Friday, May 30, 2014

Bee Sweet Finish!

Inside my bag.
Yay! A Big City Bag finish this month. So happy. This month things went much better.

Here's why:
First,  I tried really, really hard to be positive and not grouse too much about cutting out bag pieces. (I did have a momentary set back but it was short!)
Second,  I did not try to finish the bag in one sewing session. Instead,  the pieces were leisurely cut whilst watching old Star Trek episodes with the fam one day and the bag sewn a couple of days later.
Third, NO stress over each piece of interfacing and every perfect bag part. I knew handles were needed so apart came another Tommy bag. Also, took the magnetic snap from there as well. I did not want to run around looking for bag pieces.
Fourth, I took the time to rip out or do over seams or topstitching that did not suit me.

In hindsight a stiffer interfacing would be nicer, the bag is too floppy, but it will work just fine for me. The bag style is quite nice and the construction was pretty easy.  I enjoyed sewing this one.

The fabric has been in my stash since last summer. I thought this particular bag perfect for the fabric and like the way it came out.

Here is the bag already loaded up with my stuff.

A lighter picture.
It is never too late to join the monthly bag SAL hosted by Angela at Sewingwithsqueak. We have been sewing through Sara Lawson's book, Big City Bags. Next month is a diaper bag. I might try to make two for my two horsey friends who recently had babies! FIRST, I am going to see how much cutting there is!! :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Carry the Clutch Girls.

"I've always loved when girls carry their wallets as a clutch instead of a bag."

Alexander Wang

The beginning of my clutch stash.
There are so many wonderful things about a clutch purse aren't there? So convenient and easy to carry. Perfect when you don't want to carry the kitchen sink. Versatile. Light. And if you are the slightest bit crafty you can own a million zillion in all the glorious colors of the universe and in every style imaginable.

Over the past weeks, I have become a lover of clutches for all the reasons above and then some. One major reason is So Sew Easy's Clutch pattern. It is somewhat rare to find a purse pattern this user friendly yet so amazingly easy to hack. The only limitation here: one's imagination. Fabric choices, interfacings, embellishments, closures, to strap or not to strap, and size; all can be changed up, customized, coutured to your very own loves.

Deby at So Sew Easy really does make it....well....easy!! And somewhat lucrative as she is hosting a clutch contest with lots and lots of prizes including a side bar link on her highly trafficked website to the winning blogger . Although, this post is somewhat late in the contest, it closes tomorrow, one could STILL easily enter because these clutches can be sewn very quickly. Heck, by midnight tomorrow, one could sew about 25! Ha, one a hour as of this post! Probably not likely, but you get the idea of how friendly this pattern truly is!

The first time I printed off the pattern, I forgot to tile and got a smaller pattern. I decided to use it to make my first clutch for practice. With a sweet pink linen on which I embroidered a small motif, some pretty purple satin for lining and a quality snap, I ended up with the small jewel pictured at the bottom here:

Small pink clutch perfect for lipstick, jewelry, other odds and ends.
For the contest entry something a little more dressy and an opportunity to attempt a new sewing skill seemed in order. The flap on this pattern just begs for embellishment so beads it was! 

Beaded flap. This was so much fun! Can't wait to put beads on a skirt!!

It just so happens our little town has a sweet bead shop. While there, a beading jewelry fiend help me choose beads and gave great encouragement. Beading is not that hard! There are a few good tutorials on youtube and some articles. But I actually was surprised by the lack of beading instruction out there. Basically, it seems you have to buy a book. However, with good quality nylon thread, quilt batting or repurposed felted wool, a good sharp needle with a tiny tiny shaft and head (a pain for someone who is past 45) but necessary to get the small seed beads on, one can be off and running. Once going, things went quickly. 

Some beading tips: 
1. Set yourself up completely with a; flat tray to pour your beads on, the beads, extra needle, thread, and scissors. Also in the future I will probably get one of those hand needle threaders as one of the teens had to be called upon to thread the needle a couple of times.
2. Make sure you are not rushed. I actually found this process to be very relaxing. It was a joy to see the bead designs take shape.
3. Anchor your thread each time you take new thread. Double your thread, come up through the fabric from the back, go back down very close to initial hole, run the needle and thread through the middle of your double thread and then pull tight. Anchoring ensures your beads do not come lose.
4. Frequently check your work on the back to make sure you have pulled all the thread through. A couple of times I had to start over with a design because I did not pull my thread all the way through which means loose beads on the front.
5. Tie off securely. As if the zombie apocalypse is here. All of your work on the back is hidden by the lining for the clutch so it is okay to leave a bit of knots etc...on the back of your work.

To finish off my clutch it needed a special lining. Some time ago I purchased a small amount of raw silk from They have the most amazing selection of silks there and this one was no exception. Golden in color it was the perfect finish to my special clutch.

In person, this fabric has the most amazing sheen.
I am delighted with the finished product and am very happy that Deby shared her pattern and hosted this great clutch contest! Thank you Deby!