27 February, 2014

Pendleton Tote Bag

I leave for SewExpo tomorrow and my tote bag is finished.

It's got a zipper inserted into the side seam.
My purchases can get stuffed into the tote but my wallet will be instantly accessible in this secure pocket.

Close-up of my personal touch.
I was actually tossing the sewing room looking for pendleton labels when I spied these beyond cute, tiny airplane beads.

This project is a great example of how I sew - on the fly. Making it up as I sew. This requires some bag construction knowledge/experience but these projects turn out with amazing details even if the sewing room had a tiny tornado rip through.

This was my inspiration piece. Someone made this to sell on Etsy and I just loved that little zippered pocket. Tote bags aren't my favorite bag as I lose stuff inside.

My Pendleton fabric was not wide enough so I added these interfaced brown wool strips to make it 20" wide.
I interfaced after I sewed those strips down when I was pressing the seam. The brown strip wool was not as heavy as my Pendleton motif fabric.

To insert the zipper, I basted the seam together and then basted the zipper tape to the seam allowances.
I turned it over and top-stitched it down - your zipper tapes have at least two stitch lines to secure them this way.
Then I had to re-figure how to add that pocket so its edge against the zipper was finished.

It's like a chess game - staying two moves ahead of your actual sewing.
I rough cut the pocket rectangles.

By the way, both the pendleton motif fabric and my turquoise wool lining fabric came from the Pendleton booth at last year's SewExpo - on major sale Saturday afternoon. They don't want to haul anything back to the Portland warehouse.

Basically, I topstitched the pocket lining down the zipper tape along the previous seam line.

And then.... I realized my pocket was going to sag inside. My pocket was not secured to anything but the zipper.
So I added a piece of muslin to the top of the pocket to catch in the totebag waistband. That would keep my pocket straight by hanging it from the top of the totebag - the waistband if you will.

And I cut two of those muslin pieces for both sides of the  pocket (not sewn together yet) when I realized the pocket when sewn together would go to one side and I just needed the one thin piece of muslin. I was happy not to bulk up that waistband any more than I had to.

There it is, laid to one side. This pocket will between the outer fabric and the lining.

Nice finished edges that will not get caught in the zipper teeth.
I also back-stitched at the top & bottom of the zip to keep it from opening further. I used a dark brown thread that is practically invisible on that brown herringbone (thrifted wool).

I, occasionally, get neurotic that my serged tails will unravel. When I was sewing the brown naugahyde to the motif fabric, I grabbed the tail and sewed over it.

I also was not sure how the serger would do on the thick naugahyde so I sewed it instead.

I wanted to use leather for the bottom but my stash wasn't color matching. I had this nice piece of brown variegated naugahyde which worked fine.

I collect sewing 'stuff' and I do try to use what is in my stash.

I boxed the corners at 4.75" as per my plan. Yes - I did start out with a plan. You have to measure!
I wanted the 'leather' to come up about 3 inches on the side before the bottom started.
I allowed 6" wide for the "leather".
3" side + 2 3/8" bottom (4.75" divided in half) + 2 x seam allowances of 1/4"+ (thick fabrics) = 6".
I hope you got that 'cuz there'll be a test later.

Pendleton gave me some labels which I cannot find for the life of me so I ripped one off of a thrifted Pendleton shirt.

If you're going to make something out of Pendleton Wool - yay! local business! - then you need to do a shout out with a label.

I don't know if you caught my subtle humor: the "TALL" sewn on to the side of the label - 'cuz this is a tall tote!

Wondering what to do for a pocket inside. I like pockets to be obvious so making them from the beautiful turquoise lining was not an option. I found this scarf (Pendleton!) in one of my wool boxes and cut it up without a qualm to make my pocket.

It was a narrow 5" wide scarf so I found the matching stripe and cut two of them and then sewed them together to make my much deeper pocket. The colors went well with the outside - like it was planned from the drawing board.  lol

I did the typical tote bag finish by inserting the lining inside the outer with wrong sides together and sewed around the top, leaving a gap for turning.
Three lines of top-stitching.

And then  - I have to go to work this afternoon so I stole the handles off my recently completed Year of the Rabbit tote and finished the purse before I could think of anything else to add.

I did want leather handles with an arrow-shaped piece to secure them to the bag but I don't have time to cruise to Joann's or Michaels or ...

Did I mention I will get something special when I show up at the Pendleton booth?
Anybody who shows up with something made with pendleton gets a prize.

24 February, 2014

Airplane Sewing

We are re-covering the wings of our Stearman biplane.  We're using Stits Polyfiber and some felt for the leading edges. I kinda wish we had stits fabric for garment sewing because you basically drape it on, secure it with dope and then use the iron to shrink it to shape. Wouldn't that make sewing so  much easier - shrink to shape!

The fabric is rough-cut and secured with the dope (glue), shrunk with the iron until it forms the wing surface. Yes, the wings, fuselage and elevator are all fabric.
This keeps the plane lighter by covering the wood & metal frame with fabric.

After shrinking it, it gets a coat of dope, then the sewing begins: Rib-lacing.
Basically, you are sewing with an extra long needle to secure the fabric over the ribs. 

A wing has over a dozen ribs. There are two wings to the left & right of the center section (fuel tank (made of metal)) plus the lower wings (left & right). Four wings in total. We are just recovering the top wings this winter.

Those vertical lines are the ribs under the cloth.

Close-up of one of the rib supports.
The fabric on one side comes to the edge and another strip goes along the edge covering the first fabric edge.

You have to cut the fabric away from working metal surfaces. This fabric frays a bit but not much and the dope keeps it in great shape. There will be additional coats of dope (Poly-brush), an UV coat, then three top coats. I think there are 8 coats in all. This fabric will be pretty substantial by the time we are done. Taut as a drum!

Here's my sewing! 

The rudder needed a rough sewing to fit an envelope around the shape. The iron shrinks it the rest of the way. This one has already gotten the pink coat of poly brush.

This fabric has been laid on and clamped to keep it from slithering around.

The bottom wing, which is not going to be re-covered is in the background. The tail feathers are in the fore-ground.

And, here's our other project: J-5 piper cub. Much smaller, enclosed, fits two people, but uses much less fuel to get somewhere. Both pilot and passenger can fly: they sit tandem (one behind the other).

Both cockpits in the Stearman can be piloted, however, when there is only one person, they must fly from the back cockpit. {weight & balance: I tried to find an easy-to-understand description but failed. Basically, you need to pay attention to the center of gravity for an airplane, calculate your load and the stearman is designed to be flown from the rear cockpit.}

The J-5 is also a fabric covered airplane. The photo below shows the rear portion with my luggage compartment.

The wood lid pops up to reveal approximately 1 ft x 2 ft x 1 ft space. The stearman has a wee bit more luggage space. (Pack light)

I had some of my auto-immune issues the last few days but I have picked out my pendleton fabrics to get a tote bag done for SewExpo (FRIDAY!!!!).  

One of my symptoms is a very weepy eye with goobers which makes sewing and reading difficult.

21 February, 2014

Getting A Handle On Things

Tote bag finished.
I didn't want to sew a handle for this tote bag.

I could have.
--- in the time it took me to traipse up to Joann's (hopefully) and buy this set.

However, the end of the purchased handle was a round piece as was my re-purposed lobster claw piece.
How to join them???
Nothing in the purse section of Joann's, although they are carrying a line of purse feet and other hardware that is very interesting.

I wandered over to the jewelry findings section and eventually found a large key ring. Too big and they didn't have four of the mediums which, proportionately, was the correct size. No other options (except sewing a connector piece), so I zoomed home where I did find four matching key rings and, tada!, this bag is done.

And here are my practice grandkids with their valentine owl purses.
I had to tease my niece about the pinkness.
She was so adamantly opposed to pink when the oldest was born.

They showed her!

Hello Kitty. {giggle & snort}

Lol - Kristin!

19 February, 2014

Year Of The Rabbit

I found this fabric at a church rummage sale. The wine red and the rabbits drew me in.
{Not to mention I was born in the Year of the Rabbit.}

A curtain of some sort, I realized later they were Japanese Noren - hanging door curtains.
Which distracted me into thinking I needed to sew my own Noren.

Thankfully, I don't always listen to my distractions. While I would love hanging door curtains in at least one doorway of my home, hubby would just get tangled up.

Crafty Tokyo Mama sent me this fabric with Oregon on it. Perfect color match.

This free pattern with the hidden pocket started out here, but soon morphed into something better.
I added hardware from my recently deceased tote, plus an inside pocket. This is a deep tote - perfect for trolling the vendor aisles at SewExpo.

The only thing lacking is handles.
If I have to, I will sew some but I really wanted leather-like flat handles so I'm off to Joann's to see what I can discover.

A very roomy, lined, Waterfront Park Pleated Tote.

I have another tote in my queue - a more tailored pendleton one plus a messenger bag for my niece which I am hoping to get done in the next week. I also need to buckle down and sew new pajamas and a top or two - utility sewing - but all involving the super fast serger so it's really a question of procrastination.

16 February, 2014

Long Arm Quilting

I need a tote bag for SewExpo in two weeks. I got distracted into finishing up this tote bag.
A while back, Pencil Girl and I took a long arm quilting class.  It was designed and taught by the folks at Boersma's in McMinnville, Oregon.

The Boersma folks set up 16 long arm quilting machines for the class. They had prepped the fabric beforehand (main, batting, base). 
All basted together.  All we had to do was DRAW.

Here I am - driving.
Intense - as in - keep remembering to loosen up your knees and your lockjaw from concentrating so hard.

The object is to fill in the spaces - draw inside the lines.
With patterns.
A dry-erase board was very handy.

And when you drive to the left with your pattern, you have to mirror-image it coming back.

Very intense.

I did manage to free-hand 'draw' my airplanes. I was impressed with myself.

Pencil Girl drawing with chalk or tying off threads.

Pretty much done.
Except for part two - sewn into a tote bag. The lines at top are going to be the straps.

Thinking how to get out of the star into the next motif.

Boersma's drawn in thread was to be the bottom of the tote bag, but I found this bag to be very very deep, so this 4" was sacrificed.

I recently cut the hardware out of a previous (sad looking) tote bag - which had an inside pocket with zipper - which was still in good condition. I took a scrap of the base fabric and topstitched it onto the pocket front, hand-sewing it in place by the zipper. I then re-inserted the old pocket into my new tote. I am a pocket hound.

Here's what I started with. You can see the long vertical lines to the right - they will be the straps.

I serged all the edges, sewing up the sides first. I tried it with the Boersma-scribed bottom but it was way too deep, so I serged that off.
I then boxed the corners.

To finish - I just folded down the top. I pinned my pocket in place and my straps, folded the top down to cover and sewed in place. I then turned the strap back upright and sewed again near edge.

I don't think I am gonna be a long arm quilter.
This was a fun class but physically and mentally tiring.
A fascinating look into another creative world.

Pencil Girl - have you finished your bag???