Amazing… All by sewers like you

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                                                                                                                                                                   Photo: Craftsy

As you know I am a Craftsy affiliate member and offer my on-line class, MAKING LEATHER BAGS with Don Morin, using the Craftsy platform. It’s my chance to have you follow along with me as I start with a few pieces of leather and turn it into a design-it-yourself totebag. So many of you have signed up with Craftsy and have gone beyond my basic “working with leather” demonstrations and created unique handbag designs of your own. I’m so proud of you.

Click on the gallery link below to explore more from bag makers like you… and if you want to join along with these creative people, you can go to my STORE section and sign up to my class as well as those of my colleagues at Craftsy by using my affiliate links.

You’ll find some great bag-making classes from bag design experts Brett Bara, Lisa Lam, Jan Hawley, Annie Unrein, Nicole Vasbinder, Betz White, Sara Lawson, Janelle MacKay, Kathy, McGee, and Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield .

http://link.create.craftsy.com/YesConnect/HtmlMessagePreview?UzOZu1YUY7Cl0pE5Pwd9namGk-myhKm8TF4hiRSA82k=.enc

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Permission to Create Junk

sketching

Weight-training offers a good metaphor for scheduling creative work.

No one can’t predict whether or not you’ll set a PR (personal record) before going to the gym. In fact, there will be many days when you’ll have a below average workout. Eventually, you’ll figured out that those below average days were just part of the process. The only way to actually lift bigger weights was to continually show up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — regardless of whether any individual workout was good or bad.

Creating design work is no different than training in the gym. You can’t selectively choose your best moments and only work on the days when you have great ideas. The only way to unveil the great ideas inside of you is to go through a volume of work, put in your repetitions, and show up over and over again. Never settle on the first-go.

Obviously, doing something below average is never the goal. But you have to give yourself permission to grind through the occasional days of below average work because it’s the price you have to pay to get to excellent work.

If you’re anything like me, you hate creating something that isn’t excellent. It’s easy to start censoring your work, judging your work and convince yourself to not share something, not trying something new or different, and not ship something because “this isn’t good enough yet.”

But the alternative is even worse: if you don’t have a schedule forcing you to deliver, then it’s really easy to avoid doing the work at all. The only way to be consistent enough to make a masterpiece is to give yourself permission to create junk along the way.

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COLOUR FORECASTING

pattern curator

COLOUR TRENDS – Autumn/Winter ’17

One of the best presented trend and colour forcasting online is

PATTERN CURATOR.

Their storyboards are beautifully inspiring.

Check them out : http://patterncurator.org/

 

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Designer Fabric Combinations

color_Fotor

It can be a challenging task for many when it comes to coordinating fabrics and creating a cohesive look for one’s handbag style.  With so many interesting colours, patterns and textures to consider it can get a bit overwhelming.  I’ve put together a few design tips to keep in mind when attempting to mix colours and patterns to create that designer look.

CREATING THAT DESIGNER LOOK

Tip #1.  Group in odd numbers: sets of three work nicely. (see the Rule of Three).

Tip #2.  Contrast your colour palette to create an interesting look and repeat the colours in your choice of embellishment details throughout your bag project.

Tip #3. Still don’t know what colour pathway to choose? Take your cues from the colours in your wardrobe.

Tip #4.  Consider the “60/30/10 Rule”: 60% for your main fabric choice, 30% for the secondary contrast, and 10% for the trim accent.

Tip #5.   Start off by pulling colours from your main pattern first to apply to the second and third patterns so your grouping looks cohesive. An easy way to do this is to, first select a colourful print; then choose one of the colours in that print for the matching stripe or check; lastly, add a solid fabric in that same or complimentary colour.

Tip #6.  If you are going for a more serene subtle exterior look be sure to add in sheen and textured fabrics so that the bag-styling has visual interest. Or opt for a vivid colour or ornate patterned print for the interior lining fabric.

Tip #7. Try mixing patterns in a range of scale sizes. Example: a large floral, a medium geometric and a small stripe while adding in your solid colours providing relief to the eye so that you avoid a busy look.

Tip #8.  Use large scale patterns for large totes and small patterns for smaller purses.

Tip #9.  If you would like your bag design to appear harmonious and pleasing to the eye, consider bag fittings and hardware colours and finishes. Have them match in similar hues, values, and finishes.

Remember to have fun and choose colours and patterns you absolutely love.  Patterns give personality to a fashion accessory design so don’t be afraid to use them.  Here are a few fabric pattern groups to give you the idea:

CLASSIC COLOUR MIX

classic mix

ACHROMATIC COLOUR MIX

charcoal and taupe

WARM COLOUR MIX 

flamingo

COOL COLOUR MIX 

magenta flowers

METALLIC COLOUR MIX

metallics

MODERN GEOMETRIC MIX

modern mix

HIGH CONTRAST MIX

poppy 2

SEASONAL COLOUR MIX

nature

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THE BUCKET BAG

THE BUCKET BAG

The bucket bag was the first “big bag” of its time with its roomy interior and stylish good looks and judging from recent designer collections, that utilitarian element still lives on today. I always suggest a light-coloured lining in bags that are this deep, as one could lose something quite easily at the bottom and never see it again.

CONSTRUCTION METHOD: Turned finish – this method may be recognized by noting the lack of machine-stitching that is visible at points of assembly on the exterior side of the bag.  This is possible by placing the material, or parts, face to face, machining and turning right-side out. It is the most commonly used assembly process.

DIMENSIONS: 12” H x 15” W x 8” D with a 46” long adjustable inch-wide shoulder strap. (note: base = 10″ +  2 gussets = 5″ for a total of 15″ for the bag width)

MATERIALS USED FOR SAMPLE: 100% cotton upholstery fabric; poly-urethane faux leather for trim and strapping; and 100% cotton percale for lining

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1/2 yard (0.5 m) upholstery-weight fashion fabric (54” wide) [138 cm]
  • 1/3 yard (0.3 m) compatible contrast fabric for trim (54” wide) [138 cm]
  • 1/3 yard (0.3 m) poly-urethane fabric for strapping (54” wide) [138 cm]
  • 1/2 yard (0.5 m) pocketing material for the lining (54” wide) [138 cm]
  • 12 x 9-inch (30 x 23 cm) piece of heavyweight interfacing
  • 1 yard (1 m) knit-fuse interfacing (60” wide) [153 cm]
  • 1 yard (0.9 m) filler for piping, (1/4” wide) [6 mm]
  • 2 yards (1.8 m) ban-roll® buckram, (1” wide) [25 mm]
  • 1 magnetic snap set
  • 1 slide buckle, 1-inch [25 mm] diameter
  • 2 D-rings, 1-inch [25 mm] diameter
  • 1 swivel latch, 1-inch [25 mm] diameter
  • 1 sheet of card stock (11” x 8½”) [28 x 21.5 cm]
  • double-sided basting tape, (3/8” wide) [10mm]
  • coordinating colour thread

PATTERN

The size of your bucket bag is based on the circumference of a circle or ellipse. The larger the circle, the larger the bag. Look for a circular object to use as a template or use a compass. (I drew 2 circles with a 5-inch diameter side-by-side and connected them with  straight lines). This will be the base section.

base 1_Fotor

Next, measure the circumference of the base pattern using the edge of the tape measure. This amount is X and is the width of the rectangle that forms the tubular shape of the “bucket”.

Eg:  two 5” diameter circles joined together forming an oval shape has a circumference of 30” [78 cm]

The length of the rectangle is Y and is equal to the width of the base or you may choose your own finished bag height.

rect1_Fotor

For the top and bottom trim sections, draw 2 rectangles. The first one equals  X by 2” [5 cm] and the second is X by 4” [10 cm]

trim today_Fotor

CUTTING

1.  Add seam allowances to all pattern pieces.

2. Cut out fashion fabric pieces as indicated on the pattern. Transfer placement lines to fabric.

3.  Cut out lining pieces.

4.  Cut out interfacing pieces.

5.  Cut a length of faux leather equal to desired strap length and twice as wide as ban-roll.

6.  Cut 2 lengths of faux leather 12” [ cm} long and twice as wide as ban-roll.

7.  Cut faux leather trim strip as indicated on pattern.

8.  Cut a strip of faux leather for piping.

9. Cut desired length of ban-roll® buckram for shoulder-strap and two 12-inch lengths for side strapping. (I made mine 46″ + 2″= 48″ long)

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SEWING DIRECTIONS

FABRIC PREPARATION

Iron on Knit-fuse® interfacing to backs of all cloth pieces following manufacturer’s directions. DO NOT press faux leather with iron. It will melt.

SIDE TRIM

1 Wrap faux leather strips around short buckram strips. Turn under edges of fabric along the two long edges of the buckram strips, and adhere down using the basting tape.  Set aside.

SHOULDER STRAP

2 Score along down center of back of faux leather strip for strap. Put basting tape on either side of buckram for strap and adhere it left of center on the back of the faux leather. Add more basting tape to top of buckram and turn under the exposed fabric edge over the buckram; finger press down. Turn under the seam allowance on the opposite edge of the leather and adhere down with basting tape. Fold the leather over the buckram to encase it and topstitch close to each long edge on the face side of the faux leather. Repeat with the folded side of the strap.

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3 Loop one end of the shoulder strap through the slide buckle and secure in place. Set aside.

BAG BODY

4 Prepare the base by machine-basting the fabric piece to the interfacing around the perimeter. Set aside.

5 Align and match contrasting trim section to top of main body with face sides together. Pin/baste then stitch the seam. Press seam open.

6 Align and match faux leather trim strip to bottom of main body following placement line. Tape upside-down with face sides together using basting tape. Sew a narrow seam along leather edge then fold leather face side up onto fabric. Finger press down and topstitch parallel to the seam.

7 At the seamline of the top trim, place one short covered buckram strip face side down to the seamline and stitch across the short end. Set this up on the placement line as indicated on the pattern. Loop free end through a D-ring and fold leather strip down flat to bottom edge. Topstitch trim edges to secure in place, including the bottom trim.

8 Fold the bag body section with face sides together and raw edges even. Align and match both trim seams and pin/baste. Stitch along the open side of the rectangle, and press the seam open.

9 Center the remaining leather side trim over the side seam and apply it as directed in Step 7. Remember to add the hardware (D-ring) before stitching down. Set aside.

PIPING

10 Place basting tape down center of back of leather strip and place scrim (filler) on tape to prevent twisting. Add another row of basting tape to one side of leather edge. Fold one of the short ends to neaten and then wrap the opposite side of the leather over the scrim and secure tightly. Finger press edges yet leave the neatened short end “open”, about an inch or two. To aid in sewing the piping to the round base, clip shallow notches into the piping’s edge.

11 With alligator clips, align and match piping seam allowance to edge of base piece. Tuck in unfinished short end of piping into open neaten end. Using a zipper foot attachment and selecting a long stitch length, sew the piping to the bag base face side up.

piping-2_Fotor

12  Pin the piped base to the bottom edge of the bag, with right sides together and raw edges even, matching the dots and seams. Stitch and press seam toward the tote bottom. 

FACING AND SNAPS

13 Trim 1/4 inch (6 mm) from all edges of the facing and interfacing pieces. Center interfacing on the wrong side of the facing pieces. Fuse in place following manufacturer’s directions.

14  Attach the female side of the magnetic snap to the face side of top facing piece at placement mark. On the back of the fabric, slip the backing plate onto the prongs and fold the prongs back onto themselves using pinch-nose pliers. Repeat with the male side of snap on opposite side of facing piece.

LINING

15 Fold lining piece in half with right sides together and align side seams. Pin/baste raw edges and sew. Press seam open.

OPTIONAL: Insert any pockets in lining now while lining is open and flat before sewing side seam.

16 Pin facing with face sides together along the top edge of the lining. Stitch then press toward the lining. Edge-stitch lining close to the seam.

FINISHING

17 Turn bag right-side-out through lining.

18 Pin lining base with wrong side to right side together and stitch along the bottom edges.

19 Drop the lining into the bag cavity and fold the facing in half, aligning outside and inside seams together. Pin/baste along the seam and topstitch through both layers to close top of bucket bag. Press fold flat along the top of the bag. Edge-stitch along the fold on the face side of the bag, through all layers. Set aside.

20 Cover the card cut-out for the base with lining fabric. Insert the card into the body cavity to neaten the bottom of the lining and to hide the exposed seam allowance.

21 Loop the open end of the shoulder strap through one of the D-rings (2). Then thread it through the slide bucket, from the bottom, over the top, and back down into the buckle (3). On the open end slip on the swivel latch and fold the short end of the strap back over the hardware to encase it (4). Secure the hardware by stitching through all the layers with an X-stitch. Hook latch into the other D-ring.

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MAKE THE MOST OF NATIONAL CRAFT MONTH

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BAG’N-TELLE is celebrating design-it-yourself arts and crafts during National Craft Month.  March has been designated as National Craft Month in the United States & Canada, so why not join me in celebrating it by taking up some of the crafts you’ve been meaning to try? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

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Start with a simple project. Whether you’re new to bag designing or have been creating fashion bags since you could sew, beginning National Craft Month with easy projects will motivate you to work on more ambitious projects later. Why not start with a few simple bag-design tutorials, such as my Utility Tote or Eco Tote, before you move on to the Duffle Bag or my Chic Lunch Bag? You can often use the easy bag patterns you draft to supplement other bag creations later, especially if you’ll be selecting a more novel material such as leather or oilcloth for your fabrications. If you’ll be working on bag projects with your children, select kids’ projects that are appropriate for each child’s age so they don’t become frustrated. Many simple projects only require basic sewing skills.

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Try a new craft you’ve always been interested in. If you’ve wanted to take up fashion bag designing or wanted to take a how-to class yet have never taken an online class before, National Craft Month is the perfect time to start. Many retailers, especially online stores, offer deals on craft supplies and specialty tools during this month, and you can often find project ideas and tips that can help, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced crafter. As an affiliate of craftsy.com , I know that Craftsy, the global crafting community, will be celebrating National Craft Month with great discounts on online classes to first time buyers and awarding a donation to a craft-oriented charity. It’s a great time to learn a new skill from the thousand of craft classes they offer. There are many fashion bag classes from Craftsy given by myself as well as my colleagues, Betz White,  Annie Unrein, Brett Bara, Janelle MacKay, Lisa LamSarah Lawson, Kathy McGee, Nicole Vasbinder, Amanda Murphyand Joan Hawley; or engage in your passion for sewing by trying one of Craftsy tote kits which include pattern and fabrics from well-known textile collections, such as Robert Kaufman, RJR Fabrics, and Kaffe Fassett, to name a few . And if you’re not completely satisfied, there is a 100% money-back guarantee. How can you lose? You might even be the lucky student who wins a $1,000 donation to a craft-focused charity of your choice. It’s easy to enter to win, just sign up for your first Craftsy class online between Feb. 29 to March 13, 2016.

charity

Choose projects you can finish during National Crafting Month. While you may be tempted to begin on a large fashion bag project, such as hand-stitched satchel or weekender, during March, you’ll be more motivated to finish fashion bags that can be completed before the month ends. Making occasion-oriented bag fashions you’ll be using in the next few months for Mother’s Day or other springtime celebrations such as graduation are a great way to use your time, as are other fashion ideas you can give as gifts, such as my “MAKING LEATHER BAGS with Don Morin” online class. It makes a delightful gift for the budding fashion designer on your list. You could also write down craft and design ideas you want to try during different weeks of the month to keep yourself on track. If you do want to start a bigger craft, set deadlines for yourself so you’ll complete the project. For example, you might set a goal to finish that half-done quilt by the end of the month, so that you can use your quilted fabric to make a quilted fashion bag. Once National Craft Month ends, you can continue to set deadlines so you’ll be able to finish your crafts and move on to something else.

Now go out there and enjoy National Craft Month, you have the entire month of March to get started or continue crafting… enjoy yourself and have fun!

P.S. Craftsy member, Cheri C. (student of Marc Taro Holmes), was the lucky winner and chose Art Road to receive the donation: a non-profit bringing art class back into schools. Thanks again to all participants:)

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SNEAK PEEK

threads

New on the newsstands, Issue #184 of Threads Magazine. I discuss tools, techniques and seam construction for great results when sewing vinyl fabrics. Check it out @ http://www.threadsmagazine.com/

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