To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
Like many quilters, my scrap bin (boxes, cubes, bags…) is out of hand—unorganized, jumbled, and overflowing. This year, I’ve tried to be mindful of what is leftover from my projects and keep it organized in some way so that I don’t add to the existing problem. One solution has been offering up the leftover fabric to guild members—particularly when I’m “over” working with that line and there’s a substantial amount leftover. This especially made sense for my #mqgfabricchallenge scraps, since it meant another member may be able to enter. I already have more scraps than I think I’ll use in my life—particularly since I don’t make many scrappy things.
But, after packaging up my challenge scraps, I still had a few left that were already pieced together in various ways (cut-offs from piecing the bag). One thing I always appreciate having around are zip pouches—they’re handy for packaging up projects, carting things around, and organizing. So, I threw together a quick zip pouch from scraps, the ribbon from the fabric challenge bundle, another embroidery, and a recycled zipper from one of those free-gift-with-cosmetic-purchase vinyl pouches that always seem to clutter up my bathroom cabinets.
I didn’t spend much time on it, nor is the scrappy piecing the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’ll serve its purpose just fine.
“This Art Student visited the Cottage Garden, and what happened next was a real challenge!” I really couldn’t restrain myself from click-bait copywriting there. Sorrynotsorry.
The MQG paired up with Riley Blake fabrics for a challenge this year. Those of us who were quick enough on the draw to score free fabric ended up with a pack of six fat eighths from the Cottage Garden line by Amanda Herring of the Quilted Fish.
The challenge rules:
Make something fantastic that is quilted.
Make something you’ve never done before.
Challenge yourself to learn something new.
Use only Riley Blake Cottage Garden fabrics and coordinating Riley Blake basics and solids.
While I was pondering what to make, bags my fellow guild members brought to our sew-in in May inspired a bit of an obsession with Anna Maria Horner patterns, including her Art Student Tote.
“…Quilted”? Well, I can quilt part of it, sure. “…Never done before”? I usually just make bags without a pattern to varying degrees of success. “…Learn something new”? Well, the VT guild challenged us to learn paper piecing too, and I missed the demo while I was on vacation, and I can add quilted piecing to the bag, right?
That was the long way of saying I decided to make the Art Student Tote for my challenge project and incorporate quilted panels.
I may have forgotten and/or misread the whole “use only Riley Blake…solids” part of the instructions while shopping, so Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed in black ended up being a substantial part of the bag. C’est la vie. So, I might not qualify for the challenge (although I’m not the only one who used other things, from what I can tell), but I do have a usable product that I’m excited about, and Riley Blake sold a few extra yards of their fabric.
Choosing what design to use for the pieced section of the bag was difficult until I came across an Urban Threads embroidery that greatly amused me. Stitches need thread, so paper-pieced spools made complete sense. Ironically, my needle thread broke eight times while stitching out the embroidery.
Although the pattern only calls for pockets on one side of the bag, I made a non-zippered one for the back. That way, I had an excuse for a center stripe of pewter on both sides of the bag and more opportunity to use the challenge prints. After making spools for one front pocket, I decided that I’d rather return to traditional piecing for the rest and made the back panel inspired by a quilt by Patty Sloniger of Beck and Lundy. Whether piecing 1″ half-square triangles was less painful than additional paper-piecing is still up for debate. I quilted all of the pocket fronts to flannel to keep them lightweight but structured (and quilted).
I made the version that includes an extension panel. Because I originally purchased the flower yardage for the lining only, I was about 3″ short when it came time to cut out the extensions. I saw it as one more opportunity to use the challenge fabrics, and pieced in a stripe of small nine-patches.
Not everything was rosy. I don’t know if it’s me or the directions, but I had a very hard time following along with the pattern. I had to re-read things a million times, and it still didn’t make a ton of sense in certain cases. The pattern also seems to be missing markings for start/stop stitching on the extension panel. It all turned out okay in the end, but was disappointing for a paid pattern.
If I make it again (likely with less piecing!), I’ll leave off the extension panel. It may provide more room when you need it, but is a bit awkward when folded down inside the bag. Not to mention, the bag itself is already pretty large! I also need to find a way to hide the raw edges from my center stripe at the very top edge (my fault for lack of foresight when I modified the pattern that way).
Regardless, it seems perfect for toting around projects and quilts that need to be photographed. I’m looking forward to using it to carry stuff for a sew-in next weekend!
My friend that also went on the retreat back in February pointed out that I make all these cosmetic bags, yet mine were in one of those free-with-purchase “gifts” from a department store cosmetic brand. She quipped about the “shoemaker’s children” and how I should get around to making myself one. I still haven’t made a cosmetic bag, but I did finish up another UFO for myself.
Back in November, I mentioned paper piecing a small block to go on a bag for my EPP and other handwork projects. I made the bag exterior, and let it languish on my shelf for… eight months now. So, this weekend, I decided to UFO bust and dragged out the bag.
The problem with letting a project that you dreamed up and didn’t write any notes down about languish for months on end is that you have no idea where you were going with it or what the measurements were. Somehow, I managed to cut out a lining of the right size, and managed to sew it in without too much trouble.
I even made a zipper bag and two Velcro pouches with leftover fabric—great for keeping bits of fabric separate, and to act as thread catchers, etc. The largest scrap I now have of the hedgehog print is a 2.5″ square—talk about efficient cutting (completely by luck)!
The outside has a few pockets, and a small needle/pin section.
And the inside has a pocket as well, with an elastic top to help keep things inside.
I don’t know what I was thinking with the handle, but without the strap where it is, the front is too long for the bag. I added a hook that keeps the flap connected to the top of the front by way of a button-hole, while still allowing access to the pockets, but I may rip off the strap and affix it to the sides at a later date.
For now, I just need to load it up and see how it works. It’s large enough to carry around my iPad and notebook, so it may work as a purse, too.
Hooray for finished projects! I’ve actually managed to empty out quite a few of my UFO/WIP cubbies lately (at least it seems so—although some of it has been by condensing things into other locations, I think). I think that means my project ADD will kick in again soon.
Have you managed to finish any UFOs or WIPs recently?
As a gift giver for Carl, I’m kind of lame: I usually get him things he needs but doesn’t want to spend his own money on (like jeans, sandals, etc…). For his birthday this year, I decided to supplement that with yet another item he maybe needs: a bag for his cycling stuff so that he doesn’t have to use our reusable grocery bags. This way he has a dedicated bag that won’t get co-opted for other uses.
Bijou Lovely has a great tutorial for a market tote that I based his bag on. Her instructions are clear, she has plenty of photos to illustrate what she’s talking about, and the result is a very roomy, practical, quick tote. For most purposes, it needs no changes.
That said, it is a little feminine and has no pockets, which were two cons for my purposes. But both were easily modified.