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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

tote-ally proud of myself

right after i got the bug up my ass to learn how to sew, i heard that joann's had all of their simplicity patterns on sale for $.99. knowing that the regular retail prices of those things ranged anywhere from $3 to $20, i decided to take my happy ass over to my local store and stock up. with a limit of 10, i pored through the pages of the current catalog, made a list, trotted over to the big cabinets and pulled out my picks.

now that i'm more familiar with my machine and comfortable with the basics, i decided to pick up some cute material to make one of those patterns:

i'm a sucker for a cute tote, and while i was slightly intimidated by the 10+ pieces included in this pattern, i figured that it couldn't be all that hard. so on saturday, while the hub was off doing his manly-man thing and the bean was deep into her afternoon nap, i dove in.

luckily, the version of the bag i'd settled on didn't take all of the pattern pieces (duh), but i still had a lot of cutting to do. it seems that this part takes me forever, between cutting the pattern itself out, pinning it properly onto the fabric, and then cutting the actual material with notches and crap. not to mention, i had to transfer all of the markings that would help me later on, during the sewing process. sheesh.

whew! by the time i was finally done and ready to actually start sewing, the bean was up and about. between changing her diaper, giving her a snack, putting on her "hooked on phonics" DVD, and keeping her entertained, it was pretty stinkin' tricky to continue with my project, but i managed.

the directions are actually pretty easy to follow, and i sewed along merrily while i watched those random looking pieces of fabric turn into a tote bag. i decided to throw caution to the wind and improvise by adding a pocket to the interior lining - without a pattern - and was pleased with my results. pretty exciting, right? like, i'm so freaking smart sometimes, i can hardly stand it.

i got through almost the entire process, totally proud of myself, until it was time to work on the lining. i read through the instructions for those final steps about a zillion times, totally confused and ready to throw the whole damn thing out the window, and then those macgyver skills came into play again. i pulled out the instructions for the bag i'd made for the teen and decided to use that technique for the lining for this bag. while it's not perfect, and if you look closely at the finished product, you'll see all sorts of mistakes and exposed raw edges and stitches and shit, it's a'ight.

and then as i was cleaning up, putting my supplies away and sweeping up all the little snippets of fabric and thread and shit that had collected on the table and scattered on the floor around me, i totally cracked up when i came across two pieces of unused cutout pattern pieces. when i referred back to the instructions sheet, it all clicked into place in my head and i realized that those two pieces of material were the missing link in my lining. i'd been so damn confused, and the sight of those cutouts cleared it all up. it was too late and/or i was far too lazy to take the bag apart again and redo it properly, so i resolved to make another version sometime and do it right.

the next morning, i decided to actually use my new bag and transferred all of the shit from my purse. and then when i slung it over my shoulder oh-so-proudly and took this picture:

i realized that i'd made yet another error: the handles were on sideways! bah. oh, well. it's still cute, i'll still use it, and i'll just chalk it up to the learning process. heh.

the bean was proud, too. when the hub got home, she toddled over to point at the bag, hanging on a chair, and said "look, daddy! mommy made it." i was all gooey and warm and fuzzy inside as she said it.

the next day, with the jaws of that sewing bug still firmly planted in my left ass cheek, i decided to experiment with some wide elastic and a length of fabric i'd chosen for the teen. i measured her, cut out the material, and sat down at the machine. after about 10 minutes, i was done, and had her try on her new skirt (which the bean was excited to pose in front of, too):

except that i hadn't thought it through completely and realized that while the waistband was elastic, i hadn't used enough fabric that would provide enough gathering to actually stretch it out. heh. that's what i get for winging it without a pattern or proper instructions. at least it was simple enough that it won't be too much of a pain in the ass to take it apart and try again.

yesterday, i spent a couple of hours working with a length of fabric with a really cool asian-ish design that the teen picked out. i'd washed and dried it, and then i ironed it all out, set it up, cut out the pattern pieces for a simple dress she liked, and got all of the materials pinned and cut out. the pile of fabric, lining, and interfacing is now sitting on the table, just waiting to be sewn together. i'm going to tackle it when i get home this afternoon.

wish me luck.


  1. that bag is totally cute!! i see etsy in your future:)

  2. that bag is cute, I like the fabric very much.

  3. You got skills, woman. I'm very impressed.

  4. i "learned" to sew at age 10... and my smart mama put me to work; sewing recieving blankets for new babies, and hemming the pants of any and all family members, haha. but reading your last few posts makes me want to master that zipper foot. your little pouch is adorable, and so is the tote. can't wait to start cranking stuff out~

  5. I KNEW before I got to that part that you must have dropped a pattern piece or two. lol this is funny. Cute bag!

  6. I really like the bag! So cute. The picture of the bean in front of the skit is cute too. How can she be so tall already?? Her head reaches the door handle? Really?


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