Sew Along Details
So grab your pattern, and we'll see you back here soon!
A while back I asked which Noodlehead pattern you would be interested in for a sew along and the almost unanimous answer was: The Caravan Tote. I've made several of these and I was even a tester for the pattern, so I'm happy to help out with any tips I picked up along the way. Of course, so many of you don't need help, but you like to join in for the fun of sewing along with others. The DISCOUNT and PRIZES are another great reason to join in.
The Caravan Tote is a medium-large tote that works great for a market bag, daytrip tote, or a project bag. There's even a bonus matching zippered pouch included with the pattern. The pattern offers a large exterior zippered pocket, front pocket with flap closure, and detailed inner pockets with options for knitting needles and yarn guides. One thing I really love about this bag is how easy it is to customize. You can leave off the front flap pocket and add a featured patchwork. You can also omit some pockets to make it a quicker sew.
Sew Along Details
First, you'll need the pattern, you can get it from the Noodlehead shop, use code HOSAL at checkout to save 20%. There will also be a prize of 2 PDF Noodlehead patterns for a randomly drawn winner. You can use the coupon code until August 31st, 2016. Normally my sew alongs are consecutive days, but Ive decided to take a more leisurely pace with this one. I'll start May 15 with fabric and interfacing suggestions, along with various options in the pattern or ways to make your bag unique. Then the following week, we'll begin cutting and materials and start sewing. The sew along will finish in June and you'll have until July 3 to submit a picture to enter for the prize.
So grab your pattern, and we'll see you back here soon!
I'm working on a round up of sewing for summer. Do you have a favourite I simply must share? Let me know in comments, or send me a message.
Have you been following along with the Hey Mercedes Sew Along? I'm really impressed with every single participant and I'm glad I wasn't in charge of picking a winner because the bags were all fantastic. Thankfully, Samantha of Sewing Patterns by Mrs H agreed to pick one for me, and I don't envy that task! There were also 3 random winners from the remaining completed bags.
The winner selected by Samantha was this gorgeous bag sewn by Maggie.
Samantha said "I love that it looks designer, it's so wearable, and the contrast gusset looks great!"
Maggie has won a $25 credit at Sitka Fabrics and a beautiful Aurifil thread set.
I truly enjoyed seeing all the bags as they came in, either by Instagram or through my contact page. If you want to see the rest, check out #HeyMercedesSAL, or have a look at these:
Thank you so much for joining us. Have you been working on more bags from Sara's book Windy City Bags? Which one is your favourite?
Welcome to the final day of our Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour! I hope you've been following along and enjoyed all the reviews. If you still need to catch up, you can see my review with a tour schedule here.
Marsha from Flying by the Seam of My Pants has written up a fun little wrap up and intro to all the prizes to be won just for following along.
We’ve just barely made it home after our Craftsy escapade all across Canada. We’re unpacking our luggage and finding some great souvenirs from the trip, but it’s just too much to keep for ourselves. And because you’ve been such perfect road trip companions, we’d like to share them with you. Up for grabs are 4 coveted prize packs from our travels,
as well as the special gift that Craftsy sent to us while we were gone galavanting. Be quick about it! Giveaway closes soon.
First up is the Craftsy gift:
* Please note: If you entered this giveaway before Friday, April 8, your entry may not have been recorded correctly by Craftsy. Please enter again.
This colourful tote bag kit includes the Rowan Three-Quarter Patch Tote pattern, some stunning Kaffe Fassett fabric, plus all the Pellon Fusible Fleece stabilizer you will need for the project. The only things you would have to add to this are a coordinating button, some thread and your time. Voila! You have a gorgeous tote that will be the envy of tote-al
strangers. It’s almost like instant Jello pudding, only better! Follow this link to enter before midnight April 11, 2016:
The Souvenir Prizes
Prize A (Canadian, US and International entries accepted)
1 Craftsy Class: “Mix & Match: Clutch Bag Techniques” by Janelle MacKay of Emmaline Bags
Prize B (Open to Canadian residents only)
$32CAD store voucher for Tangled Blossoms Design (Redeemable in fabric and S&H)
Prize C (Open to Canadian residents only)
The Totes Ma Tote PDF Pattern
The Totes Ma Tote Hardware Kit
The Manhattan Bag PDF Pattern
The Manhattan Mama Hardware Kit
Prize D (Canadian, US and International entries accepted)
1 PDF Purse Pattern (winner’s choice) from Blue Calla Sewing Patterns
Prizes are awarded “as is”. No substitutions. Deadline for entries is 10 AM PST on Monday, April 11. Winner’s will be notified by email within 3 hours of the contest closing, and will then have 24 hours in which to respond to the organizers.
It is each participant’s responsibility to ensure they sign in to Rafflecopter with a valid email address, and also check their email accounts for notification. Entries requiring a blog post comment, social media follow, or trivia answer will be verified using the name provided by the participant. The giveaway is open to anyone worldwide. International or US residents who win a prize designated as for Canadian Residents Only may be required to pay for the additional shipping, or forfeit the prize. If said winner chooses to forfeit the prize, another winner will be chosen from the remaining eligible entries.
Many, many thanks to all the wonderful people who’ve followed us on The Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour. We hope you learned a little about our very large, diverse and beautiful country while you got a peek into some of our favourite Craftsy classes. And very special thanks to the amazing, supportive people who helped make the giveaway and our graphics just that much better: Celine from Blue Calla Patterns and Elle from Brand UR Shop Graphic Design. Take a bow, ladies! Happy travels until the next time we take you tripping and traipsing!
Marsha, Janelle, Deb, Fiona, Michelle, Reece, Shelaine & Ula
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I received this Craftsy class in exchange for an honest review. Some links in this post are my affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission on purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Welcome to today's stop on The Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour! A bunch of us Canadian bloggers teamed up with Craftsy to try out some bag-related classes and bring our reviews to you. If you want to start at the beginning of the tour, check out the first stop, over at Emmaline Bags. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom for a special surprise.
If you're new here, and even if you're not, feel free to have a look around. I have a tab just for Canadian resources: one of the main reasons I started this blog was because so many fellow Canadians had a hard time sourcing supplies. I also have a Sales tab, where I try to stay current with fabric sales, pattern sales and other sewing related deals. If you're looking for something specific, have a browse through my categories, or use the search feature on my site.
Back to the reason you're here today: I'm reviewing the Craftsy Class Sew Sturdy Travel Organizers, with Annie Unrein. This class includes instructions for 2 projects. It covers the Everything In Its Place Bag, and the Hanging Cosmetics Bag.
I made the Hanging Cosmetics Bag and, while I wasn't thrilled with the class (more on that soon), I am pretty thrilled with my finished project.
I was happy to have an excuse to try out some free motion quilting I learned from Christina Cameli's Free Motion Quilting Class. I tried my first flower and practiced meandering, spirals and loops - so much fun! If you enjoy quilting but don't want to tackle a huge project, like a quilt, then either of these projects will be good for you since they both start with quilted fabrics.
The Hanging Cosmetics Organizer has one mesh pocket, 2 vinyl pockets and one large structured pocket, each pocket zippered. The organizer folds up and closes neatly and can be carried by its handle or with the removable, adjustable strap. Of course you can stuff it full of all sorts of items, not just cosmetics; it could work for crafting supplies or many other goodies you come up with.
The Everything In Its Place Bag looks pretty handy too! I think the removable pages are a great idea. There are tons of pockets and loads of options to choose from so you can really create a custom bag to suit your needs. I think of it more as a book with pocket pages. Annie shows hers with sewing supplies, but back when I did a lot of scrapbooking, I would have loved this bag for crafting sessions on the go.
I really appreciated the tip for selecting fabric for this project. It was suggested to use a busy, non-directional print, as much of the pocket stitching is visible on the exterior portion of the bag.
The class is basically divided in two sections: the first being the Everything In Its Place Bag and the second being the Hanging Cosmetics Bag. There are over 3 hours of video instruction, plus a PDF of measurements to cut and written instructions. To clarify: this class does not include any actual pattern pieces, rather the measurements you need to cut in order to create each project. I state this here because after reading through some of the discussion in the class, some people were disappointed there weren't any pattern pieces included. We also need to round the corners with household objects as a template. Personally, I prefer to use my quilting rulers and rotary cutter, so I was fine without the pattern pieces. Here's the lesson plan:
The beginning of each section is spent explaining the projects. This part was really important for the Organizer Bag because you need to decide which features you want for your bag before you start cutting your materials. The Cosmetics Bag construction is sort of an add-on to the Organizer Bag, in a sense that you're expected to have watched the first part of the class (and remember everything) to do the second project. Because of this, I found I had to jump around quite a bit. I did watch the whole class, but as I was sewing the Cosmetics Bag, I didn't remember the details of each step from the Organizer bag, so every time the instructor said "just like we did on the Organizer bag," I'd have to pause, go find the related step from earlier in the class, watch that, and then come back. I realize this isn't necessarily the instructor's issue, and in some cases, I believe the video was edited down to keep it at a reasonable length. Perhaps adding onscreen text to the video referencing where exactly we need to go back and watch would be helpful if Craftsy considers updating this class in the future.
I also had to refer to the PDF quite a bit because the video instruction wasn't specific enough. For example, the instructor would say "now take your facing and fold it in half" except, we had several facings, all different sizes, so I'd have to refer to the written instructions to figure out which one she meant. Again, onscreen text here would have been helpful. I think if I make this project again, I'll have to suck it up and print the PDF to help me follow along a bit more easily.
The class is listed as beginner, but I feel like a beginner would likely be overwhelmed by the disjointed nature of this class.I think it would be better suited for an advanced beginner to intermediate. I did like Annie's method for creating binding, and will use that way for other binding projects.
For my next one, I'd skip making the handle a long tube, turning it, and then trying to feed strapping into it; instead I would follow the method used for making the padded handle. I broke 2 safety pins trying to get that strapping in! I did appreciate that several methods were shown to create similar results.
There were also a few discrepancies between the verbal instructions from the instructor during the video and the written instructions; after spending a considerable amount of time, I discovered we need to follow the written instructions when any discrepancies occur.
I noticed participants outside of the US complained that they had a hard time sourcing the right supplies for this project. You can check out my Canadian Sewing Links if you're in Canada and looking for resources.
If you've read my other Craftsy reviews (here and here) you already know I think Craftsy is great. What is Craftsy? Well, it's an online learning platform. The main method of instruction is video, supported by accompanying written material, in a variety of categories including sewing, cooking, drawing, knitting, cake decorating, and photography. The video quality is exceptional and they even offer closed captioning! What makes these videos different from other instructional videos I've seen is the involvement from the instructor and other participants. You can ask questions or join a discussion at any time while you're watching. The instructors are so great at helping. One thing I really like about Craftsy is that once you purchase (or win) a class, it's yours forever, and you can access it from your computer, your phone or your tablet. I prefer to use the Craftsy app, because it's just so handy. The other really great thing about Craftsy is their money back guarantee.
Annie Unrein is the creator of a fabulous foam interfacing called Soft and Stable, and also several bag patterns. She is clearly very knowledgeable and experienced at sewing, and seems passionate about sharing her experience with others. I really do wish she had toned down the sales pitch throughout the class though. I felt a bit like a captive audience hearing about the products available on her site and the ones she's designed. I think it should have been limited to the intro of the class, but it was throughout the whole class and honestly put me off so much so that I had a hard time writing this review. As I mentioned though, I think it's clear that Annie is really good at what she does and passing that knowledge onto others.
I really enjoyed all the different methods she showed for turning tubes. I learned a new trick! I also decided to give my seam ripper a new life based on how Annie uses her Stiletto - so far so good, it's like an extra finger for holding really small pieces in place and feeding it under your presser foot.
I really am pleased with my finished project and I'm happy I now have instructions on what looks to be a really useful supply organizer. I did note that the instructor sells the patterns individually on her site, here and here, so if you really will never make both and think you could do without the extra help from the instructor and picking up some tips along the way, then it might make more sense for you to just purchase the one you'll make. The full price of the class is $40 USD, which I think is a bit steep since the patterns come to $20 USD, so is the class worth an extra $20? I think if video instruction is really helpful to you and you don't mind the sales pitch, then it probably could be. I personally wouldn't be happy paying $40 USD for this class. Luckily, Craftsy has shared with me a discount link to offer my readers, which brings the class down to about the cost of the patterns alone.
If you're interested in trying the class out for yourself, you can save 50% with this special discount link, good through April 13, 2016.
Not only has Craftsy provided all us bloggers on tour with a class, and all our readers discounts, they've also been so kind as to sponsor a prize! Up for grabs is a Rowan Three-Quarter Patch Tote kit, featuring Kaffe Fassett Fabric, plus fusible fleece to make the bag with! Just click here to enter!
I hope you'll follow along with all of us, check the schedule to catch up if you need to and come back on Sunday for something special.
Tour DatesMonday, April 4 Tuesday, April 5
Sprouting JubeJube -- Sew Sturdy: Home Organizers with Annie Unrein
Lulu & Celeste -- Sewing With Oilcloth: Bags & Baskets with Kathy McGeeWednesday, April 6
Happy Okapi -- Sew Sturdy Travel Organizers with Annie UnreinThursday, April 7
Michelle's Creations -- Mix & Match: Clutch Bag Techniques with Janelle MacKayFriday, April 8
Shelaine's Designs -- Sew Better Bags: The Weekend Duffel with Betz White
Tangled Blossom Designs -- 20 Essential Techniques for Better Bags with Lisa LamSaturday, April 9
Emmaline Bags -- Recap/RoundupSunday, April 10
Supplies used in my Hanging Cosmetics Organizer
Do you have a favourite type of project when you want to just play with small amounts of fabric? I like zipper pouches for that reason. They make great gifts and they're perfect for a couple different fat quarters or even scraps. They're also a great project if you're new to sewing, or new to zippers. Daryl from Fabric Spark sent me this gorgeous bundle to play around with, and she gave me an extra set so I could share with one of my readers - she even included 3 zippers! Details on how to win after the tutorial. Fabric Spark offers such beautifully curated fabrics. There are plenty of pre-selected fat quarter bundles to choose from, but if you'd like a custom bundle, just ask and it can be set up for you!
I made these 3 different zipper pouches and I'm sharing a tutorial on how to make each one. I'll give a detailed tutorial for the reverse applique pouch (shown with Tula Pink Eden), and then show the variations to make the gathered and rounded.
Reverse Applique Zipper Pouch
This technique is a fun way to change up a simple zipper pouch.
Once you have the pieces cut, fuse the interfacing to one piece of the solid fabric. On the wrong side (the interfaced side) trace a hexagon where you'd like it, keeping at least 1/2" away from the edges. Draw a second line about 1/2" inside the hexagon; this inner line will be the one we'll cut, so mark it as a dotted line or use a different colour so you don't accidentally cut the wrong line. Now cut the inner hexagon, then make notches at each corner, meeting the outer line, but don't cut through the main hexagon shape.
After the shape is cut out, press the cut edges back, so wrong sides are together. Here is where using Wondertape can come in handy. Turn over your main piece and make sure the cut opening looks nice and even, adjust as necessary. Now cut a piece of your accent fabric larger than the opening, so a 3.5" hexagaon would work here. Place the main piece over your cut piece so the (hexagon) hole is filled in with the accent fabric. You can use a bit of Wondertape here again to help hold the accent fabric in place.
Once you're happy with the placement, fuse a scrap of interfacing over the back to help secure and stabilize before you stitch in place. This step is optional but I prefer it. Now topstitch from the right side. I chose a contrasting thread and increased my stitch length.
You can go ahead with construction of the zipper pouch now, but I thought it would be fun to add another hexagon. I cut out a small hexagon, folded in the raw edges and stitched in place on top of my main fabric. If you chose to add fusible fleece, fuse it to both exterior pieces now.
Construction of Zipper Pouch
Place one lining piece right side up on work surface, then place zipper right side up centered on top of lining piece. Place your exterior front panel (the one with the applique) right side down onto zipper. So now your zipper should be sandwiched at the top of one exterior and one lining piece, with fabrics right sides together.
Using your zipper foot, sew along the top edge with 1/4" seam allowance. Now place those fabrics wrong sides together so the zipper is at the top, press and topstitch.
Now repeat these steps to attach the exterior back and remaining lining panel to the other half of the zipper. Just make sure to keep right side of zipper (top of teeth) to the right side of the exterior.
It should look something like this before you topstitch the other side along the zipper.
Open your zipper about halfway. For this step, we need to match exterior to exterior, and lining to lining, right sides together, with the zipper in the middle. Pin or clip all the way around. Your zipper teeth will need to point toward the lining. Leave a 4-5" gap at the bottom of the lining; this will be the turning gap for later. Starting at one side of the turning gap in the lining, sew all around the perimeter, back to the other end of the turning gap, making sure to backstitch at start and stop. Use a 1/2" seam allowance here. If you are using a 7" zipper, you should just miss the metal stops with this seam allowance but be careful as you sew over the zipper to avoid the metal stops. If you're using a longer zipper, just trim the zipper tape once you've sewn around.
Trim your corners, being sure not to cut your stitching. Use the turning gap to bring the pouch right side out. You'll be glad you had your zipper open at this stage. Tuck the edges of the turning gap into the lining, press and pin or clip in place and stitch with a very small seam allowance and a matching thread. You may choose to hand sew with blind stitch instead.
Tuck the lining back into the pouch and give it a final press, then fill it with goodies or give it to a friend!
Gathering is a quick, easy way to create an elegant look. Pair a busy print with a solid colour to make a fancy zippered pouch. For this pouch, you'll need
Cut out all pieces and fuse interfacing to lining pieces. Run a basting stitch (very long stitch length) 1/8" along top and bottom of each bottom exterior fabric, keeping threads long. Gently pull bobbin thread on the top of one side of the bottom exterior piece while keeping the other side in place. This will "gather" the fabric. Move the gathers as you like and match up the width to the top band fabric (8"). Repeat for the bottom, and then on the other exterior bottom piece.
Now place the top band right sides together with the top of the gathered piece and sew together with a 1/2" seam allowance; press seam up toward top band and topstitch along top band. Repeat for remaining gathered piece and top band. Put together zipper pouch following directions under "Construction of Zipper Pouch" above.
This rounded pouch comes together quickly and is so cute and fun! The size of fabric you need will depend on what you use to create your circle - two 10" x 10" squares should be big enough for the bottom. I used a plate to make a circle, then drew a line at the top of the circle that was 8" across. Cut along that line and use the bottom of the circle as your "pattern piece" and cut 2 fabric of that shape. Also cut 2 top bands (I like coordinating solids for these) 8" W x 2.5" H.
Just as directed in the gathered pouch instructions, attach the top band to the bottom round piece with a 1/2" seam allowance, press seam up toward the top and then topstitch. Use these pieces to trace your lining and optional interfacing pieces.
Continue making pouch as per instructions in "Construction of Zipper Pouch." Sewing up the turning gap is a bit tricky on this one because you'll be tucking in the lining on a curve.
Now for the Giveaway!
Good luck everyone! If you enjoyed the tutorial, I'd love to hear about it and see pictures of your finished projects. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Sponsors and Affiliates
Save 10% with code OKAPI10
Hi! I'm Reece and I love to sew! I'm also a mom and a wife. I love being crafty and sharing tips.
Disclaimer: This website contains affiliate links. Purchases made through those links provide me with a portion of those sales. Proceeds earned through these links help pay to continue running this site. Thank you for your support!