Thursday, January 10, 2019

Bag Lady

I'm feeling the need to be productive as well as a little creative so enter the newest project of making bags. Not just "bags" but the nifty ones you get from "31" where they make bags with top flaps and zippers to keep things clean. For Christmas I bought my husband two for hunting only to discover they worked great to hold his chaplain work. Then I felt obligated to make some that would be bigger, as it was necessary, to hold hunting gear and to see if I could use waterproof materials. I found some gray twill with a vinyl lining, left over from a fire ring cover made last summer, that would work so I made up the following:
Vinyl backed fabric for a great gear bag

I used the twill side out on the body of the bag and turned the fabric over to expose the vinyl side for the bottom of the bag:
Twill reversed for a waterproof vinyl bottom
Vinyl inside, no lining or pockets
This one came after I made a large sized bag from the Green Pepper pattern, F851, and found out a Bernina 931 would fit in it with all of it's accessories:
Large size lined bag
Bernina 931 with accessories inside (note heavy weight white lining)
The gray waterproof bag went ice fishing this past weekend with great success (was not good luck in fishing but in hauling stuff around) so I'm going to make a matching bag, or at least as large as I have materials for.The pattern does not call for the handles to run under the bottom of the bag but I ran one long piece that would lend support for the contents.

One bag laid out to show how straps were positioned
There's an option for a pocket on each side, pockets on the inside, and I added lining on all but the vinyl versions along with top flaps and zippers on some of the bags. Some of the bags? That's right, I got on a roll and made the following up:
Lined bag for a Bernina 800 Sport
Medium sized bag, yet unassigned
It takes 3.5 yards of webbing for the straps and as long as I can use my stash I get by the 100 yard reel for my Etsy shop products I'm good. I found out if I need to buy it, even on a sale, it's about $3 per bag and that's not cheap. Sometimes it "makes" the bag so I have coughed up the money for some of them.
Navy webbing for a medium/large bag
Cotton webbing straps, showing off the lining
It helps that I have some of this heavier type fabric that I wasn't sure how I was going to use it and now I have found a good use for it! Even the lining fabric has been easy to coordinate. Since I need carrying cases for some of my machines, it's been a great way to keep things clean, contained, and ready to sell. I have made bags for sergers before  but somehow making them for the machines has not occurred to me until now. There are a few more to make before this project gets a rest and it's fun to find the parts and get it all coordinated. Now you ask "Which sewing machine did you use?" and you might be surprised to find, besides the Bernina 217, I used a Singer 201. That is, I used it until the stitching wasn't as good as I could get on the Bernina. So I'm back to the Bernina industrial and still lovin' it. I tried to share the joy with another machine but Bernie is the best so far. There's usually a reason for a good reputation!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Cobbler Aprons in the Making

I like to follow-up on requests so I've been searching for a good cobbler apron pattern. There are several versions of a cobbler apron: some open in the front, some the back, some are open on the sides and just go over your head, but the one I'm thinking about is a button down the front in a wide variety of sizes. Voila, there's a pattern for that one, a republished 1977 version:
Simplicity 8152
Sizes ranged from extra small to large but what about even bigger? As it turns out, you can cleverly increase the size of a pattern incrementally and get a fairly accurate resizing. I went ahead and tried it out and came up with an extra large and even 2XL size. Diving right in, I made one of each size, learning along the way:
X-small to 2XL
Adding all that bias tape was going to be a challenge so by number four I figured out I needed to add the bias tape to the wrong side, stitch to the front side of the fabric, and sew up the side seams last. As always, you get better with practice so by the time I had one in each size they were looking pretty good. I asked my friend, Anne, who has a food truck business, if she would be my test pilot for this item. She agreed and we settled on a blue fabric with pink trim. It turned out to be a custom size with a tad more room in the hip and an adjusted neckline. She liked it!
Anne's cobbler apron
Which sewing machine did I use? I tried a variety of bias tape feet with different machines only to find it was easier to use the two step process. Since I could use any straight stitch machine I used the Bernina 217. I know, I know, I'm pretty sold on this machine and you are probably getting tired of hearing me sing its praises but for this type of work it's great. For the buttonholes, I used a Kenmore 158-1980 because it was the one I was testing out but they weren't the best quality of buttonholes. For Anne's I used a buttonhole attachment on a Singer 201 and liked the outcome much better. See, you need more than one sewing machine, just for the quality of all the various features. Just keep telling yourself this and you might end up with more machines than you can store!