Update & Giveaway

 gingher-sarah8in

Wow, I didn’t realize I had been away from this blog for so long!  I really believed that I could continue to have a life while going to graduate school.  Keeping up with 2 blogs would be a piece of cake, or so I thought. What was I thinking?  Every day is filled to capacity with school and my usual daily chores.

 I did manage to get some sewing done over the weekend, including 2 dog beds and curtains for a solitary window.  But the rest of the weekend was consumed by software upgrades and reading assignments.  I’m afraid I have no new bags to show you at this time.  However, I need to make some gifts soon, and that means at least one new bag.

 Oh, and this grad school thing? It was an idea hatched in my husband’s somewhat sadistic brain.  And the dog bed project? Another idea from Daniel. What will he think of next?

 Since I have no projects to show you right now, I’d like to send you over to the Sewing Business Blog for a giveaway. Denise and Sarah are giving away a pair of 8” Gingher Designer “Sarah” Series Dressmaker Shears. These collectible shears have been discontinued by Gingher, and can be quite expensive if you manage to find them.  To enter, go to their blog post and leave a comment about a favorite fall or holiday project. The entry deadline is Saturday, November 28th.

Tutorial: Clothespin Pocket Apron

 

Now, before my friends are all “look, she’s actually doing chores,” I need to explain something first. If you’ve heard that Dan does the housework around here, that’s only partially true.  He does most of the sweeping and dusting because he finds my dust-induced asthma attacks extremely annoying. He also does most of the cooking, because he enjoys it, but he won’t touch the oven, so I do all the baking.  He can also do laundry, but quite honestly, our clothes sleep much better at night if I’m the one who handles that chore.  Let’s just say that his laundry “technique” is lacking.

For the first time in years I now have a clothesline in my back yard. Three of the four lines are missing, and the one that remains is in need of replacement, but that can be fixed eventually. I still have enough room to hang out a load of laundry, and I’m not heating up the house by running the dryer all afternoon. Oh, and I’m saving money, too!  I’m sure that my enthusiasm over a clothesline is shocking to anyone who knows me, but you’ll just have to accept this strange behavior. 

After hanging out the first load on my new/old clothesline, I realized that keeping clothespins in a plastic grocery bag just wasn’t going to work for me, and reaching up and into a bag, whether it’s a grocery bag or something made specifically for this purpose, just wasn’t very comfortable. I needed something waist-high.

An internet search revealed several great patterns for clothespin aprons and a variety of aprons, which would eliminate the need to reach up and into a bag, but all I really wanted was a small pocket to tie around my waist, not a full-size apron with a huge pocket.  I didn’t want to use a lot of fabric, either.  After a few quick sketches, I came up with some measurements for this quick and easy pocket with apron strings.  A simple pouch would work well for this application, but I added a pleat to give myself a little more room for my hand to reach in, as well as for some extra clothespins. The finished apron measures 7-1/2″ wide by 16″ tall (from the bottom of the pocket to the top of the waistband), and the pocket is 12″ deep.
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Bag Tutorials

I’m back.

Those are dangerous words.  Perhaps I should have said, “I think I’m back.”  The last several months have been a wild ride, and have included the illness and death of a parent, packing up a house, moving over 600 miles further north, applying for graduate school, getting settled again, and some freelance web design work.  (This site is due for a huge redesign as well, but that’s probably several weeks down the road.)  So, while I hope to be posting much more frequently now, I won’t make any scheduling promises that I can’t keep.

I would like to write some more tutorials, but my sewing machine still hasn’t seen the light of day since the move.  Soon, though.  Meanwhile, I have some links to share with you.

First, a reader pointed out to me that The Buttercup Bag Pattern from Made by Rae is now available with a commercial license.  Your purchase will include the bag pattern in two sizes.  Thank you, Mayya, for letting me know about this!

i have to say always has great tutorials!  Here’s one for a laundry sack that is really too pretty for dirty laundry.

Elizabeth has a free pattern and instructions for the Diana Hobo over on her blog. I think this will be my next bag project.

And the fabric scraps pictured at the top of this post?  I’ll be making a patchwork pillow cover out of those.  Soon.  I hope.

Little Spring Floral Tote Bag

Spring Floral Tote Bag

I apologize for my lengthy absence from this blog.  I never intended to be away for so long, but due to a physically demanding part-time job with often grueling hours, and an all-out search for a full-time job that won’t kill me, I’ve lacked the time, energy, and motivation to sew.  I decided over the weekend that sewing might make me feel a little better, and since I had come across this great tutorial from Cicada Daydreams, I thought I’d dust off the sewing machine and give it a try.  I’m so glad I did! Not only did I make myself a great little tote bag, but now I also feel like I can begin to take on other sewing projects again without being overwhelmed.

I call this tote bag “little” because it’s not your typical shopping-size bag.  It finished to approximately 11-1/2″ x 9″ x 3″, which is still large enough to hold some reading materials and a few other essentials.  One thing I really like about this design is the accent fabric on the bottom, which also serves to make the bag sturdier.  I made my bag as directed in the tutorial, except that I fused lightweight interfacing to my lining because my floral fabric was very soft, and I used a different construction technique* for the strap.

Even if you’re not interested in sewing a tote bag, do go take a look at Cicada Daydreams.  It’s a lovely blog.

*Strap construction – I cut two 4″ x 13″ strips, pressed the long raw edges to the center, then folded in half and pressed again to enclose the raw edges. I then top-stitched the long edges. This resulted in sturdy 1″-wide straps.

Spring Floral Tote Bag

Picnic Bag

I think this bag is going to be my favorite.  I love that you can open it almost flat to easily find your stuff.  I won’t be using it as a handbag because it might be too easy for small items to fall out, but it’s called a picnic bag, and it will be perfect for carrying snacks to the beach.  Since on occasion it will likely be holding a significant amount of weight, I will be doing something to reinforce the handles, and I may use another method to attach the handles on the next one I make.

You can find a pattern and instructions for the picnic bag, along with some other great tutorials, at sewtakeahike.