Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tri- fold wallet

Style and Swing by Susan Dunlop is my most recent bag making book purchase. The box retails for $26.99. It has 12 projects. There is a project for all skill levels.  I selected to make the Tri-fold Wallet. It is the last project in the book and the skill level for this project is advanced.
The wallet comprises of  many small pieces being organized and using    post it notes to label each piece is crucial with this project. The instructions are supported with illustrations and are broken up into sections. I found this helpful with time management allowing me to complete a section each day.  In general the instructions are straight forward and easy to follow. However I did get very stuck on step two of the pocket section, so I wrote to the author begging for help. Fortunately for me she replied and I was able to continue the project and finish it without any more problems.
What I liked most about this book is that the templates and instructions for each bag project are grouped together. Also the templates are full size. That alone makes this book a keeper for me.
Next I hope to try and make the purse frame crutch. i have yet to use a metal purse frame so i look forward to the challenge.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tote with side loops

As an alternative to buying a paper gift bag I decided to make this tote from Simply Stylish Bags to present a gift in. I did not strictly follow the instruction for this bag. for instance my bag is slightly smaller than the bag in the book. I added a stiff base using Peltex 71. I also used SF101 interfacing on the bag exterior fabric and for the handles I used the four fold method and not the tube method. Finally I added an interior patch pocket. I hope she likes it as much as the gift inside.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Done! The Lahti Flight Bag  from 'The Better Bag Maker' finished in time for the trip back home!
There are only two more bags left in the book for me to try making!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The essential Tote

I remade the Essential Tote bag project from 'The School of Sewing' book as a demonstration for my beginner sewing class but I did a few things differently this time.

I always felt this bag needed a closure. So I borrowed an idea from a bag in 'Simply Stylish Bags'. I made a loop closure with button and used a self cover button from a packet I  purchased a while ago when I had seen them on sale.
For the inside pocket I used the patch pocket from 'The Better Bag Maker' book. Also from this book I borrowed the method for securing the lining inside the bag by stitching the base seam allowance of the bag and lining together. This by far is my favourite method to hold the lining inside the bag.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Barcelona Satchel

The Barcelona Satchel

This is the 8th bag which I have made from 'The Better Bag Maker'. The book rates this bags skill level at intermediate, however I consider it an advance bag because of the challenge of working with a stiff interfacing on the bag body. I used Peltex 71 for the bags body. The corded handles are also a challenge to stitch. I confess I broke a needle while constructing this bag.
The credit goes to the well written instructions as the reason this bag turned out so well.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Galapagos Boho Bag

Finished bag number 7 from the 'Better Bag Maker' book yesterday. The skill level is listed as intermediate. My favourite feature of this bag is the large darted patch pocket.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Why Sew

bag in progress
At Joann's last week I spent $32.03 before tax buying some of the materials that I need to make my next bag. I still have the rings and slider to purchase. So by the time I have all the materials to make one bag I will have spent approximately $40.
I can buy a bag for less so I asked myself why do I sew, as its certainly not saving me any money. Here are some of the reasons I gave myself.
Its meditative more so than a yoga class. I am calm as I slowly watch the project unfold right in front of me and at the some time I am the creator.
Secondly each time I make something I am building on my current skills and also acquiring new ones.
Thirdly making something myself is more satisfying than simply buying a ready made. Also I can customize the bag to suit my needs and not settle on close enough.
Lastly I need to create whether I am drawing, painting, baking or sewing. Its just who I am.
Why do you sewing?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Shades of Green

I recently purchased this accessory set for my machine. To test my new even/ walking foot I chose to make project 11 from the 'School of Sewing' book- the placemats.
Not wanting to buy more fabric I selected fabric from my ever growing stash but had just enough fabric to make two with only a strip left over. Initially I was fine with making just two but when I saw my finished placements I loved the results so made two more using what little of the leaf fabric I had left.
To make my version of the placemat project you will need for the top piece one 4 x 21' strip and one 12 x 21' piece, using a 1/2 in seam allowance stitch the two pieces right sides together on the 21'' side. This will give you a top piece that measures 15 x 21''.
Next cut one piece of batting that is 1'' larger all around than the top piece. Cut  a bottom piece from quilting fabric that is 1'' larger all around than the batting piece.
Place the pieces in a quilting sandwich as follows bottom piece right side down on work surface, batting and then top piece right side up.
Pin the quilting sandwich together. Begin sewing from the centre out. I used  vertical rows of stitching. For the distance between the rows I used the edge of my walking foot.
Neaten edges by trimming place mat to 14 x 20''. Bind edges.  I cut my own bias binding but ready made bias tape can be used.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Seoul handbag

This is bag number six from 'The Better Bag Maker' that I have made. The skill level listed in the book for this bag is intermediate.
My thoughts on making this bag- the front pockets are fiddly. However the zipper gusset for the bag closure is so easy. For a hand bag it is roomy almost too big for me.
Only one week left before for back to school.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Simple Cushion Tutorial

Buying ready made cushions are expensive. They come is standard sizes of 14 x14, 16 x 16, 18 x18, 26 x 26, 12 x 16 or 14 x 28. Fortunately making your own cushions  is easy, inexpensive and you are free to make the cushion in any size, shape, or colour you wish.
In this tutorial I am making a cushion insert  that when finished will measure 11 x 22in. Why that size? well because I want cushions that will sit on each end of my sofa.
plain and simple cushion

To Make Cushions you will Need the Following
Fabric- I used muslin (calico) that I found in the remnant bin. For a cushion insert any plain fabric will do because it will be covered with prettier fabric when you make  a cushion cover.
Matching thread
Polyester stuffing (Poly-fil)

fabric pencil
cutting tools (scissors or rotary cutter)
tape measure
sewing machine


1 Wash and iron fabric
2 Decide on the size of the finished cushion and add 1'' for seam allowance. my finished cushion will be 11 x 22in. My cut pieces will measure 12 x 23in.
3 Cut one front and one back piece on the straight grain. To save time you can fold the fabric in half and cut both pieces at the same time.

4 On one long side measure and mark a 5 in opening for turning on the wrong side.
5 With right sides together start at one opening mark stitch around the perimeter with a 1/2 in  seam allowance, stop at the other marked spot backstitch to secure stitches.

6 Trim the corners about 1 1/2 down the seam allowance.

7  On the side with opening, open and press seam back towards cushion. The seam will be neatly folded inside the cushion when you turn it right side out.
8 Turn right side out and stuff with Poly-fil. Take extra care to fully stuff the corners and smooth out any lumps.
9 Stitch opening closed using a ladder or whip stitch.

The next step will be to find some lovely fabric to make a cushion cover with.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

One More Bag

The Avignon Traveler from "The Better Bag Maker"
I finished another bag from the book 'The Better Bag Maker' this week. Its a real wonder that this bag turned out so well considering all the mistakes I made cutting and stitching the wrong pieces.
I think this will make a good bag for overnight trips. I especially like that it has a zipper closure on the top.
The rings and purse feet are in Antique Brass which I purchased from

Friday, August 7, 2015

How to Prevent Messy and Tangled Stitches at the Start.

For neat  first stitches remember to:-
1. have the take up lever in the up position every time you start stitching. The take up lever can be manually raised by turning the hand wheel.
2. hold both top and bottom tail threads for the first 3 to 5 stitches.

Friday, July 31, 2015

How to dispose of pins and needles safely

While walking barefoot in the yard as a child I stepped on a pin. when I removed the pin from my heel a part broke off and stayed in my foot causing me great discomfort when I walked until it was removed. I always remember that incident when its time to replace blunt needles on my sewing machine ( needles should be replaced after 8 hours of sewing) or when I find a pin is bent or broken.
the safest way to dispose of pins and needles I find is to wrap them up in masking tape before placing them in the garbage bin.
Have a lovely weekend.

Sew Serendipity - Skirt

I love this fabric is it 100% cotton chambray. I original made it into a gathered skirt for my daughter  but after a year of it sitting at...