Friday, October 19, 2007

Zippered Pouch Rush

Sick of drawstring bags, I thought about all the stuff I’m really scared of sewing. Like casing, gussets, bias binding, a straight line, evenly spaced buttonholes, zippers. Ah, zippers. I’m terrified of sewing zippers. The medical term is zipperphobia. The one time I did a zipper, I hand sewed it. I’m adverse to any form of hand sewing unless it’s some embroidery my machine can’t handle. So how do I overcome zipperphobia? I think the way to go is to sew a zippered pouch.

Zippered Pouch No. 1

I found a zipper tutorial at It looked really easy. (Easy always spells disaster for me)

I had some square fabric leftovers sewn in two rows and onto my old yellow bed sheet. I think I had seen this “pattern” in a bag making book at the National Library but I forgot the title of the book. The lining is my son’s old cot cover. You can’t see it but I have very thin batting in the bag for a quilted effect. The quilting bit was a bit unorganized. I just used a long ruler as a guide. Tip: The quilting lines need to be very precise otherwise the lines from the front and back piece won’t meet at the bottom seams. (Mine didn’t but it’s okay)

For the zipper bit, I managed to follow Anna's twelve22 tutorial petty well until when I kinda mangled 2 good Organ needles. Tip: Always use manual control to ensure your needle does not touch the zipper foot before you proceed at lightning speed. Ah, why 2 needles? After mangling the first one, I replaced it and did exactly the same stupid thing as before. I forgot to ensure the needle does not hit the zipper foot. Where are my brains?

The bag turned out pretty well especially the zipper except I had to hand sew the end bits of the zipper together. I kinda feel I missed something in the tutorial to take care of the ugly end bits.

Zippered Pouch No. 2

Still sore from losing 2 good Organ needles, I googled some more and found a wristlet tutorial at splityarn.

I like this tutorial a lot because the author talks to you like you really don’t know how to sew and that’s good because like I’ve discovered the hard way, I really don’t know how to sew.

I had this stem stitched embroidered strawberries on unbleached calico lying around and I thought it would go really well with my old gingham table cloth bits. You can’t see it but the whole bag is interfaced with fusible interfacing to achieve the crumpled vintage look. Okay, okay. It was all an accident. When I did the interfacing, the iron setting was way too hot and the fabric became all crumpled and I couldn’t get the bubbles out. But it looks good, doesn’t it? It’s all about the end result.

I followed the splityarn tutorial every step of the way. I think I achieved a pretty good result. Best bit. No ugly end bits to take care of. Only thing is I regretted leaving too big a gap at the start of the zipper. Still I love the end result. I’m definitely using this wristlet. The gap isn’t that big, is it?

Zippered Pouch No. 3

I obsessed over the giant gap in zippered Pouch No. 2 and I felt I had to do another one. I made this one using the same method at splityarn and this time I fixed the big gap.

I cut up my daughter’s old dress (the zipper didn’t work) and made a little pouch for her vanities. My girl thought I was fixing the zipper for her dress! The good news is she likes the pouch. The bad news is she’s still furious with me for cutting up her old dress.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Trouble With Drawstring Bags

Drunk with my success I decided I would make a few more drawstring bags. They turned out to be lessons in bag making. I’m going to call all my mistakes Humbling Bags. I shall build a palace to house them. Okay, maybe just throw them in a box. I shall look at them from time to time to remind me of my mistakes. Okay, maybe bury them in an unreachable place in the storeroom.

Humbling Bag No. 1

When I made Humbling Bag No. 1, I decided I would just do it without any pattern or even measurement. Just cut and sew. Oh, the arrogance.

This one I did with bits of an old bed sheet. The tragedy is in the lining. Because I did not measure, the lining was either too long or too big. I trimmed and squeezed and screamed and ripped and sewed and re-sewed and finally got the whole thing done. The process was not pretty. The bag started out much, much bigger.

Humbling Bag No. 2

This next bag was a disaster right from the start. First of all, I had this bit of green fabric and I just went and sewed satin stich of a rose outline on it without thinking about where the casing would be and ta da! The rose was too close to the casing. I like how the red cut-out turned out. Actually you can’t really see it but I made 2 holes in the red fabric. Butter fingers. (It’s very hard!) Another thing. I left the seams exposed. Exposed seams are very, very ugly. I cannot emphasise this enough.

Humbling Bag No. 3

I was staring at my Humbling Bag No. 2 and thought it would be such a good idea to use buttonholes instead of a casing for the drawstrings. And so began the longest journey of my sewing machine life. I had never sewn a buttonhole ever. It took many trials before I figured out how to use the buttonhole foot. Finally, I learnt how to sew an actual buttonhole. I already had the bag all sewn up. This time, I stupidly left the top seams exposed. I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn bias binding. Ha ha ha ha. Somebody throw ice water at me, please! Anyway, back to the darned buttonholes. I thought the hard part was over. I was wrong. I sewed 12 buttonholes below the top seam. I sewed and I sewed. 10 decades later, I was finally done. The buttonholes were sewn in a straight row, evenly spaced. Or so I thought. To my horror, I had sewn 5 buttonholes on one side and 7 buttonholes on the other. And they were all over the place. Man! I can’t sew straight and I can’t count.

I remembered it was 2am and I needed to get bias binding instruction fast. I followed littlelizzie tutorial(no longer available online) and it was pretty easy to understand. Getting the same result was something else. I used a bias tape maker which I had bought but never used. It worked out. It really did. But I had to discard the first 50cm because it was all scrunched up. Also I burned my finger really good. Hot tip: The tip of an iron is just as hot as the rest of the iron.

I followed littlelizzie tutorial to a T. Except at the end I realized I had forgotten to leave enough binding unsewn at the beginning so I couldn’t do the right angle trick to achieve a neat finish. It was almost 3am. I could see little insects creeping about on the floor. It was time I did my usual squeeze and trim and I finished the darn thing. Not pretty at all. I hate this bag so much I want to cry. The bias binding is all wrong from the inside. It’s so much thicker than the outside.

I’ll definitely try another bias binding bag using littlelizzie but this time I’ll do it during the day.

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