The Craft Book that Changed my Life :: Guest Post

The Pattern that Changed My Life - Guest Post on While She Naps I’m so thrilled to be sharing about the book that changed my life, Bend The Rules Sewing by Amy Karol, over on Abby Glassenberg’s blog While She Naps.  Abby’s blog is always an honest, open conversation and I always admire her willingness to tackle big questions and take what she does as a crafter and a blogger seriously.  All summer long she’s been running a series asking bloggers about the patterns that changed their life.  The whole series is really wonderful and I’m so humbled Abby asked me to participate. I’ll be honest, as I started writing this guest post I got a little more vulnerable than I expected.  I got pretty deep into my feelings about teaching sewing and my whole approach…the how of how I teach.  This book really opened up a whole new world to me and putting that out into the ether turned out to be a wee bit raw but all-over great process. I hope you enjoy the post!

Tutorial :: Make The Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

If I were a good blogger I would be talking about Back To School. But, really? Back to School already?  It makes me want to plug my fingers in my ears, close my eyes and hum loudly.  We are just getting to the dog days of summer! Growing up, the month of August felt like a humongous and vast stretch of hot, muggy weather best spent wet and outside with a popsicle dripping down my chin.  I liked it like that.  I want an August like that.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

So, I’m officially resisting the Back to School mindset and to hammer home my point I’m showing you how to make the perfect pool bag.  Perfect because there is space for your towel and smiwsuit as well as enough pockets to store your phone, snacks, flip flops, water bottle and your summer reads, even a place to stash the kid’s wet stuff.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

And, it’s made using waterproof laminate fabric (or oilcloth).  See, it is perfect!! It’s also beckoning you and your little people to lounge.  We all need to lounge more…a lot more.  It is still summer and we can shop for school supplies later…a lot later. This dude is with me.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

To entice you, the amazing folks at my favorite fabric shop Rock Paper Scissors are providing me with a chance to giveaway some laminate fabric!  (Details on the giveaway at the end of the post).  You have no excuse.  C’mon! Let’s live in the moment and embrace as much time in the water as we can! Ok? Ok.

Here we go. Let’s make the perfect pool bag!

Supplies:

  • 1 yard laminate or oilcloth fabric for main bag
  • 3/4 yard cotton fabric for bag lining
  • 1 yard mediumweight interfacing (such as Pellon # 911FF)
  • 1 spool of matching thread
  • 3.5 yards of 1″ wide twill tape for straps and top of pockets (If you want sturdier bag straps you could use only 1.5 yards of twill tape and 2 yards of webbing)
  • 2 inches of velcro

Cut Fabric:
+ Out of Laminate:

  • Cut 2 pieces 13″ across by 16″ high for Front and Back of bag
  • Cut 2 pieces 6.5″ across by 16″ high for Sides of bag
  • Cut 1 piece 13″ across by 6.5″ deep for Bag Bottom
  • Cut 3 pieces 13″ across by 10.5″ high for Large Pockets
  • Cut 2 pieces 6.5″ across by 7.5″ high for Side Pockets
  • Cut 1 piece 8″ across by 15″ high for Inside Hanging Pocket

+ Out of Lining Fabric:

  • Cut 2 pieces 13″ across by 16″ high for Front and Back of bag
  • Cut 2 pieces 6.5″ across by 16″ high for Sides of bag

+ Out of Interfacing:

  • Cut 2 pieces 13″ across by 16″ high for Front and Back of bag
  • Cut 2 pieces 6.5″ across by 16″ high for Sides of bag
  • Cut 1 piece 13″ across by 6.5″ deep for Bag Bottom

+ Out of 1″ wide Twill Tape:

  • Cut 3 pieces 13″ long
  • Cut 2 pieces 6.5″ long
  • Cut 2 pieces 32″ long for straps

Sewing with Laminate: Sewing with laminate fabric or oilcloth can be a little intimidating but with a few simple tools and tricks it’s a cinch.  As is usually the case with specialty fabric it is all about having the right needle, foot and ironing strategy.

  • Use a Walking Foot on your sewing machine
  • Sew with a LEATHER needle or heavy-duty needle (remember the higher the # on the needle, the heavier duty it is).
  • Press your stitches by placing a pressing cloth between the laminate and the hot iron and don’t iron for long.
  • Don’t pin laminate as the pin marks will stay visible.  Instead use quilt clips to hold the fabric in place and remove them as your sew.

See! No problem.

Make The Pool Bag:

+ Adhere the Interfacing pieces to their corresponding Lining pieces:
Place the 13″ by 16″ piece of interfacing bumpy-side up and place the wrong side of your same-sized lining fabric exactly on top of the interfacing.  Spritz with a bit of water from a spray bottle on the right-side of the lining fabric.  Iron on high heat holding in place all over to ensure the interfacing has adhered completely.  Repeat for the remaining lining pieces.  Be sure to check the manufacturers instructions for how to use your specific kind of interfacing, these are just general guidelines.

+Make the Inside Hanging Pocket (perfect for holding a phone or a snack):
Using the 8″ by 15″ piece of laminate fabric mark a point 2″ in from a short end and 4″ from the long end.  Pin one side of your velcro centered on that spot parallel to the short end.  Sew in place on all four sides of the velcro strip.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

At the opposite short end of the laminate fold over the whole end 1″ . Find the midpoint of the folded portion and place the midpoint of one side of the velco over it, clipping it in place.  Stitch along the whole bottom and folded edge of the laminate, making sure to sew over the velcro.   Stitch closed the open sides of the velcro.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Fold the laminate lengthwise right-sides together such that the velcro bits match up but are on opposite sides of the fabric, it should be about 6″ up.  Stitch at 3/8″ along the sides to create a pocket. Turn right side out.  Fold in the side seams 3/8″ for remaining the 2″ above the pocket and stitch in place.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Fold the whole pocket in half lengthwise, creasing the pocket in its midpoint.  Do the same with a lining Front and Back Bag portion, leaving a crease at its midpoint.  Match the midpoint of these two pieces, line the pocket raw edge with the top of the lining piece and stitch it in place.

+Adding Twill Tape to The Pockets and Prepare Bag Pieces:
From the twill tape cut 3 pieces 13″ long and 2 pieces 6.5″.  Fold the twill tape over the top edge of your Large Pocket and Side Pockets and clip in place.  Stitch the twill tape in place.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Place 2 Large Pockets on the Front and Back bag body pieces of your laminate fabric and clip them in place at the bottom.  Baste stitch in place.  Repeat with the side pockets and laminate bag sides.  Additionally, baste one laminate pocket at the bottom of the lining piece for the Front and Back of bag that doesn’t already have the hanging pocket.  Set these aside.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

You will now have the following completed bag pieces: 1) Two lining bag pieces, one with a hanging pocket on top and the second with a bottom pocket, 2) Two Front bag pieces both with pockets on the bottom and 3) Two Side bag pieces with bottom pockets.  Good work, you!

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Cut two pieces of twill tape 32″ long each. Clip one raw edge of the the twill tape to the top of the laminate fabric front bag piece 3.5″ from the left-hand side of the fabric and the other end of the twill tape at 8.5″ from the left-hand side.  Be sure not to twist the twill tape, it should form a u-shape.  Stitch in place with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat with other front bag piece of laminate fabric. These are the bag straps.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

You will now have all of your bag pockets prepared and we are ready to make the bag!

+Stitch Bag Together:
Begin with one piece of Laminate fabric sized 13″ by 16″ (the bag Front) and one sized 6.5″ by 16″ (the Bag Side) placing the 16″ sides right-sides together matching the top to bottom (pockets are at the bottom) and stitching in place leaving 1/2″ unsewn at the bottom.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Press the seam using a pressing cloth.

Place another bag Front piece in laminate along the remaining side of the bag side piece right-sides together.  Align it top to bottom with the raw edges matching and stitch in place in the same manner as before, leave 1/2″ unsewn.  Attach the final bag side piece of laminate in the same manner. Your final product will be a long strip alternating from one bag front piece to a side piece to another bag front and a final side piece.

Finally, take the open end of the bag front piece and line it up with the open edge of the bag side piece right-sides together, leaving the same 1/2″ unsewn at the end. This will create a rectangular-shaped tube.

Grab your bag bottom piece and attach it right-sides together (using clips) to the bottom of the bag lining up the long and short sides.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

To sew the bag bottom in place,  stitch along the long straight side starting about 2″ in from the end.  When you reach the corner, fold the fabric seams over each other and stitch over them.  By leaving the 1/2″ unsewn at each corner, it will allow you to spread and manipulate the fabric at the corner and ‘turn the corner’.

At 1/2″ to the end of the bag bottom fabric sink the needle into the fabric, lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric and stitch the short end of the bag bottom. Make sure you are only stitching through the raw edges of the fabric at this point, it’s easy to accidentally sew the sides as well.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Repeat with the same method the whole way around to attach the entire bag bottom. You have created your outer bag shell!

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Repeat the same bag construction method with your lining fabric pieces to create the lining bag shell.

Place the lining bag shell right sides together with the outer bag shell lining up the top raw edges and tucking the bag straps in between the outer and lining bag shell.  Stitch with a 3/8″ seam allowance along the entire top of the bag, leaving a 6″ opening.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Gently pull the lining and and outer bag right sides out through the 6″ opening.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Stuff the lining inside the laminate bag and top stitch around the whole bag top being sure to complete close up the opening.

Great Tutorial | How to make the Perfect Pool Bag {and a giveaway}

Fill that bag and head the pool!!

Giveaway Time:  

Win 1 yard of laminate fabric of your very own because laminate cloth is awesome and then you can make your own bag Perfect Pool Bag!

Enter the giveaway from now until Sunday, August 10 at 5pm EST!!

GIVEAWAY Winner: The winner (based on a random number generator) is the 24th eligible entrant and, drum roll, that is: Cyndi!!  Watch your email Cyndi, I will be in touch!

Thank you so much to everyone.  I read every comment and so thoroughly enjoyed hearing the often-time very personal and touch summer memories.  You all are making August great for me! Thanks!!

Thanks to Rock Paper Scissors who provided the fabric for my pool bag and the giveaway fabric.  They are so nice like that! They are also on Instagram & Etsy as well as being one of the most perfect places to visit in person.

Dotty Chambray Tova Top

Dotty Chambray Wiksten Tova top | Made by a happy stitch

So, I made this top a while ago, in the middle of Me Made May…I think.  I realized recently that I completely neglected to blog about it, which is really silly because it’s one of my favorite tops.  And, really, it’s the fabric that makes this top amazing.  It’s another Robert Kaufman chambray with lovely little woven dots.  I’ve seen it popping up lots of places because it is just undeniably perfect fabric.  I picked it up on my visit to Nashville  but I’ve seen it lots of places like here and here.

Dotty Chambray Wiksten Tova Top | Made by a happy stitchThe pattern is the ubiquitous Wiksten Tova. As I have done with previous versions, I modified the neck by making the collar smaller and more subtle but other than that it fits as is and comes together fairly simply. Especially now that I am better at putting in the bib portion.

I’m a fan, of course, of the exciting and playful novelty prints but something about these fantastic woven chambrays really has my attention these days.  They just make for such adaptable and relaxed clothing.

 

shorts on the line :: where I conquer shorts

Movie in the Park Shorts from Dixie DIY | made by a happy stitch

Guys! I made shorts! I made them for the summer sew along Shorts On The Line hosted by small + friendly and imagine gnats.  I’m so glad I agreed to participate because I’ve been pretty intimidated by all the fitting and fussing when it comes to dressier shorts and pants and this was just the kick in the *shorts* I needed.  Ha, get it?! So punn-y.

Movie in the Park Shorts from Dixie DIY | made by a happy stitchPlus, look at some of these details.  Cute buttons! A Waistband! Trim! Pockets! The fabric is a chevron weave chambray from Robert Kaufman. I got it from my favorite fabric boutique of all time Rock Paper Scissors (which is also where I teach my classes fyi).  I love all of the woven chambrays coming out right now. It’s such a wearable, everyday look but still interesting.  On top of that, the quality is fantastic and the weight of the fabric is not too light but not super heavy. It’s exactly the type of fabric that a girl like me longs for. Thanks Robert Kaufman people, if you are listening.

I also added a little something fun, just for me.  The other day at Goodwill I found this mysterious men’s shirt in a typical blue chambray but covered with a fox in dapper clothing and smoking a pipe. For real.  I used just a little of this shirt to line my pockets.   Now, before you protest that I’m not giving the pipe-smoking fox the proper venue in which to truly shine, rest assured, I will give the fox his day. Possibly in some boy’s back to school wear.

Movie in the Park Shorts from Dixie DIY | made by a happy stitch

For now, he is hanging with me.  Even if I’m the only one who knows.

Movie in the Park Shorts from Dixie DIY | made by a happy stitchThe shorts pattern is from Dixie DIY and is called Movie In The Park Shorts.  I made the medium in this fabric after making a large for my muslin.  Despite my measurements landing me in the Large category (once again, my darn hips mess up all sizing ever), the fit is much better with a medium.  The instructions on this pattern are really clear and surprisingly simple for fitted shorts.  Everything came together really quickly until I reached a screeching HALT at the point when I needed to make 12 buttonholes.  12.  Phew.  Of course, after getting all dramatic about ALL THE WORK, it didn’t actually take that long.  I have an automatic buttonhole maker on my machine with a special foot and everything.  I’m much better at that particular machine function now. It was good practice.

Movie in the Park Shorts from Dixie DIY | made by a happy stitchThe top three buttons on both sides are the only functional ones so the shorts are well held-together.  I hand-stitched the buttons on and the look is truly adorable.  Buttons make everything better.

Movie in the Park Shorts from Dixie DIY | made by a happy stitch

The fit is pretty good on these shorts. The waist is a little low but the fit is great in the waist to hip area, which is the hardest part to fit on my shape.   If I make these shorts again I want to figure out how to make them longer because they are pretty short for everyday mom-wear.  I’d love this sailor-esque look in capris. Have you made shorts?  Joining the sew along? Got a good capri pattern? I need intel because I think there will be more pants-making in my future.

sotl 2014 banner

This post is part of the Shorts on the Line sewalong.  Shorts on the Line 2014 is sponsored by: Britex FabricsHawthorne Threadsmiss matatabi, and Soak Wash.  Hosted by imagine gnatssmall + friendly, and Kollabora.

I was given this pattern and asked to participate in the sew along.  My opinions are my own, of course.

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