Sunday, November 7, 2010

Handbag Making, Part 2 - Sewing Instructions

Here we go! I've finished the purse, took step-by-step photos, and am ready to let you in on all of my not-so-secret-secrets. It is pretty basic. I really like the black and white and bought a pre-made black flower pin yesterday to stick on it (although it is not pictured).

For fabric dimensions, see below for Part 1 - cutting directions.
We have 5 basic pieces: Outside of Bag (Fabric A - Black swirls), Outside Bag Top (Fabric B - white w/ black swirls), Straps (same Fabric B), Inside Bag (Fabric C - white with small black pattern), and the Interfacing.

I use a regular sewing machine and a serger, although everything can be done on just a regular machine. I am lucky enough to have a serger and I love how it cleans up edges, but we are lining the bag with Fabric C so it is fine is this is done entirely on a sewing machine as we will never see the seams anyways.

Three things to know:
1. Seam allowance 1/4".
2. Always pin fronts of fabrics facing each other!
3. Thread color: Serger - standard white.
Sewing Machine - I choose a coordinating color. For this bag I went black, but the darker the color, the more obvious the stitch and the need to make sure lines are straight.

1. Pin the front bag pieces together and sew.
2. Iron open.
3. Iron Interfacing to the back of bag fronts with shiny fusible side facing back of fabric.
4. Top-stitch 1/4" above and below the steam, between contrasting fabrics.

5. Go back and IRON Straps Interfacing to the back of two straps.
6. Pin Straps fabric together (interfacing w/ strap fabric to strap fabric x 2).
Pin Bag Fronts together on 3 sides (side, bottom, & side).

7. Sew.
8. Flip bag and straps right-side-out. (For straps, I use a drum stick from our guitar hero set. Be patient - this is the worst part.)
8. Iron flat.
9. Topstitch straps 1/4" in from each side.

10. Pin straps to bag. One strap to front/One strap to back. Equidistant from outside edge (aprox 1"). Make sure straps aren't twisted.
11. Stitch handles to bag.

1. Pin Inside Bag and Sew outside edges but not the bottom (you can sew half of the bottom and leave a hole to flip bag through but I think it is easier to sew the bottom all at once).
2. Keep bag inside out and slip over Outside Bag w/ straps. Pin bags together, making sure straps are down and between bags. Sew all the ways around 3/8" in from edge (so as to not show strap stitching).
3. Flip Inside Bag right-side-out.
4. Fold unfinished bottom in 1/4" and press.
5. Sew along very edge of bag (as close as possible without going off).
6. Tuck Inside Bag INSIDE (almost done!) and Pin.
7. Top-stitch 1/4" in from top edge & DONE!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Handbag-Making part 1 - Cutting Instructions

I hate big, poofy, obnoxious purses of junk and I am aware that I may be alone in this feeling, but I am okay with that. I like my "bag" of necessities: keys, wallet, phone, lip-gloss, and a book. That's it! Years ago I found my perfect bag and loved it, until it got so dingy that I couldn't bear to take it out into public anymore. Here it is... my Soft Sky Corduroy bag that was simple and casual - just like me.

Well, last year I was introduced to the Crafting-Blog-World where a sister-of-a-friend has the most amazing blog (I Am Momma Hear Me Roar) that got me sewing again. Seriously, if I had the time, I would make just about every idea that she posts. Anyway, last year she had a guest post making Easter baskets that I just had to make. I thought they could even double as church bags for the kids but a friend told me they looked a little purse-ish and I had to nix the idea (at least for the boys, Hannah still uses hers).

Soon after, I came across my saved-yet-neglected purse/bag and realized how similar it was to the Easter Baskets. A few basic changes and it could easily be replicated. I gave it a try and it turned out so successful that I have made at least a dozen more. I keep giving them away as presents. Even my daughter's friends are asking for them. The one on the left was my first attempt with the same denim that I used on the baskets and the single strap. The two other purses I made for friends but felt the need to test-run them before I could send them and have never gotten around to it. (Seriously, if it has to go in the mail, you may never get whatever it is I have bought or made for you!)

Recently, the ladies at church have convinced me to teach how to make them and a different friend is doing some craft-fairs and has asked me to make some for her to sell. I have been writing down measurements and figuring out the step-by-steps so I figured, as long as I am going to write out the instructions, why not post it Craft-blog-like-style. I went shopping this week and came home with the makings for at least 8 bags. I'm pretty excited with what I have so far (a few classic ones but mostly prints that I would want myself)!

*all measurements are width by height!
cutting diagram for interfacing
Supplies: Interfacing
1 medium weight Fusible Interfacing -
2/3 yard (by standard 20" wide).

Interfacing for front and back of bag -
cut 2 rectangles: 11-1/2" x 13-1/2"
Shoulder straps -
cut 2 strips: 23" x 2

(Interfacing, if cut as shown, will fit perfectly on 2/3 yard by 20”. Only need two straps although cutting 3. Third strap can be saved or discarded.)

3 cotton fabrics - 1foot each (by 45"),
washed and ironed.

Yellow (fabric A) = OUTSIDE OF BAG:
(cut 2) 11-1/2" x 10"
(cut 2) 11-1/2" x 4"
(cut 4) 23" x 2"
(cut 2) 11-1/2" x 13-1/2"

Secret to cutting fabric:
Never trust the fabric store to cut your fabric exactly at 12". They will always give you a hair extra to make sure that you have enough. Don't expect their cut to be straight either. The only edge that you can trust to be straight is the bottom SALVAGE edge. The bottom 1/2" edge of the fabric is the salvage edge and will need to be cut off. Fold your fabric in half so the Salvage edges are together and cut it off. This is the only edge that you can trust to be straight so do your best to keep your new cut straight too.
Below: Fold is to the left and salvage edge is on the right.

Fabric A: (cut 2) 11-1/2" x 10" - Outside of Bag
1. Cut off your salvage edge off Fabric A. Fabric should be approx 12" wide.
2. Now, cut the rectangle (11-1/2" x 10") to create the front of the bag. Cut 10" up from new salvage edge to (create the height of rectangle). Now, line up your cut edge along cutting mat and use the grid to show you where to cut a perpendicular line on the raw edge. Cut off 1/4" - 1/2" to create clean edge. Now, measure 11-1/2" and cut for width.

Fabric B: (cut 4) 23" x 2" - Straps. (cut 2) 11-1/2" x 4" - Outside bag tops.
1. Fold in half and cut off salvage edge.
2. Line up clean salvage edge along bottom of cutting mat. Cut clean perpendicular edge along right long-side of fabric. Cut 4 - 2" strips along whole length for straps.
3. Open up your 2" strips and cut to 23" length.
4. Cut 1 - 4" width. Now, cut length of 4" strip down to 11-1/2" to create bag top.

Fabric C: (cut 2) 11-1/2" x 13-1/2" - Inside of bag
Folded edge to left. Salvage edge to far right.
1. Fold in half and cut Salvage off of ends. Measure up 13-1/2" to create the height of rectangles and cut.
2. Use grid on cutting mat to create perpendicular clean edge. Cut off 1/4" - 1/2" to create clean edge. Now, measure 11-1/2" and cut for width.

You will have some left-over pieces but the fabric pieces you want should look something like this (although not the same patterns, of course).

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I love all of my kids but I am always a little amazed by their differences. Ethan is my laid back Moss. He didn't pick up any of my Talbot artsy-ness and is ALL BOY.

He loves video games, guns, playing soccer, and riding his bike. He has been mad at me two summers now for not signing him up for baseball so next summer I will definitely SIGN HIM UP! He is also quite the ladies man! He has gotten numerous love letters from his girl "friends". He likes these girls and considers them his friends without being all mushy or goofy about it (being goofy for girls seems like Alden's specialty, but that will make for another post).

This is Ethan with his friend Kayla, at Farm Fest last week.
Ethan shared with us, the other night at dinner, that Kayla has decided she is going to marry him. When we asked his opinion on it, he replied with a shrug, "I'm fine with it".

His laid back attitude just kills me (in a good way). This kid is ALL MOSS! When he was a baby he was so laid back that we called him "Buddha". When he hit two we traded in his nick-name for "El Diablo" because he became a rough boy that could take Isaac and Hannah at the same time and make them cry. School and sports have been great for him because they have provided him with physical and mental outlets (much to the family's relief).

He is quiet, but he makes up for it in actions. He provides the best hugs a mom (and dad) could ask for (and in abundance). Very little bothers this kid and he takes the good and bad with an acceptance that seems pretty mature for six years old. He definitely takes after his dad. David says it is the "Don't Care" gene, but I think it is more than that. I think he has an old soul.

I feel pretty lucky to have him.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Farm Fest

Last Saturday we spent a busy day at two soccer games and then headed over to my FAVORITE family activity of the year... FARM FEST! Farm Fest is our school fundraiser, held at the Grotjan's farm. It is my photo-opt of the year. We have been in Palmyra six years and I have six years of Farm Fest pictures. Hannah was a kindergartner when we started, and now look at her. I may have to find some before and afters. Of course, our traditional hayride shot.
This year we were also joined by Aunt SueAnnie and Rachel,

as well as Uncle Rob and Matthew.
The kids went of 4-wheeler rides, horse rides, hay rides, climbed hay stacks, sprayed fire-hoses, pet llamas, painted pumpkins and enjoyed a yummy lunch. We loved the company and had our usual blast.

Friday, September 10, 2010

We are exhausted!

Okay, so this is posed because I missed my photo op, but this really is how I found Alden yesterday. School has begun in earnest and I don't know which is worse - end of summer where the kids and I are bored of the easy life or the school year in full swing. Now that we are back in the swing, we have Alden in school in the mornings and then home in time for some babysitting on my part & playing on Alden's. Babysat kids are picked up in time for our big kids to come home from school, which includes our beloved friend Danielle (Alden's best friend that I babysat last year) for an hour. I teach piano lessons while kids hang out/relax/play, and then we are off again for soccer (for either Hannah or Ethan), homework, dinner, and bedtime.
Alden fell asleep yesterday after Danielle left and, with the exception of waking up to be dressed for bed, slept all afternoon and night.
Today I was suppose to go grocery shopping but instead, we are taking it easy. My excuse is that I also need to do laundry, but really it is because I am just too tired.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Day of School

No tears at my house this morning. We have had a lot of fun this summer between vacations with family and a lot of pool time, but my kids are bored (too much tv and and too many house chores). They are ready for some stimulated learning and friends that aren't siblings (as great as they are). Alden was thrilled that it has finally become his turn with K4 every morning, Ethan is in 1st, Isaac 4th, and Hannah 6th. Where has the time gone? My oldest wishes that 6th were really at a middle school like some of her other friends and my baby is no longer a baby.

As for me, Dave thought I would be sad to loose Alden but I am celebrating in a little freedom. Two and a half hours every morning. A little time to accomplish the many jobs around my house that I never get to and to recommit to getting some exercise in an effort to fight this aging process that is so obvious as a parent of four. I have to admit that while I was productive this morning, the quiet was a little weird.

And so we resume another school year full of school, homework, piano lessons, and soccer. Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

the NAUGHTY middle finger

I know I committed to keeping this blog updated to share with family and friends but summer has hit and we have been on what seems like a constant run. We have had a blast. Vacation to Utah to visit family and friends (is it okay to blog about vacations that are more then a month old because I would still like to?) and family reunion once we got home that has lasted three weeks with all of the family that came into town. The last of them left today and we will miss you dearly. Last week I was hoping we would start to slow down. Since it didn't, I am hoping that this is the week. We'll see...

On to the learning experience of the week... the MIDDLE FINGER...

Friday we were getting ready to head out for another day with the cousins when I heard Ethan and Isaac fighting in their bedroom and I went in to see if they needed a referee. Ethan (6) had been flashing Isaac the middle finger and Isaac was pretty offended although Ethan didn't understand why, so of course he kept doing it. I tried to explain that it represents a naught word so we don't do it. Just when I thought he got it he would do it again, trying to understand which figures can go up alone and which ones can't.

"Nope. It is naughty so we don't do it."

He burst into tears crying "But I'm not naughty! I'm not naughty!"

"I know, that is why we don't do it."

and we headed off for a fun day. I was naive to think that was the end of it.

Today at church I got pulled from my class by my youngest son's teacher with him in tow. Turns out he was experimenting with the same finger, flashing it around (numerous times by the sound of it. He is turning into quite the show off). He made sure to look pretty dejected but I know to not buy into his sorry act too quickly as I have seen him flash a smile when the person chastising isn't looking. His teacher asked him if he knew what it meant and he said yes, but let's give the kid a break - He's four and his version of knowing what it means is really only that he is not suppose to do it. Of course, that is why it is intriguing.

What you have to understand about Alden is that this boy is quickly mastering the art of misdirection. When he gets hurt he has to go to the bathroom and when he is in trouble he needs a drink. So of course, today, rather than talk about why he is in the hall with his mother and his teacher, he needs a drink.

We established the problem but then, all he would do was cry about that drink that he so desperately needed. I let his teacher head back to her class and Alden and I stayed in the hall to hash out the problem. He could see the water-fountain just down the hall but I wasn't about to budge. Instead we stood there against the wall waiting until he was ready to discuss the problem and not his thirst. We were there a good five minutes although I don't know how long for sure before he finally caved and we had our little talk that established that while he knew not to do it, he doesn't know what it means so why should it result in being naughty.

Me: "We don't say naughty words, right?"

Alden: "Right."

Me: "Well, it means a naughty word so we just don't do it. It is naughty gesture. Okay?"

Alden: "Okay."

Me: "Now you have to fix it". This is my favorite phrase for the kids and there is no mistaking what he needs to do next but he stalls for time. "What are the words?"

Alden: stalling, "I'm ....what's the word?" more stalling... "sorry."

Me: "Alright, let's go see your teacher."

Well, we got to his teacher and he wouldn't say the words so we went out in the hall. His teacher came and tried to talk to him and I was lucky I was behind them because it was all I could do to not laugh out loud. He was still being stubborn so his teacher went back to class and this time he stood with his nose to the wall, with only an occasionally cry about being thirsty. His class walked by to head into Primary and on he stood. Finally he said he was ready again.

We went in and he apologized to his teacher but I didn't hear it cause he whispered it in to her ear. She heard it and that is what matters.

Me: "And what are we not going to do anymore?"

Alden: pointed to third finger on his closed fist.

I felt like that had been a job well done so I went to leave and I heard from him... "But I'm THIRSTY!"

Me: "Sorry Pal. You should have cracked a long time ago because you have to sit with your class now."

and I left. Yep, I'm a mean mom like that.

I got back to my class just in time for it to be over.