Friday, September 27, 2013

Pattern Giveaway (no not bags this time)

Today I'm really excited to talk to you about a giveaway being held by my dear bloggy friend Karen from laugh yourself into Stitches.
I found Karen's blog some time back through SewManyWays. Karen is a very, very talented longarm quilter. I admire her beautiful work and can only dream of doing quilting like hers.
Just recently she's started designing patterns and the first one was this beautiful quilt in gorgeous Autumn colours.  I can't wait to find some time to sit down and make this one.

Following this pattern she also designed two table runners, CandyCorn Pinwheels and CandyCorn Pumkins followed by two delightful pumkin cushions Jack and his girlfriend Joey. Wait till you see the quilting on the CandyCorn Pumkins table runner.

Karen is offering all these patterns to not one but FIVE lucky winners. That's an amazing offer!!! and it's really easy to enter the giveaway so pop over to Karen's blog quickly because the offer ends
Sunday the 29th at midnight (Pacific Standard Time).

While you're over at Karen's blog check out the lovely tutorials she has also and take a look at this design she's working on. So Cute.

Best of luck to all of you.

~ Maria ~

The Lombard Street Cross Body Hipster Bag

Time management is always an issue for me. I envy people who can sit down to sew for hours on end start and finish a project in no time at all. Many people have often asked how long it takes for me to make a bag and of course it depends on the bag. So when Christine at ChrisW Designs asked me to test this bag for her I decided to try and manage my time better by keeping a written record of the actual time I spend doing this bag. It took me about 11 minutes to cut out and tape the pattern.

And about the same time to choose my fabrics. You can see in the photo below in the top left hand corner I have my note pad and pen ready to write down when I start and stop sewing this bag. At the end of the day I added up how long it took and it came to 11 hrs and 40 mins over a total of three days.  The shortest time I recorded was 8 mins LOLLL, I have a very short attention span, and the longest was just over 2 hours.

Ok, onto the bag. This is a beautiful design by Christine at ChrisW Designs. If you're looking for a bag with pockets then this one is for you. It amazes me how Christine not only came up with the design but also wrote a detailed pattern on how to make it. The PDF has 47 pages of instructions which include 81 step by step colour photos. It is an advanced pattern but Christine makes it easy to make with all those photos. Having said that this is probably the most challenging bag I've made to date, loads of new techniques learned.

The name of the bag is interesting too and you can read about Lombard Street here, now you know why it's called the Lombard Street Bag.

Finished bag size = approx. 25.5cm (10”)  X 29cm (11½”) X 5cm (2”)

This is the front of the bag with 2 large front slip pockets plus a hidden slip pocket for your mobile phone.

 There is also a third large front pocket with a hidden zipper to keep your valuables secure.

The interior of the bag has another four slip pockets

And everything is kept secure and safe by a recessed zipper closure.

Hold on a minute that's not all, you still have another zipper pocket on the back of the bag to hold an iPad and hardcase.


Christine used some gorgeous eyelets to attach her adjustable strap but I couldn't get hold of any so I just did a conventional adjustable strap.

If you don't have an iPad then either get hubby to buy you one, failing that this bag is useful for so many occasions. It would be great to take on a holiday to keep your passport and other documents safe or for a student to keep pens, paper and pads tidy and organized and perfect for taking out on a shopping trip, just throw your keys, wallet and other things you carry into one of the many pockets, sling it across your body to leave your hands free to fondle all that lovely fabric you want to buy.
Have I convinced you to make one yet. You'll be sorry if you don't. You can buy the PDF pattern over at Christine' Shop and after you've taken a look at Christine's bag if you like the hardware you can buy that HERE
Make sure you take a look at the photos of the bags the other testers made. They all did such a wonderful job and chose beautiful fabrics, speaking of which you must see my friend Liz's bag over at Moments. Liz was also a tester and the fabric she chose was to die for. 
Thanks for stopping by. I'm off to make some more bags now. One more to test, this one is another beauty by Sara at Sew Sweetness.

~ Maria ~

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Little Bow Pleat Clutch Bag And A Giveaway

It's been a busy time here on the bag testing front. Sara's Aragon Bag Pattern still has a giveaway running and now I have a cute Little Bow Pleat Clutch Bag to show you.

I was fortunate to test this for Samantha from At home with MrsH. Make sure you pop over and see the other testers bags, they've all done such a wonderful job.

Here's mine. Samantha did suggest I may have difficulties with upholstery fabric on this one but I'm a rebel and won't be defeated. So upholstery fabric it was. The bow I made from satin.
Both Samantha and I thought ironing the pleat may be a problem but I managed to press the heck out of it.

You can't see it very well in the photos but the darker parts along the top of the bag have like a glitter effect in the fabric.

Inside there's a zipper pocket and the main closure has a magnetic button.

The bow is only sewn at the sides in the pattern so you can slip your hand behind it to hold your clutch but I decided to stitch mine down in the center. The pattern also includes instructions for two ribbon loops on the inside to attach a chain handle but I left those out.

A great little clutch that can be made to look completely different depending on the occasion you want to use it for.

Now for the GIVEAWAY.

Samantha is kindly offering a free pattern to the winner of the giveaway. As usual I'm not going to make you jump through hoops in order to win, all you have to do is leave a comment and I'd love it if you followed my blog but you don't have to.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE leave your email with your comment. In past giveaways I've had so many comments that are 'no-reply' so if your comment is picked by Random Generator and I can't get in touch with you I'll have to choose another winner. It's very time consuming trying to track down people who don't have emails included and my internet can be a bit of a hit or a miss sometimes so I'd appreciate your cooperation.

If you'd like a chance to win, the giveaway will run from today until 14th October 2013.
 Liz at Moments also tested this clutch bag, hers is so cute, Liz is also doing a giveaway that finishes on the 3rd October so make sure you pop over and leave a comment there to increase your chances.  If you can't wait till then to see if you are the lucky winner then go to Samantha's Etsy Shop to buy your copy.

One more thing, I nearly forgot.
Samantha is offering this pattern as part of a discounted price 2 pack with the regular bow pleat tote.

 If you've already purchased the Bow pleat tote, please contact Samantha either using the contact seller form on etsy, or as a comment on her blog post , or by email (if you've got it) for a discount code to bring the price of the little bow pleat pattern down so that you don't miss out on the discounted pack price. It'll take 1/3 off the price, so if you're in the UK, it'll only be £2!!
So to recap, if you've bought the bow pleat tote pattern, the little bow pleat pattern will be £2 for you, if you haven't bought the bow pleat tote pattern, you can buy both for just £5.

Thanks to everyone and the best of luck to you.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Important Notice About The Aragon Bag Giveaway

Whenever I do a giveaway on my blog I always reply to comments sent in. If you haven't heard from me it's because I can't get in touch with you and if I can't get in touch with you and you get picked as a winner I'm afraid I'll have to choose someone else.

Here are 5 of the people who commented so far that I can't get in touch with. If you see this post please email me you email address so you don't miss out.

1. Mrs SM
2. barbiesdoc
3. Alissa
4. Patti L
5. Margareth Tai
6. Patti
7. ahineg

Please to all of you that leave a comment make sure you leave your email with your comment or make sure you are not a 'no reply' blogger.

If you are not sure how to check then go to my Marisa's blog where she gives a link to check your status.

Thanks to all of you. I'll update this list if necessary.

~ Maria ~

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Aragon Bag & A Chance to Win The Pattern

I've been waiting impatiently to show you my newest test bag. It's the Aragon Bag designed by Sara of SewSweetness.

This bag is packed with pockets. It has two elasticated side pockets on the outside as well as a pocket with a magnetic button flap closure on the front and the back has a zipper pocket.


Inside there is loads more. Again two elasticated side pockets, one large elasticated pocket divided into two and another zipper pocket. Then there's all the space in the middle. It's great to use as a diaper bag or even a weekend bag. That's what I'm using mine for.

No my lens isn't dirty LOLLL it's all the natural light coming in through the window.

I can't get hold of soft and stable like Sara used in her pattern so I used fusible batting onto home deco fabric and then on top of the fusible fleece I used fusible interfacing which made it a really sturdy bag.

The inside seams are finished off with bias binding and with all the thicknesses I had to cope with it was a bit of an effort sewing it on, I ended up sewing the whole lot on by hand but I'm happy with the result.

The only thing I would do differently next time is to cut the fusible fleece smaller than the main bag pieces to reduce the bulk when sewing. Luckily I had my heavy duty industrial sewing machine which coped with all the layers beautifully but I think the finished result would have looked tidier if the seams had been less bulky.

If you attempt to make this bag with the layers I used and don't have an industrial sewing machine then DON'T use home deco fabrics with fusible fleece and fusible interfacing. Use a lighter fabric and cut the fusible fleece smaller.

Now for details of the GIVEAWAY. Sara has very generously offered a free pattern for the Aragon Bag to one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave me a comment below, I'd love it if you followed my blog but it's not necessary. Also please pop over to Sara's blog and check out all the other testers beautiful bags.

When you leave a comment please leave your email with your comment or make sure you are not a 'no reply' blogger, if I can't get in touch with you and you're picked I will have to chose another winner.

The giveaway will run from today until the 1st Oct 2013 when a winner will be picked by Random Generator. If you can't wait till then to see if you've won then you can find the pattern at Sara's pattern shop HERE.

Best of luck to all of you and thanks for stopping by.

~ Maria ~

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bookbag Backpack Giveaway Winner

It's time to announce the winner of Samantha's Bookbag Backpack Pattern.

I was fortunate to test this bag for Samantha from At home with Mrs H. It's a beautiful design with loads of room. Inside it has a zipper pocket and another behind the front pocket.
It can be carried as a backpack, in your hand or on your shoulder.

Before I announce the winner I want to apologize for not being able to show you the number. I've just bought a laptop and it has Windows 8. I'm used to Windows XP and try as I might to copy the Random Number I just can't figure it out. Maybe someone with Windows 8 can tell me how to do it or give me a link to a tutorial so I can use it next time.

So for now I'll announce the winner chosen with Random Generator.

The winner is Camila who wrote

Hi! Oh, you do some fancy sewing! I just discovered your blog and I love it!
Thanks for this giveaway!

CONGRATULATIONS Camila. I'll be emailing you shortly just in case you haven't seen this post and I'll also be emailing Samantha who will email the pattern to you.

For those of you who want to make this bag, you can buy a copy of the pattern over at Samantha's Etsy Store.

 I've just finished testing another bag for Samantha. This time a cute clutch and I'm also testing a gorgeous bag by Sara of Sew Sweetness so look out for those and maybe some more pattern giveaways. Christine of ChrisW Designs will be sending out a pattern for testing soon and I'm really looking forward to testing that one.

Thanks to all of you for taking part and thanks to Samantha for offering the pattern for the giveaway.

~ Maria ~

Friday, September 6, 2013

Want To Be A Pattern Tester

When I've made bags in the past I've often been contacted by my followers asking how they can become pattern testers.

It's pretty easy really. If I see a designer on the net that makes bags and I like her designs I'll email her/him, yes I test for a male designer too, and just ask if they need pattern testers. I usually give them details of which other designers I test for and my blog so they can check out my work. That's all there is to it. They can only say no thanks, I already have all the testers I need. Then there are times when designers will advertise they need testers on their blog and this is what's happened this time.

Christine at ChrisW Designs is looking for pattern testers for this bag.

If you want to test this gorgeous bag email Christine directly. Make sure you are not a beginner as this is an advanced pattern. Also Christine is looking for testers who have access to ByAnnie's Soft & Stable.  Check her blog for all the details.

If you don't want to test but would love to win a copy of the pattern PLUS the hardware for the bag then come up with a name for the bag. Again check out the details on Christine's blog.

~ Maria ~

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Potholder Tutorial

I wanted to make some potholders for my daughter but didn't want to do any binding. While I was cutting out squares for a rag quilt I thought that would be the ideal way to make them. Then instead of using batting I used denim from an old pair of jeans I had.
Here's how I made them.

I cut out four squares 7" x 7" but you can use any size you like.
Two squares are from denim and two in quilting cotton.

Place your two denim squares wrong sides together then place your back square under both of those with the wrong side facing up followed by the top square right side facing up.

Next you want to sew around the outer edge three times trying to make your stitching wonky. This was the hardest part for me as I've always tried to keep my stitching as straight as possible.

 Next mark a square with tailors chalk or a disappearing marker pen 2" in from the outer edge. Then sew over the marked square three times, again wonky. If you don't want to do a square you can sew a cross from each corner as you would on rag quilts.

 Now trim your outer edges with pinking shears. I keep the cut off edges for making something in the future when I've collected enough. I'll show you what it is when I've collected enough.

 Now you want to throw your potholders in the washing machine so the edges fray. Then you can throw them in the tumble dryer or hang them outside to dry. Once dry trim the loose threads.

 You've finished. Quick and easy to make.
I also made these tea towels to give to my daughter along with the table mats I made for her.

 For some reason one is missing from the photo. I made eight.

~ Maria ~