I tend to go on creative "binges" with things, and a month or so ago I went crazy making a bunch of bags. Some were for friends going on trips, some for my mom and sister-in-law, who were absolute angels and came to watch Eliza and Hyrum for 10 days while Steve, Hazel and I went to Japan (more on that later), and some were for my darling nieces. Oh - and I made a big travel diaper bag for myself, too - I was so glad I had that on my trip! Anyway , here are a couple that I made using scrap fabric left over from my skirt.
These are little purse pouches I made to help keep things organized inside the bags. I put pockets on the inside of the big bags, but I have found that things still get pretty cluttered. The diaper holder was lined with heavy interfacing (I used DuraBond by Pellon) before sewing it together. So fun and super easy and quick to make.
Here is my trusty big diaper bag...it holds a surprising amount of stuff! I forgot to take a picture of the inside - it has happy green dots on bright pink. The one thing I would do differently next time is reinforce the straps more, and line them with more interfacing. I had so much weight in the bag that despite 3 different layers of stitching on the straps, they were starting to pull and stretch.
Recognize these fabrics, anyone? Some of my favorites.
More purse pouches...
I made this bag for Eliza's fabulous kindergarten teacher. She loves black and red, so the color choice was obvious. This was a challenging one, not because of all the piecing but because I kept making design errors that needed fixing or I was struggling with things that kept going wrong.
Do you ever have those projects that seem to attract mishaps like magnets? Well, this is one of 'em. It all worked out in the end, but I had to rip out more stitches, alter things in the middle of doing them and reconsider construction techniques more than anything I've sewn for a long time. Phew!
These little messenger bags were for my nieces. I made the buttons with the covered button kit I recently discovered...what a happy invention that is! It's deceptively simple, with fantastic results. It almost makes me want to make clothes with buttons on them just to use custom-covered buttons....but then I remember how much I despise buttonholes and come back down to reality. I have actually managed to avoid making a buttonhole for years...I just rig some other way of fastening whatever I'm making. I really should give buttonholes another try. To be fair, I think the machine I was trying to make the buttonholes on (right before I swore I'd never make another buttonhole in my entire life) wasn't working properly. I have heard that some machines really do make buttonholes a cinch. Perhaps when I'm in the market for a fancy machine I'll have to check it out. I have depended on my solid workhorse machine (a Singer CG550, I think) for years...it has a super strong motor, no electronic gadgetry to get fritzed, and all the basic stitches.
We've been through a lot together, including a few big re-upholstering projects that I'll never forget and probably never repeat.
I had this great idea of buying a sofa/loveseat set with fantastic down cushions, even though I hated the slipcovered upholstery that came on them (apparently so did everyone else, hence the super clearance price). I bought yards and yards of red fabric and went to work...and it was A LOT of work! I never did sew the cushions for the loveseat, but unfortunately I had already cut out all the pieces so it's not much use to me now. The fabric I bought was a twill, and I was really disappointed at how quickly it faded even though it wasn't in direct sun (sigh). Ah, well. Another lesson learned, right? I ended up just buying a store-bought slipcover for the loveseat (why do those one-size-fits-all slipcovers always look so tailored in the picture, and in real life they always look so slouchy? One bounce by my kiddos on that sofa and it's all over. Looks like a frumpy, 20 year old mess. Well, okay, so the stains on the armrests from my kids sneaking chocolate or jam or whatever is on their sticky little fingers doesn't help either!)
ps The sculpture on the wall was made by my dad, Walt Mendenhall (mendenhallstudio.com) and designed by me. I periodically draw out designs for his metal sculptures, and he makes them. We did a whole series of tropical plants, including palm trees, bird of paradise, the monstera leaves you see above, and laua'e ferns. You can see them all at his website.
So I found this great pattern for fabric balls online (sorry, I can't think of where I found it at the moment...it'll come to me) and made a few. They are so fast to make! I know what I'm going to be doing as part of people's baby shower gifts for awhile. My kids love them, because they're soft enough not to hurt too much. Just don't try bouncing them. :-)