b6674 pattern review part 2 – the bag

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Check out Part 1 of this review (the dress) HERE.

The gorgeous B6674 dress was kind of a long make for me, so I was ready to follow it with a quicker project. Enter the B6674 bag:

temporaryLooks simple enough, right?

In many ways it was, but this was my first foray into bag making (I have previously only made little zip pouches), so I think some of the things that would be second nature to a more experienced sewist didn’t come as naturally to me.

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The outer shell was very straightforward, and I was impressed with how well the instructions explained how to sew in the side panels. That success was short lived, however, which brings us to…

Struggle #1

That side seam bias tape! Augh! I’m not a total newbie with bias tape, but for some reason it was twisting and rippling. I followed all of the procedures in the instructions, pinned carefully, sewed slowly, and ironed everything. Where did I go wrong?

I understand this is not a pattern issue, and it is definitely a “me” issue. But any advice in this area would be appreciated!

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The fabric I was using is an AWESOME home decor fabric from Alexander Henry Home called “Green Farmers Market.” I wasn’t sure if I had to add interfacing where specified in the instructions since it was already pretty heavy-weight. I went ahead and interfaced it anyway for good measure, since you can’t go wrong with stability for a bag that may end up holding heavy items.

Since the straps were also interfaced, when it came time to turn them right-side out, I encountered…

Struggle #2

How in the world can I flip heavy, INTERFACED fabric when the straps are so skinny?! I was finagling with the first strap for about 40 minutes and had only managed to get half of the job done. So I grabbed my huge knitting needle (which I often use to help me turn things right-side out), and it wasn’t long before this happened:

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(for those of you without a keen eye, yes – the knitting needle burst out of the end of the strap).

At this point, I had to take a break.

The next day, I felt refreshed and ready to go. I decided to make 2 brand new straps, slightly wider to make things easier on myself. I also sewed a piece of string into each end to help with turning (a tip I learned from Lindsey over at Inside the Hem).

It still wasn’t the easiest task, but I managed to get through it πŸ™‚

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At this point, I decided to stray from the pattern instructions, which said to wait until the end to add the straps. I decided to add them at this point, so that the stitches would be hidden underneath the lining fabric. With the straps attached, it was starting to look like a bag!

Sewing the lining was super easy, and I also decided to customize it with a pocket (also not in the original pattern).

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After the lining was sewed to the facing (still not attached to the bag itself yet), I topstitched around the pocket you see in the photo above. Then, I also sewed a vertical line to split it into two sections. I sized it so my phone would fit perfectly in the smaller section, sitting vertically so it would be easier to grab when needed.

I love this added detail!

Fast forward to finishing the bag. I was able to insert the lining into the outer shell just fine, and added the bias tape around the top. It still rippled, but definitely not as much as the tape around the side seams.

It was just about time to do a happy dance when I got to…

Struggle #3

As I went to “try on” the bag, something seemed off. It took a moment or two before I realized what I did.

Can you spot the problem?

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Umm…I totally sewed the straps front-to-back instead of side-to-side! I considered leaving it (remember, I already finished the inner lining of the bag, and now the strap stitches were “trapped” inside), but having the bag like this would make it awkward to put on my shoulder and hard for me to add anything large to the bag.

I was frustrated once more, so took another break until the next day.

The thought of ripping open the top bias tape and lining enough to actually sew in the straps was disappointing. However, the thought of having exposed stitches on my clean lining was equally disappointing.

My final decision was to seam rip one side of each handle, and hand sew it into the correct place – making sure to hide my stitches so they won’t be visible on the inside of the bag. I was a bit concerned about the strength of my hand sewing, so I opted for a back-stitch which should hold the strap in place quite well.

If, down the road, the stitches start to come loose I can always revisit one of the other options to fix it.

The last step was to add something to the bottom of the bag for stability. The pattern calls for “cardboard,” which I think is too weak to stand up to whatever I end up placing in this thing (vegetables and produce?). Instead, my husband got his power tools and cut a piece of thick chipboard to fit.

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I didn’t want to leave it as-is, so I cut a piece of the lining fabric one inch larger all around, as well as one that was just slightly smaller:

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Then, I serged around the edge of the larger piece so the edges wouldn’t fray. I pinned the larger piece the smallest all around, folding in the corners first so they would be hidden.

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Then, I hand-sewed around the whole thing with large basting stitches (no need for anything more complicated than that.

I kind of made up that method, so I’m sure there is a more “official” way to do it – but this worked for me!

The bag was finally finished, and I absolutely adore it!!

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All of the problems I encountered were due to my own inexperience, so I think the pattern itself (and the instructions) were quite great!

When the bag was done I sent a photo to my mom who was OBSESSED, and told me that I should make a bunch to give away as gifts. If only she knew what I went through! LOL!

I can’t see myself making a “bunch,” but Mom – I think one of these may be in your future πŸ™‚

pax east 2019 + simplicity1419

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I feel like this whole blog has become me trying to catch up on posting old photos/outfits/sewing projects. But out of all of them, this one is by FAR the oldest!

Although the photos were just taken a little over a year ago (haha, just…), I made this dress many years prior (maybe 2014?). It was actually the first garment I ever sewed for myself that wasn’t a costume.

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I was so proud of it then, and I am still thrilled every time I put it on! I love the sweet Peter Pan collar, little cap sleeves, and of course the crazy Nintendo fabric.

Little did I know back then that the pattern I used, Simplicity 1419, would become a favorite and used for 5 other dresses in my wardrobe!

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Unfortunately, this pattern is now out of print – I better treat her well!

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To accompany the dress, I made a fun little Bullet Bill purse by sewing a chain onto a Nintendo DS case. It was such a quick and easy project, and I think it adds SO much to the outfit!

This is not the first time I used a DS case as a purse. I’m hoping to write a post soon featuring an old cosplay that never made it to the blog. It features a different, yet equally adorable Nintendo icon.

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I wore this dress to PAX East 2019 for our non-cosplay day. I have no idea how people go to these shows for multiple days and wear a costume each time. Having to constantly worry that your makeup is fine, nothing is falling off, you didn’t leave your prop in a booth somewhere, and stopping every two minutes for photos is exhausting!

(Although even in this outfit, I got stopped a few times for photos! SO many people loved this dress!)

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bird dress + b6674 pattern review

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This dress!!

I have to say, between this dress and my last sewing project, I hope you can tell I have been trying to break out of my comfort zone! In the past, I almost exclusively sewed fitted bodices with gathered skirts and side seam pockets, or costumes πŸ™‚

 

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However, this dress (the lovely Butterick 6674) features princess seams, patch pockets, sash, AND a button placket!

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I have had a fear of buttons for the longest time (something about the button hole thingy intimidates me), so my sister-in-law recommended I try the plastic popper fasteners.

MY LIFE HAS FOREVER CHANGED.

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These things are amazing. I got a KAM Snaps kit off of Amazon and they couldn’t be easier to install!

This pattern was really easy to sew, however it ended up around 2 inches too big in my waist and bust. Why do the Big 4 patterns always have so much ease? I sewed a size 8 but definitely could have gone with the 6. By the time I realized it was too big, the dress was 80% finished.

The RIGHT way to adjust at this point would be to rip open the seams, but I had already finished everything so neatly inside the garment! I also painstakenly sewed the armhole and neckline bias binding by hand with invisible stitches. I was not about to go ripping that out! (I know there is a lesson here about making a toile/muslin before jumping into the fabric that you have been hoarding for a year, but I digress…)

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Instead, I just gathered up the extra fabric in the back and sewed a seam down the middle. It actually looks pretty good, but I was sad to see the clean finish of a single-piece back bodice disappear. I decided not to trim off the extra fabric – if I gain weight I can simply rip out the seam and continue to enjoy the dress in a new larger size!

I had some leftover scraps so I went ahead and made a matching mask. Man, once we are allowed back to school I am going to have the best matching dress/mask wardrobe!

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I already have plans to sew this beauty in another fabric (check my IG for a sneak peek!), and am almost done sewing the tote bag pattern that came with B6674. Stay tuned! πŸ™‚

the freja dress + pattern review

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I know, it’s been a million years since I have posted. I think that’s just how it’s going to be. I am too busy to update as regularly as I used to!

I have quite a few sewing projects to share, starting with this adorable Freja Dress! The pattern is from Simply Sewing Magazine, a UK publication. I got the pattern for free from last year’s #patternswap19 on IG, and I can’t believe it took me this long to finally make it!

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the christmas dress!

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Or more accurately, the Christmas dress that almost didn’t get made.

Let’s start from the beginning. Around 3 years ago I bought the most ADORABLE reindeer cocktail party fabric from Joann’s along with a bolt of lining fabric with the intention of making a Christmas dress that year. Well, if you know me, you know how I procrastinate so it’s probably no surprise that I didn’t make one.

Fast forward to last year. Dave and I were planning on having friends over for Christmas, so I knew it would be the best opportunity to grab that fabric out of the closet and make the most perfect dress.

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an apple a day

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Last week, Dave and I met Sara and Cody to go apple picking…because that’s just what you do in the fall in New England. I LOOOOOOVE apples, so I knew this would be the best opportunity to get a bunch of fruit for snacking and baking.

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, I at least know I won’t be sick for the next few weeks!

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new home, new me

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Dave and I finally moved out of our tiny apartment and into a house almost twice the size! Yay! We have been talking about doing it for years. The place we rented when we moved from NY back to MA was “temporary,” but we ended up staying there for 8 years!

We are still renting (the housing prices around here are insane), but it feels good to have a dining room, more than 1 bathroom, a porch…and a porch swing!

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