Saturday, August 18, 2012

My First Friday Night Sew In

My friend Katherine has been participating in the Friday Night Sew In (hosted this month by Crafty Vegas Mom) for a while, but it always seems to be on a Friday I have other plans. This month, I was finally able to do it. It was great because I just got back from my summer fellowship at Scientific American (link goes to a fun blog post that I wrote) in New York. I didn't take my sewing with me there, so it was a great way to jump back in.

This was supposed to be a birthday gift for one of my friends last year. We met at Baylor University, and that is the Baylor logo. Well, her birthday was in November, so then it was going to be a Christmas gift. As you can see, it is now August. But today is her baby shower (sadly, I can't be there), so it's now a baby shower gift. I'm also going to get her some reusable diapers to put in it. Last night I got this far. The bag has been sewed up and turned right-side out, but the straps weren't done yet.

And today I finished it up. It's the same tote bag pattern I've used several times, once again made to be nominally reversible. (I say nominally because the logo is backwards on the inside, so it's unlikely someone would actually reverse it.) It has a little carrying pouch that you can kind of see in the top picture hanging off the right side of the bag.
The slightly tricky part was the logo. I printed out a copy of the Baylor logo and used that as a stencil. I cut out the large outlines of the B and U. Then I pinned an extra piece of yellow fabric to the cutout (the yellow fabric is only bright yellow on one side, so I couldn't just use the lining as the part that would show through). I sewed the bag up as normal, and after turning, I outlined the letters in a zigzag stitch. Then I cut out two green pieces to be the holes of the B. I would have left it, but it kind of looked like BJ, and I didn't want my friend walking around with a baby and a bj bag. To make the part of the U behind the B, I just kind of freehand cut out the top from one of the green pieces I was sewing in. It ended up looking pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Next time, I would probably hook the straps up differently. This is the way the pattern has me do it, but the logo would be less distorted, and the bag would probably lie flatter against the body when in use, if the straps were hooked front-to-front and back-to-back rather than front-back, front-back, if that makes sense. Part of me wants to redo it, but it's kind of a pain to take all the stitching out.

My sewing machine was being kind of weird. I can't figure out what the problem is. My lines of stitching are looking fine on the front, but a lot of them look like this on the back:
A mix of regular stitching and then some waviness. I have played with the tension, speed of stitching, pulling the material more and less, and I can't quite figure out how to fix it. It's not as bad with more layers of fabric, I think, and shorter stitch size seems better, although it might just be harder to see. I might need to take my machine in for servicing. Anyone know what might cause this type of pattern? It's somewhat regular, but not entirely.

Yay for FNSI! I am going to try to set aside an evening a week at least to work on sewing. It was a manageable chunk of time that didn't make me feel like I had to get to any particular endpoint. The nice dinner and wine we had before I started didn't hurt, either.


  1. We celebrated approximate pi day with strawberry rhubarb pie! The bag looks great. From the photo, I would have guessed that you cut out two pieces of yellow "U," not that the second part was negative space in the green. And yes, not that I have a serger I am instantly a professional (I wish).

  2. It probably would have been easier to do a yellow applique on top of the green, but my original plan was to let the lining show through. Then when I realized that the print was only on one side, I never went back to considering putting yellow on top instead of letting it show underneath.
    I'm going to say that doing it as a normal applique would have risked having some yellow sticking out of the sides of the zigzag stitching around it, so the reverse applique is clearly superior.

  3. Your bag is a wonderful gift! Your friend will love it. I like how you solved the blank spot at the top of the U. Great eye for detail! And a very productive Friday Night Sew In :)