Monthly Archives: February 2013

Lotus Blossom

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After struggling with the rhinestone zipper, I did finally surrender and opted for a regular zipper on the latest bag, Lotus Blossom.  BUT, I salvaged the sweet little rhinestone zipper pull and added it to the regular zipper.  Turned out to be a serendipitous moment since the shape of the rhinestone pull echoed the shape of the Lotus Blossom bag!  IMG_2131IMG_2133

Sometimes you just wonder if all that ripping is worth it, but with the addition of a bamboo handle and a stylish removable flower pin, I’m really pleased with the results.  And as usual– live and learn!

I’m very excited about tomorrow.  At an Urban Market I plan to shop for antique/vintage linens which will be incorporated into hobo chic type bags, along with a little fringe, beads and doodads to create that carefree gypsy feel.  And, the best part is that the sponsors of the antique market are allowing pets, and the very rescue club from which we acquired our Golden, Buddy, will be there with even more Goldens to love on!

Another fortuitous event occurred today when I met a friend of a friend who has a shop on Etsy called Hands of Blessing.  Crochet is her forte and if you visit Etsy, you should check out her treasures and patterns.  I’ve been thinking of opening a shop on Etsy and with her encouragement I decided to get started.  I can see I have some work to do such as more photography and researching postal rates, but I feel like I’m already on my way!  Stay tuned!

Like a Rhinestone Cowboy…er…Zipper

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Although hard to tell from this picture, what you’re seeing here  is a beautiful large rhinestone zipper.  I purchased this at the Quilt Festival this year but don’t remember the booth.  Anyway, I just knew this awesome zipper was going to look gorgeous against a black velvety fabric.  But, woe is me, this zipper won’t work.  It worked before I sewed it, and it actually worked after I sewed it, but only in one direction.  I ripped it out (using that nifty battery operated ripper my sister gave me) and substituted a smaller rhinestone zipper.  Same story all over again.  My patience was growing thin and I consulted Rick.  When my engineer hubby gave up on it, I knew it was time to rip it out and replace it with a regular zipper.

Has anyone had luck with these rhinestone zippers?  They were initially shown as a jacket or sweatshirt zipper but I don’t know why that would make a difference.  Oh well, best laid plans…right?  Off to rip a little more and use a normal zipper without the headaches.  Now where’s that Tylenol?

Casting Call: Auditioning Fabrics

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With the completion of my latest bag, Ruby Rose (Valentine’s Day is near), I thought I would share a glimpse of what happens in the beginning stages of the bag-making process.  My absolute favorite part is that first step when I pull a few fabrics together that work well.  That is, I need complementary colors and textures for both lining and exterior, and also need to consider the season.  In the winter I get to use my “sumptuous fabrics” like velvety chenilles, tapestries, textured leather, even corduroy.  My summer fabrics include a lot of the laminated cottons and silky cottons.  Now as you can see below, I have a lot of help at this stage.  Buddy has obviously worn himself out sorting through the winter fabrics!  And Kate, well you all know Kate savors sleep like a good steak!  So she’s testing out the texture of the doggie quilt I made her.  Must have felt good. 🙂

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Next I decide which of my various patterns would put the fabric in its best light–large, small, shoulder sling, clutch, etc.  (Sometimes this step occurs first.  I may have just purchased a new pattern or sketched one, either on paper or in my imagination and I’m eager to try it.)  After I’ve matched fabric and pattern, I love searching for any trims that would enhance the look–colorful beads, fringe, piping, buttons, and a selection of closures all serve to make every bag unique.

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During this step, I often use my cell phone to snap a picture to preview a combination (or to take pet pics.)   Taking a picture lets you figuratively step back and decide whether you’ve selected, for example,  too much trim or too little.  (If you’re a quilter you’re probably familiar with a device called a view finder which allows you to focus on specific parts of your project, sample frame it in different ways, and detect color values.)  This is the same principle.  In the views above, I noticed that the texture of this fabric was so rich that adding beading to the pocket would detract.  Sometimes a fabric like this seems to “speak for itself”–a deep red, thick, soft chenille. The fabric was already richly textured and the pocket alone would add dimension.

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Speaking of texture, I should mention that when a fabric is this thick (and I chose a similar lining which you see here) I use a “walking foot” to feed the fabric evenly.  This attachment was expensive but served me well through the years when I made quilts.  Also comes in handy with slippery fabrics.

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Now what you’re seeing above is a picture I took in one of the last technical stages where the lining is sewn to the exterior–a very satisfying stage, but with a bag like the sling above, I just wanted to give you an idea of how much it takes to hold these layers evenly  while they are all sewn together.  As you can see, I used three different kinds of clips–not because they were uniquely special in any way or served a different purpose–but because I didn’t have enough of any one of them!  I used those awesome Clover Wonder Clips, mini clothespins, and small binder clips.  Well…it got the job done!

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And finally, TA DA!   RUBY ROSE!  She  features a large external pocket, and one large and two smaller interior pockets and a magnetic snap.  Since the two straps are simply tied at the top, they are completely adjustable.  A thick red and gold braided piping was the only trim necessary.  And I’m already thinking of my next bag.  Man, I love that first step!!