Saturday, June 30, 2012

Welcome to the new Polka-dotted pearl!

Welcome to the new blog design!  Since I wasn't feeling great today, I spent the day on the couch, watching Grey's Anatomy and tinkering with a new blog layout.  I hope you all like the new site!  I wanted something fresh and bright for summer, and I think this did the trick!

In addition to the fancy new buttons and bright new colors, I added a whole new tab!  For now, it's an official list of my favorite blogs, but keep your eyes peeled for other additions to the "love" tab!

In other news, I've been doing some projects around the house this week (some more successful than others) that I hope to share this week!  Happy weekend!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Party time shoulder bag

Hello hello hello!  Last week when I was at the sewing store, I picked up a few yards of yellow was inexpensive, I love mini pom-poms, and I have an addiction to buying trim.  I didn't know exactly what I would use it for, but it was too cute to pass up (which is always a valid argument.)  So the other day I used it to liven up a little cotton shoulder bag, and now this satchel is ready to party!

In order to hide the cording on the back of the pom-poms, I pieced the bag together in strips (sandwiching the trim between them) rather than sewing the trim to the front of one big piece.  I was worried about having the trim poke out unevenly, but the cording was wide enough that this step was a piece of cake!  And now the cording is neatly tucked on the inside, and all you can see are those cute little pom-poms.  

For the inside lining and pockets, I used some pink and yellow cotton pieces that I had in my fabric pile.  Pink and yellow look so warm and cheery together, don't you think?

I added a magnetic snap at the top, which I camouflaged with two covered buttons, matching the pink lining.  For the strap, I cut one long strip, double-folded the ends towards the center, and reinforced it with a strip of floral ribbon.  It's sturdy, thick enough not to wrinkle up when I'm wearing it (or dig into my shoulder) and cute to boot!  (I just knew I'd find a purpose for that floral ribbon when I bought it back in January...)

Since I skipped any complicated closures and just sewed the strap right into the top of the bag, this was a  pretty no-fuss project.  And by using (almost entirely) leftover supplies, it was an (almost) free new summery bag!  It's lightweight, a practical size, and just festive enough for a Florida summer.  I can't wait to take it out...this bag is ready for some fun!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bike bag strap: take two

Hi, y'all!  I spent some time yesterday making a new strap for the bicycle bag I made a couple of weeks back.  I had originally tried a braided strap, which gave me a few too many complications.  So I took that off, and went with a wider white strap, double-folded towards the center, and reinforced with some grey bias tape.  I love it, and it's way more functional!  Here's the new-and-improved bicycle bag:

Happy Thursday, and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pencil pouch

It all started yesterday when I found the most adorable pencils at Target.  Just look at those colors!

And they got me thinking: pencils like this need a proper pouch.  Like something that I can throw in my rehearsal bag and not be embarrassed to take out in public.  So I got to work!  I made a simple little bucket-style pouch, with a zipper on the top.  I made it tall enough that I could put in my pencils and still have room left for my other essentials (like rosin and candy.) 

For the main exterior of the pouch, I used some fabric I had left from this project, and a beige 7-inch zipper.  To make the bottom a little more sturdy (and a little more resistant to dirt) I used some floral brown cotton I had left from this project, and I stuck some crocheted trim on top.  For the lining, I used some white dotted fabric, left from this project.  Nothing like using up bits and pieces from the scrap pile!

This was such a quick and easy project...perfect for a rainy day off!  On top of this little beauty, I also got some great practicing in, and got the oil changed in my car.  What a day!  And I've got some more projects on my to-do list for this week, so I'll (hopefully) be back soon!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fly away tunic

I spent some time yesterday going through my sewing patterns, and unearthed a pile of patterns that I borrowed (read: stole) from my mom's pattern collection.  In with these, I found a pattern for a basic tunic that caught my eye.  In hindsight, the model looks so seriously unhappy (and a little confused) by the fact that her tunic looks like pajamas that she just doesn't know what to do about it:

But in all honesty, the text that reads "MAKE IT TONIGHT: An extra carefree pattern" sold me on the project.  While I am up for challenging patterns, I love being able to do a project from start to finish in a day,and the "MAKE IT TONIGHT" offer was just too enticing to pass up.  Despite the questionable photos on the package, I picked some fabric from my stash, and gave it a try.  I went with some adorable fabric from the "Nest" collection by Valori Wells that I ordered a few months ago.  And with a few minor updates to the pattern, I have a new tunic!

 The only real changes I made were to shorten the sleeves (I am in Florida in June, after all!) and to add a little embellishment on the front.  For some reason, I have been wanting a top with a scalloped embellishment on the front for what feels like forever.  And since this was such a basic tunic, I just couldn't resist!  At first, I tried a beautiful piece of blue and gold ribbon in the center of my embellishment.  While I loved the ribbon, it just didn't go with the fabric, so I covered it with this crocheted trim (although I left the ribbon underneath, and if you look closely, you can just see it poking through!)  I have some of the blue ribbon left, so I'll have to come up with something else to do with it...but I'm much happier with the crocheted trim for this project!  The most exciting part of this project was that I now have a basic shirt pattern, and I can't wait to play around with it!  I already have some ideas to change up the neckline, collar, sleeves, name it!  I can't wait to try them out!  Happy Friday!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bicycle bag

To anyone that knows me, it's no secret that I love purses.  While I've pared down my collection considerably (I use all of the ones I have now, I promise!) I still always seem to have too many bags.  Despite this, I always seem to have one favorite that I use almost every day.  Lately, it's been a little across-the-shoulder bag I picked up at a vintage shop in my hometown.  Although I love it (and it's such a practical and summery white) it's started to literally disintegrate, and its retirement is looming over my shoulder.  In preparation for this, I came up with a new bag this weekend, using some fabric that I've had forever but not quite known what to do with.  While I may do some tweaking to the strap (the braided strap didn't turn out quite as neatly as I had hoped it would) I love the shape, and I'd love to try this shape in a few different dimensions as well. 

The fabric I used is called "Go By Bike" in grey, and is from the Weekends collection by Erin McMorris.  I ordered a few yards of this fabric months ago because it was so cute I just had to have it.  For a long time, I was too scared to cut into it because I wasn't completely sure of what I wanted to do with it, and I didn't want to waste it on a project that wasn't going to work.  But the other day I was feeling bold, and just decided to go for it.  And I'm so happy I did!  Fabric is meant to be cut!  It looks much cuter now than it did when it was folded up on the bottom of my fabric pile.

I interfaced the outer fabric of the bag (so that it would hold its shape) and I lined it with a plain grey cotton.  I added an inner zippered pocket (which I just had to line with pink polka dots) and I put on a pearly button snap on the front flap for a closure.  For the straps, I made three strips (one of each of the three fabrics I used on the bag) and I braided them together.  For now, I just attached them to the inside of the bag, but I'm planning to remove them and replace them with something that's adjustable.  I'll let you know what I come up with!

Despite the fact that I'm still figuring out what to do with the strap (for some reason I always have the most trouble with that part) I love my new bag.  The print is perfect for summer, and just neutral enough that I can assume it will go with just about everything.  It's not too big as to be cumbersome, but just big enough to fit all of my essentials.  I'm so pleased with the way it turned out, it should make the retirement of my previous go-to bag much easier.  Mission accomplished!  Hope you had a lovely weekend!

 UPDATE:  See the new and improved strap here!