Friday, August 28, 2015

August Pinterest Project!

It was time for a little sewing when I chose my Pinterest project for August.  Ever since I pinned this tutorial, I knew that I wanted to create one of these cute tote bags. The tutorial is generously offered by The Inspired Wren and you can find the instructions here.  Here's a photo of the bag on The Inspired Wren's blog.
The bag pictured in the tutorial.  Not mine.

Selecting fabrics for the bag meant a visit to Joann.  Oh darn.  Ha ha.  I'm actually a frequent shopper at Joann, and never, ever consider going there a chore.  It's a veritable wonderland of crafty stuff.  The store that's nearest to me is a smaller Joann, but there's a giant one that's a little bit of a drive.  When you go there, the amount of fabrics can get your head spinning if you're not careful.

OK, back to the project.  So I selected my fabrics.  I liked the one for the main body of the bag so much, but found that other than black, it would be difficult to match or coordinate a third fabric.  The lining/trim and handles would all be the same black patterned fabric.
THIS one is my tote bag.
I also had to get some fusible interfacing.  I chose a heavier weight one when the pattern called for a medium weight.  The woman at the fabric told me that she had recently sewn a makeup bag and had used a heavy weight interfacing and wasn't happy with it.  She told me this story a couple of times as she cut the fabric and I didn't realize that she was trying to tell me to get a medium weight.  I wish that she had just come out and said that, but I think that she was trying not to be too bossy.  She was right, though and I'll know that for next time.

Above is another view of the tote bag.  This is the shape it actually is - very rectangular, about 9-1/2" wide and 12" tall, and 2" deep.  I can see how I can easily change the dimensions of the pattern pieces to make a larger bag.  This one, however, is the perfect size to carry a few books back to the library.

One thing I re-learned by sewing this bag is how to make a French seam.  I had to do a refresher course since the last time I sewed a French seam might have been back in high school sewing class.  Do they even have those anymore?  Anyway, that was long, long ago.  I went to trusty Youtube and found this tutorial (although there are quite a few of them).

One thing I added to the tote bag was a shaper/strengthener piece at the bottom of the bag.  I cut a piece of foam core board the same size of the bottom of the bag and then covered it with fabric.  I used the main fabric for contrast, but you can also use the lining fabric.
Use some double sided tape to adhere this piece to the bottom of the bag. 

I would highly recommend this project!  It can be done in a day, or probably an afternoon if you're a quick sewer, have all of your supplies organized and don't get distracted by stuff in your craft room or something going on out of the window.  Would I make another one of these?  Yes, definitely!  I'd say this project was a success!

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Monday, August 17, 2015

A Cure For A Stitching Slump

For me, stitching is usually an all-year-round pastime.  But for some reason, I could not get into cross-stitch this summer.  Who knows why.  (Maybe it had something to do with all of those books on my library request list coming in rapid-fire twos and threes.)  I happily attended my stitch group's Stitch Days in July and August, where I did a little stitching.  I finished an ornament.  And looking at new cross stitch patterns online was something I enjoyed, but none of these things inspired me to pick up needle and thread all summer.

Even though I love all of my works in progress, I felt that a new project was needed to kick me out of this slump!  What better thing than starting something new, right?

And I knew the exact one I had in mind:  Kaleidoscope by Sheena Rogers Designs.  It's part of her mini cushion collection and is just beautiful.  And most importantly, it was already in my stash!
Admittedly, I don't stitch at top speed.  In fact, I am a slow stitcher.  There.  I admitted it.  But just look!  You can already see the design forming.  I just love this design and the colors in it.  When I first started seeing Sheena Rogers' designs on Facebook, I thought they looked familiar.  Then I remembered why!  When we were in London in '09, we went to this gigantic bookstore and I bought a book of her designs!  So maybe I just need to get more of those done. 

So a tiny project was all I needed to get back into stitching.  Happy solution!

It's now time for Other Peoples' Creations!
At our August Stitch Day, fellow Sister in Stitches, Thea, brought some finishes she had completed.
We'd seen the finished stitching and now she presented the completions, all in a patriotic theme.
Just look at the creative ways that Thea finished all of her stitching!  Wall hangings, ornaments, pillows, and a door hanger with flowers!  And I'm pretty sure that Thea used fabrics, trims, etc. that were already in her stash to complete all of these.  Lots of ooh's and ahhh's for these!  Aren't they pretty?!
A closer look.
The door hanger has a handle to go over the doorknob.
And for something a little different, my sister, Sheila, has started to work with wire in her jewelry creations.
For the necklace, she used a purchased chain and added her bent wire and bead charms.  And the bracelet is made of her own wired sections with beads.  Try clicking on the photo for a closer look.

So there it is.  My return to stitching and being a better blogger!  Thank you for sticking with me and for all of your kind comments.  See you soon!