15 Jan

Book Bag for my Son

My son is rarely as excited about me making him things as my daughter is. Maybe it’s just that he doesn’t have the desire for stuff like she does. She loves to have bags and containers for all her little things, and enjoys choosing her clothes (not blogged, the skort I made with purple Hello Kitty knit fabric). He wears whatever is on the top of his pile and tosses all his legos into one big box.

I suggested a bowling shirt out of his fabric (imagining a big, pieced rising sun on the back) but he wasn’t interested. He does appreciate a fun fabric though, and once the conversation started around messenger/book bags, he decided that he wanted one too.

Excellent. I did a few things different on this one. On Katja’s I made the lining separate and essentially inserted one complete bag into another, top stitching the edges for structure. On Zavi’s, I constructed each panel and then connected them with bias binding. I like this look better and it may have been easier to make. Certainly, it allows for more options, like quilting the panels (which I did not do on this one)! I used extra wide double fold tape because it’s what I had on hand. Regular width would be better.

When we got to talking about Lunch Money Cuff, the boy got very excited and requested that his be sized to fit his Pokemon cards. Well, that wasn’t exactly practical, so I made him a wristlet instead (note my favorite motifs of that fabric — the surfing ninja and horned ghost with what I’m calling shave ice in a coconut shell, but is probably some Japanese specialty). Like the pyramid purse for my daughter, my son’s wristlet can be snapped onto a strap sewn into the book bag. It also has a wrist strap for when he’s carrying it around separately. I looked at a few wristlet patterns, but the one I had and a few others were all too big for the small cards the boy wanted to carry, and I wasn’t wild about the raw edges in the lining, so I just made something up. The zipper is sewn like in the Pyramid Purse and the main wristlet body is sewn more like the Money Cuff. I don’t know if you can really see it in the photos, but the side panels of this bag are in the white background fabric for a little contrast and excitement.

Speaking of Lunch Money Cuffs, I made one for each of the kids. They seem quite practical. It was also a quick and easy project made with scraps from the book bags.

14 Jan

Book Bag for my Daughter

I don’t know if this fabric is as big in the Mainland US fabric shops as it is in Hawai’i, or if it’s even made it there, but I couldn’t pass it up. It seems like new variations of fighting sushi, space geishas, happy stars, angry Ninjas and all their wacky cohorts are popping up monthly!

Book Bag

I bought a yard each of several different fabrics and brought them home to the kids to see what they’d like made out of these silly fabrics. Katja wanted a messenger bag like her BFF and it needed to be the size of her math textbook. She had also talked me in to buying her a dragon patch on a separate outing and really wanted it on her bag.

Book Bag

I looked around at tutorials on the web and a pattern I already owned but, while close, nothing matched my vision and the construction on all seemed pretty easy, so I figured I’d just wing it and do what I wanted.

Book Bag

I thought a kid might appreciate a zippered pocket inside so things don’t fall out. There’s a (pink) patch pocket on the back of the bag’s outside too.

Book Bag

The cute little pyramid coin purse is a free download from Nicole Mallalieu. I made it clip onto a strap sewn into the book bag so it can be used separately if needed, but can also be attached for security.

My boy decided that he’d like one of these too. I’ll tweak the construction a bit, mostly because I can and I’m curious. We talked about field trip money today too, so I’ll be making Lunch Money Cuffs for both kids with the scraps.

25 Apr

Finally (I Think)

It started about four years ago with a drawing by my daughter of her daddy. I thought he looked military (which may or may not have been intentional on her part) and needed to become a patch on a messenger bag.

About a year ago, I found the perfect pattern and went so far as to make custom fabric using my kids’ drawings.

Last November I finally got around to making the bag, but I wasn’t happy with some of the choices I had made — namely stiff Peltex/Timtex instead of fusible batting as called for in the pattern (that will teach me).

So, I took it apart. And so it sat for the last four months, taunting me with it’s un-finishedness, taking up space on the futon in my guest room/sewing studio. It really bugged me to have to keep moving it’s pile around whenever guests came to visit. But I was mad at it for not being perfectly crafted. To the bag’s credit, it came apart easily and was mostly salvageable. But I was still mad at it.

Finally, I jumped in and finished it a few days ago. I used black binding which worked better than the green, and the softer batting in the body of the bag made all the difference in terms of  maneuverability for sewing.

But, once again, I did not heed the warning on the pattern, and I accidentally ironed the strap — making black smudges on the green facing in my lining. And though the black topstitching looks good on the outside of the bag, I don’t like it on the interior, especially as there is under-stitching as well and a couple of hiccups where the thread broke.

It would not be a huge project to take out the interior, replace the green strip and re-sew it all. But, I’m kind of over this project for a while.

10 Dec

Un-sewing

Remember the messenger bag I made a few weeks ago? Here it is deconstructed.

Yup, I wasn’t happy with it, so I took it apart. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. Undoing my work.

Yesterday I rearranged some artwork  on the wall and hung up a new piece. After a few hours I decided I didn’t like it. A frame would help, but, if it were really good, it should be able to stand on it’s own. So I took it down and will most likely take it apart someday. Not to fix it, but to use the parts elsewhere.

I undid a piece a month ago too. It had small puckers on the back because I used an inappropriate backing fabric. I took out the quilting and redid the work with a new backing. Much better.

I’m OK with this. Maybe it’s a sign of maturity, but more and more, I don’t expect, or even hope, all my work will be fabulous. Nothing is so precious that I can’t just chuck it (and leave no incriminating evidence). I want to improve, and sometimes moving forward means moving backward.

12 Nov

When you know it’s going wrong, but keep at it anyway.

I’ve been wanting to make a messenger bag for  loooooooong time, based on one of my daughter’s drawings. Nearly a year ago, I found the perfect pattern via You SEW Girl, and it’s taken me this long to get around to making it.

I was intimidated by my vision for the drawings, but finally having my hubby home so I could dive deep into experiments and problem solving without worrying about homework or lunch got me through that. I was also intimidated by the pattern which actually required that I read it! Once into it though, I realized it’s thorough, but not difficult.

What was difficult however, was using thick Peltex interfacing rather than the batting called for in the pattern. It made the whole thing cumbersome. My seams and top stitching suffered from the extra bulk and the lack of maneuverability. But I pressed on because over-all, it was looking like my vision. Certainly it would pass the galloping horse rule. Which would be fine if I wanted to carry this around as an everyday purse.

But no-oo, I have this vision in my head of a gallery-worthy collection of textile pieces inspired by my kids’ art. And that needs Craftsmanship with a capital C. Frustrated, I was ready to ditch the whole thing last night. Instead, I slept on it, and realized this morning that yes, I’d never use the bag — because I was disappointed with it. I also realized that I could salvage more from it than I had originally thought — like the whole interior. And the base with the cool feet. So, today will probably see the deconstruction of the bag, but not it’s permanent demise.

05 May

A New Resource

I’ve forgotten if I posted this swatch before or not.

There’s been a lot of buzz about print on demand fabrics lately. I think Spoonflower was the first, and right now, they are definitely the best known place for printing fabric with your own design. I heard about it when they were in Beta phase, but didn’t really know what I would need my own fabric for since I am already a huge fan of new and re-purposed commercial fabric and all the connotations and stories they hold. There  are so very many colors and patterns out there already, how could I possibly be lacking?

Completely unrelated, I’ve had a drawing my daughter did a few years ago that looked to me like it needed to be an embroidered patch. A patch, of course, needs something to go on, so I’ve had in my mind to make a messenger bag. Recently I found a pattern for just the bag I want to make, and decided that the original drawing, plus more would make a perfect lining for my bag. Back to Spoonflower — here’s the perfect way to incorporate the kids’ drawings.

I ordered the swatch, then adjusted the colors, and now I have my own fabric! I messed up a few of the repeats (scatter designs can be tricky when you need a portion of something on one side of your repeat to match up exactly with the rest of the image on the other side), but it wasn’t due to any defect on Spoonflower’s end. For my purposes here, I doubt anyone but me will notice anyway. I’m excited to make the bag and my own patches, but I’ve got a few other things in the works I’m excited about too, so it may take a while.