Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2 Many Totes

I have a lot of cool tote bags but sometime they're too small to be of much use. Here's how to turn two small bags into one big bag that you can fit lots of things in it. I took this great Nicole Georges owl bag and this awesome Liz Prince zine bag and created one big super zinester bag.

 Use a seam ripper to take apart all the seams and stitches on the bags, take off the straps too.

Once the bags are taken apart, lay them out and iron flat the old seams.

I've used a favorite bag as the size template for the new bag. Measure the width of the bag and length and make sure that you include the base tucks. My new bag will measure 18 inches wide by 17 1/2 inches deep (that's just one side.)

Once the finished bag size is decided, cut each picture panel to be the depth of one side plus seam allowance. My bag side was 17 1/2 inches plus 1/2 inch seam allowance on the bottom seam and 1 1/2 inches for the top hem, making the total to cut out 19 inches. Save the extra fabric that you cut off.

After the two picture panels are cut out, pin them together. If one of the panels is a slightly different size, trim it down so that they match.

Sew the two main panels together at the bottom. The panels alone weren't enough to make the width I wanted, 18 inches, so I added a strip to each side of the main picture panel. I finished my seams with a serger, but you could just as easily pink the edges or use a zigzag stitch.

After the side panels are sewn to the main picture panels feel free to add embellishment. I sewed on  some merit badge patches I had, including some awesome zine themed ones made by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler.

Fold the panel in half at the bottom to create the bag shape, then pin the top half of the side seams together. To make the base of the bag create a tuck in the fabric.

Flatten the tuck into the side seam, you'll sew over all of this and it will create the bottom of the bag. Finishing pinning with the tuck in the seam, then sew up the side seam.

The straps on the little bags were also too small so I sewed two straps together to make one long one. I happened to have some strap material left over from another bag project so I used that to make the second strap. They aren't the same width but close enough for me.

Pin the straps to the sides of the bag. Sew them on at 1/2 inch.

Fold over the top of the bag to create the hem. I kept the 1 inch hem from the small bag so I turned over 1 1/2 inch, folding in the 1/2 inch and sewing at 1 inch. Turn right side out and your bag is complete.

The finished bag now can hold so much more so I'll actually use it on a regular basis.  Now I can show off two great prints by two great ladies all on one bag.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Creative Inspiration: Antique Buttons


Along with the Dream Pets Book, for my birthday, I also received a very special gift my aunt. A collection of buttons that she was given by her aunt, my great-aunt. My guess on the time period is the 1920's to the 1950's or '60's.  They are composed of all different materials: metal, bakelite, mother-of-pearl, glass and more. I've started to research the proper way to clean them, as there is rust, oxidation and other signs of age. I've only gotten as far as separating them into smaller collections. I'll have to carefully and gently clean each one before I decide what to do with them. It's such a beautiful collection, I can't wait to utilize these buttons in new outfits and creations.



Since I'm not sure of the metals, there are various signs of rust and oxidation. I'll have to find a good technique to cleaning them without damaging them.


I ended up sorting most of the buttons myself as they were just loose in a box. This was a grouping that was already tied together, I love the purple color with the gold detail.


I love this mother-of-pearl clasp, it's such a neat design. I'll have to make a belt or something to show off its beauty.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Basewood Wolf Dragon

Last year, I created a plush toy version of Alec's Wolf Monster character from his graphic novel Basewood.  I will be creating a couple more to be offered as a reward tier as part of his kickstarter campaign. Please contribute, it's a great project running from August 29, 2013 to September 28, 2013.

When I start making a plush toy I usually draw 3 views to get how it will look once it's made 3D. I don't always use illustrator to make it so tight, but in this case it was actually easier and made sure that I had really clean lines to work from. I then print it out to scale and that is what I base my pattern on.
Since the completed Wolf Dragon is large: 22 in. long by 9 in. wide, I added an internal wire skeleton to support the head, tail, wings and legs. I found a textured plush chenille fabric that was the perfect fit for the body.

All the face details; nose, eyebrows, lines are embroidered by hand.




Friday, September 6, 2013

Creative Inspiration: Dream Pets


A couple of months ago, I found this awesome aviator tiger toy at a thrift store in Oakland. I loved it so I looked up more about it. It turns out it part of a re-lease of a collection of popular toys from the 1960's called Dream Pets made by Dakin.  I did a little more research and found that they made all sorts of different animals with silly themes, many are available on eBay. I also found out about this Japanese book called Dream Pets Book by Satoshi Yamashita, that details all the different Dream Pets that were manufactured. Since it's in Japanese and out of print, it was hard to find a copy but Alec bought it for me for my birthday. I love it, and it's easier to get the book than start collecting more toys that I don't have room for.

There is even a section where they do over how the Dream Pets were manufactured. The original ones were stuffed with sawdust! I love all the different animals, how they are simple but have so much character. I've very inspired to make some new toy designs of my own.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Alec's Kickstarter video for Basewood

My husband Alec is in the middle of his kickstarter campaign to get his graphic novel Basewood professionally printed. I helped him create the video for the campaign. Alec had a very specific idea of what he wanted for the video. Even though it's short he even did a rough storyboard to make it very clear to me what he wanted. He created the animation of his issues of Phase 7 popping up at beginning but I filmed and edited the rest. The great music was specifically composed for this project by his friend Andy Hentz.



One of the rewards that Alec has offered is a letterpress print of one of his panels that he is adding watercolor to. We also made a video to show that process, sped up of course.


Alec has worked incredibly hard to create this comic. It took over 7 years just to draw. The professionally printed version will be a beautiful book, so it's a great project to support. This is the project that he grew his hair and beard out while drawing. He took a photo everyday during that process and I created a video for that as well: Basewood Beard.

 I you're reading this between August 29 and September 28, 2013 the kickstarter is still going on. Support it Now: Basewood Kickstarter. Thanks!