I just finished this. Last night. I rarely get photos and get things posted this quickly so feel free to be impressed 😉 This is the Sew Sweetness Amethyst Project Bag. I was actually using the exterior fabric for some other organization type ...
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Pigs In Pajamas: 'I wonder what Piglet is doing,' thought Pooh. 'I wish I were there to be doing it, too.' -- A.A. Milne, Winnee the Pooh

Sew Sweetness Amethyst Project Bag

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I just finished this. Last night. I rarely get photos and get things posted this quickly so feel free to be impressed 😉

This is the Sew Sweetness Amethyst Project Bag. I was actually using the exterior fabric for some other organization type containers (to be posted when I finish them) and realized it would also be awesome for this pattern. I’d seen pictures of the Amethyst Bag and thought it would be nice to make but wasn’t truly motivated until I had the right fabric. Now that I’ve made it, I would definitely make another.

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I won’t go on and on too much about the pattern. Like every other Sew Sweetness pattern I’ve done this one was high quality. Everything fit together like a well-made puzzle. Instructions were clear. It continued my track record of excellent patterns from her.

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I will tell you about the fabrics I chose and the changes I made. Let’s start with the fabrics. This was a total stash buster of a project for me. The back fabric for the top — the black and white — was an adorable quilting themed newspaper satire that I had just a single fat quarter of and had been saving for the “right project.” The paint strips was a tiny scrap I had left over from a dress I still need to post. And the exterior was something I had bought ages ago but realized that very little matched it. It’s a nice green, but really hard to match. That’s where the black and white came in. Black and white matches everything! And I thought about just doing white for the rest of the inside since I only had that little fat quarter, but then I found this rainbow and problem solved! I love it so much more with color. And even more, I love that all the fabrics are about creating and making in different mediums.

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Those are some in progress shots. Up until that point, I had done everything by the book. But I’m sewing this during quarantine which meant I couldn’t just run to the store and get missing bits. There was a bit of make-do. Fortunately I had some zipper-by-the-yard in white so I didn’t need to make up for that! I was also fortunate that I had 2 matching black zippers. So here are the changes I made.

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First, I didn’t have white elastic . . . so I used the pink I had! That’s not entirely true. I had white non-roll but that’s pretty hideous. So the only good looking 1” elastic I had was this pink. However, now that it’s done, I actually really like the pink and would totally do a colored elastic again.

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Next, I didn’t have a parachute clip, the connector between the two pieces of elastic. So I improvised and made myself a magnetic one. Here’s how I did it:

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I wanted each finished side to be 1.25” x 2.5” so I cut 2 pieces of 3” x 5” fabric and interfacing. After interfacing, I folded in the long edges by 1/2 “ (or so . . . I think it was closer to 3/8”). I folded the sides to the middle and then folded everything together. You can observe the creases above to see what I mean. Next, I took 2 little pieces of thermolam fusible foam and put them on either side of where the magnetic clasp would go for extra stability and to prevent it from wearing through the fabric, a tip I picked up from other bag making patterns.

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I marked where I wanted to put the clasp by tracing through the circular gasket it comes with. Then I used my seam ripper to tear 2 tiny holes where I marked, inserted the magnetic clasp and then folded it up.

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Then I topstitched around the edges. I managed to break my needle. Twice. Because I was being too dense to realize that I was apparently trying to sew through the metal wings. Sigh. Then I hand cranked it and made it around. After that, I just stitched it securely to the elastic using a square with an x through it style stitch pattern. I’d say it works pretty well.

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Third, the pattern calls for 4 of these squares of peltex. I had enough for 3. However, I did have enough timtex for the 4th. Timtex is actually a little thicker than the fusible peltex, but it’s sewable, not fusible. So for the bottom I did a quick stitch around the edges. That way when the top piece fused to the lining, it would still hold the timtex in place. I’m pleased to say it worked great.

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Fourth, I didn’t have enough regular foam interfacing, but I did have a bunch of one-sided fusible foam. I had bought it to try it out. I thought it would also save me some time in this case. And also it was what I had. I suppose it did save some time, but not really. Fusing takes a bit to do the whole thing and it’s pretty fast to stitch around the edges. Ultimately, I’m not a huge fan of the look. When the fabric isn’t fused, it can move and flex like fabric. When it’s stuck the fusible foam, I find it makes tiny wrinkles. It’s not so bad. Definitely not bad enough that I wouldn’t use this in public. And fortunately it’s a pretty busy fabric so that hides quite a bit, but it’s a good note for the future.

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Finally, I adjusted the sizes of the elastic. Sara, the pattern author, recommends this if you plan on using it for items other than pencils which is what she has sized it for. Since I plan on using it for links like rotary cutters and seam rippers, I made the left ones a bit bigger.

Another note on this part: I found it easiest to sew the top of the black binding for the pocket first. Then I slipped the pocket in and sewed down the bottom. I tried it first with the pocket pinned in and it was really hard to get a straight line.

These other items weren’t so much replacements as little hacks:

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For the pocket, instead of clipping the corners, I just used my pinking shears. I discovered this when making flutter sleeves for a kid’s outfit a couple years ago and it’s the best way to “clip” rounded edges like this on bags, too, in my opinion.

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When I top-stitched the top, I didn’t manage to cover the previous stitching on the black part. Black sharpie to the rescue:

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I plan to eventually make this again so here are my notes that I’m just putting here so I remember them — and in case anyone else is curious.

  • The top is actually super customizable. You could do all elastic loops or 2 mesh pockets or 2 pouches or 1 giant mesh pocket. Really a lot of options depending how you’ll use the bag.
  • I might skip interfacing the lining of the little pouch. It’s fine as is, but I think I might prefer it a bit “floppier.”
  • I definitely won’t use fusible foam.
  • I’ll try to get an actual parachute clip. I think a d-ring and swivel clip would also work well
  • Definitely use colored elastic again.
  • If I wanted a “quick and dirty” version of this, I think one could totally eliminate the elastic on the bottom and do 1 large mesh pocket or 2 mesh pockets instead. In fact, I kinda like that idea and might try it!

There are so many potential uses for this pattern! Really happy with it and looking forward to using it. So I leave you with a picture of it holding some of my mystery quilt blocks which is how I plan to use it for the time being.

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Velvet Seamwork Camden Cape

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Now for something sorta recent but sorta old. This is the Seamwork Camden cape. These photos are from this past February when I finally finished it, but I say “sorta old” because I actually started it about 2 years ago. As in, I had finished everything but hemming the lining. But never got around to it because I wanted to do something extra with it. I had plans. I had ideas. And . . . life happens.

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But then this event came up and I needed something appropriately fancy but warm. I had shredded my nice black pashmina shawl to shreds wearing it over something with rhinestones (I am still sad about it), so I had nothing. But then I remembered this and given we had a very long drive, it would give me something to do in the car.

I didn’t work on it at all in the car.

I did it all in the hotel room the night before because that’s how I roll before events.

I originally started this cape as a test for another cape that I was hoping to use the Camden as the base pattern for. The Camden had the right lines that I was looking for so I wanted to get an idea of fit. The major change that I made was to get rid of the bottom panel in the back. I extended all of the back panels to the length they would be if the bottom panel were there. Since there wasn’t a curve between the bottom back panel and the upper part of the pack, this was pretty straight forward. Again, this was because of the other cape this was a test for and I probably would have just kept the bottom panel otherwise though I do like the clean look it gives.

I also didn’t add the buttons. I wasn’t planning to for the eventual cape so I didn’t bother here. I just added a simple hook and eye at the top and I really like the simple elegance in this case.

The outer fabric is some velvet I had laying around which I originally picked in the hopes that this would be a wearable muslin (and it is obviously). I think it’s originally from Joann’s but I honestly have no idea because it’s so old. It’s not the nicest velvet, but it could be worse and at least looks pretty good until you get up too close.

Black is hard to photograph and velvet is hard to photograph. So black velvet is almost impossible. Here’s a photo where you can kinda tell it’s velvet because the lighting was weird:

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On the upside, you can’t see all the wrinkles that it has. 😀

The inside is lined with purple habotai silk that I had originally picked up for harem pants and but have since butchered into a number of linings. It worked well with the overall look and feel of the design and velvet. For the lining I just followed the pattern as written.

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I’m glad to finally have this done and I know I’ll get use out of it in the future once fancy events start up again.


Blue Tulle Petticoat

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As I mentioned in the Cinderella costume post, I had bought tulle for a petticoat but decided it would be too much for that costume. So I decided to make one for myself.

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I did a super simple one just using the gathering foot on my serger. I had 2 rolls so I gathered one full roll to the other and then gather whatever that resulted in to another 2 tiers. There was still some leftover. I’m not sure exactly how many yards this petticoat is. It has a nice fullness although I usually like a little bit more. But even so I’ve used it several times.

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The top tier was attached to a length of satin that I later fitted with elastic, and then I covered each seam with ribbon. This ribbon was leftover from a friend’s wedding probably almost a decade ago. She had no use for it, but knowing that I sewed (because I did all her table runners) she passed it on to me. Glad to finally find a use for it!

But man, did that take a while. Like I said, not sure how many yards this is, but it’s a lot. Oh, and I also used a length of ribbon to cover the bottom edge.

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It wasn’t a hard project, but it was time consuming. Given how much Malco Modes petticoats cost, I would (and have) just buy from them in the future. It’s totally worth the time/money tradeoff. They make really nice ones in a variety of fullness, colors and fabric types. So unless I need something really specific like a special color combination or fitting a particular shaped skirt, I probably won’t make my own again any time soon.

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Also worth noting that the tulle is a bit on the scratchy side. I didn’t line this, but I have it on my todo list (someday . . .) to add a satin skirt inside so it’s more comfortable.


Cinderella’s Cape (McCalls M6420)

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In the last post, I showed the Cinderella costume I made for my cousin. They live in the middle of the country and I just assume anywhere that isn’t Florida is probably freezing in October at night. So I wanted to make sure she had a coordinating layer to keep her warm.

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I used McCall’s M6420 in the smallest size. The only alteration I made was to add a 5 inch hem. Much like the mega hem I added to the dress so I could let it out when she got taller, I wanted to be able to let this one out as well. I realized that the stitch line would probably leave an indentation but I figured I would just hide it with some trim when I actually let it out.

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But I didn’t mind the general look of the large hem. I trimmed the whole cape with the same trim as the skirt on the Cinderella costume.

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She loved it and it fit perfectly. It’s actually a really versatile cape (I could actually fit it over my shoulders as a caplet and almost wanted to keep it myself!) and even her brother likes to steal it now and then 😀


Child’s 2016 Cinderella Inspired Costume

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For Halloween of 2017 (I know, I know, some of these posts are WAY overdue), my cousin’s daughter wanted to be Cinderella.  Who was I to say no? Also, I was pretty psyched to make her an awesome costume.

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One of my favorite parts is the back (above). I love the giant bow although it’s not actually part of the pattern. I used McCall’s MP551. I think it was actually intended for mimicking the 2016 Cinderella movie outfit even though it’s a white dress (the fairy godmother, maybe?) on the package. But that costume only goes down to child size 3-4 and my little model was slightly under those measurements. So this bow would let mom pull it in a bit tighter and let her wear it a bit longer if she wanted by letting it out.

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I started off with the bodice. I did actually take in the sides just a bit extra since my Cinderella was slightly smaller than the measurements. But otherwise, no alterations. Technically I didn’t need to do anything special with it — it was pretty enough on its own, but I was gonna make this the best Cinderella costume ever. So I decided to embroider it.

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The 2016 Cinderella has butterflies on her shoulder wrap and I wasn’t going to do that because I felt they would be too overpowering on a small child. But I went with the butterfly motif for the embroidery.

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And I did it with glow in the dark thread! I figured if she was going to be trick or treating at night, this could be a fun surprise. I mean, I would have loved it as a kid. Who am I kidding? I would totally love this now. I’m definitely going to do this on one of my costumes at some point.

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The bodice went together easily. Kids’ costumes are so fun since they have no darts 😀 The shoulder wrap is a bit weird where you do these twisty bits, but it works. I embellished the twists with rhinestones instead of butterflies (you can see it in the first picture of this post).

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For the hem, I used a really thick horsehair braid. I think it was 3 inches. And then I folded it up twice. But, twice is so unnecessary, you say. Yes, it is. However, I wanted her to get a couple years out of this so I added the extra fold thinking I would let it out in a year or two when she was taller so she could keep wearing it.

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Unfortunately the same trick didn’t really work for the iridescent top layers. Those I just cut off and hemmed.

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I did add a silver trim to the top iridescent layer figuring that I could use some of the extra iridescent fabric (there was plenty left over) to attach a ruffle there and no one would be the wiser. That being said, it’s 3 years later and I still haven’t done so. She’s probably grown out of it, but she does have a little sister so it may still come in handy for her if she ends up taller than her sister.

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Originally, I was going to make her a little petticoat to go underneath, but with horsehair and the two layers of iridescent top fabric it wasn’t really necessary and probably would have been annoying for her to run around in. I ended up using the petticoat tulle for myself and I’ll have a post about that later.

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Now to take a look at the lining. Even though no one really sees it, I’m pretty happy with how that turned out. I hand sewed it down myself.

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And I love the clean finish. So worth it.

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Just because I’m proud of it, let’s take a look at that zipper.

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And the finished shots. Super happy with how it turned out and my little Cinderella loved it and it fit her very well. I hear she even won a local costume contest in it.

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Of course I sent it with some appropriate jewelry:

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Every princess needs a crown and some bling.

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