Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mail Organizer - Happy Dance

I ran across this idea for a mail organizer from Cotton Time. I forget which blog I was looking at that had a screen shot of the magazine page. Not having the measurements or directions, I winged it and am very pleased with the result.

I first drew a scaled picture on graph paper  and decided that the best size would be 18" x 20" for the background. Then I thought about what I wanted this organizer to do and drew in the pockets and determined what each pocket's size should be. When all was finished, the actual size is more like 18" x 21".

To make it, I used two fat quarters for the background and trimmed them to shape. I interfaced one fat quarter with decor bond and the other with fusible batting for some rigidity and shape. The fabric for the pockets comes from a repurposed 2009 fabric calendar from Japan. Each pocket was interfaced with decor bond. The pockets were then secured to the background with a zig zag stitch. At the bottom are six buttons to hold hanging type things.

Overall I'm very happy with the end result, although I'm slightly annoyed that the deer pocket is crooked. I have no idea what the zipper bear pocket would hold, but it's a nifty little touch. The zipper pull is an elephant charm. 

The dark circles look more like buttons that they are in the picture below.

This took a few hours to make... maybe 4-5 hours from start to finish, but my entry way looks so much better now.

Were I to make this again, I probably would reinforce the the background mat just a tad more. It's fairly strong and keeps its shape reasonably well, but it does bend a little when there are a lot of things in the two bottom pockets. It's not a deal breaker though.

The little crocheted bags hanging from the buttons were made by my mom. Each bag takes about one hour to make and the pattern is from a Japanese craft book. They are all functional and would make great ornaments.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lisette Foreign Exchange Bag - View D

I was on a bag-making roll and decided to make view D of the Lisette Foreign Exchange Bag pattern.

Working with a more muted color palette than suggested on the pattern cover, I used some Japanese taupe fabric. It's hard to see in the picture, but the fabric has a wonderfully nubby woven texture and feels just a bit more expensive than normal quilting cotton. And I also got to use a fun super large button.

View D (12" x 17") is a much smaller bag than the View B bag (14" x 18") so all I needed for the exterior and handles were 2 fat quarters of the lighter color and 1 fat quarter of the darker one. The interior used the remaining bit of the darker fat quarter and one additional fat quarter of a coordinating color.

I also wanted to alter the pattern a bit and try to install a top zipper for the first time. It was a lot of fiddly work and the zipper didn't come out perfectly, but it's a solid first attempt.

Were I to make this bag again, I would fuse batting on both the exterior and the lining. This one only has batting on the lining because I didn't want the exterior to look wrinkly, but the fabric is such that wrinkling adds to its charms. I also would use a different interfacing for the handles. Maybe some thinner batting for cushioning. The one I used was the sew in kind and the result is a bit of crunchy feel to the handles. Interfacing the inset and zipper parts with decor bond was a good idea. It helped to have that extra firmness and solidity when working with the zipper. Also, I hate basting, but when making this bag, basting was my friend and it helped everything from getting frustratingly wonky.

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