confessions of a fabric obsessive

Tag Archives: Mini-tote

Random acts of sewing

You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged very much since January when I finished the Rainbow Zigzag Quilt for my new niece . I just wanted to stop the world and get off for a while, if you know what I mean. Lots of things I do regularly just got to be a drag, and all of the ones that are voluntary got put on hold for a little while.

I have spent some quite a lot of  time reading other people’s blogs and I seem to have recovered my sewing mojo.

In the last 10 days I’ve probably done more sewing than I did in the last two months altogether and all of it has been spur of the moment stuff, using fabric I had in my stash.

First I made a hanging glasses pouch, then I pulled apart the mini-tote I made for myself so I could add a little inside pocket for my shopping list (my mini-tote is used my “bag of bags”  and holds all of my strong bags when I go to the supermarket).

A few days ago I made a holder/wrap/roll thingy for my crochet hooks and corner turners (you know that little pointy things that you use to poke your corners all the way out) with a little pocket for my crochet hook/knitting needle size gauge (otherwise I lose it/forget I have it), and a huge needlebook with a little pocket.

On Wednesday I made two infinity scarves, randomly, out of the blue (well actually out of some pink striped jersey and some purple and mint patterned jersey, but that’s not what I meant).

Last night I made some little drawstring pockets for my mp3 players and their headphones (one of my mp3 players is white with green details, the other is red, can you guess which pocket is for which player?) so I can find them more easily and not get the headphones tangled up in other stuff.

On impulse.

Just like that.

You’ll notice that all of these random acts of sewing were for me, and all of them were useful (March is still chilly in the UK, so a couple of warmish scarves are going to be useful to fill in the gap between my coat and my chin). That probably says a lot about my life or my state of mind right now, but I’m not the member of my family with a degree that includes psychology so I’m not going to try and analyse it, just notice and acknowledge that this is where I am.

I want to make another crochet hook/knitting needle roll for my mum for Mother’s Day in 10 days’ time. I’ve no idea whether I’ll get around to it, but I hope so. I’m not going to pressure myself to do it, but I already know what fabric I want to use.

I’m also planning another needlebook for myself, this time for machine needles. It will have a suede page for leather needles, a denim one for denim needles, a jersey one for jersey, an ordinary cotton one for “normal” fabrics. That way it should be really easy to find the needle I want when I need it, instead of rummaging through packets.

Having a break seems to have put the fun back into making stuff again, rather than the chore of churning things to for other people.

Sewing had been in danger of becoming a chore, while I wanted to make things for my nearest and dearest, I’m never good with deadlines and I had hit missed a few deadlines over new year, and felt bad about it, thus giving myself plenty of material to beat myself up with. I’ve put my “WIPs on Wednesday” on hold for a little while as well, there’s only a limited amount of reminding myself about unfinished stuff that I can to do before it becomes counter-productive. It’ll be back as an occasional thing and then eventually as a regular spot when I’ve got my head (and home) straight.

I’ve also restarted using my little notebook to jot down ideas of things to make. I write and draw instructions of how to make the thing that has just popped into my head so that I don’t get stressed trying to remember it and get around to making it before I forget. Once it’s written down I don’t need to remember it any more, as I can flick through and know exactly what I was aiming for just by looking at the drawing and the explanation.

I don’t live well with stress, and apparently trying to remember to do things makes me stressed.

Taking photos of pretty flowers doesn’t make me stressed 🙂

Hopeful Claire Bear

No WIPs this Wednesday

I know, I know, but it’s got to be Wednesday somewhere in the world.

I wanted to be able to blog that this hexagon adventure has been turned into something…

..but it hasn’t.

And I wanted to blog that this (blurry) pile of black and bright pink has turned into a cloak…

…but it hasn’t.

And I wanted to tell you that this pile of luscious fruity coloured cotton has started its transformation into quiltalong quilt blocks…

…but (you guessed) it hasn’t.

Now I could beat myself up about this week’s work-in-progress failure, but I’m not going to.

Sometimes life gets in the way of my plans, and sometimes thinking gets in the way of my sewing time, and sometimes boring stuff gets in the way of fun stuff. This is how life is, and in the absence of a multi-million pound bank balance enabling me to have minions to take care of the ugly and boring bits of my life, this is how my life is always going to be.

 It’s not going to stop me wanting to do the fun stuff and it’s not going to stop me looking at the things I have achieved.

Banging on about how I didn’t get anything on my to-do list done is not always the best attitude to take. So I’m going to focus on some of the things I have finished in the last few months and be pleased about them (and maybe show off a little bit as well, but don’t tell anybody will you?)

My Daughter’s Quilt

The Rainbow ZigZag Quilt for my new niece

the mini-totes for the female members of my family

and this upcycling project just for me

Happy sewing


More WIPs here

WIPs on Wednesday (that I couldn’t show you last week)

Now that all my presents have been given out, I can show you some of the stuff that I have been working on.

An apron for my Mum, specially requested in fabric that I thought I only had in little bits, I was glad to find a large piece at the bottom of the pile.

Some braces (suspenders) for my Dad, made from the back of the legs of the jeans that my son has grown out of (and washed thoroughly, in case anyone is thinking “euw”). I only had to buy clips.
I had a bit of a problem finding a tutorial for these, they all seemed to be for children not adults and elasticated, not plain fabric.  Also, I’m allergic to buttonholes.

I looked at this pattern from Simplicity  (and I do mean just looking at the picture not the actual pattern, if I’d had the pattern, I’d have been laughing!) and this explanation from E-How and then worked it out on my own, but I did cut out two sets of denim pieces just in case. I also looked at this tutorial from Simple Simon, this tutorial from Running with Scissors and this tutorial from Me Sew Crazy as well. They are all for children, but a kid’s tutorial was better than none at all. It’s going to be a long time before I recover from making these, but eventually I will make some more and then I’ll take photos for a tutorial. Probably.

A lined mini tote for each of the women in my family.

The Russian doll one in front is for my sister-in-law who lived in Russia for a little while before marrying my brother (I saw the cotton-linen-mix fabric on eBay and had to get it). Three of them have the same outer fabric, two have the same linings, all are gorgeous (even if I do say so myself) and I’m feeling very proud of myself right now (can you tell?). Also, my SIL went “Aaaah! Matryoshka! I love this bag!”

(And one for me too)

Lined mini totes with proper squared off bottoms, big enough to take a book and a snack. My first attempt at totes with a gusset (although I’ve made them in my head so many times). They worked out pretty well, don’t you think?

The tutorial from Teresa Down Under helped a lot, especially the straps and the bottom corners (you can see that I didn’t use patchwork or put in a ruffle). I’ve seen a lot of tote tutorials, and I’ve put off making them for ages, but in the end it only took two hours to make all four of them (and I swear that half of that time was spent ironing/pressing the fabric) .

All of them are made the same way, with drop in linings (basically, make two identical bags, turn one of them the right way out, then drop the inside-out one inside the other one , top stitch around the top, catching the handles as you sew and Bob’s your Uncle!)

There are a load of mini tote tutorials on You Tube as well…

…pages and pages of them. Sometimes it’s easier to watch someone else do it.

Go on, have a try yourself, a mini tote doesn’t take much fabric, and I managed to make all 4 and only had to pull out some of the stitching on the first one, the others went together fine and know I know how to sew mini totes!

Proud Claire Bear

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