Saturday, October 22, 2016

quicky trick or treat tote

my 8 yr old, d4, decided she was in need of a new trick or treat bag, so we cobbled one together this afternoon. there are bag tutorials aplenty out there, but i chose to just wing it. not necessarily the smartest move, but i find when i'm making something fairly simple - a square with two straps - it can be instructive to figure out the construction myself.

we made a very basic, unlined bag for her to gather her halloween night treasures in. i'm sure some interfacing would have stiffened things up nicely, but we were going for really simple and quick. a lining would have been a bit more professional, too, but again, not absolutely necessary for our purposes.

halfway thru the making process, i remembered there was a pattern for a similar bag that s2 made for his sisters several christmases ago. its in the lovely book "sewing for children" by emma hardy (bn or amazon). that bag was lined (slightly more complicated) and used thick grosgrain ribbons for the handles (easier). if we hadn't already been half done, i would have used that pattern again.

 we started with a fat quarter and 2 jelly roll (2.5" x 42") strips of orange. d4 wanted a bag that hung to her hips, otherwise we could have used shorter strips.

 first we folded the fat quarter in half, wrong sides together, and cut a 12" x 12" square. this size was selected based on eyeballing what we wanted and adding a bit more for seam allowances. i will note that d4 did not think it would hold enough candy, but mom is sure it will hold plenty.

at this point, i remembered to press the fabrics. if we'd wanted a more durable bag, prewashing would have been essential.

 to create a clean line on the top of the bag, we hemmed it. first, mark a 1/2" along the top of the bag on the wrong side of the fabric. we used a hera marker to make a crease. a washable marker or pencil works, too.

 fold the fabric along the line and fingerpress in place.

 then iron smooth.

 fold over and fingerpress again.

 iron smooth once more.

and this is where i should have inserted the straps into the seam allowance of the hem, but forgot to. it worked out fine, but it did involve some seamripping later on.

 i had d4 sew a 1/4" seam using the seam guide foot.

 but i decided we wanted that flap of the hem closed more fully, so i had her do it again at a scant 1/2" seam, putting the stitching right on the edge of the fold. so now it's reinforced and she got some more sewing practice.

 then we folded the body of the bag in half, right sides together, pinned it in a few spots, and made a 1/2" seam along the side and bottom. because we cut the body fabric while it was folded in half, we didn't have a third seam along the other side.

when the body seams are done, turn the bag inside out and press flat.

 to make the straps, fold in half along the length, press flat, and sew with a 1/4" seam. (you can see in the photo that d4 accidentally sewed along the folded side first time around. no worries: sew the correct side and get cozy with the seam ripper.)

once the strap is sewn, turn it inside out. i used a combination of the safetypin and pencil method.

our straps were 42" long, a bit more than we needed. i simply draped them across d4"s shoulder to determine where she wanted the bag to fall, and trimmed there (with a bit more for seam allowance). i think we took off about 8".

 this is when i realized i should have done the straps at the beginning for a cleaner look. to correct my mistake, i simply seamripped a gap where i wanted to place the handles. if you're making a really quick bag you don't intend to keep or use much, and aesthetics aren't a big deal, you can simply attach the handles to the inside of the bag without inserting them into the hem.

but i seamripped where i wanted the handle placed, with a few stitches wiggle room on each side, and inserted the strap end, pinning in place.

 then i sewed over it a few times to secure, and to secure the ends of the hem where i'd seamripped. fortunately, the fabric we were using hid all the sewing pretty well. it blended right in.

then i folded the strap up, away from the bag and sewed close to the top, to help the strap lie flat against the hem, and backtracked to make it a bit more secure.

 not very pretty sewing, but at this point d4 had moved on and i was scrunched up at her little (pink) brother machine, on a very short table, trying to see well enough to backstitch. it came out rather slanted. not that i cared too much. it's her loss for abandoning me!

i attached the straps on the very outside corners of each side of the bag, and made sure to fold them in a u-shape when i sewed the second side of each strap on. this helps the straps lay nicely on the shoulder when wearing them.

if i hadn't been letting an 8 yr old do most of the sewing, and had to deal with various other interruptions, it could have easily been completed in under an hour. as it is, it took more than that. but who's counting?

despite the fact that we did this quickly without lots of the nicer finishing touches like interfacing or lining, d4 is very happy with it and declared "this looks like a bag from the store!" i supose compared to the first tote she made all by herself, with no hemming and christmas fabric, this bag did turn out a bit more professionally.

now all we need do is wait out the week until we can fill it with candy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

wip tuesday

 my quilt life is so very small right now. a few times a week i snag some time to work away at the quilting of this penny patch 2.0, and that's about it. i'm aiming to complete 3 quilts before the end of this year: penny patch 2.0, my triangle indian blanket quilt, and (always) my son's wonky blue and orange quilt. all 3 of these quilts just need to be quilted and bound. that's it. but even with a full quarter left in the year, that's going to be a tall order.

i've begun to venture into the online quilting world again, stopping in at my instagram account and visiting some blogs occasionally. it gets me antsy to create and make something new once more. but for now, i'm going to have to be content plugging away at finishes.

and endlessly burying threads when not at the machine,
which is exactly what i was doing sunday after church. i'd like to say i sit around nicely dressed, handstitching on quilts regularly, but that wouldn't be true on either account.

my poor over-forty eyes are finally feeling the macular degeneration that comes with age and i have to take my work out into the sunlight to see those threads and tiny needle eyes. the blur of this photo matches what i see pretty well!

at least i've got my hands on fabric.
and quilts will be done soon-ish.

good enough!

happy quilting friends, from the slowest quilter on the planet.