Sunday, October 30, 2016

Three Emmaline Retreat Bags


This was a fun project, or should I say three? I made each of my grandsons one of these dopp kits. They all travel, camp, and just plain get around a lot. I think they will like their own little bag for their personal items and it's quite grown up looking after all.


Pattern:
This is the  Retreat Bag from Emmaline Patterns. It is for a traditional dopp kit shape and comes in two sizes. Here you see the three I've made and I used the 9 inch smaller size. The pattern is FREE from Emmaline and is a PDF download.

I made the two solid colored bags first for Graham and Zack. I decided to get a bit adventurous on my third effort which is for the oldest, Jack. I like how they all came out. The above pics shows the bags fully extended open. The zips are on the outside of the bags and have tabs, or what I call  "yanks" so you can hold them and yank the zipper open. You don't really yank, but just tug the zipper open like any other zip. The bags are lined and have interior pockets on each side. I chose to use just one slip pocket in these.

Fabric:
The exterior fabrics are a faux leather that really looks quite authentic. I bought a lot of it about five years back from WalMart. It's the only thing I've ever purchased in their fabric department and the quality has been quite good. I've used it for many projects and it has quite a "real" look and easily sews. 


The linings are all 100% cottons  from Joanns. They have all been given a protective layer of vinyl. It is now sold at JAs in a two yard box and is made by Pellon. The vinyl lets the inside of the bags have some wash/wipe ability. It is easily fused on. 

The interfacings vary. 

On Graham and Zack's bags the interfacing used is SF101 from Pellon/JAs and  fusible fleece as specified. You can see that in the front bag. The Pattern specs fusing the lining with SF 101 but I did not as the vinyl applications stiffened the lining a lot. 


Jack's bag, on the other hand, got a different treatment. I used a fusible foam behind the exterior fabric. But I did not fuse the foam to the bag. Instead I fused it to a layer of cotton batiste and stitched that to the bag pieces. therefore turning the interfacing (Flexfoam) into a sew in. I like how it "fills" up the space between the two layers.  I have to say I don't really have a preference. Both methods worked and the SF101 bags were easier to "seat" into their shape. But they all got there. Since Pellon SF101 is far cheaper than the Flex Foam, I'd say go with that but make sure you fuse both lining and exterior fabrics.

One of the things I discovered while making these bags is that the release paper for the clear vinyl is an excellent press cloth for the faux leather. Use it under and on top of the leather and let it cool before peeling off. It gives great pressing results, not easy with faux leather. 

The bag requires a zip longer than the bag opening in order to give that "pull tab" effect. Instructions are given on what length to cut your zipper. I might go another inch longer next time. There are also two wire frames   that give the bag it's recognizable look. I've seen  bags made without them and with. I prefer with the frame. Those without the frame still look cute but just don't have that obvious well known shape. Without the frame, it's close, but closer with the frame. The frames are quite inexpensive and come with little rubber tips that I recommend gluing on before using. Make sure you order the right size frame. Size A is what is used for these smaller bags.


Construction:

This is really a rather simple project and if you don't add an extra border and don't vinyl-ize your lining it can be made in a couple hours. That makes it a great gift. You are basically making a tote with a zipper across the top. The corners are boxed to give it the traditional shape. The lining is left open across the bottom so the bag can be turned, a bit trickier with that sticky clear vinyl, but doable. After turning and closing the lining a casing is stitched in all around the bag and following the zipper.  The wire frame is inserted inside the casing. Critical: make your casing with a GENEROUS 1/2 inch seam allowance. Mine were a bit short of that and I really had to shove to get the frame through the casing.  I ended up having to undo stitches and resew the casing after the wire was in. ( insert eye roll).  The wire of the frame is heavier than a coat hanger and quite sturdy. 

My vinyl lining and faux leather outside plus interfacing made for a quite firm little bag. That's how it is supposed to be. Instructions on the Emmaline site tell you that the frame needs to be zipped open and shut several times and will eventually seat itself properly on it's own. It's true. I just kept opening and closing the bags and they took their shape after a while. I believe this process is much easier on a fabric bag. There are some adorable feminine bags made from this pattern with prints. Handles are attached and they look quite functional. Just look how the bag opens wide. How nice is that for a women's bag?
.
Here is the inside of Jack's bag, a cotton batik that's been vinylized.


Above is a close up of the zipper installation and the wire frame channel next to it. The topstitching really seems to sink right in this faux leather.


In Conclusion:

This is a great design, easy to make, and FREE. It looks better with the specified  wire frames so I recommend them. A nice zipper pull , which I did put on Jack's, adds a bit of panache as well.  If you feel that you haven't been sewing enough for the men in your life and would like to make a gift that is quick, looks good and is functional, the Emmaline Retreat Bag is for you. For the women in your life, this would make a great makeup bag and I might make myself one out of some cottons. I will definitely be making more of these and I hope you give them a try. As always, NAYY.........Bunny

Three Emmaline Retreat Bags


This was a fun project, or should I say three? I made each of my grandsons one of these dopp kits. They all travel, camp, and just plain get around a lot. I think they will like their own little bag for their personal items and it's quite grown up looking after all.


Pattern:
This is the  Retreat Bag from Emmaline Patterns. It is for a traditional dopp kit shape and comes in two sizes. Here you see the three I've made and I used the 9 inch smaller size. The pattern is FREE from Emmaline and is a PDF download.

I made the two solid colored bags first for Graham and Zack. I decided to get a bit adventurous on my third effort which is for the oldest, Jack. I like how they all came out. The above pic shows the bags fully extended open. The zips are on the outside of the bags and have tabs, or what I call  "yanks" so you can hold them and yank the zipper open. You don't really yank, but just tug the zipper open like any other zip. The bags are lined and have interior pockets on each side. I chose to use just one slip pocket in these.

Fabric:
The exterior fabrics are a faux leather that really looks quite authentic. I bought a lot of it about five years back from WalMart. It's the only thing I've ever purchased in their fabric department and the quality has been quite good. I've used it for many projects and it has a genuine leather look. 


The linings are all 100% cottons  from Joanns. They have  been given a protective layer of clear vinyl. It is now sold at JAs in a two yard box and is made by Pellon. The vinyl let's the inside of the bags have some wash/wipe ability. It is easily fused on. 

The interfacings vary. 

On Graham and Zack's bags the interfacing used is SF101 from Pellon/JAs and fusible fleece,  as specified. The front bag above has SF101 and fleece. The Pattern specs fusing the lining with the same product but I did not as the vinyl applications stiffened the lining a lot. ( ETS to add the fusible fleece which I remebered in the middle of the night. Hate it when that happens.)


Jack's bag, on the other hand, got a different treatment. I used a fusible foam behind the exterior fabric. But I did not fuse the foam to the bag. Instead I fused it to a layer of cotton batiste and stitched that to the bag pieces. therefore turning the interfacing (Flexfoam) into a sew in. I like how it "fills" up the space between the two layers.  I have to say I don't really have a preference. Both methods worked and the SF101 bags were easier to "seat" into their shape. But they all got there. Since Pellon SF101 is far cheaper than the Flex Foam, I'd say go with that but make sure you fuse both lining and exterior fabrics.

One of the things I discovered while making these bags is that the release paper for the clear vinyl is an excellent press cloth for the faux leather. Use it under and on top of the leather and let it cool before peeling off. It gives great pressing results, not easy with faux leather. 

The bag requires a zip longer than the bag opening in order to give that "pull tab" effect. Instructions are given on what length to cut your zipper. I might go another inch longer next time. There are also two wire frames   that give the bag it's recognizable look. I've seen  bags made without them and with. I prefer with the frame. Those without the frame still look cute but just don't have that obvious well known shape. Without the frame, it's close, but closer with the frame. The frames are quite inexpensive and come with little rubber tips that I recommend gluing on before using. Make sure you order the right size frame. Size A is what is used for these smaller bags.


Construction:

This is really a rather simple project and if you don't add an extra border and don't vinyl-ize your lining it can be made in a couple hours. That makes it a great gift. You are basically making a tote with a zipper across the top. The corners are boxed to give it the traditional shape. The lining is left open across the bottom so the bag can be turned, a bit trickier with that sticky clear vinyl, but doable. After turning and closing the lining a casing is stitched in all around the bag and following the zipper.  The wire frame is inserted inside the casing. Critical: make your casing with a GENEROUS 1/2 inch seam allowance. Mine were a bit short of that and I really had to shove to get the frame through the casing.  I ended up having to undo stitches and resew the casing after the wire was in. ( insert eye roll).  The wire of the frame is heavier than a coat hanger and quite sturdy. 

My vinyl lining and faux leather outside plus interfacing made for a quite firm little bag. That's how it is supposed to be. Instructions on the Emmaline site tell you that the frame needs to be zipped open and shut several times and will eventually seat itself properly on it's own. It's true. I just kept opening and closing the bags and they took their shape after a while. I believe this process is much easier on a fabric bag. There are some adorable feminine bags made from this pattern with prints. Handles are attached and they look quite functional. Just look how the bag opens wide. How nice is that for a women's bag?
.
Here is the inside of Jack's bag, a cotton batik that's been vinylized.


Above is a close up of the zipper installation and the wire frame channel next to it. The topstitching really seems to sink right in this faux leather. All construction seams are 1/4 inch.


In Conclusion:

This is a great design, easy to make, and FREE. It looks better with the specified  wire frames so I recommend them. A nice zipper pull , which I did put on Jack's, adds a bit of panache as well.  If you feel that you haven't been sewing enough for the men in your life and would like to make a gift that is quick, looks good and is functional, the Emmaline Retreat Bag is for you. For the women in your life, this would make a great makeup bag and I might make myself one out of some cottons. I will definitely be making more of these and I hope you give them a try. As always, NAYY.........Bunny

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A few things I've learned.............

You know I have been on a bag marathon lately. Right now the boy bags are complete. I decided to make one for my other daughter's son as well and had to order another frame which should be in this week. Pics coming as soon as all the frames are in. I am pleased with the results and my favorite man thinks they are awesome. My latest project, also nearly done, is another mini NCW for our other granddaughter. So the machines have been humming and the cutters rolling! Here are a few tips gleaned from facebook groups that focus on bagmaking. I really appreciate all the knowledge they share and these tips really help me out.


CLIPS!

These can be the Wonder Clips by Clover. Some order large bags of generic clips through Amazon. I just hightailed it to KMart (limited resources in these parts) and got a bag full of binder clips. They all work. Why clips? They remove the distortion of pins. Bags can have some real shifty, bulky spots too. It is the nature of pins to go in and out and therefore get a bit bubbly. Clips keep everything flat and they squoosh any thick parts right down and hold those parts solidly. It really prevents the layers from sliding. Love my clips!


RELEASE PAPER !

This large piece on top is the same paper that backed the clear vinyl I used to waterproof the linings of the boy bags. This stuff is gold if are ever going to iron any kind of faux leather. I've sewn with tons of faux leather over the years. Ironing is next to impossible. Fusing? Forget it. What I have come to do is fuse the interfacing to batiste and stitch that in with the vinyl like an underlining. It works but it is more work. Appear this slick backing paper. It stays on  while you iron the clear vinyl to your fabric. You let the fabric cool and then slowly lift it off.

I decide to take a chance. Nearly every time I've used faux leather I've had some of it come off on the press cloth despite low temps. I had enough extra on my latest project to do an experiment. I laid the paper down on my steam press slick side up. I next laid down the faux leather, leather side down, touching the slick paper. Then came fusible interfacing on top with the glue side facing down on the faux leather. On top of this a dry press cloth. Fingers crossed, I lowered the steam press, gave it a burst of steam and then held it down for ten very long seconds. I was convinced it would be one melted horrid mess. I lifted the steam press and voila! One perfectly fused piece of faux leather. I let the pieces cool, slid them off the press, cooled them some more. Then I carefully peeled the slick paper from the faux leather. NOTHING! Nothing was damaged, melted or transferred. The fuse was totally solid and the leather looked perfect. I am sure this same process could be done with a regular iron as long as the same layering is done with the release paper. It was a Eureka moment.

Now don't think you have to run out and get clear vinyl to get the paper backing. The paper behind mailing labels  is the same thing, just a smaller page. I use Avery labels a lot at work and take home every sheet of paper when a page is used up. It is the same stuff and works perfectly.


SHISH KA BOB STICKS !

Need to push out the corners of those pocket bags? No, you don't stick the point or the blunt end in the corner. Instead, take the blunt end and starting a couple inches away from the corner, rub the blunt end along the seam line. The garment or bag would be right side out. Push that blunt end along the seam and right into the corner. Now run the chopstick along the other seam line on the opposite side of the corner in the  exact same fashion. You will be amazed how well this works and how stress free and simple it is. You have to push that stick right on the seam line starting a distance from the actual corner. I don't get the physics but it really works. I am a total convert for corner points now.


LOW TACK TAPE !

This is used to cover that nice hardware once it is installed. It keeps the scratching down and I will do this the minute any hardware is installed from now on. This turn lock tooks some serious chiseling to get installed but in the end looks great. This is Sophie's bag that I worked on today. It is so close to done and there is a lot of color in  it that you can't see.  I'll show yo later. Look at all those clips doing their thing!

**************************************

This week has found us leaving  months long drought status. While we were blessed with incredible weather all summer and fall a deluge the past three days has filled the wells and given everything a good solid drink before winter sets in. At the end of the rain event, the temp dropped,  the snow began and the sun came out. I thought I'd share a few pics Ern and I took on our sojourn today.  This is an area called Red Tavern Road where everyone lives off the grid and the river is running wild. 

 A little blowdown. 




And this last pic I took in the rain a couple days ago on my way home from work. It's a half mile from the driveway and it just took my breath away. What a beautiful goodbye to a lovely Summer and Fall....Bunny


Saturday, October 15, 2016

A bit of fabric painting

Let's start with a salute to the incredible colors of fall in the Northeast. We are in peak color right now. Early in the morning the surrounding "earth" is just golden with the morning glow and the changing colors of fall. It is spectacular.

Maybe that's why I was inspired to paint this weekend. I didn't do much painting because this is only a small project, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Several months back I found this unique fabric at Joanns. It was in with the "faux leathers". It is made from 100% rayon for the top fabric and definitely has a leather look to it.  Who knew rayon could look like leather?  In reality it is a quilted leather look, even better. I knew when I bought it I wanted to paint it and I knew I wanted it to be some sort of bag. You can see here where I traced out the outline of a flap for an NCW wallet. Another gift? Maybe mine? Not sure but it will be fun to make.
I started by building my paint palette. I took the lid from an old candy can and covered it with low tack tape. Masking tape would be fine as well. Why? Well, it gives the paints a bit of texture to be rubbed off on. ( There's something grammatically wrong about that last sentence.) I am going to use Shiva Paint Sticks.

Shiva paint sticks are oil paints in stick form. They are unique in that they have a skin that forms, preventing them from drying up into little blobs of pigment. You remove the skin with a vegetable peeler. This exposes the moist paint which you then rub on the textured tape on your palette. They have a rather lovely glow and allow the base to show through the paint. They are usually put down with stencil brushes and that is what I did. They can be blended in the palette like any other oil paint. Downside? They take a long time to fully dry. A heavy application can take a week to dry. Once dry you heat set them to make the paints permanent and they are permanent.

 Once I was done with the Shiva paint sticks I moved on to Lumiere fabric paints. I needed the finesse of a thinner brush and thinner paint and the both are made permanent by heat seting so they are both used on this project.

I took the tape out of the lid and used it for the palette for the Lumiere dyes. The white you see in the lid is textile medium.


Here's the completed flap. It will dry for a week before being heat set with an iron. It has that Jorge Guttierez  look which pleases me. I love his work and he has really been inspiring me lately. We will see how the final project looks.

ETA: Here is a link from Dharma Trading with more info on the paint sticks.

Right now I am waiting for the frames to insert into the Boy Bags which are complete otherwise. The diaper bag is off to its recipient and I thank all of you for the lovely comments. I will leave you with a few pics around the yard of our lovely Fall colors:





It is really a gorgeous time of year.........


. Most of the furniture has been put away till next year but I am still holding on to my underdeck porch, my favorite place for a quiet moment.............Bunny

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Stella Weekender


Here it is: the Stella Weekender from Swoon Sewing Patterns. I waited a bit to get some lovely fall background for the main pic. I  think it will make a nice gift for my nephew's wife and new baby girl. It was not hard at all and it's size and softness made it quite manageable under the presser foot.

Pattern:
This is my first Swoon pattern and it is a PDF. The Stella Weekender is available from Swoon Sewing Patterns. It has regular handles on top and a removable long strap for some more convenience. There are two different sized cargo pockets on the front and a large zipper pocket as well. The outside of the bag has slip pockets on the back side. The inside is lined and there are slip pockets inside, too, but you can do an optional zip pocket inside if you like. I didn't.  Piping is not mentioned in the pattern itself but many of the versions shown on the site and on the Swoon FB page are piped. You know I love piping and this was a great opportunity. The PDF comes with clear pattern layouts.At no place does it tell you to fold the main panel to make the pattern for the Open Pocket which did flummox me for a while. I eventually figured it out and it was really no big deal.



One thing I like about PDF bag patterns is that there may be many pieces but they almost all are small and fit on one page or even several to a page. Other pieces are cut from measurements and that is fine with me. Rotary cutters and mats make that easy. This bag has 37, yes, 37 pattern pieces to be cut out and 31 pieces of interfacing as well. The biggest chore with the pattern, as with most bags, is all the cutting and fusing. Once that is done the project flies. Another thing I like about the PDF directions is the size of the pages and the white space on each page. I've made copious notes in that space as I've gone along and that will be really helpful for the next time.

Fabric:
The exterior fabric and lining are quilting cottons from Joanns. The exterior fabric was one of their "premium" quilting cottons and the lining was off the shelf. For the piping I used a poly/cotton blend called Symphony.

All of the lining is fused with SF101 from Pellon, a fusible cotton woven. The exterior gets fusible fleece and some SF101 as well. The gusset has a piece of Peltex fused in at the very end before adding the lining. Peltex is that really hard fusible often used for bag bottoms. In the end this is a soft bag. I've worked out a personal preference  for a different interfacing configuration that I use for most of my bags. That method adds more structure. But this bag is really meant to be rather soft and I think it looks fine that way. I also always like to try the construction the way the pattern specifies before I do my own thing with it.


There is black hardware on this bags to go with the fabric and black zips. I used black D rings and swivel hooks that I got on Amazon. It's not easy finding the black in the size I needed from the bag purveyors but Amazon had it no problem.



Construction:
I followed the pattern sentence by sentence and checked off  each sentence with a pencil as I completed it's task. You do have to pay close attention but nothing is difficult and the directions are definitely clear. It is critical to read through all of the instructions before starting.

Things I'd change next time: In the straps I would use Decor Bond on one side and fusible fleece on the other. I think it will fill in the pieces better and still give stiffness. I also think it would eliminate some of the wrinkling, not much, that happens normally on the concave side of the strap. I also really like to triple zigzag my bag zippers instead of topstitching. I find that attractive and sturdy, just my signature thing.

When piping I got a little overly enthusiastic and piped all around the cargo pockets. DON'T DO THAT. It totally messes up the measuring and placement and took me a lot of unnecessary fiddling to get right. Just don't do it, trust me.

Make sure you move the inner pocket of the big exterior zipper pocket out of the way before sewing down those cargo pockets!  I didn't and  my seam ripper got a workout!

If I made this bag again, I would do the flaps and gusset out of a black faux leather. The bags I've seen on the site, after mine was cut out, that had contrasting flaps and gussets  out of a contrasting solid really looked polished.

I also would make my piping smaller. I am used to tiny piping for heirloom garments and I think a thinner piping would make a sharper, crisper look. But, again, that is sort of my signature thing.I just like tiny piping.  I don't know what size cord I used here but it was home dec cord, may 3/32.

In conclusion:

I recommend this pattern but just not as a first attempt. I suggest contrasting flaps, gussets and straps for a sharp look. Be prepared for some serious cutting and fusing, the norm for bag making. The actual construction, especially if you don't pipe, should move right along. This could be really nice in a heavier tapestry or home  dec fabric.

**************************************

My boy bags are complete except for the addition of the frames. I bought the wrong size, my fault.  You can see that reality hitting as I tried to put the too big frame in the casing. The right size is on order and as soon as the frames are in I'll show you those. Not sure what my next project will be. I am toying with the idea of a fur backpack. Love what I have seen of those.......Bunny





Sunday, October 9, 2016

I have UN - KONDO'd!


At 66 years of age, I know who I have been in the past and I know who I will become and who I am now. With all the wisdom that six decades can impart, I have UN-KONDO'd!

In the spring, after reading Marie' Kondo's best seller, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I had religion. I couldn't wait for the promised serenity that would arrive from throwing out half of what I owned, the peace of knowing each day where to put everything, and the joy of seeing all my possessions in perfect, harmonious order. I started with our bedroom and my possessions, as Kondo advises. Jeans were rolled, not folded as she describes, in nice little stand up rows in my dresser drawers. Undies were folded and stacked perfectly in organizers that perfectly matched their folded sizes. Everything I could wear was touched, questioned about its joy provoking abilities, and tossed, donated or kept. Most of my goodies were donated.

Here I am six months later and I have had it. As our seasons change and as I get ready each day for work with a wardrobe choice, it was clear this was not working for me.Here is why and I will first tell why not and then what I thought did work.

Kondo has no idea what it is like to leave in FOUR highly contrasting seasons. We have the current Fall with its need for lighter, windbreaking and rain resistant jackets, shorter boots, and lighter weight scarves. Then there is winter, oh, winter! Does she know those fall boots don't work here in winter? Does she know I and my friends get the 50ยบ below zero boots for winter and wear them every day? Does she know we need lovely weather boots for winter party dress and therefore various colors and styles?  All these boots need a spacious home and are not summertime wear. Does she know when visiting up here it is polite to bring a pair of slippers in your bag to change into so as not to drag snow, salt and slush into the homes of friends? We need slipper storage! We are also serious layer people up here. Every sweater or blouse worn in winter has some sort of underneath thing going on, like a tee or turtle. And if we are going to be outside  there are thermal undies under that. Let's see. We wear special socks, special gloves and mittens and layers even under our jeans and work pants. In her perfectly aligned closet there is none of this. Oh, she has you consolidate all seasons into one closet, Spectacular fail there! Not to forget Spring, there are muck boots for outside till the mud season subsides, and those lighter jackets but in Spring-y colors to help us escape the depression of one long cold winter. Summer? I am convinced Marie lives in eternal summer, the better to make her organization work!  Think sandals, sneakers, tanks, shorts, ad nauseum needing to be in with all those boots and slippers. They have to get in that closet with their friends too!

Space.  Does Kondo know how much space all this stuff takes? Uhh, big NO! Houses up here have basements and lots of closets for a reason. There is one closet for one season and another closet for another. She does not have a clue about the seasonal traditions of transitioning and moving said wardrobes from the far away closet  to the bedroom closet.  I moved all this stuff today and my soul knows that I am now ready for winter. Summer, 2016 is over and done.  I know my fifty below boots are found and still wearable. I know my pretty, strappy, metallic sandals will be their for summer evening socialization with friends in 2017. Marie may have joy in tidying, but she has never known the joy of marking the seasons as they pass with the movement of a wardrobe.

Her must have order of putting clothes in the closet.  This totally did not work for me and was the BIGGEST reason I had to un-Kondo. I set up my closet exactly as she describes, all those long things  on one end graduating to the shortest things I own on the other. WTF? Really, think about it. Is that even logical? For the past few weeks I have been so distraught about reaching into the deep dark end of the closet to find the deep, dark pants I own, pushing everything out of the way and hopefully coming up with the pants I want. THIS DID NOT WORK. My closet is, just my side, 8 feet wide. so decent enough. Doing it her way put the pants hangers behind the wall on one side or the folding doors on the other. It just sucked getting my clothes out in the morning.

What did I keep about Kondo-ing? There is some good about it and much was just a spot off of what I was already doing. I  love that she is so organized but one can be more organized with more stuff, too. Dear Readers of this blog for some time: you all know I am an organization freak and can't function creatively till all my tiles are lined up in perfect rows. It frees my mind to just be creative when they are. It works for me and I get that it doesn't work for others and that is OK. So I do appreciate some of her organizational ideas and they will stay. Here are a couple:

Clothing  stacked in rows and folded her way. I have been doing this for sometime with one difference. I roll. My dresser drawers have rolled up jeans in them so that when I open the drawer I can see them all and pick what I want. One drawer has colors. The other has denim blues. Why roll? It cuts down the wrinkling and eliminates the infamous "knee fold". I really like looking in my drawers at this display. It works. Her book also made me re-organize my closet so my undies and bras, socks, bags, hats and shoes are all right there in my face, stacked in little totes, folded neatly and ready to be chosen. I open the doors in the morning, reach up to the shelf where I can clearly see my underpinnings, grab each one I need, then my external garment choices, some jewelry and head to the shower. There is no looking elsewhere for anything for work and it makes my start of the day easy.  I have even, as a result of the initial Kondo-izing, a hanging organizer for all my jewelry, I just reach for my baubles. I can pull everything together facing my closet and not taking one single step left or right.

I am glad I read her book. It was definitely a motivater. But her methods,  for the most part,  didn't work for me and I am glad I didn't go the whole house route of Kondo-izing now.

Today was spent re-doing the closet and all my clothing. It now works FOR ME.  I loved how this marked the change of seasons and that I was now ready for whatever winter threw my way. That's what it really is about, what works for you and Marie's method may not be it. I look in my closet now and feel peace. My pants for work are directly in front of me as I open the doors. The tops are right next to them. Things I rarely wear but still need, like a gorgeous black suit for funeral occasions and some "party" outfits, are in the back recesses waiting for their necessary moment, not stored  in graduating size mode. Each category of clothing is organized by color. Be still my heart, that so makes me happy!  My wardrobe storage now works much better for me, functions wonderfully, IS organized and makes me feel good when I look at it. Now I can go downstairs and start sewing.

What are your experiences with Kondo-izing? Tell me I'm not alone..............Bunny

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Boy bags begin!

It is so easy to find something to sew for my granddaughters. That really came home to me when I gifted Carley with her mini NCW . I always give the boys something special as well so they certainly aren't ignored. But,  this time Zack asked me, " Bunbun, could you make me something?" and of course I said , "yes, I will make something for both you and your big brother." Enter the Retreat Bag:

with permission of Emmaline Bags

Some call this a Dopp Kit. My brothers used to call theirs d-----bags.  I call them cute and a perfect gift you can make for a young man.

The Retreat bag is a FREE PDF pattern from Emmaline bags. Yes, free! I am not sure there is anyone else out there who has anything similar. At least I haven't seen it! It comes in two sizes and I will be making the smaller size bag for the boys. There is a frame that goes into the top of the bag so that when the zipper is closed you have that classic fold on the corners. I have seen some choose to go without the frame.Those look good but I think the frame adds a bit of snap and professionalism to the finished item. (NAYY here)  I have also seen some add straps and make this into a women's handbag as well, very cute!




For my exterior fabric I have chosen a cordovan red faux leather that I  have sewn before. It's masculine bit of color should work well.




The lining is where some imagination gets played out. One of my grandsons is crazy for airplanes to the point where he has his first job at the local airport. He cleans the offices and gets flight lessons in exchange!  Graham's lining will  be this "aviation" print .



 My other grandson is an avid reader. He is in third grade and had read every Harry Potter novel by the end of second grade. We should all be thanking J. K. Rowling for planting the love of reading in the hearts of so many children.  Zack's will be a Harry Potter print. Both came from Joanns. They each have red tones in them that should work well with the leather color. If you are going to fussy cut printed fabric to highlight the motifs, make sure you get extra. I got twice the amount need but have enough left to make an NCW lining. Fussy cutting adds so much to a made at home bag. Also, be careful with directional prints and cut them one layer at a time so each side will face up.



I decided to "vinylize" (my word) the lining fabrics in order to make the inside wipeable/cleanable. The first step was buying a by the yard  product made by Pellon called Vinyl Fuse. I found a clearance bolt at JAs and with the overall discount paid 1.50 a yard, yahoo! I bought a lot! If you can't find that I believe the same product is now marketed in pieces and sold in a box.  I was a bit intimidated by the product but once I tried it I found it really wasn't tricky at all. I was expecting to maneuver a big sticky mess . Think Contac Paper. Instead I found the vinyl quite cooperative. I followed the directions exactly. It's important to use the paper the vinyl comes with as a "press cloth" between it and the iron. Don't throw it out. It will come in handy for pressing seams later.


I didn't know how the vinyl would react to the heat so laid down a layer of drill cloth on the steam press for this project. Hey, it's new after all!  FWIW, I did the first vinyl fusing with my regular iron and it worked just fine. But the steam press really shined with this task.  Above is the steam press fusing the interfacing on the bag piece.



It's really important to fuse all the interfacing to the pieces before fusing the vinyl. Just trust me on this one. Above you can see the vinylizing set up. Drill cloth, exterior fabric FACE UP, and lastly the release paper/vinyl combo with the vinyl facing down. 8 seconds down with the press, no steam and voila! The red arrow points to the vinyl that didn't get attached and the green is the release paper. You can see I had excess vinyl on the edges and it easily pulled off of the drill cloth while the pieces were still warm. This process truly made no mess and was quite easy. It would just take a bit more time with an iron but just as neat and clean. One thing to be really careful of before putting down the vinyl is that there are no pieces of lint or thread on the fabric. They will be there for time eternal if not brushed off. Also, you will see the vinyl may look to be "loose" on areas of the release paper that rounded the edges of the bolt. Don't fret. It all presses out to perfect flatness. And really important,,,, no steam used here. I pressed the right side 8 seconds, flipped it over and pressed the wrong side 4 seconds, exactly as Pellon describes in the directions. I will definitely do this again. It was easy. The boy's bags will be wipeable inside and how good is that? They travel a lot with their families and these will really come in handy.



All is fused now with vinyl and interfacing. I blocked fused the large pieces so the vinyl is in the seam allowances. The pockets had the vinyl cut back from the seam allowances and from one half of the square that will be the lining of the pocket when sewn.


Here's a closeup of the fused pieces. I love how it prevents the edges from ravelling.


The exterior pieces had the vinyl, the fabric, fusible fleece and SF101 interfacing. How to keep the bulk down? I took a piece of batiste and cut it the same size and shape as the bag exteriors. I then fused the fusible fleece, with no seam allowances to the batiste. I turned it over and then fused the SF101, again with no seam allowances, to the other side. Now I will just stitch the batiste into the seam allowance of the bag, so basically a sewn in interfacing.

One thing I have I've been impressed with is the well thought out and "proven before market hit"  way Indie bag designers use and specify interfacings. Most bags have at least two types, Many have  three. But in nearly every pattern out there Pellon SF101 is used, A LOT. It is a woven interfacing and works well in these bags. I will honestly tell you that I don't use Pellon products in my garments but for these bags, the SF101 and the foams work really well. Also,  I wanted to fuse my fleece to a separate fabric because on past projects I found it could pick up wrinkles while turning and handling during the construction process.

All pieces are now vinylized, fused and ready to stitch. I will need to do some stitching samples before sewing all this vinyl and that is next!..........Bunny