Aug 22, 2013

A day full of firsts... zippers, pouches and leather!

Mr. Fuzz says that my handbag is like the Bermuda triangle... lots of stuff goes in, who knows what comes out!

I guess that my frayed, good old cosmetic, meds and whatever else pouch that I have faithfully carried around for YEARS finally gave up and decided to burst out of joy one day...  Well, well, I may have put in it one too many things  (really? does that EVER happen in a woman's bag?  lol)

Anyway, as you can see in previous posts, my crafty bone is restless and I decided to make a pouch - yes my own pouch, lined, zippered, and will a bunch of firsts for me: making a pouch itself, attaching a zipper and sewing leather!! 

And there goes another Yiya! I mean, why make first times easy if you can get a combo of super exciting who-knows-how-it-will-turn-outs...  Yep, that's me! The one that dares to choose weird things and try them for the first time; why be conventional when you can get yourself into trouble right in the middle of a project?

After looking around for a pattern I'd like, I ended up at Ayumi's blog, Pink Penguin. Ayumi is a super talented Japanese designer, and her pouches and totes are just beautiful.  You can definitely see the influence of Japanese culture in her desings, very zakka, practical and with a hint of simplicity that is a common feature in her unique execution.

So, I followed Ayumi's instructions; click on the following link to go to her tutorial: How to make a stylish Pen Case.  That said, hats off to Ayumi!!

And here is what I ended up with:

I tried to get a good angle, but I when I look at the picture, I can think of all my misses, but it's not too shabby...  Actually, I think it's kind of cute!  The best part is when I took it out at work to reach for something, and the lady that was with me just picked it up and started turning it around and admiring it...  She even asked if I would sell them... Oh well!!  When we live in a world when we don't have to work and money (for fabric and crafty stuff, of course) grow on trees, it would be a whole other ball!

Let's get the pics rolling!!  Getting things ready in pic 1...  Side note: I generally don't get a "mise-en-place;" I kindly send my thanks to Mr. Fuzz who was peacefully sleeping in the next room while Yiya woke up at 6:00 am on a Saturday...  Guess my body has to learn that it can sleep in on Saturdays!

Something that I had to do is make sure I understood Ayumi's instructions by making my own notes on the materials and the way in which all the parts came together.  Actually, this was my first step; after all, this was my very first purse and my very first zipper!! (And taking notes is quieter than my sewing machine, hehe.)

The following step is a bit different from Ayumi's instructions.  I really wanted to use some of the scraps I had, so I pieced the center part, with an extra 1/2", so that the piecing matched the original; I had to use some of the lining fabric in order to get the size I needed.  After that, I just sewed the faux leather to the sides.  (And yes, Mr. Fuzz was awake when I started sewing, lol.)

I cut the batting a bit larger because I wanted to QAYG (quilt-as-you-go) - I really liked how the extra stitching added interest and structure to the panel.  The larger size was needed because fabric often shifts with this technique, and I was not sure how the faux leather would "behave."  I'm glad I had the extra material because it DOES shift A LOT.  I actually ended up flipping the panel so that I could sew in both directions and keep the leather from skewing too much.  After this, I sewed the front panel to the lining.

In the next photo you can see how the fabric "folds" inside the seam, it all gets bulky, and it won't let flat. A little trick that I learned is to top-stitch. This means that you need to sew VERY close to the edge of the seam to set everything straight and in order!

After top-stitching, everything is straight, flat and ready for the next step!  By this point, I was just elated to work with the leather, and the next project had already started to take shape in my head...  

The next step was making the sides, that I ended up thinking of as flaps, and attaching them to the sides of the main panel.

And here I am, checking the progress with the picture that Ayumi posted on her blog. Not that bad for a first time, huh?

The next step was attaching the binder to the edge of the zipper...

 and sewing the sides around the "flaps."

The pouch was taking shape and the only step missing was attaching the zipper to the other side of the pouch.  According to Ayumi's instructions, the only step missing after that one was sewing two little ends to the tips of the zipper.

And here it is!  A zippered pouch, fully lined!  Woohoo!!  Soooo happy that my little black pouch decided to fray and push me into making one myself... Oh! Did I mention it has a zipper?  :)

See you next time!

Aug 18, 2013

Coffee Time!

I have this thing for creating things that are practical, so when a good friend told me that her favorite color is black -and sometimes gray- I couldn't help but start thinking of a little something for her. Despite her colorful statement, she wore pastels and bright colors, and I had to get to the bottom of it!  It turns out that she has been trying to try other color combinations and get away from a monochromatic wardrobe... And then, she just did it - she brought orange and green to the picture.  I knew I had to put all of those together, and ended up with inserts and half-square triangles in the only black fabric I had (at the moment...). 

So, here is the final mug rug, according to specifications:

Ah! Little triumph over pieced binding and echo quilting, thanks to my ever-useful walking foot.  By the way, I got that one because Mr. Fuzz recommended it, and it has been a major life saver.

And while enjoying a cup of coffee, I start concocting a new wall hanging for the office and a Thanksgiving gift.  Yes, it may sound sort of soon, but it's never too soon to start with hand-made gifts for the end of the year!!  I will be posting the progress on that one, and I hope you enjoy it as I will be tackling three major blocks, all on an 8x8 grid can't wait to get that little project going...

In the meantime, I'll get ready to crawl on the couch and start reading a new book from Tyndale that just got in the mail two days ago; with so many things to do a so little time, I'd better get started!

See you next post!

Aug 8, 2013

A quick mini!

So... what do you do when time is short and you need a quick gift?  Go to the nearest mall? Department store? Grocery store? [...]

Well, you can keep looking and looking, but you won't find one of those in The Hill!  OK, there's some places about 7 miles away, but there's nothing like a hand-made gift that you can put together in two evenings, trying to squeeze quality time with the sewing machine while the world whirls and rolls around you... 

With all the scrappy experiments I've been doing, I had a bunch of small pieces that ended up in a small topper/mini quilt:

I just cut 3.5" inch squares of linen and blue fabric, and pieced them together.  Now, you know I like to experiment and practice FMQ each time I can, so I couldn't let this chance go...  I ended up doing a different FMQ desing on each linen square, but this time I used contrasting thread. The intention was matching it to the main color, but I'm not completely sure I like the final result. 

The good thing, is that the person I gave it to liked it!  (Moms are like that:) ). Blue is her favorite color and I had to make something that would fit in a box all the way back to the big city.  I cracked up when she called me and said something like "that little doily is cute."  Yep, mom is cute like that.  :)