Sunday, January 31, 2016

Neck purses

Wow - last day of January already. It's been a busy month at work, which translates into not much time for sewing. But that will change very soon!
I made these last December as Christmas presents for co-workers. We always exchange handmade gifts and for the past three years I've been giving them bags. This year I chose these badge holders, although I call them neck wallets because I replace the clear plastic badge holder with another fabric pocket. Above is a picture of the front and below is the back.

It took me a while to figure out these free instructions found here, and I had to look at other badge holder patterns but, of course, when you see how it goes together it all makes sense. Let me know if you need help in deciphering the pattern.
Because I've sewn things for my co-workers over the years, I always use a little bit of the same fabric on everything I make for them - either for continuity or to satisfy my obsessive-compulsive nature. Depending on how tall (or short) they are, I make the neck strap 24 inches and then add or subtract two inches or so.
Of all the patterns I've looked at for badge holders, I like this one the best because of the pockets, and it really is simple to make. Pockets on the front and back and a zipper pocket to put small things that you don't want to lose, or maybe a passport that you want to keep safe. I could even fit the neck joint of my soprano recorder in there to keep it warm before a concert. The rear pocket is great for a cellphone.
I'm working on more of these at the moment. As you can see, they make great little gifts. They don't use much fabric and they're great for fussy cutting.
Until next time,

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Slow holidays

It's hard getting back into the work routine after the holidays. I should be back in the office today, but I'm not. I could be sewing right now, but I'm not. Instead I'm sitting around, emailing friends and family members to see how their holidays are and to show them my lovely Moeck "Rottenburgh" recorder (the pale one on the right) that I bought used and got a great deal on. (The darker recorder is a Hans Coolsma "Solo" - no pun intended - which I bought a few months ago, also for a good deal.)
Hopefully I'll get to the sewing machine after this. It's one of my New Year's intentions - more quilting. And more music. And more gardening! Last night I finally got around to (my favourite phrase) soaking and cooking the black beans that I grew in my garden last year and dried. After I cooked them, I measured them into separate bags, with two cups of beans each in them, and put them in the freezer. All set to use now, in chilis, casseroles or what have you.

Back to the fabric wallets that I showed you last week (by the way, there's a link to the free pattern on the right side of my page under "My Favourite Tutorials" called Fabric Wallet with Strap). One of my co-workers wanted me to make one for her in her favourite colours - black and silver. No problem. She wanted it bigger than the others that I'd made.

That silvery fabric inside was a pain to work with. It was from an unknown remnant that I bought, and I knew that it wasn't cotton, but it was pretty. It was a pain to work with, but it looked nice once the wallet was finished.

I was really happy with the way it turned out, and that's saying a lot!

She liked it, but it wasn't big enough. She wanted it bigger. This particular pattern isn't really made to be bigger. It's designed to be what it is - a little clutch that you can throw your keys and glasses and some change in and go. But, she wanted bigger. The magnetic clasp was already not really working for the upsized version, so I decided to use a twist clasp. I had a couple on hand but I'd never used one before. Took me some time to feel comfortable cutting in to good fabric to insert one. I measured and measured and measured and finally I had no more excuses not to do it.

Crooked! Don't you hate that? Cutting out that little oval of fabric to accommodate the clasp was a real bugger and hard to keep straight because I was cutting through three layers of fabric and batting. Oh well.

I had also run out of that cool fabric with the wavy lines. And I wasn't going to struggle with that nice silvery whatever fabric again.

But I did manage to give up some of my copious amount of Laurel Burch cat fabric for the pocket because my co-worker loves her kitties as much as I love mine. Well, she loved her wallet - and not just because of the cats. So, my first attempt at a twisty clasp - Fail, but the world didn't end. I'll be making another attempt in the near future.

Until next time,