Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Hope Everyone Had a Blessed Christmas

Praying for peace, especially in Southern Sudan, in the new year.

While I Was Away (2) -- In Praise of Purlbee's 40-Minute Tote Bag Pattern

For other ladies across a considerable age span, I made tote bags with this pattern from Purlbee, which is perfect. I like that the tote is lined and also that it has width at the bottom, which gives the bag shape and more holding capacity. I made five totes in a three-step assembly line. I cut all the bags out at once on a cutting board--quilt-cutting fashion, then made the all the inside and outside bags, and then made the angled ends and put them together. To make it easy I used webbing for the handles and was relieved that it was very easy to sew with the machine. It was fun to match the outside and  inside fabrics. Here they are.

Cheerful bag for a young lady.

These blue bags are for ladies who live near lakes and the sea.

These two pink print bags were lined with off-white cotton from two old curtains.

It takes so little time to make these totes--which can be any size you like--that when a young visitor was unexpectedly coming, I made one real quick for her. This took 35 minutes, since I knew exactly what I was doing. So if you have your machine out and a stash of fabric, the 40-minute tote is a great spur-of-the-moment gift for someone or a great gift for a birthday with perhaps some baked goods or seeds in it or other little gift inside. I made this smaller bag of four fat quarters I had in my stash. I am hoping to make a couple totes for myself to take to work in the summer.

While I Was Away (1) ...

Happy to be posting again and hope I can do more as we come into the new year. After my daughter's wedding, I had to quickly get into gear for Christmas. After I got over my fear of changing the needle in my sewing machine (which turned out to be very easy), I got to work to whittle down my considerable fabric stash and make aprons, which all the ladies in my family--the young and the older--seem to get a kick out off. I used McCalls M5358, which produces an apron without having to work with pesky bias binding. In the middle you can relax in front of the tv and do hand basting, if you like, to take a break from the whirr of the machine. Aside from these in the photos, I made a dotted red Swiss one with red rick-rack, but in the last-minute rush, forgot to take a photo.

I think this is my personal favorite, as I love orange and yellow cheer.

Signature colors for my sweet aunt.
The lacing at the bottom and on the pocket came from old curtains I had saved. I keep fabric like a miser, so was glad I could find a place for the lacing. This apron, for my cousin, was my daughter's favorite.

Gray with hot-pink accents for a sophisticated bride-to-be.

I bought fabric for this one for a cousin and luckily guessed right for her colors. Very vibrant fabric and I love this apron--she's a great cook.

Although I stuck to same pattern, I didn't make the aprons in an assembly line, because I was afraid I would get confused and had never used the pattern before. I think it was best to finish one and then go on to the next. A real sewing whiz could probably make gift aprons in an assembly line without a hitch. One by one, from getting the fabric ready, cutting, and sewing the apron, it took on average of 8 hours apiece, perhaps 6 to 7 hours at the end. It would be faster for a seamstress.
I hope the ladies enjoy them as much as I did making them!