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As I’ve written here before, I’ve sewed since I was a little girl, but I haven’t made any clothes for myself in several years.  Then, several months ago, I was looking at a catalog and saw a blouse I really liked and it occurred to me that I could easily make myself something similar.  So I dug through my stash, made that blouse, and promptly got myself obsessed all over again with sewing clothes.

So, being a person who spends way too much time on the internet, I went searching for blogs about sewing and Facebook pages for pattern companies and sewing magazines.  And found the brave new (to me) world of online sewing contests.

Hence this bag.


I’m sure it’s obvious that I did not take this picture.  Ahem.

My wonderful partner, a REAL photographer (unlike me), was kind enough to take this with all his fancy gear and pretty it up in Photoshop for me.  I’ve entered it into this BurdaStyle contest–grand prize a new serger.

Bags are really my thing, sewing wise, and they’re largely what I’ve been sewing while I’ve been away from sewing clothes.  So when I saw the free Burda bag pattern for use in the contest, I knew that was the one I would make.  I got out my box of velvets and satins, decided on a color scheme, and the design just seemed obvious to me.  I let the idea cook in my head for a couple of days, but this just seemed right.

What I learned making this bag:

1.  STRETCH VELOUR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.  Seriously.  It WILL make you crazy.  I was smart enough to underline the body of this with cotton broadcloth (best decision ever), but didn’t underline the black velour overlay.  MISTAKE.  Then combine that with slippery satin, a rotary cutter blade that isn’t super sharp, and a design that’s supposed to be very precise and YIKES.  I was able to get the overlays to work on the one side, but what you can’t see in the picture is that there’s only the one layer of black velour on the back.  With a lot of sweat, I was able to get that to match the front at the seams, but I could not get the satin to work.  After the second attempt, I just laughed and resigned myself to a one-sided design.


2.  I need to trust myself and my sewing skills.  I always get unreasonably nervous when I do things differently than a pattern instructs, but I really need to stop worrying about that so much.  I made several changes to this and all worked out well.

For example, I attached the top binding like quilt binding so that I could avoid flattening out the velour with machine stitching (and because it never turns out as neatly as hand sewing).  And, since I knew my rotary cutting of the satin for the drawstrings hadn’t been perfect, I figured out what their final dimensions should be and sewed them to get that.  That is, instead of sewing with a set seam allowance of 1/2″, I turned the strips of fabric over so the fold was at the 1/2″ marking on my sewing machine.  That way I knew I’d get a finished width of 1/2″ on the drawstrings.

3.  I need to do more hand work.  I really liked doing all the hand sewing and beading on this; I find it to be very calming to my anxious brain.  Not sure how I’m going to fit that into my other commitments, but I’m storing it away as something to work toward.

The Burda contest will be decided through online voting beginning October 1.  If anybody likes the bag, I’d appreciate a vote for it very, very much.  The link is here.

In the meantime, I’ve finally started work on one of my FESA projects, the green linen blouse.  It was supposed to be a quick and easy project.  YEAH RIGHT.


Even with Shelby’s assistance, this is going to be another challenging project.

BELATED 10/5 UPDATE:  The submission period for the Burdastyle contest has been extended through 10/6.  I’m guessing voting starts on the 7th, but the post doesn’t actually say.  Anyway, here’s the link.

In other exciting STH contest news, I’ve entered the Fat Quarter Blouse in the Joann Sew Your Style Contest.  Voting is going on now and ends 10/7.  The site seems to allow multiple votes on some days and not others (don’t ask me, I just sew).  The blouse, which I creatively named the Fat Quarter Blouse, shows up on the second page of entries (you have to scroll down to the bottom of the first page and click “load more.”)  Votes are very, very appreciated. Thank you.