Thursday, December 29, 2011

Handmade holiday handbag

Being on vacation is great. Lots of time to finish projects or completely ignore those and start on new ones. Like this handbag for my aunt, which was a Christmas gift.

I made a comparable style for my mom many years ago when I was newer to sewing. This one took a lot less time. The best part is that I got to use some of the high quality fabric I scored at the FiDM Scholarship Store at bargain prices. I played with putting on some buttons on the pocket flaps for decoration, but in the end this bag seemed to say to just leave it plain.

The pattern is adapted from Vogue 8214 and uses a lovely black tweed. If I had more of the fabric and I sewed clothes, this would make a glorious Chanel-like tweed jacket.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Memory quilt

I made this quilt for my dad; it was supposed to be his birthday gift, but ended up being his Christmas gift.


Each square means something and references a life experience. In some cases, the fabrics are souvenirs of those experiences that I had held onto and were just waiting for the right moment to reappear. Like the blue batik (bottom row, middle square) that is from a shirt that was bought in Gambia so many years ago when my dad and my youngest brother were there. Or the screen print of the woman (top row, farthest left) that was bought when I traveled to Kenya with my dad.

Figuring out all the squares took some time, much longer than I thought it would, and a lot of searching for just the right fabric.

Here's a close up of one of the sections. The princess square is a scan of an actual drawing that my niece did and transferred to fabric. That was fun to figure out. The quilt finished huge - about 79" square.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Workhorse totes

For lack of a more creative name, I think of these tote bags as workhorses. They are sturdy, hold a lot of stuff, are reasonably stylish, and make great gifts. Plus, they can be made in just a few hours. The fun part is pairing the lining fabric with the outside fabric, which means lots of comparing this and that.

The one on the left started with fabric that was 22" x 14". I like the elongated shape. The one on the right started with fabric that is 21" x 17.5" and that shape is great for deeper things and seemed to hold a bit more. Perfect for moms on the go. My mom made the red flower pin and it adds a nice punch of color, I think.

The outside is this really soft chenille-like decor weight fabric that should hold up to a lot of abuse. The lining is similar to wool gabardine and has a nice texture although it holds lint really well, unfortunately.

This one makes me think of the beach. The size is smaller than the two above and made up of leftover cuts of fabric just to see what would happen. I like it. The starting fabric size was 18" x 15" and is a good size for carrying school books or running quick errands. Normally, the bigger the bag the better for me, but this one works and I don't know if that is just because of the combination with the fabric and leather strap. Back to the sewing machine to make more prototypes.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In miniature

My mom crocheted the cutest little purses following a pattern in a Japanese crochet book. They are so twee!


The blue and white tote bag is 3" x 3.25" and the green one, my favorite, love the pearls, is 2.5" x 3.5". They would make great ornaments or charms. She now has to make me scads more.

In other ornament news, I learned that friend loves owls. So for craft time together she made owls, which I then stuffed and stitched up later.


Now they just need to be mailed to her... ideally before Christmas, I suppose.
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