I recently completed the Betz White Weekend Duffle. This pattern is offered as part of her Craftsy class Sew Better Bags: The Weekend Duffel. I won the class for one of the bags I submitted to the Bag of the Month Club competition. I was super excited about it! Thanks, Bag of the Month Club!
I’ll talk about both the bag and the class. First, the bag. The bag is offered in two sizes and I chose to make the smaller size. For the main fabric, I used a quilted cotton that my mom gave me and otherwise I used fabric from my stash. No new fabric was purchased for this bag! I did have to buy hardware though. I’m really making an active effort to use fabric from my stash this year and so far I’ve been doing pretty well!
My favorite part of the bag was how the lining was put in because it pretty much hides most raw edges. In the video, she hand sews three of the base lining edges, but I was able to only hand sew the two short edges and I was pretty happy about that. I suspect she doesn’t recommend machine sewing the other long edge because it’s a bit of work to pull the rest of the bag through (I did it the same way you do the ends of the lining), but doable if you’re determined (as I am).
I like the shape of the bag. It’s got standard pockets and a zip pocket on the inside. I like the handles. I like the detailing although I had to add an extra row of stitching around the edge because 1/8” was still too far and didn’t hold it down well enough. I also like the way the way the zipper is inserted. Goes well with the way the lining is attached.
However, it should be noted that this bag takes a while. There are a lot of steps. None are significantly complicated, but there are a lot of them. Arguably it shows in the quality of the finished product. But for that reason, I don’t think I’m likely to make it again unless I want this shape in particular. I have other similar bag patterns that I would probably try first just because it’s something new. I will probably use many of the techniques I picked up in the class though — which brings me to the class.
The class teaches the basics of making a bag. If you’re relatively new to bag making, it’s a great class. Like almost all Craftsy classes, I watched it on 2X speed. I do this with audiobooks, too, so I think it’s me, not the class. If I had been sewing along with the class, I might have left it on normal speed. My only “complaint” about the class and it’s not really a complaint, more of a preference, is that I wish she had provided a pattern. There’s a list of instructions included in the class materials, but I had to keep referring to the video to see how to do something or what the seam allowance was. Sure, I could have taken notes when I first watched it but I didn’t. And really my M.O. is to watch a class and then go do something. It’s just how I work. I mentioned it in case you’re the same. If you like to sew along with the instructor, then this class is perfect for you! And as I mentioned, even as an experienced bag maker at this point, I picked up some great techniques like the way she adds the lining.
So, there it is, my Weekend Duffel! Not sure what I’ll be using it for. I had planned to use it for a dance bag, but it’s a bit bigger than I expected (I’m terrible at grasping how big something is based on measurements unless I mock it out) so it might get used for something else. But it’s so fun and cheerful that I’m very happy with how it turned out!
I’m am so excited about these little guys! They are the Sew Sweetness Kismet Trinket Boxes. The left is the large circular one one and the right is the small square one with the height decreased by an additional inch so that it’s only about 3 inches tall. I used some free fat quarters I got from Northcott Fabrics at QuiltCon from their ColorWorks Concepts line. Technically my mom won them, but she gave them to me because they’re more my style than hers (seriously, I’m going to have buy more of these dots). I won a charm pack from Northcott’s Urban Elementz line which I also love but am making something else out of.
Like all of the Sew Sweetness patterns, this one went together really nicely. No fudge measurements or anything like that. I love that her patterns are so reliable. They also go together pretty quickly. Honestly, the part that took me the longest was cutting out all the pieces. There aren’t that many, but you need to cut most of them out of fabric, lining, interfacing and foam stabilizer which just takes some time. And I was also cutting out two boxes worth.
The square one was the one I was excited about, so I made the round one first to practice all the techniques. I was able to make both of these out of just 2 fat quarters! They are perfect for using that fat quarter you love that you’re so afraid to use. They were definitely a little smaller than I expected (yes, she gives final measurements but I’m terrible at really knowing how big it feels until I finish it). They’re in many ways similar to her Crimson and Clover Train Case but simplified.
And here’s why I was so excited about the square one! I’ve wanted a binding kit for a while now. I needed something that would hold all of my wonder clips, scissors, thread and needles. I was using an old makeup case and it just wasn’t doing it for me, mostly because I wanted something that could stay open while I was binding so I had easy access to put away clips, grab my scissors, get more thread, etc. I also wanted it fully enclosed with a zipper (a feature most other binding kit patterns I’ve seen don’t have) so that stuff wouldn’t fall out since I often take it traveling. But it also needed to have plenty of space for my clips. Modifying the smallest rectangular kismet box to be just a bit shorter was perfect!
For those that are curious, the needle holders are just some black fleece cut to size and topstitched down. I measured the scissor pocket to exactly match my TSA-approved scissors though at some point I’d like some nice embroidery ones since this pair is pretty stiff. I love it and can’t wait to take it with me on my next plane ride!
Like I said, it’s a great pattern. The square one was actually a bit easier than the round due to the straight edges for stopping and starting so if you’re debating which one to try first, I’d go with the square. It’s a value priced pattern at $5 — a great way to start your Sew Sweetness addiction. (And no, I’m not paid to say any of this; I’m just a huge fan.)
I’m terrible about gifts. Well intentioned. But I’m eternally optimistic about how much time I have left until Hanukah/Christmas/birthday/etc. So it’s only natural that I ended up finishing my mom’s holiday gift this February.
I wanted to make her something because while I make plenty of stuff for people, she never seems to get any of it. Well, I guess I’ve made her several aprons, but otherwise, not much. I know she likes using reusable bags when grocery shopping and I love my New Leaf Totes that I made almost 6 years ago and they’ve held up great. Still looking as good as the day I made them (well, assuming they’ve been washed recently). This seemed like a great gift.
For the fabric I used a bundle of 1/2 hard cuts of Honeysweet by Fig Tree & Co. that I got about a year and a half ago from someone destashing on Instagram. There were 12 different prints in three colorways. The prints were the quaint but modern style that I knew she’d like (plus, if she didn’t like them, then I’d be happy to have them). I used Kona cotton in bone for the inside lining. Here are the color combos I went with:
The bags went together quite smoothly. The pattern is the New Leaf Folding Totes by Heather Bailey. It’s a great pattern. Well written with very clear instructions and good diagrams. Everything fits like it should. No fudging pieces together. I highly recommend using pinking shears to trim the curved part of the pocket before turning inside out. And overall really recommend the pattern.
One change I made was using 1.25” wide twill for the handles and just overlaying one of the handle pieces (with sides folded under) on it and top stitching. The resulting handle width is the same. I liked the slightly more rustic look the twill gave it to go with the fabrics. It was much faster (turning the handles inside out is one of the only parts I don’t like about this pattern because it takes forever and this also meant no interfacing on the long handles). And I think it may actually be a bit sturdier. I will definitely do this again for this bag pattern in the future.
I didn’t bother making the little tote sash because I was pretty sure my mom would never use it, assuming she even folded the totes back up.
She totally loved them and I’m just hoping she does actually use them because she said they’re almost too nice to use for grocery shopping. I tried to reassure her that if she ever messed them up (which would be hard because they’re pretty sturdy), I’d make her new ones. Not sure I convinced her . . .
When the Magic line by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller came out, I totally fell in love with it and pre-ordered a whole bunch (from one of my favorite stores, Hawthorne Threads). One of the ones I ordered was the You Are Magic print which has lots of wonderful happy and inspirational phrases on it. I was looking for the perfect project to highlight those phrases and I’m pretty sure the Sew Sweetness Creative Maker Supply Case is it.
I fussy cut all the pieces so that they centered around the different phrases.
I also made a few changes to the inside. My plan was to use this as a creative toolkit for the plane. My creative toolkit holds my iPad and sketch pad. So I made the pocket on the left just a solid one (no net) so I could slide in the sketch pad and I made the right side an iPad holder.
Well, I tried to. I was hoping it would hold it in by the sides and I could leave it in there while I watched, but unfortunately it doesn’t work great. The little sides I made weren’t quite big enough. But they let me put the iPad in without catching it in the zipper.
Overall, I’m really happy with how it came out. I wish I had just put a pocket on the right hand side (next one), but it still works great for my iPad and protects it when traveling.
The pattern is very well written like all of Sara Lawson’s patterns are. I accidentally forgot to put the padding in the skinny side zipper tab side, but this didn’t make a difference in the overall look. I used a nylon parka zipper because I like the way they zip better and they are heavier duty and the tape is wider. The pieces went together smoothly and overall it was a pretty fast and easy project. Like other Sew Sweetness patterns, there’s always at least one point where I think, “there’s no way this is going to be useable” and then I turn it inside out and like magic (no pun intended) it looks awesome.
At some point, I’ll get some more Magic fabric and make version 2, but until then, I shall enjoy this one.
One of the activities i do when I’m not working is teach sewing classes at work along with some other lovely folks. One of them wanted to test out the Hudson Pants pattern from True Bias so a bunch of us got together to make them. Everybody picked a different fabric and different size so it was a good way to get a lot of opinions at once.
I went with some purple sweatshirt fabric that I think I’ve had in my stash for probably close to a decade. It felt great to finally use it! Because it had very little stretch, I bumped up 2 sizes. And because the Hudson pants run slim and I prefer my lounge pants a little looser, I bumped up another size. So I measure between a 4/6 and ended up making a 12 and was pretty happy with the very relaxed fit it resulted in. I’d probably make it around an 8 if I had fabric with stretch.
I followed the pattern pretty much exactly. I tend to do things out of order to minimize trips to the sewing machine, serger and iron, but otherwise mostly followed the pattern. I made two changes, one cosmetic and the other for fit. The first was to add a decorative border to the pockets. Really happy with how that turned out. Since I wasn’t using a stretchy fabric anyways, I used some fun squirrel print cotton for the inside of the pockets.
The second was to change the cuffs. Since the pattern was written for stretchy fabric, the cuffs were drafted slightly smaller than the ankle opening. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even get them over my ankles and I couldn’t stretch them to gather the ankle of the pants. So I re-drafted them to be as wide as the bottom of the pants and while I was at it I made them a little shorter. I tried on the pants and given my stature, a little shorter would fit me a bit better. They turned out well.
The only part I’m not thrilled about with these pants is the inner leg seam. I think this has to do more with the serger I used at work. It just doesn’t seam as soft as the serging I did at home. I think it’s partly due to the thread and partly due to the width of the stitch. It’s a narrow overlock and if I had done a wider one like I typically use at home it might not stick out as much and rub my leg. As it is, I still wear them a bunch. Since they’re made out of sweatshirt fabric, they’re nice and warm.
I’d make them again, probably with a stretchy fabric and maybe something a little trendier that I could use after workouts or dance rehearsals.
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