Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rule Breaker!

If you know me you know that I am all about following the rules. So, I went from sooo pleased that Donna from FJI posted a comment, to not too happy to realize that I have been breaking the rules at SNS - I wasn't supposed to be posting stuff I sell unless I add a tutorial to show how to make my stuff... so without further ado... How to make a JunqueyGal tote - Lesson I - think like a JunqueyGal!:

First, hoard all fabric scraps you can find. Same goes for ribbon, pretty trims, grosgrain ribbon on gift bags. No scrap is too small. Think like your Grandma who lived through the Great Depression in her sister’s hand-me-downs. Cut the pockets off of your kiddos’ stained and worn pants – repurpose later on a new tote, scrapbook page. My person motto - never let a button go to Goodwill when you can stick it in a mason jar for 20 years!
I start with a pretty scrap of fabric or theme. Insects anyone? Paris anyone? Birds anyone? All are super popular right now! I then look through my suitcases and gray totes of fabric – seriously, my bed is on risers and my storage unit maxed out because of my love of fabric. I always go with a mix of similar tones and I like the fabrics to be of the same weight or texture for the most part. I don’t like to swap out needles (frugal!) and adjust the tension (lazy!), but it seems to work for me. I always think about the rule of 3rds. And try to give the eye somewhere to rest – poor little Plain Jane scraps are my friend! They make your busy prints pop. Same with graphic stripes and patterns – I like to really mix it up – but I have to watch scale – too many small prints look busy – too much big stuff gives you a crazy look.

When asked how I do it I like to say that I sew myself into a corner. Interestingly enough, I sew in the corner of my living room. So/sew literal and figurative – wow. That’s as deep as I can go with that…

What I mean is that I don’t plan. I don’t sketch. I never, ever measure. I usually start by cutting a large, odd chunk of fabric and then sewing another odd shaped piece onto it. No logic. Always using the selvage and rough edges – a rough loopy selvage is like free designer trim! Instead of sewing the old way (right side to right and pressing seams open) just fold over a raw edge and top stitch it to another piece of fabric. I love the pop of contrasting top stitch – I’m not a perfectionist so I go for the really wide zigzag which can camouflage errors. I just randomly sew fabrics and start thinking about a front and back. When I get a piece all sewed together and measuring at least 24 inches (guess-timate!) and 14 inches wide, I fold it in half sandwich style – right sides together. I peek inside and see if there are any glaring issues – like the same pattern being sewed together in different directions. I may add to it, or I may only use a part of this. I may hate it and toss it aside for future use. If it’s good to go I sew up the sides – viola! A purse is born. Any excess I put aside and often incorporate in other totes or future projects (key chain anyone?).

I make a lining in the same way - usually one big scrap of fabric though – fold sandwich style. It should be about an inch larger on both sides and a few inches taller. I sew the sides, drop the lining inside the exterior, fold down excesses and pin together. Topstitch it all together. For the handle, I get out a tray and once again, think about my color palette – then raid my buttons and baubles for any that add interest. I usually pull twice the fabric and gems that I need. I like a big variety. I generally start with about 2 pieces of thin ribbon. The 2/$1.00 craft stuffy is perfect for this – it is strong, thin and cheap! Then I start stringing a button or two, knotting the ribbons together, weaving the ribbon through. No two are ever the same – it just comes to together naturally. While I watch TV with the kids. When I get a nice long strand I sew the ribbon ends to the ends of the purse. I hand sew a big old button with a ribbon closure and call it done!

Happy sewing! Use your imagination and don't go for perfection - there is a time and place for a perfectly crafted handbag - this isn't it. This is quirky, original, crafty...just like you! (Lessons with more details along the go will be added)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How Stella got her GROOVE back...

Poor Stella. She's been banished to my room - stuck in a corner. She loved to go to antique shows and craft shows and model my jewelry, purses, and aprons. But, I'm pretty over that (for now!) I don't have time on the weekends due to my gals hectice schedules and I don't miss the stress of packing all my stuff up and hoping for good weather, good sales... I decided to dress her up with the goodies I took to Loom today... Here's a religious icon inspired purse, I wasn't sure which way to go, but I think Mary looks lovely... the beads were inspired by some wooden rosary beads I have...

I hand sewed about 60 small mother 'o pearl buttons for a unique handle of this purse...Stella is getting back in action by modeling my Loom stuff, here's a wristlet...

and last but not least... a little Halloween fabric, I had some left over from a little pre-school outfit I'd made for Olivia a few years ago... Boo!

Thanks for stopping by! Get crafting and sewing!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fabric Fashion Cuffs & Fun Sewing Fabric!

What better sewing tote than one covered in this witty comic-strip fabric - 50s style but oh so current for me! I would rather sew than just about anything. Right now I'm loving the new season of Project Runway aren't you?

what I love about this fun cuffs = instant gratification. they are a quick fix. My little daily dose of creativity. I seriously spend so much time with the suits at work - in meetings, talking strategy, forecasts -It is nice to have this at my finger tips at night. Fabrics and cuffs available at LOOM!

Happy sewing!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

so busy, not sew busy

I am busy. We all are. So busy that I haven't been sewing much or creating much. It makes me sad when I visit all of your pretty blogs and don't have much to offer here in return. It's a good thing though. I got a promotion in real life that I didn't expect and I'm not anticipating much down time in the next few months... school started last week for my gals (anyone who was here way back when this whole blog started - my girls are in 3rd and 5th grades - can you imagine!) and this all means homework (!), dance classes for 2, fall softball x 2, a vacation next month that we've been dreaming of for years... and I may need to tuck a trip to Fance in here somewhere... so, since I can't show you much in creative sew projects - here are some pictures from my last trip... starting at the end - at least something to make your stop here worthwhile!

CDG departing Charles de Gaulle Airport is so much better than arriving. it should be the opposite. I always arrive with a sense of letdown - it is not welcoming and pretty blah after the 9 hour flight, smelly if I must tell and it is a marathon of suitcases and ramps, doors which seem to go to nowhere, the automated voice announcing I can hear for days later. But for the departure it all gloriousness - shops, spacious, airy, the perfect setting for a modern day romance... I think that's why it is so much better when you're leaving - so you want to return!

Shops with pastries and really expensive stuff, of course! This architecture is the store front of a bridal boutique I window shopped, after dinner one evening. Many in the quaint village are caged up at night and you can't spy a glimpse.

Not faux paint treatments.

Love the scroll work.

My co-workers are always amazed at my attention to the littlest details and interest in these things! A cafe for an evening meal, I think we were finished by 11pm on a work night - yawn!

Everything is slightly different and unique - even the attention to the cutlery.

And shopping for accessories is a huge hobby of mine! The Parisian women have such a flair - one scarf or brooch, effortless, not gawdy or overdone - just right. This is a little boutique that had a great variety. Scarves and pretties.And fabric covered bead necklaces - remind me of the ones from the 80s but with the fabrics make them so current. Lots of silk flower pins, raw edges

And the rest of the pic are from an eclectic boutique. I showed some of their very modern stuff on a post a few months ago - here are a few more random.

Not the linen, lavender I was expecting - much more modern! I do love these fabrics...

Odd, odd, odd pairings and displays...

The end. (For now - more when time permits - hopefully before 2012!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tiffany & the Tower

Don't ya love these colors?! I know brown and aqua is practically a neutral these days... so this seemed a bit more bright and cheerful - crisp black and white cottons and shiny black buttons and aqua baubles. Pretty and one of the last summer bag flings...a nice roomy tote.

The accents are done in fabulous Tiffany's blue. I have a BOX from Tiffany's, alas not from some awesome present, it was some award my company received and I swear it was heading for the trash. So I rescued it. Almost dumpster diving in corporate life. I, of course, have it filled with buttons. and last but not least... a pretty apron. The tote, apron & fabrics are available at LOOM and check it - some of my aprons are featured there too... Love it! Btw, I'm linking over at

freckled laundry

and entering for a chance to win at :http://gypsyfleamarket.blogspot.com/2011/08/mid-summer-bag-giveaway.html

And since I'm just chatty and may not find another chance to post until September...

IMHO this may be the very best fabric ever, ever - I made a tote that's there. But my pictures turned out pretty crappy so you'll just need to use your imagination...and make what ever your heart desires...

you can purchase it at LOOM where they have with free continental US shipping http://www.loomshowroom.com/shop/NEW-Fabrics-Just-In-/p/Aviary-Vintage-Illustration-Wing-Study-Birds-and-Butterflies-Bird-Birdcage-Key-Egg-collage-Cotton-Quilt-Fabric-LM12-sku-LM12.htm soooo much fabric, so little time. Gotta run! Happy crafting!

Pretty in pink...

Cotton shirts.  Love 'em. Usually can't wear 'em.  Too tight. Pull at the boobs.  Or, shrink in the first wash.  And being a plu...