Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Petal Power

I own a very nice Singer 66 "Red Eye" treadle sewing machine that I rarely use. This makes me sad. With so many other sewing machines it seems a treadle on another floor of the house is just not convenient enough for me to use on a regular basis but that has temporarily stopped. I've joined the TreadleOn Functional Bag TOBE. TOBE stands for TreadleOn Block Exchange, an event where you make a series of quilt blocks on your treadle or hand-crank sewing machine that you can exchange with others except this time it's not quilt blocks but a bag that you can really use. Functional means one that is big enough to carry things home from shopping or carry things for...whatever! I thought this would be a great project and one way to get me to use my Singer Red Eye.

Looking over my vast amount of fabric, I found a box of five inch squares I had cut for the jar pincushion project that didn't get too far. I made more than a dozen but they didn't sell too well and I haven't made any more. The fabrics seemed like a good choice for a bag so I divided them into color groups, downloaded a pattern, and got cutting and sewing. Here's the first bag in the process of planning:
Random placement of squares isn't always the best idea...
First bag done but not well done
Thank goodness you can't see it close up to see how my piecing ability needs more practice and generally using this pattern so that it turns out respectably. I discovered my treadle doesn't backstitch, not a deal breaker, but still a hindrance at times. I also got sore shoulders while treadling so think I need to watch my posture and possibly get a different chair. Okay, so I can write this off as lesson-to-be-learned and start on the next one. This time I make the 3 inch squares into a defined pattern that is repeated, I add width to the bag by adding two rows of squares, and make the bag taller, too:
Bag 2 planning process is more organized
Bag 2 pieced pocket over actual bag fabric
The sewing of the blocks and joining came out so much better this time so the end product looks much more professional (or at least like I know what I'm doing). As it turns out, wider was better but not taller: the proportions are off. I had to cut off the two inches I added on. Adding the bias tape edge along the pocket and repeating it on the top was a good way to pull the bottom design into the top and then adding the folded triangles was a very nice finishing touch. My husband even suggested matching the triangles with the squares, a bit of inspiration that looked good in the end. Handles out of folded hem facing with self-made bias tape finished it off:

Bag 2 finished!
Inside I added a bottom panel to cover up the raw edge of the seam and thick triangle points that resulted when making it flat on the bottom. I didn't quilt it with batting but used interfacing for both the pocket and bag itself so each part is lined and quilted. I'm happy with the way it turned out but think it might be just a bit too fancy to be considered a functional bag but why can't functional be beautiful. too?

Onto the third bag in green fabric. Several had peach accents but I'm trying to play down the peach and give more attention to the green and brown tones. Green bias tape just didn't match so I found some cocoa brown and then tan for the handles. I am getting better at this and I like the larger size of the green tote:
Bag 3 finished with tan handles and brown trim
It seems I have made small, medium, and large in my experimentation:
Back left is green (large), middle is pink (medium), and front is blue (smallest)
The green tote is 18" wide and 16" tall when laid flat, the pink tote is 13" wide by 15" tall, and the blue tote is 11" wide by 15" tall. The green tote is by far the most functional and will be sent to the coordinator of the TreadleOn Functional Bag TOBE. What about the other two? Here's where you come in: I'm going to give away the pink tote (shades of pink, teal, and blue) to one of my faithful SMMavin readers. Just make a comment or send an email before Feb. 14 and I will count up the responses in the order they were received (by time stamp), divide by half, and the one who falls smack in the middle will get the tote in the mail. Ready for a contest? Just let me know of your interest by commenting on this post or via email. Don't want pink and blue? You might have to join the TreadleOn.

Now how about all of those red, white, and blue fabrics that I've accumulated? Do I see another functional bag tote coming up? You bet!


Jeanne in Ohio said...

I like the design you chose. Someone will be very lucky to get this!

Thin Man Sewing said...

Nice bags. Very time consuming cutting and sewing the squares.

Anonymous said...

You amaze me with all of your energy for this and that. I love reading your blog and have read every post once I found your blog. Fixing sewing machines IS addicting....but sewing can be too. Your bags are lovely. Thanks for all of your inspiration!