flowered tote bag and zipper pouch

I sent two packages off to Alabama last week. One was a zippered pouch I’ve been meaning to make for my friend and former roomie Kendra and the other was a belated birthday present for my friend Natalie.

As part of my stash busting I’m trying to find uses for a lot of my fabric. I had a decent amount leftover from making Kendra’s Auburn tote bag and wanted to give her a pouch to use with the bag since I didn’t make pockets in it. (She’s an Auburn alum and a few years of living in Alabama have cemented the orange and navy color combo as Auburn in my mind.)

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the original tote

I went back to Charm Stitch’s sketchy pleat clutch pattern that I used here to make a couple pouches for charity (and one for myself) and whipped one up for Kendra.

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I used orange for the lining and added an orange ribbon to the zipper.

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I really like this pattern and can see it as one I’ll go back to again and again. My only modification is to add topstitching on both sides of the zipper. I use thin broadcloth a lot for my linings and find it gets stuck in the zipper every time unless I topstitch.

My mom’s friend gave me a massive stash of fabric and notions when she was cleaning out her mother’s house. I’ve sorted through it and donated some, given a few pieces to Amanda, and kept the rest. I’ll post about it eventually because it was like traveling through a piece of sewing history to go through it all. I’ve used a few pieces of the fabric already to make baby pants.

A vintage navy zipper found in the stash spurred on the making of the zipper pouch for Kendra. (I’d been thinking about making it for months but was waiting to buy some zippers in bulk.)

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And this flowered canvas fabric from the stash was perfect to make a birthday tote for Natalie.

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I had a tall narrow strip of the border printed fabric so the front side has the yellow stripes and the back is solid daisies.

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I was going to attached the straps with square stitching and then sew down the thick hem on the top, but I realized I could just sew around the very top and bottom of the hem and secure the straps that way to minimize the stitching visible on the outside.

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Natalie really liked her tote, and already had a woman ask her where she could buy one. There’s no more of that vintage fabric, so she’s got a one of a kind photosarah original. 🙂

quilted mat

I haven’t been reading blogs regularly for about a month now, but I’ve been trying to catch up on the back log in my feedly reader in the last couple weeks. One of the more recent posts that caught my eye was the quilted mat sew along at Sew Delicious.

I started following Ros after participating in her Sweet Pouch Swap earlier this year (if you missed it, check out what I made and received). It was really a great swap and many good things have come from it. One result was I fell hard for this Alegria Blue Birds fabric upon seeing it made into a pouch by this pouch swap participant. I found the fabric in a free (!) charm pack at Honey Be Good when they were having a sale. (And they’re currently having one year birthday specials.)

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Alegria Blue Birds. I love the birds and the pomegranates.

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Walkabout maybe be tied for the favorite now. Those purple flowers are lovely against all the orange and blue.

At first I want to use fabric to make a sewing machine cover using charm squares, then decided to take a different path. (I bought the fabric for the cover, but haven’t made it yet or even finalized the design.) When I saw the quilted mat tutorial, I knew I’d found my charm square project.

I like how the blue stands out in this line. I did swap out Blooms in Blue for Blooms in Pink so it wouldn’t be too blue.

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I sewed all my pieces together, added my batting and quilted it. It looked great. But I’ve been sewing so much lately and keeping odd hours. It’s led to some cutting mistakes and a few things like this:

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There is my beautiful quilted mat, and to the right is my backing fabric…that I forgot to put on before I quilted the whole thing.

Instead of removing the quilting stitches and starting over with the back attached, I decided to add more stitching on either side of the first rows after putting the backing on so it would be quilted too.

I love my backing fabric as much as the Alegria fabric. It’s Wildfield in Gypsy from Valori Wells’ Wrenly line. I had to have it when I bought it at my local fabric store back in Alabama probably a year+ ago, but it’s been languishing in my stash. This was a perfect opportunity to get at least a small piece into use.

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I bound the whole thing with a leftover piece of single fold bias tape ironed in half. Despite the narrow edge, I managed the small miracle of catching both the front and back all the way around when I was topstitching.

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I love this piece so much. I finished it yesterday and couldn’t wait to get it up on the blog and show everyone. I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve made and it’s already brightening up my sewing corner.

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I may have missed the sew along, but I’m glad I found the idea and a good use for some favorite fabrics.

manly mom jeans to capris

Remember the baggy, saggy, manly mom jeans from my yard sale post awhile back?

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I’d like to reintroduce you.

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I cropped them and took them in a few inches around each leg.

First, I cut the extra fabric off the bottoms off the legs, then flipped the pants inside out and pinned like I’ve done before. I removed an even amount from the front and the back to start, then took an extra inch away from the back. (The back of the pants is larger than the front and I was taking so much fabric out that the seams wouldn’t have been on the sides anymore.) I had to go all the way up the leg and take them in starting just below the pocket because they were so loose everywhere except the waist.

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The mom jeans were a good quality denim, but the fabric was thick and had no stretch. I took these in gradually because I knew if I made them too tight I wouldn’t be able to move. This meant a few cautious cycles of pinning, sewing, and checking before they were where I wanted them.

Once I had the legs adjusted to my satisfaction, I turned up the ends twice and stitched the cuffs in place.

momjeancapris06AThey might not pass as store-bought if subjected to a close examination, but I like them and think they turned out quite well. I took them out for a test drive over Memorial Day weekend and they passed with flying colors.

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I’m not crazy about the mom jean back pocket placement and there’s a noticeable difference between the front and back at the sides because I took out so much fabric. I was going to sandpaper them a bit on the side seams to even out the distressing, but Lowe’s has very overpriced sandpaper.

I’ve really been liking the look of Gap’s skimmer jeans this season, but I just saved myself $69.45 by making something comparable. (Though if I do find those skimmer jeans for $20 at the end of season and they look good on, I might have to buy them.)

Regardless of how they compare to summery store-bought jeans, they are way better looking than they were when I first found them.

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As far as the other items from that yard sale post, I’ve made a bit of progress.

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The purple shirt to tee will be done eventually, but it’s down the list. The denim shirt is being overhauled and probably getting a new back and new pockets now; I’ve started to tear it apart at the seams. The striped white floaty blouse was taken in and is hanging in the closet as is the blue tank, which I decided to leave alone. The Soffe shorts are near the top of the list, but I need a good strategy to take them in. And last but not least, I removed the elastic from the sleep shorts but decided to use them as fabric, and 1/4 of the shorts is now a very cute bib that will be blogged soon. (I always think of Samantha when I do these list style updates now. ;))

And I’m wearing the lightweight denim shorts from the post right now (with my plaid tiny pocket tank) and they are so comfortable.

I’ve been sewing like a fiend this last week/end, and have a number of other blog posts ready to go once the recipients receive their gifts. Lots to come this summer! It’s been quite productive so far.

more Rallying for Roma

My mom saw my Facebook page post on Craft Hope’s Rally for Roma and wanted in on the action. She doesn’t get to sew as much as she would like so she took the opportunity to make a couple of quick blankets while stash busting some fleece.

She wasn’t sure what she’d bought the fleece for originally, but it was possibly to make something for my brothers. Either way it ended up as these awesome blankets for the people of Romania.

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I love the satin blanket binding she used (purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics)and will have to keep it in mind for future projects. Both blankets look lovely and got sent off earlier this week.

I’m so glad my mom has joined in on my charity sewing endeavors. We may be hours apart but crafting keeps us close!

P.S. My vintage sheet bag giveaway is still going on at The Vintage Sheet Blog, so check it out!

Oliver + S bucket hats

Recently I’ve been cleaning out my downloaded patterns on my computer and organizing the patterns I’ve printed out over the last year or two into a binder. I found a number of baby and child patterns and have started putting them to use. I’d printed this Oliver + S bucket hat pattern and wanted to make a hat for the boyfriend’s nephew and decided to make one for little Emma (now 2!) while I was at it.

For the first hat I used yellow gingham and a thicker blue mystery yard sale fabric. It’s the same combo I used for the matching baby shoes.

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I went with the no hand sewing method and it came out pretty well. I used a fairly thick interfacing for the brim and it’s not very floppy so I hope it looks okay on a head. I’m looking forward to seeing it on the baby (who should be here in the next few weeks!).

I used a floppier interfacing for the brim of Emma’s hat and decided I didn’t mind a bit of hand sewing. I almost wished I had gone with machine sewing about halfway around the brim since it seemed to take forever, but both ways have their advantages and disadvantages.

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Both the green and purple fabrics are remnants. The green fabric previously made an appearance as a nursing cover.

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Emma’s hat will be sent off once I’ve gotten the rest of her post-birthday package together. So far I’ve made two tops, cut out a dress, and might throw in a pair of shorts to boot. Sewing for little ones is just too much fun!

sweater (vest) bag

I made another sweater bag for Amanda, this time out of a sweater vest I found in her Goodwill donations months and months ago. I’ve had it finished for awhile but didn’t get a chance to give it to her until this week. It was her birthday a few days ago so it all worked out. 🙂

I used the same tutorial I’ve used many times before. (See my previous creations in purple, yellow and green.)

I hacked apart the shirt before I’d thought through was I was going to do with it; a sweater bag once again prevailed.

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I did remember to take a picture before I started chopping.

The vest had a deep v-neck so it made a fairly shallow bag.

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I turned a bit of extra fabric into a pocket for the inside.

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And used black satin for the lining.

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The handles were originally made for the purple sweater bag before I found a lighter lining for it. I’ve been holding on to them until another bag came along that needed them. I used black fleece for the insides of the handles and black broadcloth for the outsides.

So this is the fifth sweater tote I’ve made so far. I don’t have any more sweaters in my possession, so if I do make another one it won’t be soon. I’m still on a pretty big tote kick, so look for more (not made out of sweaters) this summer!