Monday, December 29, 2014

My Next Sewing Pattern

Although I have a sketchbook full of bag ideas, I always have a hard time choosing which one would make a popular sewing pattern. This time the choice was easy as I've had so much interest in this next bag along with many requests for a zippered bag. I have not chosen a name yet but this is on my to do list:

Large Pleated Zippered Cross Body Bag in Echino Bicycles with Vegan Leather

Large Pleated Zippered Shoulder Bag in Black Denim with Organic Leaf Line Canvas in Black and White

This is a larger sized bag and it will come with a few options. For fabric bags, I will give instructions on adding a faux leather bottom and for full faux leather bags, you can omit the strip at the bottom as seen in the bag below:

(The wallet in this photo was made with the Necessary Clutch by Emmaline Bags)

I will also be including 2 strap options: double shoulder straps or a cross body strap. You will be able to add both if you prefer! I am hoping to give clear instructions for the faux leather shoulder straps and I am even contemplating an instructional video!

This bag will come with a zippered closure but I am still trying out various methods of constructing this to find the easiest method for most sewers. I am leaning in the direction of a wide open zippered opening because it is the best method for getting those cross body straps in place.

As usual, I will have a nice variety of pockets and features inside the bag: slip pockets, zippered pocket, optional pen slip pockets and a swivel clasp for keys.

Stay tuned as I will try to post some photos of my pattern bag in progress!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

New cosmetic bags

I am currently working on new cosmetic bags. I used to make them once upon a time and then for some reason, just stopped. Looking back now I'm really not sure why I stopped since they sold well but here they are again - new and improved. 

This time I'm starting with a group of bags made in a variety of beautiful cotton/linen blend Echino prints paired with coordinating faux leathers. I have scooters, cameras and a variety of wildlife fabrics in stock. 

These are based on Noodlehead's tutorial for pouches that open nice and wide with my own custom dimensions. I used a waterproof and washable lining on the inside - so important for spills and for keeping your bag clean and bacteria free! I also added some cute zipper pulls and a nice coordinating pull tab at the end of the zipper. 

These are coming with me to my final 3 shows of the season and then they will be listed on Etsy in the New Year!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Getting ready for show season 2014!

I don't participate in handmade craft shows all year - only at the end near Holiday season. This year is no exception. I am signed up for 5 shows! I find it exciting and motivating to prepare for these shows except that my larger bags are definitely not show items. Which means I need to make smaller items with lower price points for those searching for smaller gift items.

The most challenging and difficult part of what I do (for me personally) is deciding what to make. You can invest a lot of time and materials into making a huge quantity of a certain item only to find out it's simply not what people are looking for. I haven't had too many failures in the past as I tend to stick to items that are always needed: cosmetic bags, wallets, eco snack bags. The only huge failures I've had is bringing large bags ONLY. Huge mistake! People rarely gift someone with an expensive bag.

This year I'm going to bring my usual small items but I'm also going to attempt to bring a selection of smaller bags made from my Camellia cross body bag pattern. This pattern is definitely my best seller and I'm hoping that it will entice a few customers at my shows. I wanted to order some new fabrics to make these bags and this is what showed up at my door yesterday:

I know it's hard to tell from the photo but most of them coordinate nicely with the most popular neutral colours: brown, grey or black. I will be using only faux leather for these bags. I am noticing a trend in non-leather bags at the moment so I ordered a few new rolls of faux leather in the most popular basic colours. I'll make sure to post photos of the bags once they are done - probably early next week!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New Zippered Hobo Bags

I've been working on some new bag styles. I tend to get bored quite easily and I'm always testing new ideas for upcoming patterns. I really enjoy making the zippered hobo bag pattern by NapKittenPattern on Etsy but wanted to create my own version. I also wanted to incorporate some leather accents - especially for the bottom. I've heard so many times how important it is to be able to set your bag down without dirtying the bottom.

And I came up with this idea:

Joel Dewberry's Swallow Study in Forest Home Dec Sateen
with tan leather

It is a medium sized bag: about 15 inches wide at the widest part, 10 inches high in the center and about 4 inches deep. The strap is adjustable so the bag can be worn over one shoulder or cross body. Attaching the strap does require leather or faux leather with finished edges and some metal rivets. The bag itself is sewn the same way as a very large zipper pouch so the strap is attached in the very last step. I also love tassels so I thought a leather tassel attached to the zipper pull would be a very nice touch.

Inside the bag are 3 slip pockets and 1 zippered pocket. The main closure is a metal YKK zipper. 

A bag like this does take a long time to make (about 3 to 4 hours total) which explains the higher cost in comparison to my other bags.

I did make 3 of these in total but sadly ran out of rivets so I will need to wait to make more. Here are more photos for your viewing pleasure!

Joel Dewberry's Wildflower in Mulberry Home Dec Sateen
with tan vegan leather

Hand bleached denim with tan leather
The last bag was made using a dark navy denim that I bleached myself to create a beautiful random pattern. I will share my experiences with this technique in a future post. I am really loving the surprises I get with each different fabric, texture and pattern!

A few more photos of the bottom and interior:

And modeled by yours truly to get a better size reference:

If you are interested in photos of all 3 bags including pricing, you can find them in my Etsy shop:

Friday, September 12, 2014

My latest patterns - The Peony and The Thistle Pocket Tote

Apparently I really like to design totes with front pockets! Last time I posted - which I realize was an obscenely long time ago - I was almost done my Peony Tote. It has since launched and can be purchased here or here.

I have since designed and released the Thistle Pocket tote. This tote is what I consider to be medium sized bag and of course has my usual adjustable strap. I personally can't use a shoulder bag and need to be hands free. I also included the front pocket because I've heard from many customers throughout the years that they really preferred an outside pocket with a closure on the outside of their purses.

You can use a variety of different fabric combinations for this bag! Use your imagination to create beautiful combinations of coordinating or contrasting fabrics! You can use whatever type of button or embellishments for the flap. I've even made a version with some decorative stitching on the flap.

Here are a few combinations I've tried with this pattern:

For the interior of the bag, I give instructions for one large slip pocket but you are free to add more pockets to the interior if you wish. I've also included instructions for a zippered pocket.

I've recently been asked my a few pattern customers to design bags with a zipper closure however I didn't get to that this time and stayed with a magnetic snap closure. My next pattern however, will have a zippered closure.

As for measurements, this bag is about 13.5 inches wide at the widest point and about 10.5 inches high. The depth is 4 inches and since the strap is adjustable, you can make it as long as you like. I think a beginner could tackle this project but it's best suited for someone which some previous bag making skills.

You can try out the Thistle Pocket tote yourself by purchasing it here or here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Pattern Review: Natty Janes Leather Baby Shoe

I haven't sewn any new baby items in quite a while but when this pattern popped up in my Facebook news feed I could not resist. Some friends of ours are having a baby girl in a couple of months and I thought this would make a great gift!

I also happen to have TONS of leather scraps in my sewing room so I picked out 2 coordinating colours and went to work. The pattern pieces are simple to print and cut out. The instructions are clear and simple. Sewing with leather is not very easy though.

I used very soft lambskin leather for the shoes' uppers and that tends to really shift and move around when you're sewing with it. So I did line my shoes with felt as suggested in the pattern and whenever I could, I did my sewing with the felt side up which really helped. I used a stiffer cowhide leather for the soles in a neutral beige colour.

I decided to go with the simple mary jane style of shoe and added some straps that matches the toe caps.  The tops of the heels did not line up perfectly which really irks me as I like things to be perfect. I used pearl snaps for the straps and one of them is not exactly in the position I would have liked but since leather does not forgive, I could not remove it and change the position. Of course, for my first pair they are far from perfect. But it's not bad for a first try!

Now Mr Blue Calla mentioned that perhaps my colour choices are not appropriate for a baby girl. I personally love using anything other than pink. Would you put these on your daughter? Should I make a pair of red ones instead? Brown ones?

If you'd like to attempt making your own, here is the pattern.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Peony Pocket Tote - Coming soon!

I am currently working on a new pattern - this time a medium/large sized cross body tote with 2 large outside pockets on the front. I wanted to create a bag with many different possibilities in terms of fabric and colour combinations but keep it fairly simple to create.

I am also badly in need of a new Spring bag that can hold a few extra items than my current mini-messenger and I MUST have a cross body bag. So I guess this new pattern is a bit for my own convenience as well. :)

Here are some photos:

The back of the bag is just the main fabric. There is an accent fabric used for the top band as well as the binding on the top and bottom edge of the front pocket piece. There are 2 separate front pockets with 4 pleats top and bottom.

The inside of the bag has my typical formula: 2 large slip pockets and 1 zippered pocket. The bag has a magnetic closure. I am just finishing up one last sample bag for the pattern and then I will get writing (my least favourite part!). Stay tuned...