Sewing and Design Meet: Floral Bliss

Sewing and Design Meet Logo

It is time for another installment of Sewing and Design Meet.  Actually it is time for the second installment… I started this series last year and then never did a second one!  Oops!  Hopefully this year, there will be more regular posts for this series.

Today I am sharing about my Floral Bliss design and several projects I sewed with it. I currently have 4 different colorways of the design plus coordinates all available in the Floral Bliss Collection in my Spoonflower Shop.

DESIGN:

This design has a really fun story, since it began as a doodle in a doodle book I kept a long, long time ago.  Here is a look at the original, non-repeating doodle:

Floral Bliss Doodle by Brenda Zapotosky

As you can see, this doodle was not created with a repeating pattern in mind, and thus, there was a lot of work involved in turning it into one.  It was a multi-step process, where I would split the design apart in photoshop, print it out and add more elements by hand, re-scan it, erase elements, digitally tweak etc. Here is just one in-progress look.

Floral Bliss In Progress Pattern Creation by Brenda Zapotosky

At this point you can see the original page outline was still present.  Once I went through all those steps mentioned above (some more than once) and had a repeating tile with all my hand drawn elements, I next started the long process of recreating it as a vector tile in Illustrator.  I did auto-trace it as a first step, but there was a lot of time spent editing and tweaking, etc again in Illustrator.  This is not a fast process!

The original use of this pattern was for a Spoonflower limited palette contest. There was no theme other than the colors: Coral, Mint, Black and White, so it was a perfect opportunity to use an abstract pattern. Here is the look at that colorway of the pattern for the contest:

Floral Bliss Coral and Mint by Brenda Zapotosky
Floral Bliss (Coral and Mint) Design by Brenda Zapotosky

This is one of the most “hearted” designs in my shop.  Because of its popularity and the amount of time invested in the pattern, it made sense to offer it in other color versions as well.  I also added a second, smaller scale version.  I currently offer it in 4 different colorways and 2 different scales!  I have sewn with 3 of those colorways.  Here is a look at the other 3 versions:

Floral Bliss 3 Color Versions by Brenda Zapotosky
Colorways Left to Right:  Pink and Gray, Tropical, Winter Blues

 

 

SEWING:

The first project I made from one 8 x 8 swatch:  A Travel Eye Mask.

Floral Bliss Eye Mask by Brenda Zapotosky

This was made with the Floral Bliss Pink and Gray (Small Scale) version of the design.  I am not 100% sure which fabric type this is… one of the woven cottons.  I created my own sewing pattern by tracing a freebie eye mask that I had (modifying the shape and size a little bit and adding seam allowances). It is backed in raspberry pink flannel with a layer of batting in between and I kept the piece of 1/4″ elastic I used “raw” (which I rather like).  Bonus:  All the extra materials were already in my stash!

The second project I made used the original colorway of the design in the Small Scale again combined with a coordinating Polka Dot:  A Travel Jewelry Pouch.

Floral Bliss Travel Jewelry Pouch 4 views by Brenda Zapotosky

This was a gift for my sister and Floral Bliss was one of the patterns I knew she liked. (She also loves polka dots).  It was quite an ambitious project for me at the time I made it.  It was my first time working with vinyl, had multiple zippers, and a LOT of bias binding.  I actually wrote an entire blog post about this one where you can read all about it in great detail.

The third, and final project so far is an Infinity Scarf.

Floral Bliss Winter Blues Infinity Scarf by Brenda Zapotosky

This scarf features the newest color of the Floral Bliss design, Winter Blues, in the larger scale.  (The small scale version has not been added to my shop yet.)  It is printed on 1/2 yard of Cotton Spandex Jersey.  I don’t like my infinity scarfs to be too voluminous so 1/2 yard is the perfect size for me.  I used Spoonflower’s Fill-A-Yard function to get 1/2 yard of this print and a different print for the other half which I also plan to make a scarf with.

I created this colorway specifically for this project.  I wear a lot of scarves in the wintertime and keep them on even inside, so I like a lot of variety.  This print, at this scale, in these colors will work well with a lot of what is already in my wardrobe and is quite different than my other scarves.  Here it is styled with another recent make of mine, a Lane Raglan by Hey June Handmade sewn up in RK Laguna Knit in Navy.  I think this is the 7th Lane Raglan I have sewn.  It is definitely a TNT (Tried and True) pattern for me!

Floral Bliss Scarf with Lane Raglan Brenda Zapotosky

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I think it is apparent from the above projects that Floral Bliss is a very versatile design!  I sewed these 3 very different projects quite far apart.  It is fun to see that it is a design that I continue to return to and use in different ways.  I have not sewn anything up in the Tropical colorway yet, but there is the chance that I will in the future should the right project come along!  A skirt or dress for summertime would be lovely in that version of the print.

How about you?  Which version is your favorite?

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

 

Alphabet Animal Art Challenge: The final recap!

Alphabet Art Challenge 2017 Final Review by Brenda Zapotosky

Finished!!!!!!!!!!!

That was the elation I felt when I completed the final animal in the Alphabet Animal Art Challenge!  52 weeks, 26 letters, and I created both a prompt list and an animal for ALL of them!  It is quite an accomplishment if I do say so myself, and NOT easy.

I had several reasons/goals/ideas when I first dreamed up this challenge and I am happy to say that I met them (and perhaps even surpassed them!) There is so much to share, in fact, that I hardly know where to begin… (And, if you are just hearing about this challenge for the first time you can read the original post here).

First, the animals!  All 26 of them.  One for every letter of the Alphabet and almost all of them posted within their allotted 2 week time frame!

26 Animal Illustrations by Brenda Zapotosky

It is rather amazing seeing them all together.  Such a wide variety!  The first animal, armadillo, is a bit out of place.  After that first letter, and motivated by a comment from my husband, I decided to go “cuter” with the look of my animals.  I am really glad I did!  I think that I was able to achieve a pretty good consistency of style throughout the year and, scale aside, these animals could work well in combination in addition to solo.  (In fact I plan on tweaking the armadillo to use in a project I have planned). I chose a handful of favorites to create the title art for this post, but honestly, while I definitely have ones I don’t like as much, there is future “potential” for most of these.  One of the great “side effects” of this challenge is that I now have a large library of animal characters ready to use in patterns, greeting cards, and any other sort of art.  In fact, many of them have already been used in these ways, which you will see below.

Next, I wanted to share all the “prompt” posts I did for Instagram.

26 Animal Prompts by Brenda Zapotosky

These were posted every Sunday (except for 1, which got delayed due to some major computer issues I had) to kick off the new letter and give some ideas to get participants started on their next letter. (Of course, after the first quarter most other participants dropped out, but I persevered in sharing the prompts anyways, always in hope of new people joining in!) Each prompt had 7 animals listed. I researched animals and created these letter by letter as the year went along.  You might be surprised to learn that I did NOT check prior to starting the challenge if there even was an animal for every letter of the alphabet.  Honestly, that didn’t matter to me.  I figured there would be an animal for MOST of them and I could always use adjective descriptors for a letter that did not have an animal.  It turned out, however, that every letter DID have an animal!!!  And in fact, I was able to fill all 7 “slots” on my prompt list for every letter (although for Y some of them are “adjective Y” animals)!  It was a bit of work putting together the lists but it was also fun.  I liked looking up the letter and discovering new and interesting animals.

As I mentioned above, I have built up an impressive library of illustrations that I can now use for other design projects.

Surface Pattern Design: I have ideas for patterns for many of the animals I have created, but so far I have only created one seamless pattern.  It features the flamingo and is titled:  Flamingos and Flowers. This design is now available as part of the Floridian Collection in my Spoonflower Shop.

Flamingos and Flowers Pattern Promo by Brenda Zapotosky

Greeting Cards:  I also created several greeting cards, basically on an “as needed” basis as occasions popped up throughout the year.  So far I have created 5 different greeting card designs, 2 of which, the elephant and owl, have 2 different color variations (I chose to only include 1 color version of each card below but you can see the other elephant here and the other owl here).
Animal Greeting Cards by Brenda Zapotosky

I think it would be fun to do some coordinating patterns for these as well.  I am particularly found of the Birthday Owl!

Onto my final thoughts:

  • One of my goals was to force myself to be creative on a regular basis.  This challenge definitely achieved that goal!  There were definitely times when I really did not want to create an animal for a particular letter, but since I committed to the challenge I did.  I am very happy for that.
  • Another goal was to improve my animal drawing skills.  Character design does not come easy to me, so this was a great way for me to grow that skill set.  I think some animals were more successful than others, but even my least favorites gave me good practice.
  • If I am disappointed with any part of the challenge, it was the dropping out of most of the participants after the first quarter.  I totally get it… it was hard for ME to keep up sometimes and I created the challenge!  But I did miss that social aspect of it.

I think that’s it!  It is a little weird to be done with this challenge.  But I am excited to move on to a new subject matter!  I announced the 2018 Alphabet Art Challenge theme a few weeks ago:  Fruits and Vegetables!  It will be a nice change of pace.  I would love for you to join me!

Thanks for reading!  I would love to hear which animal is YOUR favorite!  You can comment below.

Brenda

Alphabet Animal Art Challenge: T-Z

The final group of letters for the Alphabet Animal Art Challenge is complete!  It is so exciting to be finished!  I considered combining the last quarter letter’s recap with an overall end of the challenge post, but for consistency purposes (and blog post length) I have decided to keep them separate.  So look for a final recap on the entire challenge coming (hopefully) later this week!

There were 7 animals in this final group.  Here is a look at all of them:

Animals Animals Letters T thru Z by Brenda Zapotosky

This was not my favorite batch, and included some of the most challenging animals from the entire year.  Even though I initially planned on avoiding fish (since I have drawn MANY in the past), for the letter X it ended up being my favorite choice, and it is definitely one of my favorite from this batch.

X is for X Ray Tetra by Brenda Zapotosky

I also really like how the Urial turned out! It is too bad it is a more obscure animal, not sure if/how I could really use him in the future.

U is for Urial by Brenda Zapotosky

I think another reason this round was more difficult, especially at the end, was the lack of time due to all the extra Christmas prep and activities etc. that I was doing.  More complex animals to draw (like the Yak and Zebra) combined with a time crunch equals less fun in my book.  One of the goals of this challenge was to force myself to be regularly creating new art, and it DEFINITELY did that.

During this last quarter I also created one new greeting card design using an animal from the previous batch, the raccoon:

Merry Christmas Raccoon Card by Brenda Zapotosky

I switched up his colors, added mittens, and placed him on some snow to give him a Christmas make-over!  (You can see the original version of the raccoon here.) This was a SUPER quick card design squeezed in to give to my husband for Christmas.  In the future, if I wanted to use the card again, I’d like to spend a bit more time on it, and use my own original font.  I am also considering a Christmas surface pattern featuring this guy and maybe a few other woodland animals.

That’s it for this round!  I have a ton of thoughts about the challenge overall which I will share in the final recap!  In the meantime, I’d love to hear which animal was YOUR favorite this round!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

ps.  In case you missed it, I announced the theme for the 2018 Alphabet Art Challenge a few posts back!  Super excited for a new year and a new topic!  I would love for you to join me!

Announcing the 2018 Alphabet Art Challenge!!!

I super excited about this post and to share the theme for the 2018 Alphabet Art Challenge!  If you are new to this Challenge you can read all about the first one, The Alphabet ANIMAL Art Challenge, here. You can also read each of the quarterly updates here, here and here.

And so without further ado, and perhaps a little drumroll…. The 2018 theme is:

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!  (At least, I am hoping that is what you are thinking.)  I am very excited about this theme.  While the Animal theme was a great challenge to me personally, and I will be sharing a lot of thoughts about it all when I do the final recap of the year, I am looking forward to having a little bit simpler subject matter this time around.

The OFFICIAL name for this challenge will be the Fruit and Veggie Challenge, because that is more fun in my opinion, and makes for a shorter hashtag:  #2018fruitandveggieartchallenge

2018 Alphabet Art Challenge Announcement by Brenda Zapotosky

For this theme I have a very distinct vision for the style of the art I will be creating.  Since my days of doodle books, starting way back in college, I have LOVED hatching.  And one of the style methods I employ a lot in my artwork is creating “geometric” versions of common objects.  So for my fruits and vegetables this year, they will be geometric in style and employ hatching as part of the rendering.  I already created some patterns that use geometric fruits and vegetables, so I will be building upon that small library.  Here are a few examples (Which are available as fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap in my Spoonflower shop) :

Geometric Pumpkins by Brenda Zapotosky

Tropical Pineapples Pattern by Brenda Zapotosky

As an added “bonus” this year, I have also decided to create a new geometric font to go with my fruit and veggie illustrations, which will add an element of Art to the “Prompt” posts that I do at the beginning of each letter. (You can see examples of the prompts on my Instagram feed.)

Ok, so onto the official “rules” for this Challenge.  There are 52 weeks and 26 letters, so that means 1 letter for every 2 weeks.  Since 2018 starts on a Monday, that will be our starting day for each new letter.  So Monday, Jan. 1 will kick off the letter “A”.  On each Monday where a new letter begins I will post a reminder on Instagram with the letter for that 2-week period and some ideas of fruits and veggies to get you started.

Like last year, this is JUST FOR FUN!  There are not any prizes for participating.  Use any type of medium you like to create your art.  And if you are late to join in or miss a letter or 2, that is totally fine!  I would like to do an artist round up like I did for the first quarterly recap of 2017.  Sadly participation last year drastically tapered off after that first quarter, so the other recaps did not include other artist’s work.  I hoping that there will be more participation this year and I will able to share a bit more of other’s work.

So get your artistic thinking caps on and start mentally prepping for a year of Alphabet Art Fun!  I really hope you will consider joining me!

Brenda

ps.  If you are not already following me on Instagram, I highly recommend it.  It is where I will be posting all the prompts and fruit and veggie creations.

Alphabet Animal Art Challenge: N-S

Hi folks!  I am back with the third recap in my year-long Alphabet Animal Art Challenge. 3/4 of the way through!  If this is your first time learning about the challenge you can see my original post here.  And recaps 1 and 2 here and here.

Let’s start with a look at the 6 animals I created for this portion of the challenge:

Alphabet Animals Letters N to S by Brenda Zapotosky

3 birds and 2 sea creatures in the mix. Very interesting.  Not sure if I can narrow down a favorite.  Instead I’ll make it a tie and choose both the nautilus and the peacock!  Here is a closer look at both of those:

N is for Nautilus by Brenda Zapotosky

P is for Peacock by Brenda Zapotosky

I don’t know how “marketable” the nautilus is to use for other things, but I just love him! The peacock on the other hand would be fun to incorporate into a pattern or a card.  I particularly love his fat belly and his feathers!  I could see a coordinating pattern using just those ovals from his feathers.

I have used one of the animals so far in a greeting card design.  The owl!  Here is a look at the super cute birthday card I designed in 2 colorways:

Owl Birthday Cards by Brenda Zapotosky

I especially love the new colorway I did for the second card with the pink and teal.  It would be fun to do a whimsical geometric owl collection using these two colorways.

Final thoughts:

This round was the same as most of the rest in that some animals were easier than others.  I write about my thoughts about each creation individually when I post them on my Instagram feed so I won’t bother rehashing that here.  One thing that is interesting:  I did not give any of these animals names!  I am big time into naming things so it is a little bit surprising that not even one was named.

With only 7 letters left, I anticipate some challenges in this final quarter.  I normally don’t research the next letter until I am ready to do my prompt post shortly before the Sunday I post it, so I really haven’t looked to see what my selection will be for the upcoming letters.  I can think of a few, but not many.  I have a hunch it will be slim pickings and possibly some creativity involved to get an animal for the rest of the letters (or else being force to draw something either really obscure or not very fun). The adventure continues!

I guess that wraps it up!  I’d love to hear from you in the comments.  Which animal was your favorite this round?

As always, thanks for reading!

Brenda

 

Adventures in Sewing: Cheyenne Tunic

Hi folks! I am here today to share my most ambitious sewing project to date.  And while it is not perfect, I still consider it to be a HUGE SUCCESS.  I present for your reading/viewing pleasure… the Cheyenne Tunic by Hey June Patterns.

Cheyenne Tunic 1 Blog 1 with Text

This is the third pattern I have sewn up from Hey June and I have to say that I am continually impressed by the quality and detail of both the patterns and instructions.  In fact, besides loving the popover view with the non-traditional partial placket, a huge reason for me picking this particular blouse as my first official button-down project was because it was designed by Adrianna of Hey June.  Having sewn many, many patterns by Indie sewing pattern designers, I can say that while MOST have been good, there have been disappointments along the way.  But Hey June is a tried and true brand for me so I knew it was a safe bet for my dip into the next level of sewing.  Plus it gets great reviews!  Adrianna’s instructions and illustrations are top-notch.  She also has an online photo-tutorial sew-along.  Normally I am an illustrations over photos gal, but for some of the techniques I found having both very helpful!

Since I had not done many of the skills included in this pattern I decided to make a full practice version of the top instead of just a quick fit muslin.  I found this very lightweight cotton at Joann’s for a MEGA bargain after all the discounts and coupons were applied.  I did not bother with pattern alignment.  The design is not symmetrical even though it might appear that way in places.  It is only on the back yoke where it might look like I tried but failed to pattern match.

Cheyenne Tunic 1 Blog 2

This pattern comes with A LOT of options, most of them interchangeable (making it a really great value too!). I chose the View B placket/collar, tunic length, long sleeves with roll up tabs and no pockets (This fabric is WAY to busy for pockets).  Even though these were my first button plackets (and first time using the button/buttonhole feature of my sewing machine) I found that it was the COLLAR that actually gave me the most difficulty.  It is a little wonky, especially at the front tips, but not super noticeable when it is on.

I made the pattern mostly as written (a rarity for me), adding a little extra top-stitching since I prefer it all the way around the plackets instead of up just one side.  I didn’t do this until the sleeve plackets and decided it was too difficult to add after the fact to the front center.  Next time I will do that everywhere.

Cheyenne Tunic 1 Blog 3

My other change was to use self-fabric bias tape for hemming the bottom.  I find I have more success hemming curves this way and after struggling with the curves of the collar I definitely preferred to use the bias for the bottom!

Cheyenne Tunic 1 Blog 4 with text

FIT:  So this is technically my muslin for this pattern and after all the work I put into it, I am very thankful that it fits well enough to be wearable.  I do, however, plan on making some changes for the next one.  For reference, my measurements put me in a size Small for the bust and size Large for my hips (Pear shaped gal here.) Based on the finished garment measurements I felt that I could get away with only grading to size Medium on bottom and still have enough ease.  And I do. But I would like a little bit more.  And since one of the perks of sewing your own clothes is getting garments tailored to your body, I am tweaking my next one to hopefully be my perfect fit.  I actually just finished creating new pattern pieces for my changes today.  The fit of the front of the tunic is good but I do want more width for my hips so I am adding width to the back only in two ways/places:  A tiny bit through the neck and yoke (I have wider shoulders and this will give me just a bit more room across my upper back) and then a lot more width though the back main piece.  I plan on creating a pleat in the top center where it attaches to the yoke (a common detail on button-down shirts).  The other change I am making is to NARROW the sleeves!  Yes, I am making the shirt larger on one end and skinnier on another!  I have skinny arms (apparently skinnier than average) and a “skinny arm adjustment” has been a common alteration for me since I started making clothes.  On this version, the sleeves have been riding up my arm as I wear it and bunch up near my elbow (I do not even need to unbutton the cuff to put it on).  So I am tapering the sleeves to an extra small on my next one.  I have high hopes that these two changes will get me to my perfect top!

Cheyenne Tunic 1 Blog 5

Buttons and Buttonholes:  As I mentioned this was the first time doing these on my machine and I was extremely happy with how it handled them.  The apparatus for making the buttonholes is not the sturdiest but it gets the job done.  My only complaint is that it does not seem to be consistent on where it starts the hole and thus it is a bit unpredictable where the finished hole will be positioned.  This is not a big deal for solo buttons or even pairs (like on the placket).  But would be if I had done a full placket. Other than that, NOT SCARY!

Here is a close up of one the special details of this top, the sleeve tab!  I picked long sleeves for the first one but it easily converts to elbow sleeves simply by rolling up and securing with the tab!  You might notice that the buttonhole is slightly too close to the tip. This is one of those locations where the buttonhole did not start/stop where I expected it to. Otherwise, I think it looks pretty great!

Cheyenne Tunic 1 Blog 6

Overall, I would say that this top was a pleasure to sew!  There are a lot of pieces to cut. And a lot of steps.  It took me quite a long time to complete.  But it was so satisfying!  And the end results, even with my imperfections here and there, look so professional!  Whether you have never made a button-down shirt or are an old pro, I highly recommend this pattern!  I very excited about my next one!

 

Cheyenne Tunic 1 Blog 7

As always, thanks for reading!

Brenda

Alphabet Animal Art Challenge: G-M

Well folks, we have officially reached the halfway point of the Alphabet Animal Art Challenge and it is time for the second recap for the year!  As time has progressed, I have found that participation from other artists is dwindling.  Bummer? Yes.  But… this began first and foremost as a personal challenge to myself and alone or with a crowd, I will continue until the end!  I certainly miss seeing other’s people work inspired by the letter prompts, but I totally get the difficulty of sticking with any challenge for a full year!  Honestly, it has been hard for me for a few of these letters to want to spend the time creating anything, especially when I was uninspired by the choices.  If not for my determination to stick to my goal I might have stopped too!  (Or at least skipped some letters).  But I persevered and am happy I did. Today I am sharing a look at the second batch of animals, G-M, and sharing some designs I created that incorporate animals from both the first and second round of creations.

Letters G-M  There was definitely a lag in excitement when I hit the middle of this batch. Letters I and J were not very inspiring to me.  I came up with the idea to do multiple insects for I, which ended up kind of fun.  But J… the jellyfish you see here was actually just a re-working of an old illustration (and then scaled twice to create 3  different sized ones).  Thankfully the Koala helped me get some of my enthusiasm back!

Alphabet Animals Letters G to M by Brenda Zapotosky

I think my favorite of this batch is the Hedgehog.  I would definitely like to create a pattern for him using a maze of green hedges!

H is for Hedgehog by Brenda Zapotosky

Pattern and Cards:  So far I have incorporated 4 different animals from the challenge into either cards or a pattern.  These include my giraffe from this batch of illustrations and 3 other animals from my first round  (Letters A-F) of illustrations.  I absolutely love that I am building a library of animal illustrations, in my style, that are all ready to be used in other ways.

I created a seamless pattern with my flamingo for the Birds and Blooms Design Challenge on Spoonflower.  I absolutely love the bright, happy palette and am in the process of creating an entire collection around the signature print:  Flamingos and Flowers.

Flamingos and Flowers Pattern Promo by Brenda Zapotosky

The collection is not finished yet, but you can find the first two coordinates of Floridian, as well as the flamingo print available now in my Spoonflower shop.

I also created some greeting cards using my animal art designs too!

Animal Art Greeting Cards by Brenda Zapotosky

The cat card was a birthday card for my husband.  The giraffe card was actually a MOTHER’S day card (my mom loves giraffes) but I kept the greeting on the front generic to give it better flexibility for future use.  I had both a niece and nephew turn 2 in June, so I actually did 2 different colorways of the elephant card.  In my “girl” version (below) the elephant has pink toenails like in the original illustration, although in a brighter shade of pink!

Birthday Elephant Greeting Card Pink by Brenda Zapotosky

These cards were a lot of fun to put together.  I could see an entire line of animal cards along with maybe some matching gift wrap being developed at some point.  For now, I am enjoying creating them as the need arises.

Overall, I will call round 2 a success!  It is quite incredible how many different animals there really are!  I have discovered many “new to me” animals along the way.  Next up is the letter N, which marks the beginning of the second half of the alphabet.  So if you wanted to join me, or jump back in if you started and fell behind, this is a great time to start!!!

And be sure to follow me on Instagram, to see each animal as I finish them and see the reminder posts and animal idea prompts each fortnight!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Sewing and Design Meet: Canvas Bags

Canvas Bags group picture by Brenda Zapotosky for Blog

I am thinking of starting a new regular series of blog posts:  Sewing and Design Meet.  A place to showcase those projects where my fabric designer self and my sewing self come together to create a project!  (Or in simpler terms: When I sew stuff with my own fabric designs 🙂 ).

I am kicking off the series with a trio of bags created from 1/2 yard of my Hip Sequential (Cool) design printed on Eco Canvas by Spoonflower.

DESIGN:

A look at the pattern:

Geometric Promo by Brenda Zapotosky

This pattern was actually created during a special Spoonflower design challenge last spring.  The theme for this day of the challenge was geometric and I had a little flash of inspiration! I really liked the idea of solid and divided rectangles slowing getting smaller in width in sequential order. The end pattern worked so well with my existing Hip Geometrics Collection I have since added it in all four collection colorways as well!

SEWING:

When I ordered my fabric, Spoonflower did not yet offer their Fill-A-Yard service so I had to create mine manually by uploading a full yard design file divided into two patterns.  My thought was that 1/2 yard on the wide fabric should be enough for two bags/totes of some kind, although I did not have a specific pattern in mind when I ordered.  I chose Eco-canvas as my substrate as Spoonflower was having an amazing 1/2 price sale on it at the time.  A look at the printed fabric:

Hip Sequential on Eco Canvas by Brenda Zapotosky

I had the fabric for quite a while when I saw a few free tote tutorials by Purl Soho and knew I had found the right bag for this print!  For this pattern I chose the Railroad Tote.  I thought the rectangular shape was a good pairing for the geometric print.  To pair with my fabric I purchased some Kaufman Big Sur Canvas in Solid Gray.  Buying online is usually a bit of a gamble (unless you have purchased the exact product before) so I was quite excited to see how perfectly the canvas I chose matched both this print AND the other pattern, Transit Lines, I had printed with it.

Railroad Tote by Brenda Zapotosky for Blog

I mostly made the tote per instructions.  Since I had plenty of the canvas and I like pockets on my bags I decided to add the pocket to BOTH sides of the tote.  I also changed the finishing order a bit so that I could have the tops of my side seams enclosed in the folded over edge of the top of the bag.  This required a few more steps and was a bit trickier to sew this way, but well worth it for the final result!

I am very happy with how the bag turned out but I would make a few tweaks for the next one.  The side pockets end up being very tall and skinny.  While the look from the outside is quite lovely I would prefer them to be less deep, so next time I would modify them somehow.  I also plan on making it bigger overall.

I had a long skinny piece of this print left over and plenty of the gray canvas so I decided to sew up some zippy pouches with the left overs.  Originally these were supposed to be a bigger and smaller pouch in two different styles and the zippers I purchased for them are 2″ different in length.  However, I did not anticipate that the style of the bigger pouch made it appear smaller and the extensions I added to the smaller pouch would increase its size so much.  In the end they are almost the same size!

Hip Sequential Zippies by Brenda Zapotosky for Blog

For the “larger” pouch (Top bag in the photo) I used another free bag pattern: The Open Wide Zippered Pouch by Noodlehead.  I have used this pattern before and it is a really nifty design!  (Do people still say nifty?)  I can’t remember for sure which size I made but I think it was the smallest one as I am fairly certain I used a 9″ zipper.  I know the pattern calls for 10″, but you really can’t find that easily at any stores by me.  Not sure if I made the bag smaller to compensate, but having made it before I knew that the zip overhangs a lot so there is definitely wiggle room there.

The “smaller” pouch is just a basic rectangle lined zipper pouch using a 7″ zipper.  To give it a little extra flair I added the little canvas loop to the side.  I also chose to add canvas extenders to each side of the zipper so that the ends wouldn’t pull into the sides of the pouch.  I used the technique outlined by my fellow Spoonflower designer and friend Ceri for her cut and sew pouch project: The Hand Strap Clutch.  You can see both details in the photo below.  You can also get a small glimpse of the lining.  For both zipper pouches I used a “textured look” quilting cotton, “Crosshatch Sketch”, that I purchased from Hawthorne Threads.  They no longer have the color I chose:  Fog, but there are several other colors available that might pair well with this print.  There are of course many color match choices in my Spoonflower shop too, including this teal color version of my Hip Shapes design.

Hip Sequential Small Zip Close Up by Brenda Zapotosky for Blog

One last note:  The Eco-Canvas is not as stiff as normal canvas (definitely not as stiff as the Big Sur Canvas I paired it with) and tends to flop around a little.  I highly recommend using interfacing if you want a bit more structure to whatever you are making with it.  I added a very light interfacing to both zippered pouches and really liked the bit of structure it gave.  Unfortunately the inside of the canvas is exposed on the tote so you would have to give it a lining if you wanted to add interfacing there.  I have the other 1/2 yard of my Eco-Canvas left with the other print I chose to use for a second tote and I am currently brainstorming ideas of how I can add lining/double layer to the top pieces, so I can interface that one!  If anyone has any suggestions, I will be making the Everyday Tote with it.

I’ll leave you with a few more views of the bags!

Canvas Bags details by Brenda Zapotosky for Blog

Thanks for reading!

Brenda

Me-Made-May 2017

5-28 Striped Oslo
Sewn in and worn in May 2017!  Customized Oslo Cardigan by Seamwork.

It is June!  Which means that Me-Made-May has come to a close.  For those who don’t know, Me-Made-May is a month long event where sewists from around the WORLD pledge to wear their handmade clothes regularly all month long!  Most wear them every day of the month.  If you follow me on Instagram you already know that I participated in Me-Made-May (For the first time!) this year.  Now that the month is complete, I thought it would be interesting to do a recap of all the outfits I documented (some of them never before posted) and share my thoughts on the experience.  I did not pledge to wear me-mades everyday since I work from home and there are many days I don’t leave the house.  Honestly, though, even most of those days I did end up wearing me-made either as lounge wear or pajamas (or both) but I did not take photos.  May was, however, an unusually busy month for me, between birthday celebrations, family visiting from out of town, and my husband being home for a staycation for the last few days of the month, and I ended up being out and about way more than usual which gave me a lot of opportunities to dress in handmade.  We had quite cool weather for a good part of the month which really stretched my options.  In fact, if I had planned better I would never even have repeated an outfit!  (more on that later).  For sharing purposes I am posting my documented outfits by week (Sunday thru Saturday), with a list of the garments I wore.  Most if not all of my garments have been altered from the pattern at least a little (it is rare that I make a straight size of anything) and in some cases A LOT.  This post will get WAY too long if I share all my modifications but if you see a garment you like and want to know how much I altered it I encourage you to leave a question in the comments and I will be happy to share details!

Ok… On to the good stuff!

WEEK 1:

MMMAY17 Week 1 with Number

1. May 6:  Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline in Buttercup Drops by Amy Sinibaldi, an AGF knit I got for my birthday! (Sorry for the poor quality photo, it was raining this day and there isn’t a great place to take photos inside my house).

This was my only repeat during the month and if I had planned better I would not have had to repeat at all.  I wore this dress to sing for a First Communion.  In hindsight, I wish I picked a different handmade dress since it was my sister who gave me this fabric and she came to visit from out of town later in May so I wore it again when she was here. Not a big loss though since, thanks to my modifications, this dress fits me super well and is super comfortable.  And I was able to get a much better picture when I wore it the second time (it was raining this day).

WEEK 2:

MMMAY17 Week 2 with Numbers

 

2. May 7:  Jasper Sweater by Paprika Patterns in this awesome Ivory Heather Fabric.

3. May 9: Flower Stripe Top and self-drafted mini-cowl.

4. May 13: Cowl neck Renfrew Top by Sewaholic Patterns in Heather Pepper Jersey from the RK Laguna line which I LOVE.

WEEK 3:

MMMAY17 Week 3 with Numbers

5. May 14:  Bento Tee by Liesl & Co. in a Brushed Knit Blend from Cali Fabrics. Worn with a self drafted mini-cowl using my own fabric design:  Party Triangles printed on modern jersey fabric by Spoonflower.

6. May 18:  Lark Tee by Grainline Studio paired with a RTW Blouse.  Obvious selfie photos.  For the right photo, I was trying to show the armpit fit as I would like to have that portion fit a little closer.  This is my first Lark and I think I will size down on top for the next one.  I actually purchased this pattern via Sprout Patterns printed with one of my fabric designs and I couldn’t grade between sizes like I normally would.  So I sewed up a sample of the straight 8 to test the fit.  I think I can grade the top smaller, even on the pre-printed fabric so I will try another practice one like that.

7. May 19:  Oslo Cardigan by Seamwork in this awesome Chocolate Heather Jersey from Cali Fabrics.  This fabric almost looks like wool and has a lovely drape!  Worn with an infinity scarf made from the same fabric.

8. May 20:  Another Out and About Dress, peplum top version.  This was actually my wearable muslin for the dress.  I made some bodice changes for the dress version, but as top I kind of like this fit!

May 20th was actually a family outing day to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and we were a handmade wearing FAMILY that day.  My mom, sister, husband and I all wore handmade!

5-20 Group Me-mades edited
From Left to Right:  My mom wearing a Lane Raglan sewn by my sister.  My sister wearing an Akita top and Oslo Cardigan that she made herself.  My husband wearing a Paxson shirt that I made for him.  And then of course me!

WEEK 4:

MMMAY17 Week 4 with Numbers

9. May 21:  Repeat Outfit!  Out and About dress.  I actually wore 2 different outfits out in the world this day.  The second included the Primrose Peplum but I never got a photo of it.

10. May 22:  Lane Raglan by Hey June Patterns in Shore Remains by Pat Bravo, another AGF knit.  I quite liked my whole outfit that day!  Everything else is RTW.  I did wear this top on April 30 and shared it as a PRE Me-Made-May since I knew I wouldn’t officially start until well into the month, but since it was April when I wore it, it is not technically a repeat!

11. May 26:  Another Lane Raglan.  I call this one my Sunset Stripe Lane.  I think the neckband on this one is a tad too big but there is no way I am redoing it since the body fabric is too thin to risk the unpicking.  This was made very early on in my handmade wardrobe endeavors.  Paired here under a RTW knit blazer I love.  You can see a full look at the top here.

Wanted to share one other photo from this week.  It is of my sister and I BOTH wearing Out and About dresses!  We are long-distance sewing buddies so it was really fun to have her in town and get to see each other’s makes in person!  Her version is her wearable muslin.

May 21 Sisters in Out and About Dresses
Sisters in Out and About dresses!

WEEK 5:

MMMAY17 Week 5 with Numbers

12. May 28:  Oslo Cardigan by Seamwork.  My newly finished second one, that is heavily modified to achieve a better fit compared to the first.

13. May 30: Another Renfrew Top by Sewaholic, this time short sleeved with a scoop neck.  Paired with one of my favorite RTW summer cardigans.

14. May 31:  Renfrew Top, again, in another AGF knit.  This design is Plumage by Bonnie Christine.  No longer available where I purchased it (On sale!), but you can find it here.

Wow!  14 documented days!  I hope all this info is useful to someone 🙂  If you want to read a little bit more about the days activities, more garment details, etc. I often shared more those on my Instagram posts.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

  • Overall, Me-Made-May was a lot of fun!
  • The photos became a little tedious.  I know that sharing photos isn’t really required to participate.  It is ultimately about the wearing and not the social media sharing. But, seeing everyone’s photos throughout the month is so much fun and, at least for me, I like that part of it.
  • I did not share any bottoms!  This does not mean I do not sew them.  It has not been hot enough for me to wear skirts with bare legs yet.  I do have 2 pairs of PJ bottoms I wear regularly but the fit on both is pretty bad (I need to find a new pattern because my current “freebie” one is not very good) so they won’t be shared.  So a definite goal is to have some real pants made for next May!  (Plus I really NEED new long pants too).
  • I did feel a little extra pressure to plan outfits, which did take away from some of the fun. I love my handmade wardrobe and don’t need an event like this to motivate me to wear my me-mades.  I WANT to wear them.  Me-Made-May took away a little of my spontaneity since I was thinking ahead of what I could wear so as not to repeat, etc.
  • Even though my handmade wardrobe is still in the “toddlers” phase of its existence, the small quantity of clothes I have are VERY wearable.  I am happy to report that I have not fallen into the newbie trap of make clothes I won’t wear much.  Although, that also means that I have a lot of basics, which might seem a little boring.

I guess that’s it!  I hope you made it to the end of this LONG post and are still reading to see this!  If you aren’t a sewist, I hope that maybe this post inspired you to consider jumping into the world of handmade clothes! And if you want to learn more about Me-Made-May, Spoonflower had a lovely blog post interviewing the gal who created it!

Thanks for reading!

Brenda