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I hope everyone had a great holiday season!  I know we sure did.  Both of our families live over an hour and a half away so we did plenty of traveling, but it was nice to see everyone.  This was probably the best Christmas since Lillian was born.  She is three and a half now and really understood what was going on.  Santa came to Grandpa and Grandma’s house since we were there on Christmas Eve, the reindeer finished all of their reindeer food and Santa ate all of the cookies that we left out.  He even wrote Lillian a little note!


I know I haven’t blogged in a long time and I apologize for that, especially since I didn’t give you a head’s up that I wouldn’t be blogging.  I had plans on posting a few mini tutorials, but then I got the crazy idea to make 20 mini lined drawstring bags as gifts.  Oh, and not only did I make 20 of them, I made them all with different fabric…from my stash!


I finished them on Sunday the 16th and we were leaving for my in-law’s house on the 22nd.  Seems like plenty of time to spare, except for the fact that I still wanted to make my mother-in-law a kindle case.  I wasn’t making an ordinary kindle case either, but you will have to wait for another blog post to see what I did.


It took a lot of work, but they turned out so cute.  Just the perfect size to fit the tiny candles from Bath and Body Works.  I calculated the cost of making these as gifts and since the candles were on sale it came to less than $5.  I think that is a great price, especially since the bag can be used again.  I’m thinking for jewelry when traveling?  I really should have made one for myself.  Oh wait!  I still can if I want!


I have a lot of pictures, including detail shots, of these bags, but I don’t want this whole post to be about them.  If you want to make these, you can use Jeni’s tutorial, which makes a larger bag, or you can purchase the pattern here.  The bags are easy to make and it doesn’t take a super long time to sew them either.  If you remember, I blogged about the tutorial here.  So if you are not sure if you want to purchase the pattern, you can either make one from the tutorial and/or read my post and maybe that will help you to decide.


So I’m guessing you are wondering what is in store for 2013.  Well, to be honest, I’m not really sure.  I know that I will continue to sew and blog, but I can’t promise how often.  I’m going to keep my goal of posting once a week, but I’m not going to stress about it if I don’t make it.


I have a few projects that I know I will be working on for sure and a few that are completed that I need to blog about.  I will continue to add tutorials as I come up with projects and to explain how I calculated the measurements that I used while using someone else’s tutorial.  I will write pattern reviews and share any new items that I really like.  So in other words, a lot of the same things that I have already been blogging about, just using new tutorials or patterns.


I purchased a few clothing patterns, so you should expect to see reviews on those if I get up the nerve to try them out.  I will take requests if there is something that you are interested in me trying out or if you make your own patterns I would love to test them for you.  Just be aware that I am not afraid to let you know every little thing that I think might need to be changed.


I tend to get sucked into my computer….pinterest, reader, Facebook, twitter, etc., so I’m going to attempt to stay away a little more than I did in 2012.  I will still post to all of them, but I might not chat as much…or stalk others as much.  Ok, that sounds really bad, but it’s really easy to read everyone’s twitter updates and only comment on a few of them.


Outside of the blog, we are hoping to be able to start on some home improvements; one of which includes finishing our basement.  We would like to actually go on a real vacation this year instead of just a long weekend up north to my in-laws cabin.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a ton of fun at the “lake house” but a trip somewhere different sounds like a lot of fun as well.

On a side note, we gave Lillian the old point and shoot camera and she is turning into a little photographer.  She had to take pictures of the drawstring bags just like daddy was doing.

What are your goals for the new year?  What would you like to see more of or less of on the blog?  Do you have any special projects that you want to do this year?

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Last year for Christmas I received both One Yard Wonders books.  You can find them on Amazon; here is the first one and here is the second one.  The second book is actually called Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders and has projects split out by fabric types.  The Retro Bag is from this book and I kept coming back to it every time I would flip through the book.


I purchased Terrain by Kate Spain from Fat Quarter Shop during one of their 50% off Wednesday specials….be sure to follow them on Twitter to keep up to date with the Wednesday specials.  I couldn’t believe I was able to get it for less than $6!  Talk about being excited!  I don’t think you can find this fabric in many shops anymore, which is a complete bummer, because I still love it and don’t have much left.

Anyway, I really love purple and especially LOVE this fabric!  I ordered it in March, but couldn’t find the perfect project for it so I waited until last month to make anything.  I knew I wanted to make a bag, but just couldn’t decide on one that I loved.  I didn’t want to waste the fabric on something that I wouldn’t use.  I finally decided on the Retro Bag, even though I wasn’t 100% sure I would love the bag.


Overall, this bag was pretty simple to make.  I used interfacing on all of the pieces even though the pattern doesn’t call for it.  I also used a different fabric for the lining (as you can see in the above picture).


Like I have mentioned in other posts, pleats are pretty easy to do.  While sewing this, I almost forgot to make pleats on the bottom of the bag.  Luckily, it worked out without having to undo any stitches.  I sure do hate taking out stitches!  I figured it out when I went to sew the front and back pieces together and the front piece (the one with the pleats) was too wide.


Honestly, the instructions were a little confusing at points, but then again, I’m used to following full picture tutorials.  My only complaint about the finished bag is that the straps are narrower than the bag body part that connects to the strap (see the above picture).  It’s the same on both sides, so I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be like that or if I made a mistake.  Once again, this is something that others probably don’t notice when I’m carrying the bag, so it’s not a huge deal.


Isn’t the fabric fantastic?  This bag only has the one pocket so any items are loose on the inside, but so far, that hasn’t been a problem for me.  The strap length is perfect and the bag isn’t too large or too small.  I like that the whole bag can be made with a yard of fabric, but still seems like a fairly large bag.

If you haven’t already, you should take a look at the One Yard Wonders books because they have a lot of cute projects.  Maybe add them to your Christmas list?  If you haven’t noticed, I like fairly quick projects and it seems like most of the projects in these books don’t take too much time.

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I purchased the pleated wristlet pattern from Michelle Patterns awhile ago.  For some reason I just never got around to trying it out.  When I saw that she was having her annual DIY for the Holidays sale, where every pattern is on sale for $5, I knew that I wanted to make one and do a pattern review for everyone.


To sum it up, the final product is as cute as the pattern pictures show.  It’s a pattern for intermediate sewers, but if you are up for a challenge then a confident beginner could probably follow the directions and still have success.  Overall, the directions are easy to follow, but there are a few parts that are difficult to understand.  If you want more details then continue reading.

This pattern has three sizes to choose from and I decided to make the small size.  I like the size, but the opening is pretty small so it’s hard to see what you have inside.  Since it’s a wristlet, that really isn’t an issue since it most likely won’t be completely full.  It’s small enough that you could also fit it into a larger purse or bag (like the diaper bag).  I didn’t try, but I’m guessing you can fit a cell phone, license, lipstick/chap stick, and keys without any issue.


I chose to use two fabric patterns for the outside (my fabric is from Hobby Lobby) to give it a little more eye appeal beyond the pleats.  I really like the way it turned out and how the fabric on top adds a little something.  I am definitely going to be using this fabric for something else…I’m just not sure what it will be.

The pattern calls for muslin and batting so that the lining piece can be quilted.  I didn’t have muslin so I used white quilting cotton and I also used Warm and Natural for the batting.  For the fusible interfacing, I used Pellon SF101 like I use for everything.  All of these worked out just fine, but for the small size something a little less fluffy might be a better choice than the Warm and Natural.  I do like the added structure though.  Also, you could easily not quilt the lining and just use fusible interfacing.  There would be less structure to the wristlet, but it would be fine.

Michelle put that the pattern is for intermediate sewers and I would have to agree.  There were a few difficult parts, but the pleats are not one of them.  Pleats are actually very easy to do if you can understand how to fold them.  Michelle included fold lines, so with this pattern it is no issue.


If you have no sewing experience, I think it would have been confusing to follow the directions on how to “box” the outside piece.  Honestly, I’m not 100% sure that I completely understood it, but it looks right, so I must have done it correctly.  I wish I would have taken pictures while I was sewing the outside corners, so I could show you, but of course, I didn’t.  Sorry about that!

The zipper was easy to install, but mine did seem to become a little wobbly after I completely finished the wristlet.  It doesn’t affect it in any way, other than the way it looks when it’s closed.  On a good note, no one will really see the zipper, so it’s not an issue at all.


For the strap, it calls for an O-ring, which of course, I didn’t have.  I could have waited and sewn the strap on later, but I wanted to finish the wristlet so I just used a D-ring.  I don’t think it looks as nice as an O-ring would, but it doesn’t look bad either.

Speaking of the strap, the pattern has you sew around the edges when the pieces are right sides together and then take part of a seam out so you can add the strap.  Instead of that extra step, I just pinned the strap in place (with the strap between the two pieces of fabric and raw edges toward the outside) and then sewed the edges.  If you have made a pouch/wristlet/something similar, you should understand what I’m talking about.

Overall, I really like this wristlet.  There were a few parts where it took me a little while to figure out what to do, but after reading it a few times, I figured it out.  I really think that a few more pictures included in the pattern would have helped.  Now that I have made it once, it will be easy to make more.

These would make adorable bridal party gifts and are perfect for more formal events where you still need a few essentials, but don’t want to take a large purse.  I think the pleat adds something to it to make it seem more formal.  I don’t think it’s only for formal events though.  I will probably use mine when I don’t need my purse, but want to take more than just my license.

If you have any questions about the pattern I would love to help answer them.  If I can’t, then I’m sure that Michelle would be willing as well.  Be sure to check out her shop to see if there are any other patterns that you might like.  Now is the time to buy since all patterns are on sale for $5 through Sunday, November 25th.

What Michelle Patterns patterns have you sewn?  I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

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Hi everyone!  It sure has been awhile since I’ve blogged!  I do have a few projects to blog about, but I have to get pictures of the finished items before sharing with you.

Have you started your holiday sewing yet?  I have not, but have a few items planned.  Let me rephrase that, I haven’t started sewing gifts yet, but I have made one stocking.  Which you can see on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Michelle Patterns 2012 Holiday Sale

You should check out Michelle Patterns holiday sale that I mentioned at the beginning of October because she is offering all of her patterns for only $5; now through November 25th.  Oh, and don’t forget about her older patterns that are always $3.  You can find the link to them on the right hand side of the shop home page.

You can see the few items of hers that I have made here, here, and here.  I still really like the messenger bag and highly recommend it if you have already sewn a decent amount.  It’s not as basic as the other patterns, but still very possible for a confident beginner to make.

So, you are probably wondering what I have been up to lately.  Well, not enough sewing or blogging.  I could blame it on this…..


Yeah, that is my 6 x 24 ruler.  That is what will happen when a tripod meets your ruler by falling on it.  I don’t really recommend them meeting in this way!  Luckily, Amazon Prime is amazing and I was able to get a new ruler in 2 days and I didn’t have to take the time to get to a store.

So anyway, I could blame my lack of sewing on a broken ruler, but really, I have to blame it on my own laziness and addiction to TV and the computer.  Does anyone else have this problem?  I still have a whole list of things that I want to make, so I just need to break away from the couch and get to sewing.

Stayed tuned because two of my projects that are completed, will be mini tutorials and might be great gift ideas.  I also plan on choosing a Michelle Patterns pattern to make so that I can show you and review the pattern.

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Have you made a belt before?  It’s fairly easy and quick with a lot of possibilities.  You can piece it like I did, or just use one or two fabrics.  You could get larger D-rings and make a wider belt if the belt loops are big enough.

My daughter is in size 2T pants, but only if they are adjustable.  She definitely needs that size for length, but she is so tiny that the waist is big.  I kept mentioning that I was going to make her a belt and I finally did!


I used this tutorial by Ashley from Make It and Love It, but honestly, I wouldn’t suggest doing it this way.  Actually, I wouldn’t suggest using two pieces of fabric and then making a tube and turning.  I like the look of piecing scraps together, especially if making it for a child.  The rest of the tutorial I would still follow.


The reason I don’t like making a tube and turning is for a few reasons.  First, it’s near impossible to turn and I just get frustrated.  Second, even with ironing, I feel like it’s really difficult to get the seams flat.

Instead, I would probably make it just like a strap, but I think I would skip the interfacing so it wasn’t too thick.  Then, once that part is done, I would follow the tutorial again in order to finish the belt.  The nice thing about this belt is that the length doesn’t really matter.  If it’s too long, then you can just tuck the extra into the belt loops.  It might not look as great, but I bet no one will even notice.

This could be a great gift for someone, so keep that in mind when coming up with gifts for Christmas.  Speaking of Christmas, I should probably get to sewing gifts!  Have you started any Christmas gifts yet?