Some of my recent sewing projects

Bags & Purses (Accessories): I've been on a kind of a backpack/tote bag kick lately . . . I started out making one Chelsea backpack (a Lazy Girls design) late summer 2006 as a birthday gift for my niece Nikole. (Sorry no photo!) She seemed to like it, so I made another for niece Elora's birthday, and another for niece Jenna, and another for SIL Sandy, and finally one for me. I have requests for one or two more . . . I make them a bit differently than the instructions suggest -- instead of using cotton "quilty" fabrics for the outside of the bags, I've been using upholstery- or light-weight corduroy, and I don't use quite so many different fabrics as suggested. The corduroy isn't that difficult to quilt and it gives the bags a good sturdy outer layer. I choose a flashy cotton fabric for the inside lining and a coordinating fabric for the inner pockets. The outer pocket gets a personalized embroidery -- either an initial or some other small design.

Donna's Chelsea Backpack

After completing a few Chelseas, I got a request to make a "vera bradley" style tote bag for cousin Abbey. I purchased McCall's pattern 4118 and made view A. (You can read more about Abbey's bag in this blog entry). That one turned out so well I decided to make view B (a slightly smaller tote bag) for SIL Tara, who wanted a mini diaper bag that didn't look like a diaper bag and could still function as a purse (the "non" diaper bag).

For myself, I've made 2 pocket style purses -- the first, my Amazin' Mets Pocket Purse was completed in April '07, in time to use while traveling and attending Mets games at Shea. The second is my Sewphisticates Pocket Purse, made from licensed fabric by Loralie Designs. Both pocket purses were made from a purchased pattern.

Baby & Kids: To learn a new technique, I took a class on reverse-appliqué, where I learned how to use my dual feed foot (or walking foot) and how to make a ragged edge quilt from flannel. The practice piece turned out rather well, so I used it as a model to make more blocks and a quilt for my niece Lauren. Since then, I've made several more ragged edge flannel baby quilts from purchased kits -- one features Noah's Ark and pieced blocks, the other is a simple square block crib quilt in blue, for nephew Ryan.

Craft & Misc: Most of my sewing in recent years would fall into this category and home decor. I don't have many photos of these projects. The most recent "miscellaneous" project could also be considered a garment -- for my westie, Keli. She's a little large for a female westie -- not fat, just longer and taller. Off-the-rack dog sweaters don't fit properly; large is too long, medium is too tight. So I created a pattern from a couple of different dog sweaters to make a custom fit fleece coat, just her size.

Garments: I learned to read a pattern and make a simple skirt in Home Economics class in junior high school, about 30 years ago. Everything I've learned about making garments since then has come from watching TV programs or in books or magazines, and a lot of trial and error. Over the years I've made a number of skirts and dresses, some of which have fit well and others that didn't fit properly at all. I've recently taken a series of classes on pattern alteration and adjustment which were very helpful (see my blog entries). I've completed a pair of pants and a jeans style jacket and plan to make more soon.

Home Decor: Many years ago, I made simple pillows, usually as a way to "finish" a piece of needlework instead of framing the piece. Around 1995, I made my first window treatments and re-upholstered my sofa and love seat. It took me quite a bit of time, and they were very simple in style, but once I finished them, I was hooked on Home Dec sewing. Since then, I've made window treatments for most of the rooms in my current home. Most recently, I made slipcovers for a pair of chairs in my "formal" living room, which is not formal at all. We refer to it as the "Westie Wing" since that is where my collection of all things westie is kept, and it's where Keli enjoys snoozing. I chose a fabric I consider to be a whimsical design, and used brush fringe instead of piping for accent.


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