly started making it.

The Drawstring Sling Bag is designed by Gary Fletcher at Fashion Clique. This bag was really easy and quick to make up with endless possibilities. Check out the other testers bags HERE they all look great and very individual. The bag features a roomy interior, draw string closure and a magnetic clasp and flap. The finished dimensions are approx. 11" H x 10" W x 8" D.There were no pockets inside so I added a couple of slip pockets to hold my cell phone. You could add a zipper pocket if you wanted to.

My bag is pretty plain so I decided to do some wavy quilting on it. I love how it turned out.

This is the underside of the bag.

I made the drawstring red to match the stitching on the flap. I think it brightens it up a bit.

The pattern uses bias binding around the top of the bag which is a nice feature but I wanted to make mine quicker so used the turn inside out method by leaving a gap in the lining seam.

This is the first time I've installed eyelets and was surprised at how easy it was.

This is a great bag for a confident beginner. As you can see there is only one seam at the back and if you're worried about getting the oval bottom to fit the body of the bag then don't becasue the pieces fit perfectly.

This is the first bag pattern released on Gary's new site HERE and if you'd like a copy there is 10% discount. Just use this code 10off to get your discount.

Thanks for dropping by and hope you'll come back tomorrow when I'll be showing you yet another bag.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Nickle Zipper Ends, The Search Is On

If you follow my blog regularly you'll have noticed that I've found some nickle zipper ends to use on my bags and pouches rather than make fabric tabs which I really don't like having to sew up even though they look cute.

If you're new to my blog theses are the ones I mean.

Since then the hunt has been on by a couple of bag designers that I test for to find them. One of those is Samantha Hussey from At home with Mrs H. They're not exactly like mine but are a beautiful alternative, in fact I think they're prettier than mine.

Go HERE to check out her zipper ends and you'll also find a link to a free tutorial she has on how to install them. 

Speaking of Samantha, she sent me a little parcel a while back which I wanted to share with you. She tried her best to keep the contents a secret till it arrived but I can't wait for surprises so I managed to get it out of her. LOLL I was still jumping up and down with joy when it came and I opened it up. It reminded me of Christmas when I was a kid. LOLL

These are the fabric scraps she sent me, aren't they just gorgeous. Thanks Samantha, you're a sweety.

And look at the adorable plastic bag she found to send them in.

Thanks so much Samantha. I'm keeping them to one side for the moment becasue I want to use these very wisely.

~ Maria ~

Friday, September 19, 2014

Gizmo Garage Bag

Hi everyone

I've been away for a while and I'm not long back from visiting my daughter which was so much fun and also tiring. We did a load of fabric shopping amongst other things sewing related and I even got an order from a shop while I was there for eight hearts and eighteen cushions. I'll be doing another post about my visit and the goodies I bought in a later post but for now I want to show you a bag that I tested for Christine at ChrisW Designs before I went away. I'm a bit late in posting about this bag as the pattern was released while I was away. Check out all the other testers bags HERE they look great.

I've been wanting a new laptop bag since I bought my laptop. The bag that came with it was plain black and hadn't found anything I really liked so when this pattern came up for testing I knew immediately that this one was for me.

This pattern is awesome. As usual with Christine's bags there are loads of pockets and the pattern includes three sizes becasue not all laptops are the same plus there is a free sizing guide download HERE so you can choose the perfect size.

This bag looks complicated but actually comes together very easily. There are no zips so if you struggle with those this bag is perfect for you. The instructions are very easy to follow and the pattern is packed with tons of photos to help you make your bag.

This is the front which houses the laptop plus has pockets for keeping everything organized.

There is a large exterior slip pocket that has a smaller slip pocket and pen pocket inside.There are also two big pleated slip pockets, perfect for your laptop charger, cords, mouse and external hard drive. The main opening houses up to a 17” laptop in the larger version of the bag , 15” laptop in the medium version and up to a 13” in the small version. My laptop is 15" but I made the 17" one and there is loads of room. I was worried about my bag not being waterproof so wanted to make it slightly bigger to be able to slip the laptop into a waterproof sleeve for those days when it's a bit wet outside.

I use the small slip pocket for my mobile. The size is perfect, it fits nice and snugly so it doesn't slip out.

The main pocket for your laptop is free of other pockets so that your laptop doesn't get scratched or damaged.

This is the back which has a pocket to hold an ipad but as I don't have one I use it to hold my wallet, keys and ID which means I can take everything I need in one bag.
The bag also has an adjustable shoulder strap as well as a grab strap so you can carry it multiple ways, or just grab and go. I used a plain upholstery fabric for the main exterior of the bag and quilting cottons for the rest and used soft and stable for the padding. The back pleated pocket also has soft and stable so everything is well protected.

Some time ago Christine had sent me some of her labels which I was keeping to put on one of her bag designs that I would be using myself so I used one for this bag. I feel so chuffed to be walking out of the door with my designer bag now. LOL

I love the the hook and D ring closure on the front.

One of the steps I don't like doing much in bag making is cutting out and sticking interfacing onto fabric pieces so thought I'd show you how I do mine. I lay them out all onto the interfacing and iron them all at once then just cut them out. Saves so much time.

If you'd like to make a Gizmo Garage Bag you can go HERE to get your pattern.
Here are the three sizes included in the pattern also make sure to check out the sizing guide included in the pattern or the free download.

I took my bag with me when I went away and it was fantastic having everything so organized I've also used it a couple of times when I had to take my laptop out to be fixed and it's turned some heads. I think it's the shape. Most laptop bags are wide to put you laptop in side ways where as this one is longer putting it in lengthwise. I love it and I'm sure you'll love it too if you make one.

I have loads of projects to show you still and the next one will be a gorgeous bag designed by Sarah Gido which I can post about on Saturday so be sure to pop back then to see that one.

Happy Sewing.

~ Maria ~

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Seventeen Wallets, Seven Fabric Baskets And A Puppy

Seems like these days I'm making a lot of secret projects that I'm testing and can't show until the patterns are released. I just finished another today so in order to keep you checking in on me and not running away I stopped my testing for a couple of days and made these cute wallets and fabric baskets.

This has got to be one of the simplest and quickest wallet tutorials I've come across, ever.
The pattern is by Noodlehead and is a free tutorial for a boys wallet. I don't really have the need to make boys wallets so made mine in girly floral fabrics.

I chose four different floral fabrics for the outside of the wallet and three different pinks for the inside.

My leaning Tower of Pisa.

There's a slip pocket for cash and four card slots.

I also made seven fabric baskets that I originally saw on my friend Lorena's blog.

And if I didn't have enough on my plate, in between making all these, my son came home with a tiny puppy he found wandering around lost in the middle of the street. He put him in the car and by the time he got home the puppy was fast asleep on the floor with it's head under the front seat. I found a box for him and put in an old sheet, took him out of the car carefully and placed him in the box. It was pretty hot and humid that night so he was happier sleeping on the cool stone floor.

He woke, obviously very hungry and not knowing much about dogs got in touch with my friend Toby who has loads of dogs plus she's on a dog group. I gave her the details and was told to feed him rice and chicken. By now it was midnight so I gave him some digestive biscuits crushed with some milk. That wasn't a good idea becasue it went straight through him and when I woke in the morning after only three hours sleep he'd pooped all over the place. I cooked him his chicken and rice broth which he loved and couldn't get enough of and then took him to the vet. We had managed to find him a good home on a farm with another dog and a rabbit LOLL. My son had always wanted a dog and was hoping we'd keep this one but after one sleepless night and a load of poop everywhere I think he was more than happy to give him away.

It took me most of the morning to clean his mess up outside and was left exhausted by lack of sleep and worry for this helpless little thing and after I'd had a good two hours sleep I managed to get back to my sewing. I swear that looking after a puppy is harder than looking after a baby.

One last thing before I go, becasue of so much spam on my blog coming into my email I have changed the comments setting on my blog to 'Registered User includes openID'. I'm sorry if this causes problems for you leaving a comment but I don't want to put my blog on moderation unless it's absolutely necessary. After a while I'll put it back to how it was and see if the Anonymous comments stop coming in.

Thanks for stopping by.
~ Maria ~

Monday, September 1, 2014

August In Pictures

I can't believe it's September 1st already, where did the last eight months go!!!! Before we know it Christmas will be here.

August has been really busy for me although by the collage below you probably wouldn't think so but I have been sewing more it's just I can't show you what they are just yet. The scraps in the picture below are a peek at one of those secret projects, the other one I can't show is a bag I tested for Christine which I have used already and is fabulous and today I finished making a gift for a special friend. Guess it will be sometime during September when I can show you those three.

Just a quick reminder that today four blogs that I nominated on the Around The World Blog Tour will be doing their blog tour posts today so grab a coffee or tea and be ready to be entertained and inspired by these ladies.

Lorena at my way of

Bethany at Sweet Bee Buzzings

Naomi at Made by Nomes

Amy at Sew Incredibly Crazy

Thanks for stopping by.

~ Maria ~

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Nappy Bag Pattern Giveaway Winner

Time to announce the winner of the Nappy Bag Pattern. First of all I want to thank everyone who took part in the giveaway for their sweet comments and also a big thank you to Samantha for letting me do this giveaway and also for having me as her tester.

I'm not going to keep you waiting any longer becasue I'm sure that if you've come to this post the first place your eyes wandered to was the picture of Random Number Generator. LOLL

The lucky winner is comment # 15  

Great results Maria! I love how you repurposed the pants' pocket. This looks like a great pattern.

Congratulations Norma!!!!! I'll be sending Samantha your email so she can send you the pattern and I know you make beautiful bags so I'm really looking forward to see how yours turns out.

Happy Sewing 

~ Maria ~

Monday, August 25, 2014

Around The World Blog Tour.

If you're new to my blog then welcome. Over a week ago I was invited by Daryl to join in the Around the World Blog Tour, I'm always on the look out for new blogs to follow so thought this would be fun to take part in. Daryl is a very talented bag and quilt maker and has many other talents to so make sure you check out her blog tour post HERE.

As part of the blog tour we have to answer a few questions and link to three blogs for you to take a look at. You're in for a treat today becasue I have four blogs for you to visit.

So lets get started.

What am I working on?

It's all very hush hush at the moment. For the last 2 weeks I've been working on a quilt and as I'm testing the pattern I can't give you details until the pattern has been released. All I can say is it's beautiful, very different from what I've ever made in the past and the largest one I've made to date. I'm just doing the quilting on it, just half of it left and then I can bind it so hopefully it won't be long before I can share it with you. As I can't share a photo of it yet I'll leave you with this photo. These are the scraps that I've been left with from making it.

Once I finish this quilt I'll have a couple of test bags to make and of course some more of those lovely Necessary Clutch Wallets. Oh yes, I also promised my friend Karen I'd make a quilt from one of her patterns. There I've written it in black and white so I'm committed to do it now. LOLL

Here are the wallets that I'm addicted to making at the moment. It's the Necessary Clutch Wallet by Janelle at Emmaline Bags.

 When and why did you start your blog?

My first post was on 12th November 2011 and cringe when I look at it now. I had no idea what I was doing I just knew I wanted to keep a record for myself and as I had started bag pattern testing wanted to be able to give credit to the designers or rather designer as I was only testing for ChrisW Designs at the time. I didn't have a decent camera for taking photos, just an old cell phone.

This was the first photo I posted to my new blog, I didn't even know how to add links and on my very first post didn't even introduce myself LOLLL I just dove in and learned as I went along.

The best thing that came out of blogging was getting to make so many friends from all parts of the world that shared the same interest.

How does my work differ from others of it's genre?

I don't think it does actually. I love making bags and would love to make them in beautiful bright colours like I see on other blogs but I make them mostly for customers who prefer browns and neutral colours. I tend to stick to what the pattern says rather than experiment with it. The only thing that comes to mind is no matter what the fabric suggestions are in the bag pattern I will nearly always use upholstery fabrics. Having said that there was just one occasion when I tested the Convertible/Reversible bag by Sarah Gido at Cosy Nest Design. This one just wasn't going to work with upholstery fabrics. This was my first cotton fabric bag.

I love working with pleather. These are two bags I particularly like.

This is the Uptown Girl bag by Christine Welsh at ChrisW Designs

And this one is the Retro Rucksack by Sara Curtis at Radiant Home Studio.

Why do I create what I do?

Simply becasue I love doing it. If I didn't sew the things I love then I think I would go crazy. One day the electricity went and I was forced to sit and do nothing. I was twitching and fidgeting constantly and hubby said, just relax for a moment. Sitting doing nothing is not my idea of relaxing, it's stressful. The only thing that relaxes me is being in my room, sewing away and chatting with my bloggy friends.

What do you hope to achieve in the near future?

I love my bag making and testing patterns for wonderful designers and I also love making table runners and toppers especially Dresden Plate toppers like this one I made for Christine.

 And log cabin toppers like this one I made for myself.

Just recently I've started quilt pattern testing and really love doing it.
This is the first one I tested, The Watkins Star Quilt by Amy.

The thing I would most like to achieve next is to be able to be a bit more adventurous with free motion quilting. I'm still very new to it and find it a bit of a struggle on larger quilts. Hopefully I'll be able to make more quilts and get plenty of practice in.

Now that you've read a bit about me I'd like to introduce you to four very talented ladies.

Lorena is a relatively new found friend who blogs over at My Way Of.
She's a talented bag maker and tester but also makes the most adorable crochet toys. She writes her blog in both English and Spanish so that in itself is a talent. I find it difficult enough just writing mine in English.

Bethany  I have known for some time and you can find her over at Sweet Bee Buzzings.
Another very talented and funny lady who I think can probably do anything she puts her mind to. Crochet, quilting, paper piecing, bag making, the list goes on and on. Bethany has done some bag sew alongs in the past on her blog that you can check out by clicking on the sewalong tab at the top of her blog. She's absolutely fabulous at it.

Naomi is one of my oldest friends. We met on a yahoo bag group years ago and you can find her over at Made by Nomes
Naomi is another very talented and funny person. She makes bags, crochets and quilts.

Amy is the fourth talented lady who you can find over at Sew Incredibly Crazy. I've been following her blog for some time and love her creations so was delighted when she sent out a post asking for testers for her quilt pattern shown above, The Watkins Star Quilt. It was the first quilt pattern I had ever tested. Amy quilts and crochets and her cross stitched pieces are just so beautiful.

These ladies will be doing their blog tour post on 1st September but make sure you pop over to their blogs before then and don't forget return on the day of their blog tour so you can see which bloggers they've tagged for you to check out.

Hope you've enjoyed your visit here and hope you'll be back to see what I've been working on.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Thank you all for stopping by.