Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tutorial: How I Made a Bag from a Jacket

A Jacket + An Idea = A New Bag

As I promised, today I'm showing how I made a bag from a jacket you saw in my previous post. The bag is not hard to make and does not require a lot of skills, so don't hesitate to make it even if you never made a bag before! So, let's move on to the tutorial :)

P.s. for this and many new my tutorials please check my new blog: https://sewingjulie.com/

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Bag From A Jacket

Hello Everyone!

Note: the tutorial for this bag is going to be up in a couple of days, so be sure to check it out! Update: the tutorial is now here.

Today I’d like to share with you my latest bag – a bag made from a thrifted jacket. The design is a combination of my previous bags: the handles (I find these handles the most comfortable to carry) and the square shape is from the Simple Bag, the construction is basically the same as in the Day Bag, the ends of the handles are from the first bag I made. The long zipper was inspired by Celine Luggage Tote, which allows carrying a lot of things in a bag when opened.

Despite small imperfections (like a zipper that opens a bit too hard. But with a bag color like this I couldn’t be picky), I really like this bag and I think it’s probably the best bag I’ve made so far. It will be a good substitute to my current everyday bag.

A couple of modeling photos to give an idea about the size

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thrifting For Materials and Bags From Jackets

I'm now making a bag from this jacket - hope it will be done in a couple of days!

There are many places to find materials for sewing projects: the usual fabric stores, online shops,  own closet filled with I-will-never-wear-this-again clothing, a friends closet, also filled with some unwanted clothes, a fabric stash, hidden in bottom of the closet with fabric we can’t re-call purchasing, thrift stores and probably some very unique places which I forgot to count.

The assortment in local fabric stores isn’t as big as I wish it was and it doesn’t change as fast as I hope it one day will; the online fabric shops aren’t for such picky shoppers like me, who must to test the fabric before spending money on it; my closet is already in a state where I can’t look at it and think of what I can get rid of; my fabric stash is small and now only contains things that are in I-will-finish-it-one-day condition, some big sewing flops which I can’t force myself to throw away and the very first garments I ever made. So, I have one option that works quite fine for me: the thrift stores. Even though I usually leave thrift stores empty handed (as I said, I’m very picky when it comes to this matter), I still go to them with expectations to come across garments with interesting materials that I can use in my projects. And sometimes I find something I really like.

There are a couple of things to look for while thrift shopping: old handbags for either leather, either interesting hardware; silky scarves for lining and leather garments for outside of the bag.

So I’d like to share a few points how to choose materials for bags project in a thrift store:
1) Price – the very first point to look at. I have set a limit to spend on a garment in a thrift store and I don’t pay above that line. Reason is very simple – I like to keep my hobby as inexpensive as I can, because I would lose motivation to create if I could buy things for less than it would cost me to create.
2) Condition – it’s pretty clear why: if the garment you would use as a material looks very “used” there’s a great chance your creation from it won’t look good or will not last long.
3) Material – of course, it’s very important to know what you are going to make. For example, I like making bags that’s why the first thing I check when in thrift stores is the leather jacket section. Originality of material can also play a role when choosing. Also, be sure that your sewing machine will be capable to deal with chosen material: I had left a couple of nice jackets only because the leather was too thick and my sewing machine wouldn’t sew it.
4) Size – if you buy leather jacket with expectation to make a big bag, be sure to look for a large size with little details – in this way you will have enough material :) That’s why I usually buy men jackets instead of women – I have more space to create!

Now let me share my latest purchase (see the photo above), which fits in all 4 categories mentioned above: 0,75 Euro cents; great condition – seriously, I almost didn’t want to cut it!; amazing material – alcantara, which looks like suede, but made from polyester; large size - plenty of space to create. Great choice for a bag (which is in a process of making right now).

I hope this will encourage you to look for materials for your projects in thrift stores! Have a nice day :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Duffel Bag

There were a lot of variations of a duffel bag created by famous brands recent years, so I decided to make one myself. Frankly, I’m not the one to make/buy/wear something just because it’s “in”, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to test this shape, because it’s not something I would normally go for. Since this was meant to be a test bag, I used cheap heavyweight cotton (I used the same cotton in the cosmetics bag) instead of leather.

I’m a bit undecided whether I like the result. On one hand, I like that this bag fits a lot, even though it’s small. And I like the plain looks of it (you might have noticed already that I’m a fan of simple bags with little detail). But on the other hand it feels a bit too sporty for everyday occasions to me.

 Anyway, I’ll be using this bag for short trips, however, I don’t know if I will be repeating this shape any time soon, simply because it’s not exactly my style.

P.S. For the future record, this bag will also be known as “the one that doesn’t take good pictures”. Lucky for me, there are things like photo editing which saved the day :D

A close-up of the details

I made sides squared with rounded corners, while the traditional duffel bag has round sides

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tutorial: Cosmetic Bag

Before I started making bags I used to have only one bag at the time. Now, when I have several, I often switch them depending on occasion/outfit. Changing bags regularly is not a big problem for me though, because I usually carry just a few things in my bag. Yet I have a couple of items I usually forget to transfer and miss during the day, like a lip balsam, a lipstick or a pack of gum. Therefore, I decided that I need a small cosmetics bag for all the necessities.

Since I wanted it to match every bag that I own, I went with black fabric + black faux leather and classic shape for this cosmetics bag. And here is the result:

It's small, but fits a lot: you can see a lipstick, a lip balsam and a small perfume bottle inside and the are still plenty of room left!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tutorial: How I Make Basic T-Shirt

So, I’d like to show you how I make my T-shirt. I hope it will be helpful if you (like me) don’t have a serger and have to make the best with what you have – the very simple sewing machine. Note that the actual tutorial is really short, but I wrote many tips so now it looks harder than it should ;D

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Homemade T-Shirt: Why Not?

It might have been a bit too boring to show you simple T-shirt, so I prepared some outfits by using same T-shirt (made by me), jeans, watch and shoes matched differently with 2 scarves, 1 jacket and 2 necklaces. (Click on photo to see bigger view). Now if you would add different hair-dos', earing, shoes and etc. you can create infinite number of outfits based on one basic T-shirt!

T-shirts are considered to be a wardrobe necessity and I couldn’t agree more. Having some basic T-shirt in simple colors like white, black or grey can easily expand your clothing choices as you can wear the same t-shirt with jeans, pants, skirts, hoodies, jackets and etc. and look different each time. I’ve noticed that many home sewers don’t like making this clothing as it’s “too simple” or “boring” and “why bother making them when it’s easier to go to any clothing store and buy some for a little price”. However, I am one those people who gives a huge plus to homemade T-shirts. And let me tell you why.

It’s a general thinking that there is one type of T-shirt and the variety of shirts is so big only because they come in different colors and with different pictures. In reality, there are many different types of T-shirts: with different necklines, different length, different fit… Because having a basic T-shirt is quite essential (at least for me), the shirt has to look perfect on you. This means the length has to be perfect, the fit has to be right, the neckline has to be carefully chosen, sleeves have to be comfortable and the color has to compliment your face. You may think that these are just small unimportant details, but believe me, they make a huge difference. Now what are the odds that the T-shirt in a store is going to be perfect for you in every way and will look as it was made for you? Very small odds, I believe, if you don’t have the perfect 90-60-90 figure (or whatever the perfect figure is).

The next thing I’d like to point out is the quality. I cannot tell you how many T-shirts I’ve bought in recent years that I had to throw away after less than one season due to low quality (yep, I want my clothes to last long, therefore garments just for one season are not suitable for me). It’s quite hard to predict the quality because it shows its “true face” only after wearing it: sometimes the fabric washes out, sometimes it stretches out and sometimes the shirt turns out to be wrongly cut (or whatever that is that makes them turn around waist…). When you are making a T-shirt (or any garment) you are the one who is responsible for the quality and you can make it as well as you want. I am not saying that all shirts in stores are bad, because there are so many good ones, but the ones that look perfect on me and are well made usually have a high price tag.

These points led me to making my own T-shirt. I had a thought to make a shirt by myself before, but I thought my very simple sewing machine couldn’t handle it. Turns out – with a little persistence - it did a decent job.

So why not take some nice stretchy cotton the next time you’re in a fabric store, spend one evening with sewing machine and make a couple of perfect T-shirts? Small details – big difference.

P.S. I'd like to send a huge "Thank you" to my friend, who not only took the photos, but also gave both necklaces and one scarf for the photoshoot and had to deal with my very very low skills of modeling while it was just about +2 degrees Celsius outside  ;D Thanks dear!

P.P.S. the tutorial for homemade T-shirt is coming soon! Updated: the tutorial is here