Thursday, September 13, 2012

Double pleated chevron bag

From the minute I saw this grey chevron fabric at work a vision of a new bag started bubbling in my head. It took 3 months to make it come to life and get it just the way I wanted it. To be honest I still have a few adjustments to make it just perfect but this is pretty darn close!

I bought this grey chevron duck cloth the day it came in at work, it was my very first day actually. I knew I wanted pleats and a yellow top panel but not much aside from that. Over the next few weeks I sat in the middle of the living room every night with the chevron duck, yellow duck, grey piping, and pins pleating and re-pleating and looking at it from every angle and was never really satisfied. Then Jeff made a suggestion-lose the piping- and instantly this design was born! Even once I had it just the way I wanted it and all measured out I hesitated to cut anything until I was out fabric shopping and found this wonderfully soft  grey twill. I knew immediately it had to be the interior for my bag.

I added a zipper pocket that's nice and roomy inside. Right before I added the slip pockets I thought it needed a little something so I found the perfect shade of yellow in a Kona cotton and made a trim. I usually like a lighter color for the interior so it's easy to find your stuff but I think the trim really helps the pockets stand out.

This is a very spacious bag! It's 21" across the top, 17 1/2 " at the bottom, 14" high (minus handles) and 5 inches deep. The handles sit 12" from the top of the bag and are padded with fleece making it a very comfy shoulder bag.

I added a zip closure on this bag, can you see the zip tab peaking out on the left side? I had been wanting to try a zipper closure on my bags for a while. The first one I tried was TERRIBLE and I was nervous to try again until I got Lisa Lam's new book A Bag For All Reasons and she had an awesome tutorial for it! I love Lisa Lam and have learned a lot from her so I just trusted her book to get me through it and I'm so glad I did!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Easy Knit Dress

Once I figured out how to shir I fell in love with how easy it was. I had made a couple dresses for Izzie using woven fabrics, and it dawned on me that shirring on knits would be a quick and easy way to get some practice in on the fabric that has scared me for so long! (have I shared how I sewed right through my finger the first time I tried to use knits? Not pretty, and it kept me from attempting knits again for over 3 years!) I am really happy I tried it because my girl LOVES this dress!

All I did was cut one piece of knit 1 1/2 times the width of her chest then shirred 7 lines about 1/2 in apart. I added a ruffle strip to the bottom then took 2 long strips and pulled them at each end (to make them curl up) for the straps. I didn't bother hemming since knit won't fray and the dress was meant to be easy!

It literally took me 30 minutes start to finish. Of course, since it's pink, she absolutely loves it! It's perfect for the hot, hot summer we've been having and she wears it at least once a week. I'm so glad I decided to conquer my fear of knits...and so is Isabel!

I've been having lots of fun sewing clothes for my kids this summer, but it's time to start getting back to business! I've been buying new fall fabrics and working on some new bag designs for a fall line, so to speak. I seem to be in love with grey, lol, as I noticed that almost 75% of the fabric I've bought lately has grey in it! Over the next month I'm going to work on getting ready for fall and will share my new bags once they are all completed. Until then I have more fun clothes I've made for my kiddos that I'll post. Hope you are enjoying your summer!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Go To Signature Dress

Since I'm becoming more comfortable with knits I decided I needed  to step it up a bit, though sometimes one of my faults (strengths?) is that I tend to aim pretty high and try the hardest things first. When I saw the Go To Signature Dress pattern I thought it was the perfect way to learn some new things while expanding  Izzie's wardrobe! The pattern has TONS of options with 18 pages of detailed instructions and tips. I was slightly nervous from the beginning-it has set-in sleeves(never done before,) rib knit neckline (never done before,) and I chose the most basic option then decided to add some flower appliques (never done before!)   

The instructions were really clear and easy to follow and she gives you lots of tips along the way. I had a little difficulty with the neckline. I ended up stretching both the ribbing and the dress, which just stretched out the whole thing and made it bigger then it should be...but not terribly noticeable (right?!?! don't lie, I can't stop looking at it either!)

The sleeves were another thing that was new for me. Luckily she explains it so well I didn't have much trouble. (Yeah they look a bit uneven in this picture, I think she was getting fidgety. Poor kid, I took pictures of her in 4 dresses that morning! But she's still giving me her sweet little smiles, sun in her eyes and all!)

The flower appliques were also a first for me and I mostly put them on there to keep her interested in the dress by adding pink. In Isabel's world if it doesn't have pink or rainbows then FORGET IT, she's not even looking at it let alone wearing it! Anyway, back to the flowers. As long as you don't look too close at them then they look pretty cute, *cough* but really I need to practice sewing in circles before I attempt them again, haha.

It is far from perfect but I am SO PROUD of how it turned out!!! And lucky for me Izzie loves it even though there's not much pink on it. This pattern is perfect for beginners since she guides you through every step. I love all the options-length, sleeves, pockets and waistbands-all in one pattern! I have already started on the second one, using a striped knit (luckily she also gives you clear instructions on how to cut patterns on stripes so they line up correctly.) So far the neckline went much better now that I understand it and I'm almost done with it. I am so glad I bought this pattern, I have learned so much!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Easy Upcycles

My son has been asking me to make something for him since he sees everything I make for his sister. I decided to step into the world of boy's clothes slowly and simply and I found an quick and easy tutorial at Make It and Love It to turn pants into shorts.

When I first showed them to him he thought I made them from scratch, lol! He had a few pairs of pants that he either got too tall for or got holes in that I was just going to get rid of until I saw that tutorial...
so I pulled out my scissors and double needle..
now my boy has 3 new pairs of shorts! Lol, he wanted to look tough with his basketball :)

I have a few other ideas for projects for him too, my first try at making shorts from scratch needs some adjusting (and better fabric choices, right, Jeff, lol) and a few t-shirt refashions I haven't gotten to yet.

Speaking of t-shirt refashions...

My daughter has been wanting a Star Wars t-shirt and I'd seen this tutorial  a while ago so I gave it a shot. It literally took me 15 minutes and she loves it! 

After these easy upcycles turned out so well I'm hunting for some more ideas to repurpose their outgrown clothes-especially because, at their age, they often outgrow things they've barely worn.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Labor of Love

My little girl LOVES rainbows! She draws them everywhere, colors pictures with rainbow colors and I've even found her putting toys in rainbow order. When I saw this pieced jersey dress on kojo designs I thought it would be perfect for a rainbow dress for my Izzie! Now that I'm conquering my fear of knits I wanted to make the whole thing from scratch and not use one of her existing tops. As luck would have it Old Navy was having a sale on t-shirts so I went and bought all the colors of the rainbow in the biggest sizes they had. That night I searched the internet for a way to do the top of the dress and I came across the warhol dress pattern by Dana at MADE.  I took a deep breath, reminded myself that I was no longer afraid of knits and started sewing. It was harder then I thought it would be but I love how it turned out!

Let's just say that my original idea started out with the traditional ROYGBIV but I made an error in my measurements and had to add the pink at the top. Luckily I had leftover pink jersey from another dress I had made for Izzie (which I will share soon) and she loves pink so I didn't think she'd mind. 

I think it's safe to say she loves it!! I'm so glad she does and relieved it turned out as great as it did because I was STRESSING over it the whole time! I was going to do exposed seams but decided against it at the last minute so I ended up using my serger to attach each piece. I've been working with quilting weight cottons and home dec fabrics since I started sewing and working with knit is very different! Piecing the colors together and making the seams match up made me nervous and I kept second guessing myself. I nearly cried when I was ironing the yoke because it was so long and I couldn't get it to stay put. Once I finally had it all done I was sure it would be way too small on her. I'm so lucky that Jeff is so supportive, he kept assuring me that it looked great every time I started freaking out! When I showed it to Izzie the next day she started screaming with excitement and had to put it on right away. I'm so happy that it fit just right!

I think I will try this style again since I love how cute she looks in it and it's such a comfy dress for summer...without the piecing though, lol!

This was definitely a labor of love, but totally worth it once I saw the excitement on my baby girl's face when she saw it for the first time! I think I'm starting to like working with knits!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Adjusting to going back to work has been a bit harder then I had anticipated, I didn't even sew at all during the first 3 weeks! Even now that I'm settling in it's a challenge, though I have managed to put a few things together. I've been thinking a lot about the direction that I want RGO to take. I LOVE making bags, but now with summer weather upon us (except for the last few days-gotta love Ohio) I can't stop thinking of all the cute summer dresses I can make! Then my son started getting a little jealous so I figured I might as well try some boy clothes. A lot of my friends have had babies recently and that got me thinking about making some baby stuff-LOTS of possibilities! So many ideas!! I can't really nail it down to just one area right now, especially now that I see fabric all day at work and get ideas from asking customers what they're making. I decided I will just make what I want and figure it out as I go!

First up is a bag that is based on this first bag. I had these changes in my head for a while and I'm really happy with the way it turned out!

I moved the pleats, gave it a longer top panel, and changed from the 2 shoulder straps to a wide adjustable strap. The finished size is 12" wide at the top, 17" at the bottom, 12" tall (without the strap) and the interior can open up to 9" deep. The strap is adjustable from 26"-46". I used  pink piping and pink canvas for the interior top panel and multiple pockets.  It closes with a magnetic closure.

I made another bag, an Isabel bag variation, with a concealed zipper top, but it needs a little tweaking before I'm comfortable with showing it off. I used the orange circles fabric (see it here) and it turned out so cute! I'm hoping to get it ready soon. I also have a new bag that I just drew up the pattern for that I have some great fabric for that I want to get done soon too.

I made a few dresses for my daughter and finally conquered my fear of knits, as well as a few projects I did for my son. I'll be doing posts on these soon.

It's good to be back! I'm going to work hard to keep this going and hopefully you'll enjoy some of the ideas I have!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

It's been a while since I've posted anything. I've been so busy with my kids, filling orders, working on a few new things and life in general. I thought I'd share some pictures of some recent orders and some of the new things I've  been working on.

A friend ordered this wristlet and matching change purse. I love the fabric she chose, it has such great colors! I lined both bags with the white with black polka dot fabric you can see on the wristlet handle.

She also ordered some crayon roll and tote sets. I really liked the way these 2 fabrics looked together. Jen's fabric choices were so great  I really enjoyed working on her order!

Isabel had been eyeing this pink ruffle fabric for a while, every time we went to the store to buy fabric she asked for it so I finally broke down and bought it for her. I really had no idea what to do with it so I searched the internet for ideas. I chose the ones I liked best then let Izzie choose for herself. We both agreed on this dress from one of my favorite blogs Make It and Love It. There are tons of great tutorials on this blog, she is so creative! This dress literally took me an hour from start to finish! Izzie loves it and I will definitely be making a few more for her.

Here's a new envelope clutch I made. It has a removable purse chain so it can also be used as a wristlet or just taken off completely. I put a few divided pockets inside that can hold your ID, credit cards and cash.

This fabric was chosen by another friend when I was making her an Isabel Bag, it was her second choice. She ended up choosing this

 Lisa presented me with a bit of a challenge since I made the first Isabel Bag small enough to be Izzie size and the second Isabel Bag big enough for me (I'm 5'9") but Lisa is closer to my mom's size so I'm guessing about 5'2". I had to adjust the strap length and make the bag body smaller so it wouldn't look overwhelming on her. I got a picture of her over the weekend wearing her bag in NYC and it looks great on her!

So Lisa's bag made it to New York City and this order went to an old friend in Iowa. Kelli and I traveled together for a year in 1997-1998 with Up With People. It's been a long time since I've seen her! I was so happy to work on her order, the zipper bag and change purse are for her and she got the reusable snack bags for another friend we traveled with. I love the green and black fabrics she chose, Izzie has a dress, skirt and fabric rosette hair clip made with them.

While I was on vacation this week I got a lot of ideas for what I want to work on in the next few weeks and I also have a few big orders on deck. Our family calendar for this month is FULL, almost every day has something on it, but I'm trying to keep myself on track to keep up with my kids' and Jeff's busy schedules, orders that keep coming in, building back up my inventory (it's almost completely wiped out-at the beginning of March I had 46 bags of all sizes, now I'm down to only a few snack and sandwich bags and a clutch!) and working on my new ideas. I am about to have an entire weekend all to myself so I'm hoping to get a lot done! I'll keep you posted!