Sunday, July 7, 2013

Water Bottle Carrier

A friend asked if I could make a water bottle carrier like one she had seen at a craft show. I checked the internet for a tutorial and found one on Pink Chalk Studio. This design is quilted and the batting is insulated so that the water will keep cold.

I made two, which I gave as gifts. The straps I made in the length for a child, but I ended up adding to them post construction to make them suitable for an adult.

Inspired by Pink Chalk Studios
I liked them but wanted to make my own design. I wanted to have an adjustable strap so it would fit anyone.

On a recent trip to Half-Price Books, I purchased a copy of Sew the Perfect Bag by Sew News. One of the projects is a water bottle sling designed by Ellen March.

(You have to watch Ellen March on Sew It All TV - she seems like someone you would like to meet and hang out and sew with! I found her and the show because I can't seem to sleep past 5:30 am anymore and of course the sewing shows on the local public television stations are always on at the crack of dawn. Lots of great projects that you would actually do. Love to watch this show!)

Anyway, her design had a clip for keys, an exterior pocket and, of most interest to me, directions for making an adjustable strap!

So, using what I learned from Pink Chalk, and the instructions for making an adjustable strap from Ellen March, I came up with this cute bag with dogs and cats doing yoga!

I like the drawstring, but I think that elastic would be pretty great too, so the next one will have elastic instead.

Making an adjustable strap was pretty easy. I just had to buy a buckle slide. Works like a charm! The instructions in the book were well written and easy to follow. My biggest worry was keeping the strap straight and not twisting it.

My library is having a 1K Fun Walk and will be giving logo water bottles to the participants. As a prize, I want to make a couple of covers that fit the special bottles. I made this cover as a trial run. The bottle I used is the same as the ones for the walk.

I found some really cute library-related fabric that I thought would work for a boy or a girl.

I will post pictures and a tutorial when I make the 'toad'ally cool water bottle carriers.

Book Note:  While making this water bottle carrier, I was listening to M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin and Love, Lies and Liquor, narrated by Penelope Keith. I started reading the Agatha Raisin books late in the series but with the ease of downloading books from the library, I have been listening to the series since the beginning. I find that Agatha and I have a lot in common, right down to the bum hip!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Marvel Super Hero Apron

The hardest thing about making this apron was picking the contrast fabrics. There are so many options for colors with the Marvel print. 

I wanted to highlight the red so chose a red fabric with black polka dots. It give it a great retro look, despite the comic book fabric. I chose a black trim because every other color I tried just looked blah. 

I wasn't loving it until I added the yellow rick rack which just made everything pop.

The red ties complete the look!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Retro Repro Apron

At a cute antique shop in Lodi I picked up this vintage apron:

I liked the rick rack trim and the unique technique of adding gathering for fullness without cutting a separate waistband. There is a double row of stitching around the body of the apron and the tiniest of rolled hems on the ties.

I created a pattern with a longer side that I would gather to meet the size of the front of the apron.

I didn't want to create those small hems or double stitch. Instead I sewed the ties as tubes and then turned them. I also created a facing for the top of the apron.

Here is the finished product:

I plan to make some small alterations when making the next one, mostly with the upper front. I made the curve a bit too exaggerated and I made the seam with the gathers too wide. I used a dinner plate to create my curves, but it didn't quite work the way I wanted. Somewhere I have a french curve which I am going to have to unearth for these types of things.

I think it might make a cute skirt, if I add a back.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bag Lady

I have made quite a few bags following online tutorials or using patterns, 
but there is always something that I think - hey, I would do that part different. 

This bag I made from a template that I got from Nancy Zieman. I saw her make some variations on this on her tv show and ordered the template online.

It was much harder to follow than I thought it would be and I didn't love the end result. She uses a lot of pre-made helpers for the strap and piping that I didn't have and that weren't available locally. I worked it out with things I had, but it took more time. There are template kits that come with these additional items, but I didn't buy that kit.  Will I make this bag again? Probably not.

I decided that I would rather start designing my own bags. These are the bags I made. The gray and yellow with pink accent is the prototype. Using what I learned making the first bag, I made the brown and orange bag.

 I also created my own version of a wristlet to go with the bag.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Inspir-apron, part 2

I revisited my Betty apron and created a fuller figure version. I call this the Mae apron, in honor of my grandma, who always wore a dress and heels, and frequently an apron.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Several years ago, I was in the basement with my mom, and we came across a feedsack fabric in pale blue with flowers in white and burgundy with lime green accents. When I mentioned that it would make a nice apron, she asked if I would like the fabric. I said, in typical 'baby-of-the-family' fashion, "I'd like it if it were an apron."

Well, some time later - I think it was for my birthday - my mom presented me with this:
Retro feedsack apron
I don't know if it was made to replicate an apron she had or if it was made from an old pattern, but I absolutely love it. Sadly, it doesn't fit me well, because, let's just say that there's more of me to cover than there is fabric in that apron. I do still wear it, I just don't tie it. I loved the apron though and have used it as my inspiration to make other aprons.

My husband owns a comic book store, so I made this JLA apron to wear at his shop on Free Comic Book Day a couple years ago:

I made a few adjustments so that it was longer through the bib area and had longer ties. It's a shortie apron - if I were to make another like this, I would add a few inches to the hem as well - or maybe add a ruffle. I didn't use binding on the edges and I lined the neck strap with the contrast color.

Recently, I revisited the apron to make the following:
To match a friend's red KitchenAid Mixer

For a cupcake lover

Singing Owls

You can see that I added binding around the entire apron and added a contract fabric for the neck and pocket. I've also made the ties longer so that they can tie in the front. For the cupcake apron, I made a cupcake shaped pocket as well.

I've decided to call this pattern the "Betty Apron" in honor of my mom. I lost her to cancer two years ago, so the feedsack apron is extra special to me because it is the last thing she sewed for me. She was always encouraging me to be creative, and I am sure she would have liked my interpretation of her apron. I wish I could have made one for her!

While I was sewing today, I was listening Death on Demand, the first book in the Death on Demand mystery series by by Carolyn Hart. The series started in 1987 and I am not sure how I missed it! I am a big fan of the cozy mystery and this book was a satisfying "read". Annie Laurance, proprietress of the Death on Demand mystery book store, follows in the footsteps of her favorite sleuths to try to find the killer. The book was definitely dated but that did not detract from the story. I plan to download the next book, Design for Murder, from the library as soon as I can. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pocket Calendar Cover

I needed a gift for a male co-worker and came up with this pocket calendar cover. 
(Yes, we still use these kind of calendars where I work.)

I knew he was a Star Wars fan and I happened to have this great fabric.  
This calendar is small - about 7" x 4". 

To make the cover, I cut a rectangle that was 8.5" x 13". Because of the design on the fabric I spent a bit of time fussing with the position I wanted the design to have on the cover before I cut.

I zigzagged around the perimeter of the fabric to prevent fraying, then I folded each short side of the fabric 1/2" to the wrong side of the fabric and top stitched in place. This gives a clean finish to the pockets.

Then I centered the open calendar on the right side of the fabric and folded the sides in towards the middle and pinned in place.  

I removed the calendar and stitched a seam about 1" along the top and bottom to form the pockets.
Then I simply turned the cover right side out and slipped in the calendar!

Pockets created and ready for the calendar!
Ready for use!
Of course, once I finished the cover I wanted to make one for myself! I made mine out of laminated cotton. I followed the same steps, but omitted the zig zag stitching because the laminated fabric won't fray. I liked it but I was wishing that I had left room to top stitch around the cover because the laminated fabric didn't look as crisp as the regular fabric because I couldn't press it.

Laminated cotton version

When I showed my friend the next day, she wanted one too, but she has the larger 9.5" x 12.5"calendar.

I whipped one up for her as well, also using the laminated cotton, but I made it a bit bigger so that I could top stitch around the edges.

For this cover I cut a rectangle 15" x 30"and followed the same instructions.

I usually listen to a book while I am sewing - that way I can fit in more books each week.

I have two books I am listening to right now (not at the same time of course) - A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.

Can't say I am loving either one. Discovery has some over the top romancey stuff. I can believe the vampire and creature aspects much easier than the sappy proclamations of affection.

Vacancy is kind of depressing but I can imagine watching it as a weekly on BBC.

My actual reading (when I am not sewing) has been much lighter and more enjoyable. I finished Deadly Patterns by Melissa Bourbon - a cozy mystery - I think it is #3 in the series. Magical dressmaking, a ghostly Mee Maw, and a little light romance. Easy reading with a satisfying conclusion.

I just started Louisiana Longshot by Jana DeLeon - my favorite line so far (regarding the main character's short hair) "Short, yes," Harrison said, "but you're sporting the Britney Spears Nervous Breakdown style."