Saturday, July 19, 2014

Retro Rucksack

Today is my turn to show you my Retro Rucksack. I've had a wonderful time looking at everyone's version of the bag and even more so, the amazing photos taken by all the bloggers.

For those of you that are new to my blog, I'm a bag tester for several wonderful bag designers and find it very hard if not impossible to reject a test pattern.  I didn't test this one but was delighted when Sara of Radiant Home Studio got in touch with me and asked if I'd like to make the Retro Rucksack as part of a blog tour.

I've made loads of bags in the past but what I especially liked about this one was that it could be used as a shoulder bag or a backpack and the transformation is so easy. You don't have to unclip the straps to change it over you just pull the strap through the top rings and it's done.

Such a clever design.

For my bag I used an upholstery fabric for the main part of the bag with pleather for the bottom half and straps.

 When opened up it has loads of room.

Because of the fabrics I was using I had to modify the bottom tabs shown below. In the pattern they were folded in half and tucked between the pleather and upholstery fabric and the layers were just too many, ten to be exact. My machine would have sewn them because I have a heavy duty industrial machine but it would have looked bulky so I cut the tabs shorter and sewed the underside so only one layer was being tucked into the bag. Does that make sense? LOLL Now you see why I test and don't design. It's not easy giving instructions on how to make something LOLL

The bag has this lovely deep zipper gusset to keep everything secure and safe.

And inside there is another large slip pocket on one side and a zipper pocket on the other. You might notice a red tab on the end of the zipper. This wasn't in the pattern but I added it to both ends of the zip to have something to hold onto when opening it up. The last batch of zips I bought were a bit stiff.

Sara's pattern has well written instructions and photos and if you'd like to make one you can buy the pattern HERE.

I want to say a big thank you to Sara Curtis for asking me to join in on this blog tour. It was fun making the bag and even more fun seeing all the other bags on the tour HERE. It's amazing how one bag can look so different.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Necessary Clutch Wallet # 4

I finished this wallet a couple of days ago and am struggling to sew, blog, reply to emails, cook, clean, shop you all know the routine.

Anyway I took a few minutes to take some photos of my fourth Necessary Clutch Wallet by Janelle of Emmaline Bags. I love this wallet and am already planning on making loads more. Did you know they even have a Facebook group for this wallet. Great bunch of ladies on there who are so helpful and offer so many tips. They are even holding a NCW sew-along in August so I can't wait to join in.

Certain colours are so difficult to photograph and this blue is one of them. It came out slightly lighter in the photos.

This wallet is quite large and holds a number of things like cell phone, money for fabric of course LOLLL, loads of cards a lipstick and someone even mentioned it will hold a passport so would be ideal for traveling especially as Janelle has a tutorial on her blog on how to add a wrist strap or shoulder strap.

You can buy the pattern from HERE and you will also find the link to the strap tutorial there too. Janelle's patterns are really great to follow. Good instructions, photos and illustrations.

By the way what do you think of my new watermark. I can't decide between this one or my old one? I may play around with some more and see what I come up with.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Watkins Star Test Quilt

I'm really excited today becasue I can finally show you a quilt that I finished about a couple of weeks ago.

It was about a month ago when Amy from Sew Incredibly Crazy sent a post out for testers on her blog. Without even stopping to think about it I left a comment saying I'd love to test the pattern but didn't think I'd get picked becasue I don't have a lot of quilting experience. To my delight and then horror she wrote back and said I could test.

The horror of it was what if I can't do it and then there's all the quilting to do on the quilt once it's finished. I've never tackled anything this size before and was pretty sure I'd fail.

We had one month to finish the quilt so I got to it straight away in case I came across any major problems. I figured if the worst came to the worst I'd have time to start again but once I started cutting out the pieces realized that thanks to Amy's well written and illustrated pattern there was no problem. Only thing I had to worry about now was how to quilt such a large, for me, quilt.

Here's my quilt on my bed. I absolutely adore it and already have fabrics picked out for another one. My quilt measures 52" x 52" which is slightly larger than the pattern becasue I added a border which wasn't included in the pattern. You can also see the other tester quilts on Amy's blog HERE. Everyone the same but different because of the fabric choices.

Finding a backing fabric was more difficult than choosing the main fabrics for the quilt but I narrowed it down to two and then this one won.

I wanted the binding to have some pattern in it so I was really pleased with this olive green polka dot fabric I found quite by chance.

I thought I'd take some photos of when I was quilting it. It took me two days to do the stippling on it but before I started I did some research on the internet on the best way of quilting it and came across some quilting tips by Elizabeth Hartman HERE. I don't think I could have done it without her helpful tips.

I had to move my sewing machine from it's regular place and place it on my cutting table so I'd have plenty of support for the quilt.

Working in sections like Elizabeth Hartman mentioned made it so much easier as did her 'Pull, don't Push' method of stitching.

If you're relatively new to quilting and would like to try a pattern then this is a great one to start with. Amy has now released her pattern and you can find it HERE on Craftsy.

A big thank you to Amy for having faith in me and letting me test.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Monday, July 14, 2014

Retro Rucksack Inspiration Tour

Retro Rucksack Inspiration Tour | Radiant Home Studio 
I've been really looking forward to taking part in this blog tour, I've never taken part in one before, so it's going to be great fun.

Eleven bloggers have made the Retro Rucksack and will be doing a post about it on the days shown below. Two bloggers each day. I haven't seen any of the bags made by them so I'm going to really enjoy taking a look at each one.

The tour starts off with Sara Curtis, designer of the Retro Rucksack Bag. Great design as you'll see and I hope you'll come back here on Saturday, July 19th when it will be my turn to show you my bag.

Retro Rucksack Inspiration Tour:

Monday, July 14th Radiant Home Studio || Sweeter Than Cupcakes

Tuesday, July 15th Quarter Incher || Dandelion Drift

Wednesday, July 16th Glitter + Wit || EmmylouBeeDoo

Thursday, July 17th Casa Crafty || Behind the Hedgerow

Friday, July 18th SewVery || Raspberry Sunshine

Saturday, July 19th Mia's Creations || Made By Sara

Happy Touring

~ Maria ~ 

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Totes Ma Tote Bag

I've been dying to show you this gorgeous bag design I tested for Janelle at Emmaline Bags.
I knew as soon as I saw Janelle's that I wanted to make a blue bag but unfortunately the blue I used wasn't enough so I made it in three colours.
I didn't have the same hardware that Janelle used on her bag so I modified mine slightly. Janelle used nickel grommets in her bag to thread the handle through and the straps have buckles. It gives it a beautiful finish. Make sure you check out all the other testers bags HERE they're really amazing.

Janelle's pattern is really easy to follow with well written instructions, illustrations and photos.   Finished Size:  Width at Top: 17” (43 cm), Width at bottom: 13” (33 cm), Height: 12” (30 cm), Depth: 4” (10 cm) and is an intermediate pattern. If you'd like to make one for yourself you can buy your pattern and the hardware HERE.

This is my version.

I love the strip of fabric down the side of the bag. It finished off the bag perfectly.

I used the nickel zipper tabs on both ends of my zipper. Janelles design only calls for one end of the zipper to be longer.

There's a main recessed zipper closure to keep everything safe.

I just thought I'd add some zig zag stitches to the center piece to add a bit more interest.

And I also stitched the bottom. Janelle's pattern has purse feet but I didn't add those.

This bag may not have pockets on the outside but inside there's plenty to keep things organized. On one side this large pocket with a magnetic button on the flap to keep things secure.

On the other side there is a zipper pocket and two slip pockets.

Just before making this bag as luck would have it I cam across this fabric for the lining. I don't have a clue what it's called. It's stiff but very pliable, can't be ironed because it melts and feels like paper but isn't. It's extremely strong and doesn't tear and it doesn't need interfacing but best of all is that it's a fraction of the price of fabric. This stuff is fantastic.

I bought it from the man who makes bags here locally. He uses them in all his bag. Only drawback is that it only comes in dark brown.

 Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
~ Maria ~

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Feeling Girly

Ok so I'm supposed to be testing a bag for Samantha right now but since I finished testing a quilt, which I can't tell you much about now until the pattern is released, I've been feeling all girly so thought I'd redo my bedroom.

The quilt is on the bed and looks gorgeous but it needed to have some things matching so the last few days I made a topper for my chest of draws and a fabric basket for my makeup to replace the old one that didn't match at all in my room.

That's my mum and dad in the photo with me at 2 months old. I don't like having family photos around the house but I don't mind in my bedroom so I have this one. One of my dad alone. Photos of my kids when they were little and one of my great grandmother.

This is the method I used for making the topper.
First I cut out all my pieces out at 3" x 3" then I lay them onto the sticky side of interfacing.

I ironed them to the interfacing.

And then sewed the long rows with a 1/4" seam allowance. Then the short sides and it done.
You can find the tutorial HERE, it's by Oh, Fransson and makes life so much easier than sewing the squares individually.

I love the binding.

The fabric basket for my make up was a bit of trial and error. I wasn't sure if this would be the right size. I think it could be a bit smaller and the handles could be closer together. I'll make adjustments on my next one.

On the other hand if it was just a bit taller it would be perfect for holding toilet rolls. I managed to fit 4 in this basket.

Happy Sewing.

~ Maria ~

Monday, June 30, 2014

June In Pictures & The Giveaway Winner

Doesn't look like I've done much this month but actually it's been really busy.

I made another three bags and tested a quilt which I'm so proud of and can't wait to be able to show you. All of those will be shown next month when the patterns have been released.

For now though this is all I have to show you for June.
A round cushion for my tootsie in my sewing room, a little pouch as part of the giveaway,The Stow It All Tote I tested for Christine and four chair seat cushions for the shop.

Ok now for the Giveaway Winner. First of all thanks to everyone that entered. The winner was chosen by and is Wendy who left this comment.

Hi Maria, great giveaway, thank you! (and I won't mention the football)... My favourite colour is either blue or red, I really can't decide!

Wendy is one of my followers and is from the UK. In fact she lives in the same town I moved from nearly 20 years ago. What a coincidence.

Congratulations Wendy. I'll be emailing you so you can send me your snail mail addy.

Happy Sewing to all of you

~ Maria ~