It’s beginning to look a lot like………

Projects. That’s what it’s looking like around here. Lots of projects.

This year I really wanted to make more Christmas gifts than I buy. So far I’m ahead of the game; I’ve made a few and bought a few, mainly because my sons don’t really want handmade gifts. I haven’t figured out yet how to make electronics, so reckon I’ll be keeping some electronics store in business for another 20 minutes with a couple of meager purchases. No, I’m not related to the Grinch – I just don’t spend a lot of time in electronics stores. Nor in any other store lately (unless you count the grocery store and home improvement centers).

We’ve had a round of Christmas parties that were a lot of fun to attend. Only a couple of them had gift exchanges. One turned out to be an opportunity to do double-duty: bless a friend and try out a new purse-making idea. Her husband passed away almost two years ago (been there, know the feelings she’s going through), and last week she decided to bring his ties to church to share with anyone who wanted them. Well, hubby does not wear a tie if he can get out of it, but I’ve always wanted to try making a purse from ties. This was the opportunity! I took 3 of them, thinking I could find a good tutorial online to make a purse for this lady, as a memorial to her husband. The tutorials I found didn’t really fit the image I had in my head, so I just got down to it and figured a different way, using only one tie. The other two didn’t really fit into the scheme; they may become another bag in the future though.

I used this particular tie because I remember seeing him wear it on many occasions. He was quite fond of patriotic things. The tie was wide too, which is a good thing when making purses. I took it completely apart, removed the padding, and cut the two ends off. I had one little swatch of complimentary fabric to use to square the ends off and make a lining and pockets. Believe me – there wasn’t enough left of that swatch to sweep up. Love it when I can use an entire piece of fabric like that!

The long middle part of the tie was used for the handles, the keyring, and the itty-bitty card holder. Again, not enough of the tie left to sweep up. I tried an idea for the handles that I’m sure is yawnworthy to all you well-seasoned sewists, but it was an AHA moment for me. That tie fabric, being cut on the bias, doesn’t really make for good handles because it wants to stretch out of shape too much. And I didn’t have any of the fabric left that I’d used for the lining, etc. What to do??? Aha – I remembered I had some rope I’d bought several months ago. Ya just never know when you’ll need that stuff. Anyway, I cut that tie fabric right down the middle lengthwise and folded each piece in half, ironed it, and then folded the ends into the middle where the crease was. Then I wrapped it around the rope and sewed in down, using the zipper foot on the machine. I got as close to the rope as I possibly could with the stitching – kind of like making piping – leaving about an inch on the ends with no rope, so I could sew the ends to the purse back and front pieces. Whatcha know, it worked!! The handles kept their shape very well.

The zipper didn’t come out exactly as I’d envisioned, but in the end I think it gave the purse a better look than what I’d originally planned.

My friend loved the purse. I loved making it. Now when I see her and she’s carrying it, I will think of her husband and her together, and it will make me smile. What makes you smile this Christmas season?

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no more vested interest

I finally finished using up that huge reversible vest, just about the time I lost interest in the whole project. That thing was big enough to get four purses and a clutch, with very few scraps. Not bad for a Goodwill find, eh? 🙂

Here are the last two purses I invested my time in, and the clutch made from the last little swatch of the fabric. The only ones I have left at home are the green-lined one and the clutch. All my other purses are gone begging; my friend is taking them to a Christmas bazaar at her church to try and sell them for me. I can’t be there myself because of other commitments, so she is a sweet friend to do this for me. I plan to give 20% of anything made from these to missions, and 10% to my friend for helping me out. The rest will be for Christmas gifts this year. Lord willing, they will ALL find a home. If not, then they will become Christmas gifts – so either way, they’ll find new homes. 🙂

You may need to click on these to make them more easily viewed. The gallery didn’t show them up very well.

The third one:

the fourth one:

. . . and that last little scrap:

exactly big enough for a clutch with 2 card pockets

Now on to other projects – like that backpack purse I’ve been meaning to make. I hope to have one done before Christmas. A coworker asked me to make her one, so I really need to make a prototype first so she can see if it’s a style she likes. Hey, no pressure, right?

Finished – again

original capri pant leg

original capri pant leg

Yup, I finished the jeans purse.

I liked the process so much, I took it apart and finished it again. And again.

OK, so I exaggerated just a wee bit. Those two remakes had nothing to do with my love for my seam ripper. They had EVERYTHING to do with making this at midnight-thirty and beyond. I was going along just fine about 7 or 8 pm. It was when I crossed that line into the next day that all reason left me and went to bed, where I should’ve been 4 hours earlier myself.

First, after getting the entire purse put together, I hasted to fill it with all my stuff that I feel compelled to carry with me everywhere I go. Alas, though, when I unzipped the inner pocket to store certain treasures, I discovered that I’d sewn it into the upper seam. How did that happen?????? Ah, of course, I was half asleep and didn’t pay attention – so THAT’S why the top stitching felt so thick. Well, nothing to do but rip out the two rows of top stitching I’d just put in, free the zipped pocket, and restitch.

finally got it right!

finally got it right!

That accomplished, I gleefully refilled the purse, and held it up for inspection. AAAARRRGGGHHHH! What did I see? The flap hung lower than I’d anticipated, so when it was snapped, it made the flap bulge above the snap. Well, I couldn’t let that pass. That meant that the extra piece I’d sewn onto the flap at the beginning, before I’d ever put the purse together, was unnecessary. I’d thought at first that the flap was going to be too short. Obviously not – that’s what I get for doing my own thinking.

Anyway, this meant that I needed to remove the flap completely and remove that extra piece. I was NOT going to take the entire purse apart, no matter HOW much I love using my seam ripper on perfectly good seams. Nope, not gonna happen. I took out just the back seam and the previously redone rows of topstitching.

Remake #2 completed, I topstitched for the third time (minus that second row of topstitching – who needs it!!). Yeah, I know, third time’s the charm, right? Done!

What? It’s only 3 a.m.?? Time for a nap before meeting my friend for a girls’ day out at 7:30 a.m. And of course, I used my newly (re)completed purse! Whatcha think?

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More tea towels

Ever since I made that first batch of tea towels, I’ve been wanting to perfect a pattern for the ‘dressy’ one. Well, this was the weekend to try it. It seems there is always a problem or ten with any pattern I try to develop, though. So what’s there to do but work through them. Which I did.

What’s the first thing I did when I tried out the pattern? Cut the fabric wrong! Yes, sad but true. But I was able to salvage it and actually make something out of it (I’ll just let you guess which of these was the mistake). That’s part of the process of pattern experimentation, I plumb reckon.

I started out by drawing a pattern on some craft paper. After about ten drafts, I came up with one that seemed to work.

But when I tried to take a picture of the pattern, I forgot to account for the glare from the overhead light. I had to get creative and redo the pattern to show here. I started with a rectangular piece of craft paper, about 6″ tall and 12″ long, and fashioned the pattern within those parameters.

Anyway, I thought I’d share how I made one of the towels from my experimental pattern. Just click on the gallery and follow along! If you’re able to make one from these pictures and explanations, I’d love to see yours.

I used a lot of scraps from my scrap stash in these, since I consider them all practice pieces. Once I get through all the humps and bumps of these practices, the next one should only take me about an hour. I’ll time it, though, just to be sure. 😆

He’s a work of art

So, last week was hubby’s birthday. OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration…not the whole week…just one day out of the week. Anyway, for his birthday I decided to make him a shirt. OK, uhm…that’s not exactly right either. I didn’t make him a shirt, I made a shirt for him.

Now, says I to me, how can I make this fit into my REmissionary theme? I mean, I actually used a pattern and fabric that I bought for a specific purpose. Oh, I know how – I can call it ‘old’ fabric, since I bought it so long ago (last year). Well, that fits the ‘old things’ part. Now about that ‘new mission’ thing…hmmmmm…………..Ah yes. The original goal for that fabric was to make shirts for both of us. Well, I didn’t quite calculate the yardage needed for two; this one took almost the entire piece! But, I can now say that the scraps are ‘old things with a new mission’ because I can use that bit of leftover fabric for a cool little bag for myself. There ya have it – the whole theme! And just look how good this shirt looks on him – he’s a work of art!