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Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

Jun 4 2010

Grand Opening

Some of you know that I’ve been working quietly for several months in preparation for opening a small side business. This week saw the culmination of those efforts and HappenstanceHandmade is now up and running! It’s still a little small, but it will grow!

I have several goals in opening this shop; the first and foremost being a way to improve my sewing skills, because nothing hones an ability quite like putting it to work. And thinking ahead to the time when Ryan and I decide that what the world really needs is one or two little Burrells to shake things up (still a long ways off, so don’t get too excited!), I want to be prepared for us losing my part of our regular income during the months of my maternity leave, which at my job is unpaid.

I started off with checkbook covers and zipper pouches, because, well, they’re easy to make. I plan to add small jewelry pouches to the product list fairly soon, and I’m considering Matthew‘s suggestion that I sell my “Shoe Fix” as well (let me know in the comments if you think this is something I should add to the shop, or if you have any other suggestions). I want to expand into handbags and clothing as well, but that’s a little further down the road.

So head on over to the shop and take a look around… and if you like what you see, well, you know what to do!

May 4 2010

Getting a shoe “fix”

I love shoes.

I love these shoes.

Shoe. Yes, I have big feet.

I never wear these shoes, though.

When I walk, this is what happens.


But all is not lost! Here is my inspiration:

(Forever 21)

And here is the end result:

Here’s how I did it:

1. Take two pieces of fabric (I used navy blue), 25″ x 3″. I didn’t use any interfacing or padding, because I wanted to keep it light and airy. Fold one piece of fabric in half longways with right sides together, pin, and stitch a seam using 1/2″ seam allowance down the long ends.

2. Trim the seam allowance.

3. Turn the tube right side out and press.

4. Topstitch 1/8″ from each edge.

5. Fold the raw ends under 1/4″, then fold under again. This is where my photography skills went on vacation.

6. Topstitch two seams to secure the end.

7. Sew down a piece of velcro on one end, flip the strap (this is important!), and sew the other piece on the other end. Oh look, the photography came back!

8. Repeat for the other strap.

That’s it! Slide on the shoe, slip the strap underneath, twine around your ankle, and velcro shut. I am debating stitching the crossover together and/or hotgluing the strap to the underside of the shoe, but for now I am leaving it at is so I can keep experimenting with other ideas.

Apr 23 2010

Purse for me, and a bunch of photos

I’ve been super busy at work, but have still made time to work on more birthday gift purses and sneak in one for me – I really like it! Mom helped me pick out the fabrics.

And now for photos of Jessica! The first one is one of my favorite pictures of her, ever.

Also, I recently got to take “my” boys out for birthday ice cream, each by themselves! We went to Coldstone, and both boys, oddly enough, picked bright blue cotton candy ice cream with gummy bears. You’d think they were related, or something.

And last but not least, we have some gorgeous flowers growing in our backyard! They have faded somewhat since I took these, so I’m glad I have them to remember how pretty it will be here every spring.

Aaaaaand that’s it for now. The next group of photos I post  will be of my awesome father-in-law’s band, the Sock Monkeys.

Yes, you read that right.

The Sock Monkeys.

Intrigued? You should be! Check back later for more…

Apr 5 2010

Birthday Purses

It’s been a while since I posted a sewing project, so here’s the latest: birthday purse sets for my sister (3/21) and my Little Sister in St Louis (3/20). The pattern is Simplicity 2617; I used Bag B for the purses and D for the makeup bags. These are cross-posted on Burda Style.


The purses

Here you can see the pockets

The final sets

Obligatory "Purses on Stairs!" shot


1. If you sew this pattern, I recommend moving the markings for zipper in the pocket on piece 11 down by at least 1/4″. As marked, I’ve had trouble fitting the zipper, magentic snap, and top seam allowance into the space allotted, resulting in the sides snapping a tiny bit crookedly and requiring me to hand stitch the final topstitching (not a pretty sight).

2. If you can, add about 1/4″ of length to the patchwork pieces that become the outer sides. Some of this is me being relatively novice at this, but my patchwork didn’t come out even across the top, making cutting the side pieces out of the patchwork a tiny bit tricky.

3. When attaching the sides/bottom (piece 10) to the outsides or to the lining (pieces 9), match the ends up to the notches before pinning along the bottom. At first, I tried to pin from one end to the other, and I ran out of fabric; it’s designed to give a little structure to the bag, so if you pin the notches first, then work to the bottom, it’ll come together more easily.

4. I bought double the amounts of fabric and notions listed on the pattern; the goal was  to make two purses and two makeup bags. I had enough fabric left over to make two more purses (conveniently enough, I have two May birthdays to plan gifts for!), though I did have to purchase 1 and 1/4 yd of heavyweight fusible interfacing for the last bag.

5. I used variegated embroidery thread on the blue/green bag, and I kind of liked the effect, but I really prefer the solid embroidery on the pink/brown one. Yes, I hand-embroidered it. Yes, I am crazy; each side took a full hour to embroider.

6. I really love this pattern.


Don’t hesitate to ask. I’m in the process of making two more of Bag B, and I’ve purchased stuff for Bag A, so I’m in purse-making mode!


Dec 28 2009

Handmade Christmas Gifts, 2009

Tote Bags

I made as many Christmas gifts as I could this year. In the header image and below are the tote bags I made for Ryan’s mother, aunt, and grandmothers. I’ll be making one for Mom’s birthday in May, I think!  These are made using Simplicity pattern 2676 and cotton quilting fabrics; you may remember these prints from an earlier post. These were a big hit, and I learned a lot from making them.



For Keegan and Kadence, my I-wish-these-kids-were-my-nephews, I made Lumpysaurs!


Soooo lumpy!

Awww look at all the lumps!

These are based on the Unforgettable Elephant pattern in Sew Everything Workshop, by Diana Rupp; I added the head, neck, and tail to the elephant body. These are made of stash fabrics and stuffed with scraps, so they’re good for bopping brothers over the head, which is what they do with stuffed animals. I hear the boys loved them.

On an unrelated note, I saw Avatar today and loved it… Who knew ten-foot-tall blue people with tails could be so interesting, and so very, very badass? Incidentally, I will probably go see every movie Sam Worthington makes from here on out, because the eye candy factor is through the roof. The rest of the movie is pretty eye-catching, too.

Next up: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Sherlock Holmes.

Later dudes.