Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Weekender Finished - or Ignorance is Bliss

I'm sure many of you have heard of the infamous Amy Butler Weekender Bag and its notoriety for being difficult to assemble. I had never heard of it when I spotted the pattern at my LQS and decided I had to have this fantastic bag. Let me say, I'm glad I was totally unaware. I would never have attempted this bag if I had read all the blog reviews about it and I'm so glad I did it!
This is my 2 year old in the unfinished bag a while back. It's a good reference for how big this bag actually is. I've heard a lot of people use it for carrying their sewing machines - a great idea!

Here's my finished bag! Let me say, I've only made 2 bags and probably about 3 pouches before this so I am definitely a beginner when it comes to bag making. The bags I've made were Lazy Girl patterns too which are fantastic patterns and from what I've seen they are super easy. So if I can make this bag - you can too!
The challenge with this bag - it is not quick. Be prepared to go slowly, be patient and READ all directions (maybe even twice) before doing the step. The lining was a bit of a pita. It's all sewn in by hand. I wish I had hubby snap a picture of me sewing it in the bottom because I literally had my whole upper body in the bag to sew it.

Some details from my experience:
  1. I did not use Home Dec Weight fabric as the pattern calls for. You can get away with this if you want because of all the Peltex and stabilizers used. BUT - be aware, the pieces that the zipper is attached to run from the bottom of one side to the bottom of the other side. Quilt weight fabric will not be wide enough to make these pieces in one cut. I pieced mine together and hid the extra piecing in the side pockets. Hopefully this won't affect its durability.
  2. I didn't like using binder clips as recommended for holding together multiple thick layers (during one step). I found that as I released the clips all the layers went everywhere. I found my daisy head long pins worked well. 
  3. Pretty much all the pins I used for this project are warped and have been thrown out.
  4. I also lengthened the straps so they fit nicely over my shoulder. My strap and binding fabric is Quilters Linen by Free Spirit. I cut the length to WOF which I think was about 54".
  5. **ETA - I forgot to talk about the cording. I didn't sew my fabric to the cording the first time, I used steam-a-seam to attach it. I think I steamed my fingerprints off my left hand, but I'm glad I did it. Each time you sew the cording (about 3 times I think) you get closer and closer to the cording and have to hide the last row of stitches. Using steam-a-seam gave me a little more flexibility and less stress with that step. 
I decided to add a zipper pull to this. I figured with such a big bag it would be nice to find the zipper faster.
I've never done a zipper pull myself before. I followed this tutorial. I am a little nervous about how well it will hold up since it's just bent wire holding it all together. But I have zero experience making jewelry so I have no idea how to make one of these. If anyone wants to share a great tutorial, I'd love to see them!

I'm linking up to Sara's Amy Butler Sew Along over at Sew Sweetness.

Project Stats:
Pattern:  Amy Butler Weekender Bag
Fabrics: Quilters Linen by Free Spirit in Turquoise, 
Laura Gunn - Big Poppy in Aqua and Dogwood in Olive
Date Finished: 8/23/11

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP Wednesday {33}

Things have been quiet around here and I think I'm pretty far off from a finish so I thought I'd start up my WIP Wednesdays again. I'm finally in the 2nd trimester and starting to feel better so the sewing machine has been getting some use again- yay!

Before I get started, I just want to let you know that my bloggy friend and WIP Wednesday host, Lee has entered one of her adorable fabric design's into Connecting Thread's fabric design contest!  Her design is called Flourish and is located under the Floral/Botanical section.  You can vote here until the end of the month  If you have a moment, go check out the designs and give Lee a vote!

So, I've slowly been getting back into the swing here. I've been avoiding my Weekender Bag for a looong time. I finally started putting in the lining. This part is a total pita because it's all hand sewing. But I'm going to Florida next weekend so I'm hoping to use this as my carry on. I'm heading to the bead store today. Hoping to get some cute beads to use as a zipper pull.

I've gotten a few arcs done for the Double Wedding Ring QAL. I'm beyond behind on this one so I'm just taking it at my own pace.

My design wall is totally taken up right now too with my do.Good Stitches quilt. First off, since I redesigned the room, the wall isn't easy to get a good photo of so excuse the bad picture! We used Jaybird Quilts Hexagon Quilt Along tutorial for this quilt. The girls sent a really fun mix of blocks! I'm adding a sashing between the rows to break it up a bit (it's on the right side). So far I'm really happy with how it's turning out.

Waiting for attention:
Aviary Birdbath for my mom
Beach bag for my sister
Sew Modern Quilt (blocks are coming back. I need my design wall free to do this one).

Total projects: 6

As usual, I'm linking to Freshly Pieced. Go see what everyone is up to!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

finally did more curtains!

While I haven't been able to sew the last few months, I realized what was bugging me was not being able to quilt, but rather the fact that I haven't been able to decorate our house! We've been here now for 8 months and we have almost nothing on the walls and I haven't finished my "million curtain challenge".

The contentious spot right now is the great room fireplace. Well, really the whole room has me overwhelmed with the sheer size of it, but here's the fireplace.

Yeah, it's big. I marked the 8x10 photo for scale. That got randomly thrown up there and I realized I need bigger art for the walls! LOL.  So bare with me here. This fireplace is about six feet wide and I don't know how tall with the arched ceiling. I had this print on there.

It too is huge and I've had it forever. IMO, it's been waiting for a space like this. Problem - my husband hates it! He took it down while I was sleeping! So we need to find a compromise for this space. What would you do with a space this large!?

So, on to my real reason for posting. I got down work on some new curtains yay! Here are the old ones.
 **note - these photos were staged. My sink is not usually this clean.
Close up of the ginghamy loveliness. My goal - to not have to replace any curtain rods. I've learned my lesson with my bedroom windows. Long story, but I had a hard time finding the right thing.

So here's what I've made.

And with tie backs.
There is actually no windowsill on that frame so I was a little unsure how long to make the curtains. I wound up just eyeballing it and I'm pretty happy with it!  One more window down... 4 more to go!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Some August blocks

I've actually fired up my sewing machine again and have been getting back to work little by little.  I spent a lot of time cutting my fabrics for the Double Wedding Ring Quilt along at The Plaid Scottie. Yes, I'm totally behind, but whatever - I'm still doing it!

And I got my bee blocks done. I didn't have to do anything for Sew Modern since it's my month and I sent out fabrics to the ladies.

Do.Good Stitches has us doing red and blue Dutchman's Puzzle using this tutorial.

For some reason it never occurred to me that if I place my fabrics like this I would get a pinwheel in the center. My brain must be a little hazy with hormones? This is why I should leave things up on my design wall a few days before I actually sew them. I've decided not to rip them though because my points were pretty dang perfect!

And I have to share a photo of my daughter because I love seeing quilts in use. Last year I made this quilt for my daughter. She's always used it in her crib/bed. But recently she's taken to dragging it around the house (and out if we let her) and telling everyone "mommy made this for me". Oh, does she know how to melt my heart!?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some local excitement

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I've complained about the lack of a modern LQS nearby. There are 2 nice ones closer and within the city, but with a toddler, taking an hour trip to go to a fabric store is not really possible.

I was really excited when I went to Sew Smart Fabric's website and found out they are under new management! I went in yesterday and got to talk to the new owner, Kathleen. She is super nice and has some great plans for the place. She's already got some modern samples up on the walls and is reorganizing the place. They are going to be offering some great classes in the fall and updating the fabrics.

So if you live near Doylestown, stop by and give them some support! They are clearing out the old inventory so if you know someone who likes traditional fabrics let them know there are deals to be had. The new stuff is coming in and they hope to have a grand re-opening event in September so keep your eye out!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Will's Carnival finished

I was not really thrilled with my photos of this. I guess the light wasn't right yet? But this one has been taking me forever to finish so I really want to get it done and posted! I might take it out later and try again.

This was a fun little quilt. Sadly I was working on it when the morning sickness hit so it got seriously delayed. I'm a bit nervous about the amount of white in it for a baby quilt, but I think it will be okay given the recipient.

A close up of the fabrics (Lily & Will II). And the pattern is Julie's Carnival. I highly recommend all of Julie's patterns. They are well written with great diagrams and excellent explanations for different sizes and fabric requirements.

The back is all greens from the Lily & Will line. I don't know what I was doing when I ordered fabric, but I didn't order enough blue for the backing. I had a lot of green leftover from this quilt and I had ordered some for potential borders for the front so I was set with all green.

Quilt stats:
Name: Will's Carnival
Size: 43" x51" 
Fabrics: Lilly & Will - Bunny Hill Designs
Quilted: by me!
Finished: 7/31/11


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