Category Archives: Bags and Wallets

Happy Birthday, Mom! | The Epiphany Bag

Today is my mom’s 30th x2 birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!!
Mom at the Ahwahnee Hotel photo by S.L. Morgan, used with permission.

Mom at the Ahwahnee Hotel photo by S.L. Morgan, used with permission.

Several months ago I decided that I wanted to make a special purse for her birthday present. My mom is a violinist in the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra, so I went on the hunt for musically themed fabric. I found Kanvas Concerto Tossed Instruments in Cream and Timeless Treasures Music Words in Linen and knew they would be perfect for a bag along with some black vinyl.

Front of The Epiphany Bag

Front of The Epiphany Bag

It took me two weeks to find the right bag pattern. After searching through several of my favorite bag designer websites I found The Epiphany Bag by ChrisW Designs. When I saw it I knew it was the one!

The Epiphany Bag Back

The Epiphany Bag Back

It took me a bit of time to read through the pattern and understand all the various parts and figure out which fabrics I wanted where. It took a day to cut all fabrics and interfacing out and then another half day to fuse the interfacing to the fabric. I made sure to sew slowly and carefully, because I wanted this bag to look as perfect as possible.

Side View

Side View

My only real issue, other than sewing the bottom, was the top stitching. This bag broke two titanium top-stitching (100/18) needles! That was more user error as I would get a little too quick with putting my machine into reverse and the thickenss would skew the needle to the side. Needle breakage was inevitable given my carelessness in that regard. I was having a difficult time when trying to stitch over the strap tabs. Not even my walking foot, with full pressure, would give me good stitches. I tried every trick I knew to sew through bulky material. I was sewing through 4 layers of soft and stable, 4 layers of SF101, 1 layer of Peltex, 4 layers of fabric, and 4 layers of vinyl (where the strap tabs were). I was in tears over all of the skipped stitches. I decided to pull out my tiny zipper split hinged foot as a last resort. There’s hardly any surface area to the foot, so I had a feeling it wouldn’t press the fabric down enough for the needle to go all the way down and have the hook catch the thread. I WAS WRONG. And so glad for that too! That zipper foot worked fantastically! The only trouble I had with skipped stitches was when my foot came down off of the strap tabs. I would stop stitching, tie off my thread tails, bury them, and then turn the bag around so that my foot would sew up the strap tab and meet my completed stitches. It took several times to get some of those stitches right, and there are a lot of buried threads in that bag. All in all, I think the top stitching was a success! Thank you tiny little foot!

Top of the Bag

Top of the Bag

The pattern came together nicely. The instructions were easy to understand, however I would recommend that you have some bag making experience before tackling this pattern. My previous experiences sewing with vinyl and sewing through thick seams really came in handy with this bag.

The Epiphany Bag Bottom

The Epiphany Bag Bottom

I had a particularly difficult time sewing the bottom piece to the body of the bag. My problem here was the vinyl was several layers thick and I used some Wonder Tape that the needle had to go through. In retrospect, I should have used a rubber mallet to flatten the whole piece. I ended up with skipped stitches in several spots, and after attempting to fix them three times I decided it was good enough as it was. It’s the bottom of the bag… Who is going to look there and critique my work? Definitely not my mom. If she notices it she’ll pretend she didn’t see it! That’s what moms do!

Inside Front

Inside Front

The inside of this bag was pretty detailed. I love the three pockets plus the pen pocket. I did forget to put my “Stitch ALL The Things” grosgrain ribbon tag on it and had to undo half of the pocket to fix it. It’s just not a Christine bag if I don’t forget something and have to rip work apart!

Inside Back zippered pocket

Inside Back zippered pocket

The pattern was written to put a zippered pocket either on the outside back of the bag or on the inside lining. I prefer my bags to have an inside zippered pocket, so that’s how I made this bag. The outside of the bag already has a slip pocket on the front panel, so I thought that would be good enough to toss either keys or a cellphone. It’s roomy enough for both, actually.

Custom Made Musical Charm Fob

Custom Made Musical Charm Fob

One thing I spent quite a bit of time on was making Mom a charm fob for the purse. I found lettered charms and put M, S, O on the chain as well as a violin. I attached a keyring that has a dove, a cross, and the word “Love” on it. The bottom of the fob is a large treble clef. I wish the letter charms could have been bigger, but it was difficult to find the letters in a gold tone. The whole fob blends together, but I think it may something neat for someone to discover about the bag.

Emmaline Bags "Handmade" Hardware

Emmaline Bags “Handmade” Hardware

As usual I used Emmaline Bags hardware and bag bling. I can not say enough about what her hardware adds to a bag. It really gives it a professional look. Emmaline Bags added these new “handmade” tags a month or so ago and in gold tone. As soon as I saw them I knew they were going on the bag. She also had matching gold tone “handmade” zipper pulls in stock, so I put one on the main zipper and one on the inner zipper pocket. I also used her gold purse feet on the bottom of the bag.

Rivets!

Rivets!

This bag has actual rivets in them! This was my first time using rivets, although I didn’t install them. Let’s just say I was a little freaked at ruining what I worked so hard to make, so I asked the Mister to install the rivets. First, we tested them out on a scrap piece of vinyl the same thickness as the strap tabs. He put one rivet in and then I asked him to try his hardest to rip it apart. I was worried the rivets wouldn’t hold and was thinking I should add stitching to reinforce the handles and the tabs. The single rivet held. Color me shocked! I then marked out all the rivet spots and punched the holes for them. He set all the rivets for me. After using them in this bag, I am definitely going to add them to all of my bags. They really add strength to the bag as well as make it look store bought.

Emmaline Bags Zipper End

Emmaline Bags Zipper End

One other thing I added to the bag was this zipper end that I purchased from Emmaline Bags. It is the only thing that is silver toned on the bag. She doesn’t have them in gold tone, but since it tucks down into the bag and isn’t really seen, I figured the different metal color would be okay. Plus… professional looking, right?!

My mom called me about an hour and a half ago. All she could say was… “Oh MY Gosh.” “OH. MY. GOSH.” “OH MY GOSH!!!” I take it she liked it! Also, I’ve been instructed to hurry up and start selling handmade bags. I guess that means I need to start sewing some purses right away!

Happy Birthday, Mom! I am glad you like the bag! Love you!!


To Do Tuesday | 9-23-14

To Do Tuesday Button 200 x 200 How did you do with your To-Do list last week?  I was able to cross off all items except for one. You can see my current F Word blocks and last weeks Sugar Block Club on THIS post. I changed my mind and chose not to start the Rosalie quilt pattern using Indelible fabrics.  I really wanted to get all of my scraps cut and put away so they were no longer taking up space.  I’ve also decided that I’d like to get the Eerie Halloween quilt done before starting the Rosalie quilt.  I just might be able to have a Halloween quilt ready to snuggle under by Halloween! As far as the Christmas gift sewing that was on my list, I am testing out the Sew Together Bag pattern.  I was inspired by a print from Valori Wells’ Cocoon line and so I chose purple, teal, black, grey and cream squares out of my freshly cut scraps to make a patchwork piece for the outside of the bag.  I’ve not gotten very far with it, I’m hoping to finish it this coming weekend.

Sew Together Bag WIP

Sew Together Bag WIP

I also managed to finish the second block in the Clouds Factory Whacky Witches in Stitches stitch-along.  I am loving this Halloween sampler a little more than before with every block that is released.

Whacky Witches Stitch-Along WIP

Whacky Witches Stitch-Along WIP

Here is this weeks To-Do list:

  • Make two F-Word blocks. Completed 9/24
  • Sugar Block Club – June Block “Teach”
  • Start Eerie Halloween Quilt. Started 9/25, completed 6 blocks
  • Continue working on Christmas gifts. Completed all fabric pulls; Partially sewed 2 of 10 gifts and cut out 4 more pattern sets

Now it’s your turn! Write up your post and link up using the InLinkz linky below. Rules:

  1. Link up your To-Do Tuesday blog post using the InLinkz linky (below). The link up is open all week!
  2. Try to visit at least one or two other blogs and leave a nice comment!
  3. Please feel free to grab the blog button near the top of the page in the sidebar to show that you’re participating in To-Do Tuesday!
  4. You do not have to follow my blog to participate, but if you do decide to follow me… thanks!

Let’s get sewing… or whatever there is to do on your list!

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Bye Bye Love Bag


BagClubButton1

I didn’t get much done this week, but I did manage to sew up January’s Bag of the Month bag from Sew Sweetness’ Bag of the Month Club.

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I purchased some Denyse Schmidt Florence fabrics specifically for this bag.  For some reason, I absolutely love plaid bags, and I knew this bag would be perfect for showing off some plaid. The lining is Seed Pod in Taupe, and the back zippered pocket is Seed Pod in Carnelian. The outer fabric is Multi Plaid in Carnelian. I chose black yarn dyed Essex Linen as the outer accent fabric. I used Aurifil 40wt thread in Black/#2692 and Light Sand/#2000 (not pictured).

This bag gave me a few challenges, because I don’t like to read all of the instructions.  I mean, why should I pay attention to the details that are painstakingly written out for me so that I don’t mess up when sewing?  Psssshhhh.  Thoroughly reading the instructions is for people who don’t like their seam ripper.

Mistake #1:

Rather than making the outer panels of only one fabric, as instructed, I decided I wanted to have the bottom part of the bag be in the Essex Linen. That wasn’t the mistake, but my math was.  So, my outer panels ended up about an three-quarters of an inch shorter than my lining panels.  I decided to just trim the lining panels to match, as the loss wasn’t too drastic and it seemed like a rather tall bag anyway.

Trim it up, girl!

Trim it up, girl!

Holy Effing Are-you-KIDDING-Me Mistake #2:

I knew something was off about my zippered pocket when the bottom pocket fabric didn’t match up when sewing the pocket closed.  I only noticed this AFTER insertion, of course.  But, I just “went with it”.  And all was well until it was time to mark handle placement.

What?! No. NO! Oh YES. You did.  You totally did.

What?! No. NO! Oh YES. You did. You totally did.

Apparently when I made the zipper pocket I had my marked zipper fabric upside down.  So the zipper pocket was about 3″ too high.  And exactly where the handles were to be attached.  I. Wanted. To. Cry.  But, crying doesn’t effing fix it.  I looked at it for a few minutes, played around with the handles, and decided instead of making a new outer panel (which I had messed up to begin with… and there was no telling if I could mess it up ON PURPOSE again), I would just change handle placement. I knew it would be close to the top and the seam allowance, but by precisely measuring it with my eyeballs, aka “eyeballing it”, it looked like it would be okay. Apparently I have madskillz with eyeball measuring, whereas I have NO skillz using the maths to measure.

Left eyeball: Let's just sew 'em down about here, whatcha think?" Right eyeball: "sure. Looks good 'nuff to me."

Left eyeball: Let’s just sew ’em down about here, whatcha think?”
Right eyeball: “Sure. Looks good ’nuff to me.”

You’re-Almost-Finished-So-Let’s-Make-ANOTHER-Mistake #3:

I proudly held up my finished bag to show Mister and noticed that one of my handles was twisted.  And sewing this interfaced Essex Linen was not easy.  My sewing machine did NOT like backstitching on it at all.  Not even with a top-stitch needle.  Thankfully it didn’t take long to fix!

Let's make ANOTHER mistake.  Because that's fun and we have nothing better to do!

Let’s make ANOTHER mistake. Because that’s fun and we have nothing better to do!

I am so pleased with this bag!  I remembered to use my Emmaline Bags “handmade” hardware, and I even remembered to put my label in it!  After it was sewn up, of course (Mistake #4).  I just folded over the seam allowance and sewed it over the topstitching on the lining pocket.  I think it turned out okay that way. I also decided to go a little fancy and I added purse feet.  PURSE FEET.  Seriously. Proud. Of. This. Bag.

Proberly labeled up.  AND I added purse feet!

Properly labeled up. AND I added purse feet!

And here it is, all finished… front and back! I’m not too sure about my zipper choices… I probably should have done grey top and back zippers. Although, I think this will do. I really love this bag, but I’m thinking I may save it for a Christmas present.  It would be really great to have one present already in the bag.  Corny pun totally intended.

Love how these pleated pockets turned out!

Love how these pleated pockets turned out!

BYE BYE LOVE

I started this project during the week, but so many errands and “life” got in the way.  I ended up sewing up most of it yesterday, and finished fixing the mistakes today.  Since I ended up doing most of my sewing over the weekend, I’m linking up with My Go-Go Life for SEWJo Saturday (er…Sunday).

SEWJo Saturday


The Petrillo Bag and Greenbacks Wallet #2

Petrillo Bag and Greenbacks #2 Wallet

Petrillo Bag and Greenbacks #2 Wallet

I’ve been so excited to make one of Sara Lawson’s (Sew Sweetness) patterns.  I have several of her patterns (plus her new book!), and finally had the opportunity to get one sewn up this past week.  Mister’s granddaughter celebrated her 18th birthday, so I figured The Petrillo Bag and a matching wallet would be nice (with some cash in the wallet of course… you can’t give someone an empty wallet, that totally sucks!).

Let me just start by saying that Sara’s patterns are AWESOME-SAUCE.  Having said that, it’s important to note that I can’t seem to help deciding to do a brand new pattern mere days before a gift is due.  Somehow the “Hey, why don’t you do a trial run and see if this will work out ok” thought process doesn’t make it through my head.  So, with five days before the birthday (which is A LOT of time, given my history) I started the bag.  Then promptly lost two days of sewing time because of kidlet errands.  *sigh*  It’s always the way, no?!  Anyway, I managed to squeeze an hour or two within those two days to get the fabrics ironed, starched, cut, and interfacings fused on.  Thank. Goodness.

Greenbacks Wallet #2

Greenbacks Wallet #2

Despite thinking I was going to have to nix making the wallet due to the lost time, Sara’s patterns come together so nicely, and her instructions are so clear, that I ended up finishing both the bag and the wallet the day before the birthday… which happened to be on Thanksgiving Day.  And then I promptly fell in love with them both.  Naturally.  Of course when I think of Sara’s patterns, I automatically think of Tula Pink fabric.  They just go together so perfectly!  I used some of my Acacia stash and was so proud until I stood back and really looked at the bag and wallet.  From the perspective of an 18 year old.  I also had added Polka-dots.  Yes, I did.  And what I found to be adorable I realized an 18-year-old who has no idea about Tula Pink fabric might think her step-gramma had gone a little goofy.  And I was glad that I stashed some cash in the wallet.  You know what I mean? (Although, frankly, I think everyone should fall in love with Tula Pink fabric, because it’s made of Awesome-Sauce too!)

Inside of Greenbacks Wallet #2

Inside of Greenbacks Wallet #2

I guess I needn’t have worried.  I got to see Mister’s granddaughter last night.  She asked me if I actually made the bag.  She said it didn’t look like a handmade bag (despite the awesome “handmade” hardware I bought from Emmaline Bags and placed on the bag front).  She thought I made the wallet, and since the fabrics all matched, she still wasn’t sure if I bought the bag or not.  BEST. COMPLIMENT. EVER.  Also, she thought the Raccoons were Foxes.  And I was told that made her smile because, “What does the fox say?”  (I have no idea.  Apparently I have to google some Danish band to find out.)

LOVE! Emmaline Bags "handmade" Hardware

LOVE! Emmaline Bags “handmade” Hardware

During the process of making the bag, I discovered that Sew Mama Sew is having a Sew Sweetness Bag contest!  And, since I made the bag within the time frame I’m linking up over there.  You should go check out the other bags entered… WOW!!!  

The Petrillo Bag Front

The Petrillo Bag Front

 

The Petrillo Bag Back

The Petrillo Bag Back

Inside.  The padded pocket is on the opposite side of the zippered side.

Inside. The padded pocket is on the opposite side of the zippered side.

Do you like to sew bags?

 Have you made a Sew Sweetness Pattern?