Places to put my makeup

Since I started using my sewing machine (less than a month ago), I’ve been wanting to try out some things outside of quilting. One of the administrators in my department showed me a makeup bag that she made and sent me the pattern. I was instantly jazzed about the idea of making a makeup bag like the one in the pattern . So I got the fabric and all of the other materials and got to work following the instructions. I failed epically. Somehow I just couldn’t get the bottom to work, and the lining was weird, and how was I supposed to make the corners!? So I scrolled through the comments and that didn’t help. Finally, I got really frustrated and just cut the bottom off of the bag. I decided to just follow my heart and see where it (and my limited sewing knowledge) would take me. Here’s what I got:IMG_4007

Not too bad, right? After making the first one, I decided to make a second. The second one is the bigger one in the back. So at this point, I’m totally and completely absolutely excited. Check me out making something! I wanted to share it with you. So if you’re down, you can read step-by-step instructions for how to do this. This will be especially useful for newbies like me.

Step 1: Gather the materials

What you need for this fabric for the outside of the bag and for the inside. I used a fat quarter of the pattern with the keys for the outside, and about a fat quarter of some fabric I had left from my quilt. In case you don’t know (like I didn’t) what a fat quarter is: it’s a piece of fabric that is like 18×21″. You can buy them at Jo-Ann or Walmart. You also need some interfacing. Interfacing is this fusible stuff that gives shape to the fabric. I got mine from Jo-Ann. You need a zipper. Lastly, you need a ruler and something to cut the fabric with (I use a rotary cutter).

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Step 2: Measure and cut the fabric

Here’s the step where you get to choose your own adventure. You get to make your bag whatever size you want. You will need to cut the fabric a little bigger than you want the bag to be, since you’re going to be sewing the sides of it. I think I cut mine at like 10 1/2 by 8 1/2 or something close to that. I wanted it to be long enough to fit my longest brushes and tall enough to fit all of my misc items. You need to cut two pieces of fabric for the outsides of the bag, two for the insides of the bag, and two pieces of interfacing (all of the same size).

 

Step 3: Ironing on the Interfacing 

Once you’ve cut out the fabric, it’s time to hit the ironing board to fuse the interfacing. You want to make to to follow the instructions on your interfacing package. Mine is fusible on both sides, so I had to iron with the interfacing sandwiched between the outside fabric and the inside fabric. As you can see below, I have the outside of the fabric on top of the interfacing, with the inside fabric on the bottom. If your interfacing is only one sided you should scroll down to the bottom of this post for what to do.

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Step 4: Sewing on the Zipper 

Now is the point where we start sewing on the zipper. With the fabric side up, pin on the zipper with the zipper side face down. Make sure to line up the end of the zipper with the edge of the fabric like how I have in the picture (note that my zipper is super long. Your zipper doesn’t have to be so long – I was worried about not having enough zipper). Now that it’s pinned to the zipper, it’s time to sew it on. What I did was sew it with the zipper side down, and then sewed down the zipper on the other side. Next, I did the same thing with the other side.

 

Step 5: Sewing the rest together 

Our next step is to sew together the rest of the bag. The first picture below is what the outside of the bag should look like so far (it looks a little wonky in my picture, but I promise that it isn’t uneven). Unzip the zipper about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way down and flip it over so that the inside part is facing up. Fold it in half with the inside part on the outside like in the picture. Sew around the three sides. Because my zipper was so long and I didn’t feel like cutting down the zipper, I hand sewed it to the side. The bottom right picture is what it looks like with all three sides sewn and the zipper sewed down.

 

Step 6: Flip the Bag Inside-Out

This step is pretty simple, but not extremely easy. Because of the interfacing, it can be a little more difficult to pull the bag inside-out through the part of the zipper that was left open. Just keep at it until it happens. I believe in you.

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Step 7: Celebrate!

We did it! We did it! Once you’ve made it to this step you are a winner and the world is yours. If you’re as jazzed about this as I am, you probably feel like you hung the moon. That’s how you feel, because you’re amazing. Below is a picture of what the final bag looks like:

 

 

It’s not perfect. It’s a work in progress. Aren’t we all, though? In the meantime, load it up with makeup or whatever you see fit!

 

Quilting

It’s been a while since I last posted, but remember my sewing machine adventure from November? In the time between then and now, I have become absolutely obsessed with sewing. I have thought, dreamed, and plotted on how to get started. Because I was initially brought into the sewing life working on a piece of a quilt, quilting seemed like a good place to begin my journey.

So here is how it happened: a professor in my department, seeing my enthusiasm about the original quilt square, told me that she would teach me how to quilt. She invited me to a quilting club meeting. The club often makes quilts for various causes and they were currently making quilts for a local midwife. The professor offered to teach me to quilt using the fabric she got for the midwife project – and I, of course, said yes. So we met at her house and she showed me how the quilting magic happens. After six long hours of measuring and cutting fabric, ironing, and learning to use the sewing machine, this happened:

Quilt1Isn’t it beautiful? Not too bad for a first try, right? This took A LOT of help. So much measuring. So much ironing. SO much learning to use the sewing machine without breaking it! Ok, so here’s a quick breakdown of the process:

  1. Cutting the fabric into the desired size squares. I think that our squares are 3 1/2 inches.
  2. Sewing the fabric together.
  3. Ironing a lot. Like a lot a lot. I don’t remember how much. Just know that it is a lot.

Ok, so that was day one of the process. Day two was attaching the back and hand quilting. Here is how that went:

  1. Cutting a piece of fabric that is the same size as the front.
  2. Cutting some batting that is the same size.
  3. Sewing together the fabrics with the batting in the middle.
  4. Hand sewing (this is what makes the lines and designs that you see in a quilt).

The hardest part of day two was hand quilting. I pricked my fingers too many times to count. I realized that I need to grow out of my soft baby hands to be a quilter.

The night of day two was SUPER interesting. Did you know that there are lectures done about quilting? We went to a lecture by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi. Dr. Mazloomi gave an amazing talk about African American quilts. It was absolutely fabulous. She showed examples of quilts from her exhibition and book And Still We Rise. If I tell you that those quilts were some of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my 28 years of life on this planet, would you believe me? You should. They were amazing.

So after all of this quilting amazingness, I realized that I am now about the quilting life. I decided that I wanted to make my own solo and completely unsupervised quilt:

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Isn’t it beautiful?! I think that I did a really great job for my first quilt. It’s 32×36 inches. It took me about 2-3 days to finish it. Not going to lie to you, it was a lot harder doing it on my own – especially the measuring. Here’s how it happened from start to finish:

  1. I went to Jo-Ann fabrics and bought fabric. I also bought a ruler, a rotary cutter, a cutting mat, quilting thread, some batting, and a seam ripper.
  2. I went to Walmart and bought my very own sewing machine. I got a Singer Simple. It said simple on the box so I figured that they had me in mind when they made it.
  3. I washed the fabrics.
  4. I went home and started measuring and cutting. This part took about a day because I learned that I’m not really good with measuring or cutting in straight lines.
  5. I sewed the pieces together. That part was simple (thanks to my simple sewing machine!).
  6. At some points I ironed a whole hell of a lot. I don’t remember when – just know that it happened, that it happened a lot, and that I hated every moment of it. If you haven’t realized by now – ironing is one of my least favorite activities.
  7. Once I got the whole front piece together, I cut out and sewed and ironed the back piece.
  8. I cut out the batting to the same size as the front and the back and then went to town sewing the three layers together.
  9. Lastly, I hand sewed. To do this I used a washable marker, a dish, and a bowl. I outlined the dish and the bowl in patterns around the blanket and used them as outlines for the hand sewing. I hand sewed my little heart out. I poked myself a multitude of times – but I didn’t give up. I stand as a testament of how you can survive multiple needle pricks and not give up on sewing.
  10. Once that whole situation was finished, I washed the quilt.
  11. Lastly, I admired my work, took mad pictures of it, and posted them to Instagram and Facebook. I wanted everyone to know what I have accomplished.

Now, I sit here writing this blog post, thinking about how much my niece is going to love this quilt. I can’t wait to make another one. I absolutely can’t wait.