Waste Not, Learn Not…

You know that feeling you get when you buy a new pair of shoes or a new outfit, and you’re just dying to have an excuse to wear it , but for some reason you can’t get yourself to wear it?  I know we’ve all been there.  Is it because you don’t want to risk it getting dirty or ruined so fast?  Is it because you can’t bear to break it’s “newness”? Or perhaps it’s because you don’t want to “waste” it because nobody is going to see you in it that day?  I know I’m guilty of this with a lot of things, including my fabric stash.

I’ve come to realize lately that it’s partly hindering my sewing progress.  I often find that I hesitate working on practice projects because I feel like I’m wasting fabric if it’s not a specific project that someone will be using right away, if ever.  Even with coupons or discounts, fabric is just not cheap nowadays, so a part of me feels guilty when I go to use up my stash.  I know, in a sense, it’s totally ridiculous.  After all, what good is spending your money on something only for it to take up space and collect dust on a shelf?  THAT would be the real “waste” in my opinion.

Furthermore, how could I possibly plan on improving my skills without practicing consistently?  How will you know how a fabric behaves, best needle/thread/tension, etc. if you don’t test it?  It’s never a waste if it’s for the sake of learning, but I just need to keep reminding myself of that!

I’ve also really been trying to get on the ball with getting in more sewing time, and taking the time to sketch out my ideas as they happen so I don’t forget them, because let’s face it- I WILL forget it.  One of the worst things is having all sort of ideas flowing like crazy, and when you actually sit down and try to be productive – NOTHING!  I’ve made it a point to carry my sketchpad with me, and I think it really helps me get in a good groove.  I finally remembered to pick up some colored pencils so I can start incorporating some color into my sketches to really get an idea of what color palettes I’m feeling.

This past weekend, I was happy to have some time and work on one of my sketches.  It’s just a basic flat zippered clutch bag, but I wanted to play around with color placement and style lines.  It’s simple, but slightly geometric.  I want to play around with the proportions and shapes some more so that it’s not quite so equal all around.  It was a great chance to use some faux leather/vinyl fabric from my stash.  I just wish my machine was a little better at handling the bulkiness that vinyl seams create.  Overall, it does a better job than a lot of home machines probably do, but I can’t wait to upgrade so it can fly through the seams with ease and perfection!

triangle geometric clutch bag three tone handbag (6)triangle geometric clutch bag three tone handbag (7)triangle geometric clutch bag three tone handbag (3)


Handmade Black Quilted Crossbody Handbag – Vogue V9263

This post is a little late because I really wasn’t going to blog about it to begin with.  I wasn’t fully pleased with how my latest project turned out, but I figured hey, this blog is meant to share both the successes AND failures.  I want to be able to look back at my progress eventually, and see what areas I was able to improve, and what areas still need work.

In all honesty, it wasn’t a total fail.  There’s actually quite a bit of elements that I really liked the way they turned out.  I’ve been trying to research and look into different handbag making techniques so that I can learn what I like and don’t like, what materials work best with certain styles/techniques, etc.  It’s definitely a SLOOOOOOOOWWWWW process on my part, but I also have to be careful not to burn through supplies.

The goal this year is to really increase my bag making.  I wasn’t able to complete nearly as much as I wanted in the last year, so I definitely need to pick up the pace and push through.  For my first handbag of 2018, I chose to work from a Vogue Handbag Pattern, V9263.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t believe I can’t find any blogs or posts anywhere about this pattern!  Vogue V9263 comes with patterns for two very different handbags, both of which are quite nice.  I bought this sometime last year when Vogue patterns were on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Never pay the full price unless ABSOLUTELY necessary!

Vogue Sewing Pattern V9263
Left: View B Right: View A

I decided to make View A, which is for a small quilted crossbody handbag.  It’s ideal because not only are smaller bags in right now, but I only have one little one that I’ve had for years now, and it’s taken such a beating lately.  I do however, think that View B of the tote is pretty cute too, and it offers a lot of pocket space in the lining.  Perhaps I’ll try that one next!

For the fabric, I chose Spradling Whisper Vinyl in black, and a random lining fabric I inherited recently from my late grandmother’s fabric stash.  I love that I get to feel like I have a part of her memory in the handbag!  I didn’t stick 100% to the sewing pattern as far as interfacing and using contrasting fabrics.  I love the look of an all black handbag better.  I also opted for Pellon Flex Foam to quilt the front and back pieces, and I think it gives the bag much more structure and a better quilted effect than the recommended interfacing would have.

Once finished, I was so disappointed to see the zipper warped!  It warped SOO badly!  Everything was aligned and working out great before that.  I did a little google search, and a lot of suggestions said to interface the pieces (and staystitching would probably work too) before sewing the zipper.  This makes sense since the vinyl fabric has a great deal of stretch to it.  With all of the cramped maneuvering I had to do around my machine, it probably added to any stretching that may have also occurred already from the zipper installation.

**Which also lead me to realize how badly I want to eventually invest in a cylinder arm sewing machine!  Even though my machine has a free arm option, it is still way too wide for a purse this size.  It makes neat topstitching extremely challenging sometimes!

Overall, I actually still love this crossbody handbag pattern despite any sewing flaws on my part.  The dimensions are nice, and I really would like to make some more by experimenting with different fabrics/colors/pocket styling.  I love the quilting and piping details, and hopefully I’ll be able to work out the zipper kinks on the next one!  Below are some shots of the final product.



v9263 quilted crossbody bag shoulder bag frontv9263 quilted crossbody bag shoulder bagv9263 quilted crossbody bag shoulder bag backv9263 quilted crossbody bag shoulder bag strapv9263 quilted crossbody bag shoulder bag lining

Handmade Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid’s Dresses

WOWZERS!!  I’ve been M.I.A. on here for 2 months!!  Not TOTALLY without good reason, however.  One of the reasons is simply that my stinkin’ WordPress app has not been working on my phone!  Has anyone else had this issue?  My phone is my main source for updating, simply because it’s so handy.  I’ve already tried deleting and re-downloading the app, updating my software, etc., but nothing works.

More importantly, I’m sure you can tell from the title image what the main reason for my absence has been…

No, I didn’t get married lol.

I did however, have the exciting privilege of creating the wedding gown, bridal veil, and bridesmaid’s dresses for my younger sister’s wedding!  Although I’ve sewn some apparel in the past, this project was so completely out of my comfort zone.  I really hadn’t sewn many fitted garments, and if so, they were primarily from a manufacturer’s pattern.  It was really exciting (and at times overwhelming) to drape and draft all of the patterns myself.  I was pleased that I could figure out the order of make for the dresses with surprising ease.  At the end of it all, when you see it come to life, it’s such an amazing sense of accomplishment to know you did it on your own!

The Bridesmaid’s Dresses

When I first began the project, I originally assumed the bridesmaid’s dresses would naturally be the easier of the two.  WRONG!  In a sense, they were.  Since the material used was stretchy and the style was very drapey, the fit didn’t have to be perfect.  However, figuring out how the material draped best on the dress form was at the least, time consuming.  Another big difficulty I encountered was trying to fit the bust area, while maintaining the loose soft drape of both the front and back.  Ultimately, we just had to pin and sticky tape ourselves in.  Aside from some fit issues, I loved the feel of the fabric.  It was also fully lined so it was more forgiving and didn’t feel too thin or see-through.

The bridesmaid’s dresses were inspired by the Kotahi Gown by Gemeli Power:

handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit

The Bridal Gown & Veil

For the star of the show, the bride had some VERY specific requests, which is the main reason why I was making the gown in the first place.  We just knew it was going to be so difficult and/or expensive to find everything she wanted.

The silhouette she wanted was actually quite simple (thankfully!).  I can’t imagine trying to create something more elaborate with my limited experience!  She opted for a strapless trumpet style gown with a sweetheart bodice  The difficulty was going to be creating the right fit, and finding the perfect fabric.  We both searched everywhere, and ordered some swatches online.  Finding the perfect shade of a burgundy/marsala wine damask jacquard is no easy task…especially when the majority of the available options are either shiny and cheap, or carpet thick.  Fabric.com came through with the win!  I found this home dec/upholstery fabric which was 100% the idea she had in her head.  The picture doesn’t even do it justice:

home decor upholstery burgundy damask jacquard fabric

There were so many elements to her gown that I had never attempted before.  In addition to being fully lined, the bodice portion had a duck canvas underlining, rigilene boning, and a waist stay for added support.  I had also never inserted an invisible zipper in a lined dress, and it was nice to learn how to use the blind hem feature on my machine!  I’m secretly kind of addicted to it now!

We had to do about three different muslin mock ups because her measurements kept changing so drastically.  I was starting to get worried that I would never be able to get the fit right!  On our last one, I was soooo excited to see it FINALLY work out!  Her main request was to be super fitted throughout the bodice and hips, and then gradually flow into a trumpet style gown.  The front was darting out a little too sharply (in a more mermaid style), but it still worked out great.  The flow of the train is my favorite!

handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (5)

Finding the right veil fabric proved to be waaay more difficult than finding the gown fabric.  I found a stretchy knit lace from JoAnn Fabric.  The color was not a complete match, but the little bit of contrast gave a nice element to the look.  It was also quite heavy, so it’s a good thing she decided to go for a shorter veil.

I can’t wait to see the photographer’s photos because these cell pics just don’t capture how great the entire wedding and wedding party looked!

handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (4)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (6)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (1)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (7)

handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit (2)handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit (3)handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (8)handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (2)

Although each dress had it’s own areas that needed refinement, I’m so proud of what I created, and so happy that I could bring her visions to life!

As much fun as it was creating FOUR dresses, I’m so happy to get back to sleeping and eating on a regular schedule LOL!

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 Foldover Clutch Purse Handbag

Super excited for this finished project.  It’s something that’s been on the to-do list for quite some time, but I didn’t really have the supplies to make it the way I wanted.

Last month sometime, there were some really great fabric sales at JoAnn so I decided to stock up.

I really wanted to try out working with vinyl because I hadn’t used it before.  I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t difficult to work with!

I bought a 1/4 yard of vinyl and I still have enough left to make a few more clutches. The striped fabric is a 54″ home decor fabric.  I also picked up some blue striped print.

For the lining, I had 2 fat quarters on hand that happened to match the striped fabric.  What a perfect coincidence!

I wish my local fabric store carried more colors of the metal zippers. I just picked up a few basic black and brown ones for now.  I almost forgot that I wanted to add a tassel/pull to the zipper.  I think it definitely gives it a finishing touch.

Without vinyl zipper pull:


Overall, I’m super pleased with the results!  As with any project, there are little details throughout that need to be cleaner, but I’m happy with the topstitching, the lining, etc!  Can’t wait to create some more!

Till next time!