Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shall we Sashiko?

I have long been fascinated by Sashiko, a timeless art form which incorporates my favourite stitch, the running stitch into gorgeous patterns. I found this book The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook by Susan Briscoe at the library and decided to give Sashiko a go. I instantly took a liking to a particular rule of Sashiko which is you push the fabric into the needle to make stitches instead of stabbing. I've always preferred to use both my hands in needlework as I don't like to overwork my right hand. But what about the fabric and the needle? I couldn't imagine walking into Spotlight and asking for Sashiko fabric, thread and needles. The sales staff would probably go, "Sa What ah? Needles over there." So, no. I did not go to Spotlight. But I went to Art Friend and was shocked to find Sashiko needles.



Sashiko needles aren't ordinary needles. At least not the ones I got. They were the only ones available. They are like fangs. They are giant needles. There was no way I would be able to use any of my fragile fabric. So sadly, I had to use my ordinary needles.

Keeping in tradition with Sashiko, I used the darkest blue fabric I owned. For the cord, I used cord bought at a hardware store's closing down sale. The embroidery is done in white cotton perle. (Nope, still can't find Sashiko thread anywhere. This is Singapore after all.)



My girl loves the bag. She asked me to make one for her.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Year of the Dragon

No, no, no. It's not the year 2012. One day, I was seized by the idea that being born, ahem, in the year of the dragon, I should possess at least one bag with dragons on it, or something dragon-like. This may sound ridiculous or weird but every bag-loving Chinese worth her soy sauce would know what I mean.

Oooh, I'm so scary


I saw this pattern of a cartoonish dragon in an Anchor embroidery book and knew I had found my dragon. So I drew a bag around the dragon. I wanted the bag to be all about the dragon. Yes, yes. I know. It's the wrong thing to do. You always draw the bag pattern first before you add the embellishment. I always break my own rules.

The fabric is a nice royal yellow and for the embroidery, I chose a fiery red. I used backstitch which is my second favourite stitch as it is almost like drawing with a pencil. My favouite stitch is of course the running stitch because it is so easy yet versatile. And you are born knowing how to sew it.

This bag is good for keys, loose change, some notes for a short trip to the foodcourt

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another fat bottomed drawstring bag

I did not set out to make just another fat bottomed drawstring bag. This one I tried to do differently by adding a piping. I had never done piping before but it's never too late to try.

The piping is on the left with a contrasting strip on the right


Sewing the piping made me wish I had a piping foot. All I had was a non-adjustable zipper foot. I'm definitely going down to my sewing machine dealer soon. I thought of googling for a piping tutorial just to be sure but I think I'll leave it for another bag. The bottom consists of a circle. It's a pretty straight forward bag totally uninterfaced. The fabric for this bag came from my girl's old dress. It came with a lined petticoat which I used for the lining. It's quite obvious the fabric is pretty faded as it was a hand-me-down from a relative who probably got it as a hand-me-down too. I love recycling old clothes into bags but my girl is still quite squeamish. She would yell out, "Hey, that's my dress!" each time she sees her clothing recycled into a bag.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mad about patchwork

I've loved patchwork for the longest time but most of my patchwork tends to be patches of squares. I've rarely ventured beyond squares except for the odd triangles. I think it has to do with my lack of accuracy which is crucial in patchwork. I cut with scissors so the sizes of my pieces tend to vary. I tried using a cheap rotary cutter once but it was scary and it didn't cut well. Why not get a good rotary cutter? Well, last time I checked, one costs more than $50! So back to good old scissors. This bag is an attempt at quilting lines as well as patchwork. I love the handle. It really goes with the bag. This bag is uninterfaced but it has medium batting for structure.

Would you believe I hand quilted on the patches? Pain...


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Peace No War

I spent so much time shuttling between acupuncture, physiotherapy and rehabilitative exercises that I had to sneak in time to make this small bag. The problem with sewing nowadays is that I could only sew in 1/2 hourly duration so as not to aggravate my muscles. I can honestly say this is the toughest bag I've ever sewn. Small is harder to make! Plus I chose to do bias binding once again and something new - gusset. Why do I punish myself so? In terms of structure this bag is really simple as it just consists of rectangular pieces of fabric.

This is how it all started. Pieces of rectangles. First the pocket...


Next I work in the gusset to the front piece.

Then the gusset gets joined to the back piece.


This is the fun part. Cut outs.


Can you see a man and a child behind the cut out? Camouflage. Geddit?


Here is where I hide the handles and closure


My son took this photo


I wish my sewing had been better for this bag. I got a little wobbly after a while. I left the bag unlined because the fabric was quite stiff and I doubted if I could handle another layer of fabric. I did line the front only to cover the cut out. The bias binding was tough especially round the corners. Really hard. Still, I'm very pleased with the result.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Have you never been flannel?

Flannel is not my ideal fabric. First of all, it slips when you sew. That's a big minus. Next, it looks worn out easily. But I had so much flannel left over after my ambition to make gorgeous blankets for my kids fizzled out. I mean, how many blankets does a kid need? Besides, my husband had recently imposed a 2 blankets rule per person. So that explains the choice of fabric.

The pattern for the bag came from Simplicity. (Buy 1 get 1 free from Spotlight) I have very little experience with store bought patterns and it was a challenge to understand the instructions. Whatever I did not understand I just went with my instincts. I think this shoulder bag turned out pretty well even though I dislike knotted handles. But it being a smaller bag, one is unlikely to put much stuff in so there's less danger of painful shoulders. (I need to put on weight around my shoulders!) Once again I left the bag completely uninterfaced. I didn't even use any closure as I don't think it needs any.

So snuggly I just want to bury my face in it


Friday, March 7, 2008

What was I thinking?

I don't remember what I was thinking when I made this bag. All I can recall was I had this huge pattern from this book Handbags by Celine Dupuy and in my haste I had cut out the fabric from this plain purple cotton. I had this huge purple space to fill and I had no energy for hand embroidery. Applique was the way to go but why a hot cup of tea? I have selective amnesia when it comes to embarrassing "creative output" I wish to forget. Any old how, I learned that I really dislike knotted handles. It being a huge bag, one is bound to put in lots of stuff in the bag. That's when the knots start to dig into your flesh. I have very bony shoulders.

Maybe I was craving a hot cup of tea?


I'm not really a velcro kind of gal but it suits the floppiness


These knots aren't made for bony shoulders


My big floppy disaster
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