One Step Closer…

I’ve been in such great spirits lately since summer break is here.  Even though as adults, we no longer get the break from school that the kids get, there’s just a different vibe in the air when this time of year comes around.  Maybe it’s the relaxed, carefree mood everyone is in because it’s vacation time.  Maybe it’s the amazing weather.  Whatever the reason, it’s got me feeling pretty excited to be productive!

I had the day off yesterday, so I figured I’d sit down and try to get some of the important components done that will help me get ready for selling.  One of the biggest things I’d been lagging on is getting spreadsheets organized.  Creating an organization system to monitor and track all of the important information is absolutely crucial!  I had previously done research on the types of information that should be tracked, as well as tried to find examples of formats that I liked.  Even with all of the researching, it still felt overwhelming to map it all out.  I always felt like I would forget something and mess up all my charts.  That’s a big reason why I kept putting it off.

I soon realized, I didn’t want to hassle with it.  However, I felt as though I couldn’t move forward to the next step without tackling it ASAP.  Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t stand to tackle any job without getting organized and having a plan of action.  I’ll never be one of those people who can just “wing it” for very long.  I found a great Etsy seller through Pinterest, who sells some great Excel spreadsheets to help get everything in the right places!  I was so excited that it had everything I could think of and more!  What’s even better, is the design of the charts are so easy to understand and are exactly how I want.  If you’re not familiar with spreadsheets, or you’re not quite sure what info goes where, there is an instruction guide that comes along with your purchase.

You can check out the Paper + Spark Etsy shop here.

After getting all of the spreadsheets for tracking sales and raw materials and such, I also wanted to tackle a product development worksheet for new designs.  It took awhile to get the layout how I wanted, but I think I was able to get all of the necessary info on there that I will need.

Although it’s a slow process,  I get so excited with each step I complete.  It makes me feel as though I’m getting on the right track to get things done, and get closer to where I want to be!

Stay tuned!

Nik

Handmade Mini Quilted Suedecloth & Faux Leather Tote Handbag

I hate when I get the urge late at night to start making something because I just know I’ll stay up waaaaay too late working on it.  Of course, that was the case last night.  The result, this mini quilted handbag:


You wouldn’t believe, but this started out as something COMPLETELY different.  I was just sort of “wingin’ it” so it’s no wonder it ended up totally opposite of what I originally had in mind!  I’ve been wanting to do a large shoulder/tote bag out of this material so this made a great miniature mock up.  

This was the first time making handles like these, and it was easier than I thought.  It wasn’t wise however, to attempt sewing them on while being so tired.  What a pain to put on!  It also didn’t help that I had to put them on once the main body of the bag was already constructed (due to my “wingin’ it”).


I can’t wait to make a full size quilted tote, but next time I’ll be more prepared.  It would be super cute to add some rivets, a snap closure, and a pocket inside.

Stay tuned!

Black Vinyl/Faux Leather Bucket Bag

This is one of those projects that seems like it’s on the right path until you get about half way done, and realize you want to throw it across the room.  Even though it came out basically how I envisioned, there are quite a few things that need to be fixed.

I even went back and forth on whether it would just be a shoulder bag…no, a bucket bag…wait, shoulder? No, definitely a bucket bag.  Lol most of this happened because I was too lazy to write and plan out my process before starting.  The whole point is to build prototypes and patterns anyways so it’s not entirely a bad thing.

Overall, I’m happy it worked out and I know I’ll be super pleased once I make the necessary tweaks that will really up the quality of the handbag!


Brown Faux Suede Fringe Clutch Handbag

Stayed up waaaaaay too late last night working on this clutch.  It took me so long just to get motivated to start, but once I did, I couldn’t stop.  The original vision I had in mind was for a crossbody bag, however I didn’t have any matching hardware to make it possible.

This was the first attempt using both faux suede and fringe in a sewing project.  It was surprisingly easy to work with.  I didn’t need any special needle and my regular machine foot worked fine.

The whole basis for the clutch was actually because I wanted to use the Aztec print fabric that I used as the lining.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE it for some reason.  Even the woman at the cutting table was drawn to it and wasn’t sure why.

I love that it is colorful and fun, and stands out so well against the faux suede without being overly bright and loud.


I still have some faux suede left over so I want to play around with it and see what else I can come up with!

College Graduation Cap Decoration Idea

Just finished this graduation cap topper for my cousin’s upcoming graduation ceremony from CSULB.  I’m actually super happy with how it turned out!  I’ve never been able to use paints decently so I was so scared to mess up.  I really love how the colors worked together as well!

Handmade Baby or Infant Onesie Part 2

Just a quick post for the second handmade baby onesie I just finished.  This time I chose to use the sleeveless style from the same Mammacandoit pattern found HERE.

I decided to use the same main fabric instead of a woven for the snap area, and I like it much better.  It was a little more difficult to maneuver, but I prefer the way it looks.  It also caused a difficulty when putting the snaps on because it was thicker, but they came out more aligned and more neat than the first onesie.

I wish I had enough matching thread to use in the serger, but I wasn’t about to go buy more just for one project.  Considering it won’t show, the white was fine and more importantly, I didn’t have to change the threads!  

I thought I picked out the same knit material, but I soon realized this one was much thicker and stretchier.  It was a little bit more difficult to work with so I did get some pinching and bunching in some areas.

Loving making these and I hope more of my friends start having babies so I have an excuse to make more!  Next up, I’ll try out the long sleeve style when I pick up more fabric!

Handmade Baby or Infant Onesie

I know I always say it, but I really am so excited and pleased with my most recently finished craft project!  It’s something I’ve wanted to learn for awhile, but I’ve just always seemed to put off.

I absolutely love making baby items because they’re all so cute and tiny, and it’s an excuse to use all of the absolutely adorable fabric prints available!  I was a little disappointed this time though, that when I went shopping for fabric, the selection wasn’t as great as it has been in the past.

I found this cute little dump truck fabric that would work cute for a little baby boy’s onesie.  I believe it was an interlock, which is a nice stretchy knit that is a little thicker than jersey knit.


It’s been sooooo long since I’ve worked with a knit fabric.  I was actually a little intimidated getting started again because it really is different than working with wovens.  It was a perfect excuse to pull out the serger again so that I can get some practice in before the secret project I’m working on.


I don’t believe you always need special equipment to make things, but a serger seriously helps take your handmade items to the next level.  It’s amazing for creating beautifully finished seams like the manufacturers.  I’m such a perfectionist that it’s a MUST if I’m sewing apparel items.

If you’re planning on using a serger for your knits, don’t be intimidated by playing with your machine’s features.  More specifically, the differential feed.  The differential feed refers to how the fabric is fed through the machine.  Knits tend to curl or wave when passed through the machine at the standard machine setting.  For my machine, the standard is 1.0.  By increasing the differential feed to greater than 1.0, it tends to “gather” the fabric as it’s being serged, rather than stretching it.  You will have to check your machine’s manual, and I also recommend doing a test swatch to find the right setting.


Always do a test swatch on a scrap of the fabric you will use.  Below shows the importance of adjusting your serger’s differential feed:

Above: standard differential feed setting vs. increasing the differential feed

I found a pattern on Etsy for the baby onesie that included a wide range of sizes and different sleeve styles.

The link to the mommacandoit shop can be found HERE.

The instructions for the baby onesie were very easy to follow and it finishes up fairly quickly.  I used both my serger and my regular sewing machine, and I think it helps add a more professional finish.  The only thing I wasn’t fond of was using a woven in the crotch area where the snaps are adhered.  I would prefer just using the same knit fabric, or binding the edge like the the neck and legs.

Finish the seam edges with a serger, and use your machine to topstitch for a polished look


It was at this point that I realized I had placed the first set of snaps on wrong!! Luckily, it wasn’t too much of a pain to remove and correct them.

I was a little bummed that after correcting them, I put the second set on crooked.  It’s ok though, I’ll get it right on the next one!


Overall, I loved making this baby onesie!  It is so cute and tiny and can’t wait to give it to the sweet little baby boy.  I’m happy I took the time to learn how to make a onesie, because it will make another great gift to go along with my baby blankets!

Gray and Navy Blue Vinyl Faux Leather Wristlet Zipper Pouch – Finished Object

The very first project I ever sewed was a small coin purse with a metal clasp closure.  I found a nice little kit years ago on Etsy.  It came with a cute little instruction booklet and all of the necessary supplies.  I was immediately hooked!

I’ve since gone on to learn various other sewing projects, including some apparel.  I love the different techniques each different project can teach you.  I’ve recently taken a small pause from making baby blankets, and I’ve been making bags and pouches once again.

I realize now, it’s what I seem to enjoy most.  I think part of the reason is the instant satisfaction.  They are pretty easy to make so they finish up fairly quick.  I also love that it’s an excuse to use all kinds of fun or wacky prints of fabric that I otherwise wouldn’t use for anything.  The amount of supplies needed is also minimal so that’s a huge plus!

This past weekend I was able to finish up a small wristlet zipper pouch.  It gave me a chance to use up some fabrics I’ve had in my stash for awhile.  The finished dimensions are 9″ x 5.25″, with an 11″ strap.  It’s the perfect size for holding a phone, keys, and a few other on the go essentials!

The main body consists of three different fabrics.  The tan fabric is a soft vinyl/faux leather-like material.  The printed fabric is 100% cotton from Quilter’s Showcase, and the dark blue is a home decor weight fabric similar to duck canvas.

I used a regular poly zip that I had on hand.  I didn’t have the exact size needed, but they’re so easy to shorten that’s it’s not worth buying a whole new one.  I like the look of using zipper tabs because it gives a nicer finish than when the side seams are pinched at the ends of the zipper.  I still managed to accidentally pinch the ends of the zipper.  Whomp whomp 😢.  I’m still working on perfecting using zipper tabs so hopefully the next one!


Once again, I used the plain dark red fabric as the lining.  I had a few of these fat quarters on hand, and I don’t have any other solid colors so I’m trying to use them up.  I wanted to attempt making card slots in the lining to add an organizational element.  Sometimes, I hate when you have to just throw everything into a clutch or bag, and you have to sift through it all to find what you need.


Overall, I’m really happy with how it turned out!


DIY Blackout Curtains: Semi-tutorial

With all of the crafting I’ve been doing lately, it feels so strange when I don’t get a chance to work on anything for the week.  In fact, I feel guilty if I don’t get some practice in.  I know I’ve still got a ways to go, so I feel like I should be getting practice in daily.  Between work and personal time, it isn’t always possible, or even practical to craft a lot.  

Last month’s craft to-do list was a little bit long, but I’m happy to say I at least finished a little more than the previous month’s list. I still need to increase the time spent making things, so I know I need to get more control of my scheduling/time management.

One of the things that I enjoy most about crafting is when the finished product is a functional piece to the home, office, or wherever necessary.  After finishing the curtains for my fabric storage shelf, I wanted to finally tackle the blackout curtains I’ve needed.  I originally wanted to make all new curtains, but I decided I’d rather save the money and just repurpose the existing curtains.  It’s also a cheaper option than buying pre-made blackout curtains.

**This process will also work for any lining you want to add to an existing curtain panel, not just blackout lining.

I picked up some Roc-Ion Blackout Lining Fabric from my local Jo-Ann Fabric.  It could technically work as either a main fabric, an attached lining fabric, or a second layer that just hangs behind the main fabric.  I chose to use it as a lining fabric directly attached to the main fabric.  Another benefit to using the existing curtains is that you already know the finished dimensions needed, and the hems are already pressed into the fabric for easy guidelines.

I unfortunately didn’t take any photos of the process because I originally wasn’t going to post about it since I wasn’t really “creating” anything.  I figured it might help someone else out who’s looking to make their own blackout curtains, so I’ll try to write out as many details as possible.  

**Disclaimer:  I’m in no way a professional, and this is certainly not the only way.  It may not even be the best way, but it was easy and worked for me, so hopefully it can help someone else!

1). READY…SET…RIP!

Begin carefully seam ripping all of the existing sewing lines from the manufacturer.  This will give you one large rectangle of fabric (as if you’re starting from scratch).


2). CUT THE BLACKOUT LINING FABRIC:

Length:  Cut about 2″ less than what the FINISHED curtain length will be.  For example: if the finished length from top of the rod pocket to the bottom hem measures 60″, cut the blackout lining to 58″.  This will make sure the raw edges of the lining are encased within the hem while reducing bulk for sewing.  It’s not vital, you could still make it the same length of the main fabric, but it may increase the bulkiness when sewing the hems.

Width:  Cut 1″ less than what the TOTAL width of the main fabric measurement is (the measurement from side edge to side edge after seam ripping).  We’re cutting it shorter to create a self-binding effect that will hide the raw edges and keep the blackout lining from rolling to the front of the curtains.

3). SEW IT UP!

Place fabrics right sides together.  Line up one side seam, pin.  Since we cut the length of blackout fabric shorter, be sure center it in the main fabric so that equal amounts of the main fabric are at the top and bottom.  

Sew side seam only using a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Repeat along the other side seam.  Do not sew top and bottom seams.

4). ALMOST THERE!

Turn fabrics right sides out, press.  You will start to see where the front fabric naturally pulls towards the back, creating a border along the sides.  Pin side seams if desired and topstitch.  Repeat with other side seam.  This creates a really nice, professional finish to the backside of your curtain.


5). HEADING FOR THE FINISH LINE

Now all that remains is to fold down the top to create the rod pocket, and fold up the bottom hem.  Use the manufacturer hem lines as a guide and it will make life so much easier.  When you fold and press the main fabric towards the back, it should cover up the raw edges of the blackout lining.  If for some reason it does not, give yourself more slack in the seam allowance until the lining is covered.  Pin and topstitch in place and you’re done!  Repeat process with any additional curtain panels you may have.


I love that there are no raw edges exposed and that the lining and main fabrics work together as one unit.  

Fabric Organization and Sewing New Curtains

I recently did a major spring cleaning through my craft closet and it feels great!  I let go of some things I wasn’t using and just didn’t really need anymore.  I needed to reorganize some areas so I could actually get to my supplies more easily and use them!

I normally keep all of my fabrics and yarns inside plastic storage bins so they don’t get dust buildup.  The problem with this is that I can’t ever get to the ones I need.  I also end up forgetting what I have on hand.

I decided to make mini bolts of fabric and put them on shelves so I can see everything.  I must say, I’m liking it much better already!


I didn’t want to spend any money because I wasn’t sure at first if I’d like the new way.  I had a package of 8 1/2 x 11 chipboard pieces from scrapbooking days, so I figured they would suffice for now.  All small remnant pieces are just folded for now.  

I don’t want them to get exposed to dust (and mostly Karla’s pet hair!) now that they’re out in the open, so I made some curtains to help keep them dustfree.

I picked up some Keepsake Calico fabric from JoAnn Fabrics.  I think it’s a nice print without being too bright or busy for my taste.


A simple rod pocket style curtain and cheap tension rod did the trick!