Burning Betty

Meet Betty. She's refined, but volatile. Rub her the wrong way and you'll regret it. Despite all this, she lit a fire under me, and friends, I'm swooning! (note to self: learn better puns)

As you may recall, it's Pattern Parcel time and this one is all bags. I mentioned in my last post that I had a Betty Bowler from Swoon Sewing Patterns in progress- here she is, done just in the knick of time! This parcel sale ends today, so I'm just barely sneaking in to the PPP Inspiration tour. (psst- if you have any inclination to sew any of the patterns in this parcel ever, just go ahead and buy the parcel. It is so worth it- and you'll probably end up sewing something you didn't expect!)

So Betty. Burning betty, she snuck in to my brain and persisted until she got made. I had the vision in my head for what I wanted this to be and it just. wouldn't. quit. Rich, worn leather to pair with this fantastic Cotton and Steel print that I got as part of my spoils for taking 2nd place in Shorts on the Line 2014- yeyeah! I scoured Craigslist for a leather couch to dismantle (a la Mandy) and almost got one for $50, but I was mere minutes too late and they'd sold to someone else. Blerg. Then I did what any self respecting scavenger does- I hit the thrift stores. My usual haunts came up fruitless in the leather department, but I did find what I *thought* was my thrift score of all thrift scores- this vintage steamer trunk for $8.50!

It is in great shape, all things considered, and even has the original travel labels. Turns out this trunk was owned by a naval officer from Myrtle Beach stationed in Naples. Double awesome points for having the history still attached!

But my search continued. Must find leather. Two more thrift stores turned up no leather, but mother of thriftiness, I found this beaut:

It's a Singer 66-16, made in Elizabeth NJ on Aug 25, 1947, and it still runs. It was marked at $15 because there was no foot pedal. Lucky for me, I knew that some machines are equipped with a knee lever rather than a foot pedal and this happened to be one of them :) Naturally I snatched it up as quick as I could and madly started researching.

But anyway, back to the hunt: I finally found a leather jacket for sale on an online yard sale site called Varage Sale. $35, lovely color, and beautifully worn.


So yes, then I promptly cut it apart and began sewing Burning Betty. I learned a few tips and tricks for sewing leather along the way, but I'm going to share them in another post because this thing is already so so long, and I'm not even done yet, ha!

I'm planning to have this bag double as a camera bag with an insert that I'll make to fit lenses and camera snugly inside. Stay tuned for that. I'm also making a shoulder strap, hence the D-rings on the zipper pull tabs- it'll attach to that with a removable clasp.

Things I loved:

  • that shape. mmmm Betty, love them curves.
  • the size- a nice big-but-not-a-duffel size
  • easy to assemble pattern pieces
Things I changed:
  • omitted the large and small exterior stripes for an in-between width leather panel
  • added faux piping next to the leather panel
  • enlarged my zipper pull tabs and added D-rings
  • moved the zippered pocket from a vertical position next to the stripe to a horizontal one on the leather panel
  • divided the inner pocket into three smaller ones
  • added an extra layer of interfacing for extra stability (as suggested in the pattern)
Things I'll change next time:
  • omit the extra interfacing (it was plenty sturdy)
  • no leather zipper pull tabs. while I love the look, I broke 3 needles trying to sew through all that bulk.
Fabric and notions:
  • up cycled leather jacket
  • fusible fleece from Pellon (also part of my Shorts on the Line spoils- thanks Pellon!)
  • heavy weight interfacing and fusible stabilizer, all Pellon
  • metal zipper, main purse zipper, piping, contrast fabric (from fat quarters), lining fabric, and D-rings from JoAnn
  • rectangle rings from Hobby Lobby
  • main fabric is Cotton and Steel- Moonlit Blue Meet Your Match by Rashida Coleman Hale from The Fat Quarter Shop (thank you FQS!)

Yeah, I'm a little lovestruck. Our love burns bright, Betty and I. We're a match made in heaven. Still swooning:)

Giveaway Winner!

First off, let me just say that Matt and I had a great time reading all of your comments for the giveaway. We not only enjoyed hearing you all gush about our past posts, but totally got a kick out of reading about your secret indulgences. It looks like we aren't alone in our unhealthy sweets addictions:)

I know you all just want me to get right to the point and tell you who won this lovely purse...

So without further ado, the winner is..... (pause for dramatic effect)


You said, "¡Wow! Holli you are just incredible. I think right now, it changes all the time, my secret indulgence would be homemade whipped cream, well maybe just whipped cream in general, not the can though."

Congratulations! Please email me your address so I can get this bad boy in the mail- hollisue at gmail dot com

Now for those of you who didn't win (you are all winners in my book!) but re-heeeeeely want a purse- I do have some materials and could be enticed to make a few to sell. I've toyed with the idea of opening an etsy shop, but I don't think I'm ready to commit the time to that yet. I could screech out a couple of purses for you lovely readers, though. Email me if you are interested.

Thanks everyone for participating. It was so fun to see the comments come piling in:) Lets do it again sometime, K?

Tote Bag

I saw this blog post a few weeks ago and knew I had to make one of these tote bags. I actually made two since I needed a gift for my sister Erin's birthday and I wanted one for myself. It was a pretty easy project and very versatile. I used corduroy because it was on sale and I wanted a more durable fabric, but you could use just about anything! The original tutorial for the bag is found here.

I used this fun lining fabric from Joanns.
I think it turned out pretty cute- what do you think?  

merry bobbins

What a weekend! I've been working for some time now to sew enough purses and fabric flowers to be ready to sell at Lexington's community festival, which was yesterday. Friday after work I worked non-stop crafting and making tags, etc. for the festival. I'm super happy (now) with the work I put in. We worked for a few days on coming up with a name for my stuff, but eventually landed on the one Matt came up with- merry bobbins. It's cute and clever. The festival was from 9am till 3pm- and things actually sold! My friend Nicole Olsen and I shared a booth. It was a delight to set my stuff up next to her adorable handiwork! I really admire her taste and her mad sewing skills. Here are a few pictures of the setup and products:

My purses on a coatrack for display (I had 8 purses total)

a teal/denim 10 pleat purse

a basket of fabric flower hair accessories

closeup of the tags I made

my table display- a mannequin was later added but I didn't get a picture :(

Nicole's table display- adorable!

View of the booth. Notice my fabric banner up top :)

And last but not least- my 19 week picture! That belly is a growin'!

Last Weekend...

Lets just say things got a little crafty.

Candice came from Richmond so we could get our craft on, and we had a great time sewing together! We learned how to make rolled fabric flowers and I'm now HOOKED!

I made a purse...

And some flower pins...

Loved it. The purse pattern came from this blog, and the flower inspiration came from this fantastic blog of craftiness.

We also attended my staff party this past weekend, complete with a BBQ and Karaoke. My pictures didn't turn out great from that night, because it was dark, we were in a barn, and I hate *hate* on camera flash... but I feel like this picture captures the passion that was PH Karaoke...
This was Matt and FW singing Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." It was moving.

In other news, the little bun is growing. Online sources are telling me its about the size of a sweetpea this week.