Category Archives: Bags and Wallets

To-Do Tuesday 12-29-15 | Goodbye 2015

I’m writing my post on Sunday night, because Monday we will be driving all day to pick up the kids from their Christmas vacation with their Dad. When this posts on Tuesday, we’ll be busily celebrating our Christmas with the kids. I am so excited! Before Tuesday gets here though, I’ve been a bit reflective today on 2015.

My Greatest Accomplishment in 2015: The Epiphany Bag

My Greatest Accomplishment in 2015: The Epiphany Bag

I spent a lot of time thinking about what my favorite accomplishment was this past year. I scrolled through my Instagram feed looking for a completed project. The only one I could immediately think of was the purse I made for my Mom for her birthday. Looking through my pictures, I was disappointed to realize that all of the projects I wanted to finish this past year did not get finished. I just didn’t have the time, and that makes me sad. I will be making a change here and there so that I have the time I need to work on these projects in 2016.

Nope. Not even one.

Nope. Not even one.

When the new year comes around I never make resolutions. I don’t believe in them. I do believe in deciding what I want my goals to be for the year and making a plan to achieve them. But resolving to get certain things done? That never works well for me. Because if my plans change, or whatever I resolved to do doesn’t get done in the way I hoped it would, then I feel like I’ve failed. And rather than set myself up for failure I just plan out my goals for the year. Goals can change, and when they do it is often done without thought of failure but with adaptability and acceptance that things can, and (usually) will, change.

So… What are my goals for 2016? I would like to get one quilt top WIP quilted and bound each month. I currently have 5 quilt tops that are ready to be finished. So I should have them all done by May. I signed up for the Bag of The Month Club which runs from January to June. I would like to get each bag completed within the month it is released, with the exception of May and June. We’re usually doing our summer preparation in May and we are usually vacationing in June. I also would like to sew one additional bag (from a different pattern I already have) monthly from January to April. After returning from summer vacation, I would like to continue sewing two bags per month as well as start, and complete, one quilt per month.

Pretty ambitious goals, but I am determined to get an Etsy shop up and running so that I can sell bags. I also love to quilt, and I don’t want to see that fall by the wayside while I sew my bags. So I will be making sure that both sewing endeavors get equal(ish) time. Other than making sure that I have time to sew, I just received a tool that will help make my goal of selling bags a reality: My new industrial walking foot sewing machine!

Rex RX-607 Z Industrial Walking Foot machine

Rex RX-607 Z Industrial Walking Foot machine

Meet the newest addition to my sewing room: Dexter! Mister knew I have been scouring Craigslist for a used industrial walking foot machine that was portable and he ended up buying me one for Christmas. I had previously shown him a picture of a Sailrite machine on Amazon as a general guide of what I was looking for. He did a crap-ton of research (as per usual), and discovered that the Sailrite, Thompson (no longer manufactered), Omega, Techsew and Rex are all essentially the same machine. The Rex machines had negative reviews, but most of them were centered around the fact that the machines required some small (VERY small) assembly and didn’t look pretty. The Sailrite seems to currently be the popular machine as they have a lot of good tech support and the company does quite a bit of work to get these machines ready to sew right out of the box; including setting the machines into a nifty box. Mister knew I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a machine like this and that I am capable of getting a machine serviced and ready to sew without any stress on my part. Considering that, he was able to save a couple hundred bucks by going with the Rex rather than the Sailrite. To that I say: BRAVO!! (And THANK YOU!!)

Dexter in a table that previously housed a Singer 347

Dexter in a table that previously housed a Singer 347

Mister and I went to the hardware store to buy some wood to make a box to set the machine in. After getting home he suggested that he had a sewing table with a Singer 347 in it that he bought for $15 at Goodwill, and Dexter would probably be better off set inside. He was right… it fits great! We spent Saturday rearranging one area of the hobby room so we could get the table and sewing machine set up. Side note: Mister is now refusing to call our shared hobby room the “Hobby room”. He says I’ve taken over 95% of the space so it is now officially the “Sewing room”. He’s not wrong.

Noting stitch lengths Dexter

Noting stitch lengths Dexter

I spent Sunday playing around with the machine. The machine was really tight to begin with, so I wiped off excess oil from some areas and oiled other dry areas. I used some lithium grease on a section of gears. It had almost no lubrication there. I ran the machine for about two hours and it definitely loosened up over that period of time. I also made stitch length markings on the machine, since it didn’t come with any on it. It doesn’t come with any lighting either, so Mister gave me a magnetic LED light that has a flexible neck. It is working out very nicely so far. The machine is set up like a vintage singer, so I am already very familiar with how to manage the tension and how to oil and maintain it. Bonus for not having a learning curve to deal with there!

I had a test piece of various fabrics put together that I used when trying to find a machine that could handle the thickness of bag seams I would be sewing. I had two pieces of Annie’s Soft & Stable, 1 piece of Pellon Peltex 70, 2 pieces of quilting cotton fused with SF101 Interfacing, and 1 piece of vinyl folded four layers thick. This was pretty much what I was sewing through when I made my mom’s handbag; the vinyl was the same thickness of a strap tab. Mister and I pulled out three vintage machines that he thought could handle that much thickness. All three failed when it came to the strap tab. I didn’t use my PQ1500 on this piece, since I had already sewed Mom’s bag with it and knew it could handle it, but it strained a lot and skipped stitches coming off of the strap tabs. I used the same test piece in Dexter and it handled it perfectly! No skipped stitches at all! I’m in love with this machine!

Stitching on vinyl

Stitching on vinyl

While I was trying to loosen up the sewing machine I decided to run some vinyl pieces through it. The longer piece is two layers thick and the smaller piece is four layers thick. This machine makes perfect stitches and handled it beautifully. After playing around with it for a while and seeing what it can do I decided to name it Beast. Mister suggested Dexter. And since it powered through all that material without remorse, I figured it earned the name. So Dexter it is!

I think I’ve chattered on long enough. This week my last sewing To-Do for 2015 will be to write one last post on a quilt I finished earlier this year and completely forgot to blog about. I will have it posted no later than New Years Eve so that I start off 2016 with a clean slate!

What were your favorite accomplishments in 2015?
What are your goals for 2016?

This week’s To-Do list:

  • Write last blog post for 2015
  • Celebrate the new year!

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

Rules:

  1. Link up to this To-Do Tuesday blog post using the InLinkz linky below. You can link up Instagram photos now! The link up is open all week, and you can link any post for the week even if it’s written on the prior Sunday or Monday. It simply needs to be related to setting, working on, and/or completing your weekly goal(s).
  2. Try to visit at least one or two other blogs and leave a nice comment.
  3. Include a link back to my blog. Feel free to grab the blog button from 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… thank you! I appreciate it!
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To-Do Tuesday 12-15-15 | New Bag Making Book

Happy Tuesday! There are only a few weeks left in this year. Can you believe it?! It seems like 2015 just arrived, much less is already over!

Windy City Bags and the Appaloosa Bag pattern by Sara Lawson

Windy City Bags and the Appaloosa Bag pattern by Sara Lawson

I didn’t do any sewing this week, and wasn’t planning on doing any sewing related things. However, a couple of days ago I received my pre-ordered signed copy of Windy City Bags, a book by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness. I spent an entire evening poring over the book. I loved it so much I wrote a review of it over on Amazon. Since I pre-ordered the book through Sara, I also received a free paper pattern of one of her bags and it happened to be on of her newest releases, the Appaloosa Bag. Yes!! I am ready for some time to become available so I can sew bags!

Bag of the Month Club

Another thing I did was to sign up for the 2016 Bag of the Month Club. From now until the end of December the sign up fee is $35. After December 31st the fee is $40. The club includes 6 bags, one released each month from January through June. If you’re interested in learning more, you can find additional information HERE.

At the end of this week we take the kids to their Dad so they can spend the holiday with him. Before they go for Christmas we are planning on some fun. We’ll be taking them to a local temporary ice skating rink. Hard to believe we have one here in Lake Havasu, but we do! We’ll also do our annual drive around town to see the Christmas lights. I’m excited to watch the kids fall all over themselves on the ice (they’ve never ice skated before), and to see the lights. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! 🙂

Do you have any pre-holiday plans this week? Any last-minute holiday rushing you have to do? Or are you savoring the season? I know I am!

This week’s To-Do list:

  • Relax and continue to enjoy the season!

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

Rules:

  1. Link up to this To-Do Tuesday blog post using the InLinkz linky below. You can link up Instagram photos now! The link up is open all week, and you can link any post for the week even if it’s written on the prior Sunday or Monday. It simply needs to be related to setting, working on, and/or completing your weekly goal(s).
  2. Try to visit at least one or two other blogs and leave a nice comment.
  3. Include a link back to my blog. Feel free to grab the blog button from 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… thank you! I appreciate it!
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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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