Tuesday, March 19, 2019

SPRING Tote Bag - Supplies and Tips!

Happy Tuesday Loves!

After watching a few YouTube videos, and doing a little research on bag making, I am happy to share some tips learned as well as the materials and resources needed to create your own wooden  or acrylic handle tote bag.  I have been wanting to learn a little bit more about bag making and since I am home for a few weeks, I decided to take advantage of the time.  When I saw a great deal (50% off)  on mybluprint, I quickly signed up as I knew I would get my money's worth.  My daughter loves to cook and bake and I know she will truly enjoy watching videos and baking over Spring Break.  I decided to start my bag making adventure and was able to finish up 2 courses and is working on my 3rd.  

The courses that I completed on mybluprint are:
 - Learn to Sew Simple Bags - Nicole Vasbinder
 - Building Better Bags: Interface and Structurehttps://sewsweetness.com

I am half way through Essential techniques for better bags with Lisa Lam and plan to finish this course up before making tote bag #3.

Supplies NEEDED ARE:
Exterior Fabric: quilt weight cotton, denim, selected home decor, linen cotton blend, ankara wax cotton, oil cloth (water resistant bag)
Interior/Lining fabric - cotton
Denim needle
Bag handle:  (Pacific Trimming or Joann Fabric (Handle used here)
Circle diameter must be at least 6 inches or more.  Rectangular handle at least 5 to 6 inches no more than 7)
Interface - heavy weight (fusible or sew in)
Fusible fleece or  home decor interface
Pins/wonder clips
Marking tool
Cutting tool (rotary cutter or scissors)
Quilter ruler,  regular ruler seam gauge
Curve ruler - flushed handle 
Cotton thread (HEAVY DUTY)

Fabric and Hardware Selection:
Select a non-stretch woven fabric that has one direction print. For example, a fabric with animals going in all direction (up, down, sideways) may not look good on the bag.
Select a fabric that can press well and is not affected by heat. 
Select a cotton lining fabric that compliments or highlights your main fabric.  Solid is always safe when working with a print.
Select the right hardware based on your personal taste and style. An oversize handle may not work with a small size bag.

INTERFACE that I used for both bags purchased at Joann
Choose the interface based on the structure you are looking for with your bag. If you want a tote bag with a great structure, a lightweight interface will not work.
Ensure that stressed areas such as snaps and handles are reinforced with the interface.
Test your fabric and interface first on a small scrap.
Decide on the right color interface to use for your interface. If your fabric is dark, you may want to use black interfacing. If your fabric is light or white,  black interfacing may distort the color. For example, the white fabric may look gray if black interfacing is used.
When working with the interface, start pressing apart at the center and work your way out. Use a pressing cloth if need be. PRESS, PRESS, PRESS, it hides your little imperfections.
Trim interfacing from seams to avoid bulky seams. (Cut interface without the seam allowance)
Sewing your bag!
Use high-quality thread with a denim needle for thicker fabric and wonder clips instead of pins.
To avoid skip stitching, use a walking or adjust the tension on your machine.
My first BAG! Needed to add more support to the handle section of the bag!

Here are some great videos to watch in preparation to create your bag.

Attach handle first to each piece of outer fabric.
Press seams and add the interface after you sew your outer fabric.  Remember interface is 1/2 inch less than main fabric to reduce bulk in the seams.  You can either cut the 1/2 inch later or before.
Make sure you leave a hole in your lining big enough for your handle!


My pocket on bag #2 is 9 inches wide by 7 inches long (INCLUDED SEAM ALLOWANCE).  Finished pocket measurement is 8 x 6 inches perfect for cell phones or keys.  Create any size you want based on your personal style.
Attach pocket to lining first before sewing up your bag making sure your pocket is balanced by ensuring the distance from the left and right of the pocket is the same.
The easiest way is to measure the distance across where the top of the pocket will be placed.
Subtract the width of your pocket and then divide by 2 to find out the distance from the left to the right.

I plan to try this method and will share any tips later in my next blog post.

I did not draft a paper pattern and directly drafted the measurements on the fabric. For a beginner, I would definitely recommend drafting each piece on paper first and cutting your fabric. Please feel free to send me any tips, suggestions or even questions that you may have. Be sure to check out my IGTV tutorial on Instagram to create and draft your pattern.  I will also share a step by step tutorial on how to draft your own bag pattern and lining with facing on Thursday.

Thank you so much for reading and don't forget to check out my latest Fabricmart blogpost!

One Love,

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Monday, February 4, 2019

My LOVE Affair with Ankara Fabric

Happy Monday LOVES!

"Your greatest responsibility is to love yourself and to know you are enough!"
I can't believe it's already February of 2019, my favorite month of the year!  February is the month that we celebrate Black History, Valentine's Day and President's day.  It's the month where the color RED seems to be in the windows and of retail stores and Valentine's day candy and chocolate is all in your face. I get a chance to wear all my favorite handmade pieces in Ankara and of course my favorite red make on Valentine's day.

I fell in love with this beautiful Folashade RED and WHITE fabric from Ankara and Lace.  The company is based in New York and sells beautiful unique Ankara as well as offer a fabric subscription service. Their subscription service offers 1, 3, and 6 yards subscription chosen and delivered to your doorstep.  I was in awe when I came across this fabric on their Instagram page and couldn't resist making a beautiful wrap top.  Unfortunately, the fabric is sold out but the Irene fabric here would look just as beautiful as well using this pattern.

The top is made using NEW LOOK 6560, an easy sew pattern with great details.  I love the belt, the back darts and the gathers on the yoke. I did not want a long wrap top as I wanted to be able to rock it with a pencil skirt or high waist jeans.  I selected to make VIEW A without the ruffles around the neck area which has a great bishop style sleeve.
I am so loving both looks and definitely plan to wear this top either with jeans or skirt on Valentine's day!

Thank you so much for reading and don't forget to stop by Ankara and Lace and grab some amazing fabric.  Spreading the  LOVE , they are offering a 25% discount to all my readers and followers with discount code OVERDRIVE which expires on Valentine's day.


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Monday, January 7, 2019

The Classic Dress for a Red Shoe Event!

Happy NEW YEAR Loves!!!

I am so excited about this new year and a new beginning!  2018 I learned so much about myself through sewing and this year I plan to build on the skills I have gained and learn from the mistakes that I have made.  Sewing has been so therapeutic and rewarding.  December I did not sew half the items I planned while on school break, but I created a great dress to wear to an event next month.
I decided NOT to rush the process of making the dress and take as much time needed to improve my craft.  I wanted to work on finishing and improve my skills when working with prints.

I truly enjoy working with prints especially Ankara and ensure that it is balanced, matched and stands out.

Here are some tips based on my personal experience while working with prints.  There is NO science to it, but your math skills will help!

Since I wanted to ROCK my RED shoes, I created a MIDI highlighting the RED!

1. Always buy at least 1 to 2 yards extra if working with prints or plaids.
2. Find a pattern that has minimal darts and seams. (It is more difficult to line up prints when working with princess seams)
3. Find the focal point on the print and work around balancing and highlighting the colors.
4. MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE!! - Adjust pattern layout when working with prints, avoid sewing darts to distort the appearance of the focal point if possible by shifting pattern pieces up or down.
5. Spend time when cutting. Don't rush the process and cut single pieces instead of on fold of fabric to match. I tend to cut prints first thing in the morning when my brain is fresh and alert.
6. Always shift and add the seam allowance when matching to avoid distorting the seam.
7. Perfection doesn't always work but match seams that are more visible to the eyes. ( For example, side seams are more visible on pants vs. crotch seams)

I am still learning as I work more with prints and will continue to share.

Here are a few of my favorite ankara and print makes!

You can check out the blogpost here for more photos!
Princess SEAM which took at least an hour to cut the bodice.

Forgot to add a little extra and NOT include the seam allowance to match pefect.
TOOK at least1 hours to match the seams of the circle skirt.

Don't forget the WAISTBAND!!! I even centered the focal point of the aqua color
As always, thanks for reading and have a wonderful and blessed week!

Feel free to share your thoughts below!!!  I plan to share another BLOGPOST on working with BODICE FIT and will make a few modifications and share!


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Sunday, August 12, 2018

RE: Life LESSONS learned from creating a mere pants!

Happy Monday Loves!

Can't believe I will be heading back to work this week.  It has been a great summer and yes I am excited to be heading to a new school this year.  I will NOT miss the 1 hour or more commute and will be able to get an extra hour of sleep or work out before I go to work. I waited last minute to make a few basic staple work pieces and decided that I would use my easy to sew patterns that would take me less than 2 hours to create.  My first option was to create at least 3 palazzo pants with 3 different fabric types using Simplicity 8605.

My first pants had so many issues and taught me so many life lessons.  I first looked through my stash and found a lightweight denim, however, I did NOT have enough. I needed an extra 10 inches if I had to cut on grain. I decided to CUT it cross grain not realizing that IT was definitely a BIG NO NO!  For the most part, I always cut MOST of my patterns on GRAIN except when I want to add a little drama or play with the stripes.  For gathered skirts or a top, YOU may be able to get away with it but I PROMISE you, it MAKES a BIG DIFFERENCE with these wide leg pants.

SO here are the mistakes that you may NOT see with the denim:
1. Need to add a little bit more adjustment to the crutch and the waistband.  This is a paper-bag waist and sits at the natural waist and I had to wear it super low to avoid crotch issues.  I adjusted the crutch before cutting and it needed at least 1/2 inch more.
2. Grading in between so many sizes to have a WIDER leg did NOT work for my body type.  I had to adjust it before shooting as it had some serious issues on the thighs and sides.
3. Use fabric that works for the desired look.  Rayon drapes better so of course I will use this block for rayon palazoo pants.

After seeing a sewist (skirtboss on Instagram) wide leg palazzo pants and how she explained grading to the largest size, I figured it would work for me since we are both tall. The issue is I AM NOT PETITE and more on the CURVY body type so mine did not look like not even close to any of her wide-leg pants.  I had to grade in between sizes for the waist and hip and grading between 2 larger sizes for the pants below did not give me the right fit.  I adjusted it slightly for it to look halfway decent to wear outside the house. I needed that epiphany to learn that what works for someone else may not work for me.

Some life lessons are:
1. God created us in HIS own image and we all are unique.  Our body types are different even though we may have the same characteristics (height, shape) it may not come out or even look the same.
2.  If you don't have enough, just don't cut!  We often times want to take shortcuts to get to the finish line.  Life is NOT a race! I wasted 2 yards of lightweight fabric that I could have used for something else just because I wanted to cut these pants so bad.
3. Failure is the best life lesson.  If I had given up after my first pair, I would not have created a winning look and learn how to stitch down the elastic in the waist area.  I will always look at each failure as a valuable life lesson.
4. Only you sometimes will see the mistake so brush it off and keep it moving.   Everyone loved the pants including me at first and a NON-sewist will say how beautiful it is. I am still proud of it no matter what and got so many compliments.  We are our biggest critic and beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.  Once you rock it with confidence, that is where the focus will be.

I am so happy with VERSION 2 and somewhat pleased with VERSION 3.  I graded to the large, adjusted the waist and the crutch by 1/2 inch and it was perfect. In addition, the reason I even more in  love with version 2 more is the fabric choice was perfect and it drapes so beautifully.  I used 100% rayon from my stash and with version 3, I used 100% polyester.
Will the fabric and cut make a DIFFERENCE? Absolutely!!!  I am in LOVE with this pattern after a few modifications and will create it as a block for any future 100% rayon wide leg pants.  I am pretty sure it can work for polyester, lightweight denim, and even linen but I have to note that the drape will be different.
I truly enjoyed shooting with Carlos a local photographer at this rustic location in Miami!  BE SURE TO CHECK HIM OUT ON INSTAGRAM HERE! I loved every single photo which captured the natural elements and the beauty of the fabric.  I definitely will be using him again in September for my Fabric Mart and #sewyourview.

Thanks so much for stopping by and stay tuned for VERSION 3 and 4 later this week or next Monday!

One Love, Marica

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wrapping up my Summer Makes - Butterick 6453

Happy Wednesday LOVES!!
Can't believe we are in August, my birthday month!  Am I excited, HELL NO!! I guess I have NOT been feeling the birthday vibes this year.  It seems the older I get, the less I care about birthdays.
On a positive NOTE, I am learning more and more about FIT with each make and I am seeing what works and what does NOT!!  I have two of Gertie's Butterick patterns 6556 and 6453 but was always hesitant to sew them up. Now that I am understanding how to interpret patterns, I am going all in, NO MORE FEAR!

I love this Butterick 6453 pattern except there are a couple of things that I will change for the next time I sew it.  I had the larger size and realized it too late (14-22) so I could NOT grade it at all.  I know a 12 would have given me a better fit for a woven with no stretch but I definitely will be making some changes even if I cut a different size.  I had to take this in quite a bit on the side seams after inserting the zipper and definitely will work on a few other changes to the bodice.

Here are the changes I plan to make next time to the BODICE:
1. Cut a size 10 for sure and slightly grade it to the 12 waist if I use a sateen fabric (stretch).
2. Raise the arm-hole by 1/2 inch. (Remember to always modify the facing as well.)
3. Pinch in the princess seam by 1/4 of an inch for no gaping at the side if need be.  For a WOVEN with NO stretch, possibly do a small (1/2 inch) FBA.  It is NOT as noticeable but I personal feel the fit would be a little better around the bust area.
5. LINE the bodice entirely if I use a woven fabric!

I definitely will make a muslin for a SATEEN Fabric for sure.

I DID NOT MATCH THE FLOWER on the side seam SO THAT THE PRINT was balanced all around. The layout of the flower was angled and this really tried my patience. CUTTING THE SKIRT GAVE ME A HEADACHE more than the bodice

ROCKING a petticoat  found on amazon (here).

Since this is my first time making this pattern, I created a wearable muslin as I do  NOT like to waste my time and make muslins.  I will be rocking this to work with a cardigan over it and will get much wear this fall. In addition, I plan to use a sateen fabric and make the pencil skirt version so for sure I will have to make a MUSLIN.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I will be taking a few days off to sew up a few projects for work before planning my fall makes.  Can't believe I only have 2 more weeks left!


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Monday, July 30, 2018

July's Sew Your View using Simplicity 8642

Happy Monday LOVES!!
I swear these last 2 months I have been in SEWING overdrive!!!! Honestly, my goal this summer was NOT to tutor or look at a Math problem, but to focus on my workout routine and improving my craft - sewing.  I personally DO NOT monetize my blog so I am NOT earning any income for sharing my personal thoughts, reviews or feedback.  This is a hobby that I truly enjoy and my monthly Fabric Mart posts have helped me become better each month.  Just in case you missed last month, here is the link!

NOW Let's cut to the chase!
I was very intimidated at first by Simplicity 8642 but I FELL in love with the sleeves of VIEW A!  I grabbed this pattern immediately after it was released and knew I wanted to create either VIEW A or B for summer.  After reading the instructions it went right back in the envelope and I figured it would be on the back burner with the amount of work needed just for the sleeves.
When Monica selected the pattern, I knew I had to get over my fear and suck it up.  This sleeve is NO joke and it really tried my patience.  It literally took me 2 long hours to do the first sleeve.   Now mind you, I had to grab the seam ripper as I did NOT clip it first and did NOT READ the instruction carefully so that sleeve did NOT drape.  Next was the hemming!!  After my first battle with the curves, I went in my stash for the bias tape.
I promise you, I refuse to work on a top that did NOT finish correctly.  Mind you, the main reason why I started to sew was the clothing that I was buying was ill-fitting and looked like it was sewn together in a dark room in China.  I decided even if I had to recut a new sleeve, I would ensure it was done based on the instructions and the fit was on point.  After 4 long days of sewing a little each day, I was HAPPY and LOVED THE FINAL FIT!!
P.S. I ALWAYS try my garment at every point, before inserting sleeves, when I insert 1 sleeve etc.  I also ensure that the darts are right, the fit is to my taste before I do the final SERGE!

I was blessed with some great Ankara straight from Nigeria this summer and I can't wait to share my makes with them.  This fabric is a beauty and my daughter Arielle begged for a top after seeing mine.

The pattern I used for Arielle's top was McCalls M7563 size XS. 

Thanks so much for stopping by and can't wait to see what pattern Monica will challenge us with for August  "sew-your-view".  (Check out the beautiful ladies on Instagram here with their views.)

One Love,

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