A seven-hour layover on the way home from Ithaca prompted me to try my hand at drawing again. Using photos from my summer backpacking trip and Ithaca adventures as references. Conclusion is that procreate is fun and I should do more!
Quick project to get me back into sewing, after a long break during the semester. I missed it so much!
Made a Cal inspired chalk bag as a late birthday/holiday gift for my climbing friend. Experimented with a triangle design that required a bit of trial and error bc I forgot to take out seam allowance the first time, but I got it to work perfectly eventually! Really really pleased with the result. I kept the blue and green prototype for myself and it’s a joy to use at the climbing wall!
Really enjoyed this project, more details on my Portfolio page!
I was chosen to test the Drawstring Bucket Backpack pattern from Wholecloth Patterns. Kristi was so kind and also sent along a hardware kit for the bag, so all I had to do was source the fabric. I ended up getting a funky orange patterned jacquard from the sale section at Joann’s and some orange piping. Not sure why, but I was feeling a little rebellious from my normal muted blue color palette. The pattern itself was wonderful, very simple and easy to follow. I made life harder for myself by choosing a difficult fabric to work with, and I will not be doing that again. I also had to deal with sewing this backpack in my dorm room. I borrowed my friend’s sewing machine and used the iron in the laundry room four stories down, which was an experience. All for me to decide, in the end, at no fault to the lovely pattern, that bucket bags weren’t really my style and I probably wouldn’t use this one. Hoping I meet someone in the near future who’s favorite color is orange so I can gift it to them. But just want to say a huge thank you to Kristi for letting me test this pattern! It was a fun make and good break from schoolwork.
BT gave me full creative freedom on the chalk bag I made for her. I probed for her favorite colors/patterns and the criteria I got was: make it somewhat blue/green/colorful and unique (different from all the other chalk bags out there). So with these incredibly broad directions, I dove into my scrap bin and found a color combination I liked. I’ve been super into piecing together waves lately, so I hacked my pattern and created a wavy outer panel. I used two layers of medium weight interfacing for structure, since the outer layer was pieced from quilting cotton weight material. I was a bit sloppy when cutting out my waves, and they didn’t line up at the back seam. Sad. So I modified the pattern a bit and made the seam side the back of the chalk bag. I covered up the uneven connections with webbing, creating an extra loop to potentially attach a waistbelt on if BT wants. Then on the new front of the bag, I hammered on an eyelet instead. In the end, my little mistake actually resulted in a more “professional” looking chalk bag because of the hardware. I was proud of this chalk bag design, but the nerve wracking bit would be if BT liked it. I got so nervous before showing her a picture! Which is silly because I don’t think she was that invested in the design (hence the vague directions). Well, she was grateful and said it looked great, so I’ll call it a success.
The inspiration: ever since I was a kid, I have loved making bags. This tote design holds a special place in my heart because it was inspired by one of the first bags I ever sewed. I took an after school embroidery class throughout elementary school, which I loved, and the same teacher offered machine sewing classes during the summer. The teacher let us design our own projects and would then help us make the projects (which was so cool! she could’ve just walked us through set projects like a normal sewing class would, but took the time and effort to help 10 year olds make something from scratch instead). I became obsessed with sewing tote bags and spent most of my time in class working on that. Tote bags were a great project to become obsessed with, because I was introduced to many techniques as I started getting more ambitious with the various features added to the bag: zippers, invisible zippers, pockets, flaps, straps, etc. Given, my teacher had to walk me through those additions and I never felt comfortable doing it on my own until I was much older, but I had so much fun making and using my tote bags that my bag making obsession has only grown over the years. This tote bag pattern is based off one of those original tote bags, one that I’ve used immensely for the past 10 years. I made the dimensions slightly larger and added better pockets, but the overall shape is the same.
A note about the shape: though I’ve seen many bag patterns out on the internet, I haven’t seen much of this rectangular bottom construction; I’ve noticed that most tote bag patterns use boxed corners instead. Boxed corners are great, but I like the rectangular bottom better because it makes it easier to add pockets to the bag. Side pockets are possible, and you don’t have to worry about weird slanted side proportions when deciding where to place a patch pocket. Because I want everyone to get the chance to experience the thrill of designing a bag and choosing where and what pockets to add, I kept the main tote pattern very simple and have written up a pocket guide to use as a building block for a customized result.
The overall tote bag is zero waste (made up entirely of rectangles) and reversible. There are so so many possibilities and I can’t wait to see what people make of it. I’ve already had so much fun making more tote bags for myself, friends, and family. This size is perfect; big enough to hold quite a lot of stuff and small enough that it can be made from fabric scraps or upcycled material. Please enjoy this pattern as much as I do!!
Here are some of the tote bags that I’ve made. I normally don’t make this many samples of a pattern, but this design is really quick and enjoyable to make. The variations on this design are truly infinite; you can see that none of my tote bags are exactly the same. I love that depending on the fabric and handles you choose, the tote bag can either be sophisticated or a great way to use up fabric scraps. I got many compliments on my natural canvas/quilted pocket tote bag in my first year of college and it was a great conversation starter when I told people I made it myself 🙂
Chose a less colorful mend this time. Flannel patch is taken from another pair of my dad’s old pajamas. He’s the absolute king of real sustainability, wearing clothes for years until they’re worn and rarely buying new ones. He still wears his thirty+ year old high school soccer sweatshirt around the house (and will probably keep doing so until it can’t be worn anymore).
Made a size 8 and it was way too big. The armholes and neckhole also stretched out a lot; will have to try something other than an overlocker on the seams next time. Cool, but time consuming binding method. I like the end look though.
I’ve been searching for the perfect pair of shorts for a while now. I’ve tried many indie patterns, from the Peppermint spring shorts to the All Well Studio Pants. Nothing has quite fit me well, and I finally realized that I would need to step off the beaten path and draft my own. It’s taken many many pairs of shorts, but I’ve finally created a pattern I really like. Here’s a look into the journey and the modifications I made each time:
SHORTS 1 – light blue denim
The basic studio pants pattern shortened into shorts. Full seat adjustment. Added 1/2″ to the crotch.
SHORTS 2 – yellow satin
Shorts 1, but with a side panel.
SHORTS 3 – made from mom’s old jeans
Added a few inches to the side panel and back pockets. Added a lot of rise.
SHORTS 4 – mid denim
Added 1″ to the front rise. Added scooped side pockets instead of back pockets. Took off 1″ of side pantel. Lengthened back crotch 1″.
SHORTS 5 – light blue scrub shorts
Trim off 1″ on back short. Smaller pocket facing by 1″.
SHORTS 6 – teal scrub shorts
Trim 1/2″ off back short. Add 1/2″ to back crotch.
SHORTS 7 – cobalt canvas
Took 1/2″ off front and back sides. Trimmed another 1/2″ off back short.
SHORTS 8 – black linen
Shortened front and back rise by 1/2″. Angled instead of scooped pocket. Added buttonholes for a drawstring.
qayg = quilt as you go. Started with a 9.5″ x 6.5″ rectangle of batting and slowly added scraps to it. I really like this technique; very quick, easy and fun. Sometimes it’s nice not to think about all the math and precision required by quilting and just create randomly. I made this bag to hold a midori notebook and cat stickers that I was giving someone as a gift. Hopefully they have use for the pouch too!
I recently reorganized my room, including my scrap bins. I’m trying out a new system now: sorting my scraps into separate bins by material (denim, linen, knits, etc). As I was going through my old scrap pile, I kept finding these small indigo patchwork scraps from another pouch I made years ago. I’ve been going through a bit of a motivation rut, and felt like making a pretty scrappy pouch would be the perfect project to jumpstart my creativity again. It did the trick. I had a lot of fun piecing together these gorgeous scraps. The patch is from some bedding that my mom recently bought; she was going to throw away the tag that came with it, but I saved it instead. I used fusible fleece for additional structure and I love the feel of it. I’ll definitely be using fusible fleece in all my future pouches. Lined with leftover scrubs. I tried a new technique this time, only topstitching the outer layer near the zipper. I like it; it makes the lining lie neater.