New Bags, Just For Me

In case you’ve been wondering whether I still sew, the answer is yes, I sew a lot. Most of the stuff I’ve been making lately has been fun goodies for my shop.

I have been carrying around this small clutch for the past few months.

I love this little clutch, but it’s actually better for going out at night, not for carrying all my usual purse stuff and a few extras when traveling. So I decided I needed a new purse.

I wanted something a little bigger to fit a sketchbook. It’s an 11-inch square just like these other purses I made for my shop. It has darts in the bottom corners to expand the inside of the purse just enough to hold my purse goodies.

I also wanted something youthful and a little funky, but still functional. In my true style, I always like to add piping for that extra finished touch. This bag has a zipper pocket inside to hold loose items, and an open pocket on the other side to slip in a notebook.

That’s what I came up with – fun, isn’t it?! I really love it.

I have also been wanting to make a messenger bag to carry art supplies when traveling.

I wanted this bag to be big enough to fit a sketchbook and drawing and painting tools. Since I couldn’t find a pattern I was in love with, I made up my own pattern for this bag, which measures 13 inches wide by 11 inches tall.

Once again, I wanted this bag to be youthful and fun, while still being functional. I like having the long natural webbing strap to sling across my shoulder.

I added a little pocket with velcro closure on the inside of the flap to hold my headphones.

This one is just the ticket! I used a print from the Drawing Room home dec collection by Anna Maria Horner for the outside and a print from her Garden Party collection for the lining. I wish all home dec fabric were this soft and lovely to work with! Hmm, wonder if she has plans to do more home dec fabrics.

Speaking of headphones, I made a tiny little pouch to store my headphones in my purse.

To give you perspective, I used a 4-inch zipper on this one! That is small. But it’s a great way to keep my headphones from getting tangled and tossed about in my purse. It is big enough to fit an ID and credit card, so I could also use this as a wallet.

It’s always fun to have new purses!

Mergers and Acquisitions – Fabric, that is!

Ah yes, another play on corporate terms – mergers & acquisitions. Whatever! I have some acquisitions of the fabric kind I would like to share with you.

I ordered this most awesome pack of Drawing Room fabrics from this shop. I know, it’s an older collection, but I’m a fabric hoarder, so I needed some before it was out of print and no longer available. I had a couple pieces in my stash, which I used a couple summers ago to make these cushions for our backyard benches. I have plans for this lovely stack, so I can’t wait to get started merging them into a new patchwork project. he-he-he-he

Don’t think I’ve been on a fabric bender lately, but I did acquire more fabrics. I would like to merge them into something before showing you just another stack of fabrics.

I am excited to see my sister-in-law and brother-in-law who are coming to town for the holiday weekend. We are planning to go to farmers market on Saturday morning, so I might be back with some pictures of the produce and plants in season. I am also looking forward to working on more checkerboard sets to restock my shop. Hope you are enjoying your Friday!

PS – thank you for the Etsy Treasury love! It was just the umph I needed.

Laptop Bag

Do you remember the laptop bag I made last year? (see picture below for a refresher) It was a fun project that turned out quite well. My sister like it so much that I gave it to her this summer.

Laptop Bag in AB fabrics(I added canvas handles after taking that photo.)

That meant I needed to make a new bag for my own laptop.

holding the laptop bag

I started making this patchwork project last summer with fabrics from the Drawing Room collection, but I set it aside because I didn’t know what size my new computer was going to be. (Yes, I have been dreaming about a new computer for a year.)

Laptop Bag in Drawing Room FabricsI finished making it this weekend, and my laptop fits in it perfectly.  (It measures about 13″ x 14.5″)

laptop in its new bagThe outside fabrics are upholstery weight, strip-pieced and quilted to batting to make it even more sturdy, and the inside is cotton fabric lining. I added an inside pocket with a zipper to hold the charger cord. I’ve never done a zippered pocket like that, so it was a good challenge for this prototype.

zippered pocket insideI also added simple ties to hold the bag closed.

tie closureI love this bag so much that I’m already making another one to list in the shop! I hope to add more laptop bags over the next month or two.

Padded Foot Stool

Ever find yourself sitting on a comfy chair, settling in to read your book, but you can’t quite get your legs in the right position? You need something to put up your feet!

Try making one of these padded foot stools to accompany your reading chair. I didn’t quite finish these in time to submit to the September Sewing for the Home series on the Sew, Mama, Sew blog, so I will share my steps here:

Here are the materials you will need:

Footstool, wood unfinished (my samples came from Michaels and Joanns)

Piece of fabric in home dec weight, measuring two inches larger than the platform of the foot stool (I used scrap pieces left over from my portable cushions)

Batting, several pieces measuring the same size as the top of the footstool (I used scrap pieces left over from quilts)

Staple gun and staples

Scissors or sharp knife (not pictured)

Paint or stain and appropriate brushes

Step One is to paint or stain the footstool to match your decor. You can leave the top platform unpainted since it will be covered with fabric (or you can keep going if you want to get carried away, like I did).

Step Two is to patiently wait for it to dry thoroughly. If you are staining the stool, apply a protective coating. Wait for it to dry again.

Step Three is to lay the fabric right side up over the top of the stool to gauge the placement, especially if you are trying to center a pattern. Set aside that fabric for now.

Step Four is to center several layers of batting on the footstool and cut to the same size as the top of the stool.

Step Five is to lay the fabric right side down on a flat hard surface, smoothing it out. Center the batting and the foot stool upside down onto the center of your fabric. Measure 2 inches to 2-1/2 inches all the way around the footstool and trim the fabric.

Step Six can be tricky. Fold one corner edge of the fabric down and over to the underside of the footstool platform. Picture wrapping a present.

Pull the fabric tight over the under side edge of the stool as if you’re making a pleat, and staple on the under side, close to the corner to catch the pleat. I ended up making two pleats to get a smooth corner.

Slide your fingers to the next corner, pull the fabric tight, and repeat your pleat folds. Secure with a couple staples close to the corner, on the under side of the stool. Repeat for the remaining corners of the stool.

Step Seven is to staple down the fabric in between each corner to secure it in place, about five times should hold it.

Step Eight is to trim the fabric underneath so it lays flat. Put your feet up and enjoy!

I love walking into someone’s office when they are reading and have their feet propped up on the desk. They jump and sit up straight in their chair, as if you just caught them reading the sports page or sneaking a shot of liquor. Wouldn’t it be fun to have one of these padded footstools in those boring corporate offices?!

Portable Cushions – Perfectly Fun!

I found this fabulous tutorial for portable cushions on the Sew, Mama, Sew blog, and instantly knew I had the right fabric in my stash and the right sewing skills to make this project.

From the Drawing Room fabric collection, I used the Pressed Flowers fabric in teal and the Trellis fabric also in teal. I bought 20″ zippers in a natural color, a piece of 3″ thick foam that I cut into two 15-1/4″ pieces, and about 10 yards of cording for the piping.

Overall, the tutorial was easy to follow. Here are a few comments on the pattern:

*The section on cutting bias tape was quite helpful. Make sure to follow these steps exactly. It really was amazing how this bias strip worked out.

*Making the piping was much more fun that I thought. Definitely need a zipper foot to make the piping tight and smooth.

*I messed up the zipper part where you attach the zipper to the gusset but I made it work in the end. I attached the zipper to each piece of gusset fabric/zipper panels, then I got stuck. I looked in one of my sewing books (Sew & Stow by Betty Oppenheimer) to try to figure out what I did wrong. After staring at the directions for the cozy cushion cover instructions in that book, I figured it out. What you’re supposed to do is put the zipper panels right sides together, sew a short distances to the marks you made earlier where the zipper will start and stop, baste all the way down to the next mark, and sew to the end. Thus, basting the zipper panels to each other, but not including the zipper yet. Then, iron the seam allowance down/open. Adding the fusible tape seemed a little putsy to me, but I know it will hold that extra fabric down. Then sew the zipper to each side of the zipper panels (aligned between those marks you made), and open the basting stitching on the front. Maybe this part wasn’t a problem for others, but I got confused. I’m over it now.

*The handles were easy, but I had to leave the raw edges showing, since I couldn’t fold over the ends – too much bulk (four layers of fabric and a layer of interfacing, doubled when folded over). I tried trimming the interfacing off the ends but I had already fused it to the fabric. No big deal. I think it still looks cool.

Even though I did get stuck once or twice on the instructions, normal for the first time using a new pattern, I would highly recommend making these!

I love having handles on each side of the cushion,

making them portable to carry wherever you go, your backyard, the park, the beach, a tailgate party, wherever. I love them so much I just carry them around the house! (I secretly wish I could take them to a show-and-tell, so thank you for indulging me.) Mostly, I use them on my Adirondack chair.

The zipper on one the side allows for easy removal to clean the cover or replace the foam cushion as it wears out.

I have four yards of the Shadow fabric in Teal, so I will be making more of these.  Next up, a cushion for this bench my brother made.

Did I mention that I love these cushions?!