Saturday, August 25, 2007

Alison likes birds.

Ali (from Jersey, not Ali from Seattle) liked the little blue birdie bag I showed here. She asked if I could make her a clutch version. Sure, I said, I can do that. She asked if I could make it green. Sure. I aim to please. She wanted a zipper, and a thinner little handle. Ali is extremely demanding. I kid, I kid. I love Ali. So here is the limey green clutch, with an orange cut-out bird and an orange zipper.

The inside has a little patch pocket, in case Ali likes to keep whatever form of lip goo she uses separated from the rest of her purse innards (like I do).

The zipper is orange, not pink like it looks in this picture.

I had trouble with the handle on this one. I broke three needles on my sewing machine while trying to sew the many layers in. After the end of needle #3 disappeared into the dark, uncharted nether regions of my sewing machine, I decided to reinforce the seam by hand.

And, like the handles on the gigantic tote bag I just finished, I managed to injure myself while working on them. This time I didn’t give myself blisters. Oh no, this time I stabbed myself three times...with the back of a hand sewing needle. Not the sharp part, the blunt end where the thread goes through. Having a blunt needle end go through the base of your finger is kind of unpleasant, much like stabbing yourself with a butter knife but doing it hard enough to break the skin. I had to take a few breaks to wait for the bleeding to stop so I didn’t bleed all over Ali’s bag. Thank goodness I just had a tetanus shot last week. Also, I can’t find my fingernail clippers, so when I used the thimble to push the needle through all the layers of vinyl, I also bent my too-long-to-be-inside-a-thimble thumbnail backwards. (I didn't think anyone would want to see a picture of my backwards thumbnail, so I chose not to document that for posterity in the blog.)

Sewing is always an adventure. is for me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I like birds.

Nate and Miranda gave me some really awesome fabric for my birthday. I absolutely love it - so much so that I couldn't imagine using it just for the lining of a bag. I wanted it to be on the outside. The center of attention. I thought for awhile about what I wanted to make, and last week I came up with the idea for this. I finished sewing it all together tonight.

It's a gigantic tote bag. I've been carrying two bags to work every day: my orange knit purse, with all normal purse things - my wallet, my keys, my iPod, some lip goo, my deck of cards - and my green Natalie Dee "will knit for tattoos" tote bag (like this, but a tote, not a t-shirt), which I fill with my lunch, a pair of shoes to change into at work (I walk a few miles into campus each day), some lotion, a book, etc. It seemed silly to me to carry two bags every day.

I wanted it to have a sturdy bottom, so I used some teal vinyl for the bottom half. I think this will also help it look cleaner too. The fabric is mostly white, so I was worried that if I made a bag with the entire outside the pretty bird fabric it'd look dirty as soon as I sat it down somewhere.

I went a little bit more muted with the lining fabric than I usually do, just because there was so much going on on the outside. I bought the lining about ten months ago when I was just getting into sewing. It was on sale, so I got a few yards. Then I found other, more interesting fabric for linings and such, and I forgot that I had it. I was pretty pleased with how well it matched the darker pinkish color in the bird fabric.

I also decided to experiment with pockets. I've only really done a little patch pocket before. I wanted to figure out how to do something bigger. Since this is for me, I don't mind experimenting around, ripping things out, redoing, etc. I put in a bigger flap pocket (as well as a patch pocket - I need somewhere for my phone and lip goo). I like it, but I think next time I'll use something to make it a little sturdier, less floppy, and I'll insert it a little lower in the lining. This came up high enough that it got in the way of my topstitching. Multiple times. I sewed parts of the pocket closed three times. This made me swear.

It really is gigantic. I love it. And I have more birdy fabric in blue from Nate and Miranda. I'm already cooking up some ideas for it!

Also....I've got blisters on my fingers! I'm like Ringo Starr.

The straps for this are a little thinner than the ones I've made before. In turning them right-side-out for topstitching, the vinyl stuck more than usual and I couldn't turn it with my fingers alone. So I used a little wood dowel. It worked okay, but the vinyl still stuck. It took me about an hour and a half to turn both straps right-side-out, and by the time I was done I had a nice blister on my thumb, the bottom of my middle finger, and in my palm. It occurred to me, after the damage was done, that I should have just recut wider straps and saved myself an hour. Whoops.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

what's this?

Another purse? What a surprise. Lori from the Knot asked for a black knit purse. She said she liked stripes. Why, I also like stripes! So much so that I have a bunch of striped fabric all stockpiled for future purses and skirts and the like. Would you say that I have a plethora of striped fabrics? Yes, El Guapo. You have a plethora of striped fabrics. Anyway. She picked out the lining and away I went.

For the outside, I went with diagonal stripes. You tie it all together or something.

And the inside. The lining fabric reminds me of a Mexican serape (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here or here). Which is why I started quoting the Three Amigos above. I'm not insane, really.

Friday, August 17, 2007

JCrew stole my skirt

I was poking through JCrew's sale items on their website and saw this.

Which looks quite similar to this, which I made about a year ago. I'm such a trendsetter.

A side-by-side comparison:

I'm never buying a skirt again.

Friday, August 10, 2007

quick update

I'm sleepy and my legs ache, but today was productive and I would like to share some of the fruits of my labor.

Outside of the fuschia bag.

A girl I know from the Knot saw my blog and asked me to make a bag for her upcoming vow renewal. Nicole picked out the outer color, then I sent her pictures of fabrics that would compliment it. It turns out that one of the colors she's using is kind of a burnt orange, and I had a lining that would go well.

Some people say I could be a hand model.

She's going to add on some beaded handles herself, so my part is done. Hopefully she'll share a picture of what the end result is.