Saturday, August 16, 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

Just wanted to drop in and say hi!

I've been spending most of my free time frantically sewing things for the upcoming wedding. I haven't had much time to think about other fun things like blogging or my Etsy store or, you know, anything! I promise a full reveal post for the wedding quilt and the bridesmaid dresses, but here are some previews from Instagram:

convertible infinity bridesmaid dress

Please excuse the messy surroundings. We have not yet decided on a home for our records... Also, this one is a little big on top because it is for one of the *ahem* bustier bridesmaids. But I was so excited to finish it that I had to get a picture!

convertible infinity bridesmaid dress back

Infinity dresses are the best! We're going to look so fierce! (And don't worry, I won't be wearing a bra that shows to the actual event!)

star in star wedding  quilt

Here is the center of the quilt. It is actually almost done now! I finished the top last weekend and started quilting this week. I'm hoping to finish it up this weekend and then figure out something awesome for a label :D

How has August been for the rest of you? My energy is flagging for sure. Looking forward to September!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

At long last... A Clutch Tutorial!

OKAY! Guys. I did it. And I have new found respect for everyone who has every written a pattern or tutorial. It's a lot of work.

So without further ado... The Just the Essentials Clutch Tutorial!



Supplies:
A fat quarter or regular quarter yard of main (really you need a rectangle about 13x10.5 or two rectangles 6.5x10.5)
At least a fat quarter of lining fabric
Interfacing (I use Pellon SF101 for the inside and Pellon TP971F for the outside)
Narrow contrast strip for the wrist strap
Zipper at least 11" in length

Optional: D-ring and lobster clasp if you want the strap to be removable

FIRST. Cut your stuff!

2- 6.5" x 10.5" rectangles for the outside. These can be plain, patchwork, quilt as you go, appliqued, whatever you want! Get creative with it!
1- 6.25" x 10.25" piece for one lining wall
1- 8.5" x 10.25" piece for divider pocket
1- 13" x 10.25" piece for card slots
1- 2" x 14" piece for wrist strap OR TEST WRIST STRAP REMOVABLENESS

Interfacing:
TP971F (Thicker stuff):
2- 6.25 x 10.25 pieces for outside (I cut mine a little smaller than the outside to reduce a little bulk in the seams)
SF101 (Thinner stuff):
1- 6.25" x 10.25" piece for one lining wall
1- 8.5" x 10.25" piece for divider pocket
1- 13" x 10.25" piece for card slots
1- 2" x 14" piece for wrist strap

OKAY. Is everything cut out now? Good! Let's move on.

SECOND. Fuse your interfacing to your fabric pieces according to manufacturer's directions.

THIRD. Make your card slots.

1. Lay your 13 x 10.25 piece on your table and get out a ruler that is close in size to your piece. I like to use my 9.5" square.

2. Line the ruler up at 3" from the bottom on the wrong side.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 2

3. Fold the fabric over the ruler, making sure it's straight.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 3

4. Slide the ruler out and finger press the fold. You can use clips or pins to old the fold if you like.

5.  Lay the ruler on top of the piece again, this time lining it up at 1.5" from the top of the fold.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 5

6. Fold the fabric up over the ruler, making sure it's straight before sliding it out. Finger press the crease and pin/clip in place if you like.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 6

7. Line up the ruler again (here is where having a slightly smaller ruler comes in handy, especially if you're using wonder clips!) at 2.5" from the fold. Make sure you're lining it up at the fold and not at the bottom!!

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 7

8. Fold the fabric down over the ruler and make sure it's straight before sliding it out and finger pressing the crease.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 8

9. Are you ready! Last fold! Line up your ruler at 1.5" from the fold and fold the fabric up over the ruler. Finger press your crease and clip in place. After turning the piece over, it should look like this:

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 9

10. At this point you'll want to measure your piece and make sure it's 6.25" tall. Sometimes mine are spot on and sometimes they end up a little big. If it's a little big, you can trim off a little bit from the top or bottom to make it the right size.

11. Now you want to iron those folds so they're nice and crisp. Then top stitch them in place. Make sure you fold back the pockets so you're only sewing through each fold and not through all the layers! Otherwise you'll just sew your pockets shut and that's no fun! After top stitching, it looks like this (I know this picture is terrible. I'm not sure what happened! Please forgive me):

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 11

12. Now you can sew the lines to make the actual slots! YAY! First, mark the center line (should be 5 1/8" from the side). Then make 3.5" on either side of the center line. Make sure you are only marking the actual pockets because that's where you will sew. You don't need to sew all the way up (though I suppose you could if you wanted to). They are very faint in my picture... My pen was dying.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 12

13. Now top stitch on those lines, being sure to reinforce the top of the pocket by backstitching. I usually leave my tails long on this side so I can pull them through to the back and knot them for extra security. When you're done it should look like this but less blurry (seriously, guys, I might get my fake photography license revoked for this):

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 13

YAY! Card slots are done!!

FOURTH. Make your divider pocket.

14. Fold your 8.5x10.25 piece in half and iron that crease. Then topstitch! That's it! Easy peasy.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 14

See how nice the topstitching looks? :)

FIFTH. Make your strap.

15. Fold your strap piece in half and iron it. Like you're making a quilt binding! I know my ironing board isn't much to look at...

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 15

16. Open it up and fold the two side in to meet at the center. Iron these, too.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 16

17. Fold your creased strap piece in half so the raw edges are inside the fold. Then stitch the two folded edges together. I also like to add a line of stitching to the other side so it matches. It should look like this when you're finished:

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 17

YAY! All your pieces are ready to go! Now we can get to the really fun part!

SIXTH. Assemble your bag.

18. We're going to make a little sandwich. First, lay down your outside piece face up. Then lay the zipper on top of it face down. Line up those top edges!

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 18

19. Lay your lining piece down on top of the zipper, face down, lining up the top edges and centering the lining over the outside piece. Pin or clip in place!

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 19

20. Sew the layers together with about a 1/4" seam allowance. I like to use my walking foot for this. When you're done you'll have a nice little sandwich.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 20

21. Fold the pieces back and press with your iron. Be careful not to melt your zipper!! Then you'll topstitch next to the zipper. Remember this picture? YAY TOPSTITCHING!

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 21

22. Okay, now we're going to do the same thing on the other side. BUT FIRST. Baste your divider pocket to your remaining lining piece along the bottom so you don't forget to add it in the final phase. Not that I have ever done that... ahem...

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 22

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 22

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 22

Yay! Almost there!

23. Now we are going to sew it all together! First, pin or clip your strap in place. I like to put mine a couple of inches down from the zipper. I don't usually measure. But I like it above the middle for sure. I also leave a little sticking out so that I can easily see where it is while I'm sewing so I'm not surprised by the bulk!

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 23

24. Now fold your outer pieces together and line them up so they are right sides together. Do the same with your lining pieces. It should look like this:

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 24

25. At this point, you will want to make sure you unzip your zipper about 3/4 of the way. Add a copious amount of clips or pins. Make sure your zipper is folded with the teeth facing the lining. This will make sure your corners are neat and tidy.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 25

26. I'm sorry. I failed to get a picture of this step because I was so excited about getting it done! But now you will sew all around the outside of your bag, leaving a few inches in the bottom of the lining for turning. I like to go over the strap at least twice for security.

27. Seriously failing at pictures. Now you can clip off the extra bits of zipper ends and strap ends, clip your corners a little to reduce bulk, and turn your bag right side out! It's basically done! All you have to do now is sew the hole in the lining closed (I do it by hand with a ladder stitch).

WOW. Done! Aren't you proud?? You should be! HIGH FIVE!


If you make a bag, I'd love to see pictures! Just shoot me an email or tag me on Instagram (@crookedbanana). Let me know if you have any trouble with the tutorial or if you see any mistakes! My eyes are going all funny and crossed from staring at it so much.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Finished: Circular Knitting Needle Case

Hiiiiiii!

So. Here I am again. Without a tutorial, but WITH something pretty cool to show you! I have been knitting a lot lately and my collection of needles has been growing. Particularly since I decided to buy an interchangeable circular needle set from Knit Picks. Up until now, those needles have had various homes around the house... sometimes at the bottom of my project bag, stuffed into a drawer full of sewing notions, stuck inside bins full of yarn. You get the idea. I just stashed them where ever I found space. BUT NO LONGER.

circular knitting needle roll case front

BECAUSE NOW I HAVE THIS. It's a little roll up case to house all my needles! :D It isn't perfect, of course. This was my first attempt, and true to fashion, I decided not to follow a pattern. I knew the general shape I wanted and just decided to figure out the math myself... Well. My math isn't perfect yet. I put the magnetic snap in slightly wrong (okay, I was about an inch off with one of them, it's kind of a lot), which it why the bottom edge of the flap is curling a bit. I kind of have to strain to close it...

circular knitting needle roll case

The back has a little zippy pocket to put my stitch markers and cabling needles and whatnot in. Not that I have used any of my cabling needles so far. But I have them for the next time I feel brave! I'm not totally happy with how it turned out. I don't like how much of the lining fabric you can see. But next time will be better!

circular knitting needle roll case inside


The inside has 15 pockets. These aren't all my needles, by the way. I haven't yet gathered them all together. These are just the ones that had been lurking in my sewing notions drawer. In the next version I will change a couple of things about this. FIRST. I will make an even number of pocket rows so it more happily folds into thirds. That was a huuuuuge oversight! SECOND. I won't make the taller two rows of pockets end all the way at the bottom of the bag. That seam is super bulky. And even my biggest needles get almost swallowed by the top pockets.

So. Is it perfect? No. But do I love it? YES. I'm so proud of myself for figuring this out and making it functional! I learned a lot from this little bag and my next version will be waaaay better.

What have you been working on? Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In Which an Apology is Offered...

For not taking proper photos. Again... I finished my mini quilt for round two of the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap, sent it off, and it has been received! But I didn't take anything but phone pictures.

And so I hang my head in shame and offer you these...


Here it is all ready to send! I sent along a washi-papered tin full of loose tea from Teavana, some Saltwater scraps, and (not pictured) dark chocolate truffles and some thread. 

schnitzel and boo mini quilt swap almost finished

Here it is not quite finished. I added little "ghost" geese to the corners on the suggestion of some Instagram people :)

And what I received in return!

schnitzel and boo mini quilt swap loot

Elizabeth (@epearlp on instagram) really spoiled me! I got some tea, Skittles, thread, cute little scissors, some wonder clips (which are the best thing ever), bakers twine, scraps, a couple of zippers, and fabric glue! WOW! All of that stuffed into a really cute little zipper pouch :) I love my mini quilt! I still haven't decided where to hang it up yet. My walls are totally blank so you'd think it would be easy! There are just too many options... BUT! When I finally do get it hung up, I will take real pictures for you, promise :)

And don't think I've forgotten that clutch tutorial I promised you! I've been working on it. It has been a bit of a comedy of errors... I scorched some fabric (for the FIRST TIME EVER, of course), cut things wrong, sewed things wrong, and generally made a mess of things. Which is funny because all of the other ones I've made so far have gone perfectly! It's just because I'm trying to take pictures, I think ;)

I have been making a few extra clutches and things and decided to start listing them on Etsy. The Crooked Banana is officially open for business. There isn't much in there. Really it's just a way of supplementing my crafting budget, which is far too small for my liking right now! Go check it out if you feel like it :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Making Clothes

Lately I've been on a bit of a clothes making kick. I made an infinity/convertible dress, which I have no pictures of except this one from Instagram:

silver convertible infinity dress

I know. Super glamorous bathroom shot. I promise I'll get better pictures soon! It was really simple to make. Only took me 2 hours start to finish (I didn't hem anything though). I followed this tutorial minus the tube top part. I think I have enough fabric left to add one, though, so I might be doing that. It's such a fun dress, though! I might be making 3 more as bridesmaids dresses for my friend's upcoming wedding :)

I also made myself a Sorbetto tank top.

colette sorbetto tank polka dot front view

I'm not the biggest fan of this fabric. In this picture it looks like little white dots, which would be wonderful, but they're actually white dots with green dots inside. It's okay, but not great. But I got it at Joann for like $2/yard, so I thought it would be good for my first attempt at this pattern! So think of it as kind of a muslin ;) It was a nice, easy pattern to follow. And it was free, so that's a huge plus! I think the shape is great for a basic tank and once I make a few little changes (like better fabric!), it could easily become a summer staple.

colette sorbetto tank polka dot side view

You can see the little pleat in front better here. On my next version, I am going to make it longer for sure. I really don't like shirts that show my tummy when I lift my arms and this one will definitely do that. I will also move the darts slightly lower. I feel like they hit me a little too high. I already made the alterations on the paper pattern. Now it's just a matter of sewing up version 2!

I really want to start making more of my own clothes. They're so practical and there's such a sense of accomplishment when you finish a wearable, well fitting garment. So satisfying! So look out for more posts about clothes here ;)

Did you finish anything this week?

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts!