Monday, April 14, 2008


It is with this project that I have run a needle through my finger for the first time. I've pricked myself a million times. But this time the needle on the machine went right through the skin on my pinkie's knuckle. Now that's it's done I could use a day at the beach, which is exactly where I hope this bag will be used.

On with what I learned...

1. Never put your pinkie finger that close to the needle.
2. Duck cloth is both extremely easy to work with and exasperatingly hard to work with.
3. The pattern is Vogue 7653 and it has unnecessary steps that make for some weird finishing.
a) Were I to make this pattern, again, I would turn the outer edges in a half inch an sew together rather than leave a raw edge to be covered by bias tape.
b) I would make the inside "flap" style pocket longer and give it a zipper.
c) I would make the side panels out of the same fabric as the lining (the duck cloth was a little stiff for side panels).
4. Fancy cuts to showcase fabric patterns are really hard when you are working with blades of grass and bias cuts.
5. White denim thread is hard to come by. Order online next time?

Where I strayed from the pattern...

1. I didn't use any interfacing this time. I am glad I did this. The duck cloth was plenty sturdy without having another layer of interfacing.
2. I did cut two panels for the bottom and made a sleeve in which I inserted the plastic placemat bottom (These plastic placemats are a dream).
3. Rather than 1 1/2 inch bias tape I made 2 inch bias tape (actually I made both sizes). The 1 1/2 inch was just two narrow for me to work with.

1. Vogue 7653, variation D
2. Duck cloth from JoAnn's
3. Lining and contrast fabric, "Freer" from Laurie Smith exclusively for Hancock Fabrics.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gym Bag for O

This lovely gym bag is for a friend -- first name starts with O, and no it is not Oprah.

She's a gym-aholic, but a very stylish lady. So bag is designed with small pockets inside to accommodate her particular style of phone, her keys, and locker key. Outer pockets, there are four, accommodate a large Nalgene water bottle or small paperback novel. I wanted to keep the water bottle pocket on the outside of the duck cloth because I hate when my water bottle leaks on my gym clothes -- or worse my fresh change of clothes. Also used a magnetic snap for a closure... because who likes when people can look inside your bag!?!??! Extra long handles are meant to accommodate extras you might find stuffing on top of a full bag, i.e., winter coat. I also used a plastic placemat in the bottom so that it's really sturdy. It's a sturdy bag, despite its pink sensibilities. Made of duck cloth with basic cotton layers on the outside and the inside (lining).

One trick I did use to stabilize the bottom -- besides the plastic placement -- was that I folded the triangles (from the folded corners) toward the bottom, rather than up. This created several layers of duck cloth and lining at the base. I know you noticed my trademark (well, it's not really mine) bias tape on the handles. This time I elected to cut with the grain rather than bias. I noticed that bias gave enough stretch with other bags that I wanted to have something sturdier for this one (because I knew it was going to schlep shoes, clothes, and books to the gym).

The swirly pink and green cotton print and the magnetic closure are from JoAnn's. But the duck cloth is a remnant from my favorite local fabric store. The tape on the handles is actually a drapery trim (used to make roman shades) that I bought for .12/yard at Hobby Lobby. Placemat was a .25 deal from Target. I dreamed up all the measurements. But it's your basic tote pattern that you can find in just about any/all craft books on the market.

F is for Fine Food

Embroidery on existing dinner napkins (from Villeroy & Boch). Font is Spring (I think) from a Creating Keepsakes "scrapbook" font CD.