April 2019 Recap

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Like last month, I’ve done some prototype work this April. For a while I’ve wondered about using felt as interfacing in various projects. We’ve already been using my two placemat prototypes for over six months; they seem to be holding well.

This time I started a purse. Here are the fabrics during the color test / fabric selection phase:

Purse Prototype Fabrics

I had two golden ribbons to choose between; if you look carefully, the one on the right has tone-on-tone striping. In the end, I decided on the plainer ribbon. I may have regrets, though…

A major roadblock for this project has been an 8-point applique star. I started that already in March by making a pattern. As this was to be a prototype, I wanted to use up some scraps from my remnants bin. In hindsight that wasn’t a very good decision; I had an inordinate amount of trouble with the star, since I foolishly selected two very slippery, knit-based fabrics: crushed velvet and faux chamois.

I did finish the star eventually, after much cursing and procrastination.

Applique Star WiP Pieced

Now I just can’t decide whether it’s good enough to apply on the purse. I guess that means not.

Well. You win some, you lose some. That’s just the nature of the creative process.

But: Having finished my taxes earlier than usual, I also had ample time to rearrange my workroom. That invariably meant flinging the smaller bookcases around. In addition, I took the opportunity to death clean some of my possessions, and all that lead to restyling my shelves. I made a curtain to hide some of the less than handsome binders and folders:

Bookcase Curtain Finished

The rest of the shelves aren’t quite there yet, but the curtain is looking great, don’t you think? πŸ™‚

Since I moved my desk, my office phone handset was displaced. I made it a tiny end table out of two upcycled oatmeal containers, posterboard and a round tablecloth:

DIY Phone Table Finished

Here’s a secret: the tablecloth is actually one of my SCA veils, naturally well-washed and pressed. (SCA here means Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., i.e., a group of medieval re-enactors.)

In early April, we finally lost the last of the snow and got to enjoy the first leaf buds and flowers, albeit a little late. Spring is my favorite time of the year! πŸ™‚

2019 First Dandelions2

Flowering Pear First Flower

We continue to experiment with new foods due to dietary restrictions. Here’s a dessert that happened to be all vegan: poached pears, roasted & salted cashews and almondmilk vanilla ice cream.

Poached Pears w Pecans

Will I sound too childish if I say OM NOM NOM!?! πŸ™‚

And, of course, at the end of the month we saw Avengers: Endgame. I’m still mulling it over, but it definitely is a one-of-a-kind ending to a one-of-a-kind series of independent but interlinked movies.

My Con or Bust Donations for 2017

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

Here are my donations for Con or Bust‘s yearly online auction for 2017: two sleep masks.

One is a sleepy critter. It’s made from brown polyester felt lined with a soft linen blend fabric; there’s also felt applique (ears and nose) and embroidery (eyes).

Critter Sleep Mask Collage

The other has a stylized dragon embroidered as an interlace pattern on black polyester felt lined with navy blue cotton.

Dragon Sleep Mask Collage

Bidding will start in two weeks, on Monday, April 24, 2017.

Before that, you can have a look at the 2017 Auction Index (Google spreadsheet), visit the Con or Bust website for more information or browse the 2017 Auction Tags.

Con or Bust, Inc., is a U.S.-based, tax-exempt not-for-profit organization that helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited to the United States, to particular types of con-goers, or to specific cons; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It is funded through donations and an online auction held annually.

As I’ve had firsthand experience of being on a miniature budget and having to limit my geeky hobbies accordingly (i.e., not that much fun), I decided to add Con or Bust to my list of things worthy of support. This is my second time donating.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Tutorial: DIY Shoulder Bag with Mockingjay Felt Logo

Arts & Crafts, Books & Mags, Geek out!, Movies & TV

This week, leading up to the Mockingjay, Part 1 opening night, I’ll share some Hunger Games themed finds and materials, including tutorials for a simple mockingjay logo felt silhouette and a shoulder bag.

 

DIY Shoulder Bag with Mockingjay Felt Logo

For the bag you will need:

mockingjay logo felt silhouette (see separate tutorial)

durable fabric; webbing or sturdy ribbon for the shoulder strap

measuring tape, pins, scissors (or rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat), sewing machine (or a hand needle) and thread

optional: decorative ribbon; iron and ironing board

This tutorial is for an unlined bag.

 

To cut the fabric and webbing:

Shoulder Bag Parts

  1. Cut two rectangles from the fabric: a large rectangle for the bag body and a small, narrow one for the edge binding (to go on the bag opening). The width of your rectangles should be twice the desired width plus 1” / 2-3 cm or so for seam allowances. Optionally, you can cut only one rectangle and hem the opening (like in this ikatbag tutorial) instead of using a separate piece as edge binding. I wanted a small, purse-sized bag. My pieces were approximately 14” x 8.25” / 35 x 21 cm for the bag body and 14” x 3 1/8” / 35 x 8 cm for the edge binding. This was enough for a finished bag 7.5” / 19 cm tall, 6.5” / 16 cm wide and 1.5” / 3.5 cm deep. I used up trouser fabric leftovers, which meant on one hand that my pieces were somewhat odd shapes and sizes, but on the other that I didn’t have to buy any materials.
  2. Cut a length of webbing (or sturdy ribbon) for the shoulder strap. Again, the length depends on your preferences. I measured the strap lengths on two of my favorite shoulder bags, averaged them up and added 2”-3” / 5-8 cm to arrive at 50” / 127 cm. This was enough for a finished strap length of 46” / 117 cm.

 

To attach the logo onto the bag body:

Mockingjay Bag Attaching Logo

  1. Lay the bag body piece down, right side facing up and the future bag opening away from you, and mark the vertical center with pins. This line will become the second β€œside seam” and help you to place the felt silhouette and the shoulder strap symmetrically.
  2. Lay the logo down on the bag body, moving it around until you find a good spot and pin the logo in place. You can also use a measuring tape or a ruler to gauge the placement of the logo. Optional: If you want to use any additional decorations on the bag body, this is a good time to add them. I sewed on my black and gold ribbon first and only then worked on the mockingjay logo.
  3. Sew the silhouette on. Start on the inside and work towards the outside, section by section. Go slowly, especially where there are narrow parts or protrusions. It’s a good idea to use short stitches, practice on a remnant first and check after each section that the logo still sits smoothly on the fabric, repinning if necessary, before moving on to the next section. I sewed 1/16” / 1-2 mm from the edge, and it seemed to work fine. I had to add a couple of hand stitches onto my mockingjay’s beak because I didn’t quite sew far enough with the machine. Optional: Iron the bag body piece from the wrong side of the fabric or through a pressing cloth before sewing the bag.

To sew the bag:

Mockingjay Bag Construction

  1. Fold the bag body in two along the vertical center line, right sides together. Pin and sew the bottom and side seams. Cut down seam allowances to a uniform width (e.g. 1/4” / 6 mm). Zigzag to prevent unraveling. Do not turn the bag right side out yet. Fold the edge binding piece in two, right sides together. Pin and sew the side seam. Make sure the finished width of the edge binding piece matches the finished width of the body piece.
  2. Make box corners for the bag bottom: Grab the bottom corner where the side and bottom seams meet, match the seams to create a point and pin. Mark a line perpendicular to the seam; sew along the mark. My seam was roughly 0.75”-1” / 2-2.5 cm from the point, but the depth of the box corners can be varied according to your preferences. Repeat on the opposite side, using the vertical center line in place of side seam. (Or make cut-out box corners like in this sew4home tutorial.) Turn the bag right side out.
  3. Slide the edge binding over the bag body, right sides together, aligning raw edges. Match side seams and pin the edge binding in place. Use several pins and make sure that the binding sits smooth everywhere. Sew around the bag opening to combine body and binding.
  4. Pin shoulder strap in place at side seam and vertical center line. Make sure that the strap is not twisted before pinning. Attach strap by sewing right on top of the seam combining body and binding. Optional: If you’re experienced, you can pin the edge binding and the strap on at the same time and attach both with one seam. That’s what I did, but I checked and re-checked (and re-re-checked) that they would line up correctly before putting a single stitch down.
  5. Fold in the remaining raw edge of the binding piece approximately 0.5” / 1 cm. Next, fold the binding to the wrong side of the bag body. Make sure to fold beyond the seamline combining the body and binding; pin in place. Use several pins. Measure to make sure that the binding strip is of even width throughout. Sew around the bag opening from the right side. You can disguise the seam by stitching in the ditch between bag body and edge binding pieces. This way, the raw edges of the bag body and strap will be hidden inside the tube formed by the binding, and the bag opening will look neat.
  6. Pin the shoulder strap onto the top edge of the binding piece at the side seam and vertical center line. Sew a reinforcing line along the top edge to attach the strap even more firmly.

The bag is now ready!

Mockingjay Bag

The details can be varied almost infinitely to make bags of different sizes, shapes and looks. Optionally, the strap or the bag body can be decorated with ribbon, fabrics of different colors or other patches, logos or appliques. You can even make a tote by cutting the long strap into two shorter handles instead and sewing them on the middle of the back and front panels. You can also make only the logo and handsew it onto a bag, shirt, jacket or a hat you already own.