Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jane's Little Boxy Bag Review

I've been following Jane's blog Projects by Jane for ages and have always loved her bags. Then back in March when she was holding a giveaway for her cute little drawstring bag I won the giveaway, you can see my post on that HERE, I was over the moon.

A short while ago I thought I'd try my luck and get in touch with her about testing. I was too late for this little boxy bag but she said I could do a review if I wanted. Even better, I get to make a bag without having to check the pattern over.

Here's my boxy bag.

The pattern arrived in my inbox and I took a look expecting it to be pretty ordinary but was I in for a surprise. I test for a lot of independent bag designers who are all brilliant at what they do, they'd have to be to get me to understand a pattern LOLL but this pattern was just amazing. All the questions I used to have when I first started pattern testing were answered in this one pattern. She explains about stitches, curved edges, how to determine the seam allowance, how to use the pattern pieces and how to place them on the fabric, all with illustrations and photos. It's extremely detailed and very well written. It even shows you how to measure your zipper, something I had always wondered. Do you measure from the ends of the zipper or the metal tabs? It's all in this pattern.

Jane's pattern has beautiful large photos of each step with digital illustrations as well just to make sure you know what your doing and it made me smile to see she does something that I just recently started doing and thought I was going mad. We mark our seam allowance with a marker to make sure it's nice and straight and even LOLLL. Is that the perfectionist in us or are we nuts? LOLLL

I stuck to the pattern but only made one change and that was I used fusible fleece which I quilted onto the fabric with wavy lines but it's hard to see in the photos because the thread is so similar to the fabric. There is a lot of thickness at the folded ends so I would suggest sticking to Jane's recommendations for interfacing unless you have a good industrial machine.

 I love how the ends fold and I love that it has handles too.

If you notice inside there are no bound seam allowances. The inside seams are all hidden between the lining and the outer bag.
I'm going to keep this bag for myself as a toiletry/makeup bag. It's just the perfect size measuring approx 8.75" (22cm) across the bottom, 4.5" (11.5cm) depth and 4.5" (11.5cm) from top to bottom.
I didn't interface my lining becasue I had used fusible fleece on the outer bag and it was fine that way.

There are tabs at both ends to make opening and closing the zipper easy.

I've made this type of bag before from free tutorials but they had bound seam allowances which can be a bit of a pain. This method is much easier and tidier. I definitely recommend this pattern and because it's so detailed I'm sure someone new to bag making could tackle it without any problems.

If you'd like to make one then you can find the pattern HERE at Jane's etsy store and up until the end of December there is a coupon, MIASCREATION2014 (all caps) for 25% discount.

Now I'm back to making more things for the Olive shop and even tried to take photos to do a tutorial for the mobile pouches I showed you HERE but the lighting is so bad that I'm going to have to put it off for when the sun comes out. We've had nothing but constant rain lately.

Thanks for stopping by

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

For The Olive Shop

Nearly one week of sewing like a mad woman produced this little lot. These are now in the Olive shop that I showed you in this post HERE.

Eight gift bags, twenty fabric baskets, ten sets of six coasters and four mobile pouches and two hearts.

I can't believe I actually sat and made sixty coasters. I was getting a bit bored after less than half and my daughter suggested that I listen to music. So I got out my mobile phone, plugged in the headset and played some fast music, amazing how quickly they got done although I did get a bit carried away listening to the music and sewed over stitching that had already been completed several times.

Don't think I could do all these again in a hurry.

These mobile pouches are really easy and I'll be doing a tutorial for these and the coasters after I had some interest on a FB group I'm on.

The gift bags were super easy too so I'll be showing you how I made these too.

After all that sewing I took a day off and then made this one. Much easier and quicker to make than the other ones I made so will be making more of these in the floral fabric.

Somewhere on Pinterest they were showing how to make these pretty bows with a fork. So cute and easy and they come out perfect every time.

Today I finished making a Boxy Bag. I did it as a review for someone who's patterns I've never seen before but I won't give any more away until tomorrow. Hope you come back then.

I'll be off to visit my daughter again soon so looks like I'm in for another crazy week of sewing before I go.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Kentuck Bag

Remember the Mississippi Bag I posted about HERE. That was the first time I'd made a bag from Numb-Skull Patterns. It was so easy to follow that I was delighted to be approved as a bag tester for Sarah Goodall. Not long after came my first test bag for Sarah.

The Kentucky Bag. The pattern was really great to follow. All the steps flow easily so that each step is completed as you go. You don't have to make one piece then set it aside for later to use again on another part of the bag and I really like that for every piece there is a pattern print out. Even the strap which is always something I hate having to measure out.
I decided to quilt the outer part and flap of my bag but in the pattern it's plain. The pattern also uses a twist lock on the flap which makes it look really professional. I couldn't get hold of one so I used a magnetic button instead.

Under the main flap is a large zipper pocket. Don't know why the photos show the pocket all crumpled, it looks nice and smooth in real life.

The back of the bag also has another zipper pocket.

The key pouch I made at midnight a few evenings after the bag was made. It occurred to me that the one I was using didn't match this bag so made one in matching fabric. All I need now is a matching wallet.

It's not often I can get good photos of the inside of my bags but this one turned out ok. As you can see there's loads of room with another two zipper pockets. This is as much as I usually take out with me. I keep my bank books, ID card and birth certificate in the blue plastic pouch, I'll have to make something for those too, a large wallet and a small one, sunglasses, perfume, my reading glasses and my mobile phone. Just wondering how many of you take everything but the kitchen sink with you.
I find the larger the bag the more I stuff in it. Most of the time with things that aren't necessary. This size bag is just perfect for the essentials and a bit more and with all the zipper pockets everything is organized.

I've been using my bag since I made it and love it. It's light and with only one strap really easy to carry. I find that if a bag has two handles one always drops off my shoulder. Do you have this problem too or is there something wrong with my shoulders? LOL

If you'd like to make The Kentucky Bag then you can find it HERE along with another 16 bag designs that are a part of the 50 State Bag Range that Sarah is in the process of designing. I can't wait for the next one.

Thanks for letting me test your bag Sarah.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Sunday, October 5, 2014

September In Pictures

I'm running behind on my posts due to a week of crazy sewing for the Olive shop. I made a load of stuff which I'll show you in a few days.

Here are the things I made in September. Some were actually finished in August but had to wait for pattern releases and there are a couple of other things made in September one of which I can show you which I'll do tomorrow. The other I'm still waiting for the go ahead to post about it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Friday, September 26, 2014

Goodies Galore!!! Like Mother, Like Daughter

Hi again.

This is going to be a fairly long post so I suggest before you sit down to read it that you grab a cup of your favourite drink and then come back and relax.

It was about a couple of weeks ago that I went to stay with my daughter for a few days. They have to be the most exhausting days I've ever had. What with visiting the doctors for my routine checks, going to the craft fair to sell our things and then all the shopping we did not to mention that I took some orders whilst I was there and was sewing like crazy to finish them. I've only shown you my share, my daughter bought loads too.

Remember I did a post HERE about the wallets and fabric baskets I made. Well the day after I arrived we got up at 5am to leave the house at 6am to be ready to set up at the craft fair. My daughter took loads of her things and I took mine. We were there till about 4pm and some of my wallets sold but the fabric baskets didn't although they attracted lots of attention. My daughter on the other hand had an excellent day. I'm so proud of her. The large wallets in the photo below are her work along with matching fabric earrings and rings you can see at the back.

She also works in a little shop a couple of days a week run by a young lady who loves all things vintage and had said I could put the remainder of my things there to sell. Good move becasue the fabric baskets all went the first day except for one and that one too has sold now. I got permission from the girl to take photos of her shop to post on my blog so I could share them with you. The shops name is Olive.

Panta who owns the shop also makes some gorgeous boxes, magazine racks, wooden key holders, like the one on the left on the wall, the front has a hinged door that opens up to hang your keys, little wooden chest of draws, trays and mirrors. So pretty.

You can see her things better in this photo. Isn't that little sewing machine so cute. The wallets at the front are my daughter and mine. Hers are the larger ones and on the left bottom corner there are watches with long fabric straps which are also made by my daughter. They go like hotcakes. 

Here is some of Panta's work.

See the little red polkadot fabric basket in the picture below. That was the last one that was left that I was telling you about.

These are some of the wallets my daughter sells in the shop and a few of the things that I make too. You might recognize some from previous posts.

In the shop there's also a selection of gift boxes and jewelery made by Panta.

It was from this little shop that my daughter saw a box before I arrived and bought it for me. It's the blue one in the photo below. I was absolutely delighted with it so ordered the pink pen holder from Panta which she kindly made in time for when I left. I'm going to be redoing my sewing room very soon in the future and it's going to be pink and blue inspired by these two purchases.

Now I had decided on the colour scheme I was on the look out for other things to add to my room and came across these two polkadot dishes that I wanted for keeping pins at the side of each of my sewing machines.

I just couldn't resist the green bag which I use to keep my tiny scissors and seam ripper.
Now I'm on the look out for curtain fabric to match my new goodies. Not as easy as I thought as I can't get the right colour pink.

I mentioned that I took an order while I was away and was busy sewing. These hearts were for the 'Olive' shop and I also had eighteen cushions made up in the same fabrics as the hearts but forgot to take photos of those. The fabrics were provided by Panta the shop owner and she also told me where I could buy them. Wait till you see what I bought. LOLL You may wonder why all the excitement but you see for those of you that don't know I live in the Middle East and can't get hold of these kinds of fabrics so when she told me about them I was bursting with excitement.

The red ones are made from felt.


Finally my purchases. Thirteen meters of fabric. I went over my budged and my daughter had to practically drag me out of the shop. She wouldn't let me check out any others after I bought these or else I'd have emptied my bank account LOLLL

The ones that got me really excited though were the three cupcake fabrics below and I also loved the hexi fabric. The blue one in the top right hand photo below has an apron print on it. So pretty and the quality is gorgeous. Ladies that do quilting abroad are so lucky to have these kind of fabrics. I won't be making anything to sell from these fabrics. They're just for me LOL

I also found felt sold by the meter and in every colour of the rainbow but just bought red and green. I must have been thinking of Christmas. I also bought reels of ribbon and lace and the acrylic colours my daughter gave me from when she was at uni.

Another thing I needed was zips. I bought 100 9" zips and 50 21" zips. One thing I would have loved to find but couldn't were the lace zips I've been seeing alot of on the web lately.

These I didn't buy, my daughter had them in her stash and gave them to me. Isn't it wonderful having a daughter who shares the same work and interests. The colour of the plain one didn't come out very well, it's should be a light greenish yellow, a bit like the colour of English mustard.

And she also gave me some of her scraps.

And that's it. Only other thing I didn't mention I bought was loads of white fabric in the top left hand corner of the photo below under the dark green one my daughter gave me and a pot of blackboard paint that I can't wait to start using.

Phew!!!! Did you manage to stay with me to the end. I should have taken my own advice and brought a cup of tea with me before I sat to write this post. Thanks for hanging in there.

I'm busy making things for the Olive Shop and my daughter will hopefully come in about three weeks time so I can hand them over to her. It will also be near my birthday and she has promised to buy me more fabric like the ones I showed you. I can hardly wait.

You probably won't hear form me for a few days until further test patterns are released. Did I hear a sigh of relief. LOLL

Thanks again for stopping by. I had so much fun sharing this post with you and hope you enjoyed it too.

Happy Sewing until the next time.

~ Maria ~

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Mississippi Bag

I'm back again with yet another bag that I made a few days ago but had to go onto the blogging queue. Today I'm going to show you The Mississippi Bag I made.

It was back in August when I came across Sarah Goodall's bag patterns at Numbskull Patterns and did a post about it HERE. I begged her to let me be one of her testers and she agreed. Sarah also let me choose one of her patterns to try out before I started testing and I chose this one.
Isn't it a beautiful design. When I first saw the pattern I kind of sighed and thought 'no photos'. I'm a visual sewer so love loads of colourful photos of the steps but as I read on and then started making the bag was really surprised at how well written the pattern was. All the instructions are in perfect order with clear digital illustrations and what I really loved is that there's a pattern piece for every part of the bag, even the strap which I hate having to measure out. Another thing I liked about the pattern was that each step flowed into the next, there was no making a certain part of the bag and then putting it to one side to use again later on.

There are two version to the bag, you can choose to quilt it as I did or leave it plain. Sarah's bag is quilted in a cross over line design and there is a free download on instructions on how to do that too. I chose to do mine in wavy lines becasue I'm lazy and couldn't be bothered to be accurate doing the cross over lines but I'm really pleased with the result.
Under the main flap that has a button closure there is a slip pocket with a another flap and button closure. I have a press at home so made these fabric buttons to match the bag.

 If you wanted you could put this slip pocket onto the back of the bag.

 I love the wavy quilting and will be using this more often.

I take awful photos of the inside of bags. This bag has a large slip pocket inside and you can't see from the photos but it's the exact same shape as the slip pocket and main flap as the outside of the bag. 

Today I finished testing my first bag for Sarah and it's another beauty. I'll be able to show you that one as soon as all the testers have finished making the bag and the pattern is released.

I've still got a few more things to show you but have to wait for pattern releases on those so tomorrow I'll be back her again, are you sick of the sight of me yet LOLL, to show you what I bought while I was away visiting my daughter.

Hope you'll be back
Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~