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 Faux Leather Shoulder Bag – Made From an Ardente Design Purse Pattern

Wow!  It’s basically been a month since I last worked on a purse!  So much has been going on that I just haven’t had any time to tackle one.  I’m super excited for this one because it’s the most detailed bag I’ve attempted in quite some time- maybe ever.

It’s also exciting because it’s for my own personal use! My current purse has served me well for a lot of years, but it’s just worn beyond it’s time.  The edges are peeling off, and the straps are falling apart.  I realized I better retire it before it falls apart while I’m out and about.

I normally try to create my items without patterns if I’m able, but sometimes it’s too much of a hassle trying to figure out all of the dimensions and steps.  I found a PDF pattern on Etsy from Ardente Design, so I was able to get started on it right away.

The pattern itself was a little…frustrating.  There are a lot of important details not mentioned and a few differences in lingo that could really confuse a beginner.  Some areas really took me a moment to sort of “decode” what the instructions were trying to say.  The upside is that there are a lot of pictures provided to help.

For the bag, I tried to use as much fabric that I had on hand already.  I used a soft, tan vinyl for the main body, a linen remnant for the main lining, and a plain beige broadcloth.  All fabrics were purchased from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I was so fortunate to have zippers on hand already as well!

My favorite part of this pattern was making the straps!  I LOVE the technique and I know I’ll definitely incorporate it into future bags.

I wanted to use the black and white linen for the entire lining, but since it was a remnant, there wasn’t enough.  I think the beige fabric ended up giving it an interesting contrast so I’m pleased!

Surprisingly, the part I struggled with the most, was the smaller zipper pocket in the main lining!  I don’t know if I was just too tired, or the linen moved too much, but I had to put it away for the night or else I was going to throw it out the window!!  The next day, I ended up ripping out the stitches and starting again.  It was worth it!

Overall, I love it.  It’s super sturdy with lots of room.  However, I do wish it was slightly smaller.  I wanted a large shoulder bag, but it’s just a little wider than I thought it would be.  Can’t wait to make another one!

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!

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!

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!