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Sewing with less stress Front
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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Small big project

Bag and me on location at the Superstore parking lot

I am trying something new these days. 

My sewing time is constricted right now because I am trying to spend as much time as I can with the kids before school starts. 

Lots of days at my house, sleepovers (when are they going to invent a kid who waits until 8:00 a.m. to leap out of bed? not that I don't want to start projects before breakfast) and tea parties where we discuss moral issues and big ideas. 

My best of those tea parties this week involved explaining the concept of communicable diseases, specifically TB that had wiped out sections of both families only two generations ago, the role of sanitariums and cold air, the invention of antibiotics, as well as why some kids are mean at recess, the role of karma in the lives of kids who are mean at recess, not to mention extra ingredients that improve the taste of egg sandwiches (this is from the 5 year old who is an excellent cook), and why books for small children are funny but books for early readers are boring and always trying to teach moral or socially responsible lessons (like karma I guess) rather than being funny and interesting instead which is why more kids don't read more at the library's summer reading club.

This means I have had a lot less time to sew, not to mention that my entire mason jar collection has now been turned over to labeled jars of potion made of grass, water, dog food pellets, dried chipotle peppers, grapes from the vine around the window, quinoa and food colouring. 

That inventory and cleaning up after the witches went home seriously cut into the sewing time.

It also meant that I have had to reassert my focus, meaning I am trying something new these days and that is doing some sewing that will fill some gaps and what at the moment is my very real life.

I started with a little bag for myself, the Butterfly Sling, from Emmaline patterns - a wonderful, interesting pattern.

Garment sewing skills are not immediately transferable to bag sewing I can tell you. 

I found this bag pretty hard to figure out, spent a full afternoon folding a rectangle of fabric trying to make credit card slots for example, because I have no prior experience points of reference.

That said here is what I have learned about bag making as a new person doing this:

1. A lot depends on lots of interfacing. Different stuff like fusible thin batting and interfaced linings and yes, interfaced credit card slot pieces.

2. The pattern may tell you to trim away half of the interfacing from the seam allowances but you really need to trim the whole thing away from the seam IMO. Also cut out the corners and cut out the slot where the zipper will be sewn in. Trimming away a fusible fleece is not really possible to do after stitching well, I think - that interfacing needs not to be there in seam allowances if you want neat turns to the right side.

3. Hardware is the real secret, even if it is nerve wracking to install and involves things like glue and tiny screw drivers. A so so product like my first bag looks an awful lot better with real looking latches and bag type fasteners. Also learning how to use these new notions sort of makes a person feel as if she has expanded her world.

4. Find some good zippers. Right now I would kill to be living in the garment district and getting my hands on some Riri zippers. This pattern called for dress zippers and really since they are visible they are IMO design features and need to look sharper than this. Got to find myself a good online source.

5. The first one can be really rough while a person works it out. I learned enough here to know I want to do this pattern again and do it right.

OK enough talk here is the bag. Made in some scrap yellow denim and very much a rough and trial run version - now I have this figured out there will be more of these. My daughter who has good taste and as a result rarely asks me to make her one just like mom's has already ordered one.

This is a brilliant design and I have to say the pattern is beautifully written.

It has two zippered pockets with card slots inside (6 in each pocket) and a change zipper pocket a bill pocket, and a little ID window.

This whole unit folds in half (did I mention it is fleece interlined so is firm and soft) and is held in that way by two magnetic snaps and closed again with a strap with a turn latch.

the interior part of the bag opened

Oh and this is a cross body bag with a long, adjustable strap.

back view of the bag

I have to say this is fantastic, useful bag. It holds my phone safely ( have dropped this bag and due to the fleece nothing broke which is new for me, I can't remember the last time I owned an iPhone without a cracked screen), it has two great compartments for cards and stuff ( I am even thinking on my travels of having a US and Canadian side for my money) and is comfortable to wear.

I am feeling something just beginning here.