Metro Double-Zip Pouches

Click any photo to enlarge

As I mentioned on this afternoon’s bag post, I’m making a few Metro Double-Zip Pouches from the Sew Sweetness Minikins 2 collection.

Bag #1
The bag, as designed, calls for SF-101 interfacing on the exterior and lining fabrics and the wristlet handle. I wanted it a little thicker, as we travel a lot and I like the idea of having a quick place to stash my phone and/or my passport.

I made the medium size bag—the main pouch pattern piece is 9″ wide and 6″ tall; the pocket piece is 9″ wide and 5″ tall. I cut fusible fleece interfacing for the exterior pieces, and cut them without the seam allowance, i.e. I cut two pieces of fleece 8″ x 5″ and two pieces 8″ x 4″. I centered those on the the wrong side of the exterior pieces and fused them in place. Then I cut SF-101 the same size as the pattern pieces—9″ x 6″ and 9″ x 5″. I fused those to the exterior pieces, further securing the fleece in place.

Attaching the pocket to the bag:
The pattern, as designed, only uses one exterior piece for the pocket and secures the back of the pocket, just inside the zipper, to the main front pouch piece. I made the pocket with both a front and back exterior piece and only secured it to the main front exterior at the sides and the bottom. By doing so, I created an open pocket between the front pocket and the main pouch. Before sewing the pocket closed, I attached the male side of a magnetic snap to the back of the pocket, and the female side of the snap to the main front exterior piece. Now I have a wonderful secure pocket in which to stash my phone or passport when traversing the airport. It’s the perfect size to tuck into my underseat carry-on once I’m in my plane seat. Perfect for our midwinter flight to Cancun!

Compare the picture of this bag to the picture of the bag that follows. I hope you’ll be able to see the difference between the middle open pocket and the pocket that’s attached to the bag.

Zipper size:
The pattern calls for a #3 zipper, which is the standard dress zipper size. I used a #4.5 zipper with antique brass metal teeth. This made for a much bulkier closing, and made it more difficult to sew the closing. I like the look of these zippers on this bag, but I don’t know that I’ll do it again. I have my second Metro cut out, and I have #3 zippers set aside for that bag. We’ll see what I think when that bag is finished.

The exterior fabric is Australian Aboriginal designer fabric, “Bush Plum Dreaming” in blue, designed by Juliette Nakamarra Morris for M & S Textiles Australia. The lining is Carrie Bloomston’s “Scratch” in color Olive Oil from her Collage collection for SUCH Design. The zippers are YKK Antique Brass Donut Pull size 4.5 in Monster Snot (really!) from ZipIt on Etsy.

Bag #2
The second Metro pouch has the same double interfacing—fusible fleece and SF-101 for the exterior pieces as the first—but it has one fewer exterior piece. I made it without the extra pocket between the pocket and the body. That is, I cut it as directed in the pattern, adding the three pieces of fusible fleece.

Zipper size:
I used the #3 zippers, as recommended in the instructions. The sewing is much easier with the thinner zippers.

The exterior fabric is from Blank Quilting, their American Dream collection, showing Route 66 and classic 50s American-made cars. For the lining, I wanted a solid in the same color as one of the cars in the print. When I dug through my stash of hand-dyed fabric, I found an intense blue that was exactly the shade of blue as the Dodge Charger. I dyed it about 15 years ago and it’s been just hanging around waiting for the perfect project. And I love how it looks.

So #2 is complete. Now I want to make one more, without the fleece, just to see how different the three are.
Stay tuned.

Bag Almost-#3
I had started a different Sew Sweetness bag with this Tula Pink Stripes and Pom Poms in Foxglove, but my Bernina 330 and I were having an argument that day, and she was being obstinate (something my adoptive mother used to accuse me of being…). I unsewed everything from the 12″ square of the stripe and set it aside. A few days later I decided to quilt it to the piece of Pellon Foam Flex and make another foam-interfaced Metro pouch. But the unsewing from the previously attempted bag had left too many loose and snagged threads hanging out. So I thought I’d use it as the lining for a Metro (after piecing it to have enough lining), using the Pom Poms as the exterior fabric. And I decided to leave the pocket off, just making a single pouch to hold my page turn pedal. Despite my measuring twice and cutting once, the pedal wouldn’t fit into the pouch. But the pouch was cool—very cushy and protective for something that needed protecting. Ahhhh. The charging cables I carry with me to lessons and rehearsals.

So on to the real bag #3.

Bag #3
My second try at a bag to hold my page turn pedal turned out beautifully. I cut the Large size of the Metro Double-Zip Pouch, and the pedal fits as if the bag were made for it. Oh, haha, it was. The Stripes and Pom Poms, in Poppy, coordinate with the Tula Pink All Stars Frog print in Peony. The zippers are Coats “Flamingo” and I love these shades together.

The most time consuming part of this project is the cutting and interfacing. Sara Lawson offers acrylic templates for many of her bags. These can be used with cutting machines such as the Cricut. (I know nothing about these machines, so can’t even tell you the various machines these templates fit. But if I’m going to continue making these bags and move forward to selling them, I’ve got to invest in one of the machines and the templates. It will make a big difference in the construction time!

Nothing extraordinary to say about this bag, except that I’ve got this pattern down now. Oh, this bag used fleece, as did numbers 1 and 2. I have two more bags cut out downstairs, that use just Pellon SF-101 rather than the fleece. It will make a thinner bag without all the cush.

Now, rather than sitting here and watching the snow fall, I’m going to go back downstairs and see how quickly I can finish these two bags.

You might be wondering what a “page turn pedal” is. I’ll share with you the answer I gave this morning to a couple of women on the Sew Sweetness Facebook group, who asked just that question.

I’m a collaborative pianist at the local university. I accompany musical theatre students in their voice lessons and am in rehearsals for the April production of “Into the Woods.” I play from my iPad and no longer carry books and binders of sheet music around with me. The app I use to manage my music is ForScore, into which I load a PDF of an opera or a musical or the repertoire the singers are working on in a given semester. (I also load bag patterns into forScore so I can refer to them on my iPad rather than on paper.)

Some genius invented a pedal that is Bluetooth-enabled. When I need to turn a page on the iPad, I tap the pedal with my left foot and the page in the music turns as if by magic. 😳

You’ll see in the picture that the device has two pedals. The right one turns the page forward and the left one turns the page back for repeats or in the event of my accidentally tapping it twice and turning two pages. Because of the pedal, I don’t have to miss notes in the score to turn pages.

The pedals are used my many instrumentalists and conductors – not just pianists. It’s truly a stress-preventing tool for me.

Bag #4
The Metro Double-Zip Pouch comes with instructions for three sizes. The Large is 10-1/2” x 7-1/2”; the Medium is 9″ x 6″; the Small is 7½” x 4¾”. My next Metro exercise is to make the three sizes in similar fabrics with SF-101 interfacing so I can see how they compare. Here’s the Large in Makower Vintage Clocks. The lining is a top-weight linen in Tobacco from Jo-Ann’s. The hardware is from Dritz, purchased at Jo-Ann’s. The “Handmade” zipper pull is from Emmaline Bags.

Bag #5
Truly nothing new and different to say about this Metro Double-Zip Pouch in size Medium. Read the description of Bag #4 and switch “Vintage Clocks” to “Vintage Postcards.”

This picture shows the Medium laid on top of the Large to clearly show the size difference. The Large is 10-1/2” x 7-1/2”; the Medium is 9″ x 6″.

I’ve cut out the small in Vintage Floral. Will fuse the interfacing in tonight and start the construction and hope to finish the small tomorrow. Then you’ll see a third size-comparison photo.

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday, the high in Northeast Ohio is 13° (it was 2° when I got up at 6:00 a.m.). At least right now there are blue skies and some sun. I hope it’s warmer where you are.

Bag #6
Here’s the small Metro. It’s 7½” x 4¾”. What would I use it for? Probably to keep little stuff together in my purse. Or to carry my debit card and a credit card, some folded up dollar bills, and a lipstick when out and about. Oooh, to give a gift card to your favorite niece or sister for a gift occasion. Or a soon-to-be mom with a gift card for her baby shower. It would then become her favorite tuck-into-the-diaper-bag baglette to carry her ID when out on a walk or outing with the baby. So many possibilities.

Now you want to see all three together, don’t you? I did! I couldn’t wait to be able to shoot this picture.

I highly recommend this bag pattern. The Minikins Season 2 set of bags from Sew Sweetness costs $80 for 13 patterns and videos. It’s great for stash-busting. (If you’re not familiar with that term, that means using up all the small pieces of quilting fabric that have been mounting up in your sewing room.) When you see how quick and easy these bags are, and how much the videos help you quickly master the pattern, you’ll see how worthwhile that $80 expenditure is. I’ve already had several friends request to buy the bags. Tonight I’ll be putting together a page with photos and prices and will quickly earn back the amount I spent on the Minikins.

Bag #7
Just when I thought I was finished with the Metro Double-Zip Pouch, I realized I wanted to duplicate Bag #1 with a cross-body strap rather than a wristlet strap. Bag #1 is one at the top of the page in the aboriginal print from Australia. The plan was to put two of the D-rings above pocket #1, one on either side. I have a skinny faux leather cross-body strap that I purchased from U-Handbag in the United Kingdom. Her shipping prices are reasonable, and I was surprised at how quickly the strap arrived. The skinny strap will attach to the two D-rings and I’ll wear the bag crossbody to hold my phone and passport while we’re traveling to a Mexican resort in two weeks.

I cut all my pattern pieces and the interfacing last night, including pieces of fusible fleece an inch smaller lengthwise and crosswise that the pattern dimensions. This morning at 7:00 I went downstairs and fused everything. After breakfast I started sewing. (Schools were closed yesterday and again today for the Polar Vortex. It was -1° when I woke up. Sew Day!) I made the first pocket, then reached for the 6″ high piece to attach the first pocket to. Oh. No. I had used the 6″ piece for the first pocket. All that was left was the 5″ high piece. There were two options for me: I could grab a seam ripper and undo everything, or I could start over. I chose the start-over option, but first I used the perfectly made “pocket” to make a boxed-bottom pouch.

I cut a 1½” notch out of the bottom corners of the two exterior and two lining pieces, sewed up the sides, boxed the bottom, turned the bag, pressed, and sewed up the opening. this little bag. I had had a long text exchange with my sewing partner, who lives 2,500 miles away in Portland, OR. This bag will go off to her tomorrow, along with a two-yard piece of silk for her to use in her shibori dyeing. Everybody wins.

So that’s it for this edition of “Can a Sewist Have Too Many Bags?” (The answer is a resounding “No!”. I won’t add the Metro crossbody to this blog post, but will give it its own page so I can fully document the steps.

Thanks for reading – or scanning. I know this was a lot of words. I hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures.

Winter Break Bags

YSU’s winter break was four weeks, which gave me plenty of time to both practice and sew. Yea!

The first picture shows how the individual components look before a bag is actually constructed. The side panels are interfaced. The lining side panel has the zippered pocket installed with a mega*cool black and white striped zipper. (And note that the company I bought the zipper from a couple of years ago no longer stocks them. Did you hear that little sob?)

I’ve been working my way through Sew Sweetness’s Minikins and Minikins 2 sets. And by “working my way through,” I mean I’m trying to get one test bag made of each of the simple bags Sara Lawson has included in these sets.

I started with the Cotton Candy Pouch, which has only two pattern pieces (actually, one is just a rectangle – no piece, just the dimensions). For interfacing, it requires foam for the exterior and SF-101 for the lining. The zipper insertion is a little funky, but after several dates with my seam ripper, I finally got it.

This bag is what we call a “stash-buster.” You can use bits of stuff that’s lying around to bring it to life. The denim for the side rectangles came from my stash box marked “denim.” 😉 The sorta teardrop fabric on the ends is from Cotton+Steel about five years ago. And the lining is “Scratch” from Carrie Bloomston’s line for Such Designs, which has been languishing in my stash for about four years. The foam makes the bag stand up, rather than just folding in on itself. I don’t love the foam and am going to experiment with interfacing alternatives on a future version.

The finished Cotton Candy Pouch has gone to Florida, to a college sorority sister who admired it and made a contribution to her favorite charity in exchange for adding this bag to her Favorite Things drawer. (She must have a “Favorite Things” drawer. Doesn’t everybody?)

And now I’m working on the Metro Double-Zip Pouch from Sew Sweetness. Here’s the Metro, laid out on my ironing board’s ugly cover so I could show my sewing pal in Oregon what I was working on. More on that on a later day.

While I was waiting to buy hardware for the Metro above, I jumped over to Swoon Patterns. I bought some fabric several years ago for my eight-year-old Texas granddaughter who is a dancer. I wanted to make a small bag that could serve as a purse, although large for an eight year old, or that she could use on the weekends she spends with her dad. If she only had a few things to take with her to his house, this size bag would be perfect (in my mind).

This is Swoon’s Dottie Vintage Handbag. The pattern is no longer available on their website, but you might be able to pick it up on eBay or Etsy, if it appeals to you. And they have a newer pattern that looks very similar. The newer one is called the Olive Vanity Bag.

I had about half a yard of Pokémon fabric left from a bag I made about three years ago for a friend’s son. I decided to use it up on this Dottie. My goal was to see if I liked the bag enough to make one for my grandsweetie. I normally shy away from piping on bags, but thought I’d give it a try, and it wasn’t too bad. I dug through my stash for a lining fabric to match one of the characters, but could find none I like. I had recently purchased some Kona Cotton in the pale neutral they call “Snow” to use for some dyeing experiments. i had some MX fiber reactive dye in Lemon Yellow and used a low water immersion technique, shoving a fat quarter of fabric into a quart canning jar. I loved how it came out, the gradations in the color caused by the wrinkles on the fabric in the jar. But it was a little too bright to match the yellow in the print. So I made a batch of strong tea (six regular-size Lipton bags in just enough water in the saucepan to cover the fabric). Voila! The shade of yellow was absolutely perfect for the Pokémon fabric. I’m thrilled with the outcome. The great amount of work and all the fabric and interfacing that went into this bag was rewarded when a friend asked if she could buy the bag as a birthday present for her Pokémon-loving friend. She’ll drop by today to pick up the bag, and I’m very happy.

Why am I happy? I learned a lot on these two bags, and they no longer live in my basement. Yea!

A Special-Order Hat

When we were in Mount Gilead, Ohio, at the Jazzman’s eldest brother’s home for Thanksgiving, I was working on my Rainfall scarf. Riley, Jas’s great-nephew, was watching me knit, and—sweet, sweet child that he is—asked if I could knit something for him. I said yes, and asked what he might want me to knit. Jas’s niece and her family live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, so of course Riley suggested a hat. I told him I had never knit a hat before, but I thought I could do it. I asked what color he wanted, and he quickly replied “blue.” When pressed for the shade of blue, he said “bright blue.”

I told him knitting takes a long time, so it wouldn’t be very soon. But I finished it on Friday night two days ago, and will send it in time for his eighth birthday on January 6.

I chose the Antler Toque pattern from Tin Can Knits. It’s a free pattern on Craftsy. The sizing is Baby, Child, Adult Small, and Adult Large, for 16″/18″/21″/23″ heads. I chose the Child size and am very hopeful it will fit Riley and his full head of gorgeous naturally curly hair. If not, I’ll make the next size. It was that easy and enjoyable a project.

I chose Cascade Yarns 220 100% wool, worsted weight yarn in color “Blue Velvet.” (As in, “She wore blue vel-vet, blu-er than vel-vet were her eyes ….” Showing my age here.) The child size only requires one hank of yarn. I treated myself to new size 6 and size 8 circular needles and a new set of 8 double-point needles. After all, this was a very special client.

And before I knew it, I was done. I love the hat pattern, and I love the finished product. Here’s hoping our precious Riley will love it, too.

EDIT: The day after the hat arrived in Minnesota, I received a text and photo from Riley’s mama. She said he loves the hat and that it fits perfectly. Yippee!

P.S. And now I have to come up with a pink and purple scarf for four-year-old Finnley. When she heard Riley request a blue hat, she piped right up with her request for a pink and purple scarf. I told her it would take weeks and weeks and weeks. It may take me that long to find a pattern I like for a scarf for this sweetie baby girl.

Knitting Across New England (and Beyond)

I always like to have something to do with my hands while we’re driving long distances. We planned a September vacation to Maine and Massachusetts, so I picked up a knitting kit from my favorite LYS, Three Sheep Gallery and Workshop on Market Street in Youngstown. The pattern was Margaret Craig’s Heidi & Lana Rainfall shawl/scarf. I started the pattern a few days before we left, and finished it a few days after Thanksgiving.

The “and Beyond” to the title of this post is how long it took me to finish this scarf. The lace border is roughly 300 stitches wide, and there are 30 rows to that section. Do the math, People. And that was only the lace border. There were 236 rows to the body of the scarf, beginning with a 6-stitch cast-on and ending at 181 stitches, increasing one stitch every row. So that’s a whole lotta stitches.

Color captured under my Ott light. Yummy!

I love the squishy feel of the [YO, K2, pass YO over K2] stitch pattern. I love the “Homemade Jam” color of the deftly hand-dyed yarn. And I especially love all the compliments I get each time I wear this scarf.

This closeup picture shows you both the lace border and the squishy YO pattern, as well as the true color. Designer Margaret Craig is one smart knitter and dyer. The yarn is Heidi & Lana’s 100% Merino Homestead Fingering hand-dyed yarn. The pattern requires two 100g/420 yard skeins. The pattern comes free with the kit.

I recommend this pattern and this yarn. If you want a project that will take you through the long winter evenings, this is a good choice. (I mean the winter will be long, not necessarily the evenings!)

You can call Three Sheep gallery and ask Linda if she has any more kits, or check Etsy. I saw a couple featured there.

As for my scary face in the pictures, I took a bad fall on the 3rd of December. I had a fight with our city garbage can as I was rolling it back up from the curb. The can won, and I’m lucky I didn’t lose my two upper front teeth or break my nose or any body part that enables me to play the piano. Today—just short of three weeks from the fall—is the first day the bruises have not been visible without my pointing them out to onlookers. The effects of the fall could have been so much worse, and I’m grateful I’ve been able to get through this heavy music season easily.

Two More Sidewinders

I wasn’t completely sold on the Sidewinder pattern that I made up for the Sew Sweetness Secret Santa exchange, but I had already cut the pattern out in another fabric, so went ahead and made it up, then made it up again. The third make was in a music-themed fabric, as I am a working musician. I thought I’d give it to one of the music professors I work with at Youngstown State University.

But when it was all finished, on the morning I was taking my new half-sister (whom I discovered two-and-a-half years ago via to the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus Christmas concert, I knew I would carry it as a clutch bag to the concert and that I wasn’t giving it to anybody! It would be mine.mine.mine.

So here are the two Sidewinders I made, both in size Large.

The Sidewinder pattern is part of the package of patterns called Minikins that designer Sara Lawson has created.

Sew Sweetness Sidewinder Bag in three sizes

Here’s how Sara describes the Minikins on her website: “Sew Sweetness Minikins 12 pattern+video bundle is a great place to build on your bag-making skills through making quick and easy accessories that everyone will love!”

I have a confession to make: I did not watch the video for the Sidewinder. I just dove in. I’m an experienced bagmaker, having made dozens of bags from a small change purse to a large carry-on tote bag. How hard could this small bag be, right? Egotistical me! The challenge with this bag is the straight edges that have to meet up with curved edges. I had problems with bag #1. I still had problems with bag #2. By the time I got to #3, I realized I needed to make little ⅛” snips all along both the straight and curved edges where they would meet. Voila! My seam ripper received very little attention on bag #3.

Bag #2, in Tula Pink Pom Poms and Stripes, color Foxglove. This was made pretty much straight to the pattern. I used foam with the exterior stripe fabric, and did not quilt the foam interfacing to the exterior fabric. I believe this foam was fusible, but I don’t think it fused very well to the fabric. I would say that was probably my error in the fusing process. The more I turned the bag inside and out while sewing, the less it stuck to the fabric. I used the Pom Pom print for the exterior end panels and the handle/strap. I love the interplay of the stripes and poms. The lining was the Pom Pom fabric. Next week this bag will go on consignment to Three Sheep Gallery and Workshop on Market Street in Youngstown, where I hope it will find a new home with someone who thinks it’s wonderful. (Let the record show I do think it’s wonderful, I just don’t need to add it to my extensive collection of me-made bags. I need to pull in a little money to help pay for the twenty-seven new windows I just had installed on the 2nd and 3rd floors of my circa 1927 home.)

Now #3, the music fabric bag. Both the exterior and the lining fabrics are from Exclusively Quilters’ “That Funky Jazz” fabric line. I can’t find either of these fabrics in stock anywhere that is searchable online. So sad.

What did I do right with this bag?

First, I took my time. I realized (after cutting the exterior side panel piece) that I was using a directional print. I cut another piece of the fabric and created a center bottom seam so I would have both sides directionally correct. (If you look closely at the picture accompanying this paragraph, you can see the center bottom seam.) 🙂 Happy sewist.

I carefully outline-quilted the foam to the exterior. I had as much fun looking at the wrong side of that quilting as I did the right side. How cool is that photo? Happy sewist to the 2nd degree.

As I was creating the zipper panel, I realized that I had inadvertently cut these panels so the keyboard made a continuous line spanning the zipper. Super cool. Happy sewist to the 3rd degree.

I snipped all around the zipper panel and the side panels and carefully secured the two sides together with pins and clips before sewing. I only had to rip two 1″ areas and I was very happy with how it came out—no puckers.

I do think I need to add a zipper pull onto the zipper tab. It’s a #3 zipper—the size zipper you would put into a dress or slacks. The tab isn’t easy to grab when you have to reach under the handle/strap to grab it. If I wire-wrap a bead or charm to the tab, it will be easier to unzip.

Both bags are treated with Scotchgard™ inside and out. Both are beautifully finished. The stripe/dot bag makes me happy, but the music bag makes me positively giddy.

If you decided to buy the Minikins pack of patterns and make the Sidewinder (or any of the bags in the pack), do make the time to watch the videos. I’ll be doing that on all the other bags I make from the Minikins and Minikins 2 packs.

Last night when I got home from Cleveland, my partner and I headed to our favorite local restaurant to sit at the bar and eat pasta. I kept pulling my bag onto my lap and looking at it. He said, “When you’re gone, who shall I give it to?” I laughed out loud, then told him exactly with whom it should live next. 😉

Thanks for visiting. Thanks for admiring. I wish you and yours very happy holidays. 🎄