Sunday, May 20, 2012

Self-Drafted Purse

I have decided that I no longer need to haul around my large tote bags. The kids are out of diapers, and I just don't need all that stuff. So it's time to switch over to a smaller purse. It's an opportunity to practice tote-making, fabric and color coordinating, design-perfecting, etc.

I also get to use a fabric that I chose for my daughter, and was rejected. =) I love it!

First, I need a basic pattern. I want the purse to hold my fat (not with money - ha!) wallet, and a few other things.

 I drew a rough sketch of how I want the body of the purse to look. My wallet helps me to determine a good width. I did not use a ruler here, but would be happy to give measurements if anyone wants them. I like the idea of the bottom of the bag being a bit wider than the top.
I folded the paper in half so the pattern would be symmetrical. I will place it on the fabric this way, too. Fold the fabric right sides together and place the pattern fold on the fabric fold.

Can't forget to add seam allowances!! Otherwise the bag will end up a bit smaller than expected!
 Shell fabric - two pieces. =)
 Here I'm going to make a pocket for the front of the purse. I took one shell piece and determined how high I wanted the pocket to be. I folded the shell piece to that line in order to make a pocket pattern piece.
 I folded more shell fabric top to bottom, so the fold is on the top. I placed my shell piece, folded to the pocket line, and traced. You'll see what I'm doing in a minute.
 Here is the piece I just traced and cut. I folded it wrong sides together, and placed it over my outer shell piece. (One of them)
 See how that will make a nice pocket? Or maybe two pockets if I decide to stitch in down the middle. I don't know yet. =)
 I now determined how long I want my strap to be. I guess even before that I determined that I want one strap, attached to each side, rather than two straps, attached to each side. To determine this, I held a yard stick against myself, from about where I want the purse to lie against my waist up to my shoulder. I folded my fabric in half, top to bottom, and measured half that length. I determined what I wanted my width to be, and added about an inch for seam allowances.
 This is a miserably poor photo, that does not show the true color of my liner fabric, but it shows what I'm doing. I cut two pieces of lining fabric, using my pattern piece. Again, I determined first that I want an interior pocket. I figured out how high I wanted the pockets to be, I folded down one lining piece to that place, folded more lining fabric top to bottom so the fold is on the top, measured my folded lining piece, and cut a pocket piece. Again, I folded the pocket piece wrong sides together, and placed it against one lining piece.

I decided the bag could use a little structure. My fabric is pretty loose. I cut two pieces of fairly stiff interfacing.

 All the pieces.
 I have decided to turn the front pocket into two pockets. I'm measuring and marking half-way across the bag, and will stitch down the middle.
 It's hard to see it, but I stitched the pocket piece to the front shell piece, along with a piece of the interfacing on the back.
 Why not divide the inner pocket into two also? I think that will work well. Measuring again, and a quick thread switch so it matches the fabric.
 I placed the two shell pieces (the one with the pocket and the one without) right-sides together. I put another piece of interfacing on the back of the other piece. I stitched these pieces together, leaving the top open.

I did the same thing with the lining pieces (no interfacing) but **left an opening of about 5-6"** This will be to turn the bag later on. You'll see.
 I decided to add interfacing to my strap, to give it a little more body, too. I used only one piece here.

I stitched the two strap pieces, right-sides together, with interfacing on one side, down both long ends. I left the short ends open.
 I turned the strap right-side-out, and decided it was way too wide for my little purse. I stitched another line down about 1/2" in from one side, and snipped away the excess. Much better.
 I turned the strap piece right-side-out, and pressed it.
 Here I pinned the strap to each side of the bag, right up against the raw edges at the top.
 I stitched the straps to keep them in place.
 Here I've put the whole shell piece, which is right-side-out inside my lining piece, such that they are right sides together. I made sure the side seams were lined up together (best to pin, but I tend not to sometimes...) and stitched all the way around the top, being sure to catch all layers.
The bag is ready to be pulled through the gap I left in the lining. For some reason, this photo shows the true color of the lining fabric best. The others make it look pink, which it is not! More of a burgundy.

After pulling it all through, I stitched up the hole in the lining. I tried to get close-ups of that, but they didn't come out.

I pressed around the top of the bag... and....

I wanted to do a closure, but kind of forgot. But it would have been easy enough to add a magnetic snap or a flap... maybe next time.

 The front.

 The back.

 Inside and inner pockets.

Now the question is, with all my guesstimating and not much actual measuring, will my wallet fit in this purse???

It did!! =)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tiered Skirt

I couldn't resist giving this skirt a try. My daughter has boldly declared that she does not like skirts, so this will be for the shop. I'm going to make a size 2, just cuz I know it will add to the cuteness factor. I had this fabric in my stash. It had originally been bought for curtains, but I just don't like making curtains. So it is finding a new purpose. =)

 Tiers getting sewn together, and seams pressed open.
 Hems are added to the bottom of each tier.
 Layering the tiers.
 This was a new trick to me. Three fabric layers is hard to gather with thread. But a wide zig zag stitch over dental floss does the trick very easily!

The waistband holds the gathers in place. Elastic makes the waist stretchy, and easy for a little one to put the skirt on all by herself.

Tiers =)

The one thing I do not like about this pattern, which comes from One Yard Wonders, is the inside of the waist. The gathers and sewn against the waistband, and is top-stitched toward the waist. Woven fabrics fray. So it looks ugly. So here's this professional looking skirt on the outside  and a little less so on the inside. Too much top-stitching has gone into this one to make a change at this point, but any future skirts would definitely be surged to give the inside a nice neat finish. Otherwise, this was fun to make and I love how it came out! I decided during the night (when I do a lot of my sewing planning!) to make one in a woven denim. I already love it. =)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The DydeeDaze Challenge

Being a seller on Etsy is challenging. There are so many, many sellers, and a whole lot of them make and sell baby stuff! It is easy to get swallowed up by it all. Listings are buried in an hour. No one finds you unless you make something utterly unique, or you list constantly. Big sellers also seem to have large inventories. I have decided to hike up my inventory fast by giving myself a challenge.

I want to try to have 100 listings in my shop by June 1st. Now to someone who has time each day to work and list, that would not be much of a challenge. But my sewing time is extremely limited. I have to cut pieces while the kids are watching a tv program. I have to sew when hubby takes them outside for 20 minutes. You get the idea. I have no set sewing time, so I take it where I can. So things get done slowly, some days nothing is done, and I can't really predict what and when I can get stuff done. But I feel the strong need to get in there and compete, so I'm going to push myself to the limit.

In order to motivate myself, I've created this challenge. I am going to boost every shop section I have by making 10 of each item I currently have offered in the shop. No new stuff until I have 10 of each current item. So I've made myself a typed list, and I will create and cross off as I go. (I have already made one amendment to this, as I accidentally discovered a cute item while making another cute item.... more on that later) I am breaking the numbers down by month, and then by week. If I get ahead of myself, I can choose to use the extra time to make stuff for the kids/house/friends/etc. Or I can use it to continue to make progress on the challenge.

At the start of the challenge, I had 34 listings. I will post each new listing as I go. So basically I figure I need to make 6 listings in March. (I have 5 more days to accomplish this...) 30 listings in April. 30 listings in May. That's a lot. Here goes nothing!










Burp cloths are done for now. On to bibs. Today (3/31) I didn't feel like sewing. I felt exhausted and unmotivated. But then my children like to take over my computer, and that happened this afternoon. I didn't know what to do with myself, so I sewed! And that's how it goes! So 6 bibs are in the works... Considering I thought it was a bit of a stretch to finish and list 6 items by the last day of March, I am very pleased with the 9 that are listed, and the 6 that aren't far from being done. Very pleased indeed!

April Sewing:


 I listed this bib and the next in the shop yesterday. I am more drawn to the one below, with the sweet kitten prints prancing all over it, but the etsy shopping population is far more interested in the sports theme on this bib. It's a good reminder to keep fabrics in stock that are not necessarily my first choice.

Meow. =)


 Velour. I made my daughter a shirt out of this once and she loved it. It got lots of compliments, too. Nice.


 Dora the Explorer


Dinos. And the bibs are done. On to cloth diaper inserts.

 I love this fabric line.

Working with organic hemp fleece, which I just love, and fun cotton wovens makes me want to make other stuff, such as moon pads. I have been thinking a lot about that. I love when one projects inspires me to move into another area.

Three-tiered skirt from One Yard Wonders.

I love how this skirt came out. I broke my serger trying to neaten the inside seam, but still.

Variation. =)

Keyka Lou pattern
I love these totes and have made quite a few of them. I did one with butterflies and have received many compliments on it, so I thought I'd try another like it for the shop. These totes are great for everything.

I made this a while back and retired it from the shop for a while. I've put it back on now. It just fits the theme of the shop so well at the moment.

Trying the tiered skirts with different colors/patterns.