Sugar Pop!

As usual all my blog posts and sewing activity seem to all be happening at once!

True to my word I got straight on with making a Sugar Pop Top. I haven’t dug into my new stash of precious fabric yet, as I thought a test version might be a good idea.

I’ve had this blue floral lawn fabric for a long time. I bought it to cover a breastfeeding pillow when my son (who is now 9) was born.  Its very pretty and I had no idea I had so much of it left.

So, the making of the top,  here’s a quick run down as I have precisely 5 minutes until I need to take youngest child to school!

Things I like:

  • Simple to sew
  • pretty shaped collar and capped sleeves
  • minimal fabric usage
  • The binding on neck and arms gives a really nice finish.

Things I’ll change next time:

  • I was a bit between sizes. I cut a medium but there was a lot of spare fabric round my middle, so I did some creative cutting and made it go in a lot more in the middle.
  • The bust darts went a bit wrong. For some reason when I went to sew them they were a rather funny angle and the pointy bits (technical!) along the edge didn’t meet – not sure if this is my pattern printing/sticking together, or if is how they were supposed to be. I adjusted them so that they lined up but this meant creating a new end point.  Generally I think they need to be longer and lower down as they are  a bit up under my arm pits!!
  • My arm holes ended up rather tight, probably due to me taking in the side seams. They were fine until I did the binding, so I will make some adjustment for this next time.
  • binding is a fiddle! I will use bought binding next time as it’s stiffer and has a folded edge already. I ended up finishing my binding by hand stitching as it was the only way to get it sewn on neatly without loosing my mind. All that said I really like the bound neck and arm finish, it looks really nice.
  • I used binding on the bottom hem as it was already quite short and I didn’t want to shorten it any more by turning it up. It looks nice with binding but I think i will add on a bit to the length and do a blind hem next time.

Time to go – son is nagging me from downstairs – I will leave you with some pictures!

 

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The Whole 15 Yards

My husband travels to the good old U.S of A at least twice a year, which for me is a great chance to stock up on fabric!

The first few times I let him choose for me. This had mixed success and mostly he’s too busy to go fabric shopping while he’s away, so the process has become more refined over time.

In February he was in New York and I placed an order for him to go and collect from a local store, which had an etsy store too. This worked brilliantly until he mentioned the cab fare there was over $20. I figured I may as well just get stuff shipped straight to his hotel!

So this time I did just that. The only problem was the overwhelming choice of online fabric shops in the U.S. Where to start!?

I wanted yardage for dressmaking but quilting cottons rather than anything too specialised. I went for an etsy store again as i find them easy to browse and clear to see what you are playing for. Rock Paper Scissors in New Jersey had a really nice selection of prints and they were really helpful with my odd request to ship to a hotel address.

Choosing was very hard. I had a list of garments on my sewing to do list, so I tried to choose yardage and prints to match this list. I got a whopping 15 yards at only $12 shipping. A few half yards may have snuck in there too – just to fill up the box of course!

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My choices are were pretty good in real life – the bottom one – green Chinese lanterns  at the bottom is VERY green, not sure about that for a top now, it may become a skirt instead. The blue floral is a lawn. I can’t wait to get sewing. First on my list is the Sugar Pop top by Sew Caroline. I must get on with it while the sun is still shining.

Troublesome Tote

I’ve just finished making the Super Tote bag by Anna at Noodlehead. I’ve made a number of her bags in the past (The Go Anywhere bag and a couple of Sidekick Totes here and here). I bought the Supertote pattern AGES ago when there was a bit of a sale on and not having made a bag for nearly a year I thought I’d finally give it a go. I spent a while browsing other peoples efforts and read a few reviews, which gave me some helpful pointers about inside pockets and fabric choices.

As a lot of people say, it’s not a quick make, there are some fiddly bits like getting the gusset pinned and stitched in on both the outer and lining. If you have a bit of bag making experience under your belt it’s a pretty straight forward make.

…Except…. I had a few of my own troubles with this bag.  Some were my own doing – like miscalculating the handle length (remember they don’t start at the top of the bag!). Other problems….well, who knows….

My first irritation was that the front pocket didn’t quite cover the green lining fabric underneath (see photo below). This is because I opted to make the lined pocket and sewing outer and lining together means you loose a little length on the pocket. This just bugged me. So I unpicked the binding (which I did instead of piping) interfaced it and stitched it so it sat higher up.  There was no way I was unpicking all that curved gusset again! Fixed ( or so I thought).

 

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Secondly…I was rather disappointed that the recessed zip pieces were left with raw edges on the inside of the bag. I would like to have seen these with a double fold, so at least they didn’t look so scruffy. They are inside but actually you see then quite a lot when the zip section flops about., next time I would cut these pieces a bit longer so that I can fold them neatly under

So onto my next point and I only realised this when I was finished. The zip part (which I made from heavy denim – so could have been part of the problem) is all very loose and floppy. The zip tab ends fall down inside the bag making it a real fiddle to open and close the bag. I really wasn’t happy with the final finish and after wrangling over it for nearly a week (on and off) I was a bit miffed to say the least. Not one to admit defeat, after sleeping on it I came up with a solution…..

I put an extra line of stitches along the recessed zipper (see photos below)  this made everything much more secure and helped the zip sit much higher in the bag. I thought it might stop the top section of the bag from being so floppy (another irritation after all that interfacing!)

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I also hand stitched my zip tabs into the bag lining, so they didn’t keep disappearing, this worked really well and I’m quite happy with the whole zip arrangement now.  A shorter zip might help this problem too.

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Do you remember me mentioning that front pocket binding and how I spent ages getting it to cover the green lining?  Well low and behold when you put stuff in your bag it all goes a bit pear shaped and all that hard work counts for nothing!  The photo below shows it in action -( it actually doesn’t look too bad in this photo but rest assured it is) –  can you see how the handles are pulling the green lining up and distorting it all?

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So what lesson can I take from this bag making adventure?  Don’t over cook the details on a bag you’ve not made before – it may all be for nothing if you don’t like the finished result!

All that said – I think I do like it, I LOVE the fabric and it’s really comfortable to carry and will be great for the summer holidays to lob stuff in. I’m just mightily disappointed at the loss of form and shape once it’s full of stuff. I certainly don’t remember seeing any photos on my search of flikr and pinterst that looked like my bag…so maybe I’m the only one.

I’d love to hear from anyone else who’s found this with their Super Tote.

Additional info November 2014: I realised after speaking to a friend who had also made a super tote, that I hadn’t attached my handles properly! They need to be stitched onto the top of the bag.

Somehow I missed this in the instructions.

Now I’ve done this the bag doesn’t flop around so much at the top and the zip section sits better without the need for the extra line of stitching I added.

Even with all mistakes I made with the pattern, I used it all summer and I will definitely be making another (following the inductions better this time!)