Monday, August 22, 2011

Messenger Bag-A Work in Progress

The project that I started before the embroidery project (see below post) is a messenger bag for my daughter for school.  She has waited patiently for me to finish her cousin's present before going back to hers.  We settled upon a pattern I found in the book, Sew What! Bags after looking at many in books and patterns I had in my stash.  The pattern is called City Satchel.

It looks to be a fairly straight-forward pattern.  I had cut out all the pattern pieces before having to move to the embroidery project.  And I was in the middle of adding more interfacing to the pieces to stiffen it up a bit.  I don't want it to sag when she wears it.  Below is a pic of the fabrics my daughter selected.

We have three fabrics:  the plaid is the flap you see on the front and for pockets under the flap, the paw print is for the back and the fabric you see peeking through from the front of the bag, and lastly, the pink is for the lining--an added option for the pattern.  There are no pattern pieces in the book--you have to make them yourself from measurements the author gives you. 

My daughter also wants me to embroider a tiger face on the paw print fabric on the back of the bag.  I think that will look cool!  So, I am back to the bag project to add more interfacing and start the construction of it.  Wish me luck---photos to follow when completed!

Busy, Busy, Busy

I'm happy to admit that I have been a busy sewing bee with a couple of new projects I have going one---one just ended.  I'll save the second project for the next post entry.  First, let me tell you about an embroidery project I did for my niece's 7th birthday which was last Saturday.  I had bought one of those totes you can get as a blank to from Hobby Lobby a long time ago.  So, I thought I would conquer the embroidery for her--all of which would also test my ability to do it all by myself with no help, whatsoever!  I was excited, but really nervous.

My daughter and I did some verbal research to find out what her favorite color was so I could incorporate that into the designs.  I have to admit, whether good or bad, that I have collected and not used (yet!) hundreds of embroidery designs that I bought shortly after buying my Baby Lock embroidery sewing machine.  That was 2 years ago!  I had never used any of them.  Isn't that awful!

So, after searching through several binders of designs I made way back when, I decided upon a unicorn on the large side without a pocket, her initials in variegated thread on the other flip side, and then a butterfly and floral design for the small vertical sides.  That's 4 designs I hunted out, tested out and then executed.  Now I know for sure why my Baby Lock dealer said you can never have too many needles!

Also, part of the project was learning the embroidery software I bought in pieces (yes, pieces) starting in December of 2009.  It is called Embird.  It's an awesome product that costs much less than many other software programs out there.  And when I say I bought it in pieces--that's exactly how it is sold.  You buy only the parts you want.  The basic program is more expensive, obviously, and comes with Font Engine which allows you to use their fonts in your designs.  The other 'pieces or parts' of Embird are the Iconizer, Studio, Digitizer and Sfumato.  I bought a couple of tutorials for the program by independent users which I broke out for this project.  Embird is easy to use and can do anything other programs can do.  Check it out for yourself at

So, below are my test outs.  I used different colors than you see for the unicorn to make it look lighter in color.  Unfortunately, I did not take any photos of the finished project---thinking I would do that at my niece's birthday party.  But, I got distracted, and so, alas, no pictures.

As you can see from my crowded bulletin board above my sewing machine-are the designs I tested in purples, blues and a little pink.  I had been working on these designs off and on for about 1 1/2 weeks.  I also added hot fix crystals to the unicorn's horn, the curly q's on the initials, as well as on the butterfly and the floral design.

If you don't know much about machine embroidery and are interested in learning--make sure you find out about the correct stabilizers to use for the design (I floated an extra piece of stabilizer under the unicorn, especially since it had over 20,000 stitches), appropriate thread to use and how to hoop your designs (or not hoop which is an option too).

Needless to say, I am thrilled about getting going on my next embroidery project for my mother's birthday, but shhhhhh...don't tell her!