It’s springtime…finally. Though, in South Florida, we don’t have much of a change of seasons. This year, however, was the exception. We actually had a winter this year. Apparently this year from January to March was the coldest it has been in about 100 years. I’m not complaining. For the most part, I loved the cold. I enjoyed actually getting to wear sweaters and coats this year. And, the unthinkable happened…I actually wore through a pair of my boots. In all my life, I have never done that.
I had some fun making some totes out of felted wool sweater vests. Here’s a group of them . The shape of sweater vests really drives the shape of the tote. I used the collar as the exterior pocket, and hand stitched it to the bag using a blanket stitch.In keeping with the seasons, I am now working on a spring/summer line of bags. While my wool bags can be used all year round, and I’ll be making them all yearround, I thought I’d add a touch of lightness. Instead of wool, I’ll be working with recycled denim from old jeans.
I had made this bag, the Weekender Tote, which came from the February/March 2010 issue of Sew News and was featured on the cover. I made it from some heavy tweed like decorator fabric, but in springtime colors.
I had a few problems with the pattern instructions. They were not the best instructions I’ve seen. The instructions were very vague as to how to do the pleating on the front, and how big the pleast should be. The pocket instructions were not quite accurate, which made the inside pocket smaller. I had to turn in the ends to have them finished inside the bag, since they did not line up with the side seams. For some reason, my lining was much smaller then the exterior. As a result, instead of a full band of the orange fabric on the top of the bag, it ends up being mostly on the inside, with just a hint peaking out. However, it also looks very cute that way, so overall I’m very happy with how the bag looks. I did not use plastic canvas (which would have given the bag a more solid struction), but I would like to try using it on future bags. The pattern calls for fusible fleece, which can be very pricey. Thankfully I happened to get it on sale at 50% off at Joanns. I would think regular fleece would work just as well, but maybe would be a little looser, since there would be no adhesive. It was a pricey bag to make, but I think it is worth it when you see the finished project.
I liked the style so much, it has inspired me for my spring/summer line of Allison Kapner Originals.
My first project was made from an pair of jeans that was donated to me by my brother-in-law Andrew. I decided instead of doing an appliqué design like I do with my wool bags, I would feature the lining fabric by having it peak out from the denim. Here is my first bag.
The fun is always in the details. I used the waistband for the handles, and the 2 back pockets became an outside and an inside pocket. I loved how the color combination looked so much, I whipped up a matching makeup bag to go with it (my first time making a makeup bag). I think this came out really well. I was surprised that I was able to make this without a specific pattern. I let the denim tell me what size it should be. This bag is pretty decent sized, but I’d also like to make it in a bigger style, a more boxy style (with one long strap – hobo style), and maybe a smaller clutch style. What do you think?
I’ve still be felting like crazy. Here’s a quick summary of some projects I’m still working on, and others that I have finished.
Felted Wool Patchwork Blanket from Warm Fuzzies by Betz White.
Cashmere blanket (unfinished – I still need to add a back to it, and maybe do some appliqué on the top) from Sewing Green by Betz White Long and skinny cashmere scarf Hand beaded coasters from this blog