Neefer Sews, Crochets, Crafts, Swims, and Blathers about Kids

Acorns to Oaktrees

January 19th, 2006 at 5:03 pm

Gift Bag

in: Sewing

The bag used the Trendy Tote pattern. Liane McConnell‘s review inspired me to buy this pattern.

Instead of using 2 different fabrics, the main fabric and top band fabric also used in the handles, I decided to do crazy patch and machine embroidery for the the main fabric. AJ’s favorite color is red. Unfortunately, my fabric selection for crazy patch for red is rather limited. I asked her what complimentary colors she would like. She picked navy, blue, cream, and/or white. I decided to use navy, blue, and dark denim blue.

My second source of inspiration is Tania. I’ve been enamoured of her art for some time. Her art makes me happy, and I admire her use of color. When she said she was going to sell a coloring book, I pre-ordered.

Rainbow on stretchy knit fabric.
Click for a larger image

The rainbow birdie to the left is absolutely adorable. He was the first thing that I tried to manually digitize outside of class. And he came out pretty well; the image to the right is the second attempt at embroidering him. The first try came out fine, but it was a very dark background. The second one is particularly good because he’s on a stretchy knit. If you don’t do machine embroidery, that probably doesn’t mean anything to you. Take my word; it’s an accomplishment to be proud of.

I can’t find the inspiration for the second bit of embroidery. AJ has two little girls, so I wanted a picture of a woman and 2 girls. Since the embroidery is outlines only, I was pretty sure it would come out well on the first try, especially since I was embroidering it on heavy denim. And it did.


The final version of Rainbow came out very well.

From there it was a matter of piecing the crazy patch which goes quickly AFTER I’ve picked out the fabrics. Picking the fabrics always take a long time. I used all the reds from the fabrics that I’ve collected or saved for crazy patch. When I spread them out on my table, I felt like something was missing. That’s when I decided to ask if there was another color option in addition to the red. I’m just not a monochromatic person.

More red on red

However, once I got that out of my system, I knuckled down and stuck to red. I used some built in stitches in the sewing machine part of the Bernina 180E to sew red on red “embroidery”, and i used red to decorate the seams with the built in decorative stitches. I’ve had a terrible time with the decorative stitches in the past. This time, I used embroidery thread in the needle and matching sewing thread in the bobbin. There were still some spots where the bobbin thread pulled up, but it wasn’t very obvious. I did not use the pig-tail bobbin.

For the rest of the trim, I stuck with all red. Joann’s had red xmas trim on clearance, so it was easy to stock on that.


So the main body of the bag was done. Supposedly the rest of this project is easy. It’s just sewing rectangles together. However, I had a terrible time figuring out what they were talking about with a lot of the instructions. The lining seems terribly complicated, and I’m not sure it is constructed in a manner that will survive wear and tear. The lining is cut in one big piece and folded to make the pockets. Vertical seams are sewn to differentiate the pockets, but the illustrations are very confusing. They are completely unlabeled. Perhaps if the following image had been in the pattern, I wouldn’t have had so much trouble.

lining pockets

At the last minute I decided that I needed a bottom band as well as an upper band. I didn’t want any of the embellishments to be on the bottom of the bag. Who would see them? So I had to add the bottom band to the lining as well. That wasn’t tough, and it was my own fault for not planning ahead.

The strap construction instructions were very bad. She had to fold over the seam allowances, then fold the strap in half and topstitch. What? Why not sew a tube and turn it? Anyway, that’s what I did.

In the end, the bag came out well. But I won’t be using this pattern again. I much prefer Taylor Made Designs Totes.


Category: Sewing

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  • 1

    they look wonderfull!

    tania on January 30th, 2006
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