This is the extent of knitting related accomplishments for the last week or so. None of the seventy-eleven pairs of socks I’ve started have comrades yet (or comraids, depending on who you ask). Nonetheless, I did start and finish a whole other pair of socks. Probably the best socks I ever knit.

handspun socks

From my own handspun yarn, for Mag to wear when we go for walks on chilly mornings. Actually, I walk and she rides in the buggy with pretzels. The yarn is made from Hello Yarn hand dyed wool top in the color ‘Scrappy’.

Despite the lack of knitting, I’ve been busy with other crafty pursuits. For some crazy reason I decided to make myself some clothes to wear to my cousin’s wedding at the end of the month. After I bought the fabric and patterns I remembered that I’m not a seamstress. That didn’t stop me from making a whole outfit and it turned out rather well, actually. I’m sort of inspired to sew a whole fall wardrobe and improve my crude sewing skills.

I made a wrap top with long sleeves, a skirt and a jacket (linked to pictures of the patterns in flickr). I’ll try and get some pictures of my outfit after I hem the jacket, but no promises there. The skirt and the jacket are unlined, which is fine but I’d really like to try to make some nicer, lined things. CUTE LINED JACKET ALERT.

There are also Halloween costumes in the works – Knight for Jerry, Dragon for Maggie. I’m trying to buy as little new stuff as possible to save money and because there’s just so much crap around my house, but the Knight might require some special supplies.

So yea, I’ve been sorta super busy with the sewing, but not so much with the knitting.


Step away from the alpaca, baby.

Hey, just one more thing. The ‘tape hand’ thing from the last entry was reference to the new show “Reaper” on The CW. It was a line from the series premiere, and Nova was the first in the comments to get it. Yeah for Nova! And yeah for anyone else who is watching this awesome new show.

(No, I haven’t decided what to do with the sister sweater. Don’t ask.)

How to make the perfect bag.

shoulder bag

Step 1:
Begin by rifling through your fabric stash. Throw fabrics together, experiment, make a mess. You will be surprised by what goes together. Some old scrap of yard sale fabric might just go perfectly with that $12/yard Kaffe Fasset print you’ve been saving for the perfect project.

Step 2:
Plan out the bag. Take notes on how it will be used, what size it should be, what specific things it will carry, the order in which to piece it together, and how cool you will be carrying it around to all awesome places you go.

shoulder bag (inside)

Step 3:
Guesstimate how big you want the bag to be. Take notes of these “measurements”. Imprecise, but it works for me! (Most of the time.)

Step 4:
Begin cutting. Also start sewing. Oops, wait. Don’t forget the interfacing. And wouldn’t it be cool to add a pocket to the lining? Dang, I cut that piece the wrong way. Start over? NO! Design feature!

shoulder bag - wearing

Step 5:
Wear your bag proudly. Don’t EVER tell anyone about all the mistakes you made. They’ll never know.

Step 6:
Remember all that fabric you tossed around is Step 1? You must remember to clean it off the bed before your husband gets home because he’ll just throw it on the floor when he tries to lay down after a long day at work and then you’ll be mad that he threw your fabric stash all over the floor and it’s really hard to get him to compliment you on your fantastic sewing skillz if he just had to wade through the fabric stash that he didn’t even really know existed…. Point is, hide the stash before the hub gets home.

Step 7:
Make another bag, for practice really does make perfect. Or, at least, better.

Now I know I didn’t really tell you how to make a bag.  But it’s not hard!  For the bag pictured above, I used a front and back panel of the same size, then connected them with a gusset for depth.  The flap and the strap were both added at the end.  The lining and the pockets are just additions to the basic shape and easy to do once you get the hang of it.

For the bags pictures below, I used an even easier method.  Take a long rectangle of fabric, fold it in half lengthwise and sew up the sides.  To add depth and create a flat bottom, sew a short corner seam on each side that is perpendicular to the side seam.  Again, pockets and linings are just additional steps added to the basic shape.

stolen bag

This little tote was originally for Maggie, but I liked it so much that I decided to use it as a sock bag.

The green lining is my favorite part.

stolen bag

Jerry got a lunch bag to take to school.

lunch bag

I tried really hard not to make it dorky.

lunch bag

Now go make yourself a tote!  The thing that helps me the most is the planning step.  Before I even cut a lick of fabric, I take notes about what order I’m going to sew things in.  Especially when I go all renegade without a pattern, it helps me keep my thoughts in order, and helps me not to forget anything.  Like straps.  And interfacing!  Do you know how much better your bags will be if you add interfacing?  It’s true.  Try it!

Weekender Bag

Weekender Bag

Next weekend I’m jetting off to Italy to meet some dear friends for a long overdue girls-only vacation.

Ack! Who am I kidding?!?! That kind of trip is not in the cards just yet. Though it would be lovely to be jetting off anywhere for the weekend, I’ve only got the bag – not the plane ticket.

The pattern is Amy Butler’s Weekender Bag. It was a challenging project for me because it took a perfectionism that I usually don’t have for sewing. But the pattern was clear and easy to understand, especially since I read each step through about a thousand times! Taking the time to get all the details right really paid off, because I love the finished product.

Weekender Bag

I used fabric that I bought months ago at Hancock Fabrics. I love that it is modern and bold, but the price tag made it even better: $2.00 a yard! I purchased more than enough for two bags. Specifically, the fabric is Laurie Smith for Hancock Fabrics. The exterior print is Zigzag in color Leaf, and the interior, piping and handles are Anemone in color Curry.

The only modification I made was to add interior pockets. They were sewn to the interior lining before sewing the pieces together.

Weekender Bag - inside pocket

Weekender Bag - inside pocket

If I make the pattern again, I might add some length to the handles or add a longer shoulder strap. I usually prefer to sling a bag over my shoulder messenger-bag-style. But other than that one change, I’d make it exactly the same.

And just to give you a better idea of how big it is:

Weekender Bag

Very, very big.

Though there is no exciting trans-Atlantic trip for me yet, I’ll be ready with my groovy Weekender when the time comes.