Monday, November 24, 2014

Tudor Bag - a test drive for Sew Sweetness

How many bags can a girl sew?  Apparently there can never be enough!

I love the tailoring and precision required in them - like tailoring, without the expense and accumulation of hand crafted jackets!

I answered Sara's call for testers again recently and created this one!  The Tudor bag.



Terrific for a confident beginner.  Lots of options available, with handles, straps, pockets, zips, magnetic closures...you pick!

large divided pocket inside.

The patterns is available from Monday via her website/blog.  If you are looking for a bag with lost of possibilities, this one could be for you!

Fabric constraints meant I put one of the lining pocket across the back of the bag instead.
Undivided it fits a magazine or my tablet easily
I made mine without the handles - they look lovely but I really am a messenger bag across the body kind of girl...I did make a metric conversion mistake and the front placket is double the size of that in the pattern - probably shouldn't have done the conversion and drafting while my Year 10 class were sewing and asking for help with the base insertion on their oval cases!!

Lovely zip pull 'bling' from Emmaline Bags

Fabrics from my stash" some Tilda for the lining, Spotlight home-deco weight for the main outer, a lovely piece of Phillip Jacobs for Rowan "Lilac Chintz" and some unknown remnant pieces from a Fabric Traders mystery bag . Coordinating pieces to limited size pieces of fabrics took a bit of time. Of course no one else know the combinations I could have used, so I don't know why that always takes so long....maybe its more like - "Do I want to use that special lovely bit for this project or save it for another?"   Do you do that?


I made my strap adjustable but fixed at one end...in case I ever want ot make it into a short handle I can, by feeding the clip in end through the ring and back onto the ring I inserted on the strap at the back - the length of my fabric strap required a join - and a feature ring does the trick without the strap bulk a seam would create.

Sara's bags use a firm but easy to work with knit covered foam product. I use Inn-Control by Creative Craft Products, and buy it online through Punch with Judy here in Australia. Together with an iron on medium weight on lining pieces and the Inn Control on the outer it forms a good sturdy bag that holds it shape even when empty. I trim seam bulk away but you can leave it in place for a quilted look.


I have a couple of year 9 girls that would manage this one I think. One recently created a Noodlehead bag and did a brilliant job! I will pop the links and photo in a post for you!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Stitch Craft Create...time to play!

I love checking out the magazines at my newsagent!
Confession - if it says new, I'm pretty much going to buy it!

I've been reading the new Australia /New Zealand issue of Stitch Craft Create.

Many things caught my eye.  Here are a couple my scrap bag at school allowed....couldn't come at marking so I crafted!  Do you do that?




The Tilda teaspoon lady is meant to live in a small china tea cup - I have a few - they need to be VERY small ( like a fancy child's tea set) but they are in the china collection at the back of the shed - and a million things are in front of it!  I checked out all of the local op/ thrift shops around me with no luck so bought a new tiny 'gravy' boat for her.

The deer is sitting in an IKEA frame I had at home.  (...as you do)
While I love the idea of fabric taxidermy, I'm a bit 'creeped out' by what it represents...the notion of killing animals and mounting their heads....I'll workshop through it of course!  I thought of making three different sizes, as an homage to the three flying ducks on the wall idea!  Probably wont though...a new project is always on the horizon!

Meanwhile they are sitting on my desk in the classroom and they promote a lot of discussion!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Things we are making" Thursday...Friday...

Oops! A WAY over due post for you!
Return of the classroom pics...projects completed by students recently!  'Show and Tell' time!

Year 8 Fold up shopping bags.  Calico and scraps for the pockets.  These students have blown me and themselves away!  Being a short term we only have 4 weeks  ( 4 x 50 minutes per week) to inspire and excite Year 8 about using a sewing machine for the first time!  These students have created this in only 7 lessons!  OK  they are stars!  Not evryone is that 'on the ball' but they are now looking  at a couple of ideas they will develop and create into a softie!  Last I overheard two of the girls wanted to make moustache shaped cushions!  They'll bring sketches tomorrow for discussion!  One boy wants to try a simple teddy. I love the variation of ideas.



Year 9 students have been making Buster from Happy Shiny World and a few have also broken away and negotiated to make other goodies that fit the brief!

Lily made her Buster in record time and wanted a challenge!  Huge lined bag with zipper from Bags book.  Top job!





Another negotiated project of the students own design!  Donuts!

Same pattern, everyone so different!  But all lovable and a good laugh!


10s are beginning to complete their oval vanity cases.  Adaptations between Homemade magazine last year, You Sew Girl and U-Handbag versions.







They have all done such a fantastic job - especially when I remember the limited sewing experience most of them have!  So proud!  ...and they are too!

Mind you, there are a number that have made such SLOW progress....or a lack of!  Pity, but creating isn't everyone's passion.

Now some cute shorts and skirts are in the making and a few wallets and purses...love it!  But my mind has to do back flips a few times each lesson to help out each different students and project!  Phew!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Swirl clutch wallet a.k.a. just follow the pattern as is!

I must learn to make the first one of any new pattern exactly the way it is written.

But, no, I decide to make some alterations and find that they don't always go to my plan!
Case in point: the Swirl Clutch Wallet pattern from Berry Birdy.



I was looking for a wallet or purse with a zippered coin section and enough room for cards that could be securely fastened quickly. It also needed be a quicker sew for my Year 10 girls looking to make another project in the last few weeks of term.  A couple of them , very competent sewists, have completed their oval 'vanity' case and were looking at making the Sew Together Wallet I made previously.  I thought they may struggle with the time left so I searched and came to the Swirl pattern.

....and the changes I decided to make...zipper end tabs and the addition of Vilene H360 iron on batting along with the firm woven iron on interfacing.....

Why?!!  

Result, a bit too bulky and the loss of the crisp finish.. I originally added it thinking it would help smooth out and take up andy 'slack' in the wallet, keep it in a good shape once filled.  No Need. Too thick and tricky to manipulate the sewing og the outer panel and zip.  The zipper end tabs just complicated the fit.  I will use a longer zip next time for sewing ease then trim back after with the tabs I think....see?  Already making changes again!  I must stop it!

Bag 'bling' in the shape of the lovely chrome "handmade" tab once again from Emmaline. Love them!



Will I make it again?  Absolutely!  Will I make it just as described?  Yes.  
Lesson learnt....until next time!  :-)

Fits quite a bit and fastens easily with the zip. 
Fabrics from Spotlight stores: Fat quarters on special $2.99 x 3.  (left overs for another!)
I had the zips and interfacings on hand.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tea and cake for one please....

Another use for those scrap pieces of fabric I create from the little bits I cant bear to throw out! My nightly blog reading brought me to one I regularly follow, Ric Rac.  ....and there it was, a  tea set!  Fond of 'mix and matching' my vintage tea sets - I have enough for a small cafe or tea room I think - this project really appealed to me today.



I do love a bit of food related fabric sculpture.  I've made cakes, crocheted vegetable and cakes, made fabric carrots for Easter, tweedy mince pies and puddings for Christmas


Unfortunately I don't see too many of my students having the patience to do all the hand sewing of fabric covered plastic discs and slightly fiddly button attachment at the cup handle, but it will sit on my desk in the classroom and be there for inspiration, and we will see who 'bites'!

I haven't made the teapot...yet, but enlarged the saucer to make a tea plate, for the cake of course!

I love Jodie's work!  Her toys are fabulous and have a cheeky personality to them!  I've previously made the disco bot and have yet to make the animal bag....but they are on the 'to do list' and the fabrics are sitting ready to go with each pattern in a large zip lock bag so I cant be tempted to use them on another project.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Vintage knickers, new style

I started this post last week, thought I'd sew like a crazy girl in the holidays, but life took over. Does that happen to you too?  Of course it does!

My travels through Pinterest brought me to this lovely post and ultimately to this pattern.  I'm thinking my year 9 or 10 girls might like to make these.  I have quite a bit of vintage sheeting I'm probably never going to use in a hurry and this pattern will fit the as 'new' edges of otherwise worn centre panels.

So it's mock up time! I will make one according to the original pattern and one in the same size using the modifications suggested in the blog post...and let the girls decide.  ( the mind of a teen girl can be a tricky one to please...so either way I make them will not please them all and fabric may not be to their liking either....but I'll give it a try anyway.)



About 1 metre of some soft fabric and your away!  As I don't have the 'small' body required in this mock up I've extrapolated the hip and leg sizes for elastic, so its a safety pin for each until 'a body' tries them on for me...I've used some soft lingerie elastic for the casings, but have left out the bows for this sample.

It's a quick little project that someone will make and then the others will probably try out!

Friday, October 3, 2014

More stash busting! A bag from 'the boro' posts!

Did you notice the themes red pink piece from my Boro jacket sewing preparation?  I made an up-cycled messenger bag from it together with a collection of reused zippers, bag hardware and a strap!











I've put a pocket into the flap for keys and quick grab items, an inner pocket for lipstick, tissue pack and other bits and bobs and the overall bag is big enough to throw in 'Greenie' my tablet (yes, it has a name, doesn't yours?) and a book along with my wallet!
Mt glasses always end up in the bottom and I have to delve in to locate them when needed!

Interfaced with the calico backing and iron on batting ( Vilene H630).  together with the calico and home deco scrap lining it has enough body but still soft enough to squish ...
It was good to be able to use everything from previous projects or  items, only the thread and H630 was new or on hand as leftovers from other jobs, of course!

Its a no fuss, 'throw it on the floor' kind of bag, easy for school and a good size!  Just a bit of fun to get back into the swing of sewing after a long time away!

....perfect for a week or two until I make another bag!....so many patterns so little time!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Adapting the Sew Together Bag

Here's a freebie you might like to make!
Craftsy has one from Sew Demented for you to download. I love a new pattern, and thought this one could become a new purse...with some adaptations for me.


Well, its a Saturday night, so lets get sewing!


  1. Go to the stash...spend a rediculous amount of time labouring over the fabric choice...which scrap will I use...do I really want to cut into that piece for this bag?...do these look good together?  Do i have enough zippers for this?...which interfacing and batting do I use, and have I got it?   
  2. Decision made, pattern drafted and ready to go.  read instructions - these are only written, not illustrations or photos other than the completed project.  You can scour the Internet to find a few if you need, otr look at mine!
  3. Pin, cut, press, ready! 
  4. Oooo...a card pocket might be handy for all those I.D.s licence etc
  5. I don't like the zips just being trimmed and fitting into the sides - too bulky...add tabs! (besides some of my zips weren't the exact size!)
read instructions! I put the pocket onto the wrong edge of the almost square piece!

Add tabs to create a total length of 9 inches - 23cm...much better!
While I also call lined pockets, with a zipper, "zipper sandwich" ( and the students look at me confused until they do one.....) I find I like to sew each layer in individually to secure the zip, sewing through the previous row of stitching in the final pass to ensure accuracy.

Not much for pinning, I place one to centre the zip!
Note to self - buy new zipper foot....the foot fell off the post and I did a 'MacGyver' repair job with a paper clip!

And so here I came to a halt - I am much more of a visual learner...I couldnt quite follow how the side panels worked...then I looked at my current purse and found a blog that also made this bag (interesting...eyes raised,.. OK...)  Lightbulb moment!  Ah-ha!  

Side binding beginning to be attached
I did the side seam joining pockets to panel a bit too wide for my liking this time...I will decrease them to a smaller seam.

See how the tab ends provide a neat and much thinner seam?

Zipper pull bling from Janelle at Emmaline Bsgs

Final outer zipper with tab inverted around the lower edge and sewn into position
Manoeuvring the tab and topstitching onto the base


zipper done  up - stitching all hidden underneath
Don't think I'll be using this one as a money purse!  More like a clutch bag!  Or seing kit, or shower/makeup bag!  I can fit my current wallet into it!  Give it a try!  A good evening spent at the machine!

now you see me....

...now you don't!

fits a good range of sewing bits with ease!

You wouldn't even know it was full!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Making Buster

My Year 9's have been playing around with the idea of Buster from Shiny Happy World.  He's a cutie and very cuddly!  I had lots of windcheater fleece and polar fleece that I knew I wasn't going to use to make things for me...so in true teacher tradition,..' raid from home to take to school'!  (do those of you in school do that too?)

I created a few skills steps for the pin up board - most ignore and and go straight to "Google Teacher" - a.k.a. me - who sends them to the board anyway....

"...read the instructions!  Look at the samples - THEN come see me if you need!...PLEASE!"

First results are coming in....








...then of course someone decided they would make a monster...no probs!  Same skills, different application!  ( and used up more from the scrap bins!)  The boys love this book as the patterns are already in it and the instructions are well illustrated.  They added velcro to the end of the arms so they could wear it around their neck!  ...as you do!  :-)

Adapted from Kathleen Ricketsons 'Kids Crafternoon - SEWING'  book!

I've been playing around with an assessment task for those of you into the Australian Curriculum - Tech/Design area.  I use my design brief task and then adapt it for each task.  that way the students get used to the format and just work their way through it! You're welcome to have a look at it.

Still to compete the teacher assessment tool - yes, I know, it should have been done in conjunction with the task but some weeks are more demanding and it was assessment time here! At this stage I have used 'one I prepared earlier' from a softies task.So Ive included this complete task here too!   Please feel free to comment if you think its good bad or indifferent!  its an idea, play with it, throw it out, up to you!  
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