Monday, August 10, 2015

Change Your Mind Slipcover Bag

Do you ever make plans for a fun the pattern...and the fabric, but then never make the project? Yeah, me too. Until now that is. Back in July of 2013 I wrote about my plans to make a new bag for Selfish Sewing Week on flickr, (click here to read about how this bag journey began) - even commenting on how I may not wait for the official start date to begin...two years later the bag is finished.

Change Your Mind Slipcover Bag - brown dots exterior

After completing the Social Climber quilt for the Faith Circle I decided it was time to take a quick break from large projects and do something smallish and fun. My eyes landed on a beautiful trio of Flea Market Fancy fabrics neatly folded on a shelf and I knew it was time to make the Change Your Mind Slipcover Bag. I had almost everything I needed on hand: fabric, interfacing, thread, only needing to purchase a zipper.

Change Your Mind Slipcover Bag - main body
Main Body of Change Your Mind Slipcover Bag

For the main body I used this Leaf & Dot print because it was a good neutral and {I thought} my least favorite fabric of the trio. Well...once I finished the main body I discovered the simple elegance of this print and it quickly became my favorite! The pattern calls for heavy weight interfacing to be used on all bag parts, but I wanted to add a bit more substance to the bag so I used iron on fleece for the main body instead. The interior of the bag includes patch pockets on one side and a zipper pocket on the other. More about this neat zipper installation to follow :o)

The whole purpose for this pattern is to create slipcovers for your bag so you can change up the look as desired. Now the pattern calls for making the slipcover with a lining fabric on one side and your chosen "new look" fabric on the other. To me that seemed a bit of a waste. Instead I decided to make one slipcover and have it be reversible.

Reversible slip cover
Flea Market Fancy fabrics

Here you can see I used Flea Market Fancy Bouquet on the outside and Posie on the inside. There just seemed to be no good reason to make two separate slipcovers. For the slipcovers I used the heavy weight iron on interfacing like the pattern called for. You can see that I experienced some bubbling - I've never had this issue before because I'd always used the heavyweight interfacing with home dec fabric, not quilting cotton. Not sure what's up with this. Debbie, over at A Quilter's Table, just happened to mention this same issue in a recent post.

Change Your Mind Slipcover Bag - the interior
Interior of bag

This is what the interior of the bag looks like with the slipcover attached. See how it folds over the top of the main body and is held in place with buttons? I learned some new skills while making this bag:

  • a completely new way to install a zipper into the lining fabric {so cool!} I don't know what this method is called, but it creates such a neat zipper opening and is not at all hard to do
  • make and attach facings
  • how to sew buttonholes!! Oh my goodness...if I'd have known how simple buttonholes are, and how fascinating it is to watch my sewing machine make them, I'd have done them long ago!

Change Your Mind Slipcover bag - orange plaid exterior

Here are the modifications I made to the bag:

  • slipcover is reversible
  • I added the additional brown dot and orange plaid fabric bottoms just for fun
  • top stitching was added to both the main bag and the slipcover to make them a bit more dressy
  • on the recommendation on someone's pattern review I installed the buttonholes to the facing before attaching them to the slipcover
If I were to make this bag again I would put some type of divider and additional pockets inside. It's a pretty large bag and some interior organization would be a nice addition. In fact, I will probably go ahead and make something for this one and hand sew it in. In addition, I think I'd add either a zipper or snaps to the top to close it. As stated it is a pretty large bag and feels a bit open. All in all it is a very well written pattern and I enjoyed making this slipcover bag :o) 

What new sewing skills have you recently learned? I'd enjoy hearing about them - leave me a comment :o)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Setting a New Table

In my previous post I mentioned a wedding gift I had the joy to make early this summer. A dear young lady, K, whom I've know since before she was born was to get married to an equally dear young man, M, {is it okay to call a young man dear} and this happy occasion called for special gift. I knew I wanted to make a set of placemats.

+ Plus Block Place Mats +
Plus Block Place Mats

While looking through their online wedding registry I noted a decided bent for neutral colors...specifically cream, brown, and gray. This not being a typical color combination for me I inquired of the bride's mom if I should add a pop of anything else? She consulted with the bride's sisters and it was established that all neutral was the way to go.

For color inspiration I used a photo of a shower curtain they included in their registry. A friend of mine had just finished a sweet mini quilt featuring the Plus Block and I immediately thought it would be a great pattern to weave these colors together. Following my usual design path I pulled out my composition notebook and drew up a plan. Next up I pulled a large variety of fabrics from my stash and set out to begin piecing.

I love the combination of these neutral fabrics! A good reminder to step outside of my creative comfort zone more often :o)  To verify that this really was going to turn into a desirable placemat I made the first one up complete with quilting. Instead of using batting I used two layers of flannel - I wanted the placemats to have some body to them, but didn't want them to seem heavy.

Organic quilting on Plus Block placemat
Placemat front - close up

For the quilting I used a favorite method: organic straight lines closely spaced. A run through the washer and dryer really brought out the great texture. Even the placemat backs look nice! At this point I was convinced this was the plan and proceeded to make the remaining three mats.

Organic straight line quilting
Placemat back - really shows the texture!
No placemats are complete without a set of matching napkins to accompany them. While visiting my brother I happened upon a fabric store and stopped in. I found both a tan and a gray fabric that seemed like they would work nicely for the napkins. They are reversible with tan on one side and gray on the other.

Reversible napkins
Reversible napkins

All in all this was a fun sewing project to work on. I wish this new couple many, many years of happiness and God's richest blessings upon their marriage. 

Placemats & Napkins - the complete set