Sunday, 26 February 2012

Easy, user friendly handbag patterns

New to making handbags, or an old hand?  Either way, I fully recommend keykaloupatterns.  I bought one for a friend's birthday yesterday - it is easy to do... buy the PDF pattern online & then mail the link to your friend!  No mess, no fuss, no waiting!!  Click on the Bracelet Bag Pattern on the right of this page to see all her patterns.

Next month in the BIWC class, we will be making the Cross Body Bag.  You can order your pattern so long by clicking on the link on the right hand side of this page 'BIWC March Class'.

Here is a pic of the handbag I am currently carrying - also a Keykalou pattern, but unfortunately one she no longer has available for sale.  Not sure why as it is a gem!  It has pockets like a pair of denims.




The main bag fabric is from my paris shopping trip & the dotty lining is from a fabric shopping trip my sister took me on in Surrey.  She took me to this wonderful little quilting shop where they sell fabric as well as every little thing you could possibly want for quilting (and other sewing projects).  The fabrics are gorgeous & arranged in toning hues.  They really ensure you buy more than you need!  

Have a look at this range I bought from them...




Saturday, 25 February 2012

Man Bag

The Antiques Diva, Toma, donated a Diva Tour of the  Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons, otherwise known by Toma as the Ham & Antiques Market  (you can read the NY Times article about Toma & her tour here)  to the winner of the Charcutepalooza competition.    Now, normally, Toma gives her touring Diva a personalized shopper to carry their purchases.  However the winner of this competition is a man! 


Please do note the long list of wonderful treats his prize includes!  Don't you love the pic:  suit & wellies!!


When you have a look at his food blog, and especially a few of the judges fav posts (here, here and here), you will easily see why he won - and may just wish (like I do) that you could send your hubby for some cooking lessons!


After getting lost in the gorgeous pictures of sumptuous banquets of exquisitely prepared cuisine on his blog, I decided Toma would not mind me deviating from the normal order for a touring Diva - the personalized shopper in toile de jouy - and make something a little more manly.


This morning I sat down & started a pattern for a manbag / murse - whichever you prefer.


I have just completed the finishing touches, have a peek...



(Why a pig you ask?  Trufflepig Travel is taking care of Peter’s travel and lodging, the logo for Charcutepalooza is a pig, and after all... he is shopping the HAM market)




It was fun to make, and has a little touch of Paris with a black & white toile de jouy lining!
While it may not carry too many antiques, it certainly will be able to pack in some cured meats.
Well done Peter, I hope you have a wonderful time enjoying your prize - it certainly was fun making your Diva Manbag.





Thursday, 23 February 2012

Before & after - the fabric hoard

Every sewing enthusiasts dilemma... how to store your fabric stash in a neat, tidy fashion, making it easy to find the right piece when you wish to start a project.  I bought a simple cupboard from IKEA especially for the purpose, but it quickly looked a right mess...



But, after switching to sorting by colour instead of type of fabric, it looked quite pretty....



And, I am proud to say, a few weeks later, it looks just as good as it did after the big tidy up!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

BIWC Class

Remember the house shoes I made?
Refresher here

Today we made them as a class - with the Berlin International Women's Club / BIWC - find out about us here

I took a few pics so you could see too....


You can see the tiny machine 2nd from the front on the left of the table... and again it did amazingly well! This little machine has my vote for best value for money at 10€!
Tiny machine on front right with Lourdes at it's helm :)

Look at those pretty house shoes!!



Sunday, 19 February 2012

Free Baby Bib pattern & tutorial

Here are examples of the free baby bib pattern made up:

These are for twins, matching but different - one girl, one boy.



First the pattern:


Baby Bib


You can download it directly & print out at actual size (do not change the %)
It should fill the A4 page lengthwise, and be 10.5cm wide at widest point.

Place the pattern on the fold of the fabric & cut out one in main fabric and one in toweling.

Add your applique (or similar) to the main fabric

Stitch the main fabric to the toweling WST (wrong sides together) with a long straight stitch, very close to the edge.

Cut away any excess of both fabrics.

Make your bias binding following the tutorial I have already added (link here). Bias tape makers can be found in the Prym and Clover product range.
Clover also makes a bias binding maker that makes fusible (iron on) bias binding. I have not tried this yet, but you can see it here.

Add bias tape, starting at the top corner, around the outside edge of the bib.
Then fold over & stitch down the edge of a new piece of bias tape, stitch bias tape together (on its own) for about 20cms. Then start adding it to the neck edge of the bib, leaving another 20cm tail off the other side. These tails are to tie the bib behind baby's neck.
This 2nd application of bias will cover the raw edge of the last bias tape.

Your bib is done!!

Should you wish to make a bigger bib, simple add a few cms to the folded edge of the pattern, no other changes required.

Happy sewing...





Saturday, 18 February 2012

Weekender Bag

I have almost finished a new bag, just for fun this time! The BVG is on strike today & as Berlin's public transport is then limited to the S-Bahn, we decided to stay in today & I did some sewing!

Here is the result ...





The Toile de Jouy is from a fabric shopping trip to Paris undertaken with The Antiques Diva - bliss I tell you!!

I used a wonderful stiffening product called Decovil. You can read about it here. It is quite pricey - I found it online for about 15€ a meter, and it is 90cm wide. It gives the bag a good, sturdy structure and a lovely finished look - no flopping or sagging here.

Today I found a new interfacing (vlieseline) supplier online. I emailed them to ask a product related question this afternoon (on the weekend please note). The owner immediately wrote back offering to post me free samples so I could see which product is right for my needs. After that great service... I am of course willing to recommend them - click here.

On the base panel of the bag I have used another iron-on product to give the bag a water repellant finish - see product here - which is really easy to apply. I have mentioned this in previous blog posts - I used it on the baby change mat to great effect as well.

The pattern is from a wonderful book, The Bag Making Bible written by Lisa Lam. I especially like Lisa's books as they are always easy to follow, clear, concise with loads of pictures. She gives you GREAT tips, and is really generous with her willingness to REALLY share all the professional tips to get the job done well. I find some of the other 'bag making greats' leave out little things - almost as though they are unwilling to allow your bag to be equal to their great works. Lisa is not one of these at all. If she knows it, she will tell it! Her books are a MUST on any creative soul's bookcase.

You can also get hold of some of her handbag patterns as a PDF here.

AND then you can get some truly lovely bag making supplies from her shop - look here
Not to sound like too much of a hero worshiper (well, I really am!), but I also follow her on FaceBook and keep an eye on her blog - she is always up to something interesting.
Take a peek... you will get hooked too.

My Sister saw that I had commented on her FaceBook profile, so popped over to see Lisa's page... we now have two handbag makers in the family!


Happy stitching

Friday, 17 February 2012

Blind Hemming Help


Image from About.com sewing


Which stitch to use?

For blind hemming, you could use E, F or G


Instead of trying to explain what you need to do, I am adding a video link....


Watch this


You absolutely can use your normal zig zag foot!!!! I have a blind hem foot, but I NEVER use it.

With a normal zig zag foot, you just need to learn the width of the long stitch & then keep the stitch in the correct place. Once you are used to your machine, this is really simple & easy to do.



Saturday, 4 February 2012

Adding a pocket to a handbag

This is a neat way to add outside pockets....

Place your pocket fabric (cut 2x the length of the pocket) right sides together on your main handbag fabric. Pin in place.
Draw rectangle the correct width for your zip (so the lines are either sides of the teeth)

You will note that I use endless zips - MUCH better!! I buy them on EBay here or here
Pay attention to the width of the zip - the wider the better for handbags!
If you don't know how to use them yet, have a look at this little video I made... it is REALLY simple!!!


Now stitch around the rectangle - do not go outside of the lines ANYWHERE!!!

Cut down the middle line

And down the little v's I drew at the 2 ends

Insert the pocket through this opening you have made... press in place
on both sides
This is what you now have...

Place your zip under the gap so that it is centered & stitch around
You can stitch right through the plastic of the zip - just go slowly!
trim off excess zip



Now fold the pocket up in half & stitch around all the sides
And you are done!


I have just pulled the pocket to the top so you can see it. It will actually hang down when the bag is carried.












Thursday, 2 February 2012

Fabric KITTY CAT soft toy

I have a 1st birthday party coming up & wanted to make a kitty stuffed toy for the birthday girl. I will be making my own pattern this time.

I bought a roll of pattern paper this time - the single sheets don't get me very far & a roll is much more economical. Have a look at this website, she has some great products & prices are good! I received my order within 3 days!

And here comes kitty......





He is rather hard to photo well!
He is 3D and stands on all 4 legs.