Tag Archives: Bernina

Cruising the Caribbean

Cruising the Caribbean

Cruising the Caribbean

Well, I wish I were, but I’m not, so I turned my wishes into a bag.  Cruising the Caribbean is the name of my latest project.  A tropical fabric featuring shades of Florida, Cuba, palm trees and maps was urging me to be turned into a summer travel bag.  The pattern is my original design, the Jenny Bag, and the fabric was purchased from Michael Levine in L.A.  I added bright neon fringe from M&J Trimming, as well as crystalline light green beadwork.  Hopefully, someone will be calling “Bon Voyage” with her!

A Rose for Rosie

Lemon Breeze                                                         

A Rose for Rosie and Lemon Breeze are two more versions of the large zippered clutches created from the bright summery faux crocodile, sleek but textured.  Fabrics from Mood and Michael Levine (where I also purchased the leather flowers.)  By the way, my source for purse zippers is the Zipper Island website.  You can find any color and size, and shipping is quick!  They’re delightful to work with and I highly recommend them.  (No, they do not pay me. :))

Jeweled Garden

Jeweled Garden was a dream to complete.  The Chemisette pattern from CraftApple designs always goes together easily and is very versatile.  This time I used fabric from Laminates on Etsy and my faux crocodile from Mood.  The blue and gold beadwork ties it all together using a velvet teal ribbon.

Passion for Poppies

Sometimes I have a hard time letting a purse go, such as Passion for Poppies.  This Michael Miller fabric is out of print and very limited but I was lucky to find it online.  I paired it with Kaleidoscope by Notting Hill, then added delicate blue and gold beading with hand-dyed silk ribbon.

Cat’s Meow 

Cat’s Meow (backside)

I believe Cat’s Meow is the first purse that I’ve added a featured embellishment.  I appliqued the crushed black velvet cat onto the textured leopard.  But, since the cat seemed to fade into the busy leopard print, I needed something more to make her stand out.  I found some white thick thread, almost like cording, and couched it all around the cat.  That seemed to form a nice outline that accented her silouette.  I gave her a beaded floral collar and rhinestone eyes.  Then added a jeweled pendant to the top and a silky pink tassel to the backside zipper pull.  I’m very pleased with this creation.  It was definitely more time consuming, but also a rewarding challenge.

Speaking of a challenge, often I am sewing a purse that has thick seams and is way too much challenge for my favorite Bernina.  You know I love, love, love my old Bernina, and she is perfect for most everything I need to sew.  But…I do need a machine to tackle those super thick seams, especially since my fall/winter pursemaking will be starting before you know it, with thick faux furs, leathers, and upholstery.  So, yes, I’ve been looking at industrial machines online for research and tomorrow will be testing some out for purchase up in Houston.  Only one place offers them, but their prices look reasonable.  I’m looking at Juki, Seiko, Con Sew, and Pfaff.  I’m shopping for a heavy duty, cylinder arm, walking foot machine.  If you’ve ever seen anyone making shoes, it resembles the machine they use.  The presser foot raises high, so you can join together many layers, and the walking foot feeds the fabric through evenly, plus it all happens with a knee lift and a custom table.  I feel so guilty, like I’m cheating on Betsy, but she’ll still be used for most of my sewing since she has multiple feet and features.  I wouldn’t feel so bad if I had a machine that gave me a lot of trouble, but she’s great!  Anyway, if you’ve read previous posts, you know everything has feelings, right. 🙂  Anyone out there have an industrial machine that makes you happy?  I need reviews!

Thanks, and I’ll keep you posted.



Say Goodnight, Gracie!


How lucky can one lady get?  TWO granddaughters who love to sew!  Grayson, aka Gracie, visited this week and not only does she love to sew but she’s a night person as well!  Oh yes– days spent gallivanting around Galveston and nights of sewing.  By day we shopped, enjoyed mani/pedis, visited the hairdresser, hit all the great restaurants, painted pottery, and frolicked on the beach.  Grandpa and Gracie sculpted a man of sand and we all played in the waves (including Buddy.)  By night we visited the Pleasure Pier and rode the Ferris Wheel,  took an awesome carriage ride, and did I say sew?  Just like the Madison visit, we packed it all in!

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Our very first evening together, I entered the sewing room to find that Gracie had already pulled together a combo of black fur, pink ribbon with leopard spots, and a black velvet flower, saying she wanted to make a bag.  Needless to say, a short time later and with a little help from Granny, Gracie had fashioned this adorable bag for back to school. 🙂

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You’ll notice in the second pic, Gracie has her nightgown on.  Bedtime?  What bedtime?  After the successful bag attempt, she was off and running to make miniature bags for dolls, rugs for her dollhouse, and pillows.  But the best part was when she used an iPhone to make sewing instructional videos!!  I loved it when she told the viewer, “Now you really need to use foot #53 for this laminated fabric, so if you don’t have it, you may want to start collecting different feet.”  OMG!  She says she wants to be a director. 🙂  Sounds like the Frugal Crafter to me!  Right, Lindsay?

So did Granny get any sewing accomplished?  Well, that’s why we have two Berninas!  I completed a bag I had started while sewing with Maddie.  I call it Gypsy Style with plenty of fringe and tassels using a Carol Taylor Oates pattern.  But the neat thing is the source of the fabric.  Repurposed!  My neighbor said his friend had upholstery remnants and he knew I made bags, so this beautiful heavy duty red polka dot fabric was intended for upholstery!  Paired with a taupe/red toile lining and an ivory/tan animal print,  it has new life as a stylishly whimsical bag.  Thank you,  Jeff!

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Interestingly, the other bag I created with Gracie was also fashioned from an upholstery remnant, either from Jeff, or my sister’s upholsterer.  I used this floral linen and an Amy Barickmann pattern.  A golden crushed velvet drapes the front with a leopard print tab adorned with a pin from my stash.  Delighted with this outcome.


Since Grandpa was returning Gracie to her mom that day, I sent the bag along to show her.  They were meeting in LaGrange since Grandpa had property business to attend to.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten to photo the bag before they left, so I phoned him asking if he could please photo it and text it to me.  Uh-huh, you guessed it.  In the first pic I received, my bag is draped over “the other woman” in Rick’s life these days–that cotton pickin’ Kubota tractor!  Not funny, Rick!  Well, he made up for it by sending the one above, which I think is actually stunning.  He’s a darn good farmer/photographer!

The other item I sewed was from an unusual fabric I found in L.A.  (More about L.A. fabric in my next entry…)  It’s a ruffled, blue, animal print, fading from light to dark.  This does not sound very attractive, but drapes beautifully on Gracie as either a dress or gown.


Finally, a few Gracie-isms.  She informed me that the reason kids have parents is so they don’t say things they shouldn’t.  She says that is when your parent says, “Just keep that to yourself.” 🙂  And then there was the day we were late to the Painted Potter and were running through the parking lot.  She yells, “Wow, Granny!  You run pretty fast for an…uh…your age!”  Nice save, Gracie!  Say Goodnight, Gracie!  I miss you!

Dramamine, anyone?


The Madison Visit–We began with sewing and ended with sewing but mucho entertainment in between!  Our first mission was to purchase fabric for the cute McCall’s vintage romper pattern we recently ordered.  Madison chose a lovely red stripe seersucker.  Luckily, we borrowed a tape measure and discovered that the size was wrong.  But, after visiting two stores we located an almost identical pattern (also McCall’s) and promptly had it cut out and ready to roll!  We woke up to crashing thunder and lightning the following morning which, as you know, is perfect for sewing up a storm. 🙂  That sewing room had never seen so much cutting and stitching!  Maddie is a very quick learner, cutting and sewing with minimal guidance from Granny, and soon delighted with her new summery creation.  Encouraged by this awesome success, she proceeded to sew with me throughout the evening, fashioning matching hair accessories, belts, and bracelets!  Here is the new outfit…

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On Sunday we visited with Nannette and Laura, then back to Galveston for evening sewing.  This time Madison was itching to try her hand at stitching a bag pattern (with a zipper!) for small travel items.  She selected a laminated chevron fabric from my laminated scraps bin and again, with minimal guidance, created a lovely bag.  With even less guidance, she produced yet a second bag for pencils etc. to coordinate with her backpack.  As I sewed my latest bag, she continued at the Bernina, trying her hand at fabric flowers.  Yay!  A beautiful turquoise polka dot laminate rose was generated, along with a fabulous shabby chic satiny silver peony.


No, we didn’t spend four days just sewing. 🙂  We experienced the Duck Tour, visited Moody Gardens Aquarium and The Texas Seaport Museum, learned to Segway along the Seawall, took a carriage ride in the historic district, and rode the Ferris Wheel (Galaxy Wheel) and Log Ride (Pirate’s Plunge) at the new Pleasure Pier over the water.  Wow!  I am a little lacking in sleep but happy as a clam that we had such fun together!  Except for the sewing, Grandpa was a great sport at escorting us and being the bank. 🙂  We dined at our favorite places and sampled some new ones.  If you’re in Galveston, we highly recommend the following:  Mosquito Cafe, Farley Girls Cafe, Hey Mikey!’s Ice Cream, Mario’s, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Olympia Grill (umm, the blue lump crab cakes are divine), and Galvez Bar and Grille (try the bacon wrapped shrimp.)  We also sneaked in a little shopping here and there at Tina’s on the Strand, Colonel Bubbies, Flea by the Sea (Maddie picked up a cute nautical bag), and Modern Vintage on Post Office Street, where I snapped up a beautifully embroidered silk pillow and an antique bird feeder for Grandpa’s wildlife preserve on the Hill Country property!

I mentioned we also ended our visit with sewing.  Last night I helped Madison start some embroidery and she took to it like a duck to water, stitching a tea towel with a pear design–a foray into hand stitching.

You must be thinking, “But I thought Madison just arrived Thursday evening?”  Yes, she did, and sadly bid us farewell today.  But anyone who has traveled with me knows that I do like to pack in the fun until you drop.  Grandpa told Madison the story of our honeymoon and how I planned a fantastic agenda but forgot to include little things like travel time and sleep.  On the fifth day, he fell asleep in his plate at Trader Vic’s in San Francisco!  I stayed up that night reading magazines and viewed more action out the window of our downtown hotel.  When I traveled with the teachers, they learned a little secret–I get sleepy if I’m taking Dramamine.  Now they threaten to sprinkle it in my food! 🙂  Well, Warren Zevon had a song in the 70’s called, “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.”  Anyone remember that?  Somehow it resonates with me…

Just need to restore a tiny bit of shut-eye to prepare for our upcoming trip to L.A., followed by a Gracie visit!  Hmm, Dramamine anyone? Zzzzzz

Rockin’ the Leather


Well it seems Ann Romney wasn’t the only one rockin’ leather this week.  The most beautiful leather (okay, faux leather) fabric has been rolled up in my sewing space just beckoning to me for months.  I’ll admit I was intimidated , not having sewn with that thickness before but my Bernina (Betsy) was up to the challenge, especially when I put her Teflon shoe on.  She felt so special.  She and I gained enough confidence to not only sew with the leather but installed a zipper!  Amy Barickman has a sensational book called Bag Boutique with several awesome patterns.  The one I used for my “leather” bag is called the Rachel Bag.  I decided to use both “leathers,”  the front being a red and gold floral design richly embroidered on a deep chocolate brown, and the back is a crackled deep red.  Needless to say, texture had quite an impact on this bag.  (See  photos)     The lining is a silky golden with more red floral embroidery.  The zipper was a WHOLE lot easier to install than I thought it would be and I had a pretty textured ceramic heart for a zipper pull that I believe I found at Anthropologie in NYC.  The narrow top is guided through a closed loop handle and I was able to stitch the tassel by hand all the way through the layers.  So today it was all ready to turn in except for a tag and I had an idea.  I printed out the text on rustic scrapbook paper then machine sewed it to leftover leather that I cut into the same shape as the bag.  Voila!  


Zippered Back

Front Detail

Elegantly embroidered lining