Melly Sews Favorite Purse {and mine too!}

In July I visited Baltimore for work. The trip snuck up on me and backed right up to our annual trip to Asheville.

As usual, I had about a bajillion sewing projects running through my head that I was determined to make before leaving. At the top of the list was Melly Sews’ Favorite Purse. I knew this would be the perfect travel bag – it has ample pockets and is larger than my usual cross-body pattern.

And so, I spent the Friday evening before leaving for Baltimore cutting out and taping the paper pattern pieces followed by cutting the fabric. Since I wasn’t going to sew until Saturday, I pinned the paper pattern pieces to the fabric pieces so I could easily locate pieces for construction.

I had bought the pattern when Melly was running a killer sale for Memorial Day weekend (you should sign up for her newsletter so you can get in on those and see all the free patterns & tutorials she offers – and check out her blog).

I was feeling a little intimidated with all the zippers involved with constructing the Favorite Purse, but I’ve been practicing with simple zipper clutches lately (here’s my favorite tutorial!) and was feeling more confident.

Melly includes great instructions in her pattern with lots of helpful pictures.

I even learned how to make my own bias tape which was very exciting after I had looked at fabric shops to see if I could find a cute package of patterned bias tape a few weeks ago (in an effort to save time) and was super bummed to discover only solid colors 😦 I knew I wanted the main fabric to be solid for versatility, but wanted the bias tape to add a little pizzazz. So, I taught myself! It was much easier than I thought.

I’m really excited at how my bag turned out AND how it perfectly matches my Noodle Head Super Tote (which I used as my carry on bag).

favpurse

matching handmade bags for the WIN!

One thing to note about my version of the Favorite Purse is that I excluded the oval shaped side tabs. I had originally cut out the pieces and fully intended to add them (because they looked so cute!), but attaching the bias tape around the curved edges almost killed me. I had little time to spare so I just nixed them from my design (since they weren’t essential) and it turned out okay! 🙂

I also added a magnetic clasp to the front pocket (behind my label on the interior). I did not add a magnetic clasp to the back pocket (which looks the same as the front without a label) because it would be lying flat against me so would likely stay shut (and it did). I appreciated the back pocket not having a clasp because it actually made it more convenient for holding my plane tickets.

My zippers are a bit mismatched because I decided late Friday night that I’d spend the whole day Saturday constructing the purse. I knew if I went to the craft store for matching zippers in the morning, I’d be there for hours buying all sorts of other things and lose precious construction time. {I needed to be up early Sunday morning to drive to Charlotte to catch my flight. And I still hadn’t packed. Time was of the essence.}

The black zipper at the top is from The Zipper Shop on Etsy, the interior zipper (I used a 6 inch zipper and added fabric zipper tabs on each end so it fit the area I’d cut in the interior to attach) is from The Zipper Stop on Etsy, and the light blue zipper that you see on the front is a vintage zipper I picked up at an estate sale (never underestimate the goodies you can find at a garage or estate sale!).

On similar note, I recently ordered zippers from The Zipper Shop on Etsy. I love the selection and the quality of these zippers. The shop is located in North Carolina which also makes me happy (we Carolinas like to stick together 😉 #GeographyJoke) and the shop owner is super fast with shipping!

I just ordered these beauties and can’t wait to use them!

zipper

[Click the image to be taken to these zippers on Etsy]

I skipped making my own removable strap. Thanks to my obsession with vintage purses and the fact that many of them have removable straps (and my friend Emily who brings me straps she finds while thrifting!), I had a few on hand so I knew one was sure to work. I had a shorter leather luggage strap that Emily found a few months ago that worked perfect (thanks Emily!)! Since the bag is a good bit deeper than my usual cross-body bags + I’m a good bit shorter than the average person, this shorter strap was a life saver (because I couldn’t find an adjustable strap in my stash to match!).

Excluding the time it took to cut out and piece together the paper pieces (which wasn’t too bad) and cut the fabric pieces, the bag took a full day to construct (if you eliminate my coffee reheating breaks and a dinner break [yes, I forgot about lunch], it was probably close to 6-ish hours). That being said, it was totally worth it! I know I am going to get a lot of use out of this bag – it’s by far my most useful yet (because of all the pockets and the depth! It’s got the storage of a shoulder bag, but the comfortable wear and functionality of a cross-body bag…win!).

From the airport to the streets of the Inner Harbor (shopping, dining, sight seeing and wandering), this bag was perfect. It easily held all my necessities and even a few small souvenirs. It kept my plane tickets, room key, conference badge and other essentials organized and easily accessible so I wasn’t awkwardly digging around trying to find something when I needed it.

Oh, and here I am taking shameless elevator selfies after arriving to Baltimore {I just had to get an “in action” shot so you could see how fabulous this bag is!}:

travel bags

Matching handmade bags & my weirdest wolf shirt make for great travel attire 😉

Interested in making your own version of Melly Sews‘ Favorite Purse? Find the pattern here.

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Noodlehead Super Tote

Last week I fell in love with the functionality of Noodlehead’s Super Tote pattern & bought it. Best purchase of the week!

My sister has been asking me to make her a “teacher bag” for the longest time. I knew a “teacher bag” meant lots of space and lots of pockets so I’d been putting it off…until Sew Caroline’s Super Tote in progress on Instagram caught my eye. Now that looked like a bag big enough to function as a teacher bag, travel bag, conference tote, beach bag, diaper bag, cat carrier–oh, the possibilities!

So, I did what any trained researcher (#DataDiva) does and started stalking Noodlehead on all social media platforms (including browsing the #SuperTote hashtag on Instagram to see how other people’s version of the bag turned out). Upon my research I discovered this pattern would be well worth the $8 and moved forward with making this my next project.

It was nice to give my brain a rest from designing and just follow someone else’s pattern. I have been struggling with zippers and I really liked this bag’s recessed zipper — it might be my new solution to zipper-top bags!

I’m a very slow, methodical artist (but I heard that “Slow Design” is a real thing now so I’m in luck) so this bag took me two weekends to complete. I was also being very diligent about following the pattern (and taking breaks to reheat my coffee).

I started with cutting the pattern pieces and taping them together while watching TV with my Mom on Mother’s Day (I can’t sit still for very long so this was my best compromise to “relaxing together”).

Tip: Pin the paper pattern pieces to the cut fabric pieces to keep track of which pieces are what. This will save you time later when you’re shuffling around fabric pieces trying to figure out which one is the back exterior vs the front pocket.

I have a fabric hoarding problem that worked in my favor for this — I had enough fabric lying around to make a pairing that made me swoon!

fabric

The floral pattern fabric on the left is a vintage scrap from Butterfly Vintage. It matched perfectly with some mint upholstery fabric I picked up at Fabric 101‘s warehouse sale this past winter (I think I got a flat of almost 3 yards for $5! If you’re local to Columbia, keep up with them on Facebook so you’ll know when their next sale will be so you can stock up). The brown pattern fabric on the right is also from Fabric 101. I had intended to make curtains out of it for my kitchen, but as most of my fabric does, it became a bag instead.

label

Have you seen my new labels?! I’m slightly obsessed. A friend (and local machinist) makes them by etching my logo into metal scraps. Since the labels are metal now (instead of cloth), I have to hand stitch each one. They’re well worth the effort because they’re so chic!

Also obsessed with how perfect the mint accented the floral pattern! I decided to buy brown piping instead of attempting to make my own. Perhaps next time I’ll give it a try, but the store bought stuff gave the top of the front pocket a professional feel 🙂 I also used a magnetic clasp to hold the front pocket shut. The magnetic clasp and lining of the front pocket were optional, but I recommend both.

I had a hard time capturing pictures of the inside of my bag so you may want to refer back to Noodlehead’s post for better interior pictures of the pattern.

Here’s a shot of the inside of my Super Tote:

inside1

I used some light-weight pink cotton scraps for the interior pockets.

One thing that wasn’t clear in the pattern was whether top of the pocket fabric (over the elastic) should be laying flat or if it should be cinched. I stitched mine flat at first and went back and cinched it. I think the cinching was supposed to be implied, but I’m not great at reading between the lines 😉

super tote inside

See the pleats on the side? I love the feminine touch it gives the bag!

super tote pleated side

Until my dogs evolve to having opposable thumbs, I settle for the Hubs as my informal photographer. That being said, my photographer made sure to include my wolf shirt… (yes, I am way too old to own a wolf shirt from a tween clothing shop, but whatever. Sometimes you just need a wolf shirt).

super tote1I hope you like the bag! This pattern would make the perfect summer project! If sewing isn’t your thing, I am planning to make more to add to resliced’s shop on Etsy. If you’re interested in placing a custom order, you can do so on this page – we can work together to pick out colors and patterns for your Super Tote.

Tasty Tuesday: French Toast Bliss

I recently discovered the blog Cooking with a Wallflower & I love her recipes! They’re my favorite kind: light on effort & heavy on flavor.

Last weekend she posted a recipe for Baked Maple Almond French Toast. The pictures alone were convincing enough, but the recipe looked relatively simple.

french toast3

I’ve always steered clear of attempting french toast because of the messy-egg-dipping-fear-of-spreading-salmonella issues I have–this recipe was the perfect solution to combating my fear.

You may have seen the delicious french toast I’m addicted to at drip on last week’s Mother’s Day recap so I was hoping to create an alternative that would allow me to stay indoors in my pajamas. Success!

The Hubs spent the weekend visiting his grandfather in the Blue Ridge Mountains (near Ellijay, GA). After a few early mornings of fishing, I knew he’d want to sleep in on Sunday, so I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to try out this recipe! {This paragraph makes me sound like I’m the best wife in the world. On that note, I want everyone to refer back to this in future posts 😉 }

Jeremy is the spitting image of his PawPaw and I’m pretty sure he represents exactly how my husband will act at age 78–I don’t hate it if that’s what my future holds. 🙂

PawPaw took up beekeeping a few years ago and when the season’s right, he’ll send home some honey with Jeremy. When the Hubs got home last night, he proudly presented my very favorite of gifts!

honey

YAY! Harvesting has begun!

Saturday I ventured down to the Soda City Market to visit my favorite vintage pop-up shops (& sweetest gals I know) — Emily of Butterfly Vintage & Lindsey of Saint & Rambler.

On another note, when you visit Soda City – be sure to look for Indigo Chocolate. Any time I see Katherine (or her lovely daughter!) at Soda City or the Irmo Farmer’s Market, I beeline for her table to stock up on chocolate. Y’all–she makes her own chocolate from scratch! It’s heavenly. I couldn’t resist getting some of her Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies.

indigo chocolate cookies

I resisted eating the cookies until the Hubs got home, but man it was tough.

While at the market, I picked up a loaf of challah bread (per the baker’s recommendation that this would be best for french toast) from Heather’s Artisan Bakery. If you haven’t tried her bread, you must. I’m a big fan of carb-o-loading at all times – because you never know when you’re going to need to run a marathon.

challah2

I’ll spare you the details of the recipe (because you can find that over on Cooking with a Wallflower’s post!), but I tell ya: this is going to be a weekend staple! So easy AND delicious!

french toast2I hope you all had a great weekend too! 🙂

 

 

Welcome Butterfly Vintage to the Blogosphere!

I met Emily while visiting the Soda City market (our local pop-up street market that happens every Saturday on Main St – it’s the kind of thing that makes me LOVE Columbia!). As soon as my eyes saw her racks of vintage goodies, my body took over and next thing I knew I was frantically screaming “I want this! And this!” while my husband rolled his eyes in the background and pleaded silently to leave.

Here's me & Emily at the market in Sept 2013!

Here’s me & Emily at the market in Sept 2013!

Since then our friendship has blossomed and she’s become so much more than my clothing supplier. As you’ll see on her blog, Emily wears many hats! Before moving to Columbia, she taught art to high school students in Tennessee. Since I now work in the field of education, I try to bounce ideas off of her (and my sister!) to gain some teacher perspective. She’s always willing to listen to my geek speak – thus, she’s a fabulous friend in my book. In addition, Emily has also become my fellow craft-a-holic friend who can helps inspire my creativity. She’s just the best!

And while I could go on and on about how cool Emily is (and how you should follow her blog so you too can soak up some of her awesomeness), I’ll leave you with a collection of selfies showcasing my BFY vintage staples!

1950s sheer purple floral top with rhinestone buttons & a bow! Yes, please!

1950s sheer purple floral top with rhinestone buttons & a bow! Yes, please! (Even if it did cause my husband did call me “Little Bow Peep” that morning.. :))

The ruffles on this sheer blue top make me swoon every time I wear it!

The ruffles on this sheer blue top make me swoon every time I wear it!

She even keeps my hair stylish with her pretty hairbows made from vintage fabric scraps!

She even keeps my hair stylish with her pretty hairbows made from vintage fabric scraps!

This rainbow dress remains one of my favorites!

And last – this rainbow dress remains one of my favorites!

If you’re local, stop by the Soda City market this Saturday (April 26) to check out all of Emily’s vintage goodies! She’ll have the dress below (I just finished converting it to a mini-dress!) that is would be the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe!

Here's a dress I repaired for BFY Vintage - it's a glamorous mini-dress now!

Here’s a dress I repaired for BFY Vintage – it’s a glamorous mini-dress now!