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Carpet Bag Knitting Bag

Carpet bag style purse handmade from vintage needlepoint chair seats

You know those projects where you have a great idea and the bits and pieces for sitting around for, oh, say, several years before you get around to sewing them? And then you’re like “that took me one evening why the heck did I wait so long?” Yeah, this is exactly that kind of project. Many years ago my great grandmother Roseada gave me a carpetbag that was hers that I adored and used to carry my knitting. I can’t actually remember when I lost it but I do remember being sad that it got lost. Since then I’ve carried my knitting around in various little zippered pouches which is great for lace and socks, but bigger knits really deserve something prettier than the ziploc bags they end up in when they outgrow my zippered pouches! My mom found these pretty vintage needlepoint chair seats in an antique store and bought …

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Re-Covered Sectional Couch

A while back, I recovered my mom’s sectional couch for her. I’ve recovered several pieces of furniture before, varying in complexity, from dining room chairs to tufted loveseats. Recovering this sectional was a high-impact project that was actually pretty simple since the couch is pretty square. I approached covering the couch like a would draping a garment. I didn’t have to start with precise measurements or worry about running out of fabric because my mom bought the whole bolt (that’s the way she rolls). I really enjoy the occasional home dec sewing project and find the problem solving around draping a dress very similar to draping a couch, and both are fun for me. But I know a lot of garment sewers (and quilters) hate home dec projects. Have you ever re-covered a couch? Would you ever re-cover a couch? One fun design bit was figuring out which direction to …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Choosing Fabric

Let’s get this sewalong started! [If, during this post or any other in the sewalong, I don’t cover your specific question, just ask! I’m happy to continue updating these posts as I go so they are as comprehensive as possible.] The first step is choosing fabric. In this post, I’ll talk through fabric choices for the body, lining, and interfacing.  Above, I’ve put together an introduction to the Presidio Purse and what you can expect from the sewalong. Body: The pattern calls for canvas, upholstery fabrics, denim, corduroy, or heavy twills for the body of the purse. You want something sturdy. If you are a beginning sewist, I recommend canvas, denim, or a heavy twill as cotton is easy to press (unlike many upholstery fabrics) and corduroy requires working with a nap. The thicker and stiffer your fabric is (i.e. the less drape it has), the more the purse will …

How to Sew a Picnic Set

It may be turning into crisp fall weather in the rest of the northern hemisphere, but here in San Francisco we’re getting our little bit of Indian summer sunshine. We’re covered with fog during summer months, but right now we have a lovely dose of warm weather, perfect for picnics! To celebrate the warm weather, I sewed a picnic set of tablecloth, placemat, and napkins. If your weather is already turning, this tablecloth is a great size for a kitchen table and the placemat and napkins can be used for any dining table. The image above shows the suggested dimensions for how to sew a tablecloth, placemat, or napkin. For the tablecloth, cut it into the largest square that you can cut. Fabrics differ in widths, usually ranging from 45″-60″, sometimes larger for upholstery fabrics. Measure the width of the fabric from selvedge to selvedge and then cut that length …

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Thurlow Shorts in Sage Velour

For years I’ve thought that wearing shorts in the winter is a stupid trend. I resisted it vehemently. And then last year I picked up a pair of wool shorts at the thrift store. And wore them incessantly. I’ve changed my mind. Winter shorts are awesome. I love wearing them over tights and I love wearing tights. And they actually kinda make sense for locales such as San Francisco where winter is so mild (well, compared to what I hear winter is like in other parts of the country. I wouldn’t actually know because it’s milder than Seattle or Portland but apparently they’re pretty mild too).

Not Your Typical Duffel Bag

I’ve had a gigantic green duffel bag for years now. I bought it before I spent a semester in East Africa in college so that I could stuff it into the bottom of my backpack and fill it up with souvenirs as I went. I got it from a surplus store and it smelled a little funky but I figured I could wash it out. Well, many years and many washes later, it still smells funky. So, I put it in the donate pile and made a new one. I stuck with green, but I had to spice it up a little. I had a bunch of this cotton upholstery fabric that I bought on a gigantic sale at some point and had sitting in my stash. I was worried that it wouldn’t be quite sturdy enough on its own, so I fully lined the bag with the same fabric. …

Stuff Sack for Inflatable Mattress

I’m lucky enough to live in a 2 bedroom apartment, but because I live in San Francisco, the 2nd bedroom is tiny and has to serve as my sewing room, Adam’s office, and our guest room. To make this possible, we bought a really nice inflatable mattress that is comfortable enough that even our parents can sleep on it. Unfortunately, after we took it out of its nylon stuff sack for the first time, we have never been able to fold it back small enough to fit again. Because it hasn’t fit in a sack, it’s been shoved awkwardly from one closet to another, never staying together, and in constant risk of puncture. I decided to sew a stuff sack for the inflatable mattress out of some gifted upholstery fabric in my stash. Not much exciting to share on the construction end – It’s a big rectangle. I serged the …