Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Even Randomer Than Usual

Looky! The second draft!

94 pages. 
Ninety. Four.
And hundreds of photos and diagrams.

It really should be a book. But it isn't the kind of book I'd like to write someday. Therefore I'm still calling it a pattern. I finished it last night and, as a reward, I let myself go to school to help out a fellow mom with some volunteer thing. And I sat with Kate in the cafeteria at lunchtime and listened to her exciting day, and snuck over to Jenna's table to say hello.

So we're in the homestretch now, friends. After I proofread this second draft, it goes to the testing lab, after which I do a final round of editing and formatting, and then you guys can finally have it. I am excited for that day! Thank you for being so patient! The process of pattern-writing is long and arduous - you can read about it here - and it's why I don't write more patterns than I have. It's part laziness and part wisdom.  

Speaking of things I am excited about, here are the next three bags in the tutorial series!

Well . . .  they're not technically bags yet.

I let myself cut them out as I checked off each task in the Menagerie to-do list. Incentives, I call them - you know, like, "If you write Section XXX of Menagerie by midnight, you get dark chocolate AND to cut out one bag. But if you don't, you cannot go swimming tomorrow and have to stay home in shame and misery."

Enough talk of pattern-writing!

Let's behold some bags-in-progress instead - I thought you might enjoy seeing the Before photos, in which the bags are still disparate fabric-and-stabilizer-and-hardware. And what fabric it is! Here's #1:


#3 (which I get to cut out TONIGHT! Yessssss.)

And since we're premortem-ing, here are some of the stabilizers that go into my bags. I use different things for different bags, depending on how I want those bags to feel like or behave. The brown-themed bag above, for instance, has (from top to bottom) canvas/duckcloth with fusible interfacing, headliner (which is the spongy felty material with which the ceilings of vehicles are lined, and stiff outdoor canvas.

And because I feel kinda bad that all I've been sharing are fabric bits and spectral promises of bags, here is a receptacle that I actually finished:

It's a running belt. Not especially designer-fabric-pretty, but very useful. Not an original design, by the way - I saw something like it in an advert and decided I needed one, so I made it. It's just a skinny tube of stretch mesh that you can shove huge things into through the zipper opening. See - here it is with just my iPod in it but last weekend I filled it with car keys, Kleenex, eyedrops, phone, MP3 player etc. until it bulged like a snake that'd swallowed a buffalo, and the mesh kept it all snug while I ran a 5K. I'm showing you because the zippered welt is slightly exciting in its construction and therefore related to our upcoming tutorial series.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Armed With Good Stuff



Zippers (of course):

I am ready to make bags.

(while also working on Menagerie, don't worry. 
I just finished annotating 166 photos.
That, my friends, is astounding unprocrastination.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Succumbed

I made a zippered bag after all.

Which can be worn three ways - 
over one shoulder, as in the first photo.

Or cross-body,

or split-strap backpack style.

It unzips

to a splash of lemon.

It was my reward for finishing two somewhat large other-sewing tasks, and making headway in annotating the 150++ photos for Menagerie. Sometimes a person chooses nutella, and sometimes a person chooses sewing a bag, is all I'm saying.

Anyway, are you getting excited about how much fun it is to sew zippered bags?

Especially zippered bags in Jessica Jones' new Time Warp barkcloth fabric?

You'll see a lot more bags in her glorious prints when we finally start this tutorial series. I can't wait!

And now, back to editing photos. Gnnhrnrrrnrnrrrrrr...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Send A Softie and Springtime Snapshots

Happy spring!

Let's sit awhile and chat (or "visit", as I've learned is said here in the US). I've missed you guys! This blog is about sewing and cardboard and general child-related adventures, both manic and sweet, but it is also about me and you and the things we are learning. So, what's new with you?

On my end, I have three biggish projects on the sewing table.

One is Menagerie, as you all know. And I took a very short hiatus from it last week, to work on project number two (see next para). But I returned to it today, and I'm making headway in editing the hundreds of photos! 

Project number two is a fun surprise that will go on sale very soon, fingers crossed. 

I think you will like it! It is a box full of useful fabric, is all I feel like saying right now. I've just finished sewing samples to check yardage and quality and durability and other QC-things, but it's close to completion, and then I will share more news.

The third thing is that bag-zipper tutorial series on which I've been desperate to embark since December. See- I've been zipper shopping around the world (okay, just Singapore and Minnesota) in preparation for it:

Sometimes the best things have to be put on hold for a little while, is how I rationalize my frustration at not being able to start yet. I love it when I find a niche in SewingTutorialBlogland that hasn't yet been filled, and I get to write my own angle on it. I tell myself that someday, when my girls are older and reading this blog for instruction (rather than the mere amusement it currently provides them), they will enjoy the weird, concept-heavy lessons therein and understand why their mother had those rabid seasons when all she did was sketch and cut and photograph and sew bizarre bits of things for weeks on end.

And finally, here's an encouragement to anyone who'd like to sew something to bless someone:

You can read more about the motivation behind it, as well as how-tos, here, but in a nutshell:
  • This is a soft toy donation drive that benefits kids in foster care.
  • The deadline is April 30  2015.
  • The team at Sew Mama Sew will be presenting these donated softies at the National Association of Foster Parents convention in June.
  • Send in new hand-made softies - fabric, crocheted, knitted, etc, for girls and boys, and little kids through teens.
  • Do not send in store-bought softies, unless they were themselves artisan hand-made.
  • Do not send in old or used softies.
  • Send in as many softies as you like, to the address on the SMS info page here.
  • Each softie you send in gets you an entry into a drawing for a beautiful Bamboletta doll (see it on the SMS info page as well).

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Two days' worth of template drawing = progress.

Although "progress" is relative, because #3 on a to-do list of 18 (that's only before the testing stage) is just a euphemism for "looooooooong way to go".

Friends, please don't let me give up and start sewing zippered bags. 
Because I really, really want to do that right now.
And I mustn't.
Which makes me think that zippered bags are like a drug.
Which I need.
But can't have.
Which makes me feel un-Whoo!
Which is a state of regress.
Which is the opposite of progress.