Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year 2016

Hi!
I really don't like going back to evaluate the year 2015 and make resolutions for the new year. I applaud those who can do that. I just see life more continuous than breaking it into years, etc. Resolutions?! I'm always making them! Well, I'm not so sure where I stand on all this. But I can wish us all health, blessings, love, peace and lots of sewing in the new year.






Thanks for visiting this humble blog and read about my sewing experiences.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My Second Brandt's Blvd Wallet and a Lotus Bag

Hello everyone,
I hope you're all doing great possibly having some family time because of the holidays.

Before I get caught up on other things I want to share the second Brandt's Blvd Wallet I made so time ago. The pattern is from Chis W Designs and is part of the new range of patterns that are easy and fast to sew. You can find your copy here where you can also read about the features the wallet provides.


I really love the look and clever features the wallet has. I used a fabric from Carrie Bloomston's Story  Collection named Newspaper in Indigo. I combined it with some dark brown twill fabric. The only change I made was elongating the closure tab by an inch.

Last Friday I was at a private craft fair and both my Brandt's Blvd Wallets sold. One of the customers first checked if her huge mobile phone fit (and I thought it wouldn't) and surprisingly it did. So she was very happy to get the wallet. I'll be making more of these probably at the beginning of the next year. I can't believe 2015 is almost over. What a year!!!

Another Bag I made and somehow have forgotten to share is the Lotus Handbag Pattern by Blue Calla Patterns. You can find it here. 







I love how it turned out. I used Bari J. Ackerman  Panache Canvas in Profundo from the Petal and Plume Canvas Collection. I combined it with a blueish gray twill. I never made this type of design were you have a central zippered section with two compartments on front and back.The way the zipper is connected and the bag exterior finished was a little odd but it turned out OK. Next time I'll try to "clean up" the method a bit and be more careful. I also learned a new way to make this kind of straps that has a clean finish. See if you can notice it in the last picture. This bag is still available at my Etsy Shop.


This is it for now. I wish you all a Merry Christmas with lots of family time.

Happy Sewing!

 


Sunday, December 6, 2015

My First Brandt's Boulevard Wallet

I finally got the chance to make my first Brandt's Boulevard Wallet. This is the second pattern from Chris W Design's Easy Street Range of patterns. This line of patterns are easier than the regular line from Chris W Designs. You can read more about it here and get your patterns here.

After being more than a month without sewing because of my bad shoulder this is the first thing I sew. I was a bit scared at the beginning on how my shoulder will react from the cutting, etc. But so far so good.

This wallet takes very little time to sew. Other than being just beautiful it has a removable wrist strap option, a zipper pocket, two slip pockets, one vinyl ID pocket, four card slots and a cellphone padded pocket. It has just what you need from a wallet.

I made mine using a Tim Holtz fabric for the exterior and a solid hazelnut color 100% cotton fabric for accent and lining.



After doing a mistake in the installation of the thumb catch closure I had to unsew (fun) the closure strap from the exterior and make another one. I opted to make it a bit longer than the pattern so that the thumb catch will sit lower on the wallet. I'm happy on how it turned out.


Having finished this one I started cutting a second one. I don't know what it is with wallets but one is never enough when you start sewing them.

Happy Sewing!!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Abby's Alley Tote

On my last post I wrote about how joint pain was causing me to sew less. I said "What I'm I supposed to do? Stop sewing for 6 months? LOL  No way. This can't stop me."..... Well, it did stop me. My right shoulder got so bad it hurt like crazy and I couldn't move my arm. After some anti-inflammatory medicine and x rays we discover I had calcific tendinitis. What that means is that there was quite a bit of calcium accumulated in the shoulder joint and the tendon wouldn't stretch to allow movement, other than having inflammation. I was miserable for a while by not being able to even comb my hair or get dressed by myself. My husband helped a lot and I watched lots of TV. I was treated with pills and physical therapy. Now I'm almost back to normal. I still have to take care and not over do it.

So before the madness stopped me I was able to test The Abby's Alley Tote for Christine from Chris W Designs. This Tote is the first pattern in her NEW Sew and Sell Easy Street Pattern Range. These new patterns will be quick sews and the pdf's will be short (less than 20 pages). And believe me the stylish designs are not sacrificed at all for these "easy sew" patterns. Christine just released the first two patterns in this rang. Check her blog post and other testers versions here


I used a butterfly printed canvas that I thought is just right for this Large Tote. After I bought this fabric I was just waiting for the right design of bag to use it, being that it has such big and loud print.


Even though I used canvas fabric I still used Pellon SF 101 woven interfacing to give it more stability. For extra padding and structure I also used Pellon Thermolam Plus Fusible interfacing. On the front I used a metal label bling from Emmaline Bags.

This Tote has plenty of pockets to keep everything organized. There are two pockets on each exterior side for a total of four exterior pockets. Inside there are also four pockets. I used a taupe cotton fabric for the lining. This will be a great tote to use when going to the beach or pool. And it will be great for taking things to the gym or even the office.




I have the Tote listed at my shop here.
Until next time. Gotta keep it short. Housework has been waiting for me. Ugh!! 
Happy Sewing!

Friday, October 23, 2015

My Second Epiphany Bag

After the first Epiphany bag (pattern from Chris W Designs) I made I knew I will want to make another one soon. Things have gotten on the way. Including some joints pain from the Virus I got back in September. From what I've read and hear the pain and inflammation can last up to 6 months after you got the virus. The other day my feet hurt so much I could hardly stand. And I said , "ok, I'll sew" but the hands also hurt, and the shoulders joined the party. So I just took some breaks while sewing. What I'm I supposed to do? Stop sewing for 6 months? LOL  No way. This can't stop me. And now in the middle of Purse Palooza? This was supposed to be the time when I was going to get crazy sewing and linking my bags to Purse Palooza. But it seems I really have to rest and take care. It's frustrating! So it took me like 5 days to finish this bag. But finally is done and I love it.


 I used the jean fabric again ( I used it on my recent Bella II) . But this canvas print loked perfect with the jean fabric and I've been waiting to use it on the right bag.


If you are familiar with the Epiphany you can see I used a different arrangement for the contrast and main fabric. I wanted to do this and then Marilyn from Shades of Bold inspired me with her second Epiphany bag (red version) so I went for it. You can see her versions here. My arrangement is not like hers but the truth is they all look great. That's the great things with bag patterns, you can customize, and I love to do that.


 Another tweak is that since I didn't use the optional adjustable strap I added a pleat in each Gusset to keep the sides from sticking out, just like Liz (from Moments) did with her first testing version.. You can see it here. Is great to have inspiration from blogging friends.


This time I was able to make the nice interior slip pockets with contrasting fabric.


I'll be linking this bag to Purse Palooza 2015. Have you link bags too. You still have time! And I'll be listing it in my shop soon; if I don't decide to keep it. ;-)

Happy Sewing!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Wallets

A short post here just to show you some wallets I made recently. I love making wallets and I'm trying to make some that will match the bags available at my shop.






These two: the one with 45's and the one with cassettes don't have a matching bag yet.



And today I finished making a bag with the arrows. This one is the Hobo with pockets I've been making these days.


Monday, October 12, 2015

A Hobo with pockets

I made another hobo with pockets. You can see my previous ones here. This time I used a blueish gray thick twill as main exterior fabric. Somehow it looks navy blue in the pictures. Not a great camera I guess. For the pockets I used some of the Viewfinder fabric I had. This is from Melody Miller's Collection Playful. I just love this print since it reminds me of my childhood.



This bag is pretty spacious and has a relaxed feel. I only used Pellon SF101 as interfacing, even when the fabric is thick just for an extra crispiness. It can be used as a shoulder bag or cross body by adjusting the strap. This next picture shows the color best.



In the exterior there are two pockets: a slip pocket and a zippered pocket. Inside there are two more pockets: one slip and one zippered. I lined the bag with a gray cotton fabric. Hobo bags are very casual and it"s a great option for an everyday bag.

The bag is listed on my shop: www.NormasBagBoutique.etsy.com I'll be linking this to Purse Palooza 2015.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Big Tote

Recently I was asked to make a tote for a Large Laptop. I thought of some Totes I made a while back which you can see here. So I just made it bigger to fit the big laptop.


The Tote measures 16" high x 12" wide x 3" front to back. The pockets will be great to store the accessories. There's a big slip pocket and a zippered pocket. I checked and the regular size folder fits in the slip pocket.



I used the pattern Two Zip Hipster from Dog Under My Desk but modified it to change it from a zippered crossbody bag to a tote. The dimensions are much bigger too. I just like this combo of slip pocket with zip pocket. You can see the pattern here.

As for fabrics I used a Black Washed Kaufman Denim and a canvas print I got at Joann's some time ago (sorry but couldn't find the name). I used some Pellon SF-101 fusible woven for all exterior fabric plus added some Fusible Thermolam to the main two pieces to provide a bit of cushioning for protection. I guess the new Pellon Flex Foam would've been a better option but I don't have any at the moment and they don't sell it here in Puerto Rico. I'll try getting some on my next visit to the States. ;-)

Do you know this year's Purse Palooza already started? Go visit here. This year Sara (the host and creator) asked me to be a guest blogger!! Of course I said yes. You can find my post tomorrow Thursday. And be sure to visit the Sew Sweetness blog every day of this month to learn about many different bags and also to participate on the giveaways. You can make bags and link them to participate and maybe even win some prizes. Learn all about it here.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Epiphany from Chris W Designs

Today Christine from Chris W Designs has released her latest bag pattern: The Epiphany. I was honored to be among the testers. Here's my version:






I really love this bag's design. It has a very sleek look. It looks like is small but because of a wide gusset is a very roomy bag. This makes it a great bag for petites since it doesn't look overwhelmingly big. It has two pockets on the exterior: a slip pocket on front and a zipper pocket on the back. The main compartment closes with a recessed zipper.



 Inside there's a great combination of pockets which come from a slip pocket that divides in three sections: one regular slip, one pen compartment and a pleated pocket. Plus there's another slip pocket over that one. I hope you can see it well on the picture.

The bottom of the bag is very sturdy as some Pellon Peltex (sturdy interfacing) is inside. The two top parts of the exterior (shown on print on my version) also has some Peltex. This makes the bag keep it's beautiful square shape.

I used some solid gray twill and a canvas print with some gray, yellow and black for the exterior. For the lining I used a gray quilting fabric. The instructions give you an option of using a combination with the exterior fabric for the interior pocket assembly that makes it look very nice. I didn't use it because I ran out of exterior fabric.

The instructions on the pattern are easy to follow and there are plenty of pictures to help you understand. There are very thorough. Installing the sides and making the zipper are probably a bit tricky for beginners but are very well explained if you want to improve your level of expertise on making bags. It's been classified as an Intermediate Level pattern.

My version will be available for purchase soon on my Etsy shop here.  If you want to get the pattern you can find it here.

Note: I wanted to include separate photos of the different views of the bag but Blogger is acting up and giving me some problem. Sorry.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Another Design of Mine



Maybe I should stop apologizing every time I neglect this blog. The truth is I got sick and then got caught sewing for the time I missed. My husband came home from work one day with fever and body pain. It seem it was the chikungunya virus ( it's pronounced very funny) which spreads by mosquito bites. So I cover myself with mosquito repellent. The thing is it seems I was already bitten and got sick anyway. My husband was sick for three days but I was for about eight days. Nasty Virus! Just plain body pain, fever, inflammation of the joints and lack of energy. I was miserable! There were (and still are) many cases in the west of the island. So if you plan to visit the Caribbean be sure to use mosquito repellent.

So let's talk bag sewing. I wanted to put different techniques together and create a large bag that will close with a zipper. I also wanted two pockets outside, one slip and one zippered. Every time I make a new bag I try to see each feature as something that can be used separately. So this kind of combination of zippered pocket with slip pocket behind is used on two different patterns I have: The Serendipity Hip Bag by Chris W Designs and the Two Zip Hipster by Dog Under my Desk. I made it the size I wanted which was a bit bigger than the patterns I have. Actually after making the first test (the gray in the photos) I ended up making it higher for the second (the black with skeleton keys); and I like that height better. Those were all straight lines so it was easy to draw. But I wanted some curvy sides on the overall shape. I used this curvy ruler that includes 3 different radius of corners to draw the curve on the side pieces.


I added some darts for dimension on the curves. Then I included a top zipper technique I learned from another pattern: The Zippered Hobo with Knots from Napkitten on Etsy. For the back piece I just made the front piece first and then used it to make the back.



And that's how this design was born. I plan to make more of these. Is a relaxed bag. The only interfacing I use is Pellon SF101. Although the fabrics were thick. Maybe it can be done adding Soft and Stable, Pellon Foam (the new one) or Thermolam Plus to achieve a more structured result. Or using quilting cotton and a thicker interfacing, foam or fleece. But for now I want a relaxed hobo with outside pockets and zippered closure and that is what I got.



 Inside it has a zippered pocket and a slip pocket on the other side.


The gray version was made with a thick upholstery fabric. The fabric has some thin colorful lines that form some squares. This one sold on my shop soon after I listed it. The black one is made with a black twill and a quilting print that has some skeleton keys on it. This one is still available on my shop here.

I made this design just before The Hydrangea Bag from Blue Calla came out, which I love. You can see my first one here. The top closure was very similar, except that for The Hydrangea the straps connection corner is covered with some extra pieces. I did modified that part on the two Hydrangea bags I've made to have a slicker look. The front pocket on the Hydrangea is lovely as the bottom gusset. So they are still two different styles. Here's my second Hydrangea:


 You can get the pattern from Blue Calla here.


I have a couple more bags that I made with tester patterns that I'll share later.

For now keep yourself healthy and keep sewing!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Hydrangea Hobo Bag

Hi everyone!

Again, sorry for my little disappearance. It has been a bit more than a month since my last post. Different things kept me away; from a bad lower back pain, then my shoulder acted up too and I helped someone move to a new apartment.

I did get a chance to get Blue Calla's new bag pattern. You can get yours here. There's no affiliation with her other than me liking her bag patterns. This one is called The Hydrangea Hobo Bag. I love that is a zipper closure hobo. And the design came out just as I was finishing a design that I did putting together some features from different bags I've sewn. I'll show you that one too later on my next post.

The instructions are easy to follow with pictures for every single step. I love that front pocket!! How clever to have a zipper pocket on the flap of the slip pocket!!! It's such a nice shape, isn't it?


And the slip pocket has some darts at the bottom to make it a big 3D pocket.





Then the bottom has a nice gusset That gives the bag a great shape.



 On the inside there's a curved bottom slip pocket divided in two compartments. I added a zipper pocket too.


I used a brown canvas chevron as my main body fabric, a solid brown canvas as the accent fabric and a solid beige quilting fabric for the lining. Pellon SF 101 woven interfacing was used fused to all exterior fabric.
I loved the bag when I finished that I made a second one right away.

For this one I used a blue canvas print with some jean fabric on the exterior. There are more pictures of this bag on my shop.

On both of them I modified the strap installation.

Now go get your pattern and make yours. Or you can visit my shop ( www.NormasBagBoutique.etsy.com ) and get one of the ones I made.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Beverly Cross Body Sling Bag

Here's another bag I made a few days ago. The pattern is from iThinkSew.com. Is called The Beverly Cross Body Sling Bag.


This is a small "backpack" good for adults or kids. It can be made for men or women depending on the fabrics choice. I think this Sling Bag is great for those summer outings like street festivals or hiking. This first time I did enlarged the front pocket. I also omitted the side pockets since I found them too small. I'm already thinking also on the possibility of making the gusset wider for a bigger bag and then the side pockets will make more sense. Maybe even for a water bottle pocket made with mesh fabric.

The pattern was easy to sew; at least for me. It might not be for a beginner because of the top zipper in a curve and the bias tape inside. The only problem I had when making it was that the bottom gusset turned out a bit shorter than the perimeter of the front/back pieces so I added an additional piece of fabric. Next time I can maybe just make a continuous bottom piece with no middle seam.


I already had the hardware for joining the webbing strap so that made it easier to get to it right away. I used an olive green twill fabric and as an accent on the front pocket I used an Alexander Henry quilting print. I interfaced with Pellon SF101.



 On the interior it has a big slip pocket, good for an eTablet and a zippered pocket. I omitted an additional slip pocket with compartments but next time I'll make it. Bias tape is used to hide the raw edges of the interior seams.


You can get this pattern here. I have no affiliation with iThinkSew other than been a satisfied customer. You can make an account at their site and accumulate points for further benefits. I still have to read a bit more about that. If you are not a sewer and will like this bag this one is listed at my store here or I can make one for you. Just convo me on etsy.

So, what do you think of this pattern and my version?