Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Megan Makes a Quilt (or two)

As you may or may not know, besides this blog, I also run a book blog (Megan Likes Books, if you're interested). With that, I joined a group of fellow bloggers while I was living in Edmonton and we would meet up every month or so. One of them recently became a first time mom and another will be in just two weeks! Someone suggested we all make quilt squares based on our favourite childhood books and make them baby quilts. Everyone agreed this was a good idea and, since I'm the only one with a sewing machine, I volunteered to put them together.

And this is where I learned a few things from my first time sewing with others.

1. Don't expect everyone who initially agrees to follow through.

Of the people who originally signed up, a few had to drop out due to time constraints. We were already short on squares to begin with, so this meant fewer personalized squares and more plain fabric squares.

2. Be flexible.

We agreed squares would be 6.5 x 6.5 inches. When the submitted squares arrived, some were cut a bit wonky, so lining things up was a bit difficult. One lady misread the instructions and her squares were quite a bit bigger. So I decided to be flexible and changed up my plans for the quilt to put her large squares in the center. They are the cute Beatrice Potter squares that she quilted to be kind of 3D, which is cool.

Once everyone's squares had arrived, I was feeling a bit of a time crunch, so I didn't make any personalized squares myself. I was also shocked how difficult it was to find bookish quilting fabric. I found hamburgers, but no books. I did find some Richard Scary fabric which I was loved and the little boys in the one fabric kind of reminded me of the boy from Where the Wild Things Are. The other two fabric are kind of generic baby.

The Winnie the Pooh is actually cross-stitched!
The backing is a special baby fleece that I just thought was cute. The batting is some kind of natural fibre product in a package I bought because the store was packed and I didn't want to go back into the cutting table line (there was a huge sale going on). The edges are bound in extra-wide, double fold bias tape I originally bought to bind the insides of my Albion I'll be starting soon. But the ribbon I was originally going to use ended up not working out, so I made due.

So this is my first time attempting a quilt of any kind. I think it turned out not too bad. Not everything lines up and the corners are a bit dodgy (on both, even though I tried a different method on each). It's not 100% square, as I found when I was folding it. Although it's nowhere near as bad as the angle of the photos makes it look. But I doubt the babies will care! And the mom's seemed to really like them!

Do you recognize any of your favourite childhood books in there? Besides the Richard Scary fabric I mentioned, there's also Peter Rabbit, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and Harry Potter!

Monday, 13 January 2014

2014 Stashbusting sewalong

Last year I managed to *barely* reach my goal of 6 stashbusting project. This year I'm upping the ante to 12! That's one per month for those of us who are good at planning (and math). This goes along with my personal goal of sewing up 12 previously unused patterns from my *other* stash. So here it is in offical-like language:

I, Megan from Bobbins and Bustles, commit to using 12 pieces of stash fabric in 2014.

There, that wasn't so bad, was it? If you want to sign up, stop here!

Friday, 3 January 2014

2014 New Year's Resolution - Sewing Edition

Last year I joined Em Sew Crazy and Cation Design's Stashbusting Sewalong. And I did pretty well! I think I sewed 6 pieces from stash fabric, which is pretty darn good considering how sidetracked I got last year.

And while sewing through my stash was great and I need to continue, this year I need to do a different kind of stashbusting: my pattern stash. Since beginning to sew, I've amassed a LOT of patterns. Indie patterns go on sale: I buy them. Big 4 patterns go on sale: I buy them (not-so-much lately as I've been feeling the indie stuff). While I doubt I can get through them all, my goal is to sew one previously never sewn pattern from my stash per month.

Because I like to quantify stuff, here's the count of my unsewn pattern stash.

Indie patterns: 5 (not including patterns from Gertie's book or the Colette book and not including freebies)  - I will do all of these this year!

Big 4 patterns: 25

I also found 2 patterns that I totally bought in the wrong size. So if anyone skinnier than me wants this pattern in 6-8-10 or this pattern in 4-6-8-10, just email me and they are yours for the cost of shipping (1st come, 1st serve).

Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 Hits and Misses

Everyone is doing their hits and misses of 2013 and, even though I lost some of my sewing mojo, I wanted to join in! I think credit for this year-end-round-up-thing belongs here.


1. Cooper bag - You guys, I won my sewalong category! I am so excited! Plus I love this bag to bits. Unfortunately, it's currently in rehab due to insane fraying of the strap webbing, but it will be back out in action soon!

2. Simplicity 2207 skirt and bustle - I've only won this once (it is a costume), but I was proud of it none-the-less.


1. Not sewing! The biggest miss by far was this summer, where moving was followed by a complete loss of sewing mojo. So many projects that have been pushed back.

2. Sassy Librarian Blouse - This one had major fit issues that I didn't bother fixing. That's what happens when you take 6 months to make one shirt.

3. Sorbetto - I love this top so much, but the gaping neckline bothers me. I have a plan to fix it, but just haven't gotten to it, especially now that it's winter.

In 2014, I'm tackling knits and a coat! And some more costumes!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Thank you!

I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to any and all of you who voted for me in the Colette Cooper Sewalong. I am SO honoured to have had my bag chosen as favourite backpack. There was some TOUGH competition and I had such a hard time choosing my favourites in each category. I think all the bags features could have been winners.

Oh, and Merry Christmas! If Christmas is not your thing, then please translate my good wishes to a holiday of your choice. If you don't have a holiday, then hopefully you got a wonderful day or or are enjoying the stat holiday pay like me! Yep, I'm working a 12 hour shift today. Best wishes everyone and thanks again!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Cooper Sewing Contest

Hi everyone. I just wanted to let you know that the Colette Cooper Sewing Contest voting has started. I'm going to very shamelessly ask for you to vote for me (but only if you actually like my Cooper). I'm entry #9 under the Backpacks category. There are so many gorgeous bags, it was really hard to choose which ones to vote for. But I'd really appreciate any votes I can get. Thanks and good luck to all the other contestants!

Rock the Vote!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Stripe-y Cooper

So I've finally joined the rest of the sewing blogosphere in being a Colette fangirl. Cooper and Albion were my first ever purchases from Colette (I've since also bought Beignet). I haven't had time for Albion yet, but I did manage to make a Cooper during the Speedy Sewalong. And I love it!

First, fabric choices! The sample bags on Colette's website are definitely masculine, with their rugged waxed canvas (which I love). Also, if I was comfortable using leather, that would look amazing. But I wanted to make a backpack for me and I do love me some brights. So I knew I wanted to use this red and white striped canvas from my stash. The pattern uses a main and a contrast fabric. None of the other fabric in my stash went well and it was snowy and I didn't want to drive to the fabric store (so lazy). Then I had the idea to use the same fabric from main and contrast and just switch the direction of the stripes by cutting the contrast pieces on the crossgrain.

I love how the stripes turned out! It's so stripe-y! It actually totally reminds me of the early albums from the White Stripes, one of my favourite bands. There was some minor stripe matching required at the sides and on the long skinny pieces on the front, but that turned out to be easy peasey.

Can I just say I love canvas? It was so easy to work with! It just stays exactly where you tell it to be and does everything you want. There were a few issues with bulk when sewing through six layers of canvas, but overall, it was really awesome to work with. Not-so-much with the lining.

For the lining I used periwinkle wickaway ribbed nylon ripstop. The good? I love the colour. It;s really pretty and I love the surprising pop of contrasting colour. I don't know if this bag could have handled more red or white or stripes on the inside. Other than the colour, this fabric got on my nerves. It wouldn't press AT ALL and it wanted to bunch and catch whenever it could. Plus it probably felt worse after the joys of sewing with canvas. Either way, I got it done and I love the end product.

I really debated making the straps out of the same fabric. But in the interests of time and my bf's discretion, I went with simple white webbing. I think it turned out nice, although I'm still wondering "what if".

I actually made a couple of minor mistakes on this one. The first is that I forgot to test my markings on the lining fabric and they didn't erase very well. I'm hoping they will rub off over time and either way, it's on the inside, where no one buy me (and now you) will know. Another minor lining issue is that I ran out of my thread for the lining when I was attaching the second pocket. And I was in a hurry and didn't want to make a trip to the store, so I just grabbed the next closest colour and kept going. Then I changed my mind on what colour was closest and switched again. So I have three colours of topstitching on the lining. Oh well.

The other minor mistake I didn't even notice until I was looking at the other Cooper versions in the Colette Flickr group. I installed my rivets in the wrong spot! I guess I had the pattern piece upside down when I marked where the rivets should go. So my rivets are near where the flap attaches to the back, rather than near the edge of the flap. This one doesn't bother me at all because I actually like them where they are and I can always add more rivets later if I charge my mind.

So overall, I love my Cooper backpack and definitely have plans to make a couple of the bicycle panniers for my Schwinn, despite the ridiculous about of top-stitching involved. Who knows, maybe the messenger bag as well. But I really liked this pattern. And no fitting! Yay!

Pattern: Cooper by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Main/Contrast: Red/white stripe canvas from Ikea ($2/m!)
              Lining: Periwinkle ribbed wickaway nylon ripstop from Fabricline
Notions: Cooper hardware kit from Gifts for Crafters
               White 1.5" cotton webbing

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