Made Me a Lunch Tote

It's been an adjustment having to take lunch to work with me (so much planning!).  But just because I'm trying to be economical doesn't mean I have to brownbag it.  Indeed, why not gold/blue/white/black bag it? Tired of packing my lunch in old shopping bags (even Anthropologie), I decided I needed something more environmentally friendly and just the right size.  

Behold, my new hand-quilted lunch bag!  It took me several hours over the course of the last week and a half.  I used fabric from my costume in the sixth grade play (some 15 years ago), a lovely cotton print I bought at Stone Mountain & Daughter, and some remnants from Wal-Mart.  The stitching is pretty darn sloppy, but you can't really tell, and it will do the job.  See slideshow below for the making-of.

First sewing project in a long time.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday break!  To help fill my newfound leisure time, I lugged my Kenmore sewing machine 300 miles back home to LA.  The first order of business was a pair of armwarmers or fingerless gloves, because it's been super cold and I was struck by inspiration when I saw this rather sweet black and white rose print against an old lavender scarf that a friend gave me.  Lavender was once my favorite color (and still is one of the faves).  

It was one of those, a-ha, why didn't I think of that before kind of moments.  When I saw them together I knew what I had to do.

I started by making the ruffle for the trim.  That was straightforward, just some careful measuring, ironing, and sewing with a very long stitch before pulling the thread to make the fabric bunch up.

Then, the pattern.  I looked up a bunch of glove-making tips online but couldn't really find a good pattern for fingerless gloves.  So I modified the guidelines set forth in this very helpful step-by-step demo of how to first make a pattern, then construct a pair of costume gloves (the ones here are gorgeous!).  

I screwed up the pattern-making, as I did not account for the fact that my arm is about 9 in. in diameter at its thickest, and I didn't cut enough fabric.  I had to add scrap pieces to make up the difference.  The first part of the construction wasn't so bad, but then I found the thumb extremely difficult to attach--I had to do it by hand, and I still don't like how it fits... there is some extra room in the fabric that I could probably take in a bit.  

Oh well.  A decent first effort, I say.  I have to figure out what I'd do differently next time... definitely work with a different fabric because that fake acrylic I used from the scarf kept falling apart.

What a good Kenmore and a little imagination can do.

I bought this dress at a random Adam+Eve sample sale in the Chelsea Market in NYC two years ago.  It would normally retail for about $300 (it's cashmere, wool and silk) and was selling for $25.  I had to buy it--even the material alone would cost more than $25. 

But I never wore it because it didn't fit well and was waaaay too revealing.  My sewing teacher: "Well, modesty might not be an issue for you."  I told her no, I hated it, let's do something with this.  So we decided to pull the band up over the chest to cover it, cut off the bikini-like top, and turn it into straps.  Voila. The before, and the after.

Hi, My Name is Stephanie. And I'm a 'Fabric Junkie.'

That's what the kindly old man at the Viking Sewing Center called me.  I went in determined to get something of quality, refurbished, and under $200 (I am, after all, just a beginner). In other words, I wanted something like an Accord.

What great customer service.  The man really got me something that was exactly suited to my needs, and didn't try to sell me anything more or less.  Say hello to my new (used) Kenmore!  I already finished the curtains I've been working on for my kitchen window, and did a little pillow case for my daybed. =D