Wednesday, March 8, 2017

DIY Faux Leather Belt Pouches

This is the first belt pouch that I made to fit my phone. It's made from these faux leather fabric samples that were in my fabric stash. The sizes are pretty small which meant piecing them together to make the patterns work. This smaller bag is made from 3 separate swatches. 

The main part is just a rectangle folded in half and an added strip on one side to make it the correct width. The loop is made very simply by trimming around the raised pattern, folding in half, and sewing firmly to the back half of the main piece. The pockets were done by cutting a swatch in 3 pieces and sewing them one on top of the other in a staggered fashion to the front half on the main piece. Then it was finished by sewing a seam along the side and bottom and turned right side out. The swatches had a soft knit backing so I kept that unlined. The Hydra pin was a gift from my brother :)

The second pouch was a design as you go scenario. It's mostly a box with a flap that fits the dimensions of my phone. It was lined with some of my steampunk fabrics and sewn partly by hand. The dragon pin on the front was purchased at Hobby Lobby by a friend of mine. The three buttons were an obnoxious red plastic before getting a few coats of metallic fingernail polish.

There are a few accent pieces of leather on the top with cream stitching for contrast. Between the flap and the back of the bag are the two loops. I tried to secure them really well. They are rectangles with a colored detail sewn underneath that I hoped would add to the strength of the project.

And on the back you can see where the holes from the staples that ran through my swatches were. I think that's the only place where that peeked through.

On one side I barely had enough matching scraps to make a small pocket for holding my earphones.

On the inside of the flap I used my Colorful Steam Punk Top Hats fabric. After hand stitching it into place I went over it with the cream machine stitching to keep it laying flat. You can also see another trim piece that is hidden when the pouch is closed

The dragon pin was added after the bag was completed. It did need some sturdy black thread to secure it in place. And you can also see the button hole here and below that was made by braiding linen thread and securing it to the knit underside of the leather before lining.

I added three buttons along the bottom even though the loop only goes around the one in the center.

The pockets and lining were horrible on my fingers because the layers and my lack of planning meant sewing by hand. The pockets were made from rectangles of leather with their linings made from taco folded rectangles of Steampunk Top Hats Plain and Steampunk Gears Brass & Copper that I hemmed beforehand. Those were wedged neatly between the pocket and the outside wall of the pouch and whip stitched and ladder stitched in place The sides were lined with the remnants of the cream swatch, and the bottom of the bag was a rectangle of Steampunk Gears Brass & Copper that was also hand stitched. When it was finally done everything was fashionably secured with cream stitching all the way around the lip of the bag.

Bottom inside the bag.

Back pocket with the hats above, and the front pocket with the gears below.

If I had this project to do over again, I probably wouldn't have lined each facet of the bag separately. But in the end I really love this thing. It pretty much goes with me everywhere because I can fit all my essentials in it: phone, wallet, keys, chapstick, coin purse, pen, earbuds, and any other tiny stuff I need. It does get a bit heavy, and I have to keep it on my left hip so it doesn't fall off when I have to use the restroom. But if the only drawback is that it's heavy because it can hold so much stuff, I'm more than happy to deal with that!

Contest Entry: Solar System Mandala

The Mandalas
Design Challenge
In Sanskrit, the word “mandala” simply means circle. It is known as a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. One of the most well known examples is the sand Mandala - a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand. Entries will be previewed at the FQ size: 21″ x 18.” Submissions close 3/7/2017 at 3 p.m. EST.

My entry for this challenge : Solar System Mandala

Large view

Closer view with Jupiter on the bottom and swirling Neptune on the right.

The sun and rocky planets with Earth at the top.

Closer view of Saturn and Venus

Uranus is at the very top.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Contest Entry: Spoonflower Print

2017 Spoonflower T-Shirt

Voting begins November 17

What does Spoonflower mean to you? What kinds of things come to mind when you think about the brand? Is it sewing? Design? Community? Flowers? Spoons? Put it all down into a unique, never before seen surface pattern for a t-shirt that Spoonflower will be printing for 2017! Entries will be previewed on an 21" x 18" fat quarter size and should repeat.

Spoonflower Print

Monday, October 10, 2016

Contest Entry: "Home is Where the Heart is." Tea Towel

Home is Where the Heart Is
What are the most important aspects of home life to you? What means the most to your loved ones? Keep it quirky or make it traditional–just be authentic! The lovely thing about tea towels is how they add a splash of personality to any kitchen. Deadline to enter is October 11th, 2016. Please note that designs can be all-over prints, or formatted as a recipe for a tea towel — the choice is yours! Prizes: Grand prize winner will receive a Maran Slipper Chair from Roostery, upholstered in Eco Canvas fabric in a design of the winner’s choice. Top 2 – 10 will receive one Orpington tea towel from Roostery printed in their winning design. Top 25 popularly voted winners will have their designs made for sale automatically, provided they are verified sellers.

"Home is Where the Heart is." Tea Towel

"Home is Where the Heart is." Tea Towel

You can see my entry above. It's a fun mix of pinks and golds focusing on a very literal imagining of the titular theme. The anatomically rendered heart is one of my favorite things to draw, and it gets paired up with text which is something that is totally out of my comfort zone. The tea towel format for this month requires a border that can be used by Roostery as a seam allowance without cutting any of the design off. I went with the dark pink with a linen texture that will still work for people ordering from Spoonflower.

Claw Marks & Sparks
 This is the pattern featured as the backdrop for the towel. Then below is another combination of the same elements refashioned into a regular repeat.

"Home is Where the Heart is." Repeat

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Contest Entry: Pumpkin Pie Tea Towel

Grandma’s Kitchen
In the South, there’s such a tradition of passing down prized family recipes, and tea towels are a beautiful way to preserve this aspect of family heritage. This week’s design challenge is your chance to transform your treasured handwritten recipes into tea towels, and these crafty creations are perfect for everyday use and as gifts to family around the holidays. Deadline to enter is October 4th, 2016.

Pumpkin Pie Towel

This is my entry into the contest. This pie is my childhood favorite and I'm usually the one volunteering to make it for every major holiday. It's basically our family's official spin on the classic Libby's recipe: lots of fresh pumpkin, heavy on the spices, and featuring a toasted marshmallow topping. I was in my twenties before I realized that most people don't do the marshmallow bit!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Waistcoat Project

This is the first in a series of posts about my latest project, a fancy steampunk inspired coat. The pattern is loosely based on a Simplicity pattern, 2172, that I have been slowly altering as I go along. Here are a few sketches to show the basic idea for the coat.
The Simplicity pattern I'm using; all the new pattern pieces made moving everything to an empty tin box necessary.

This is my first sketch when I had simple dreams of adding a hood and maybe changing the neckline.

This is a much later sketch showing how I've chopped off the patterned skirt in favor of a pleated and much more dramatic one. This also shows the fancier detachable sleeve option. I honestly don't know how many sleeves I will make.

The plan at first was to do the pattern with a few small touches thrown in to make it my own. Adding a removable hood and changing the neckline slightly were quickly followed with making detachable sleeves, and adding a high collar in the back. The pockets became more subtle without the giant flaps.

The sleeve flanges disappeared, and after making a muslin to adjust the fit, (for which I have many photos that will be unloaded in the next post) the entire bottom half was literally cut off the coat.

The voluminous pleats that replaced the simple skirt were drafted and redrafted, and currently the muslin for that will serve as my new pattern. Making a new pattern piece as I have been doing for every other section would take an excessive amount of paper and effort.

I added trim to my mental plan in the beginning, this has evolved into a fantastic beaded lace along the bottom edge of the waistcoat. If you need a mental picture of my pleated madness. This requires a staggering 4 yards of trim to accomplish.

The fabrics I've chosen:

A magnificent chenille brocade for the exterior fabric in black and gold, this was the hardest to find and most expensive portion of the project. I needed 6 yards! I used Simplicity's estimate and added an extra yard for the hood.

The main lining fabric is a soft gold polyester satin with a crushed texture. This I got as a 12 yard lot so it eliminated the need for guessing yardage, and provided a ready made supply of fabric for my muslin fitting and pattern making needs.

A memorial day sale at Joanne's provided the fake fur that will line the hood. It was leaning towards black or maybe a fancy timberwolf colored fur in the beginning stages, but the white adds an elegant contrast against all the black. I bought a yard, and after cutting out the pieces I needed for this project, used a portion to make a fabulous cat bed.

The detachable parts are going to be held in place with hidden snap buttons, and the corset style lacing on the back of the coat will use metal D rings that will be riveted to the coat in place of the fabric loops in the Simplicity pattern.

The top four pieces of hardware are for the snaps, and the bottom three are the D ring components. And my upholstery/coat weight thread in matching black.

There are still a few smaller details that I'm working out. I've already ordered some pretty laces and I'll add them to this post once they're delivered.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Project Photos: DIY Cat Bed Tutorial

Today I'm going to show you how to sew a fabulous, reversible cat bed with 2 fat quarters and some fluffy poly-fil. You can really use any kind of stuffing that you like, this was just the biggest bag of fluff that my Walmart carries. (it doesn't take anywhere near that amount of filling, I plan on using it for many more projects)

Bird Floral Dark Blue
I used one fat quarter of Spoonflower's fleece and cut a rectangle of white faux fur from Joanne's to match.

On the fleece, mark on all four corners a 4 inch x 4 inch square. I used a water soluble marker.

Pin the corner so the edges of the square line up with right sides together, 
and sew a seam along or just inside that line. Repeat for all four corners. 
I went over it twice with the zigzag setting of my sewing machine.

Then trim down the seam allowance and get rid of any marks that might bleed through to the other side.

You should end up with a floppy shallow box shape. Set it aside, and repeat all the steps on the fur.

Here I used a pencil because the marker didn't write as well on the fur fabric.

And now you have your second side finished.

Place the two halves together with right sides facing inwards. 
My fur was a bit stiffer than the fleece, so I placed that piece on the outside.

Line up the corners and pin both halves together.

This is mine all pinned up.

Go ahead and sew the two together with a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Be sure to leave a gap for turning, and this is important: be sure you can fit your hand through that hole.  

Turn everything inside out through the gap.

Push all the inside corners together to make a box, and get out a needle and thread. 

This is the part where you'll begin to stuff. It's hard to describe, but basically you are making a tightly stuffed ring around a more soft and fluffy middle section. If you get confused look at the guide above.

Try to imagine an invisible line going around the bottom of your box. 
Start by sewing along that line on the long side opposite the gap from corner to corner (A-D) 
through both layers just using a simple straight stitch.  
Mine was done using an upholstery weight thread for extra durability.

Grab your stuffing material, and pack it as tightly as you can around the back section also filling in those corners. This is where you really want to be able to put your hand through that gap!

Go around the edges with your straight stitch filling as you go. Start at D sew through C. Then do C towards B stopping at the gap. Then sew the other side from A to B. Stop here and stuff the middle. Close the loop by sewing B towards C finishing where you left off going from the other direction.

Stuff the last section in front of the gap, and close with a ladder stitch. And that's it, you've made a cat bed!

Even though my stitching is black, you really can't see it unless you're looking for it by parting the fur.

The same is true of the fleecy side since the stitching is deep within the folds of the bed.

The midsection is full and pillowy.

And the outer ring is firm, and comfortable.

Bird Floral Dark Blue
Adorable Photo Update: 7/22/16