Pattern Reviews

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It’s my birthday tomorrow – in fact, it’s the 1st anniversary of my 40th birthday.  Look what Mr Beloved got for me!!

200px-enchantedposter200px-miss_pettigrew_lives_for_a_day

Both movies I’ve wanted to see for ages; both extremely chicky flicks; and, I just noticed – both starring Amy Adams, and I don’t think I’ve seen her in anything before – how odd!  I wanted “Miss Pettigrew” primarily for the ’40s fashions.  Which of course I adoooooore!

And “Enchanted” just looks like so much FUN!

In other news – my weight is DOWN this week (hooray!)  – I’m now 97 kg, and my blood pressure was 117/83.  Sometime in the next few visits I’ll get the dietician to take my measurements and do the Body Impedance Analysis thing that measures how much lean muscle mass and how much FAT there is now… I’m hoping, obviously, that the fat has decreased and the muscle has INCREASED!

It does annoy me though that the dietitians seem to be OBSESSED with “working at  65% of heart rate to lose fat”.  Uhhh – for a start, I don’t have a heart rate monitor, and there’s no way on earth I’m going to be able to stop and count my pulse while I’m exercising – it takes all my concentration to just keep going! And for another thing, surely ANY exercise will help? Yes, I might be “burning carbs instead of fat” but given that this time last year I hadn’t been inside a gym in 20 years – well, I think I’m doing ok getting there regularly.

And yesterday I did Bodystep – remember the disastrous first attempt at that, back in January? Well, this time, I DID NOT FALL OVER… and I managed the whole class  – although I did it at a much lower intensity than people like Sue, who have been doing it for a lot longer.  I’ll get there!

No matter what the scales read, I’m happier that I’m fitter than I used to be. SO THERE, scales! (No really, it’s hardly bothering me at all, WHY DO YOU EVEN ASK?!)

Meanwhile, do have a read of what I think of the latest Vogue patterns over on Sewing Queens

TWIRL!!

TWIRL!!

So here it is: The McFractured Tartan skirt.  As you might be able to see, I went a teeny bit berserk on the piecing… there was no plan, just lots of hacking fabric apart and then sewing it up again.  I *could* have just used the fabric as it was off the bolt, but – naaaah!  I have more of the same fabric on layby, and the plan is to make a little jacket that is *perfectly* matched across the plaid.  Just to show I can, you know!

Fabric was a bargain buy from Gardams.  It’s a wool/ poly/viscose blend, and creases just seem to drop out of it.  It also goes through the washing machine very well!  I used a couple of metres of inch wide black grosgrain ribbon for the waist ties.  Top is a $7 special from Rockmans; shoes are my favourite I Love Billys that you have seen me wearing almost every photo.

Pattern is the wrap skirt included in this book:

49-and-a-half-skirts

which of course I have mentioned previously.  I did alter the pattern for length.  And for width *sigh* since I am CONSIDERABLY larger than the pattern given, LOL! Still got a long way to go on this weight loss/getting fit thing…

caityconnie2

… as the dog and I are both showing our rounded tummies in this pic!

[memedex: pollid#489175]


… starting with a new therapist.  I had my first appointment today.

Now just a firm twist to the RIGHT and....

Now just a firm twist to the RIGHT and....

I’ve seen a LOT of different doctors about my messy brain.  I’m even seeing yet ANOTHER new one (psychiatrist – today’s was a psychologist) next week.

I am, however, hopeful.  Not least because this new bloke makes sense.  Which is not a given, in the head shrinking field.  We shall see.  Maybe I’m at a point now where I can actually address the issues.

Scary.

Here’s a novel concept (and pretty much the focus of this therapy): Anxiety is not inherently a Bad Thing.

I remain sceptical.  But I can’t go on doing what I’m doing because IT’S NOT WORKING.  So we shall see.

In other news: I’m off to tissue fit and try to make this:

McCalls 5664

McCalls 5664

The reviews have been mixed over on Pattern Review – I’m not sure how the engineering works, but it seems that if a garment wraps from the front to the back, then the front rides up.  I have fabric for two versions: white with a red and white sash, and blue with a black sash.

And if I’m going to get it cut out tonight, I need to stop faffing about online and go do it!

Simplicity 2981 again!

Simplicity 2981 again!

Proper post to follow – but I thought I’d show you The Dress – sewn yesterday!

Not bad, hey?  The cotton was jsut a DREAM to work with – I will finish the Dress from Polyester Hell, but not just yet.

Do you like my hat?

I love hats!

I love hats!

My hat - made last night!

My hat - made last night!

I was inspired to try the zipper roses by Outsapop Trashion – a Finnish girl who makes gorgeous stuff from zippers.  I bought the shell (?base? the sinamay straw shape thingummy) at Spotlight; covered it with a double layer of black silk organza, and then used separating jacket zippers to make the roses.  A few ribbon leaves and fripperies, some black veiling – ta da!!

Karen, Caity, and Sue at the lunch

Karen, Caity, and Sue at the lunch

And now I think I’ll just go have a little nap – the wine was lovely but now I’m REALLY TIRED!

New Look 3735: Short sleeved T Shirt

New Look 3735: Short sleeved T Shirt

Please excuse the awful photo – Mr Beloved is having a nana nap after getting quite stressed out by noise.  This was done with the camera self timer!

Pattern Description: Lovely wearable collection for knit fabrics – a 3/4 sleeve top, and cap sleeved top, cardigan with belt, skirt, and pants.

New Look 6735

New Look 6735

Pattern Sizing: 10-22 in the one envelope.  I made a straight 22 with no alterations at all – not even my usual D/DD Full Bust Alterations!

New Look 6735

New Look 6735

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

YES! Other reviewers have liked the fit and those curves in the illustration on the envelope are really there – WOOHOOO!! (I’ve been caught before by over-optimistic illustrators, so I was pleasantly surprised that the promised shaping was delivered.)  And I bought this pattern for $5 when it was on sale, so I reckon I’ve already got my moneys worth our of this one!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, but… for my first run through I followed them exactly – and I sure won’t next time. I do not understand why pattern companies insist on inserting only-very-slightly-eased sleeves in the round, when sewing them in flat is so much easier.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Quick, fits me straight out of the envelope! The scoop neckline shaping is super flattering, the sleeves look like they’ll be too short but they really work, and the centre back seam really improves the fit. Best of all is the gentle gathering of the front sides at the bustline – not enough to look like gathers, just enough to make a beautiful fit.

Fabric Used:
ARRGGGH! The cheapest, awfullest knit you ever did see – only $1 per metre at a Spodshite clearance and now I know why! It stretched out of shape and didn’t bounce back; it was super-soft and so was tricky to sew, and I don’t expect it to last more than two washes! This was only a wearable(?) muslin though, so I’m not worried.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

None this time BUT: next time I will:

  • stabilise the neckline before binding it
  • stabilise the hem and sleeve hems with fusible tape before I hem them
  • use the overlocker (serger) for most of the construction
  • shape the bottom seam into a gentle curve at front and back, so I can wear the shirt out over my waistband.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I’ve got fabric in the washing machine right now to sew into two more tonight… I LOVE this top! I’d certainly recommend it to others, especially beginners or those (like me!) lacking confidence in sewing
knits. Just remember to put the sleeves in flat (before you sew the side seams) and I reckon you can make this in no time.

Conclusion:

A beautifully fitted quick and easy t-shirt that will become a TNT (Tried and True) pattern for me.

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And in other news today: went back to the gastroenterologist  –  keep taking the drugs for reflux, lose more weight, yada yada.

Next in the sewing pile – a pirate shirt for the TeaBot 5000™.  Years and years ago – maybe SEVENTEEN years ago, in fact ! – he asked me to make him a shirt. Better late than never – the fabric is almost dry on the washing line: black with a print of grey pirate skull and crossbones (sideways in this image):

Complete with late afternoon silhouette

Complete with late afternoon silhouette

About to become this shirt (Butterick 4486)

Ahoy there mateys, it's a PIRATE SHIRT!

Ahoy there mateys, it's a PIRATE SHIRT!

unless, of course, I decide to cut out those other two new t-shirts first….

So, I just made View A of this skirt, with the lovely cascade formed by a couple of pleats and the shaped hem.

McCalls 5430

McCalls 5430

Pattern Description: Skirts A, B, C have waistband with self-ties and inside buttonholes; skirt A has front pleats creating a cascade; skirt B has optional trim; skirt C has self-faced pockets; length is 2″ below mid-knee.
Pattern Sizing: 6-20.  I made a size 20.

I tissue fitted the pattern and thought I would have enough overlap to allow for my swelly belly – NOPE!! Close, but I don’t know if I can wear it in public.  (I think I might have forgotten to pleat out the pleats.  Truly, I am such a NONG sometimes!)

Wrap skirt

Wrap skirt

What do you think – can I go out in this or should I leave it in the wardrobe until my belly goes down?

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!  Of course, the pattern illustration girl is unrealistically tall and thin, IMHO….

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.  The only tricky bit is the waistband and attached ties – but just read the instructions through carefully and you won’t have any problems.

What did you particularly like  or dislike about the pattern?
Like: It was quite simple to construct.
Dislike: Unless it’s an hour on some planet with a MUCH longer day than Earth’s, there is NO WAY this is a one hour project!  I’m sure I spent at least that long just pressing during construction.

I am, however, now QUITE motivated to learn how to use a narrow hemmer foot properly – because doing the whole “ease stitch, press up, then pin and stitch” on that much hemline, as per the instructions, is just silly.  Next time I might just use the serger for a rolled hem -there’s a LOT of hem!

Fabric Used: Quilting cotton from my stash. (Robert Kaufman Fusion Roses in red from Hancock’s of Paducah.)  I probably should have thought more about the wrong side of the fabric showing in the cascade – but I can live with it.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None! This is straight out of the envelope.  I *should* have altered it to accommodate my larger than normal belly, but I didn’t.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Already got the next one cut out – this time view C with pockets and top-stitching.

Conclusion: Don’t go into this expecting to make a skirt in 1 hour – there’s just NO WAY! But it is a simple and wearable skirt that will be fabulous for summer.

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BTW – my hair is even shorter now!  Mr Beloved thinks it’s a little too severe this short. I kinda like it.  And did you see how Constance posed just like in my avatar?!

Oh, and I got my new glasses today – they fit better than the old ones, and are slightly stronger.  Purple frames again! Also, the lenses aren’t scratched – amazing what a difference that makes.  I try to be careful with them but ya gotta LIVE, eh?

Note – this is almost the same as my review over on Pattern Review, but with a few more details and lots of extra pics.

Pattern Description: MISSES’/MISS PETITE DRESSES AND SLIP: Loose fitting, slightly flared dress, above mid-knee has back zipper closure; dress A is sleeveless; dress B has long sleeves with wrist casings; dress C has three-quarter length sleeves; pullover, above mid-knee, A-line slip D (fitted through the bust) has shoulder straps and stitched hem.

McCalls 8853

McCalls 8853

I made dress A, the sleeveless view.

Pattern Sizing:4-12 and 14-20.  All have alternative pattern pieces for A/B cup, C cup, and D Cup.  I made a size 20 with C cup (yay, I’m not a D cup in these patterns any more!)


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? YES!!  Except I think mine is even cuter. I would have loved to get hold of the exact same fabric as the pattern picture – looks a bit Marimekko, doesn’t it?

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very easy – but I cannot work out for the life of me why pattern companies insist on putting zippers in things you can pull over your head!  I did use an invisible zip this time, but won’t in the next iteration.

And without the zip, there’s no reason to have that centre back seam – so I’ll cut the back as well as the front on the fold next time. That will also avoid the awkward “oh, I should have pattern matched the back” problem on this fabric. (and I wasn’t entirely happy with the way I did the zip – never mind, I’m not re-doing it now!)

Next time, no back seam!

Next time, no back seam!

I used French seams on the shoulders and sides – the pattern called for “double stitched seams” so why not?!  The neck and armholes are bound – I think next time I’ll stitch the binding so it finishes on the outside instead, as a design feature in contrasting fabric.  With no seam in the whole dress could be made with no exposed seams – which means the stitching will probably outlast the fabric.

What did you particularly like  or dislike about the pattern? Likes: It’s fun, flirty, twirly- and quick!  I needed an outfit for a “Frock Up” event for a friend’s birthday party, but at only 7 weeks post major abdominal surgery, I can’t wear anything with a waist – because right now, I don’t have one. 🙁

Twirly dress!

Twirly dress!

Dislikes: This is a trapeze style dress (super cute!), and so has a LOT of hem. I hand stitched it this time  – all 200cm/78″ – the next version will definitely have a machine stitched hem.  Hand hemming took me almost as long as making the dress!

Fabric Used:
150 cm wide Cotton with 3% lycra, bought from local fabric heaven, Gardam’s.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

As shown on the pattern envelope – this is SHORT!! For a size 20 the finished pattern measurements from back of neck to hem are 92cm/36″.  I initially lengthened the pattern at the hem by 11cm; once I’d hemmed it to my satisfaction the finished length was 98 cm, which falls just mid knee for me (168 cm/5’6″), so I cut about 4 cms off that 11 cm.

I also used saddle/triple stitching with embroidery thread to finish the neck and arm bindings – not something most people will notice but it made me happy.

As already mentioned, I used an invisible zipper – in low stress seams such as this I think they look better than the “traditional” lapped zipper. You really don’t need a zipper at all.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I’m already planning the next version in a sheer chiffon with a jap silk slip.

Conclusion:
I adore this dress!  Can’t wait to make it again, it’s so quick and easy to wear.  I can see me wearing these a
lot over our hot summer here in Queensland.  And in a less dressy fabric these will be perfect for popping over togs on the way to and from the pool

Next up: Simplicity 2981: in this fantastic cotton poplin sewing themed fabric! (The scissors are about half an inch long, to give you an idea of the scale)

Simplicity 2981, View B

Simplicity 2981, View B

This from McCalls Patterns:

McCalls 5717 coat

At first I thought it was just the turquoise blue hosiery I hated.  But no, I realised when I saw the line drawing:

wide lapels (ugh!) pocket flaps on the widest part of the hip (double ugh!) and a RUFFLE  on the bottom of the whole shebang? (BUCKET!!!)

I realise that although this has just been released, SOMEONE NEEDS TO RECAPTURE IT AND NEUTER THE HORRID THING BEFORE IT BREEDS!!!!!!

I can get with the ruffle at the bottom of sleeves things – really I can.  On a bell sleeve, it CAN be super cute.  I am waiting with bated breath for the May Burda World of Fashion magazine to come (in about 4 weeks time) because I think this jacket is adorable.

131B from BWOF 5/2008

See?  But that McCall’s pattern is the mutant offspring of a princess line coat and a provincial production of “My Fair Lady”.    And even though I would quite like a pair of turquoise leather gloves (well, maybe – although a classic plum or scarlet would be better) NOT EVEN THEY can excuse the hideousness of that coat.

Avoid AVOID AVOID!!!There is no possible universe in which this outfit could look good.  If you happen to see anything like this In Real Life, I suggest you back away quietly – don’t run, you don’t want to attract its attention.  *shudder*

Thanks all for your good wishes – the pain is almost back under control – HATE getting a bad flare-up like that!

So Saturday – was FANTABULOUS! Sue, Chriss, and I went to Brisbane and had a lovely time. Sckafs fabrics was amazing – a real Aladdin’s cave of fabrics, trims, hats, and fascinators – swooon!

Here’s what I got: (obligatory fabric haul on bed shot, for the PR girls!)

From Fabric Barn in Sumner Park: beautiful polyester jersey, cream/grey/black dots – 2.1 metres.

From Sckafs in Indooroopilly Shopping Town: the yummalicious polyester jersey in cream/chocolate different scale dots – reminds me of dominoes a bit! Also 2.1 metres – I was being optimistic about the size I was going to cut out, I think. Might have to be some creative piecing now to get this to work!

And the black with red squiggles fabric – from Sckafs bargain bin, $5 per metre: it’s only 1 metre wide, and I got just over 2.5 metres. It’s permanently pleated, (so behaves almost like a knit – lots of stretch), dries in a nano-second, and would be perfect for a reversible top of some sort: I can’t decide if I like the black or the cream with black side better. In any case, the mark which we were hoping would wash out didn’t – so I’m going to have to plan and cut this one carefully. ( I did get a further discount – only paid for 2 metres, and that was the end of the roll, or I would have bought more!)

Also – a couple of pieces of tailors chalk (chipped due to my carelessness, bugger!) to replace the pieces Constance J. Woodle ate (ewww!) and some new pins – nothing worse than trying to sew knits with big old blunt pins.

And today in the mail: Jalie patterns! I’ve been reading everyone’s reviews of them for ages and not been brave enough to order, but Sue and I took the plunge. First up – the twin set, I think. The pattern paper is HUUUUGE, since there are 27 sizes printed on the one sheet, but once I trace off the right size I think it will almost take longer to cut than to sew! I also got Pattern #2804, the Empire Crossover Top; Pattern 2215 (which I ordered for the little skirt with the attached undies, but now I really like the pants and shirt as well), and Pattern #2682, the V neck top.

There’s nothing on TV tonight after Time Team, so if my back holds out I might actually get something made.

Also in the mail today – something I won off ebay. Which I probably didn’t NEED but I really really WANTED – since I have such fond memories of looking at Mum’s copy all those years ago:

I know, I know – totally frivolous! I don’t have kids, I barely even KNOW anyone with little kids – but – *sigh* I am going to daydream about these patterns! Mum was incredibly creative and took the bloomers from one design, the bolero top from another, and the little hat from a third to design my fondly remembered bee costume (hey Mum, any photos?!?)  All the patterns were given as diagrams – it was up to the dressmaker to draft out the patterns in the correct size.

Right, now we’ve had dinner I can go try and clear enough floor space to actually CUT something out!

Well we did go down the hill to the Stitches and Craft Show, and I must say Sue and I were both quite restrained in our spending! It was wonderful to go with another sewing type, really changed the focus. We watched most of the fashion parades and found them really worthwhile – proving again that the illustrations on some patterns do NOT do them justice.

For example this jacket – a bit *meh* on the pattern, but STUNNING made up – a really versatile little jacket. Stephanie (Perpetual Patterns & Can Do Books) had sold out at the show, so I might have to mail order it.

There was one model in the show that was a size 14, D cup – and admittedly she was nearly 6 foot tall, but she was NOT a lightweight skinny minny – so wonderful to see a REAL size model looking great in the clothes on parade.

There were no photos allowed in the show (pity, since some of the clothes made up from commercial patterns really were scrummy) and the art garments by Ruth Osborne, Kirry Toose and Trudy Billingsley were full of interesting ideas for lesser mortals to borrow. Sue Neall (of Stitches, the Australian Sewing Guild and now Sew Inspirational) did a great job hosting and explaining the parades, and also managed a quick change for each parade – the woman never stops!

Another pattern that was definitely a “flick past” in the pattern book but absolutely stunning made up – this little crossover top , Vogue 8120. We saw this made up in knits and in several colours – it looked smashing.

Vogue 8335As did the tunic and flat front (but elastic waisted – very nice, not your granny’s elastic waist!)pants in  Vogue 8335. Again – not a stunning illustration, but wow, terrific sewn up.

I mentioned that I was reading Pattern Review before heading down – I only ended up buying one pattern – the Sewing Workshop Mimosa Top and Pant.

(I know, a bit summery – but I’m planning on wearing long sleeves under it. And the pant looks very flattering.)

Kerryn (of the astonishing makeovers in Stitches magazine) was at the Australian Sewing Guild stand at the show, and I showed her the pattern for the top – she suggested that on my figure, extending the bottom edge to a diagonal would be more flattering that having a strong horizontal line just above my hips. I’m definitely making a muslin first one this one.

Japanese Fabric

And this is the fabric I bought (from here – they don’t have fabrics on their website, but will very soon) to make the top. Now that I look at it draped on me I’m wondering if the print is a bit blocky… what do you think? It’s more rust/brown/tan than the orange-y flash photo shows, really – but I think it’s ok with my colouring?

Wait ’til you see the fabulously wearable fabric Sue bought – oh my, just swoooony!

I would have loved to go to some of the workshops that the Australian Sewing Guild was running – but there just wasn’t time.  Maybe next year…

I’ve been ASLEEP.

*sigh*

Remember I told you about the horrible chair at quilter’s? Well, that set me up for several days of worse than usual pain, which buggered my sleep patterns, which made the pain worse – and round and round and round we go, where it stops nobody knows!

At least I got out of the house and had blood drawn on Thursday. Back to the doctors next week to see the results.

Mum’s Miranda and notebook

I have managed some sewing – more Mirandas – and since Mum doesn’t have internet access at the moment (she’s in Adelaide, with Dad, visiting my brother & his family, and going to all sorts of exciting things like the Adelaide Festival and Womadelaide) I’ll show you her Miranda bag, too. (She knows she’s getting it, she just hasn’t seen it yet!).

Inside Mum’s Miranda

This is the inside of Mum’s Miranda bag. I added a hooky thingummy (What ARE they called?) for keys/phone – as soon as I can find some more I’ll be adding them to my bag, too! I actually finished Mum’s bag and book a while back, but there was no point posting it to her yet because they’re away. I adore this fabric – it’s long gone from the shops now, though. (Chez Moi for Moda, “Fresh Air”. Too too yummy!)

Then I did two Mirandas using the same fabrics in part of them – I think they came up well.

Another Miranda - for J

This one’s for J, in Oregon, a late birthday pressie. Might have to wait until after next pension day to mail it though! and that’s another little (A6) blank book covered to match.

Inside J’s Miranda

Here’s the inside: more of that yummy suns/moons fabric (which I’ve had in the stash for ages) and some clouds for the pockets. The stripes are another stash find – I’m using up fabrics that I’ve held on to FOREVER Because they were “too good” to use up. Nope, off they go – into the world where they will (hopefully!) be enjoyed!

A’s Miranda

And finally, here’s A’s Miranda. Same sun/moon and blue fabric for the top half, but with a wild orangey swirl for the bottom. Because I’m pretty sure A works in a big visual diary, I decided to cover an A5 brag book – room for 80 photos – instead.

Inside A’s Miranda

and Here’s the inside of A’s Miranda – hand dyed fabrics, because A is a hand dyeing GODDESS. This one’s going in the post whenever I get out of the house next – probably Monday. (I can afford to post within Australia this week…I think… eeeks!)

Offset flying geeseAnd now – I need to write up my tutorial for Quilters on Tuesday. Just a quick demo on Flying Geese – and some paper pieced variations. (I’ll pop it up on the Toowoomba Quilters blog after Tuesday, too.) I know there are other quick ways to do flying geese, but honestly – paper piecing is so quick and accurate – and no bias triangles to deal with (because they’re stabilised by the paper, you can ignore fabric grain if you want to) .

I’ve made this pattern of offset little geese just 1 inch wide… no way would I even ATTEMPT that without foundation paper piecing!

And there’s V8s on later – wooo hoooooo!

my “Miranda” bag - pattern by Joan Hawley

TA DA! I made this bag last night (and a teensy bit this morning.) It’s the Miranda Day Bag pattern from Joan Hawley’s Lazy Girl Designs. ( I bought my pattern from Punch With Judy, but there are a lot of places you can get it.)

The fabric is a Hoffmann ( I think!) that I’ve been hoarding for years. So the bag is part of my new policy about fabric generally and my stash in particular – I have so many “holy” fabrics that are so nice I don’t want to cut into them. But I am being strong and making them into things that I will enjoy. That way at least I get to see them, rather than bury them and forget how much I liked them.

I am so IN LOVE with this pattern! Joan has really gone all out – it’s more like a book than a pattern. There are step-by-step photos for EVERY Step. The instructions are clear and well written, and in a font that’s easy to read. Even a beginner would have no problems with this pattern – just cut and stitch in the order listed and you’ll have a fabulous bag too!

I’m a slow sewist, (I refuse to write sew-er, because even with the hyphen it looks like I’m talking about municipal drainage) but I got this done in about 5 hours. (I have taken longer on this same pattern when I’ve done much more intensive quilting for the outside, but really you don’t need to go overboard.)

So I spend time making sure the threads are knotted and buried, and press the seams over a tailors ham, etc. You could probably do it faster, but it’s not a huge project – it would certainly be something you could sew in a day.

I ran out of the interfacing I had wanted to use, and so used a fusible pellon wadding as the interfacing in this bag – it makes it a bit squishier but is still firm enough so the bag stands up ok. (Nothing worse than a floppy bag when you’re trying to find something…)

LOVE the size!

And how good is this – it fits in BOOKS! and magazines. And a whole heap of other things that you might need to take along to your quilters meeting. Yeah baby! Notice that the orange binding on the top of the bag is actually a “Faux” binding – it’s the lining, but attached and stitched in a very clever way. When Joan says “Lazy Girl” she’s not kidding – this is a real time saver, and makes such a neat transition between the inside and outside of the bag.

Love those pockets!

Here’s a shot of the inside so you can see those groovy pockets better. (That’s my coin purse – a little vinyl ladybug. I have a bit of a thang for ladybugs.) And that rectangle at the bottom is what makes the bag so stable. You can buy specially cut inserts to use but I managed to scrounge some scrap Perspex (ahem, that’s a brand name – of course I mean “Sheet acrylic”) that I cut to size.

I’ve used the short handles option – knowing that if I make long handles I would be tempted to sling the bag over my shoulder and carry way too much stuff. I think it looks awesome with commercial handles (rather than fabric) but I didn’t have the $$ to buy any – or the patience to wait.

Joan keeps adding updates on her blog about her own and other people’s groovy Mirandas, and things that make it even better. (Feet! That’s what I should do, like Tracy has done on her Miranda – bag feet! They stop fabric bags from wearing out so quickly.)

Ah well, there’s always the next bag – I’ve promised one for my best friend M (who gave me the sheet acrylic). Her favourite colour is green and she adores paisley – so let me know if you see any fabric that would be just right.

I was going to make up Lazy Girl Designs “Chloe” bag next – but do you think I can find the pattern in my sewing room? ARRRRRGH! I reckon I have enough of the “Fresh Air” charm squares left after making my journal cover to just about do a Chloe in patchwork.

Although now I think of it, darling Annie (she has a SHOP! Wooohoooooo!) sent me a groovy tool especially designed to help make woven strips from bias, (meshwork! Ahhh, that’s what it’s called!) since it looked so gorgeous when Joan made a Chloe up with this technique, and I’ve been inspired by some of the gorgeous woven bias handbags that Luana showed on her blog from the Tokyo International Quilt Festival

This post brought to you by the word GROOVY, the colour orange, and the letter Yogh….