Friday, January 31, 2014

January In Pictures

Here's a collage of all the projects I made in January. I think this is the most I've ever achieved.

I'm really looking forward to February.

~ Maria ~

Crazy Windows Reversible Table Runner

This is the last project for January. It's a custom order reversible table runner.
I was given the measurements and then we chose fabrics. I'm usually really lucky with my customers because they have an idea of the colours they want but are flexible enough to change their minds once they see the fabrics placed together if they don't quite match. If they really can't decide they leave it to me to choose and surprise them. Luckily until now I haven't had anyone come and say 'YUCK why did you choose those colours'.

This runner measures 55cm x 95cm (21 5/8" x 37 3/8")

The reverse side I used the same fabrics as the front.

Right now I'm working on a test bag which is top secret and you won't get to see till March.

~ Maria ~

Log Cabin Table Runner

January has been a busy month and I've loved every minute of it. After joining several sew alongs in order to keep me sewing rather than sitting and procrastinating I finally finished The 2014 It's A New Year Sew Along. From the 1st January up until the 29th January we had to make log cabins. We could make as many or as few as we wanted so long as we kept to the specified measurements. I rushed along in the hope that I would get a table runner made and was pleased to end up with two.

This is the first one I completed which you can read about HERE.

This is the second one completed just in time.

I made a total of 35 blocks and had three left over which I could make into mug rugs.

I really enjoyed making these and thanks to Caroline at SewCanShe I now have two table runners both made in a month, something I would never have done if it wasn't for the sew along.

The sew along is now closed but you can still go over and make some for yourself and also take a look at some of the lovely things people have made.

~ Maria ~

Faux Leather Makeup Bag

Quite some time ago I came across a little felt pouch on Pinterest with an interesting way of adding a zipper. It stayed in my mind for ages until I saw Geta from Geta's Quilting Studio make some HERE. Now I was sure it was possible I made my own.

This method of putting in a zipper has got to be the easiest and quickest I've ever done.

You'll notice a double row of stitching around the zip. The first row nearest to the zip opening was stitched before the zip was put in to help hold the faux leather and lining fabric lie nice and flat. The second row was the zipper stitching.

I'm going to be looking forward to making more pouches like this and also making some up in fabric. I like that there is no need for zipper tabs on the end.

I made this to go with my Uptown Girl Bag HERE but then decided to give it to my daughter so now I have a good excuse to make another one.

~ Maria ~

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grow Your Blog

I'm really excited to be joining in the 'Grow Your Blog' party hosted by Vicki over at 2 Bags Full.
This event is designed to help bloggers find new followers but more importantly to make new friends, so for those of you who are just visiting my blog for the first time, a very big welcome to you and hope you'll stop a while to take a look around.

This party is all about getting to know each other so let me tell you a little about myself.
My name is Maria. I was born in Spain and then moved to the UK with my family when I was three. Eighteen years ago I moved to the Middle East with my hubby where I live now.  I'm now 50 years old and not shy to let people know, after all it's just a number, right.
I have two grown kids, a daughter nearly 25 and a son 22 years old.

I started blogging just over 2 years ago after giving it much thought and weighing up the pro's and con's and have never looked back.
I originally started it to keep a record of the things I make. I love making bags and test for a few bag designers. I also love to do patchwork quilting and although I haven't made anything larger than a runner or table topper I hope that will change this year. I've been sewing since I was at school an my mum was an excellent seamstress. I also make cloths for myself but only out of necessity, it's not always easy finding the right style, size and fabric with ready made clothes.

The thing I have enjoyed the most about blogging though is all the wonderful friends I have made from all over the world. People who I have never met and more than likely will never meet yet they are all so kind, generous and supportive. Without these friends blogging would be meaningless.

Now for the hardest part of this post. Vicki has encouraged us to show a photo of ourselves, and I agree, it's always nice to see who you are reading about and who you are communicating with in emails so here's one of me but I warn you if anything goes wrong with your computers I'm not going to be held responsible LOLL

I look like I'm in deep thought here, probably thinking about what to sew next LOLL

I'm really looking forward to making new friends and reading your comments but please make sure you are not a 'no reply' blogger or commenter so I am able to reply to your emails. If you leave a comment and don't get a reply from me then you can be sure you are one of those people that I can't get in touch with.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

The Uptown Girl Bag

The third bag I made this month is a design by Christine at ChrisW Designs that I had the pleasure of testing. Ever since I've been making bags I've always wanted a leather bag. Don't get me wrong I love fabric bags but I just wanted a leather one for a change. Although my Pfaff has always served me well it didn't like faux leather much and I always had problems sewing it so I didn't bother. Then last year I got my industrial sewing machine and it loves faux leather and real leather so as soon as I saw this pattern I knew it was for me.

It has two slip pockets on the outside ideal for keys and phone. Inside there's 4 slip pockets,  2 pen pockets and an interior zippered divider pocket.

If you can't find cable ties or regular boning for the zippered divider pocket then try this. It's used for packing fridges, tv's etc. Really strong and rigid it worked perfectly. I got mine for free from a local electric appliance dealer who was happy to hand it over.

When making the outside body of the bag I learned that the faux leather could be stuck down with a leather glue onto the foam I was using.

But I think I didn't apply enough because after applying it in the evening I left it overnight to dry and in the morning found it was all bubbly. This technique is used by bag makers here and makes the bag nice and rigid. I guess I need a bit more practice but the fumes from the glue were pretty overpowering. Not wanting to cut out another outer bag I decided to stitch over the front and was happy with the result.

Christine used ready made handles and grommets on her bag. I couldn't find the grommets so I made these tabs and handles. They were only an inch wide which made it really difficult to turn the tabs inside out but with a bit of pulling and tugging and a lot of sweat I managed to do it.

I decided to sew the bag bottom to the foam I used to make sure it wasn't going to slip around as I wasn't using bag feet like in the pattern.

Finally the bag was finished with a recessed zipper to keep everything safe. Again I made a slight modification. I made both zipper ends longer as opposed to one long and one flush against the recessed zipper tab and I used these nickel zipper tabs rather than make my own.

I've been using my bag for the last few days and love it. Loads of room for the essentials and still room to hide a little bit of fabric LOLL. Make sure you check out the other testers bags HERE, they did an amazing job and as you will see this bag will look beautiful made in pleather or fabric.

If you'd like a copy of the pattern then go HERE to get yours straight away and if you sign up for Christine's newsletter you get 20% discount. This bag really is excellent value with or without the discount.

I also made a makeup bag in faux leather to go with my new Uptown Girl bag but I'll show you that in a few days time, this post has been pretty photo heavy.

Thanks for stopping by

~ Maria ~

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Sling Bag

It's been a busy month and I still have loads to do. So far this month I've tested three bags, this is the second one and it's by Samantha from At Home with Mrs H.
This is an easy bag that is ideal for a beginner to start with. I decided to make mine in pleather and being as I didn't have a piece large enough to make the bag I made it like a patchwork.

I left the back plain so that it could be turned around for a different look.

The inside has a couple of slip pockets and a zipper pocket. The instructions for the strap are for an adjustable strap or plain.
This bag is a perfect design to do as you please with. You can choose to make it in pleather like me or any other fabric. Marisa another of the testers made hers by using an old pair of jeans and Liz made hers out of Vinyl, how versatile is that and it's also easy to alter the size so if you want it bigger there's no problem enlarging the pattern. Make sure you check out the other testers bags over at Samantha's blog HERE. Oh and guess what, this pattern is FREE for everyone. Just go over to Samantha's Craftsy store HERE to download your copy or you can find the link at the bottom of Samantha's blog.

Thanks for letting me test your lovely bag Samantha.

~ Maria ~

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Pleasure of Giving

Those of you who follow my blog will remember about the post I made here in December about being in the November Issue of the Australian Homespun Magazine.

It was Christine's Sugar & Spice bag that I tested, you can see it at the top of my blog header. Christine very kindly posted a copy of the magazine to me and I kept my fingers crossed it would arrive. I have very little faith in the postal service and three weeks later it did and on Christmas Day.

As a way of saying thank you I wanted to make something for Christine and once again test the postal service. LOLLL

I made a Dresden Plate table topper and two matching mug rugs.

It's always difficult to make something for someone else especially when you've never met them so I decided to make them in my favorite colours.

I was surprised at how fiddly these little Dresden's are. It took longer to make these than the larger one.

I have to say that of all the Dresden's I've ever made this is my favourite one.

I normally do the echo stitching in the same colour as the fabric but this time decided to use a slightly darker thread.

I came across a tutorial here for making these tags so I made one in the fabric used for the Dresden Plate topper.

I love this floral fabric because it had a hint of glitter in it which you can't see very well in the photo.

I couldn't post about this until today when Christine emailed me to let me know she had received it. She said she loved it and thought it was too nice to use LOLLLLL

As for me I'm really pleased she received it, A BIG THANK YOU TO THE POSTAL SERVICE.
It's always nice to receive gifts but it doesn't compare to the joy of giving.

Speaking of gifts Christine is doing a giveaway of her newest bag pattern and a hardware kit. All you have to do is choose a name for the bag and leave a comment for Christine on the relevant post here. Hurry over because the competition finishes on the 22nd January. Sorry I posted late about it but Bloglovin is giving me some grief on occasion and I don't see my posts until it's too late.

~ Maria ~

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grow Your Blog

Want to grow your blog readership then quickly go over to 2 Bags Full. This is the last day to sign up so hurry. I just found out myself.

                                                           2 Bags Full

~ Maria ~

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My First Sew Along Completed

On the 1st January I joined The 2014 It's A New Year Sew Along here. All we had to do was make log cabins at the measurements specified. We could make as many or as few as we wanted and then make them into something before the 29th Jan. So I got to work straight away and loved making these little log cabins. You can see the first 35 blocks I made here and the second 35 here.

With the second set I made this small table runner measuring 31" x 24".

I love the backing fabric. I had a piece left over from another runner I'd made some time ago and it was perfect for this one. The colours matched the front so I used it for the binding also.

I now have a custom order for another table runner which I need to make super quick while I wait on the next test bag from Christine to come. After that I'll be making another runner with the first set of 35 log cabin blocks. Hopefully it will be finished before the 29th Jan deadline.

~ Maria ~