Saturday, May 25, 2019

Favorite Notions

I have a few favorite sewing notions to share. If you attended a sewing class of mine, you were able to see these in actions and hopefully understand why they are amazing!


Clover Wonder Clips
These clips are truly wonderful when it comes to making 3-dimensional objects. They are easy to use, hold you pieces together well, and can't poke you! They are also a great aid in putting on binding. While they can't fully replace straight pins, I use them far more often than pins. For bag making I suggest a 50 pack (plenty to make a bag and they come in a little box):

This is my favorite fabric marking utensil. It is easy to use and give a nice white line that is easily dusted off. They make them in other colors, but I found the yellow does not come off as easily so I avoid using it. I have not tried any of the additional colors.


These are an affordable, good quality, assortment of fabric pencils. The pack has blue, white, and pink which are enough colors to work on most any fabric. When my white chaco liner won't work on the fabric, I grab my blue or pink pencil!


I have linked to the exact cutter that I own. It is my absolute favorite since I can use it in either hand. I have yet to see a rotary cutter that I love more than mine.

I have found these are the easiest rulers for me to see through. They come in variety of sizes and I own multiples of most. Locally they are available at Michael's and select large Joann stores. Here are the Amazon links to some of my favorite sizes:
  • 6.5" by 6.5" - if you do a lot of squares, this is a great ruler
  • 6" by 12" - this would be the second size I would suggest getting
  • 6" by 24" - if you can only buy one size, this is the most useful





Please note that this blog utilizes Amazon affiliate links. Purchasing directly through these Amazon links will not cost you anything, but will earn me a commission. More about my Amazon Associate account can be found here. Thank you for your support!

I have purchased all these items on my own and the opinions offered are mine.



    
 

Cotton Batting

I use 100% cotton batting in all my bags and classes. While this used to be easy to find in stores, this has become increasingly difficult recently. My suggestion now would be to look online at craft stores or Amazon. As I am an Amazon Associate, I will link to the products there for simplicity's sake.


My absolute favorite batting is Warm and Plush by the Warm Company. It is 100% cotton, without scrim, and has a good loft. Because it does not have a scrim, you must densely quilt it with your quilting lines being no more than 6" apart per the package instructions. I have made bags and quilts that I densely quilt and it has held up beautifully for me. It can be a little hard to find though.

My second choice, is Warm 100 by the Warm Company (this is the batting used in the bag making class). Again all cotton, but with a cotton scrim (package says you can quilt up to 10" apart). Warm 100 is thinner than Warm and Plush, so this can advantageous in some projects. In general though, I prefer the loftier Warm and Plush.

Warm & Natural, also by the Warm Company, can work in a pinch, but it has a synthetic scrim if you read the fiber content label carefully (my packages reads natural cotton 87.5%, polypropylene 12.5%). This is one of the most common batting available and very easy to find in stores. Because of the scrim, the package says you can quilt up to 10" apart. It has the same low loft as Warm 100.


I'm sure there are other amazing 100% cotton batting, but these are the only ones I've tried. I have ordered from Organic Cotton Plus before, and would highly recommend checking out their batting options too (but I have never personally tried their battings).





Please note that this blog utilizes Amazon affiliate links. Purchasing directly through these Amazon links will not cost you anything, but will earn me a commission. More about my Amazon Associate account can be found here. Thank you for your support!

I have purchased these battings on my own and the opinions offered are mine.





 

Zipper Recommendations

There are two main types of zippers I use: closed and coil separating. The closed zippers are a fixed length, but can be cut shorter. They have smaller teeth and are used in smaller bags. The coil separating are a separating zipper, meaning the bottom isn't closed but can be opened and separated (think of the bottom on a jacket/coat zipper). These are larger zippers and are much more expensive. As such, they are best on larger bag and purses.


I buy my closed zippers in bulk online from ZipperStop on Amazon (I have never had any issues with this vendor and they are USA based). I get YKK size #3 from them. There are a variety of packages I've bought before:
Please make sure the vendor from Amazon is ZipperStop. I haven't tried other vendors, so I cannot comment on their quality of zippers or service.


I have yet to find a good bulk source for coil separating zippers. The ones I like best are the Coats and Clarke ones from Joann. They come in a variety of lengths and colors. I find I use the 12" and 18" the most:


I also really like the purse zippers by Coats and Clarke at Joann. They were not used in a bag class, but I have used them in the Bionic Gear Bag and Sew Together Bag patterns before. I get the 22" length ones.




Please note that this blog utilizes Amazon affiliate links. Purchasing directly through these Amazon links will not cost you anything, but will earn me a commission. More about my Amazon Associate account can be found here. Thank you for your support!

I have purchased these zippers on my own and the opinions offered are mine. I am not an affiliate with Joann.






Book Recommendations

I have been asked about what sewing books I recommend. These are my favorite as of May 2019:

School of Sewing: Learn it. Teach it. Sew Together. By Shea Anderson.
This is an excellent learn-to-sew book. My favorites are the first two projects and the last one (French seamed pillowcase, drawstring bag, and the quilt). I have not only made mutliples of these three projects, but I've taught people of all ages how to do these! The pillowcase is a great project to teach to children. Every child that I've helped has immediately wanted to put their pillowcase on their bed (I have to remind them to wash it first though!).


Stitched Sewing Organizers: Pretty Cases, Boxes, Pouches, Pincushions & More. By Aneela Hoey.
This is a great little book of bags and pouch patterns. While I disagree about the use of interfacing and vinyl, you can easily avoid these patterns or swap out interfacing with quilting the parts. My favorite bag is the Triple Pouch. Here, I quilted the two exterior pieces and just used regular quilting cotton for the rest of the bag without interfacing. I've made multiple pouches using this method without any problems.


The Bag Making Bible: The Complete Guide to Sewing and Customizing Your Own Unique Bags. By Lisa Lam.
This is an excellent book of bag making techniques. Again, I avoid some supplies but this covers a wide variety of techniques and is a great reference tool.


Fussy Cutters Club: A Boot Camp for Mastering Fabric Play - 14 Projects. By Angie Wilson.
This book is a wonderful guide into the world of fussy cutting for patchwork. Fussing cutting is the process of cutting your fabric with respect to the print images on it. This is how you can center that cute animal in the middle of a square. I seem to always fussy cut since image placement is important to me. If you want to get started fussy cutting, this is an excellent place to start!


Adventures in Paper Piecing & Design: A Quilter’s Guide with Design Exercises, Step-by-Step Instructions & Patterns to Get You Sewing. By Sarah Elizabeth Sharp.
Paper piecing is an advanced patchwork technique that gives amazing results. You can create extremely detailed images using this method. I have referenced Fandom in Stitches before and these patterns are all paper pieced. If you want a book that goes into detail about paper piecing, this is the one!



Please note that this blog utilizes Amazon affiliate links. Purchasing directly through these Amazon links will not cost you anything, but will earn me a commission. More about my Amazon Associate account can be found here. Thank you for your support!

I have purchased these books on my own and the opinions offered are mine.

And as a reminder, you can check out your local library for these books! Unless they are currently checked out, I know my local library has these on the shelf!





My Sewing Machine

I have received a number of questions about what sewing machine I use. I bought a Brother cs6000i in September 3, 2015 from Amazon (thank you order history for knowing the exact date!) and have used it exclusively since then. The machine, as of this writing, is only about $2 more than what I paid for it, making it a steal.

My machine came with everything you have seen me use at the sewing workshops including, but not limited to, multiple feet (including a walking foot, free motion foot, and button hole maker), the extended working table attachment, automatic needle threader, and a hard cover (that I never carry around). I am a heavy user of my sewing machine, and it has held up beautifully.

This machine consistently gets good reviews, comes with a bunch of accessories, and is affordable. The tools are what you make of them. You do not need a fancy, expensive machine to make wonderful creations. You do, however, need to practice and experiment to achieve the results you want. Also change that sewing needle if its giving you issues!

Happy Sewing!


Please note that this blog utilizes Amazon Associate links. Purchasing directly through these Amazon affiliate links will not cost you anything, but will earn me a commission. More about my Amazon Associate account can be found here. Thank you for your support!

I purchased my sewing machine on my own in 2015 and the opinions offered are my own.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hermione's Purple Beaded Bag


I have been wanting to make an accurate version of Hermione's Beaded Bag for a while now. The books do not lend too much insight into the bag, other than it is small, purple, beaded, and can fit down a sock.


I started by sewing a purple bag (without beads for simplicity's sake). The pattern is free by Sew4Home and called the 8-Pocket Jewelry Pouch. I made my bag using two fat quarters, some twill tape, and a scrap of cotton batting in the base. It was super fun make and very cute bag. Incidentally, my tatting friends pointed out it would make an excellent tatting bag and people actually sell a similar bag for tatting supplies. If you can sew, this is an easy and fast make. The longest part was figuring out how to do a button hole on my machine (Interestingly, I have never used this function before despite having my machine for about 4 years now)!

While I like this bag, I don't think it would fit down a sock easily. It is, however, great for storing necklaces in the 8 pockets and a few cuff bracelets in the middle!



I then decided it may be best to knit a bag. After looking for a pattern and not finding one to my satisfaction, I drafted a pattern and set to work. My Purple Beaded Bag is the result. I feel this is more accurate representation of what Hermione may have carried. I have written up my notes and you can download and make you own bag from my Ravelry store now! I just need to master the Undetectable Extension Charm now and I'll be set!



Sunday, January 20, 2019

Harry Potter Items

I have been enjoying creating a collection of Harry Potter themed bags and pouches lately. Joann Fabric and Crafts currently has some amazing licensed fabric available. The rest of the fabrics are an assortment that I have collected over the years.

Patches are from Amazon. The bracelets are made with ImpressArt stamps and blanks.

Bionic gear bag is top right. Rest are my own creation (personal design). All are quilted.



Wallet style bag. Can be used to store any small items. Quilted exterior. Personal design.



Gryffindor Pouch front. Personal design.

Gryffindor Pouch back. Personal design.




Pillowcase collection.




Quidditch and Marauder's Map Pouch 1 front. Personal design.

Quidditch and Marauder's Map Pouch 1 back. Personal design.





Quidditch and Newsprint Pouch front. Personal design.

Quidditch and Newsprint Pouch back. Personal design.

Quidditch and Newsprint Pouch front and inside. Personal design.



Ravenclaw cuffs. Impressart stamps and blanks.

Ravenclaw cuffs for me and gifts for friends. Impressart stamps and blanks.



Ravenclaw pouch. Personal design.

Ravenclaw pouch. Personal design.