Dec 052014
 

I got to test Sew Sweetness’s new Holland bag pattern (I believe it’s going to be released next year), and it makes such a cute little bag!
holland bag

I haven’t gotten around to buying thicker topstitching thread, so my straight stitching on the Essex linen straps was looking wobbly (even though I swear I was sewing straight). I ripped that out for the strap extenders on the bag body and experimented with the decorative stitches on my Juki F600… I may have gone a little crazy with the cutesy-folksy look, but I like it with the matryoshka print!
holland bag -- lookit the straps :D

Since the pattern is going to be aimed at beginners (I think), it includes instructions for patch pockets on both sides of the lining, but I replaced one with my usual interior zipped pocket.
holland bag interior zip

The bottom lining is an Aneela Hoey fabric — this is going to be my niece’s Christmas present, so hopefully she’ll get a kick out of the girl reading a book.
holland bag bottom

The tester version of the pattern has pretty long straps (30″ strips), but I like smaller bags like these to be right under my arm, so I cut mine down to 23″. Here’s a five year-old for scale!
Cosmo and the Holland bag

I sewed this on both my Juki TL-2000qi and F600. I started out on the F600 because of the decorative stitching on the straps and continued until I was sewing the exterior pieces (canvas and Soft & Stable) together. Then I noticed that when I tugged the exterior pieces apart at the seams, the stitching would become exposed, which looks awful. I switched to my TL-2000qi, and that sews things together much tighter so that individual stitches are never exposed when the seams are stressed.

Now I’m curious: do you think that if I needed to, I would be able to adjust my F600’s settings so that thick seams are more secure, or is this just the natural difference between a computerized/decorative stitch machine and a straight-stitch-only machine? Either way, I’m glad I have both! hehehe.
holland bag -- lookit the straps :D

Dec 022014
 

Now that it’s officially the Christmas season, I’m finally posting my kids’ Halloween costumes. On it! (Oh, and everything’s wrinkly because they were sitting in a pile near the door cause I kept thinking I’d take pictures this… okay this… no really this afternoon.)
jedi - set of three

Mr. Yazoo looooves Star Wars (he has almost all the books… which are now only legends, argh!), so he showed the kids the movies and then I told them they were going to be jedi for Halloween. muhahaha.
jedi - glowbug

I made each of the kids a sleeveless tunic and a cloak. Our Halloweens are hot (if they’re not raining), and I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t overheat and then want to take off the cloak. Cause then no one would know what they were!
jedi - unsuspecting

Generally, I think people could tell they were jedi, although more than one person asked if they were Franciscan monks. hah!
jedi - sunshine

I made Mr. Yazoo’s sith cloak last since I wanted to work out the construction on the kids’ ones. It’s made out of bottom-weight twill (the kids’ ones are cotton broadcloth) because he’s going to wear it every year from now on and we wanted it to be nicer, but I couldn’t afford to buy 8 yards of wool. Plus wool is really warm. But the twill turned out to be a heatbox as well! Too bad, though — he’s still obligated to wear it every year.
jedi - glowbug fighting

P.S. I cracked up when Mr. Yazoo showed me this The Force Awakens special edition trailer… although perhaps you should watch the real one first. :D

Nov 202014
 

(No, not that one. heh!) I’ve wanted to make the Wee Wonderfuls Elsa doll for so long… at first, I was waiting for a time when I could give one to my niece (but then I gave her a daddy doll instead), and then when Glowbug was born, I had to wait till she was old enough to want one. Finally last week she was trying to steal Sunshine’s monster doll, so I knew it was time!
Wee Wonderfuls Elsa doll

I loooove this doll — it’s so cute! It’s the regular (not wee size), and since I worry about little kids playing tug-of-war with dolls, I adjusted the construction so that the arms and legs could be machine-sewn into the seams. Since the bottom gusset is originally a single oval, I cut two half ovals (plus seam allowance) to create a seam to sew the legs into. I also left openings in the underarm and inner leg seams and stuffed them using my hemostats and a bubble drink straw after turning the doll right side out.
elsa legs

It was too difficult for me to try to also machine sew the head on before turning, so I ladder stitched around the neck three times. I made waaaay too many bangs, and I think her eyes are a little higher than they’re supposed to be, but I still love her little face! Yay for a cute pattern! I was sort of going for a forest elf look with the leafish embroidery around her funny little hat; when you look at the embroidery specifically, it’s pretty hilariously bad, but if you just glance at the doll, I think it works! :D
elsa doll head, head on (hehe)

I also put little colonial knots around the back neck to keep securing the hat, cause I really wanted to make sure nothing would come off. Also, at first, I left the little shoes unattached, but then (after I took pictures) Glowbug started throwing them on the floor and saying, “uh oh!” to get me to put them back on, so I got tired of that and colonial knotted the shoes on as well.
elsa doll head, side view

I’m super happy that Glowbug seems to like her doll — she carries it around and calls it baby! :)
elsa doll and glowbug

Nov 122014
 

When Noodlehead’s Poolside Tote was released earlier this year, I was kind of meh about it. But then my OMQG guildie showed up with a goooooorgeous poolside tote that she received, and I had to make one for myself. This was also something that I made at the last minute before our NY trip — I had visions of carrying my loads of shopping goodies around in my rawr bag. :D
lions poolside tote

I really wanted to make mine like my guildie’s one — with faux leather pocket and handles — but I eventually calmed down (after mentally reviewing how much I’d been spending on fabric >_< ) and eked the handles and pockets out of some denim scraps I had lying around. I lurve this bag... I especially want to point out the cutout, because at first I just thought it was a cosmetic feature, but it really is practical and makes the bag comfier to use!
lion poolside tote, pocket side

Oct 302014
 

Still catching up on things from before our trip! First up, flying squirrels made for kiddie presents. These are hilaaaaaarious! Plus, they’re super easy and relatively fast to make, and the pattern is free!
flying squirrels

I felt an intense need to make travel pillows for everyone (except my kids) — these are for my father-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, husband, and me. My in-laws already had their own comfier and more useful U-shaped travel pillows, but they very politely carried the ones I made them on the plane. :D Just in case you can’t tell, two of these have gadget pockets, which I don’t think ended up getting used. On the bright side, my kids liked hugging the grey stars and dadcat pillows during our vacation!
travel pillows

Waaaay before our trip, I got to be a pattern tester for Sew Sweetness’s Crimson and Clover Train Cases. I made the smallest size and stingily did not make proper bias tape, which Sara very kindly didn’t mention. >_< Can't see the bad piping in this pic, though... muhahahaha!
small Crimson and Clover train case

Oct 272014
 

A couple of weeks ago, when I was in the middle of an I-must-sew-all-the-things-for-our-trip to-do list, I wanted to procrastinate with the Jenna cardi pattern I’d just bought. Since I had a lot of fusion jersey sweatshirt fleece from Girl Charlee (it was listed as coral, but sure looks orange to me), I thought it would be fun to make a bright orange cardi for my sister — that way, I’d strike off an item on my to-do list since I needed a present to give her during our trip, and also it would be funny to make her a sweater that would make it easy for her kids to find her in crowds. heh!
orange jenna

I made a hip-length variation A with long sleeves in a size 32. My sister is quite a bit smaller than me and the “coral” jersey had NO stretch, so I hoped that would fit her. (Spoiler: it did, yay! She had enough room to put on a couple of thin layers underneath, which is fine since she gets cold easily.) In a bit of sewing geekery, I was stoked that since the fabric is 70″ wide, I could cut the whole thing out with only one yard of fabric!
jenna cardi layout

I really like the extra duper long sleeves and nifty button band. I don’t have enough experience to know if this is normal, but I sure appreciated being able to use regular woven interfacing for the button band… one day I’ll get around to buying knit interfacing, but I’m not there yet. For a couple of seconds, I thought about stealing this cardigan for myself, but the pictures convinced me that it was too small for me… hello armpit wrinkles!
orange jenna cardi, front

… and hellooooooo back wrinkles! I’m looking forward to making one or two for me, but now I’m wondering: my measurements put me between the size 32 and 34, and when I make it in a normal knit (one that stretches), do you think I should make the 32, the 34, or go all out and blend them (nooooo!)?
orange jenna cardi, back

Oct 212014
 

While I was on vacation, my review of U-Handbag’s It’s a Cinch Tote went up at Sew Sweetness as part of this autumn’s Purse Palooza. I was not together enough to schedule a post about it to go up while I was away. aheh.
its a cinch - cinched

tl;dr: the bag’s really cute, but the instructions leave something to be desired. :}
it's a cinch - rock wall

My friend seemed to really like it! I hope she did — she’s really super duper polite and would never let me know if she didn’t…

Oct 092014
 

I found myself in need of more luggage (also, I was trying to justify recent purchases by using my stash, hehe), so made an owl-riffic portside duffle bag. The exterior fabric is all bought locally for once — I got the owls (at full price O_o) from a local fabric shop, and the base and handles are made from my twill maritime shorts’ leftovers.
owl duffle skyline

Having started my grown-up sewing from the quilting side of things, I thought it was interesting how the portside instructions and pattern differed from indie bag patterns I’ve used in the past, considering Grainline Studios is generally focused towards apparel. Specifically, I found myself printing out eight jillion pages in order to end up with a bunch of pattern pieces that were rectangles. >_< I've read apparel-focused people getting frustrated when pattern pieces weren't included for every single thing, so it makes sense that Grainline would write a bag pattern this way, but I kept grumbling, "just give me cutting measurements! ARGH!"
owl duffle right side

Even more frustrating was that the yardage required was given for the entire set, not for individual pieces in the set. The first time I made this bag (oops, this owl version is actually the second one I made — I gave the first one away before I could take pictures of it), I bought way too much because I bought the recommended yardage even though I only wanted to make the duffle. doh!
owl duffle left side

This bag could definitely benefit from piping, but I tend to fall on the side of laziness when it’s not explicitly called for in the pattern. :> Anyway, I’m looking forward to using this bag — it’s huge, and there’s no way someone can try to pretend its theirs and walk off with it. muhaha!
owl duffle on ground

Oct 032014
 

Today I have a guest tutorial at imagine gnats for making Rachael’s tumble tee into a cardigan.
tumble tee cardi

Aren’t those stars cute? I justjustjust tried out an awesome women’s cardigan pattern (oops, haven’t blogged about it yet), and now I want to use the same fabric so Glowbug and I can have matching cardigans! gahhhh!

Oops anyways, I worried when I was done and it ended up slightly too large (I made the 2T size and Glowbug is only a year and a half) that I should have made her actual size so the pictures would be all pretty, but it was too late and I didn’t have enough fabric to make a second one. This is why I’m not a fancy pants kids fashion blogger! :D
tumble tee cardi

Oct 022014
 

I recently got hooked on Massdrop, and I one of the things I bought was a Noodlehead pattern 3-pack that included her Runaround bag. I actually bought the pattern pack because it included the super tote and divided basket, but then I ended up making the runaround bag first because it was perfect for a quick present for my niece!
runaround bag

My first impression when the runaround bag pattern was released was that it’s too smooshy/formless for my taste, but after I made it, I found out that it’s really a comfy and convenient bag to use. Comfy and convenient always wins for me since I forget what I look like when I’m not in front of a mirror. Also, I love that the pattern’s instructions are impeccable, which I dooooon’t take for granted anymore. >_<
runaround bag sunshine

I do think that the magnetic snap could stand to be maybe 1/2″ higher. And I swear I followed the instructions, but my zippered pocket looks waaaaaaay too low. While I was sewing, I was even thinking that the zipper looked like it was in a strange place, but I was in verbatim compliance mode and didn’t just move it up, doh.
runaround bag lining

I had bought some metallic gold thread on a whim, and I tried using it on the patch pocket. It’s pretty cute, but I didn’t remember to adjust my tension or anything to accommodate the thread and it kept shredding. ugh!
runaround bag patch pocket

When my niece was opening her presents and got to this, one of her friends said it looked like Santa’s bag. She didn’t even see it when I tried using gold thread to topstitch the binding — then it looked super Christmassey! I ripped that out and used plain brown thread instead.
runaround bag close

Since it’s nice seeing bags against people for scale, here’s the runaround bag on a five year old. :D
runaround bag cosmo