Sunday, December 31, 2006

A New year

I just found the coolest Christmas labels to use on your finished knitted gifts.
I know I'm way to late for this year but I could start now for next year. OK, we all know that's not going to happen.
2006 is almost over, it was a rough year . I'm ready for the new year. I don't make new years resolutions but I was thinking about some of the projects I would like to do in 2007.
1. Successfully participate in SWAP
2. Make a fantastic jacket for the RTW knock off contest on PR
3. Knit the Stitch Divas sweater "Sahara"
4. Knit the "cardigan for Arwen" from Interweave knits Winter 2006
5. Knit thoes funky leg warmers G has been asking for all winter
6. get over my fear of sewing with tee shirt knits
7. Reduce my crafty stash, Fabric, yarn, beads, paper stuff
8. Only buy what I really, really, need
9. Get really good at Machine embroidery

First I had better finish my 3rd messenger bag and The ventage velvet scarf from Scarf style
I also want to make the Irish hiking scarf from Hello yarn but that will be quick.

I wish everyone a happy happy new year!!

Messenger bags

I have decided to make a third High street messenger bag from the Amy Butler pattern but I thought I would post a picture of the two I made when the original Messenger bag pattern came out. I actually made 3 but one was a gift. Why would a person need so many messenger bags you ask?
Well, for thoes of you who don't know, I am a substitute teacher and I find that this type of bag is perfect for the things I need to carry to school. I also like my bags to at least sorta match my clothes. I have two other bags that I made before these that are also in this style but I dont' use them as often. They don't have pockets and they are smaller but the colors are good so they still get used now and then.

Anyway, if you look at the picture with the two bags: the red one was done following the Original pattern and the green and brown onw I made several changes. I made tabs so that the outside pocket could be taken off. (see picture above) My thinking was that if you were running into the store for something you could just take that flap off and not have to haul the full bag in. I also added lots of pockets.

The front and back each have a large pocket and I added two zippered pockets on the inside. The problem with both of these bags is that once you fill up the outside pocket with your keys, cell phone and wallet the pocket is to heavy for the bag and it pulls down the top of the bag. It's ok when the bag is full but not if you only have a few items in it. Other problems are that the original pattern doesn't have enough pockets but when I added pockets to the inside of the bag the bag wasn't really wide enogh to allow for the pockets to have much in them and still have room for the bag to hold things. The bag was also not sturdy enough to carry much I made both bags out od decorator weight fabrics but they needed a firmer fondation.

The new pattern is a much better design. The pocket problem is gone and the bag is wider so I can fill up my pockets and still put things in the bag. These new bags also are sturdy enough to stand up be themselves because they use canvas as a fondation. I'm also very happy with the wider strap I hadn't thought about it originally but the strap wasn't really wide enough for the weight of the bag, this one is much better.

Things I might change or did change on the new pattern: Bag #1 I followed the directions exactly except that I used wonder under to hold my canvas in place instead of basting. I also added a a piece of plastic needle point canvas and timtex in the bottompiece. This helps the bottom stay flat. This bag is HEAVY when its empty. This is because I used scraps of fabric that I already had and the majority of the bag was made out of a really nice heavy cordoroy and then theres the canvas in the fondation. so before you even add the pockets or flap you have alot of weight.

Bag #2 This time I used a regular cotton for the bag so that i wouldn't have all the weight. I used a Black and white print, strip and poka dot then for fun I used a magenta linning and zippers. I also added a funky button on the flap because I liked it. I eliminated the zipper on the zippered pocket on the inside tool flap. I also did not use wonder under on this bag I instead followed the directions and basted everything BLECK!! I will use wonder under again for the next one. I also wanted to have the magenta and the Black and white print on the strap so I made the strap in two narrower pieces rather then folding a wide strip. I also used 14 inch zippers not 12 on this one

Bag #3 I found another print that I love. It's another Alexander Henry cotton. I will dig into my stash and look for something to go with it this afternoon. Fo this bag I will use a rotary cutter for the cutting, Wonder under instead of basting, I will put the zippers in my way instead of the patterns way and buy 14 inch zippers again. I will probably add a button. I want to add a cell phone pocket on the inside I might eliminate the zippered pocket on the flap, not sure yet but I think that pocket is going to be hard to use.

I will probably be tired of making these after bag 3 but I should make a brown and teal bag to match my SWAP wardrobe.

(The picture of my 2nd new messenger bag insn't loading will try again later.)

Saturday, December 30, 2006


So, I have decided that I am making the orange jacket for the nock off contest on PR. I also joined the stash reduction contest as well. So now I have three reasons to sew more.
SWAP, Stash reduction and the knock off contest. If I am successful in all three I should have a whole new wordrobe and more storage space what could be better.
Today I am still helping G finish up the science fair project and cleaning up from the holidays.
I had lunch with friends yesterday so I didn't get any work done, but I had a nice visit.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

time to get ready for a new year

Here are some of the Christmas goodies I recieved. I will be sitting around and reading whenever I get the chance. The new Interwieve knits has a sweater from Kate Gilbert that I love!! I really want to knit that. After finishing Grandpa's scarf I decided to start another knitting project so I started Vintage velvet from The scarf style book. The yarn is to die for and it's knitting up pretty quick.
I have a few finishing touches to do on my 2nd messenger bag. I haven't been working on it because of all the after holiday stuff I needed to take care of. I hope to get my machine back out this week.
I need to start sewing for SWAP in January. I was looking for a jacket still for it. I thought I wanted to make a long coat but after trying them on in the stores I don't think I would get much use out of one. I wear jackets all year long but Never really wear a coat. It just doesn't get that cold here very often. I was looking at sites on line for inspiration and found 2 jackets here that I thought might be fun. They are completly different from each other.
I'm thinking either the orange jacket( not in orange) or the Hulda jacket . I like the fabric combination of the orange jacket, velvety and the satiny I would use either brown or turq to match SWAP. I like the Hulda jacket for it's buttons and the simplicity of it. AHHH what to do what to do. I guess the real trick will be in finding a pattern that works well for one of them and then fabric. I signed up for the RTW knock off contest at PR. I figure if I'm sewing it anyway why not have some extra support and encouragment. G goes back to school on the 2nd untill then we are focused on her, finishing her science fair project and some math homework that isn't going well.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

just say no

So, my Mom called today. My grandfather lost his scarf and it would be really great if I would knit him a new one for Christmas. Now what I should have said was " Mom it's Thursday Christmas is on Monday. Today I have to finish the quilt for my other Grandma, have Dinner with the father in law, Sunday we have a Christmas party and Monday is Christmas. I can't knit a scarf in time for Monday" But instead I said " ummmm what color should it be?"
Mom said ohh a nice beige or grey and it shouldn't be too heavy and big it should be one of thoes nice tightly knit ones that he can wrap around his neck.
What my Mom doesn't realize it that Big and chunky means big needles and a couple hours of sewing, tightly woven is little needles, expensive yarn and days of knitting. Don't get me rong I love my Grandfather dearly and would love to make him another scarf but
I should have said NO, I can't do it.
The up side is that this moment of "oh my gosh I can't believe I didn't say no" has scarred me into high gear and Grandmas quilt is DONE. And all the presents are wrapped. So now I guess I will take a few minutes to look through my knitting books and decided how much and what type of yarn to go buy tommorow. If only I could knit in my sleep.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cookies, and cleaning

I didn't get much done in the sewing area today. I did start on the 2nd messanger bag and will probably get that done this week. Grandma's quilt is ready for machine quilting so that's good.
I did some house cleaning today, always a good idea when your having company. I also made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with G. That way the house has the happy fresh cookie smell.
Oatmeal cookies are my least favorite type of cookie but.. we had a ton of oatmeal that needed to be used and I figure they are practically healthy right? I put the Chocolate chips in there because what I really wanted were Chocolate chip cookies.
So now that I'm pretty much ready for Christmas I am looking forward to sewing for SWAP.
I will need to pull everything out and make sure I have all my pieces and then I think I'll start with the skirts because I can do thoes really quickly. I would love to start with the coat because it has been cold lately but I still don't have a fabric for it. I would love to find double faced wool in turquoise or brown. What does a California girl what with a wool coat ?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Amy Butler Messanger bag

Here are the pictures of the bag. I am not completely done I still need to : up the opening from turning the bag
2.cut off the extra threads the life out of it
4.topstitch around the top
not necessarily in that order
My pictures are out of order but the one with the fish is the back of the bag, the one with the snap flap is the front and the 3rd I was trying to show the linning, back of the flap and the inside pocket thing.

black and white and magenta for my next one. The zippers will be magenta also.
I will write up a review of the pattern when I am not so tired.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Missing, one female side of a snap. Last seen sitting in my pin box. That was before I moved it to a better place so that I wouldn't lose it. ARGHH.
I worked on Grandmas quilt today and almost finished so I decided to work on my messenger bag. That's when I realized I lost the other half of the snap. I am done with all the pieces. I just need to get or find that snap so I can finish putting it all together. It weights a ton. I think I'll weight it when it's done just to see.
I am going to make another one but with Quilting cotton. I used cordoroy for the base and cotton for the pockets but with the canvas in it, it's really heavy. I can only imagine how heavy it will be all loaded up. I have a couple of cool black and white prints I want to use with a color to splash it up. Maybe I will use magenta or lime green. The zippers will be in the contrast color as well. I also am thinking about using a heavy interfacing instead of the canvas although I probably have enough canvas left over from this one to make another.
I think I may have made a mistake on the hanging pocket. I either read it wrong or misunderstood what she said. I managed to make it look like the picture but it still seems wrong. I will be interested to hear what others say about this pattern.
I should be able to finish and post photos on Monday.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Aprons and stockings

I finished the two apons today and my Apron book came from AMAZON. I will try to get a review of it up soon. I had planned to make an apron for myself too but I can wait untill after the holidays for that.

This blue one is for an older lady who loves the color blue. I used the same print in two different colors. The fabric was on the sale table at the LFS $1.97 a yard, can't be that. The pattern calls for 3/4 of a yard of each but they lie, I have at least an 1/8 of a yard left over plus some scraps of each. The Christmas apron is for my Aunt. She is having Christmas at her house this year and I wanted to make her a fun wimsical apron. Both aprons are from Amy Butlers Stitches book. She has a quick apron pattern in that book. I think after I actually sat down to work on them it took maybe an hour and 1/2 to cut and sew each one. I did add the point on the ties, she has you sew them straight but I like the point. I think that was the only thing I changed.
I was able to get the center of the quilt sewn together and some of the blocks. I will focus on that project tommorow.
We aslo started on the stockings today but I'm not at all happy with how they re turning out so I may go in a different direction. G thinks they look fine but I guess I had a different look in my mind. The stockings look fine but the embelishments are not doing what I wanted. We are making them out of felt and the idea was that would would put a aplique of each cat on the stocking.
I should just leave it alone. It was ment to be a fun project for G and I to work on. It's not like the cats care what they look like.


There is not alot of time left to get Christmas done. I was ahead for ahile but it didn't take long for me to get behind.
All my gifts are bought and wrapped but I still need to finish sewing a few things.
1. I was making a jacket for my mom but the sizing is turning out to be wrong so I need to cut it down. I am thinking I may actually have her try it on and then make the adjustments but I really wanted to finish it before she saw it. I don't know??
2. I need to finish one hem on the blue apron and start a Christmas apron
3. Grandma's quilt needs some serious time pu into it. I am no where near being done with that one. I just don't feel like working on it.
4. Christmas stockings and ornaments. This is a project I will work on next week with G. She will be out of school then and this is our Holiday craft project. We are going to make the Owl ornaments that Stacy posted a link for on her blog. I am also thinking of having G draw pictures of the two cats to use as patterns for ornaments.
5. I wanted to make DH a hat but this may have to wait untill after Christmas.
So that looks like a lot for a week doesn't it. But if I can stay away from working on the messenger bag and not add anything else I may be able to do it.
Hopefully the next post will have lots of fnished photos.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I love lucy meets pirates of the Caribean

One apron done.

And its reversible too!

Try to ignore G's pajamas. (Although I made the PJ bottoms too.)

I will be posting my review of the pattern on Pattern Review.

It's butterick 4945. It would have been really fast if I hadn't made it reversible and procrastinating so long in doing it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

cool stuff and aprons

I was checking one of my favorite sewing blogs today and came across this
are these not the coolest things. Awhile ago someone was making stuffed owls that I loved!!
now I can make some fun little owl ornaments. Thanks to Anna maria for sharing and Stacy for posting. I MUST finish some gifts first !
I had to work today again so now I have laundry to catch up, groceries to buy and a house to clean but tonight I am going to finish an apron even if I have to stay up all night.
Aprons are quick and easy fun projects so why on earth is it taking me longer to make two aprons then it did to make a quilt.
Enough goofing around off to the sewing machine!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

working is cutting into my sewing time

Well, I have been working all week so the only thing I have manage to do was purchase my canvas and zippers and then cut the canvas pieces for my messanger bag.
Hopefully this weekend I can get back on my Christmas sewing schedule and return to my Messenger bag.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

messenger bag

So after spending a good part of the day working on the last quilt for Christmas I decided I needed a breck from christmas sewing. I started the new messenger bag buy Amy Butler.
It took forever to cut out all the pieces. I did make it a bit more complicated by using several different fabrics instead of just two. I wanted to use some of my favorite scraps to make this one. I also really wanted to use up some of my fabric stash.
The first picture shows all the pieces cut and labeled. I went through and laid them all out so that I could check the list to make sure I wasn't missing anything. You have to use the same pattern pieces for several different parts. You fold them here and there to get the other sizes so it's easy to miss something. I think when I do my next one I will make a list of the actual sizes and rotary cut all the pieces. The 2nd picture is a close up of a couple of the fabrics so that you can get a feel for what I am using. My main fabric is a dark blue cordoroy, wide wale that I really like. I made a newsboy hat out of it last month. I don't have any canvas, she has you use canvas for the interlining so I will have to go get some before I can keep going. I added a step by fusing wonder under on to the backs of all the pieces that get canvas. I will cut the canvas down eliminating the seam allowances so that I don't have all that bulk. I also won't have to baste all the pieces this way. I also need to get the 3 zippers. I didn't have any that would match.
I also think it would be fun to add a cool button to the tab.
Sewing plans for Monday:
get supplies for messenger bag and cut out canvas
work on Grandmas quilt
Plan stockings for Sydney and Dusty, look in stash for fabric,
Maybe.....G"s Pj bottoms (*this can wait.*)
I can tell already this list is to long for the little time I will have on Monday, but that's ok.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I have been seeing al these great aprons on line lately like this one
Heather Bailey
and there are several cool ones at athropology that I love.
So when I saw this pattern by simplicity I had to buy it.
simplicity 5112. If I use the front pieces only and add a tie it will work perfectly don't you think?
I'm excited. I HAVE to finish other stuff first though.

I also found a new booklet today called fashionology I will do a write up tonight after I get to look at it.

Back to sewing.