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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sewing for #babyschep: Belle Baby Bag complete!

So it's been a few weeks since my last update--I'm totally slacking on my goal, but I've sort of got an excuse.  My sewing room is on the move--we're making room for BabySchep #2, so the entire upstairs of my house is in shambles.  That's a topic for another day, though.  The reason for writing today is to share a fabulous finish that I alluded to a few weeks ago:

The Belle Baby Bag is complete, and I finally have the photographs to prove it!  This bag was both a challenge and a joy to make.  For me, the biggest challenge was that barely any of the pieces are rectangular, meaning lots of cutting out pattern pieces with scissors.  Keep in mind that for every piece you observe on the outside, there are corresponding interfacing and lining pieces, so all in all, lots and lots of cutting!

As you can see, there are piles of ShapeFlex underneath those pattern pieces!
I opted to use a Frixion pen to mark all of my cutting lines, and used a rotary cutter and ruler on as many of the straight lines as I could to ease the strain on my wrist.  Pregnancy really does a number on ALL of your joints!

If you remember, I shared a photo of me cutting these pieces out of a different print.  Due to my error, I had to scrap those pieces, and select a new fabric for the bag.  Interestingly enough, this blue and black batik is the fabric that I originally had in mind for the bag that my hubby vetoed.  After the bag was complete, he acknowledged what I saw in the print and agreed that it works fabulously in this bag!  This is only my second time sewing with batiks, and I'm starting to warm up to them. 

The pattern calls for ShapeFlex as one of the interfacings, which I hoard by the bolt in my little studio.  One thing I love about it is that you can write on it with a pen pretty easily.  Once I had all the pieces fused together, keeping track of them was a breeze.

I added some fun hardware I purchased from BagMakerSupply--including those rivets!  Now that was fun to figure out.  Props to my hubby for helping me rivet a few tester pieces of vinyl before going to town on the real thing.  This was also my first time installing an adjustable slider on a strap--it was a little counterintuitive, but the instructions were very clear. 

I even added a little "handmade" plate!

I opted to go straight black for the lining.  While not my ideal choice, I had a bolt and a half of Kona black lying around, and it was the most economical choice, rather than shop around for a print that wouldn't clash with the exterior of the bag.  I love the combination of the Kona cotton with the ShapeFlex--it feels very durable.

The pattern calls for optional stroller clips--they are these little straps that clip onto the sides of the bag that you wrap around the handlebar of the stroller before you attach them.  They hold the bag at just the right height, although if you're pregnant like me, your belly will bump into the bag from time to time!

I might end up making more of these so I can just leave them attached to the different strollers we use for the little one.

Speaking of little one...

We just found out that BabySchep #2 will be another boy!  We are beyond excited, and now I'm even more relieved that I ended up using the blue batik for the bag!

In the end, I learned a lot making this bag.  In the past, I've primarily used SewSweetness patterns and have become accustomed to her bag construction techniques.  It was very encouraging to be able to apply different techniques with success.  It really makes me feel like I've come a long way since I started sewing a few years ago, and there's nothing quite like the feeling of being able to use something you've made with your own hands.  Thanks for stopping by--I'll be linking up to several linkups this week (Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Finish It Up Friday, TGIFF, Finished or Not Friday), I'm just so darned proud of this finish! 

Until next time, God Bless!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Sewing for #babyschep: Belle Baby Bag

As promised, another WIP update.  This time, it's a bag project.  After all, shouldn't a brand-new baby call for a brand-new diaper bag?

I bought the Belle Baby Bag pattern from Swoon Patterns:

Doesn't it look smart?  I just had to have it.  I knew, though, that to get that polished look from the pattern photo that I'd need to venture into the world of vinyl.  So I did!

Not too shabby for a first timer!
Now, I learned to make bags under the tutelage of Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness.  She's been offering glitter vinyl and cork fabric in her shop for a little while now, so I figured I'd take the plunge and give it a shot.  I used a denim needle, regular 50wt thread (though I wish I'd used a thicker thread), and a walking foot.  The glitter vinyl was surprisingly easy to sew. 

Now I've been hoarding this yard of "germy" looking fabric (isn't that what it reminds you of?) for quite some time now, and thought it would look nice in this bag. 

 What ended up happening, though, is that I improperly joined the pattern pieces together and wasted the yard of fabric!  So, lesson learned.  If you don't understand a step in the pattern, just suck it up and ask for help.  It just might save you a yard or two of fabric! 
As I write this post, I'm all but done with this project (I know, I know), so the big reveal will come (including the alternate fabric!) as soon as I can get some pictures uploaded.  Linking to Let's Bee Social and Finished or Not Friday.  Until then, God Bless!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Soft Book Finish!

Ever since I found out I was expecting baby number 1, I have had an obsession with purchasing soft book panels.  I've actually finished a handful of them (it's my goal to actually round these bad boys up and photograph them later), but here's my most recent finish:

This particular book is a tad smaller than what you usually find, so it came together even faster than usual.  I picked up this panel on a little vacay shop-hop my husband put together for me when we were in Fort Meyers, Florida last year.  I thoroughly enjoyed all of the shops in the area--I wish I had more money to spend when I was there!

My stitching isn't perfect--you can see the page numbers on this one, when they are supposed to be hidden in the seam.  This particular panel required me to measure the seam allowances, then to construct the books using a 1/4" seam--typically these panels call for a 1/2" seam, so I'm fairly certain it's my fault.  As for the interfacing, I used fleece, rather than batting, and it worked just fine.  Shout out to my hubby for cutting the fleece for me (that's true love, y'all)! 

Ultimately, my son has enjoyed this particular soft book more than the others I've stitched for him so far.  I'm sure part of his affinity for this book is his familiarity with the characters (I've spotted some Thomas books at grandma's house), coupled with the smaller size, which is easier for his little hands to manipulate.  My heart leaps with joy whenever I watch him "read" his book! 

In other news, I've started the process of cutting out the pieces for my new diaper bag (so exciting!), so expect an update on that soon.  Linking up here, here and here.  Until next time, God Bless!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Progress: Lil' Schep's Soft Alphabet

Woohoo!  I've posted three times already this year, and it's only January!  It might not seem like a big deal to y'all, but this is huge for me.  Life can be taxing, especially right now with the whole I'm-growing-a-human-being thing going on.  Anyways, I'm writing to fill y'all in on my work in progress (gasp!):

This will eventually become a full alphabet set for Lil' Schep.  He's already begun exploring the few letters I have finished, and so far, so good. 

If you remember a year or two ago, I made this soft alphabet for our best friends' daughter's birthday, and boy, was it a pain!  I thought of reusing the same method, but increasing the size of the letters for ease of turning.  Then I came across some felt softies, and thought I'd give it a try.  I do have mounds of embroidery floss laying around to stitch them up with!

I purchased an assortment of 9" x 12" felt sheets from Amazon.  I'm still torn about this.  I shied away from wool because of allergy concerns (my mother-in-law is allergic, and I was planning on sending these over to her house), and frankly, the higher cost.  Having used felt purchased off the bolt at Wal-Mart in the past, I felt (hehe) that even the cheap stuff would hold up well.  When I received my felt assortment, I was disappointed to find that it was stiff, not soft and pliable like the felt they sell at the store.  In the end, I kept going with it for two reasons: (1) I didn't spend very much on the felt to begin with, and (2) it came with a giant assortment of colors that I felt would make the entire project more colorful for my little guy. 

What do y'all think?  Maybe in a few weeks I'll post an update with the newest letters I've managed to finish.  It's good to have a non-intimidating hand sewing project to work on again!  Linking up to Let's Bee Social!  Until next time, God Bless!

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Windy Hill Farm Quilt

Hey y'all!  It's been a while--Happy New Year!  I've been busy and not really sewing much, with having a baby and working full time and all that jazz.  I did sneak in a good bit of hand sewing in between hearings and on lunch breaks, which is how I whipped up this gem:

This is the Windy Hill Farm Quilt designed by Antonie Alexander, which is available in her book, Happy Quilts!

This quilt was a blast, especially since it was finished just in time to be the central decoration at my son's first birthday party.  Lil' Schep is totally digging animals right now, so I thought the farm theme would be perfect.  Having opted to do the blanket stitching by hand, it was a labor of love.  Alexander's book comes with a CD with PDF patterns for the applique pieces.  These have to be traced onto fusible web, which then has to be cut out, fused to the wrong side of the fabric, and then cut out again, only to have peel off the paper backing, to then fuse the fabric to the background.  Whew!  And then I thought it would be brilliant if I did a hand blanket stitch.

The pattern calls for a border made of small windmill blocks--this is the part I fretted the most over.  Piecing is NOT my strong suit, but my hubby and I tackled it head-on and I cranked out the border blocks in no time at all, even sewing in the early morning hours before work. 

I can't believe my little guy is one! 

And as the good Lord would have it, I found out that baby #2 is on the way right before I finished this quilt:

Move over lil' Schep, the new BabySchep is due in July!
But enough about me--you came for the pictures.  Without further ado:
Totes ma goats!

Farmer Girl

Farmer Boy

Brown Chicken, Brown Cow!

Baby photobomb.


Hand stitched label.  Dad gets credit for being my helper in the sewing room!
Just a few more details about the quilt: I used a Michael Miller Luxe extra wide backing fabric for the back, which made free motion quilting this a breeze on my Singer Quantum Stylist 9960.  I used Aurifil 50wt thread to piece and quilt the entire quilt.  I used Sulky 12wt thread for the blanket stitching around the applique, and used an 80/20 cotton/poly blend batting in the middle. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about this quilt as much as I enjoyed making it!  Linking up to Finished or Not Friday, which is also doubling as TGIFF, and Finish it Up Friday

Until next time, God bless!

Friday, January 13, 2017

New Year's Resolution

I'm not the type to make new year's resolutions, but I do want to be more intentional about keeping up the blog.  This is, after all, a place for me to write about my passions, and it's become all too evident that I'm not making enough time for the things that bring me so much joy in this life. 

In the past, I've done a lot of secret sewing, waiting to write a blog post once the item was gifted.  No more.  You'll see more work-in-progress type posts from me here out.  To that end, here are the projects that are on the horizon:

A new bag (details coming soon!).

A memory quilt for a coworker's husband who left us in 2016.

A softie alphabet set for Lil' Schep.

I finished my son's Windy Hill Farm Quilt on time (hooray!), but still need to photograph it, so expect a write-up on that soon.

In the meantime, I've been listening to audiobooks, so I'll recap the one I just finished this morning on the drive to work:

I've really been digging nonfiction books lately, and this one didn't disappoint.  It's a well-told account of the cholera outbreak in London during the Victorian era, and how it changed the world.  If you're into science writing, you'll probably enjoy this one.  Don't worry--no nitty gritty cholera details in this one!

It's Friday, so maybe I'll get some sewing done at home tonight!  Until next time, God Bless.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A gift for Baby Budzo!

Wow, so once again, it's been forever and a day since I last wrote a blog post.  That's mainly due to the fact that I'm frantically working on the first quilt for my now-ten-month-old son, and have made time for little else.  I did, however, find some time to hand embroider some Onesies for my nephew that is due in December.  I'll let the pics do the talking.  

Freehand drawing is not my thing.  The lobster is a clipart from Microsoft, the baby budzo is word art from Microsoft, and the baby bunny is an embroidery pattern by Amy Sinibaldi.  

Once satisfied with the size of the art, I printed it out on Sulky Sticky Fabri Solvy.

See?  It looks so cool when you peel the paper backing away.

It sticks right on the fabric, acting as a stabilizer and pattern at the same time.

I originally went for a satin stitch on the lobster dude, but ended up undoing it.

I used Sulky 12wt cotton to stitch the bunny.  It looked cute, but didn't hold up as well as the others, which used three strands of your standard embroidery floss.  While I adore 12wt thread, I would save it for wovens, not knits.

Here's what I ended up doing with the lobster after unpicking all those satin stitches!

I love how the stitching turned out on this one!  Gator colors for this little guy, of course.  
Well, in my haste to put these in the mail, I forgot to photograph the final results.  Typical.  At least it won't be too long before I see little Baby Budzo wearing these himself.

Until next time, God Bless!