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This is my favorite project that I have made so far!  It just went together well, plus I love the fabric.  It is a tote bag from Skip to my Lou.

I followed the tutorial pretty much to a T, except I decided to use interfacing to make the bag a little sturdier.  I chose Pellon 911FF Fusible Featherweight.  It has a decent stiffness which allows the bag to stand up on it’s own.  I fused the interfacing onto the lining because I wasn’t sure if the stiffer interfacing would cause a harsh look to the fabric.  It did not, so you could fuse to the outer fabric.

2011 Tote Bag

First was making the straps…it was your basic fold down the middle, then open, and fold into the middle type of strap (detailed pictures in the tutorial for the bag).  I did not add interfacing to the straps but probably will when I make another one of these.  Here is a tutorial to add interfacing.

As I have mentioned before, in order to get a straighter stitch that is so close to the edge, I use my blind stitch foot.  I’m sure there is a foot specific for doing this but why pay the extra money when I can just use what I have?  I first mentioned this in my post about the Simple Party Clutch.

2011 Tote Bag

After you make a strap, you then cut it in half so that you have two straps.  I can’t decide if it would be easier to cut the long piece of fabric in half and make each strap separately.  I guess then you would have two smaller pieces of fabric to work with, so it depends on what you are comfortable doing.

2011 Tote Bag

The bag part was super easy…to sum it up…you just sew the pieces together on three sides for the lining and the outer fabric.  Since I used a directional fabric for the outer fabric, I had to double and triple check to make sure I was leaving the correct side open.  I didn’t want birds flying upside down!  Also, since the bag is a rectangle and not a square, make sure that you are using the short side as the top and bottom for both the lining and the outside.

2011 Tote Bag

When boxing the corners, I find it easiest to pinch the corners and sew instead of cutting out squares.  I still clip the corners off before turning just so there is less bulk on the inside.  Here is a great tutorial for boxed corners.

2011 Tote Bag

Fitting the two pieces together can sometimes be difficult, not too much for this project though, but with patience you can get it.  I find it easiest to pin the seams first and then go from there.  I guess I consider the seams the most important thing to match up perfectly.

2011 Tote Bag

When inserting the straps, I always make sure that it is not twisted and I measure from both side seams so that the strap is equal distance from the edges.  Again, this is something that I make sure to check multiple times because I am tired of making these little mistakes that can be prevented.

2011 Tote Bag

I used two pins on each end of the straps and then pins where ever else I felt they were needed.  Once pinned, sew everything together.  I didn’t find a need to sew over the straps multiple times  because there will also be a top stitch.  Plus, I am probably not going to be using this bag for anything too heavy.

2011 Tote Bag

Turn right side out and see how well you did, and how well your fabric looks together.  Get excited that you almost have a completed tote bag!

2011 Tote Bag

Push the lining into the outer piece and iron the top seam so that the lining isn’t higher than the outer fabric.  Top stitch near the top of the bag and you are done except for….

2011 Tote Bag

giving your little helper a hug.

2011 Tote Bag

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I wanted to make something small that I could put my zippers in for storage, so I decided on a small fabric box from The Sometimes Crafter.  I ordered 25 zippers from Zipit on Etsy and had nowhere to store them.  I cannot rave enough about the customer service, fast shipping, and the price from Zipit.

2011 Fabric Box

When cutting out the 4.5 inch squares I found that my 6 inch ruler worked perfectly since I could just measure in 4.5 inches from one side and then cut on both sides of the ruler.  Sounds like it would be obvious since the fabric was a 15 x 15 square but I didn’t pay enough attention until after I cut out the first corner.

2011 Fabric Box

I did not make my lining fabric smaller than the exterior fabric but wish that I would have because it is very loose in the bottom of the box.  It works fine, but doesn’t look as perfect as I would like.

2011 Fabric Box

Interfacing….I am still a little clueless about what is the best to use for what kind of project so I am just winging it.  I have a variety of different types and decided to try out Pellon 809 Décor-Bond for this project.

Overall, it was not my favorite interfacing.  It did not fuse very well to the fabric so I’m not sure if I did something wrong or not, but I was able to eventually get it to bond.  I would probably use something a little stiffer next time, especially if I make a bigger box.

I did consider using Peltex but since you shouldn’t really sew into it, I decided against it.  Do you have any suggestions on which interfacing to use?

2011 Fabric Box

My little assistant didn’t mind the interfacing choice, she never does though.

2011 Fabric Box

After sewing all of the corners together you start to see what the box shape will be like.  Perfect size for my zippers, just like I planned!

2011 Fabric Box

Lots of pins were used to make sure that when I sewed the lining to the outside that the fabric didn’t shift too much.

2011 Fabric Box

After turning right side out and topstitching, we have a finished fabric storage box for my zippers…..

2011 Fabric Box

Or is it a hat?

2011 Fabric Box

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I made what I am calling a toiletry bag but most others call a cosmetic bag.  I combined two tutorials because I liked different things from each.  The two I used were The Boxy Cosmetic Bag Tutorial from Skip to my Lou which was done by Jaime of Prudent Baby and the Cosmetic Bag Tutorial from Sew Like My Mom.

Toiletry Bag

I decided that I liked the idea of having a zipper tab so I took that idea from Sew Like My Mom as well as using iron on vinyl.  I used the dimensions from Skip to my Lou as well as the basic assembly of the bag.  The difference between the two is that SLMM used one piece of fabric for the outside and one for the lining where STML used two for each.

Toiletry Bag

Iron on vinyl

It was actually pretty easy to apply so don’t be intimidated!  The reason I wanted to use it for this project is because I am using this bag as a toiletry bag (you didn’t figure that out already, did you?).  If anything spills, the vinyl can be wiped down and it should help to keep any liquid inside the bag instead of on all of my clothes in the suitcase.

Toiletry Bag

I decided that it was a smart idea to sew the outer fabric and lining fabric onto the zipper separately just like Sew Like My Mom did.  This really helped to keep everything even, especially since the iron on vinyl makes it easier for the material to stick, hence pulling away from the zipper.  Plus, if you use pins through the vinyl you will be able to see the holes later.

Toiletry Bag

I also liked the look of the top stitching next to the zipper.  It just gives it more of a finished looked.  This is where you can easily struggle since the vinyl faces down on your machine.  I didn’t have too much trouble but did need to help the fabric through every once in awhile.

Toiletry Bag

This is my best zipper installation yet!  Yay for improvement!  I guess practice does make perfect (well, maybe not perfect but you get the idea).  I do suggest to always iron the fabric flat after sewing it onto the zipper, it will help it to not get stuck in the zipper, and so will sewing the top stitch.

Toiletry Bag

Sewing the sides together was probably the hardest part because the vinyl was on all sides.  The fabric did shift a little but luckily this bag is forgiving.  I just made sure to cut the edges evenly after I was finished sewing the sides.  Sometimes the vinyl would stick to the machine and not pull through.

Toiletry Bag

Boxed Corners

I followed the boxed corner method from Skip to my Lou.  Which is explained in more detail on craftapple.  I actually made my bag too tall because I misunderstood the directions.  When it said that she did hers 5 inches I thought it meant 5 inches on each side of the seam, but actually it means a total of 5 inches.  So the seam should actually be at 2.5 inches since that would be half of 5.

Toiletry Bag

I really like this bag, but will make another one that is shorter so that it’s easier to get my stuff in and out.  With it so tall it’s also a little awkward to unzip.  Overall, I would say this project was a success.  The bag is still very useable even though it’s a little tall.

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I made my first, what I would call, major project.  It is the Simple Party Clutch by Elizabeth Hartman found on Sew, Mama, Sew.

SMS Simple Party Clutch

Once again, I started out by reading the whole tutorial, this time making sure to read it multiple times so that it made sense.  I followed the pattern exactly except I accidentally bought fusible Peltex instead of sew in.  It worked out fine and I will explain later what I did with it.

Make the Strap

SMS Simple Party Clutch

First was making the strap, which was very basic.  I ironed down the strap as I went because it wasn’t really possible to fold the whole thing and then iron.

SMS Simple Party Clutch

When stitching along both sides, I used my blind stitch foot.  I did this because there is an edge to guide the material against.  All I had to do was move the needle all the way to the left, and then use a normal straight stitch.

Make the Pocket

SMS Simple Party Clutch

For the pocket, the directions say to match the wrong sides but really you need to match the right sides before sewing.  When sewing the pocket onto the lining piece I did not sew close enough to the edges so I am guessing that they will eventually curl .  So when it says to keep your stitches close to the edge, it means really close.  I’m wondering if using the blind hem foot for this would work.

Make the Lining

SMS Simple Party Clutch

Don’t forget to clip your corners before pressing the seam allowances.  It’s not exactly possible to get the square corner when you have corners that aren’t clipped.  Other than that, making the lining is very basic.

Make the Bag Body

SMS Simple Party Clutch

Here is where I had to think about how I was going to use the fusible Peltex instead of sew in.  It’s basically the same, except I faced the fusible side up instead of down.  This in turn made the top layer of lightweight fusible interfacing face the fusible side of the Peltex.

SMS Simple Party Clutch

Inserting the magnetic snap was super easy since I have done it before.

SMS Simple Party Clutch

My first boxed corner….much easier than I was anticipating.  I love when that happens!!  I wish I had more to say about this but the directions were easy to follow so I really have nothing.

SMS Simple Party Clutch

The bag body from the outside.  This is when I got that excited feeling that I was making a successful purse.  Even if it didn’t turn out in the end it was still looking like a purse now!

SMS Simple Party Clutch

I did all of the basting by hand because it was very difficult to get the bag into the machine.  Even with attaching the lining to the bag body I was getting frustrated trying to sew it.

I think the problem was that the Peltex was a little thicker because it was fusible.  Plus, I also used SF-101 as my lightweight fusible interfacing which is probably considered a medium weight interfacing.  So overall, I think I had way too much interfacing.  Lesson learned!

Finish the Purse

SMS Simple Party Clutch

I would recommend trimming the interfacing from the seam before flipping everything right side out.

I did not end up doing the top stitching around the opening of the purse.  I had all of the extra material there and would actually have to sew through the Peltex and do not have the proper needle.  I may try to add the top stitching at a later date but for now I am considering it a finished purse.

SMS Simple Party Clutch

So here is my final project.  Not the best, but it does look like a purse.  I am actually pretty disappointed because it was going so well until I attached the lining and flap to the outside and flipped it the right way.

The purse kind of folds when snapped, the area where the flap connects has all of the extra fabric, and I don’t feel comfortable finishing the top stitch.

I think I should have probably inserted the snap on the body right before sewing the lining shut.  Then I could have put it higher on the body, hence not forcing the flap to go so far over the opening of the purse.

I learned a lot from this project and hope that my next one turns out a little better.

My Little Helper

Here is my little helper, Lillian.  She loves being in the “hobby room” which is where I have my sewing stuff and my husband has his computer and other hobby type stuff.  Most of the time she wants to read books or play the games that cause the biggest mess to clean up.

Lillian Sewing

This particular day she decided that she was going to do some sewing first.

Lillian Computing

Then it was time to check out some neat blogs on the computer.  I sure hope she was looking at mine.

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Owl Backpack

I made this “Easy as a Cinch” bag based off of the tutorial from Make It and Love It.  (I am really starting to love her site by the way).  So check it out and see what you love about it!

It was easy to make with the most difficult part being when you sew the top edges where you leave the  1 1/4 inches open…check out the tutorial so you know what I’m talking about.  I just struggled with getting it to not sew through both pieces of fabric.  If you sew them together then you wouldn’t be able to insert the ribbon.

I also couldn’t find my safety pins so I compromised and used a pin.  Yeah, make sure to have safety pins around and you can probably finish in the half the time it took me.  I wasn’t about to run to the store at 9 at night though.

I wanted to post a picture of Lillian with this on her back but we have yet to get her to wear it.  Any time we try she starts crying or runs from us.  You would think it was the owls but nope, she likes to point to it and say “owl” and “whooo.”  I even got her to put some books into it.  Maybe I will make a tiny one for her doll and see if that helps.