Monday, April 30, 2012

Don't Fear the Zipper Foot!

Zipper FootZipper Foot BERNINA Zip Foot 4

Every sewing machine has a zipper foot (sometimes called the Zip Foot). Either the foot stays in place and the needle is moved or the foot can snap to one side or the other of the presser foot arm.

BERNINA Zip Foot 14
I like to use a zipper foot with an adjustable guide.  Normally, when you use the zipper foot to sew a zipper, you use the guide at the edge of the fabric.

But, you can feel where the zipper teeth are and use that to guide where your seam is sewn!  I find the “finger” on the end of the adjustable guide will glide right along the zipper teeth to keep your seam in the right place.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Label the Parts!

Saving yourself extra minutes and hassles!

Hold It All Shopper Lizzie Bag 

Some of my purse patterns - and especially the Hold It All Shopper, the Lizzie Bag, or the Journey Purse - have lots of pieces which are not easily identified.  They're all rectangles!  The solution to keeping yourself straight is to label the pieces.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Size Matters

Was designing purses and bags a self-preservation method because of my addiction?

I have a huge collection of bags.  Even though I don't change the purse I carry daily (I tend to haul it around until it's filthy), I love to have a new bag to switch to for a trip or event.  I tend to have multiple bags of "stuff" when I travel and have often been called the Bag Lady.

As a designer, I'm always looking to make the 'perfect' bag.  What I've found is that different bags serve different purposes, so you have to have a collection.  Great use of logic, right?

Monday, April 16, 2012

A New Look at the Jeans Purse

Upcycle Your Jeans into a Modern Bag!

We’ve all been recycling jeans into shoulder bags since I was a girl.  When I started designing bags, I challenged myself to use jeans to make classy, creative bags that are a cut above what I made in the 70s!

Any upcycling project will require “working with what you have”.  Read all instructions first, then adapt my steps to your jeans and fabric.  By repeatedly laying out and trial-fitting your pattern, you will insure having a creative, good-looking purse!

The Mess of Designing

Right now I'm in the midst of designing a new purse pattern - photos are done!

I've had some questions about my design process and although the steps are pretty structured for me, the actual process is messy!

My inspiration for new designs come from seeing an interesting pocket or closure or ideas from customers on styles they want.  Sometimes in the middle of designing one purse, I'll think of another! A new purse is sometimes born out of a complaint or question - this is a tad too small or why doesn't this one have a zipper?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's a Snap!


Ever since I first started making baby clothes, I have dreaded "hammer-on" snaps.  But now that I'm making Snap Card Cases, I found the best (and easiest) way to attach them!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What is a PDF pattern?

A couple of years ago, I had no idea what a PDF pattern was either!  I've designed sewing and cross-stitch patterns for years but they were booklets with line-drawing illustrations.  Not a whole lot of color photos, as the cost to print was prohibitive.

Enter the wonderful world of computers and Adobe!  Now pattern publishers can email their customers the patterns right away. And you can download my patterns right after you pay for them in my Etsy Shop! You get the file and open with Adobe's free software.  Then you can zoom in, translate to another language, or print out at your leisure.

Features of My Patterns

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Want a Firm Bottom? (in your purse!)

Sometimes, especially if you stuff your purse like I do, its bottom tends to be droopy and/or it loses its shape.  A firm bottom can solve this.

This type of bottom is ideal for the Zippy Hobo, Jamie Purse, Tailored Tote, and Charmer Tote.

I like to make a firm bottom out of very stiff cardboard, covered in fabric.  You can cover in the same fabric you use for the lining or use a coordinating fabric.

Remember this is a removable bottom.  Remove before washing bag!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Purse Insert for your Camera

Just sharing a great tutorial for an insert to turn any purse or bag (maybe from my pattern??) into a camera bag!  Ashley has turned a creative idea into a really well-done tutorial!  See it on her Make It and Love It blog.

The Mess #3

But, really, how do you keep a bulletin board from looking like this?

It's not quite an inspiration board, more like a Memento Board.  I can't tell you how many years it's been there but it's probably about 5 years.  With older stuff added in.  There are hardly any more spaces to add new things, but what can you remove?

Some items you may spy, with your little eye:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Add Trim to Your Purse!

You know you really would like some ball fringe or fringe on that new purse!  Here's how to add it easily.

These instructions are specifically for my Zippy Crop Tote pattern, but also translate easily to my Reversible Bookbag Tote or Zippy Tote.  You can also adapt them to lots of other patterns out there!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Secret Weapon #3 - Clothespins!

Clothespins help the glue set.

Did you know you can use clothespins for other uses (other than holding clothes on the line and keeping potato chip bags closed)? They are indispensable in my sewing room.

Cheap, wooden (or plastic) clothespins are ideal for holding glued fabric together while it sets (5 minutes). For the bottom corners of purses, I simple pinch the entire bottom corner (from the inside) and clamp with the clothespins. Don’t leave them longer than 5 minutes or you may glue a clothespin to the purse!!

Oh No! Iron Mishaps

Help!  The fabric is scrunching!!  Eek, my iron changed the color!  Aargh - I've ironed interfacing to the board!!

We've all had those "oh no" experiences when sewing and ironing.  Here's a few tips for correcting them:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to Make a Fabric Basket

Just in time for Easter!

Make these cute Reversible Fabric Baskets out of Jellyroll strips!

I made mine out of some jellyroll strips (I got in my "scrap bag" at Island Quilters) - it only takes 11 strips to make 2 baskets.  These are perfect for your desk to hold the mail, for your dresser to hold hairbrushes or makeup, or for your kid's small toys!  

You can even make it out of fat quarters (18" x 22") - just cut the pieces 9" wide (instead of 10").  You'll get 2 baskets out of 2 fat quarters.  Of course we've all seen sets of these - adjust the cut sizes smaller or bigger to make a set!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Mess #2

These are some of the things I use when I sew some other things.

I know it looks like everything is delicately balanced (ok, it is).  I have this handy grid with shelves and hooks that holds it all above my sewing machine.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Best Way to Use Your Tools.

bobbin holder salts your margarita
A little refreshment with your bobbin holder?

ironing your grilled cheese
Grilled cheese for when we can't leave the studio.

rotary cutting alternative
Don't lick the cutter.

sewing radio
Sewing serenade.
Happy April Fools' Day, y'all!!

Quilt Shows Are Fun!

Hilton Head Island Quit Show 2012

Unfortunately, I didn't get the name or artist of this quilt.  But I love it for the use of the  dark blue fabric in the corners of the 16-patch block.  It makes the larger, diagonal "square" look like it's notched.  I have made a similar quilt but the corner squares contrasted so the diagonal "square" doesn't connect.  I'm trying this next time.  BTW, the diagonal "square" is made of half-square triangle squares (great for leftovers from my Easy Corner Technique).

I find quilt shows fun, especially when you go with friends.  I find I can't do more than 2-3 hours, because I get overwhelmed at all the design and color.  Some friends and I made the 1 hour trek to Hilton Head Island for Palmetto Quilt Guilds biannual quilt show on Friday.  It is the perfect size show - small but a huge variety of quilts.  There are a few vendors to tempt you, also!