Aug 4, 2015

Hand Made Back Pack Part 2

front view
My first back pack was a huge learning experience. I knew I needed more pockets and a more durable closure. I used a home-dec fabric (rather than duck cloth) which is much less durable. Hopefully I don't regret that but I think with the wax treatment it will increase the durability.

back, you can see the ergonomics I attempted to
sculpt in the foam stitching

I used denim for the backing, again its a softer denim. Again hopefully it will hold up. I used 1/2 inch foam for padding and tried to sew it ergonomically with pad cushions ( see back pic). Not sure if it helps but it looks fancy!
The bottom is a fabric vinyl.

On one side I put a large pocket for my travel cup. Its lined with thermo insulated fabric, that will help keep the hot (or cold) from reaching the inside. Its shiny silver material available in the utility fabric area. 

you can see the hidden pocket here that Ive opened up
I also added another hidden pocket. It quite small, I can barely fit my hand in it. But thats what I wanted. I plan on city use, and I'm always concerned about security. I always thought regular back packs are easily accessed by someone on a crowded bus without you being able to know. I planned by bags to be difficult to access without some effort. The small hand pocket is such that. A hand larger than mine ( small and female) wouldn't be able to reach into it, and the angle to reach is weird, so I feel ok my wallet or whatever in there.

On the other side is a zippered laptop sleeve. I padded it differently than my first backpack and its easy to tell because the opening is not as straight. This is partly also due to some shrinkage that occurred during the waxing process. 

zipper outer pocket organizer
flap open , the black elastic can
be seen in its sleeve
Again I lined the flap and front with water resistant fabric, as well as the entire laptop sleeve in between the outer and lining fabric. I added a huge outside pocket with pleats that expand when full. 

Inside the pocket has an organizer that I cut out of a store bought bag. I often use store bought bags for bits and pieces. I used an outdoor non-separating dual open zipper. Zippers are weird. There are lots of different options. 
Make sure you check out all the options before deciding which to use.

inside, shiny satin!
The inside is only 1 compartment, I didn't see a need for pockets or slots inside.
I used satin for lower lining because I had a remnant. Top lining is cotton.

The closure took a long time to figure out and multiple change ups before deciding. Ultimately I decided to use firm elastic with a loop. The bottom connection is a clip. I wanted a little bling and sparkle. The elastic stretches out to keep it closed when the bag is full. I don't like velcro or snaps. I often ride my bike with my bags and I wanted to make sure it stays on tight.

pre waxing, note how much
 lighter the fabric is

double boiler for
melting wax.
once melted I put the can
on mug warmer in my work area
The waxing process this time I used 80% beeswax and 20% parafin. I read that parafin can put off toxic fumes so I wanted to use less. The beeswax has a nice smell too. I used a sponge to apply it, which worked really good for large areas ( although not the most precise). While I was working I used a electric cup warmer which kept the wax melted. After applying I used a hairdryer to melt it into the fabric. Then I put the bag inside a pillowcase and put it in the dryer on high heat for like an hour. This is where I had some unexpected shrinkage. I don't mind since I was concerned the bag was too big. This time a had a nice hard outer covering of wax that I could tap on. I didn't have this shell like feel with the first bag. Its not stiff but firm. From what I have read the wax treatment needs to be redone every year.
Im not sure if its my imagination or not but the beeswax may have added a yellowing color to the fabric, I like to think it looks like honey, I don't mind but maybe I will do a  50% mixture if color is important in the future.
all laid out before sewing,
whew! thats a lot of fabric!

Hand Made Back Pack

I am a firm believer that "If its made out of fabric, then I can make it". Why not? I signed up for a class at a local art school and the first thing I do to prepare to accessorize! I was going to buy a backpack but couldn't find anything I loved for less than $100. Although I have no access to commercial fabrics- cordura or coated poly, or other heavy duty water proof fabrics, I knew my bag would be out of canvas. Those commercial fabrics are great because they are light weight and sew pretty easy. ( I am trying to get my hands on some for future projects). I used duck cloth ( a thick cotton - not as thick as canvas) for the upper. The lower is a (thin) poly decorative suede that I lined with duck cloth.

On one side is a zippered laptop sleeve ( bottom right). It turned out really well and it is heavily padded.

 On the other side is a sort of hidden pocket that I made for my hand to slip into. ( left side) The pocket is quite large on the inside. I like it but I can only put things in that are hand size.

I wanted a bag that opened on top rather than a zipper. This is so that I could fit larger things in, like pads of paper or rulers. I have gotten some comments about the way it opens on top, but I don't mind that it is not zippered. I thought I could remedy that by putting a draw string pull closure.

 My favorite part of the bag is the waxed treatment. The fabric is actually a light beige but with the wax it became a darker khaki. I waxed the poly suede and it became shiny and much more durable. This was my first time doing a wax treatment to add water proofing. I don't think I put enough on but, but I lined the outer fabric with water resistant lining material- available at Fields. I was stuck in one especially heavy down pour and nothing got wet inside. I used a tutorial online for the wax treatment. I used 100% parafin and a paint brush to do this. I have since done a second bag differently, see Handmade Backpack 2 for details.

Things I learned: Having one central strap caused gapping on the side and put a lot of stress on the strap. You can see the shredding of the belt I used for the strap, which may just be because that belt wasn't made for that type of stress.
Also I need more pockets. And a place for a travel cup or bottled water. I was constantly having to get into the bag for these and it was just clumsy.
However I do like steam lined, minimalistic look without a lot of clutter, so I guess there is some sacrifice.

Left my back pack out and became a hiding spot:

Dec 25, 2014

Holiday crafts 2014

I only had time for a few crafts this year, but I love these.
Earrings made from this bead stands. I don't really know what they expect you to do with these bead strings. Usually my projects have 1 our 2 feature beads, so making making earrings fit gifts is a perfect project. These this owls are so cute, don't you think?
The second project I find immensely rewarding. It reminded me of old time crafting, when things were made as heirlooms. Also I live miniature things! These are Swedish inspired ornaments for family.

Dec 22, 2013

The Year of No

Anyone who knows me, that I sew, maybe you have something I made. Its only a matter of time for someone to ask me to make something for them, for someone else, to fix something etc. Of course people offer to pay etc. I have been happy to sew for other people for many years. But now, going forth, I have to say no, sorry. I would be happy to help you make something. I have precious little spare time. I don't even have a quilt for myself, I have a huge pile of my clothes I need to hem. I have projects that are tucked away, not even started. The truth is the actual cost to make someone something would be usually higher than anyone willing to pay, I haven't priced things as they should in the past, but for example it takes an entire day to make a diaper bag, but in the past I only charged a little more than supplies. So, I am still going to make gifts, because I love to make things for people, I love giving gifts I have created especially for someone. I think about that person as I make it, how they will use it etc. And I will still make things to sell. But please don't ask me to fix something or make something for a friend.

Jan 31, 2013

Diaper Bag Again...

I knew sooner or later I would be asked to make a camouflage diaper bag, though I didn't know how nice it would look. The blue detail is sparse but the inside is all blue. I knew the 2 bags would be used by the soon-to-be dad's so I tried to make them neutral. (camo bag- pattern Butterick 4560) I have made this bag so many times I think I am going to retire it soon, I just want something a little more updated, and a little smaller. Bottom pics, I've had a special request for a different diaper bag, I sort of mashed up that (above) pattern with Simplicity 1823. I used outdoor fabric ( waterproof!) to give a more urban updated feeling and much more durable than cotton. Also I used sport mesh for pockets (inside) which I really love (bottom pic). And reflector piping tape on the outside for visablitiy (they are bikers). Safety First! My Blue Heaven 1928 Blue Skies 1927 Honeysuckle Rose If you want the rainbow 1928 Comojos 1911

Feb 20, 2011

Make a Unique Pin Cushion

Click to enlarge the picture

Just a little project using a votive candle holder to make a pin cushion. I decided to added the piping at the last minute to fill the gaps and I'm glad I did, a little pipping goes a long way. After stitching the piping to the cushion I used heavy duty glue to adhere it.  Now I'll be looking for other interesting votive holders, I'd love to see what you come up with!

the finished piece...

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Feb 11, 2011

this little owl has a secret...

this little owl has a secret...

he is hiding something...
From beanie baby to ipod cozy!

When my ipod is not in use ( or even if it is) this little cozy keeps it warm and hidden away.Here is a before of what the toy looked like below . I sewed elastic around the opening, used the tail to make the head part (where the hat was): from the back:

Feb 5, 2011

Print Your Own Monthly Planner

Free custom monthly planner made my me in Indesign. I had been looking around for something like this but couldn't find anything... so I made one and decided to share it anyone in the world
Print it out on 8" by 11" paper then cut in half and hole punch. I used specialty 2 sided scrapbook paper for a unique look. but any paper would work. If you have suggestions for future editions drop me a comment and share your projects
Click here to start your printing!

Feb 2, 2011

Customized Planner

I bought a planner on clearance that was a little boring, it was really easy to customize it to be unique. I was able to sew over the existing cover ( through the cardboard- easier than it sounds), then glued around the tab and magnetic closure.

Also I created a custom monthly planner in Indesign that I printed out on 2 sided speciallty scrap-book paper, with a 3-hole punch and a rotory cutter its one of a kind.
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Print your own plannner: download the custom monthly planner pdf here

More Diaper Bags

McCalls B4560
these are a comission, one in pink and one in blue. I added strap adjusters per request, I had to special order 2" adjusters, they just don't sell those at the store. other than that I put the plastic canvas on the bottom instead of the back. I have made this pattered at least 8 times now and I love it more and more each time

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Dec 26, 2010

Holiday sewing

Homemade cassarole dish cozy with zipper, it has temperature reflect fabric to keep things hot or cold. It came together easier than I thought it would, I'll probably have to make more of these in the future as I can see how it could in handy for potlucks

Dog coat: Mccalls 5723 view c , no bow, I used fleece and reflector tape. this is the large size! it fit great though.


Nov 29, 2010

McCall's 5538

fleece winter coat with an oops! ( bottom pic) how did that happen???oh well.

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Aug 29, 2010

homemade couch slipcover for Katie

From 2010-08-29

and after:

this took us about 2 days of sewing, this is my 3rd cover and I like to make the cushions instead of a regular slipcover- I think this looks much nicer. Covering the cushions probably takes the longest. we used heavy home-dec fabric that is way more durable than the chintz that was on there to begin with.
below is close up of the arm back, probably the hardest part with the curve and 3 large pieces that come together, it needs to be tight to prevent it from shifting.
From dp

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helper cats Basil and Nutmeg!

and helper dog Salute:
From dp