Sunday, August 14, 2016

Another New Bag

After two years of dedicated service, it was time to retire my previous Diva Bag. The interior pockets were starting to come unstitched at the top edges and the straps were beginning to fray. Plus, the interior cell phone pocket was designed for one of those older phones that looks like the communicators they used on Star Trek. That's Star Trek classic, with William Shatner as James T. Kirk.* Now that I have a sleek, new iPhone 6, I needed a cell phone pocket that would show it off.

End #1, with the gigantic key pocket
The Diva Bag pattern is the first purse pattern I ever sewed, and I've sewed it at least 7 times since I found it at a quilt fair decades ago. It's my one and only true-love purse. It's the Diva Essential Designer Bag, by Thumbuddy Special. No idea if Thumbuddy is still around, but I've given her information to scads of people when they ask where I got my bag. I hope she's retired and living large on the Riviera.

I have now sewed a couple other purses, as well as a suitcase, so I appreciate this Diva Bag pattern even more than I used to. There really are no fiddly bits, and you don't have to wrestle with the thing to get it through your sewing machine.

Other end, with what's supposed to be the water bottle pocket. Now it's my cell phone pocket.
Sad story.
Over the years, I've learned that the outer shell of a purse should be fairly dark colored, to disguise all the dirt and dust it will pick up being parked under tables in restaurants and tossed in the back of the dog car. And it should be in colors that go pretty well with most of your wardrobe. Unless you are the kind of person who has more than one purse. I can't handle that; moving things from purse to purse means I'd walk out of the house without my wallet way too often.

Light colored lining, with lots of handy pockets
It's best if the lining is light colored though. That way you can find that tiny object you absolutely need which has sifted its way to the bottom of your purse, with the used Kleenex and ATM slips.

Side view, showing large capacity
The Diva Bag hangs pretty small when being used, but this is a large capacity purse.  I can fit a respectable quantity of groceries in this purse when necessary, although I'm making a general effort to carry as little as possible these days. Darned tendonitis.

The way I carry the bag most of the time
One of my favorite things about this bag is that, when the mood strikes, you can sling it over both shoulders and carry it like a backpack. It's pretty darn comfortable that way too.

The way I carry the bag when my shoulder starts to give out
I'm really happy with the finished purse, except for one thing....

When I installed the zipper, I flipped it wrong way round, so my beautiful, custom-sized interior cell phone pocket is on the wrong end. Which renders it essentially useless for cell phone storage because I have to shimmy the phone for a good 5 minutes to get it past the zipper end. Wah wah wah.

I've asked a couple of my sewing friends if they think I should rip out the two bag ends and the zipper placket, with lining, and flip the whole thing around to re-install the right way. They say, "No." It's not like I don't have other pockets that work for cell phone storage; it's just one of those sewing bloopers that will do an instant re-play in my mind every time I use my cell phone.

Well, maybe only for a few months. Then I'll get used to it.

My pattern review is on here.

* Did you know that the T. stands for Tiberius? Just found that out while Googling the technical name for Star Trek walkie talkies. I'm listening to a fun history podcast called The Rhine,  which runs through the Roman history of the Rhine Valley, so Tiberius is much on my mind.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Blue Jewel

Another knitted FO, and another Wendy Bernard pattern. This is Jewel, from Custom Knits.

A lot of my favorite knitted garments are made from Wendy Bernard patterns. For me, she's got a nice balance of do-able and challenging. I've heard that, in science, the key is to pick a problem that's complicated enough to be interesting but easy enough that you can solve it. And so it is in knitting.

Jewel has a bit of fancied-up ribbing at the top and bottom, and the rest is stockinette with a bit of waist shaping.

The top is actually supposed to be longer, but I ran out of yarn, so I cropped it by popping on the bottom band just after finishing the waist decreases. As long as I wear it with high-waisted bottoms, I'll be fine.

I used 6 skeins of Llana Grossa Binary, in a kind of steel blue color. I scavenged it from the Four Buck Bucket at the Swift Stitch,  here in Santa Cruz. That Four Buck Bucket gets me every time.

I've made this pattern two times before. I'm giving myself some bonus points for this version because I think I finally figured out how to do the crocheted crab stitch edging on the arm scythes. Thank you, YouTube!

I'm a miserly yarn-buyer, which is why I so often end up having to figure out how to do something useful with 600 yards of yarn. Lucky for me, sleeveless shells end up being pretty wearable here on the Central Coast.

My Ravelry notes are here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer Shorts, Take Two

Now this is what I'm talking about! Comfortable shorts with great pockets that sit at my waist.

These are Shorts 107A from the July, 2016 issue of Burdastyle. They come in culotte length too, if that's your jam. Look at those pockets! Cute, no? The tops kind of curve up over the waistband and turn into belt loops.

BS 07-2016-107A

I made them out of some lightweight denim from Hart's. I'd recommend a pretty lightweight fabric for these; by the time you have those wide belt loops over the interfaced waistband, you have quite a few layers of fabric to sew through. In fact, I ended up not catching the belt loops in the waistband seam on the inside. I just hand-stitched them down, to reduce some of that bulk.

Side view
I decided not to include the cuffs (or turn ups, as Burda calls them). Cuffs on shorts always seem a bit fiddly to me. They're not comfortable to sit on, and they keep folding and unfolding themselves in awkward ways. I also left off the faux pocket flap on the back. I probably would have left it off even if it was a real pocket, because who needs back pockets when you have those nifty front pockets?

Back view
You can't see it in this photo, but there's a belt loop in the back which is wide enough to balance out the front belt loops. You can kind of pick it out in the line drawing up above there. Even though there are only three belt loops, they're wide enough so that your belt stays put.

This is my new favorite shorts pattern! In fact, I like them so much I'm thinking I might lengthen them into regular pants.

Here I am, test driving them on the Back Bay Loop at Newport Beach. In my book, shorts that are comfortable enough for a longish bike ride are winner.

The Boy gave them the thumbs up!

My pattern review is on here.