On a Roll Now with Another Bag

Making bags, for me, is like eating potato chips for most people. You can’t stop at just one. And this week has been not different. After the hoodie project was finished and blogged, I couldn’t stop. Next came the recycled jean bag that can be called nothing but “Hot Lips”.

Jeans are the main staple of my wardrobe and it truly hurts me when I must give up a pair as unsuitable for wear in public. So, remembering fondly the jean purses my mother made me in the 70’s, I recycled my latest cast-off pair of denims. There was not pattern, simply an idea of size and the best use of the pockets on the jeans. I couldn’t resist the lining fabric with the pink, purple and orange lips. It was a piece that I picked up on a fabric shopping trip with no plans in mind. The shoulder strap is the inseam of the jeans, backed with lining fabric.

I love Ed Hardy designs and hearts and wings and could not resist sticking this little heart “tattoo” on the front.

Brilliant idea!

At long last, the dark days of winter are over. I worked so much with my hands for the holidays that I had to take a break for a while, but I am now back and have tons of ideas and supplies. Even though I was not crafting, I was still shopping and creating in my head. Here is the first of what I hope are a flurry of new items.

In my continuing effort to perfect my own purse/totebag/accessory patterns, I have been working on some sweatshirt purse patterns. Being larger than a 2X, I always struggle with wanting the t-shirts and sweatshirts that market our life interests and accomplishments but know that they are never available in my size. I long to support breast cancer, my favorite music group, my latest tourist stop or festival event but the shirts never are large enough. But I buy them none the less in smaller quantities than if I could wear them. I hope some day to be able to wear them or use them in some way. And I finally came up with a way!

I’ve developed a sweatshirt purse. I have not displayed those prototypes here due to their need of tweaks, but this one I could not pass up sharing. A very dear couple were expecting a baby and she works at the same institution as myself as the Athletic Director’s Administrative Assistant. So what better way to use the sweatshirts that I crave AND make her a serviceable gift than to make a sweatshirt diaper bag! After a week of deliberation, sketching and thinking then 2 weeks of careful cutting and construction, I finally completed it. And it is absolutely wonderful!

The sweatshirt came from the local Walgreen’s, making it reasonably priced (should the project end up on the sewing room floor) and the lining fabric from Hancock’s. But the rest is all me.

Notice the extra design elements:

  • the sleeve embroidered logo displayed on the base of the strap
  • the use of the chest embroidered logo on the front flap
  • the use of a sleeve cuff on the bottle pocket
  • the use of the hood (embroidered with the team name) and accompanying drawstring as the front pocket
  • the use of the kangaroo pocket on the back

This was incredibly fun and I hope to develop this idea more and some day market my patterns.

P.S. I love, love, love Picnik and the ability to edit and collage photos on the web.

What do you think? All comments are welcome.

Indonesian Batik Sack

I finally reached a decision on what to do with the treasured yard of green Indonesian Batik purchased from Batiks By Design at the Paducah AQS show. After much deliberation and study, I chose a bag pattern borrowed from my mother. It was a “fat quarter friendly” pattern purchased, but never used, from several years ago. I forget the name of the company at the moment. My greatest concern was to use a bag style that would show off the whole border print to it’s best advantage. Even though this pattern was written for fat quarters, I was able to adapt it to regular yardage and had enough left over to use the batik as the lining as well.

The bag pattern was very easy and was a simple shape. I created my own pocket on the back side (not showing) and didn’t use the velcro closure on the tab as instructed. Because after all, its against my principles to duplicate someone else’s items. The whole fun of crafting and sewing is to add your own personal style to each item. I’m all about one-of-a-kind and unique items.

Batiks By Design recently opened a retail store in my town. I’m pretty excited about it. I had to purchase a couple more batiks at the grand opening along with this fat quarter in red. I picked up the idea for this key chain off a blog that I read about sewing, CraftGossip.com. One post was about creating keychains with fabric and elastic and if it is one thing I like better than bags, its keychains.

So, be on the look out for more posts as the holidays are coming up and I have been busy churning out home-made gifts and as always, the post-holiday season includes time off. Plans are already turning in my creative mind and supplies are being stockpiled. I made a huge discovery at Rural King. I’m leaning toward bags for that. Wait til you see!

And I have also been inspired by portrait quilts seen on Quilting Arts in the past couple of months. Hmmm, now to figure out whose face/picture to start with.

Crash and Burn

I had to take a break from the sewing machine to direct Vacation Bible School. Now that is over and its time to get back to hobbies! I love the purse pocket and the pursekets design idea. I bought a pattern at the last Quilt Show….spent hours making myself one…..love it, love it, love it. But HATED the pattern. And I’m telling you I can figure out most anything. But that pattern was awful. “To complete the large version, repeats steps 21-24 twice” and then “For smaller version, skip to step 34”. I kept losing my place and getting confused. I also could not get all the pieces out of the yardage that it required.

Needless to say, my second attempt at the purse pockets pattern for a version for a friend ended in a horrible crash-and-burn. I tried and tried and persevered and worked and only succeeded in making my blood pressure go up. So, I finally admitted defeat, wadded it up and threw it in the trash. (I pulled it back out long enough to take a photo of the horrible thing!) And here it is above.

Thus begins my search for a pattern for an equally useful purse insert with both better construction techniques and pattern instructions.

Bleck! Onward and upward to the next project!

Neon Forest Patch Bag

Here is the Patch Me If You Can bag from Tammy Tadd Designs…….modified! I took 3 inches out of the body width of the bag. An 18 1/2″ wide bag is just too big for me. And of course, I use prequilted fabric for the exterior, not patchwork.

I like several of the design elements of this bag, but they are proving to be a problem in functionality. I liked the straps and loop configuration but my strap knots keep slipping through the loop so I have temporarily fixed it by tying a knot. And that slips too. Either I carry too much junk (what would I have carried in an 18 1/2″ bag!) or my straps are not fat enough (go figure, didn’t know I had anything not fat enough!) or I just have high hopes……I think I need to convert to a buttonhole and large neon button. I always love a chance to innovate and personalize. And this pattern has definite potential.

This project sets me back a little. I have a prize piece of Indonesian batik fabric I had intended to become Patch Bag #2, but now I’m not so sure it is the best use of that fabric. So…..I must ponder some more. Ahhhhhh, the creative process…….