Friday, January 30, 2015

The Begonia Convertible Bag - Now Available!

I managed to meet my goal of 2 new patterns this month! I have completed the Begonia pattern and it is now available in my pattern shop.

There are a few flap design options I have not included in the pattern which I will prepare and make available here on my blog as free tutorials. This will include the herringbone patchwork version and the square patchwork you see in the photo above, top left. Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pattern Review: India Hobo Bag

Even though I am a pattern designer now,  I still LOVE to try out other patterns. Sometimes I get inspired for a pattern of my own or I learn about a new technique. I make sure to never copy someone else's work. I know the time and effort that goes into coming up with a new design, drafting pattern pieces, sewing sample bags, photographing, writing the PDF. It is time consuming!

I recently tried out the India Hobo Bag. I was looking for a larger bag for myself because I do tend to carry small to medium sized bags and they tend to get a little stuffed. I was so pleased by how easily this bag sews that I made a few for my Etsy shop. The pieces just seem to line up perfectly when sewing!

Faux leather bottom, bleached twill, canvas

Denim and linen bag

This pattern allows you to make hobo bags in 2 different sizes. I only made the large size but I could see the smaller size being very roomy as well. There are 2 very large open pockets on the outside and I made another one of those large pockets on the inside plus a zippered pocket. You could make it with 4 open pockets AND a zippered pocket but I chose to leave more space on the inside.

One large open pocket and one zippered pocket

There are so many possibilities for this bag in terms of fabric and pattern placement. I used a patterned linen on the underside of one strap and I thought it was a very nice touch. The strap itself is really nice and wide so if you're carrying heavy items, it will definitely be more comfortable. The strap length is not adjustable and I did find it was a bit low on my body (I am 5'6") so it may be not ideal for shorter folks but that really is personal preference.

Beautiful feather print on the underside of the strap!

This is not a stiff bag. It is definitely meant to be slouchy! I think it could be made stiffer but would not look quite right. I just interfaced with duck canvas which resulted in the perfect amount of stiffness and structure. I tried a variety of exterior fabrics: faux leather, denim, linen. They all worked out without any issues!

Faux leather option!

What would I change about this bag? I think I need some kind of closure for the top. Probably just a magnetic snap or a button/loop closure would do the trick but when it sort of just hangs open, I get worried that things will fall out. Other than that, I love this bag!

Fabric Friday: Plaid Home Decor

I realize this is a Saturday but I forgot to post what will now become Fabric Friday!

Found this beautiful plaid at my local fabric store last weekend. It is a heavyweight home decor print. Nice and sturdy for a tote. Just need to decide whether to accent with black or brown faux leather. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Coming soon: The Begonia Convertible Belt Bag

Today I am introducing my latest sewing pattern: the Begonia Convertible belt bag!

This is a fabulous bag because it can be worn 3 different ways: over one shoulder, across the body AND as a belt bag. A couple of years ago, I did have something similar in my shop and for some strange reason (I always do this!), I stopped making it. But here is a new version and hopefully it will appeal to all the sewers out there!

The dimensions of this bag are 9  inches wide and about 6.5 inches high. I used faux leather to accent this bag but again, this is completely optional and for the pattern instructions, I will stick to using fabric only.

The bag has a flap and magnetic snap closure and there is a main focus fabric and an accent fabric along the bottom. I am hoping to make some variations of this and include them in the pattern. I think it's always good to give folks a lot of ideas for inspiration.

Under the flap on the outside, there are 2 slip pockets. One is a great size for a smart phone (iPhone 6 is pictured below) and the other could fit keys, lip balm, etc.

On the inside, there is the main compartment and one zippered pocket to store valuables.

I will also try to come up with a formula to figure out the appropriate size for the strap so that it fits around a person's waist. It is hard to come up with a length that will work for everyone so I think a formula would be most helpful.

I can really see this as a great travel bag because you can be hands free and still carry your essentials. I believe this bag could also accommodate most full size wallets!

I will sew up a few more samples along with the pattern sample bag and keep everyone updated on its progress. I am hoping to get Mr Blue Calla's help taking photos of the bag worn the 3 different ways as well.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Zinnia Zippered Panel Bag - Now available!

As part of the goals I have set for my business this year, I would like to release at least 2 new patterns every month. I am quite proud of having listed this new pattern yesterday - only 7 days into the new year!

Before I started working on this pattern, I had already created a few bags in this design. Some by custom request and others just for fun. Here are a few example bags I have made to give you an idea of the possibilities:

Large Pleated Zippered Cross Body Bag in Echino Bicycles with Vegan Leather

Large Pleated Zippered Shoulder Bag in Black Denim with Organic Leaf Line Canvas in Black and White

Large Pleated Zippered Cross Body Bag in Grey and Yellow Floral Canvas with Black Denim (SOLD)

Large Pleated Zippered Cross Body Bag in Echino Bird with Vegan Leather

A few notes about this pattern:

  • I do find this pattern to be a bit more of a challenge due to the variations as well as the zippered closure. I would recommend some experience with sewing zippers before attempting this pattern
  • The use of faux leather is completely optional however if you do choose to use it, I highly recommend a walking foot. I have tried a roller foot and a teflon foot but honestly, nothing works better than a walking foot! 
  • I've used cotton webbing to make the adjustable strap. If you don't have any on hand, you can make your own strap. I don't have a tutorial ready but I'm certain you could easily find one online. 
If you'd like to try out the Zinnia pattern, you can find it in my pattern shop on Etsy.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Coming soon: The Zinnia

I have been working very hard over the past couple of days and accomplished quite a lot. Introducing The Zinnia Zippered Pleated Bag:

The exterior of this bag is made completely from faux leather. I used 2 coordinating patterns: one solid pebbled chocolate brown for the pleated sides and a heavy pebbled tan with chocolate brown spots for the middle panel and the top band.  Keep in mind though - this bag CAN be made in a different fabric other than faux leather. Canvas, denim,  home decor weight. These are all great choices. However if you do choose to use faux leather, I am strongly recommending either a walking foot or a teflon foot (best investment I ever made was my walking foot!!!). Otherwise, this bag could be very difficult to sew properly.

I used double straps for this bag and I've given instructions on how to sew faux leather straps a whole new way which I believe is better than before. 

This will also be my first pattern with a zippered closure. I did realize when I was adding the pull tab to the end of the zipper that I had used the wrong size. It did not affect the way the zipper works at all but made the "open wide" feature I had intended a little less "wide".

But wait. I am not done yet! This pattern will also include instructions for an alternate version of this bag made in fabric with a faux leather bottom and adjustable cross body strap. I will be splitting the instructions in separate files so that you can mix and match features to make it exactly the bag YOU want.

I will be posting another update with the alternate bag version very soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

A special thank you goes out to everyone who supports me and my business. I am excited about this coming year and I have set some goals for Blue Calla and Blue Calla patterns that I hope you will all love!