Monday, October 27, 2008

Envelope Bags

Envelope bags look like the easiest thing in the world to make except they're not. The difficulty lies in the bias binding. If you can't handle bias binding, you can't make envelope bags. Since I've some experience with bias binding, I think I'm ready to make me some envelope bags except this tutorial by ayumills calls it "camera case".

Of course I did not just make a simple envelope bag. I need to do it the hard way. Helen, my beloved Brother dealer had sold me a walking foot and I wanted to try it out. I did a simple straight line 45deg quilting lines and man! The noise the walking foot generates. It's almost as if a giant is stamping across my fabric. I have also recently become obsessed with paper cutting applique and had to have it in the bag. I used blanket stitch which came with my sewing machine using my new open toe foot. (That Helen sure is a good saleswoman) I'm finding blanket stitch a little challenging.

Front view


Inside view


I referred to ayumills tutorial but didn't fully follow the bias binding bit. For one thing, I wanted to see how the self-mitering of my bias binding would work out.

Here's is the self-mitering bit.


On the other side I had to whip stitch the mitering together.


Helen the saleswoman of the year had also sold me a quilting foot. For my next envelope bag, I wanted to try free-motion quilting. Free-motion anything is so complicated. You need to lower the feed dog (I keep calling it dog feed). On my machine, you just press a switch. Next, you need to move the fabric while stepping on the pedal. The first few times I tried my thread kept jamming up. I have since learnt not to pedal at break-neck speed and to move the fabric up/down left/right instead of in circles.

Front view. I added some cut-outs because I just can't stop myself. Also the flap is curved.


Inside view

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Old Bags - Part 2

I had been digging in my storeroom and found a few more of my "old bags" from the Sakura sewing machine era.

I was very into hand embroidery then and had to incorporate it into my bag, one way or another. This is the result. I still think the idea is good but the execution is not so great.



This was a handphone pouch I made for myself. I've used it countless times as can be seen from the worn out cross stitch. I learnt something here. Don't use cross stich for anything you gonna use a lot.


This next bag was the first bag I had "designed". I drafted the pattern on newspaper without any idea what I was doing and it shows! I had not heard of interfacing or interlining then.



Nice pocket


This is a crochet bag from my crochet days which is also the same timeline as my Sakura sewing machine era. I learnt crochet from books borrowed from the library and my knowledge is limited to the books available. This bag was seamed together at the sides and I discovered then that I dislike crochet "raw seams". There is also something called "blocking" which sounded so tedious I never tried it. That's why my bag is all floppy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Old Bags - Part 1

Long before I bought my current Brother sewing machine in July 2007, I owned a very basic Sakura sewing machine which rattled and jammed. It had such a complicated threading system I needed to draw a 3-D diagram to guide me. It came with 1 all purpose foot and I had no idea that you could have more than 1 foot. Oh, I have come such a long way.

Then, all I ever sewed were doll clothing for my girl's Barbie dolls, blankets and the odd alterations. I had loved the idea of making bags for a long time but I never knew how to start. One day, while at the National Library I came upon Making Handbags - Retro, Chic, Luxurious by Ellen Goldstein-Lynch. I was hooked. I made 1 bag using the tutorial from this book and when I look at the bag now I realise that back then, I would follow the style as much as possible (right down to the flowers and all)

Here's my first bag. I cringe a little every time I look at it.


The inside of the bag looks better than the outside


This next bag was made using a bought pattern. I wanted to see if a bought pattern was easier to follow and it wasn't. I didn't know what the notches were for and ignored them all. (It's to match the pieces for precision) Look at the flowers. Ugh! Those days are long over now.

I cringe a little here as well. In the background are my fab fabric which I had hung to dry.
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