Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A small sewing bag

At my French patchwork club this last week, we made small zipper bags. We were asked to bring fabric for the lining and outside of the bag, a batting of some sort and a zipper (not metal) longer than the shorter side of the rectangle of fabric we would be starting with. I could not decide which fabric I wanted to use so I brought along a small assortment. At the club it became clear that I make my bag the way I wanted it I would need to take the idea home with me and figure out exactly what I wanted and with what materials.

First the size - rectangle
Given that information, helpful, I know, I had to figure out what finished size I wanted. I made a paper model so that I would get the end result I desired. I ended up with a length of 13" and a width of 10".  Size includes a 1/2" seam allowance.
As usual all of the prospective materials were rounded up.
The fabric I wanted to use for the outside of the bag is a directional linen. I have 3 color choices of the same linen fabric. I fell in love with it and over the past year I have found it three times, each time in a different color combination. The fabric is Yuwa Live Life Collection Premium and is made in Japan. I own each of the three in 1/2 meter cuts. The lining is a cotton fabric covered with French writing. It is  "Paris Tea" by Holly Holderman for number LH10048. The laces are not vintage, I bought them last year and they are cotton.
Due to the directional linen, to make the bag work, I would have to seam the center bottom of the bag that way, the writing would be right side up on both sides of the bag.
Assembly was relatively easy. The backing, batting and top were spray adhesived together. The zipper was sewn on to each end of the shorter length. The top of the zipper flush with the side (length) seam, and the long end of the zipper allowed to hang off the end.
Top stitching was done to hold the lining and seam allowance in place and not get in the way of the zipper.. 
Before sewing the side seams, the lace next to the zip opening was added. I like to use my Bernina #10 Edge stitch foot (love this foot). The needle position was moved to one side and a small zigzag was selected. The middle guide of the foot while sewing rides right up next to the fabric and the lace was placed up against the guide as sewing was done. What comes out is beautifully applied lace right up against the edge of the fabric.
 The bag was then folded so that the zipper was centered as shown.  The little pull tabs added, centered on the zipper and the side seams sewn.  I used a 3 1/2 inch piece of lace folded in half for the tab.
To get the box effect, a 1 1/2" triangle was sewn in each corner. The Triangles were trimmed. All the inside seams were finished with a zigzag stitch.

From the outside of the bag:
A peak into the inside:
Finished bag size: Height - 3", Width - 3 1/2" and Length - 5 1/2".

I am pleased with the results and I am glad I took the time to get the fabric placement correct.
I’ll be linking up with this great party:
Fabulously Creative Friday at Jennifer Rizzo

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grow Your Blog

Welcome to my blog and the Grow Your Blog event. To see who is participating click here.

 My name is Jean and I live in France.
When I tell people I live in France, they assume I live in Paris. Far from it, I live near the borders of Germany and Luxembourg. By train it is about 1 hour and 20 minutes to Paris on the high speed train otherwise known as the TGV.

Life is not bad here. Around Christmas my adopted town looks like this:
And in summer, more like this:
Living in this little corner of France has really opened the opportunity to become a serious collector of sorts. I now find I am addicted to collecting moldy smelling old lace, vintage fabric and threads of all sorts. If I am not collecting vintage, I am collecting modern fabrics manufactured by good hearted companies producing an end product with less than correct French grammar.

I am not satisfied with collecting. I want to use that Fabric with bad grammar.

Not satisfied with just collecting lace, threads and fabric, when it comes to lace, I want to know how it was made. 
Battenburg Lace

Thanks for stopping by, I know you have at almost 600 other blogs to look at. Before you go, register to win one of my latest project; Jewelry for your scissors.  Scissors not included, you have to supply your own naked pair of scissors.

It will be given away to some lucky person who leaves a comment below. Drawing is supposed to be on 15 February, but...hehe... I will be in Paris with, most likely not very reliable internet access. Ah C'est la Vie! Drawing will be on the 17th of February. Good luck!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Au Canada

Last year a friend gave me quite a quantity of linen fabric (thanks Teena). I have now, to date, made 2 shirts using this fabric. It is a little challenging to work with since it is linen plaid that requires a whole lot of matching.

I have auto delivery for Louis Cutting's patterns which means that patterns magically appear at my doorstep every so often. I have quite the collection of them now. Since I had this wonderful linen fabric, I perusing the patterns, deciding on the top from "Relax a Little".
From experience I know that for a top like this one, I need to add an inch to the length so that the top falls at a more flattering part of my body.

Making the shirt went well, except for the sewing of the sleeve area to the wrong side, but I digress... Shirt was finished awaiting buttons, I tried it on.
It was... it was....well, boring. I tried out on it all of the usual suspects for buttons, mother of pearl, brown, wood, nothing worked and certainly, nothing made the shirt pop. This was supposed to be an simple top, something for this summer. I put it away where it hung in my sewing room for a couple of days.

Last year I found this old glass milk jug with attached lid with raised lettering "La Lorraine" at a second hand store in Alsace. It was love at first site and the price made it a bargain. I washed the inside and over time have started filling it with buttons. As I find them in my sewing space I pop them into the jug so that they are all in one place and easier to find. While cleaning my sewing area, I found the perfect buttons.
Last year I was at a flea market in a small town nearby and there was a woman selling all sorts of brass buttons and lots of fun lace bits. I bought 3 sets of buttons from her and a stack of pieces of lace and embroidered pieces. As she tallied everything up, she grabbed a bag of brass buttons, one that I had passed over from buying, "with my complements" she said as she tossed them in with the rest of my purchases. Later I took them out , looking at them made me smile. I decided I needed to find someone from Canada to give them to.
-Just a little brief history -
In 1959, France under the presidency of Charles de Gaulle, withdrew its Mediterranean Fleet from NATO command. Over the next few years, NATO military aircraft were removed from France so that by 1967, France had taken back control of all air force bases.
Here is a map from Wikipedia showing the locations of the NATO Airbases in France prior to 1967:

Notice the number of them near the Luxembourg and German borders. So it should not  be a surprise that old military artifacts show up quite often at flea markets in my area of France.
-Now back to sewing-
You may have guessed by now that what I had been given was a set of Canadian heavy jacket brass military buttons. Dating them would place them as at least made in 1967, most likely earlier. They are in beautiful shape.

Buttons alone would not the shirt make. it needed, it needed....LACE!
Digging through my stash I found the perfect lace edging to use. Heavy to match the buttons, but pretty to complement the shirt.
The lace was a breeze to sew on
Finishing it off are buttons to look almost like amulets on the shoulders. 
Love it!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

bijoux pour mon sac

A couple of years ago I ran across a bag of wooden spools, the kind that would be used for thread. There were about 100 of them in the bag, in all sizes, from very small to a normal sized spool for sewing thread. They are modern not vintage and appeared to be made specially for crafting. Over the past few years, a couple of them have been used to hold lace or rickrack, but the bulk of them are sitting unused. I saw a pin cushion pattern once that used some of the medium sized ones. It was cute but somehow I never got around to making it.

Some months ago it came to me what to do with the little ones., I had acquired more of them on a trip to the States. I would make something pretty, a little bijoux pour mon sac. Putting an idea together was fast and easy.

Doing all of those projects with dry rotted lace has really helped in the thinking about the use of Decopatch ( Mod Podge ). As always first everything one might need was assembled in a box.
Not much required for this project. little spools, jewelry making supplies, beads, 12 wt thread, Decopatch and a something to wind thread on. That is the little toothpick sort of thingy at the bottom of the picture. They are used for appetizers here.

First things first, the spools need to be wound with thread. The larger size threads work better for this part, experience speaks here. at a minimum 30 wt thread. Anything smaller than that is hard to neatly wind.
Start by putting a little of the Decopatch on the spool.

Run the end of the thread through the Decopatch to get it sticky, lay the thread across the bobbin length wise and then start winding catching the first wind over the thread end.

Continue to wind 3 or 4 more round and cut the thread tail short. The hump it leaves is distracting to the final appearance. 
Continue to wind the entire length of the bobbin. paint a little of the Decopatch on the thread and with your fingers rub it in. Cut the thread end at the bottom of the spool and Decopatch the end so that the end is flush with the other wrapped thread windings. There is no need to go back up the spool for a second layer of thread, one layer looks just fine. Let it dry. That's it!

Now the fun begins! A couple of beads and jewelry supplies;

Make a thread matching tassel for the end loop, the wooden stick is great for making tassels:

A little work and soon you end up with this:

Or why not a little jewelry too?

Finally, how about a little jewelry for my scissors?