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

Backrest/Lounge Pillow using McCall’s Sewing Pattern 4123

Since finishing up all of the dresses for the wedding back in September, I’ve been on a little sewing hiatus.  Not that I haven’t wanted to work on anything, but I think I just needed a break, both physically and mentally.  In the meantime, I’ve just been working on a few different knitting projects to keep busy.  I love that knitting is something that you can take on the go, and work on whenever you have a little downtime.

I finally realized my much needed sewing break was coming to an end as I was starting to look up projects, to sketch down ideas, and to get inspired by different fabrics I was coming across.

I had this McCall’s 4123 pattern in my stash for awhile because I was waiting to gather all of the materials for it.  My boyfriend and I love having movie nights at home, or sometimes we have our lazy days of NBA 2K and knitting.  I wanted to make us both some backrest pillows so we could be more comfortable when lounging around.  I chose View H (lounge pillow), and although I didn’t follow the pattern instructions exactly, it still came out great.


**A quick tip I learned from my boss recently is to interface the pattern pieces.**

GAME CHANGER!  I can’t believe I never thought of doing something so obvious!  It stabilizes the delicate tissue paper so it makes it so much easier to work with and also makes it last longer before getting worn out.  In the past, I’ve always traced them to kraft paper if I needed, but transferring markings is such a pain!  She suggested using just the cheapest Pellon fusible interfacing that runs $0.99 per yard at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I’m not sure if you can see it clearly in the photo below, but it fuses easily to the tissue while still being able to see all of the necessary pattern markings:

pellon interfacing

The original version for View H, includes creating an inner pillow (of muslin or other inexpensive fabric) first that holds the stuffing.  The main fabric is supposed to be lined with fleece, and is meant to be removable (like a pillow case) with a Velcro closure.  I decided to skip all of this lol!  I also ditched the top handle and side arm pockets because I figured they would either not get used, or would get stuffed with trash.  I figured I’d save myself the trouble of extra unnecessary steps.

By skipping these options, it also helped keep the cost down.  The supplies needed to create 1 lounge pillow this altered way are as follows:

  • 2 yards fleece fabric (or other 60″ fabric)
  • Fiberfill for stuffing
  • 5 yds of cording (for piping)

I decided I wanted to do some fun prints because there are so many adorable fabrics out there that I rarely have use for.  I figured it would be a good opportunity to add a little color and personal touch.  Although the pattern suggests a home dec weight fabric, I went with some Blizzard fleece from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Fleece is always cheaper this time of year, so it was also a more affordable option.  I went with a generic basketball print fleece for the boyfriend, and paw prints for me.

blizzard fleece joann fabrics

Since I plan on making at least two of these backrest pillows, I used the 10 lb box of Fairfield Poly-Fil brand of fiberfill.  This size runs around $50 at Jo-Ann, but I waited until I had a 60% off coupon!  They also have many different size packages.  If you’ve never bought the Poly-fil before, just note that it will expand almost double the size once you open the box.  This’ll give you a rough estimate of how much product you get.

fairfield 10 lb poly-fil

Cording for piping can be purchased by the yard or prepackaged.  I found this in the Home Dec section at Jo-Ann (where all of the curtain and upholstery supplies are located).  Since each backrest needs 5 yards, this 10 yard package was perfect for making both:


Instead of using a Velcro closure, simply skip these steps in the instructions and sew all of the seams closed.  Be sure to leave an opening so you can stuff it with the fiberfill.  Once done, I just slip stitched the opening closed for a nice clean finish.  Don’t be shy with the stuffing either!  You want to make sure it has a nice firm shape to last awhile.  It’s so comfortable, we’re fighting over who gets to use it first lol!  Can’t wait to make my backrest pillow, and I’m thinking I might just make some for my nieces for Christmas!

mccall's pattern 4123 (2)

Handmade Burgundy Wedding Gown Update with Photographer’s Photos

Finally got a couple of the wedding photographer’s pictures back…totally loving this full body shot of Eva’s burgundy wedding gown from September.

The veil was made from a lace knit fabric from Joann Fabrics.  The wedding gown was made from a damask jacquard upholstery fabric from Fabric.com.

Photo cred:  Island Memories Photography

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!

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!

Taking a trip down memory lane…

I recently shared this photo on instagram from 2012.  It was one of the first garments I ever attempted to draft completely from scratch.  I had done plenty of items from manufacturer patterns, but this was the real deal.  I draped it on the stand in muslin, did test fittings, etc!  I think this may have even been the first time I tried using an invisible zipper.

Don’t get me wrong, it was far from perfect.  The fit still needed work even after the adjustments, but overall she was happy and nobody would ever know it didn’t come from a store.

In no way do I dream of being a “designer” or having my own clothing line or any of that.  I genuinely enjoy the process.  I love drafting, sewing, and actually seeing the product develop in front of my eyes.  I’ve got an exciting and challenging new adventure in the works, so I’ve been trying to get my focus and mindset back into doing this.  Looking at some of my old pictures is reminding me that I can do it.  It’s most definitely going to be my biggest crafting challenge to date, and I’m sure there will also be plenty of missteps to share along the way, but I’m confident I can do it!