Thursday, 21 August 2014

Introducing the Nappy bag sewing pattern

You might have guessed my next pattern would be a nappy bag/diaper bag/changing bag pattern due to my current 'predicament' and you wouldn't be wrong!

This is by far the most involved pattern I've written with a grand total of 10 pockets! It comes with shoulder handles, a detachable long cross body (or slinging over shoulder) strap. The outside has two full width pockets, one with a flap and up to two keychains/dummy holders, one with a hidden zipped pocket. It has an elastic side pocket on each end (ideal for water bottles/milk bottles). Inside boasts 4 elasticated slip pockets, one zipped pocket and two elasticated bottle holders. Phew, I'm tired just thinking about it!

Here are a few more photos to whet your appetite!

Front pocket with flap fastened by magnetic snap. 

Full width back pocket fastened with hook & loop tape, hiding a zipped pocket

Elasticated side pockets & detachable shoulder strap

I used a double zip, fortunately we all know how to make them now thanks to Dee's guest post!

I used some gorgeous bag bling from Emmaline Bags
For the handmade script label please see Emmaline bags, they're absolutely gorgeous and really make a project look professional. Installation instructions also to be found on the listing page.

Back pocket with hidden zipped pocket, fastened with hook & loop tape

Interior with 4 large elasticated slip pockets, 1 zipped pocket and 2 elasticated bottle holders
As you can see from the interior photo this bag doesn't need you to finish the inside seams with bias binding, but nor does it need you to hand-stitch the lining to the outer along the zip. There's a very unique way of inserting linings like this which I walk you through with clear photos and lots of explanation in the pattern meaning you end up with a turning gap at the bottom like most regular bag linings. This method also stops the lining caving into the bag as the seam allowances are attached together along the top.

Here's the bag all ready & packed in case my little lady comes early! I've got a full pack of wipes, 6 nappies, nappy bags, breast pads, nipple cream, nappy cream, 3 muslins & 2 full outfits in here. In the outer pockets I've got a dummy, a pack of tissues, a coin purse and space for a wet bag (when I get around to making some wet bags!)

The pattern calls for either medium weight interfacing AND fusible fleece on the outer layers or Soft & Stable on the outer layers. Whichever you choose it also calls for medium weight interfacing on all of the lining pieces. I use Vilene F220 for my medium weight interfacing and I believe Pellon SF 101 is comparable.

I used Amy Butler home decor fabric Trumpet Flowers in pink and co-ordinated it with Robert Kaufman Kona Solids Melon.

I would follow the fabric recommendations on the pattern though and NOT use home decor fabric, no matter how nice it is, you'll save yourself a lot of headaches when trying to fit all the layers through your machine at the end! Quilting cotton is definitely better!

The Nappy bag pattern

This pattern is definitely not a quick sew, but you will be so impressed with the results that you have achieved I don't think you'll mind. The full copy is 28 pages long with 96 steps and when you purchase you will also be able to download the text only copy which is 11 pages long to save you ink.

My testers have reported sewing times of between 4 - 8 hours depending on confidence level and number of smaller 'helpers' hanging around so don't be put off by the 'advanced' classification, the pattern walks you through everything clearly and has a couple of links to extra tutorials such as fitting the bag bling and zipped pockets.

The Nappy bag pattern also makes a great travel bag pattern, just adjust the pockets to your own need. I'll be back later this week with some of the tester's bags to show you how they altered the pattern for their own requirements.

If you want to purchase The Nappy Bag pattern on my Etsy Store please feel free to use the code ATHOMEWITHMRSH10 for a 10% discount on your purchase of pattern/s & or hardware.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

How to Convert a Zip/Zipper into a Double-Slide Zip {Guest post from Dee}

Today the DEE-lightful Dee is with us sharing how to convert your zip into a double zip. My newest pattern is all the better for a double zip, but being very aware of how difficult it can be to get hold of double zips, the lovely Dee took photos along the way to share with you all. 

Over to you Dee....

  • Two zips with same size teeth and Slider, with at least one of them a bit longer than the desired finished zip size. Or one zip a little longer than the desired size + a second identical Slider.
  • small pliers
  • sharp scissors
  • needle and thread
  • a friend or a third hand (the friend is easier to find)  Or good hand/eye coordination to do it on your own.

1. Decide whether you want the sliders to face toward each other or away. 
It will make a big difference to the action of the zip.  My zip has the sliders facing each other so that I can open my bag from the centre top. From here on I am going to describe the process for making the two sliders close by pulling towards each other. 

2. Using the small pliers carefully remove the top stops on the long zip. It is important that you don’t damage the zip tape or the teeth.

3. Repeat step 2 for the second zip so the slider of that zip can be removed. If you want to recycle the left over zip tape and teeth of the second zip, undo the zip all the way and slip the slider off the bottom while the zip is fully open - that will give you some funky zip trim to use n another project.

4. Take the second slider to add it to the zip that will become you new-improved-double-slider zip. Put the second slider on one side of the tape over one or two teeth. I found it helps if the zip is sitting flat  on the lap of person who is helping you with the 'business' end closest to your assistant. 
Get your helper to put a finger on the tape so the slider doesn't move and carefully ease the other part of the zip tape into the slider. 

Try to get the zip tape roughly even. It doesn't matter if the tape is one tooth different, but more than a small amount different will cause the sliders to mismatch as the zip closes.

5. Once you have the very ends of the zip tape in the tip of the slider you will feel a little resistance. This is where you need to either be a three-handed wonder-beast or have an assistant (if taking photos, you may like to ask your assistant to remove the old nail polish or, like me, just say "Nah, she'll be right mate" in the Aussie tradition).  

Get your assistant to firmly hold both ends of the zip tape ...

AND wiggle and pull on the slider / zipper pull. This is the trickiest part of the whole process and may need several attempts. If you get it on the first go - yeay you! 

Once the slider starts to run along the teeth you have done it... well almost done it.
Move the two sliders together and see how well they line up.

It should look like this:

The two sliders meet evenly, nose-to-nose and we can skip off into the sunset having mastered (or fluked) the two-slider zip technique. 

It is quite likely however that you may end up with it looking like this: waaaat-wowww

Can you see the difference between this picture and the one above it?  
There is a slight bulge in the side of the zip tape in this second image. This is caused by the teeth being out of synch at the beginning by more than one tooth.  

The solution is simple; take the slider off and try again. You will get it there in the end. 

When the slider is on properly you can see the teeth interlock one after another. As you can see here, the tape isn't quite even but the teeth do merge one from each side. 

You may also notice that after a few goes the outermost teeth are starting to look a bit damaged. They have been stressed by first having the stop removed and then the pressure of getting the slider back on - this is why it is a good idea to start with a zip slightly longer than you need. 

6. This last step is very important - so skip it at your peril. A tad too dramatic? You won't be saying that if you find that you have to start again when the slider comes off the back end because this last step was skipped...

Use the needle and thread and put several stitches across the zipper teeth just past where the damaged teeth are so that the slider doesn't accidentally come off when your bag is mostly constructed... It is much harder to get back on later if one gets cocky and skips this step... (who me, cocky? Never.) 

That's it - you're done! Now you can use your zip.

But wait, there's more...
The technique for converting the zip to a double slider is the same regardless of which way your slider faces; instead of starting at the top of the zip, you would start at the bottom of the zip and put the slide on the the widest part - flat end - going first.

So now when you want that bag to have a zip meet in the middle and you don't have a zip with two sliders and the nearest specialty store is electronic and you just can't bear to wait 10+ days for that sucker to get here from the other side of the planet... You can raid you stash and as long as you have at least one zip in the right colour and a second with the same size teeth, you can fix that little problem in five minutes flat and be on you merry way to installing your lovely new double-slider zip. 

It can be fun to use different coloured or mismatching pulls and sliders - but I don't have any picture of those.

Thanks very much Dee! You can check out her blog here: Dee-zines . I'll be back with pics of the new pattern later in the week, but for now you can find it for sale in my Etsy store here: The Nappy Bag pattern

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Floral Asphalt Voile Maternity Washi Dress

If that title isn't a mouthful I don't know what is!

So the lovely Sara from Sew Sweetness sent me some Floral Asphalt in Voile from her new fabric line, Jungle Avenue.

I've never used voile before (apart from curtain voile which is completely different!) and I was amazed at how something so soft and buttery feeling, so lightweight could still be 100% cotton and sturdy enough to cut and sew with...without it being a pain in the neck! Let me tell you, this voile achieves all of that and more besides, the pattern printed on it is kinda cute too!

Here's what I made with it, a maternity Washi dress using the same edits as when I made my curtain Washi dress. I just made the nursing version with hidden invisible zip under the neckline bow.

I'm currently 32.5 weeks pregnant, 7.5 weeks to go!

I love everything about this dress, it's comfortable, keeps me cool and is so very soft to wear! The print is way brighter than anything I'd usually wear, but I love that it pushed me out of my comfort zone and I got so many compliments the first time I wore it, I'm sold on the fun, bright print!!

Without even trying I managed to get a big hot pink flower front and centre of my's that for hidden talent?

Yes, I do feel wide, why do you ask?
I'm so chuffed with this dress and so thankful to Sara for sending me some of this voile, I would recommend it to anyone! I've got a fair few scraps left and don't know what to do with them. If you can think of something, please comment below and I'll post them to you to carry on the Jungle Ave fever!

Oh, and in closing, here's how this dress makes me feel.....CRAZY!!

What would you be able to make with my scraps? They're not massive but there's some not too bad sized pieces.

Table is 150cm x 120cm (59" x 47")

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Elephant Skyline Peanut Swaddler

As if by magic, two fabulous things happened to me this last few months. Firstly I was sent some of the softest knit ever in an incredibly cute design, and secondly I stumbled across Sugar Tart Crafts Peanut Swaddler tutorial.

Cue choirs singing, light shining from behind the clouds etc...match made in heaven!

I bought a pink double zip because I'm still too much of a doofus to give making my own a go!

Unfortunately we're still at least two months away from having a real life model for this swaddler....enter creepy childhood doll in Jesus pose!

My nan knitted this little outfit for my dolly when I was a child, I remember having a lemon & pink one too but that's long since been lost in the mists of time.

With the double zip you can easily gain access to change the baby's nappy without having to completely un-swaddle and risk waking them (Apparently...I'll let you know how that goes when I try it for real!)

I'm hoping a real baby won't look quite so odd because she'll have her arms tucked in nicely rather than trying to do the Jesus pose.

I'm totally in love with this Elephant Skyline knit from Sara at Sew Sweetness' Jungle Ave line of fabric. It's a special edition by Art gallery fabrics so I don't think it'll be around forever. The print is really fun and I've got a large chunk left. I wonder if I can squeeze an adult size T shirt out of what I've got left....?

Thank you so much Sara for sending me some of this knit, it's gorgeous and I know baby Elvis is going to love her new swaddler! It's lightweight enough to not over-heat her but cosy enough to comfort her.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Back to school Bookbag Backpack deal

Lovely friends, our schools here have literally just broken up this week....however, I'm aware that in many parts of the world the schools are going back next month!

If this is you and you want to make a new bookbag backpack for your darling to take back to school with them (or yourself!) then count this as your lucky week!

I've reduced the Bookbag backpack PDF sewing pattern in my Etsy store by 20% to just £4. That's less than $7 (at last conversion!).

Here are some examples of Bookbags that have been made to tempt you!

Made by Dee

Made by Maria

Made by Maria
There's no discount code needed, just pop over to my Etsy store and add the Bookbag backpack pattern at the new reduced price!