Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Bagmaking: The Manhattan Mamma

This is a bag of the month pattern, due for general release tomorrow from Emmaline Bags.

As soon as I saw it, I knew the fabric I wanted to use. This harbour scene from Makower.

Teamed with this Essex Yarn in nautical, and a busy bit of chevron for the inside.

This is such a lovely pattern.  There is something very aesthetically pleasing about the curve of the flap and the sides from the curved dart. I love the contrast panel at the front with its pocket, and the big zip pocket at the back. (There is piping on the panel, but you can't really see it here)

Mostly I love the fact that the flap opens to reveal another stash space!
You can make a zipper case or eyeglasses case to velcro in here, but I chose not to. (ok, I ran out of fabric - these things happen when you have the fabric before the pattern)

There is a slot pocket on the inside as well, and plenty of room inside the lightly padded body.

Overall, top marks for this pattern which is comprehensive and easy to follow. If I didn't have a massive list of 'to-do's then I'd make another immediately!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Bagmaking - The Motherload Tote (Cozy Nest Designs)

I was asked by Janelle of Cozy Nest designs, to pattern test her as yet unnamed sports tote (it has since been named!!)

When I saw the design, I absolutely said yes. 

I joined a gym a month ago and have been using an entirely impractical Cath Kidston tote, which is too small and only has one little pocket.

This baby has an outer zipped pocket, an inner zipped pocket. It has dual sections for your trainers/kit or you cossie/towels etc etc. It has a drinks bottle sling, and there is also the option to add straps to sling your yoga mat /towel underneath ( I didn't add these)

You can add a triangle clip to hang your car keys/sunnies from if you wish, and you can add anything else you want (I added this tiny pocket on the front for my gym card which I'm always losing - and it also fits my padlock)

I wanted something bright and cheery, so I went for this hello tokyo fabric on the outside, and a pre-laminated cotton on the inside because I wanted water resistant.

I used Lamifix on the outer cotton, which is an iron on laminate. It works, but it looks horribly creased all the time. I think I'd only use this on small projects in the future. The pre-laminated stuff is vastly superior looks-wise. 

However as this bag is for my personal use, I'm not too fussed! Its so flipping useful. I made the bottle sling slightly larger to accommodate my own bottle.

Sarahs instructions are always clear. I was slightly confused due to using directional fabric, however she has since added extra orientation details to her pattern to make this part easier to understand. This is not a beginners bag, but an intermediate sewer should tackle it easily. 

I also didn't make my top zip recessed. This is due to the bulk of having laminates on both in interior as well as exterior as well as interfacing. Also my seam allowances top and bottom were slightly larger than they should have been as the width of lamifix didn't quite reach (another reason not to use it on larger bags)

See more and purchase via CozyNestDesign here 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Bagmaking - Ramona bag

A couple of weeks back I made a bag for the eldest daughter of a friend of mine as it was her 8th birthday (see bottom photo)

Well its her little sisters birthday coming up, so she's also getting one.  

This time its mermaids and whales and fishes.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Bagmaking: Little zipped pouches and Bunting

I am furiously sewing at the moment to try and get all requests and orders done.

Below is a set of three zipped pouches that I did after someone saw my Ramona bag and asked for something in that fabric. I had just enough to make these. The first is pencil case sized and the other two are crayon/makeup and coin sized.

The fabric is wee wander from Michael Miller

I also agreed to make some bunting for the school fair. Thank goodness someone pre-cut these or I'd be even more grumpy about it than I already am. It was sooo tedious, and impossible to get neat points because the fabric is quite chunky. Bleugh. Done though.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Bagmaking: The Companion Carpet Bag - Vinyl & Cats!

Ta da!!

I have finally finished this commission. It was a real labour of love. Emma, who I made it for, provided me with this amazing cat fabric. You can get this on ebay. It frays like a b*gger so I had to use a LOT of fray stop.

She wanted a doctors style bag and she wanted vinyl. I said I had some turquoise vinyl which would probably go well, and we went from there.

The sewing pattern I used was the companion carpet bag by Mrs H (not yet available unless you're in the bag of the month club).
You can see other examples of this bag here  I've made it twice before in Cath Kidston fabric, but this one is the larger size.

A LOT of work went into this. I machine quilted the vinyl, and I also hand quilted parts of the cats on the front and side so they would 'pop'. I made the handles (the rivets aren't quite straight - lets gloss over that) and you can't see the cute little nickel bag feet on the bottom here.

There is an inner zip pocket and some slip pockets too. 

The stripey tabs are to make opening it easier, as it has a large snap frame in there. 

I cut the heart out of the vinyl before sewing the cat in there and using the polka binding. I used soft and stable foam to keep it a bit more rigid.

I'm really pleased with the way this turned out. Its a unique bag thats for sure!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Plus Size Fashion: Sainsburys Tu - hit and miss

Supermarket shopping. I've said it before and I've said it again - they have some true gems. (Lets just return to this George +Asda baby - which after I'd cut out all the nasty hot lining is perfecto)

However, the sizing is all over the place.

I've found F&F @Tesco to be the most consistent. I'm an 18 in Tesco and that's that.

In Asda I'm more of a 16 (yeah, right) and in Sainsburys, who knows?!

I'm not going to show you me dressed in all the Sainsburys outfits today as due to an online order cockup I just need to get them returned and my money back.

All clothing was bought in a size 18 unless otherwise stated.

I shall therefore show you what I'm keeping. Which is this dress:

Its a pretty floral with wide straps (yey) and shirred elastic all the way around the bodice, meaning it fits nicely. It has a very light underskirt so its not too hot to wear. Which is necessary for a summer dress!

This fits just right. There are lots left in my local store, however it seems to have vanished online for the moment. 

This little gingham number one didn't do it for me and it made me a bit sad. It looks so cute in the pics, all retro and checky, but the waist fit me and the bust was too tight. That NEVER happens. I have a proportionately big waist. It just looks all wrong on me. Kind of billowy and ill-fitting. Return.

Then there's this one. Actually if this were a top I would keep it. I bought both the 16 and the 18 and didn't bother trying the larger one on as the 16 was perfect. As a dress though, its just a bit wierd and shapeless and I'm not sure I'd wear it. If I find it in the sale, for maybe half price, I might buy it and chop off the bottom. Return.

The tattoo dress. So cute on paper. So tight on wearing. There is no shirring on this one, and the straps were too tight as was the bodice in general. I could have gotten away with it, but honestly if its not comfy then I'm not going there. Its pretty, but in the flesh its kind of meh. These colours do nothing for me. Return

Then there's the skirt. Finally. FINALLY I get my hands on this skirt, and its awful on. In spite of being an 18, it was several inches too large at the waist (and my waist is 38 inches at the moment - what size do they think an 18 is?!!)

The length is terrible on me. Sort of mid knee. Totally wrong. There are pockets, which is good, but they sit badly. It was the least flattering thing I've tried on in a while. And I've been trying on jumpsuits, so that saying something. I suppose I should be grateful I didn't spend extra money! RETURN!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Crafting - making a cushion cover Family Tree (ish)

I just wanted to show you this. I made a cushion!
(I know - that's one of the least thrilling statements of the year) 

A good friend of mine is going through the adoption process and welcomed their new daughter into their home a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to make something special to celebrate this. So I thought I'd make a simple family tree cushion.

Then I saw this Amy Butler Lark fabric upstairs and figured I'd go family-tree ish, but incorporate the flowers instead.

So this is the back:

This is the front. Obviously I cut out some of the flowers and leaves. 
Then I appliqued them on using very very close zig zag. 

I used the linen from the background to machine embroider their names (youngests name is hidden as they cannot disclose it legally), and I then added midnight blue piping (no you can't really see it in this photo) to finish before sewing it all up. It does have a zip.

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I think she is too, although its always a gamble gifting something handmade. 

Next up, more bags (sneaky peak of current commission below)