Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Isabel Bag

Here's a new bag I call "The Isabel Bag" after my baby girl!

She picked the fabrics, she calls the exterior fabric "the pretzel fabric" lol. This is a very basic version of this bag, I have some cool variations, like adding a flap for the closure and making the handle adjustable (plus a few more!) that I'll be working on soon.
Until then, here's a few pics of Izzie enjoying her new bag, she wouldn't put it down once I gave it to her! Since we had a really nice day today we got to play outside (crazy Ohio weather, I bet it will be back in the 20's before we know it!)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wristlet set

My newest project that I worked on this weekend is a wristlet set that includes a sunglasses case, lipgloss case and phone case that has 2 pockets. It was a long process so I thought I'd post not only the finished pieces but also some of the steps along the way. To start, here's the completed set...

Now that I've made the first set and worked out a few kinks I can't wait to make more, it's so cute! The pattern for this came on a HUGE tissue pattern paper filled with about 30 different patterns! Luckily I had seen a post about using freezer paper showing the easiest way to trace patterns from these. I think the kids thought I was crazy, but this was the best way to see through the freezer paper. The sliding glass doors were the only thing big enough otherwise I would have had to move it each time I traced a new piece.

I got really excited when I was done tracing all the pieces, but once I finished cutting them out I started wondering what had I gotten myself into!

It was right after this that I got stuck, is was kind of like writers block. I had traced another pattern that day from that same huge paper, got a new book with a few bags I wanted to make, and then went shopping and got a bunch of new fabric. It was almost as if I had too much in my head at one time and couldn't figure out where to start! I talked to my sister and Jeff a few times trying to sort everything out but it wasn't until my sweet baby girl said to me Friday morning when I was on the computer "Mommy, I thought you said you had sewing projects to do, so what are you doing?!" Hahaha, motivation from a 4 year old! I actually had a busy day already but managed to get all the fabric cut and interfaced (luckily less then half needed it-I HATE interfacing!)

I finally sat down and really got to work Saturday, determined to get it finished. Much to my dismay I figured out halfway though the wristlet that the directions were wrong and the zipper they called for was about 3 inches too short!! I had already been to the fabric store earlier and was not going to waste any more time so I just made do by cutting off 1 1/2 inches off the sides of the bag. It was frustrating and took a bit of work to get it to look right, but it turned out ok. I'll use the correct size next time! I also changed the pattern a bit by adding a swivel hook to the strap so it can be removed easily.

(ugh! sometimes my pics rotate when I post them and even Jeff can't figure out why!)

I love the cases with this set! They go great all together or can be used separately, plus they can be used for whatever your heart desires! First I made the phone case. It holds my iPhone with plenty of extra room and it has fleece lining to keep your phone protected. It also has 2 nice pockets to keep money, ID, or credit cards.

Next I made a sunglasses case. It is also lined with fleece to keep your sunglasses safe inside your bag. Like the phone case, it has a flap with a velcro closure. I'm so glad my sister talked me into using the buttons, they really add a nice touch!

Last, but not least, is a lipgloss case, it's a great size for your make-up though it can hold any of the little things usually floating around at the bottom of your purse. It has a larger flap with velcro closure to keep your smaller items put!

I had a lot of fun and my fair share of stress making this set. Thanks to my sister's advice I got to try something new-fabric covered buttons. They were fun to make and really add to the little cases. The 3 I used helped me learn about fabric placement for each button and also placement on the flaps...I've been getting a lot of practice with hand sewing lately! You can buy kits at the store to make your own, I can already see lots of projects using these coming in my future!

As if the misprint on the zipper size wasn't stressful enough, I misread the directions on the phone case and made a crucial mistake...oops, I missed to directions for adding the velcro to the case!! I noticed the bottom pocket wasn't straight and then the seams came apart! I ended up having to start from scratch and make another one, the first one was a MESS!! I learned from my mistakes and was a LOT more careful in the construction of the second one!

So there you go, a wristlet with 3 accessory cases! I know I could have just shown you the set and the individual pieces but it was an interesting journey to get this project done and I wanted to share it. 

Like I said earlier, I have a LOT of ideas and a bunch of new fabric so keep checking back for fun new projects! If you see anything you want please leave me a comment, anything I make can be made in (almost) any fabric I have and I like doing custom orders. The next order I'm working on is for a friend that wanted the elements of 2 different purses I make combined so I've designed a whole new purse for her! I'll be posting pictures of that next week hopefully. I also have pictures on my facebook page that I haven't posted on here yet, crayon roll and tote bag sets, a purse and purse organizer and a few dresses, skirts and hair accessories, those are all coming to the blog soon!
Have a great day!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

They're DONE!

     The project that I didn't want to do and avoided as much as possible is finally finished! I woke up this morning and said "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" I worked on them all day and just finished them, finally! Now I can move on to projects I've been wanting to do and other orders that are easy and much less time consuming. I can't even describe how good it feels to be done with this crazy and highly stressful project!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

work spaces

     I've been busy working on orders this week, one in particular has been tough and it's taking up a lot of my time. The worst part about it is that it's not even something I want to make, so it's harder to concentrate on it! I just have to suck it up and get it done, money is money, right?!?! 
     Since I've been trying to find excuses to stay away from that project, lol, I thought I'd take a minute to show you my work spaces. Jeff and I both have hobbies that take up a lot of space, but we're in a house that has enough space for the necessities and all the kids stuff but not much else-so we had to get creative.

This is the new sewing table Jeff got me for Christmas. When I'm not using it it just looks like a regular piece of furniture.
When you open it up it has tons of work space! It has plenty of storage for all my notions and equipment, I can put both my machines on top when I need to or store one down on the shelf to keep it out of the way. Luckily it fits right in an available space we had in the dining room. It is so nice to not have to drag all that stuff in and out of the hobby closet every day! Speaking of the hobby closet...

This is where I keep the fabric I use most often as well as my interfacings, hardware, and, well, whatever else I'm using that won't fit into my sewing table! This is only part of the closet, the rest of it isn't nearly as organized, lol! Jeff uses this closet for some of his stuff, the rest of our hobby stashes are out in the garage.

My 2 trusty machines!! A Husqvarna Viking Emerald 118 and a Brother 1034 D, I love them both! The Viking puts my last Singer to shame, it sews through multiple layers like it's nothing and it has some very useful features that make my life easier! My serger is like a dream come true, lol! I haven't even really gotten into all the functions it can do, but am really happy with how quickly it finishes seams perfectly and almost died when I found out how easily it gathers! 

This is how I set up my cutting and ironing spaces when I'm working. Lol, it's not great but it works! Cutting on the floor gives me a ton of space but always hurts my back if I'm cutting a lot of material. I set up this really bright light above my ironing board because it's kind of a dark corner of the house. I work a lot at night and even if I turn on all the lights downstairs and the light on the stairs it's still dark. I use the speaker as a little tablet to hold any tools I may need, which I'm sure drives Jeff crazy but he's to wonderful to complain!

Ok, I've avoided my project for long enough, lol. I need to get some work done on it now because I have a ton of  'real life' things to do today, laundry and grocery shopping don't take care of themselves unfortunately!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New projects and orders

     After a lot of thought, some advice from my sister and many conversations with my loving CIO (lol, I love calling him this) I have decided to take the next few months to concentrate on making purses and bags and hold off on starting any new clothing projects. I only sewed sporadically before this fall so everything I'm doing is basically new to me. It makes more sense to focus just on one area at a time rather then trying to learn a ton of stuff all at one time. The more experience I get in bag making the less time it takes to make each one, and the better they look. Here are a few of the things I've been working on...

This is the purse I made from Jeff's mom's old pleated skirts. Those skirts yielded 4 yards of fabric each after I seam ripped all the pleats!! This was fun to make, but I plan to change the design up just a bit  before I make the next one. I only have enough of these 2 fabrics left for one more, which Betty already requested. I will post better pics once the new design is finished.

OK, lol, this pic rotated once I posted it and I couldn't get it to go back! This is a cute little zippered pouch, I love these fabrics and think the red zipper and piping add a nice touch and make the fabric colors pop!

Here's a new bag that I made this weekend. I love the long strap, the shape of the bag, and the fabric! I used duckcloth for this bag and it's lined with fleece which makes it both sturdy and soft. The opening of the bag was a bit difficult so I think I'm going to work on the sizing a bit, but keep the idea the same.

This is a baby seat cover the preschool asked me to make. It was actually a difficult project considering I only had a very old, worn cover to use for reference. I was SHOCKED when I took it to the school yesterday to try it out and it fit perfectly!! I only made this one to make sure it fit (I was sure I would have to make tons of adjustments) so now I have to make 3 more. It's lined with fleece and I used a big soft blanket for the back to  protect the fleece and add more softness. I serged the edges of each of the 3 main pieces before sewing it all together knowing they would be washed frequently, I figured it would help them last longer. The school was going to reimburse me for the materials and then pay me for my time but we agreed on just putting that money towards tuition, yay!!

I still have another order I'm working on (goose clothes, don't ask...it's money right?!) and some I haven't yet started (4 crayon rolls and totes, a dress, a purse and a laptop bag.) Luckily everyone is pretty casual right now about when they want their stuff done which allows me time to work on creating new stuff at the same time without being overwhelmed. Right now though I need to go back to daily life and get to the grocery store! Have a good day :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Organized Office Bag...a.k.a. Dad's Bag

It's DONE! I worked most of the day Tuesday to finish it, stopping only for the regular daily grind, lol, I even made dinner in the crockpot to give me more time. So in honor of my first really BIG project turning out as well as it did, I am finally going to try to add pictures to my blog! I'm sure in the blogging world it's an easy thing, but I am not very computer savvy, lol, and my loving and supportive CIO has been busy with work and projects of his own. So here we go...

This is the finished product! The Organized Office Bag from The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam, or as I have been referring to it "Dad's Bag" as it is my Dad's birthday present.

I had to learn so many new techniques for this bag, starting with working with Home Dec weight fabric, adding the twist locks (during which I shoved my seam ripper into my finger-ouch!)  making the adjustable strap, and attaching gussets (the sides.) The whole bag is lined with fleece and medium weight interfacing to keep it sturdy and protect his laptop.

Inside the bag I learned how to do a flush zip pocket, which was hard but ended up turning out very well. It also has a penholder pocket and an elastic top pocket, I put a water bottle in it for the picture but I'm sure my dad will use it for something else.

On the other side of the interior it has a laptop harness to keep his laptop from moving around. Even with the pockets full and the laptop in there he still has plenty of room to put in files or catalogs or whatever else his heart desires...except his golf clubs, which I know for SURE he carries in his car at all times, lol!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Movin' Along

     Yesterday's class went well, I actually learned more than I thought I would! She covered different stretch stitches, which was perfect because I've been reading a lot about sewing with knits and learning those those stitches was just the push I needed to actually get started. I had gotten 2 free feet with my new Viking when I bought it and, considering my emotional state that day after my Singer died, I picked one very useful foot (a piping foot that I LOVE) and one I would never use (double welt cording foot.) I took the useless foot to class with me and asked if I could exchange it, luckily she said yes even without my receipt, so I got a walking foot. Everything I have read says a walking foot is essential for knits so I was pretty excited! I got a discount on whatever I bought because I took the class so I also got a pack of ballpoint needles and a twin needle, two other must-haves for knits. Of course I walked through the whole fabric section making mental notes of what I wanted on my next trip, then grabbed the last pieces of hardware I needed for my dad's bag and headed home to play with my new stuff!
     Last night I finally got to sit at my machine and spent about an hour cutting up an old t-shirt and trying out everything I'd learned with my new gear. The walking foot is WILD!! First of all it's huge and it's very cool to see the teeth moving up and down but even better is how it feeds the fabric through so I get perfect flat seams every time! I can't wait to get a few yards of some cute knits and start working!!
     This morning I realized I had only a week to finish my dad's bag so I decided I better get moving! I spent the morning interfacing all the pieces (have I mentioned how much I HATE interfacing?!?!) then real life interrupted for a few hours, grocery shopping, pick up Tre from school, homework, make dinner, clean up, finished laundry, pj's, read, bedtime, then I got back to it. Unfortunately I found out that Jeff had to record tonight (in the same room that I sew in) so I only got to work for about another hour. Once I got upstairs (my hang-out when he's recording) I looked at my book-I have finished the first 6 steps, which got me excited until I turned the page and saw that there are 23 total steps, lol! Oh well, Izzie has school tomorrow so I'll have a good amount of time to work on it. 
     I need to keep moving on it because I have 3 orders in line behind it. None of them have firm deadlines, but the first 2 are big orders that involve me having to make the patterns myself from examples they gave me. Then my mom is trying to convince me to sign up for a craft show in March. I haven't made up my mind about it yet. for right now I just need to keep moving forward...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Learn New Things

     So much to learn, so little time! I have quite a list in my head of things I want to try, especially after getting 5 new sewing books for Christmas (Thanks Jeff!!!) I started with The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam since I've been on a purse kick lately. I chose to start with The Organized Office Bag for my dad to carry his laptop since his birthday is this month. I have everything all cut out and marked, but I've been stalling, maybe I'm a bit nervous because it's way more advanced then anything I've ever done or (more likely) it's because I have so many ideas in my head I'm having trouble concentrating on ANYTHING!
     When I got my new sewing machine right before Christmas they offered a 'getting to know your new Viking' class that I decided to sign up for and it's today. It's kinda funny that I've been using it for several weeks and I'm just now taking the class but I'm looking forward to it. I'm not very comfortable with buttonholes and, quite honestly, I have no idea how to do proper maintenance on my machine so just learning these 2 things will make the class worth my time-and who knows what else I might learn!
     I found some cute pillowcases and vintage sheets yesterday when I was reorganizing Izzie's room that I plan to use for some new spring clothes (I always sew clothes from old sheets first so if it goes wrong I'm not upset about wasting good fabric.)
     But first, before I do anything, I have to find my notebook! I am a notebook junkie, I have several for different reasons and the one I can't find is my sewing notebook-it has all my ideas, research, tips, etc., written in it and I CAN'T FIND IT!! I stopped short of tearing the house apart and figured if I did some work on the computer before I went back to looking I could avoid a full scale panic attack! So wish me luck, I'm going back to the search!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Happy New Year!! I know I'm a few days late, but better late then never! I'm starting 2012 with some new goals, both for RG Originals and myself:

Rachel's Goals
1. Get more organized
2. Start exercising every day again
4. Quit stressing the small stuff

RG Originals Goals
1. Learn new things and don't be afraid to try anything!
2. Get more organized
3. Open an Etsy shop
4. Blog regularly (and learn how to add pictures!)

I think it mostly comes down to finding a good balance and being MORE ORGANIZED (hence it being on both lists, lol!) I'm so lucky to have my wonderful boyfriend, who supports everything I do, even when I have projects spread all over the dining room!! Hopefully this year will prove to be a successful year for both RGO and myself.

Happy New Year everyone!!