Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WIP Wednesday - a lull in the creating

I've been in something of a funk. I haven't knitting much, haven't sewn much. Haven't don't all that much craft-wise. Here are a couple of recently worked on projects though.

Watermelon socks

My watermelon sock are coming along. I'm at the heel turn and I'm stuck trying to decide if I want to keep in the watermelon yarn for the heel or if I want to switch to black and do something like an after thought heel. Decisions.

Hex placemat

This is a bunch of hexi blocks. I plan on making a placemat and practicing some free motion quilting on the piece.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WIP Wednesday - window farm

This counts as a WIP, right? It's a work in progress that will go on forever and I'm actually not done yet with the build out.
Window Farm - 3 columns

I'm aiming for four columns in that window with 1 reservoir bottle and 4 plant bottles per column. What do I have in there?
Left column (top to bottom): basil (rooting for a dirt garden), parsley (incubating for a dirt garden), oregano and a currant tomato plant, sage
Middle column: Thai basil, scallions (from the supermarket!), basil, parsley - this is my fully grown column
Right column: Rocky Top Lettuce, collard greens, spinach

The far right column are still baby plants so I have water with a bare minimum of a nutrient solution going through them. The left and middle columns will have full on nutrient solution at the "aggressive growth" mix flowing through so I'm curious to see how quickly the plants grow. The basil leaves are already bigger than any I've ever seen before.

I keep learning as these plants grow.

Some close ups for you.
I'm excited to see some of the curly leaves start to come out for the parsley. It means that the roots are taking!

Thai Basil
Thai basil! Leaves! I'm getting more leaves!

Sweet Basil
These little stalks of basil are actually cuttings from the big basil plant in the middle column. It's growing so happily that I'm trying to root stalks as the big plant grows so I can grow lots and lots of basil.

Oregano and tomato
The oregano and the tomato are sharing a home because I don't have enough bottles for them all yet. I figured the oregano is still small and not taking up much space. It's exciting to watch the tomato grow.

Sage. I love looking at their little fuzzy leaves!

Collard Greens
Finally, collard greens. I plan on keeping one plant in the window farm and the others will go into my friend's garden. I have them in here to incubate and grow a little faster.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Hex Bag - Fabric pieces and the bag interior

Brief refresher

Well, now you have your pattern drawn and cut out. The straight side that you labelled for the Fold Line, fold your fabric in half and place that side along the fold. Pin it down and cut around the other sides. Cut:

  • 2 pieces from the exterior fabric
  • 2 pieces from the interior fabric
  • 4 pieces from the medium weight interfacing
From your remaining interior fabric, cut:
  • 4 pieces 5 inches by 8 inches for the interior pockets
  • 2 pieces 9.5 inches by 2 inches for the frame casing - If you don't trust your top stitching skills, you may want to make it 2.25 inches.
Also cut 2 pieces of interfacing 9.5 inches by 2 inches. Iron this to the back of the interior fabric for the frame casing.

If you want to make straps for the bag, cut from the fabric of your choice:

  • 2 pieces 21 inches by 4 inches
  • 4 pieces 4.5 inches by 4 inches
The straps are designed for a square ring that is 1 inch long on the inside of the ring. The straps are folded the long into 4 parts. If the interior of your ring measures something else, take that measurement and multiply it by 4 to get the required width.

We start with everything that is being sewn to the interior of the bag.

Let's Get Started - Pockets!
Remember our .5 inch seam allowance!

Take two of the pocket pieces and pin them right sides together. Make sure to backstitch at the start and end to lock in the thread. Pivot and turn at the corners. Starting 1.5 inches from the end of one of the longer ends, stitch to .5 inches from the end, turn and stitch through the short side, then the long side, then the next short side. Pivot and turn and stitch another inch. Cut your thread. Trim the corners. In the picture below, I sewed with a white thread that blends into the fabric. I've drawn in the line you want to sew in grey.

Turn pocket right side out, making sure to push the corners out, and iron the sewn edges. Fold in the the unsewn edge and press flat. Top stitch the sewn long side, making sure to back stitch at the start and end. This is the first pocket. Repeat for the second pocket.
Pocket turned right side out

Frame casing
For each frame casing piece, make sure you have the interfacing ironed on to the bag.

Fold in half an inch from both short sides and one of the long sides.
Iron the sides in

Cut a little notch out of the corners of the fabric where it folds double to decrease the bulk.
Cut out the notches

Iron, press, make it all hold.
Re-iron the sides in

Top stitch the short sides of each frame casing. Make sure to back stitch.

Make sure you have a piece of interfacing ironed and fused to the back of each interior piece. For each interior piece, center the frame casing on the top of the bag top edge, matching the edges. Right sides of both pieces facing up. Pin.
Center over the interior

Top stitch the frame casing to the interior along the long folded edge of the frame casing.
Top stitch the frame casing to the interior

Pocket Placement
One pocket piece on each interior piece. The unsewn long edge of the pocket 2.5 inches from the bottom of the interior. Center the pocket from the sides. Pin and top stitch around the sides and bottom. Again, back stitch and pivot the corners!
Center the pocket

For a divided pocket, figure out where you want the divide placed and you can either mark it with a fabric pencil that will disappear or, I taped a piece of painter's tape 1/4 of an inch away and used it as a guide for my presser foot.
Pocket divide

Putting the inside together
The bottom of the bag is the long side of the trapezoid. Place the right sides together of your interior pieces and pin. Mark the center 8 inches of the bottom of the bag. DO NOT SEW THESE 8 INCHES. This is how we will turn the bag right side out after we sew it to the exterior. Sew each of the sides, pivot at the corner, and sew to where you've marked. BACKSTITCH! It is very important to backstitch on the bag bottom because you don't want the stitches to come loose as you're working with it.

For each corner, flatten the seams open, you will have a hard time ironing but you can certainly give it a try. Flatten each corner and match the seams. Pin through both seams of the side and bottom, this will help to keep them matched. Measure 2 inches along the seam in from the corner. Draw a line perpendicular to the seam.
Marking the bottom corners

Sew along this line and backstitch! Trim the corner off, 1/4 inch from the seam, we don't want a lot of bulk here. Do this for both corners and then you can see the form!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Hex Purse Tutorial - Materials & Pattern Drafting

This is going to be the first in a series of posts on how I made my little hex frame purses. I don't want to put it all into one BIG blog post because you'll be reading forever. Instead, I plan to present it in sections
1. Bag template design
2. Fabric pieces, pockets, interior
3. Exterior and putting the bag together

I gave you the materials list here

Design Thoughts
Before I get into the pattern drawing, I wanted to explain a few things.
  • I chose to use a 1/2" seam allowance. You can use whatever you want. Just note that, I'm using a 1/2" seam allowance throughout this series and in my pattern. This pattern is written with a 1/2" seam allowance built in. If you choose to use something else, you'll need to make some alterations.
  • The 9" hex frame measured out to about 9.25" at the widest points so that is the measurement I used. With the hex frame, the top of the bag lays flat and I didn't want there to be too much space around the hex frame so I aimed for a finished measurement of 9.5" at the top. If you choose a different sized hex frame, you can use this idea as a jumping off point in designing your own bag.
  • Just a reminder, the finished bag measures 9.5 inches across the top, is 6 inches tall. The bottom measures 10 inches long by 3.25 inches wide.
Marking out my pattern
I started with a piece of 8.5" x 11" piece of paper. My printer is next to my sewing area. You can use newsprint as well but make sure that you have at least one straight edge. Make the straight edge the fold edge.

Step 1. Line up two of the edges on the rotary cutter mat. My left and bottom edges are lined up and I measure from the left edge. Start by drawing a line across the top of the paper. This is the top of the pattern.
1-Draw the top line

Step 2. Draw a line 5.25 inches from the left edge of the paper. This is the width at the top of the bag.
2-Top border

Step 3. Next draw a line 7.25 inches from the left edge of the paper (or 2 inches to the right of the first line). This width represents the full width of the bag plus the side width and seam allowance at the finished bottom of the bag.
3-Total width

Step 4. Draw the next line 9 inches down from the top edge you drew. This is about where the finished bottom will fall.
4-Bag bottom

Step 5. The next line is drawn 2 inches down from the last line. The space between these two lines will the bottom of your bag, including seam allowance.
5-Bag bottom seam

Step 6. The next line you draw, well, please refer to the picture below. The two points you are trying to connect are the opposite corners of the rectangle created in steps 1 through 4 but extend it through to the line drawn in step 5. This is the side of your pattern.
6-Bag side

Step 7. Mark the left side as the fold line for the fabric. You'll also want to write in the number of pieces to cut from this template. You'll want 2 from the exterior fabric, 2 from the interior fabric.You'll also cut 4 from your interfacing. Also note that you have 1/2" seam allowance.
7-Write in details

Step 8. Cut out this trapezoid shape. This is your template.