Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mary Poppins Bag: Helpful Stuff and Things Part 2

I won't bore you with the details but suffice to say the move is sudden and unexpected and while we know we are moving, we still don't know where. Summer is not the time to be looking for a rental, FYI. So long story short, I've been packing and I've somehow lost sight of five yards of gray velveteen. The same gray velveteen, if you were wondering, that I intended to use for my bag, the same velveteen I need to photograph so you can see.

Seems like a good reason as any to discuss fabric choices, though this post will be lacking pics thanks to the absconding of the velvet. Maybe it's hiding from my scissors.

So fabric choices.

Have you given thought to what you're making your bag from? The sample on the Sew Fearless site looks to be made of quilting cotton and a velveteen. Quilting cotton is a perfectly acceptable choice and you'll get decent results from it. But don't limit yourself to one small section of the fabric world. Personally, that $30 dollars worth of hardware alone calls for something a wee bit more elevated than a mere quilting cotton.

Be bold! Be brave and consider . . . corduroy, denim, suede, or even leather! Lucky for you, Fabric Mart has a leather sale going on right now. Mood had a great selection of heavier weight fabrics as well. I'm also pretty partial to Fabric.com's Premier Prints. They come in all sorts of colors and, if you guessed by the name, prints. Nautical, paisley, chevrons of all colors and sizes, and all sorts.

Do you like blue? Navy isn't my favorite color but I'm not sure you'd know it from my wardrobe. I own a ton of blue. It looks good on me, coordinates with quite a bit, and is a year round color. For all of these reasons I support a navy lambskin purse or I would if Fabric Mart hadn't just sold out. Instead, I'll support a navy suede purse thanks to Mood Fabrics. Perhaps with beige textured pockets and a vivid purple lining that will make you smile each time you dig in there for that pen you could have sworn you put in there.

Or maybe you favor something more eye catching. Perhaps a bright yellow purse with black trim and a fun, animal print lining.

Don't forget the prints! This fun octopus print by Tula Pink would look lovely with denim in both ivory and dark blue.

Do you have a love for all things Elizabethan or Baroque? Look at this amazing embossed leather. If I wasn't sitting on four yards of soft rose faux leather, this one would call my name. I'm not even sure what I'd pair with it. I'm simply in awe of it's mere existence. I think I'd use the same fabric for the pockets and trim to best show off the beautiful print. And then perhaps this pretty pink and gray damask for the lining.

So many decisions! There is no end to the different combinations you can come up with. Just remember when selecting your fabrics that you want something sturdy that will hold up to a decent amount of wear. You don't want much stretch in these fabrics if at all but if you do fall in love with something a wee bit delicate, soft, or stretchy, remember that there are a ton of interfacing and interlining options to help beef up your choice. A muslin backing, a heavy weight interfacing, all of those things can turn a less than stable fabric into something that will hold up for ages.

So what about you? Do you have your fabrics yet? Have some ideas bouncing around? If I didn't mention it already, make sure you check out the home decor section of your favorite brick and mortar or fabric site. If they fabric can hold up to your butt rubbing on it for the next five years, it will stay strong while you drop it in the grass, fling it into the backseat, or shove things you totally meant to throw away in there until you can find a garbage can.

Next time we meet, we'll discuss interfacing. 

Thank you again for sticking with me through all of the delays. You guys are the best.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mary Poppins Bag Sewalong: Helpful Stuff and Things Part 1

By now, you should have purchased your hardware and your pattern. But what about the other stuff, you might be wondering. What do all of these things in this pattern actually mean???

Well allow me to unveil the mystery!

Before we do that, let's talk business.

First off, I'd like to thank Ms Sew Fearless for the cottage industry license printed in her pattern. At the risk of blowing up people's spots and making enemies, let me just say that I think it's odd for pattern designers to behave as if they have the right to tell you what to do with a product you've made. I understand that confusion has arisen from the fact that even Joann's prints on the selvage that you can't use their fabric for stuff you intend to tell and uhm, no ma'am. Personally, I would prefer not to sell finished products created from someone's pattern only because I don't want to plant seeds of bad will in the sewing community. But it's a rather simple fact that if you make something, you can sell it. So kudos for that acknowledgement.

Secondly, this, as most of you know, is my first sewalong and I did not create this pattern. So you'll understand when I say that as much as I want to make this experience as simple as possible for all of you who are so kind as to sew along with me, I don't want to be giving away all of Ms Sew Fearless's secrets. My goal here to give you enough info and pictures to help you out but not so many that you don't need the pattern or her wonderful instructions. So I'll do my best and if you're still confused, leave me a comment and I'll help the best I can.

So sewing terms and techniques you'll need.

1. Basting: I think most sewists know this one. Long stitches that are easy to take out. They keep things in place, test placement, and otherwise ensure you are happy with what you're doing before you do it permanently and make yourself cry. My machine has a basting setting because I'm a lazy heifer who enjoys button pushing but if yours does not, just set your stitch length long as hell and you'll be ready to go. You could also do it by hand but 

2. Topstitch: Just what it says. You stitch on top of your seam or to the right of it or whatever so make it look all pretty and professional. If you look at the seams on your jeans, many of them are topstitched. According to the pattern, you can just use regular thread but topstitching thread which is a bit thicker, looks fabulous, imo. I'd planned to use some but I didn't find it in a color I liked, so regular thread it is.

3. Whipstitching: I hate whipstitching. Probably because it's a sewn my hand stitch and why do I have a sewing machine if I'm going to sew by hand? (Please remember I said this when it's time to sew up that Chanel-esque Marfy suit so you can point and laugh appropriately.) Despite the smack talk I do about whipstitching, it is really easy and it's pretty quick to boot. Here are some down and dirty examples so you can tell me to stop being such a damned baby.

4. Understitching: This one is sewn on the edge of your seam on the side that will be hidden close to the line of stitching you just did to make everything stay on its side the way you wish small children would on a road trip. It's also better explained via video so just go there instead of looking at me like that.

Are you with me so far?

Good! It's a pretty heavy post but I think you can do it. Are you ready to discuss the list of stuff you must acquire?

If you are an avid sewist, even a beginner one, you'll likely have the following things on hand. If you're a procrastinator, a horrible housekeeper, and a general loser of stuff, you may not know where all of these things are. Here's a list so you can spend the next 24 hours locating things you couldn't find six months ago yet no longer need because you replaced them and not being able to find the things on this list and having to replace those . . . you know, so you can find them in six months while looking for those knitting needles you could have sworn you bought.

Oh is that just me?

The list then.

  • Scissors
  • pins
  • marking pens of some sort. I prefer my trusty double sided fabric of which I have several due to the process I described above.
  • seam ripper (yes, the seam ripper. Don't worry, I have no idea how often you use the thing and you'll have no idea how many times I use the thing.)
  • ruler (yes, you do need one. Some of the pieces are given by measurement and not a piece in the pattern. Do not let this scare you. Math is not completely frightening unless letters are involved. Some of you may be giggling over this, you smart math people. I'm wishing extra passes with the seam ripper on both your houses.)

  • An iron. Oh, you don't iron? Yes, you do. Trust me, you do. If you don't, there's no point in continuing. Now if you're one of those dreadful, I don't iron people, I totally get you. I used to be there. But let me say this as gently as I can. Nothing you sew will ever look quit as nice as it could, no matter how carefully you try if you continue to hide from your iron. I pinky promise I will allow you to take short cuts where you can, I often do myself. But you can't skip ironing, okay? You just can't. If you do, I don't want to hear about it. 

  • Sewing gauge and/or measuring tape. Did I mention there's quite a bit of measuring? Because there's quite a bit of measuring. Be brave, be strong! You can do it!

So there, you're good, right?

Alrighty then.

Next up: The Materials List! I will try to post that tomorrow but it might not be until I get home from church. It's probably not a good sign that I'm starting this off with an apology but I thank you for sticking with me. We shall have bags, I swear it!

Let's do this.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Mary Poppins Bag:

** Quick note **

Turns out I'm moving. I'm not sure when but it's only a local move so maybe I'll get lucky and keep both my hair or my sanity. This also means it's possible the sewalong could get held up at certain parts but I will try my best to keep up as I can. I hope you'll have patience with me or at least be creative if you want to leave cranky comments to convey your abject disappointment in my overall uselessness. I'm particularly fond of gifs if you've noticed so feel free to express yourself accordingly.

Now that we've finished that part, let's get to the business.

Photograph from The June Bride
First things first, this thing is a beast. My hardware arrived in the mail from The June Bride and it was only then that I realized I could probably fit a toddler in this thing. It just so happens I have a toddler so this isn't exactly a bad thing. Strollers are rather unwieldy, don't you think? Of course hanging a toddler from your clavicle isn't exactly comfortable, but I digress. I'm just not good picturing things even when provided dimensions. I had to see it in my hand first and once I did, as you can see, a toddler.

If you aren't interested in carrying around a toddler, you can resize this bag to suit your purposes. You'll just need to scare up a smaller frame. Etsy carries quite a few, even some larger ones if you have some preteens in need of handcrafted transportation. The pattern provides directions for changing the size of your bag. They seem easy enough to follow if you're willing to do the math. I hate math but I'm willing to do the math for you if you leave me a comment letting me know what size you're constructing. Otherwise, I'm going to assume you're cool with having extra room for Lindor chocolate and the occasional hard to resist bit of fabric from the remnant bin at Joann's. Just make sure you take the chocolate out of the bag before you leave it in the hot Georgia heat and go getting smooth yumminess all over your handmade creation.

Rabbit sized?

Secondly, the wallet pattern isn't included. Now maybe you read better than I do and already knew that. But I was apparently blinded by the cute pockets and irresistible shape and didn't notice. I want a wallet though so after we've turned out this magnificent bag (don't worry, it will be fabulous) I'll see about finding a pattern and continuing our little sewalong.

Tomorrow we shall discuss what you need to be all ready for my birthday. In the meantime, if you haven't ordered your hardware, please do so now. You're looking for a tubular bag frame, six d rings, and two 1 1/4in swivel clips. The ones from June Bride are a really great weight, consistent in look and feel nice in your hand. Admittedly I don't know much about d rings and swivel clips though so you may very well find something that works at your local craft store or via an online seller.

I'm getting more excited the closer we get to sew time. My bag is going to be rose faux leather and gray velveteen. I need to some help to pick a lining. I've sworn to use my stash for this but I'm dumbstruck with indecision. Regardless, I'm already convinced of my bag's awesomeness. I will keep the secret of life in its little depths and we shall never be parted from each other.