A jazzy new laptop bag

So among my resolutions was to accept sewing plans whenever they come up. Unfortunately snowmagedon worked against me this week as our house is in danger of roof damages and basement flooding. Ugh – my arms have never been so tired of shoveling! And falling on the ice this afternoon didn’t help either. What’s worse is that due to all the at-home issues, I had to miss the ASG chapter meeting and I had been looking forward to it for months. Damn. Damn. Damn.

But back to sewing plans – I have been fortunate to have two friends to sew with on Tuesday evenings. They have been working on the Creative Thimble Professional Tote Bag pattern and they are making their bags in leather. As this is their second go round and I need a bag from my lovely 17.3″ new laptop, they offered to help me re-work the pattern to fit my computer. It’s been a blast getting together every week and having some girl time along with serious sewing.

Since I didn’t have any leather handy, and I kind of liked the idea of a washable bag – I went with all cotton quilting fabrics from Joann’s. Mostly because it was on the way to my friend’s house! If I am remembering correctly, I’m probably at about 12 hours on the bag, since two nights were devoted to cutting and fusing, and two nights have been devoted to sewing. I *almost” have a bag shell at this point!

With all the snow/rain/nastiness and needing to be home to keep an eye on things, I did get out my old machine (the Bernina is in the shop getting repaired after being dropped) and started work at home on the swag for the living room curtains. It’s just a piece of simple velveteen, dark brown, but the darn thing is nearly 36 feet long and needs hemming on two sides. Ugh. I managed to get one long side hemmed and then I broke three needles on the other side so I gave up and put the machine away. Who knew I had such little patience today?

Anyway, camera is still MIA so photos delayed yet again. And there are so many fun things to take pictures of!! Maybe it will turn up tomorrow…

a great white driving coat and hat, part troix

I think I’m gonna need to practice my French numbers… I’ll be lucky if there are less than six or seven (or should that be sept?) posts to finish this project!

Note the all important iced coffee on the ledge... it was truly motivating!

I had a burst of energy last weekend and made some major progress on the coat… and if my luck holds, I’ll have more time to work on it tomorrow, too. It’s actually starting to look like a coat – and that’s making me want to finish it.¬† That and we have a sewing club meeting on Thursday and I REALLY want to move on to a more interesting (and authentic!) project. The photo isn’t so great and it has sort of 1960s Elvis collar feel at the moment… but I assure you it is starting to look pretty!

One of the things that had slowed me down was the simple fact that I decided to use a hong kong seam finish on all the interior seams. Partly for practice, partly for durability and aesthetics. But this meant needing lots and lots and lots of bias tape! A month or two ago I had treated myself to the bias strip cutter machine from Simplicity (no, not the official name but I don’t have the box in front of me!) and once you get it set up properly… wow, can you create miles of bias strips in minutes! In all it probably took 15-20 minutes of cutting enough strips to bind the seams. Actually applying the strips took considerably longer.

I remember this being a bigger pile… the strips were cut from some kind of synthetic satin leftover from a past project

I did find that you need to do one side of the seam at a time to get a good finish – although that may have something to do with this particularly binding fabric. In any case, it worked best to apply it to the right side of one seam, press it perfectly, then go back, finish that side and do the first step on the opposite side of the seam. Press again, then finish the second side. It was good practice… but I’m not sure I’ll use the technique for such longgggg seams again.

I was so careful with the trim... even making sure the overs & unders were symetrical for each flap.

Applying the trim was much more fun! I started with preparing the pocket flaps¬† and then lightly tracing the trim pattern onto the right side of each finished pocket flap The trim was pinned in place at each corner point of the pattern, and then I permanently secured it in place with a wide machine zig-zag stitch. This worked pretty well, even without any special trim feet for the machine. I jumped ahead and trimmed the collar… but sadly this turned out to be a mistake. It’s supposed to be trimmed after it’s sewn to coat as the trim extends down through the lapels, too. Oops!

This was when the frustration on this project started to kick in again and I began cutting more corners. I opted to sew the pocket flaps to the coat, without the welting strips or pocket pieces. It doesn’t look too bad… but I think if I start this again when I have more energy, I probably will undo the pocket flaps and the collar trim… and follow the directions properly!

But let’s see what happens in the morning, shall we?