Thursday, July 10, 2008

Weekender Travel Bag

This week I finished my first try at the Weekender bag by Amy Butler. It seems that I have been in an Amy Butler mania last couple of months. I think I got it out of my system now. ;)

The weekender bag was a fun project. I decided to make it without the cording around the edges due to the fact that I sewed the zipper to the top and lining at the same time and sewing everything toggether was pretty bulky. I used a wool twill fabric remnant for the outside, with a little leaf motif from the leftover Butler fabric from the last tunic. It gave the boring fabric a spark!

Some other modifications I did was make the handles a little longer, about 55" and sew around them two times to secure them to the bag. (In the picture the handle has three rows of stitches since I first sewed just the handle by itself.) Instead of just sewing back and forth at the top, I made an "x", also in the picture.

Another modification was a pocket for a water bottle on one of the sides instead of a flat pocket. I figure on trips that will come in handy as well. The bag is really nice and roomy, and has the same pockets all around on the inside as well. I am looking forward to seeing how it travels. TIP: I think if I make the bag again, I would make the inside pockets 3" taller, so that they would come up closer to the top. I imagine the bag being filled with bulky items, and it would seem that the less tal pockets would get all jumbled up.

For the interlining I just used the thickest lining I got from Walmart, so it is not as stiff as maybe with Timtex like used in the pattern. The lining is a brown cotton fabric, the same as for the handles. I used some of the plastic craft mesh used for needlepoint for the bottom and it worked out fine. I stitched it together 2 ply before inserting. I also sewed in between the outside and lining so that you can't see it. The bag is not as neat as in some other pictures I've seen, but it works for me. I can't wait to use it!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lotus tunic revamped

Ok, so I could not live with poofy sleeves on the Lotus tunic and had to rip them out today. I finished the seams as istructed in her pattern by just sewing binding around the edges. So now it is sleeveless, and I like it much better. I felt that the sleeves were too dressy, and poofy and they felt restricting on my arm. So now all is well, and I relly love the dress/ tunic. Let me know which one you like more.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Amy Butler Lotus Tunic

So I finally had some time and made the Lotus tunic by Amy Butler. (I've been buying the patterns from Ebay for the best prices.) I had to wait until July so that the local quilting store that carries AB fabrics restocked her fabrics. I got 2 yards of both moss martini and olive garden maze. I wanted to make the Lotus tunic from one, and another Anna tunic from the other, and then what ever I have extra something cool from that as well...

The Lotus pattern was easy to follow, I would recommend making a muslin trial one first and then make the "real" one. I did that, but slacked off a little, so I still had to make modifications after sewing it together. The top was too big, so I took it in on the sides and added little pleats on the top middle in the front, and it ended up turning just fine. Be careful with measuring the top around your bust. It was too loose for me, so if I leaned forward, or crossed my arms, I had a big gaping bag infront of me. The small pleats took care of that. I think I might also like it if it was less open in the front for everyday use.

I am not sure about the sleeves. When I sewed them on, they were sticking out a lot, so I added elastic inside the binding on the edge, and now they are tolerable. I think if I make the pattern again, I will either make the sleeves smaller or then just make a sleeveless one. Not a big fan of poofy sleeves.

I read some complaints from others who have made the pattern, about the positioning of the belt loops (too low). You can't see the belt in the picture that they sell the pattern with, because it gets tied only in the back. I think the belt loops were at a good height for me.

While working on the project, I finally got fed up trying to fit clothes and figuring out any modifications on my self. My husband was happy with the opportunity of taping my body up to make a duct tape fitting assistant. (We made it based on the website I previously mentioned in one of my posts.) Here are some pictures of work in progress. We used up two t shirts, since the one I had was not long enough to cover my butt. I also used a sleeve to extend the neck higher up. Basically, we started with taping around my chest and then crossing the tape in the middle to delineate the "curves". After that we did the bottom first, first taping horizontally, then vertically and last one more layer horizontally. Then we taped the top. At times it seemed a little claustrophobic, but I managed to stand still long enough. The whole project took us about 45 min. When done, he cut the cast open in the back and I weaseled out of it. One of the pictures shows the cut just started on the bottom before we went all the way up. Then all I had to do was to patch up the cut in the back, cover up the openings around arms and neck and stuff it. Since we are moving in a year, I just rigged the stuffing and stand. I stuffed with plastic bags, news paper, and bubblewrap. There is a hanger on the top, in case I need to hang it up, but I used a scrap piece of wood from the garage down the middle and a cardboard box for the stand. You could also use a Christmas tree stand for the leg. The end product- well maybe not the most sophisticated looking model, but it works for now. I figure when we move, I'll unstuff it and fold it into a cardboard box.
Let me know if you need any other details! :)

Finnfactor Design

Finnfactor Design