Monday, April 29, 2013

A giant zip pouch and others

On Sunday I woke up late as I usually do and I had no plans to sew. No plans at all even though it is my last week to sew anything for my path market at Vivocity this coming weekend. I already know I don't have much stock for my market (story of my life) and I didn't feel ashamed at all. You could say I'm quite good at letting myself off.

I don't even remember what happened but suddenly I found myself sewing away. It's like my hands took over my brains and said, "we're in charge." Before I knew it, I had finished this clutch.

I used a walnut hill farm fabric which I like a lot. Just look at the illustration. You can tell it's just my thing. I showed it to my family and got a round of applause. No, they don't always applaud. Sometimes it's a slow clap. Sometimes it's a so-so.

My adrenaline was really pumping and I dived into the next project. Nothing too complicated or big. I used the remaining large polka dots blue print. But there was a hitch. You know how you may have all the zippers in every colour and size but the one you need you're bound to run out of. So I had to go to a neighbourhood shop to buy a zipper and I had to pay more than double the price compared to the shops at Chinatown. Grrr...

Here's the completed zip pouch with the right size/colour zipper. So sad I don't have any more of this polka dot fabric left. At the same time, this linen cotton fabric is quite unyielding unlike cotton so it's also a relief.

You know how I often overdo stuff? Like get too into something and then get really sick and tired of it? I remembered that. So I stopped myself from making another item. I mean, two items in a day is pretty good. Plus, Sunday should be a non-working day!

Today I had to go out for a few hours to run some errands and I didn't really want to do it because I was still having a sewing high and I wanted to work on my next project. But the errands had to be run and then I rushed home to sew! Amazing. When was the last time this happened? It was late afternoon when I started and by the time I finished, the sun had died. But never mind, I still took photos of my three projects anyway.

I had been working on bits of patchwork on and off for a while and finally I decided I would turn it into a GIANT ZIP POUCH. The hand embroidery took a long time. I used batting instead of fusible interfacing as I wanted the embroidery to have a little quilted effect. I didn't really plan it out but let my fingers do the sewing. I used mainly running stitches and straight stitches.




This zip pouch can be used as a clutch or as a wristlet. It's so big I think my head could go in. Or maybe part of my head. No I didn't try. I love, love this giant zip pouch. I will put it up for sale at path market at Vivocity. I've not made a zip pouch this size before. I wonder if anyone will buy it?

Partay: Sew many ways

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Ketchup No. 5

This week went by super fast again.

I sewed nothing even though my hand got better. I did practice my drawing though. Mostly on photoshop elements. I had this idea of showing one drawing per week but it's weird to just randomly show a drawing. Oh, I find that as I grow older, I'm not as good at picking up software. Thank goodness I gave birth to a daughter who grew up to love photoshop and learns intuitively. Now if I need help, I just call out, "Girl, what happened to the colour palette?" or "Girl, my image disappeared!" and she runs over and rescues me.

We saw Iron Man 3. I got super pissed that the 3D glasses we had to pay $2 for were for tiny heads. Stupid Cathay Cinema! And I have a freakishly large head. And I wear glasses. So I had to wear my larger glasses over the tiny 3D glasses. Which made it very uncomfortable. Finally I perched the tiny 3D glasses over my glasses and managed to watch the movie this way even though it made me arch my neck. I need to get my own personal 3D glasses. Seriously. The movie is quite entertaining. Of course my girl found it waaay more entertaining because she's so into it. At the end of the movie, she made us sit through the credits just to see if there was any bonus clips. Yes, there was!

Managed to go to the swimming pool again. Thing is, I couldn't find my goggles from the last swim. Searched everywhere. So I took a chance and went to the lost & found at the pool hoping someone had found my goggles. The crew showed me a pair of goggles and it looked like my goggles but hubs said it wasn't mine. So I had to buy a new pair at the sports shop next to the pool which cost a fortune. Later when we were home, hubs looked up at the kitchen ceiling and found my other pair of goggles hung up high. I guess I wanted a SAFE PLACE. So now I have two goggles! Why are SAFE PLACES always so forgettable? Oh, we managed to get the wave pool and seriously folks, I got knocked down by one big wave and immediately hurt my right elbow. I really thought it was the end for me but false alarm. Just a small bruise. Oh, I saw a bunch of preschool kids learning to swim at the pool and why are preschoolers in swimming costumes learning to swim so darn cute?

These two zip pouches were made last week, I think. I haven't made these kind of zip pouches for a very long time. It's really nice to re-visit old designs once in a while. Next week is my vivocity craft market. Okay, I'm supposed to refer to it as Path market at Vivocity from now on. I don't have a whole lot of stock for the market but it's okay. I'm not going to stress over it. This weekend I hope to make a couple more items. Have a great weekend folks!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The great british sewing bee

So two days ago, youtube recommended a video to me and it was The Great British Sewing Bee. I watched the first episode and I was hooked! There are 4 episodes in all. Just search "The Great British Sewing Bee" in youtube and you'll be able to find them all.

Have you watched Project Runway? The great british sewing bee is the complete opposite. Project Runway is a reality show for designers who also have to sew. The british sewing bee is a reality show for home sewers. Basically, the best seamstress wins. On Project Runway, a designer's taste is an important criteria to winning. If you get called old fashioned, dated, you're out. The british sewing bee doesn't give a hoot about taste. It's all about following the pattern and getting good finishing. It's like a dream show for seamstresses.

The british sewing bee has a presenter. She is Claudia Winkleman. The first impression you get of her is her hair, very Chrissie Hynde. I quite like Claudia. She brightens up the show but I can imagine how irritating she can be to some people. Well, maybe a lot of people. The thing is, I keep wanting to arrange her hair like move it away from her eyes.

There are two judges, May Martin and Patrick Grant. Of course I've never heard of them. May's a sewing teacher and Patrick owns Savile Row. Isn't Patrick cute? And I so love his outfits. I am so used to reality shows where the judges are mean and horrible to contestants. Not these two. They are so polite! And they speak in hushed tones, almost like they don't want to disturb the sewers. What's wrong with them? Just kidding. It can be quite boring watching them judge. The only exciting moment was when one of the contestants persuaded Patrick to let her look at his trousers band.

A book accompanies the show. There are 25 projects in the book from clothing to homeware. Garments include a tea dress, pencil skirt, unisex pyjama bottoms and a waistcoat. The homewares and accessories include aprons, a stylist tote bag, laundry bag, a selection of cushion designs and three different window dressings. (amazon links at bottom of post)

The british sewing bee starts out with 8 contestants - 6 women and 2 men. Right away I could tell the men didn't stand a chance.


I liked Mark a lot though. He's into steam punk costumes which he sews himself. I think he has great taste and he even used the exact same skull fabric I had used before.

Yes, this skull fabric.

In the first episode, the first challenge was to make a A-line skirt. I've made one before and it's not flattering on my body. I realised from the challenge I've never made an invisible zipper before. Challenge accepted!

Each episode has 3 challenges and one of them is a tricky one. It can be embellishment or alteration. The other two challenges are sewing outfits. And the camera men gets bored showing the sewers sewing so we get a bit of interesting tidbits - sometimes historical, sometimes educational when sewing details are explained. I think the extra bits help the show since none of the contestants bitch talk.

Oh, I've already watched all 4 episodes and I shan't tell you who won because I found out who won before I watched the episodes and it was less fun. I was not surprised by the choice of the winner. She really won based on her body of work. Very consistent and good quality. If it were up to me and if I were to pick based on the last challenge, I would have picked another contestant because I really thought her outfit was way better. However, she was not as consistent throughout. I don't want to nitpick. Okay, yes I do. I thought the winner's outfits don't look fun to wear, however well made they look.

I hear there's a second season coming up. I want more menswear! And I feel so inspired to make clothes which I'm ashamed to admit I'm not at all comfortable sewing. Will work on it some time this year.

I am a Amazon associate who will get vouchers if you buy via my links.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The bags that broke my hand

Dear folks,

I finally did it. I hurt myself sewing. I've always been accident prone and often find myself stumbling from one accident to another. It became such a part of me that I don't even try extra hard to be careful. The only exception I made was for my right hand as I am right handed. When my kids or hubs wrestle with me, I would shout out, "my sewing hand!" I take care of my right hand like it's made of glass.

Unfortunately I forgot about my left hand. On Saturday I was on a roll and worked like a nut on my bags. I cut up a lot of fabric pieces, interfaced them, all ready to be sewn up.

These are the two items I completed. I hope they sell because they kinda "broke" my left hand. Yes, yes, I know I'm exaggerating. My hand is not broken. It just hurts when I bend my wrist or turn it in a particular angle. So kinda sore and inflamed.

The polka dot fabric I used is made of linen cotton and it's quite thick. The problem arises when I make handles. I need the handles to be as thin as possible in order not to add to the bulk. The only way out is to create a fabric tube which requires turning the fabric right side out. Which is not easy to do with thick fabric. Struggling with the fabric turning is probably what injured my left hand.

Using this polka dot fabric for the crescent bag is also not a good judgement call as linen creases like crazy especially around curves so you can see the little creases all over the zipper area. It's going to be hard to sell the crescent bag, I think.

On the other hand, the polka dot fabric really worked on the little zip bag. Isn't it super cute?

It turned out my left hand is used quite a lot. Now I find I can't do the following:

- scratch my butt
- put on my clothes
- floss
- butter my bread
- do anything requiring two hands

I have to stop sewing for a few days. I'm just glad I already have a reasonable amount of stock for my 4th/5th May craft market. Meanwhile I shall practice using my toes as my third hand. And I must take better care of my body parts. For a start, I shall make sure I have good posture when I sit.

Linked to : Sew Many Ways

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Ketchup No. 4

So this week went by pretty quick. Hubs took me to see Oblivion.

It's a sci-fi movie and Tom Cruise is in 99% of the scenes. I'm not exactly a Tom Cruise fan even though he did produce a beautiful daughter. I'm also not a Tom Cruise hater. I can take it or leave it. Oh, spoiler alert: Tom Cruise rides a bike in the movie. A lot. It's not a bad movie. But I have so many questions about the movie afterwards. Like... Oh, go see the movie for yourself.

Finally went to the swimming pool for a swim. Yay, I can finally justify buying my expensive swimming costume! Hubs went with me. It turned out this lady who had invited me to go swimming with her kinda found someone else to swim with. (yep, i got dumped) So either I go on my own or I wait for hubs to be free to go. I discovered I remembered how to swim. (I only know breaststroke) But I didn't have any sunscreen. Good thing I didn't get burnt.

Yesterday I decided I had best get some sunscreen for my next swim. I have super sensitive skin and have tried dozens of brand and always end up with rashes. One brand made me look like I had small pox. This brand I'm trying out is Avene. I walked into the shop and told the lady at the counter I was looking for... and the lady completed my sentence for me. Sunscreen, she said happily. Yes, is my face that red? Anyhoo, I will try it out next time I go swimming.

Today I did something really unusual. I read in the newspaper about this brush that could untangle tangled hair easily and I went to the shop and bought it. It's called Tangle Teezer and I bought the one that I could use in the shower. There were so many colours available but I only wanted the hot pink. It's quite unlike me to be persuaded by a newspaper article especially when it is to promote a product. But I have awful tangled hair and so does hubs. Plus we had this voucher which was expiring and we could use it to pay for this expensive brush. Haha. It does brush very nicely and for a few hours afterwards we look like we have flat hair. Our dream come true. So I think the brush did its job. But it did take off a few of my hair. If I were to use an ordinary hair brush, I would lose chunks of my hair. So I'm pretty happy with it. While I was choosing the colour of my brush, an old lady was happily buying up a storm. Why does she need so many? Probably as gifts.

I made a few drawstring bags for my market. I used to make these maybe a few years ago but one day I stopped making them. Probably got bored to death. I use whatever width and height of fabric I have so each bag is of a different size.

This print is Raggedy Ann & Andy by Lecien.

I used the leftover Ikea orange bird fabric to make this larger drawstring bag.

For my next drawstring bag, I wanted to do something a little different and as sometimes happens when we try new stuff, I'm feeling it's not great.

I added ruffles. I know I'm not a ruffles kind of person but I have been thinking of making ruffles for a while and this seemed like a good time to start.

This is what the bag looks like drawn. I'm not loving the squishiness of it. This print is also by Lecien. (check out the hula hula girls) I haven't given up on ruffles yet. Will try it again sometime soon. And how was your week?

Disclosure: i am a amazon associate

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Instant download

As some of you may know, I have been selling my bag patterns on Etsy as instant download since early this month.

When I first received the invitation from Etsy to try out this new feature for digital items, I went to the moon and back. I had been wondering when Etsy would include instant download. I sell at a few other sites which have instant download. Here they are if you're interested: Delighted, Craftsy and Pattern Spot.

So what's so great about instant download?

For me, I need not send my files via email to my customers. One disadvantage of sending via email is sometimes the emails don't reach the recipient and I get angry customers. I notice this usually happens for emails that end with edu.

For the customers, there is no need to wait for the files to be delivered. The customer, after completing payment, does the download herself. If you wish to familiarize yourself with the download procedure, please go here for Etsy help.

I don't know if Etsy has rolled out Instant download feature to all sellers yet. If not, it should be very soon.

My experience with Etsy's instant download feature? I'll be honest. I was nervous. I went to Etsy's forum to check on Admin's input and read other seller's experiences before I converted. Other than adding the words "instant download" and uploading my files to Etsy server, I only did one more thing. And that was to write an appropriate message to buyer for the digital download purchase.

In the beginning, I would obsessively check to see if my customers had downloaded the files. Etsy provides a Download status for sellers. I'm happy to report, all my customers have downloaded the files successfully to date. I'm also happy to report I no longer obsess over it.

This is truly the best thing Etsy has done (that benefited me). And currently, the fees for instant download is the same as for physical items. I hope there will be no increase. Fingers crossed.

And thanks to all my brave customers who tried out the instant download. Oh, 1 more Etsy sale and I hit 400! I know it's a small number but it took me a very, very, very long time.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Japanese Stab Bookbinding

I don't know if you've noticed but for a while now I've been cheating on my bags with knitting, beadweaving, tatting, crocheting, hair accessorizing and last Thursday, I did it again. This time with bookbinding. Don't get me wrong. Bag making is still my Number One priority. But I need to learn other crafts as I enjoy learning and getting excited about something I know nothing about. And lately, bag making hasn't been that exciting for me. I mean let's face it. The honeymoon is over. Seeing the same face, day in day out... wait, I am talking about my bag making, right?

Also, if all I do day in day out is make bags, I will go insane. I already see a bit of insanity in me during the weeks when I have to sew intensively because I've been busy doing other stuff (being lazy). Not good for me. This is my 6th year making bags and the 4th year I make bags for sale. I have already made more than 1,000 bags. It's been a long time. <long pause>

What a long explanation for me to learn a little craft! But really, I want you to know what's going on with me. I think that if I regularly take time out to indulge in other crafts, I will be a better bag maker. Otherwise I will continue to be in some kind of a funk and turn into a robotic bag-maker.

So this Japanese Stab Bookbinding workshop was conducted at Monster Gallery. I hadn't been to the Monster's new studio at Chinatown so hubs took me there using his Google Maps. We did a bit of walkabout at Chinatown and discovered that it has become very Chinatown since we last did a walkabout years ago. I definitely want to go back and have a look around in a few shops which sell stainless steel cookware! (that's the housewife in me screaming: stainless steel!)

The guy conducting the course is Leng and he has a blog here if you're interested. Leng did most of the hard work preparing all the materials needed. He even prepared templates so we need not do the measurements ourselves. What a guy. Oh, I really enjoyed his workshop!

Here he is again. I asked him to pose with his book of secrets. He draws very complicated diagrams of the patterns and of course only he can decipher it. If I were to look at it, I would probably see... Must. Eat. Banana. Custard.

These are our materials. I'm so happy to see the Japanese paper. I used to do a lot of Sashiko embroidery in the past and the print reminds me of Sashiko formation.

We need to use an awl. It's an essential tool. You know how clumsy I am. I ended up almost stabbing myself with it. It was just a prick. No blood. But last night I managed to hand sew onto my skin, would you believe it? I almost screamed my head off. Wait, I did.

We sewed 3 books in all. The first one is a basic binding, nothing fancy, just to get the idea. This is the second book I sewed. It uses the hemp-leaf binding method. I struggled a little to understand how the stitching is done for this method. For me, I learn best if I can see the technique. If you say, go here, go here, go there, after the workshop I'll forget everything. Simply following instructions doesn't do it for me. So for this second book, I took my time to figure it out and made a few mistakes here and there. Really, for such things, you learn best from mistakes.

This is the third book I sewed. The binding method is called tortoise shell. It's the most complicated of the three mostly because it has more holes to stitch through. When I sewed the binding, I still wasn't that confident I was doing everything right but once I completed it, I knew I've grasped the concept. After all, it is sewing and if I can sew the complicated embroidery stitches, this cannot be that hard.

This is a recommended book for Japanese book-binding and it's available at the library. So I intend to check that out and I will report my finding if I discover anything exciting. The only thing that irritates me about book-binding is that I can't find any local stores that sells the supplies. Like the linen thread for instance. I'm definitely going to have a tough time finding it.

There's another kind of bookbinding technique which I would like to pick up. It's called coptic binding, I think and I might want to see if I can learn it off the web seeing how it's not too hard. Anyway, I have started to make a few notebooks just for fun as well as to help me remember the technique. I'll show them to you next time. I'm using sashiko thread and I may try using waxed cotton as well just to see if it works.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Ketchup No. 3

Last week was bad for me and it carried over to early this week.

This was me last week. I knew something was wrong because I usually feel like this:

My face, eyes, nose, throat, neck - basically everything from neck up hurt. There was phlegm. Serious phlegm. In different colours too. Red, orange, green, yellow and I swear I saw blue once.

When I cough, my head and neck hurts. Like DOINK DOINK DOINK DOINK hurt. When I turn my head, it hurt like DOINK DOINK DOINK DOINK hurt.

So I kinda knew something was wrong.

Then it dawned on me.

This time the smog came from Myanmar and Thailand, I think. My neighbours burning papers and incense contributed as well. Plus the smokers... It's like smoke followed me everywhere I turned. Even in my own home.

Finally on Wednesday everything got better. I could turn my head without pain. And I could laugh without pain.

I'm starting to feel like normal again.

But I still can't bend my body like if I were walking and I see a $100 note on the ground, no siree. I keep walking because I can't bend over to pick up the money without passing out. And the phlegm is all clear now, tq.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Orange Bird Messenger Bag

So it turned out I really wanted to be treated like a child. This treating making bags as "homework" is really working. I made another bag!

I made a messenger bag using the pattern I had made last year. (blogged here) I made it without using any interfacing as the fabric is pretty tough and I like the drapey look when it comes to large bags.

I marketed it as a weekend project but of course it didn't take me one weekend to make it. I didn't time myself but I estimate it took me 2 hours to make it. Anyone else would need a slightly longer time (ahem). I haven't sewed any messenger bag since I published the pattern as I made so many samples during the testing period that I couldn't face making another one. Not sure if you've been there before but making the same bag over and over is more or less the same as eating the same food every day. You go through yay!/okay.../blah/boo/sigh/sob. But enough time has passed and today I felt I could make one again.

I used a Ikea fabric and you may not have noticed but I don't use the colour orange much. This one is quite popular - in fact you could easily find many pouches and bags made in this fabric for sale in most handmade markets. I especially love the birds prints against the orange.

I wonder if anyone feels icky about using bags made out of Ikea fabric? I have come across women who literally flee when they find out the fabric bag they are so drawn to is made of Ikea fabric. I call them the Ikea-fabric-haters. I suppose it would be awkward if one goes visiting carrying this orange bird messenger bag and discovers a couch cover in the exact same print in the home.

Well, I have said this many times before. I love Ikea fabric, especially anything with birds! I get the feeling the quality of Ikea fabric has fallen over the years. I've been buying Ikea fabric for a long time and this is just based on my gut feeling. I still pine for some of their older solids which used to come in gorgeous slubs. The newer ones are not slubby at all. Some of the dye used are quite horrid as well. They run horribly and I have spent quite a lot of money on colour catchers and not to mention the time and effort in salting the fabric. Despite all the negatives, I still buy Ikea fabric from time to time but I am very selective about the print. I tend to run into trouble when I buy black prints in white background.

Oh, I couldn't resist adding a little embroidery to the birds! In case you're wondering, the bird is whistling "I don't give a fig about you..."  Yes, yes, of course I'm kidding. The bird is really whistling, pee pee poo pee pee. Speaking of birds, someone who lives opposite my block bought a bird and every day, for hours, especially in the morning, the bird would go:


Stupid dem bird. It's horrible especially when you have homework to complete.

Melly is saying: next time don't be such a crybaby.

Poor Bear is still traumatized he couldn't fit into my scooter shoulder bag yesterday. So glad the messenger bag is a big one (for his big butt <giggle, giggle>)

If you want to get the pattern for this messenger bag, it's available for purchase at my Etsy store here. It's instant download which means you can download it within seconds after your payment is complete. Please use the coupon code EASY20 for a 20% discount. This promotion will end on Friday, Singapore time.

Oh, to add another craft under my belt, tonight I'm attending a bookbinding workshop! Will tell you guys about it another day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Scooter Shoulder Bag


Today I decided to try a different approach to getting myself to make bags. I decided to treat myself like a child. So the new approach is this: I treat making bags as homework and I don't get to play until I have finished my homework. And you know what? It worked. Maybe it worked for today and for all I know, I'll have to go back to using my finger gun but the important thing is I made a bag.

So I looked around the mess next to my sewing table and saw this scooter fabric. I love the scooters print but everything hinged on finding a suitable lining. I'm so glad I had just the one right lining visible in the pile.

Nowadays I try not to make the same design over and over again. Because I get so bored and when I get bored I stop sewing. Today while looking at the scooter fabric, I thought it would look good as a little shoulder bag. And because finding the right colour zipper would involve more searching, I decided I would not do zipper. Why am I so lazy?

What do you think? Am I right about the scooter fabric? Perfect for a little shoulder bag.

You probably can't tell the size of the shoulder bag so I took this pic with my girl's water bottle. Now you can see it's not such a big bag.

It fits Melly but not Bear. Just look at him. Having a Big Sulk. But he does have a huge butt.

 Here. You can take a peek at the lining yourself.

I am thinking this scooter shoulder bag would look really good with a long strap and slightly larger. I'm excited. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow. Meanwhile I am done with my homework and I'm going to go play.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

My Bag Pattern Shop

My Applique Patterns

My Embroidery Patterns