Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bag Turned Prototype

I recently fell in love with this awesome Anthropologie bag knockoff that I saw on Pinterest, and I finally got a chance to do some sewing yesterday and thought I'd give it a shot. The pattern/tutorial is from Emily at The Boy Trifecta. So I rummaged through my stash and found some light brown corduroy I'd been saving for the express purpose of making some sort of bag out of it.

I have to say, Emily's bag is gorgeous, and her tutorial is excellent. Unfortunately, this bag gave me more trouble than any sewing project I've ever tackled, I think. It was just one frustration after another. On the bright side, though, I learned a LOT and plan on tackling another one of these bags ASAP because I really, really want one.

Here's my finished bag:

I know, it doesn't look that bad, right? Well, here's what wrong (aka the lessons I learned and what I'll do differently next time):
- Because I don't have a serger, I hemmed the edges of the strips of fabric I used to make the pleats and ruffles. Between that hem and the thickness of the corduroy, it was impossible to fold over the top pleated section like the tutorial says. I thought I'd worked around that problem by just pleating without folding it over, but the hemmed edge in the seam made it impossible to top stitch the center of the front of the bag, leaving the lining to constantly, annoyingly peek over the exterior.

- My first strip isn't ruffly enough. It was my first time using my ruffler attachment, and I thought it looked ok until after I ruffled the bottom tier and realized that the first one had somehow loosened its ruffle before getting sewn on. As an aside, I L-O-V-E my ruffler attachment!

- Despite trimming off a considerable amount from the printed pattern for the bag, it's still way too big for me. I need to seriously scale down my next attempt.

- Somehow, despite multiple measurings, my magnetic snap is horribly off-center, making the bag hang funny when it's closed. And I think I'd much prefer a recessed zipper next go-round.

So, this bag is destined to hang out in my unfinished projects baskets until I feel like spending an hour ripping out all the seams to remove and replace the lining, at least. The exterior is still lovely, just too big for me. I'll gift it to someone, but not with the awful off-center snap.

Brother Super StreamLiner Sewing Machine Manual

I've had the great pleasure "meeting" several wonderful people online in the last several weeks because of my new vintage Brother machine. I've had the opportunity to oogle several different "brothers" to my machine, which are identical except for being an awesome blue colour instead of a lovely pink like mine.

One thing I found when searching out information online, is that many people who manage to acquire one of these great machines aren't lucky enough to also acquire the manual. I love to see a great vintage machine being used and loved, and it's easier to do so when you have the manual! So I'm happy to provide a copy of this one. Feel free to download it, save it, print it... just please don't offer it up for sale. Special thanks to Kim from The Sassy Crafter, for providing me with the 2 pages my manual was missing and allowing me to add them to the document.

If you download the manual, I'd love to see your machine! Leave me a comment with a link!

Download the manual here!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Aww, an Award?! For Me?!

So I got online today to find a new comment on my blog from Yzo at Chez Roo, a great little blog I discovered via the Sew Obsessed group on Ravelry.  She was passing along the Liebster Blog Award, which is a fun way to show some love for your favourite small blogs (those with less than 200 followers). Thank you, Yzo!

Here are the Liebster Blog Award rules:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog
2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you
3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog
4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed (see below)
5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog

I went through my list of bloggers I follow, and most of them have well over 200 followers, but I do follow 4 great little blogs that are, well, littler (like me)!

1. The Monkeys and Me. I've known Niecey online for almost 10 years, we first met via an attachment parenting forum at the old TLOL forums (how many of you remember that old stomping ground?!). I had the pleasure of meeting her and her husband once, many years ago, when our oldest kids were still babies. She's a wonderful, eclectic, homeschooling Do-it-Yourself-er.

2. Dog Named Banjo. Robyn makes the cutest little PodPillows (for propping up iPods and other little technical devices), and also shares her other crafty endeavors.

3. Heartstrings and Hobbies. Jeanna is a really good online friend of mine, one of the few people I've met online who I've added to Facebook :0) She's an awesome person with one of the best eyes for photography I know. If you're looking for some inspiration, or just want to oogle great photography and some of the cutest kids ever, you should check her out!

4. janlynn-sewmore. I ran across Janlynn's great little blog very recently during a Google search for information on my vintage Brother machine. Janlynn has her super-cute blue twin brother machine.

So there you have it. If you're reading this, I hope you'll take time to check out these great blogs!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Crafty Withdrawal

If it's possible to suffer withdrawal after a period of non-crafting, I'm experiencing it. The kids and I spend a solid 3 weeks battling one illness after another... nasty head colds, pink eye, ear infections. Needless to say, I haven't done anything... no knitting, no sewing, no photography. Now I'm so busy trying to catch up on things like the kids' schoolwork and (ugh!) housework, where will I find the time? I did try and get some sewing done yesterday, but the motor on my new-to-me Brother machine started smoking and shooting sparks (!!!). I enjoy cleaning up and maintaining vintage machines, but dealing with electrical is where I draw the line. So, a quick (really quick, like less than 2 hours quick) trip to my local Old Sewing Machine Guy and $30 later, she has a new motor. Hopefully I'll have time to use it soon :0)