Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

2016 Goals

2015 has not been a productive year for me, in many respects, but especially in sewing and blogging. Readjusting to life with a new baby… there’s just things that take priority. Like sleeping, eating, using the bathroom, showering… and sometimes cleaning. Both my kids have been/are clingons so I don’t have free hands or time very often in the baby stage (and even after). And two is more than one! With one, when he napped or was busy I could get stuff done. Now I basically switch from one to the other and grab a bagel and a pee in between. But the little one is starting to have more independent time and he is starting to get mobile. We are starting to work on the sleeping. And the older one is in school. So, it all comes back to the goals. I am taking stock of where things are and where they need to be and how to get there. It is overwhelming.

1. The UFOs

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It may be funny that I put this first, but honestly if I have one overriding goal in 2016 it is to tackle the ever growing pile of quilt tops I am amassing. There are a variety of reasons why I “abandon” a project at this stage, and usually a different reason for each one, but I need to make this a focus and a priority.

2. Learn to longarm

This has been a longtime goal. I have a past teacher/friend who has moved near me and has a longarm and has offered many times for me to come learn. I absolutely intend to take her up on this as things settle down in 2016. This should also help to chip away at item #1, above.

3. Get back to sewing

Well, duh, right? Other than a burst of deadline quiltmaking to get my Michael Miller challenge quilt (#quiltconreject) ready in time, I haven’t done much this year. I’ve more or less kept up with my block of the months (usually in three month marathons). I’ve been slowly making blocks for my cousin’s wedding ring quilt. I’ve managed to make some teacher and birthday gifts. But really, not a lot. I want more time sewing, more stuff getting done.

4. Get back to blogging

I’d been doing a pretty good job blogging and reading and making connections. That’s mostly all fallen apart this year. I need to find the time to sit and type at the computer as much as to sit and sew. And rebuild my online presence.

5. Clean. Declutter. Reorganize. Reduce.

And oh, this one is so big. When I named my blog, little did I know how true those words would be.

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When I say it has all gone to hell, I am not kidding. So even when I do have the opportunity to sew, I walk into this and pretty much either start working on cleaning it or walk right out.

This is a theme for my house and my life right now. Other than the kids, the reason I am not sewing is that this is pretty much the state of my whole house. So when I have time, I feel I need to be cleaning, and even more importantly decluttering.

I kept a delicate balance in my home and adding another person, taking away the space that is now his room, taking away the time and ability I had to maintain and keep any order… it has all caused a perfect storm. This is the road to Hoarders, y’all. I am not kidding. I am so worried. One more life event before I get a handle on things, and that could be me so easily. I know it. So, I am working my way though my house. Trying to reduce, remove, declutter, sell, give away… None of this is easy for me but the overwhelming looming feeling I have when I look around is giving me the drive to tackle this. It means a lot for my house in general. It means less time to sew. And in my sewing room, it means I have to get rid of fabric. I need to use it, and I need to sell it. I just have to. I want to hold on to it all, but I can’t even work in there. I just shift piles from one surface to the other, then spend a lot of time looking for things I “just had”. It’s a waste and I have precious little time and energy to waste these days.

6. Storm at Sea

I throw this one out there for a stretch goal. When I started this blog, I wanted to pick one goal pattern to tackle every year that intimidated me. I did my kaleidoscope one year. I meant to do storm at sea last year, I believe. It didn’t even almost happen. So I’m throwing it out there again.

7. Put myself out there

Ok, one more. This is another hard one. I am so isolated. I’m being honest so far, so I can go all out, right? I said I  am a hoarder. I also have social anxiety. Badly. I have a hard time navigating new relationships. I need to. I have no friends. I want to try to bridge that gap with some people. I want to go to guild regularly. And, you know, actually talk to people there. Not just sit in a corner. I want to see if I can get a sewing circle or something to join. See people who can say more than a few word sentences that revolve around something other than bathroom habits. Y’know?

Thanks Yvonne, for giving me the excuse to sit down and write this. Even though it still took me a week to get it done. And I’ll probably think of 100 more goals once I hit post. 🙂

2016 Planning Party

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Saturday Swap: You are here mugs

I’ve been out of town most of the month, so I haven’t been getting my Saturday Swaps up. 😦 I should have them back on track now!

During my travels, I accumulated many Starbucks mugs. I am not a coffee drinker, but I love hot tea or chocolate in the mornings in the winter or when I am ill. I love the designs of the mugs and I know they are quite popular on the internet.

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So I have opened a swap for them. It is open to US/Canada with a mail date of 10/10. I am limiting this one to 20 participants to keep it manageable. Assuming all goes well, I will run again in the future. Handmade or other accessories are encouraged!

To sign up and for more information, you can check here.

What have you guys been swapping while I’ve been gone?

Here are the link up rules:

1. Link up a post about a recent fabric, block or hand made item swap. You may share both what you sent and received. You may also post about an upcoming swap you are hosting.

2. In the post, link up back here to my blog.

3. (Assuming there are multiple linkups, as this is the first one) Comment on a few other links!

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Saturday Swap #3

This week I am sharing the Supernova blocks I have made so far for the Supernova Friendship Swap.

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I am swapping with Rachael, who is in the UK. We chose to work with Nordika (after many many back-and-forths)

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We also debated the background color. I really wanted to go with Burgandy, but we were worried about color matching, so Rachael came up with the idea of using various shades in red/burgandy. She found this cute quilt which we are basing our idea on. Hopefully it comes together as well! So far I love it.

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We each make two of the same block each month, then keep one and send the other. We are supposed to have 10 at the end, but we are going to try for 12 so we have a rectangular quilt instead of a square one.

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Since we got started late (plus international postage), I went ahead and made my first two and will send them off next week!

OK, your turn! What are you swapping this week?

 

Here are the link up rules:

1. Link up a post about a recent fabric, block or hand made item swap. You may share both what you sent and received. You may also post about an upcoming swap you are hosting.

2. In the post, link up back here to my blog.

3. (Assuming there are multiple linkups, as this is the first one) Comment on a few other links!

 

 

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Announcing: Saturday Swap #1!

So, I’ve apparently gotten a bit of a reputation for myself. I’ve never met a swap I didn’t like. (Well, actually I have… but that’s a different story.) I’m a bit of a joiner. At Stash Bash they were calling me “The Swap Queen”. I love to swap. It is fun to take one print and turn it into many. I’ve also met many wonderful people and made friends through swapping.

While I participate in many swaps, I also host my own monthly swap on flickr. We pick a theme/designer/line each month and swap fat 8ths. This month is Joel Dewberry, and I still have a couple spots open. Please join us if you are interested!  I just sent off our May swap, which was I spy fabrics. We got a nice selection and I’ve already cut squares out of most of mine for my econoblock quilt.

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I’ve been thinking about hosting a linkup to show off your swaps for a while. I finally am making it happen! If you would like to join in the linkup, please write a post about a recent swap you participated in. This can be a fabric swap, a block/bee/round robin swap, a mini quilt swap, you get the idea – any fabric or hand made item which has been swapped. You can tell about the item(s) you sent and received. You may also link up an advertisement for a swap you are hosting. (No! Please don’t! Because then I would have to join! LOL)

So, write your post, grab a button, and join the linky!

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Here are the link up rules:

1. Link up a post about a recent fabric, block or hand made item swap. You may share both what you sent and received. You may also post about an upcoming swap you are hosting.

2. In the post, link up back here to my blog. Let others know about our new linkup!

3. (Assuming there are multiple linkups, as this is the first one) Comment on a few other links!

 

This is my first linkup, so hopefully things will go off without a hitch, but if there are technical difficulties, please be patient and try again next time! Thanks for joining me in my swap obsession!

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Finish Along Q2

So I somehow completely missed the finish along Q1 finishes link up. I was looking out for it but never saw it. Oh well. I only had one finish – my stack the deck.

So now it is time to link up for the second quarter –

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1. My Citrus Bento – I am currently quilting this. I just need to finish and bind. Almost done!

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2. My BOM class top. I doubt I will get to this, but here it is just in case.

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3. My son’s bad piggy quilt. I hope to have this done for his birthday in May.

Chevron

Chevron

4. My Chevron quilt. I am still hunting back fabric for this, but want to get to it soon as it is a thank you gift for a friend.

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5. My Tula Pink “houndstoothish” – still in this state. I have about 30 more blocks to decide on fabrics and make before finishing the top. This one is huge.

Bloom Bloom Pow

Bloom Bloom Pow

6. Bloom bloom pow – I haven’t touched this one since I put it away last summer. I need to make the back.

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7. Ribbon Chevron – This one is still festering in my sewing room. I will get to it some day – if for no other reason than to be done with it. I don’t love it as much as I did a year and a half ago. It’s funny to see how I’ve grown/changed.

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8. Tula pink sail away – I have my squares cut and ready to get started.

I have a few other projects I am starting, but am just pulling fabrics for so no photos yet. Nothing I think I’ll have completed in the next few months anyway.

 

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Wip Wednesday: I love to take a phooooo to graph ~\.

So I have been working again. The new nephew is due any day now. I need to get his quilt done. I am going away soon. I need to get this quilt, my June mystery block and about 5 swaps done and mailed before I go! Wow. Don’t know if the quilt will make it. We’ll see. And I am going to try to get my machine in for servicing while I am away.

Originally, I was going to do a mini tumbler quilt to emulate big brother’s Tumbler quilt. But somewhere along the way I changed my mind. I wanted to use my ABC ispy swap blocks and there are only 26 of those… Not enough, especially for a mini tumbler. So I decided the polaroid quilt might be a good decision.

Some helpful tutorials if you are interested:

Well, I didn’t want to do the itty bitty polaroids that everyone did not too long ago. My swap blocks are 6.5″ and I wanted to use as much of it as possible. And, again, only 26 blocks. 🙂  So, I had to do some math and drawing and stuff. So, in case anyone is interested in making larger blocks, I will save you some trouble. Here is what I did:

I determined what size grid, quilt and blocks I wanted. I came up with 7.5″ blocks in a 5×6 grid making the quilt 35x42ish.
I spent some time trying to decide on paper piecing vs. chain piecing. I went with chain piecing, and I am glad. It is going very quickly.
I cut my 6.5″ prints into 5″ charms.
I cut white strips at 1 inch and 1.5 inches.
Then I sewed the 1 inch strips on the sides and trimmed them even.

White strip chain

White strip chain

Then I sewed 1 inch on the top, and 1.5 on the bottom. I trimmed the bottom to 1.25 and the top and sides to .75.

Polaroids!

Polaroids!

Then I cut the background fabric to 2.5 inches and sewed to the sides, trimmed, and top and bottom.

Chain sewing background

Chain sewing background

I made a 7.5″ paper template, tilted it, and trimmed around it. And that is my block.

Finished block

Finished block

Incidentally, this is similar to the twisted block I made for my son’s quilt, but was a much easier way of doing it. One of those smack your head, why didn’t I think of this myself sort of things. (And I altered the size of those blocks on my own as well.)  It does waste more fabric, though.

Once I finally got started, it was moving pretty quickly. I feel like I say that a lot. I guess I spend way too much time thinking and planning and then finally get around to it. This is where I’ve gotten hung up in the past, and I am learning to work through it. I would just think and think and never DO. And the more I thought, the more convinced I got that I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) do.

Where I am now.

Where I am now.

So, currently, I am halfway through adding the background strips to my polaroid blocks. Hopefully I will make it to sewing them together tomorrow. I ordered some of the mischief fabric that was half off on Fat Quarter Shop last week. They always seem to have the perfect sale on the perfect fabric when I need it for backing. I bought the City Streets backing for the kidlet’s quilt when she had that on sale, and I was just about to go shell out for it at my LQS. The mischief was just so perfect. The blue sold out while I was debating, so I ended up getting the cream and the green (I think. or brown) and some of the plaid for the binding. I think I’ll probably go with the cream for the baby’s quilt, but will choose when they get here. Then I can use the other for another quilt for my baby. Because, you know, I’ve never finished the first one anyway…. and he has totally been trying to steal the tumbler quilt. I’ve had to hide it. I really need to finish one for him. I am also debating embroidering the letters and/or name of objects onto the bottom strip of the polaroid.

I am pondering my mystery block for this month. I think it is the last one. Then my little pineapple will find its way back to me. We will do a reveal. I think I know what I am going to do, but it’s something I haven’t tried before… and I am still trying to figure out if I have (enough of) the right colors. I really hope so. I gotta stop spending…. (not just on fabric, but that isn’t helping…)

New chair

New chair

Here is my new sewing chair. Yay. This is care of my husband’s job’s discards. Don’t be too jealous – it is quite literally the least they could do. At least I don’t have to use a dining chair anymore.

I’ll be linking up to…

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WIP Wednesday

This Wednesday has kind of snuck up on me. I have been really productive this week though. Without having other distractions I have really been able to focus on sewing. I have also been very motivated. It feels good to have things getting completed.

First, I finished by BBP top:

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Laying out blocks

This is another one, like my son’s twisted block top, that I did not plan ahead at all, and everything just sort of came together perfectly. I was able to space colors more or less the way I wanted to. I hate when two of the same colors touch. I had a little more trouble spacing patterns, because there are no two blocks alike, and so either the main pattern or the bg pattern was going to be near another of the same. I also paid some attention to value placement, but that was secondary to color to me.

I only had to rip one block when putting individual blocks together, so I think that is real progress! When putting rows together, I had an entire row that I had to rip and redo, because I had put it together backwards. Still, didn’t take too long and not too bad.

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Finished top

It’s been really windy so I had a horrible time getting a good picture, but hopefully this gives you an idea. I am really pleased with it. I guess I will start on the back after I finish the next thing I am working on:

Basting

Basting

I am finally quilting something! This is the tumbler top I am making for my nephew for his big brother gift. I basted it last night and started quilting it. Basting was slightly challenging. I think I will do the binder clip method in the future when I am home. I taped it to the tile floor, and the tape kept coming up. Especially on the upper layers. It basted really quickly though, while I was watching Dance Moms. But it did a job on my back.

Quilting

Quilting

This is its current state right now. You can see the back here too. I wanted something quick and easy, so it is just straight yardage. No piecing on this one. I started quilting it last night. Quilting was challenging, but I think I am getting the hang of it. I am just doing straight line quilting with my walking foot. I was definitely tinkering with my tension for the first few rows. I think I have that straight now. It is strange because the thread at the top of the machine is really loose, but the stitch looks good. I don’t have the terminology to explain that clearer. The other problem I was having was that it would occasionally not move evenly, and I would get really really short stitches. I think I have figured out that it was catching on something, but I am not sure what. I think either the foot lift lever or the front edge of the machine. I am being really mindful of keeping everything clear and it is moving better now. It is all a learning process. I think it will go a lot easier when I am home on my table, once I have my table insert (need to order!). Everything will be level and move more smoothly.

My house drama gets worse. I am told the painting looks fabulous. However, the extermination report was… not great. Not as bad as it could be though. The wires and ventilation are fine. And costs another fortune. This is such a mess. It is going to take a long time to recover from this. And there are even some less urgent things that we are going to put off doing because we just… can’t. Now my husband tells me he hears dripping. I think he is just being anxious in an empty house for so long. I hope.

Linking to…

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WIP Wednesday

So I am currently in Florida with my parents and the baby.

My view :D

My view 😀

Initially, I didn’t think I was going to be able to bring my machine with me, and I wasn’t sure I’d have time to sew if I did. But I managed to be very selective in the projects I brought and fit the machine and a duffel of fabric in the car. I’ve been sewing at night after the baby goes to bed and today it is raining so I should be able to get some time in. Here is what I brought:

  • Bento top to be bordered
  • Tumbler top and backing – to make the back, and baste and quilt it.
  • Ribbon top to be bordered
  • Ribbon back to be made
  • Bloom bloom pow top and back
  • scraps

I decided to start with my bento top since I thought that would be the quickest and easiest to cross off the list. Even so, it was not without its challenges. Mostly because of my stupidity.

Strip piecing the border

Strip piecing the border

Holes in the sashing. Ripped that out and replaced it.

Holes in the sashing. Ripped that out and replaced it.

Sewed sashing on upside down. Ripped that out and fixed it.

Sewed sashing on upside down. Ripped that out and fixed it.

finished top!

finished top!

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And, of course, the errors:

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These are the sort of things that will drive me insane. But I guess not enough to rip out everything I have done and fix them. Oh well. I am not sure the corner one could have been avoided, but maybe if I had been paying more attention and tried. The double white was from sewing two strips end to end and I didn’t pay attention.

The other one I have been working on is my bloom bloom pow QAL. After checking many stores for a 60 degree triangle, I finally just ordered online and had it sent to me here. It arrived yesterday. I don’t know why they are so difficult to find. I started cutting my triangles while watching tv last night. I got about halfway through. I am going to get back to work on it once I am done here.

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I have also made some tough decisions. My 3×6 bee started a new quarter today. I did not sign up this round. I am going to be away a lot over the next few months, and I have already been feeling that it takes away from my own sewing goals. I just want to be able to focus on what I want to work on during the time I have. I have passed up some other opportunities for the same reasons. Shipping has been getting expensive too.

There’s one more WIP going on… When I arrived back from Stash Bash, I happened to notice a large section of the underside of our roof had collapsed. It was in an area of our house we don’t see often, so who knows how long it has been like that. We have critters getting into the attic. And upon further inspection, they are chewing holes in the trim in other areas of our house. We had the repair people out… Part of the issue is that there is apparently NO paint on our house, when it was done it was done wrong, and our wood trim is rotting. That’s allowing the animals to get in and make things worse. So, in addition to repairing the damage, we have to have the entire house painted. Now, we have been talking about getting the house painted for about a year. We knew it needed it, but we thought it was purely cosmetic. Something to make our house hold its own as the only wood home in a subdivision of brick. But it was a lot of money to spend on something cosmetic, and other more necessary things kept coming up. And, honestly, if I were going to do cosmetic work on the house, I can think of several other things that rate more highly for me. I have such a love-hate relationship with my house. The money pit. Oh well. Now it is a necessity. With everything going on lately, our savings is pretty much shot now. We have to get really strict with our spending, and I am considering a part time job.

Anyway, we figured as long as we had to paint it, maybe we should take advantage of it.

Here is my house now

Here is my house now

testing paint colors

testing paint colors

 

And here is what it will look like. You know, paint wise. We aren't ripping the whole house down and rebuilding, as much as it might need it. :D

And here is what it will look like. You know, paint wise. We aren’t ripping the whole house down and rebuilding, as much as it might need it. 😀

 

Work is starting right now, and my house will look completely different when I come home. As distressed as I am about money, it is exciting to get this done.

 

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WIP Wednesday: All over the place

I seem to have 100 things going on, in all stages, and I am unsuccessful at focusing on any one thing.

First and most important is my March mystery border, which I cannot show you. I am mostly done with it, but I have been working on it over a week. I still have the corner pieces to make, then sew it all to the existing quilt. I am pretty happy with it.

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I have all my 3×6 blocks packed up to send except the one I still have to make.  This becomes priority #2 once I finish my mystery border.

Next, I still have to border my ribbon quilt. I am stuck in some sort of decision making paralysis on this one. I am having a hard time choosing which fabrics to use and I am scared of not having enough for the border. I am also a little scared of the border.

Ribbon fabrics

Ribbon fabrics

I finally got my order today that included my citrus fabric possibilities. I made my final choices (it wasn’t easy) and got my 2.5 inch strips cut for that. I have to cut a lot of white strips now, then I can start sewing that top together.

Final citrus color scheme choices

Final citrus color scheme choices

I also started cutting the tumblers for my nephew’s big brother gift quilt.  I used my accuquilt to cut them, so it went fast. I have a whole bunch cut, but I am not sure yet how big I want to make it and if I will need more or less. I just started throwing some up on the design board to get an idea of size and check orientation. This is not the actual placement for the quilt.

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My list goes on from there…. but other than swaps that have my attention, these are my immediate projects.

I also just cut out May from sewing, so I suddenly feel I have a lot more to do in a lot less time.

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I finished something

I took a break from borders today to put together my notions bag. This is something one of the ladies in my BOTM class made and I thought it would be a nice thing to have too. I had been using a wet bag and was scared that my pointy things would ruin the PUL. I found the pattern at one of the shop hop shops. It didn’t seem too complicated or like it would take tooo long. It was kind of a disaster from the beginning. Two needles lost their lives in this project.

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The first set of interfacing I tried to use didn’t fuse. So I had to find some other interfacing to try. All the wet and steam caused some burn marks on my ironing pad to stain my white fabric. Ultimately, I was able to cut around the stain. I also gooked up my iron a bit. The notions fabric is the fabric from this year’s shop hop. I thought it would be perfect for this bag. And maybe a sewing cover. Because, you know, I always cover my sewing machine.

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The pattern

The pattern (or – “what it is supposed to look like”)

So the cutting went fine. And then I started sewing. Well. I’d never sewn vinyl before. I knew it was supposed to be tricky, but I didn’t know why. The d@mn vinyl sticks to the machine and doesn’t move and then jams up the thread. I tried sewing while holding it up or putting something under it, and it didn’t help. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize it was sticking to the foot. So I finally came up with the ingenious idea to cover it with a telephone book page and sew over that.  I was sewing blind, but other than that, it seemed to do the trick. And then ripped right off. I just had some nasty spots where the thread caught or skipped.

Things went along ok from there until I had to sew the inner lining to the back of the vinyl. The first time I tried, I was sewing too far over and the seam didn’t catch the end of the vinyl. It also was uneven and wonky. So I spent about a half hour ripping that seam out and then trying again. It is still wobbly but doing its job.

See?

See?

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Ok. Just a tip. When it says to square up, square up. For serious. The front with the back.Otherwise your bottom seams won’t line up and it’ll be wobbly like mine. I tried to line the “bottom” seam up with the back instead of the middle, and it works, but isn’t beautiful and doesn’t sit flat. It tilts back. So then I had to sew the sides. This was a total disaster. First, I totally missed my aim and sewed the zipper thing. That’s what killed my first needle. and it took some work to unjam everything after that. Then, remember that important lesson I learned about sewing vinyl? Somehow I totally forgot it already. I was sewing all la-de-da then hit the vinyl part and suddenly my project wouldn’t move. It took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize why. Again. So I did my phone book trick again and now my seam looks like this:

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It was intentional. Sure. Text prints are so trendy right now. Also, appreciate the contrasting thread. Totally intentional too.

Ok. Here comes the worst part. I am truly mortified to admit it. All I can blame is a long day and tired. I went to box my corners and wanted to put my hand inside the bag to push them out and…. I totally sewed my bag shut. It never occurred to me to unzip the zipper before sewing the sides. Stop laughing. I spent a good deal of quality time with some tools trying to pry it open before finally coming downstairs to my husband (who had been waiting quite a long time at this point for me to “just finish this up”) and said “you are going to laugh at me, but I need your help.” He looked so confused about what I would need sewing help for. Until I got about halfway into my first sentence and he put his hand to his eyes and started laughing. Then I handed it over and he spent some time til he finally got it open. Lesson learned.

The second needle died when I was doing my corners. I don’t quite remember why now. I think I just hadn’t tightened the needle well enough in the first place and it slipped out.

I finished my corners and here you go.

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It is serviceable, if not beautiful. Oh well. I always do everything better the second time. The fabrics sure are real cute. I had meant to add a carrying/hanging loop but that never happened. Next time.

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