Posts Tagged ‘zippers’

The Zipper Journey

January 4, 2017

I unearthed a fabric collection that called out for a project. I knew it would make a more useful tote bag than a quilt; however, I have a gazillion tote bags. I also have a gazillion patterns for little zippered bags, so I decided to try one of them even though I’m not great with zippers (they never turn out as pretty as I would like).

The fabric, and the dreaded zipper

The fabric, and the dreaded zipper

For this bag, I decided to try putting tabs on the ends of the zipper.

This tiny rectangle of shoe fabric makes a difference

This tiny rectangle of shoe fabric makes a difference

I also decided I would take the time to baste the little critter in place.

Lani Longshore basted zipper

Who knew taking the time to do things properly was worth it?

Done!

Done!

Somewhere, my junior high home ec teacher is saying, “I told you so.”

Luck and wisdom!

Pay The Money

August 31, 2016

The good news is I finished the body of my new handbag. I used a lot of stuff I already had. My pattern alterations mostly came out okay. The better news is I learned a valuable lesson – people who can make things well and readily are worth their weight in gold. Next time I need a new handbag, I will pay the money.

One button used, a bazillion more in the collection

One button used, a bazillion more in the collection

I am pleased enough with my work that I will actually use the bag (once I make the straps). Getting a chance to use this button is a big win.

I am not stressing over an eighth of an inch

I am not stressing over an eighth of an inch

Getting this zipper straight-ish is also a big win. I felt confident enough about my sewing abilities that I made a zippered pouch for the interior.

Zippered pouch, key chain fob, interior pockets

Zippered pouch, key chain fob, interior pockets

Still and all, I really don’t want to go through this experience again. I broke three (3!) needles, went to sleep thinking of different ways to draft patterns, and woke up worrying if I measured correctly for the interior pockets and pouches (I didn’t, but they’re still usable). It’s always good to sharpen up one’s skills, but it is better to learn when to let the professionals do the work – and be happy to pay the money.

Luck and wisdom!

Really, Really Tiny Baby Steps

August 24, 2016

I meet challenges one step at a time. Literally. When a new project looks too scary, I do one thing a day. Taking really, really tiny baby steps works for my nerves, but does extend the timeline for my projects. The handbag project is a good example.

The lining pieces are shiny and golden, and that's all that matters

They’re shiny and golden, and that’s all that matters

Although I couldn’t find a pattern that had all the features I wanted, I drafted modifications that should work. Should is such a scary word on so many levels. I took a full day to decide on the fabrics just to avoid starting on step one of the instructions. The lining fabrics came from a package of silkies that waited in a drawer. The pieces aren’t as large as I need, but since they’ll be on the inside who will care?

Lani Longshore handbag hardware

Next came the outer fabrics, which I chose based on the hardware I already owned. That was the first modification, by the way. The pattern calls for a continuous strap, but I wanted to use these clips and D-rings. I found enough scraps of a red linen-like fabric as well as some brown faux leather for the exterior of the bag.

Angled straps, no zipper

Angled straps, no zipper

Here is the first piece I assembled. It came out well enough that I started on the second panel.

Angled straps, wonky zipper

Angled straps, wonky zipper

Notice the zipper on the panel. This is why I nearly failed my home economics class. Zippers and I aren’t exactly mortal enemies, but we for sure aren’t friends. Once I saw how crooked the zipper was I decided my work was done for the day. Tomorrow, seam ripper in hand, I will begin the battle again.

Luck and wisdom!

Kryptonite

August 25, 2010

Returning from vacation means trying to remember what it is I do around here, which buttons I should never push under any circumstances, who likes coconut and who doesn’t (I think it’s only me). It also means getting back to the to-do list. So, I headed off to dust my sewing table.

After three years of saying, “One more project and then the sewing machine goes in for a tune-up,” I packed my trusty Viking off to the shop before we left for a family reunion. I’m afraid to hear what lurked inside once I saw the compacted layer of dust bunnies and threadies underneath it.

A true empty nest

My husband made this sewing table/cutting table/storage unit for me when I first started quilting. He and I both thought four drawers would be sufficient to hold my fabric collection. We laugh now – well, I laugh. He tries to avoid looking in the sewing room at all lest he find something like this:

Although I made time to pack up the machine, I did not make time to pack up the fabric I was using to make kits. Nor did I take time to clear off the ironing board.

Cleaning off the ironing board is second on the list. Once I’ve dusted the sewing table, I need to fix some clothing for my son. And that’s where the title of today’s blog comes in – he asked me to fix a zipper.

Now that you’ve stopped shrieking, let me remind you that if you don’t know something is hard, you just do it. The first time I joined a friendship group, I asked them to make Bear Paws blocks for me. Kind ladies that they are, they didn’t grumble a bit. I don’t know if I can ever apologize enough to them.

At any rate, I told my son I would try to fix the zipper, but it might take some time and perhaps he should just buy some new clothes. I told him I had nearly failed junior high home ec because of the zipper project and I would need to prepare myself.

He said, “So I just handed you kryptonite?”

We had a good laugh, but it made me think. On some level, my almost-college-graduate still thinks parents are invincible (perhaps because he has yet to outwrestle me for the last chocolate chip cookie). As charming as this is, how many of us think that while we really aren’t ten feet tall and bullet-proof, we ought to be?

Ask yourself, how many times have you squeezed in one last project because someone asked you, and it’s a good cause, and no one else had volunteered? How many times have you told yourself of course you can make one more batch of brownies for the bake sale, spend another afternoon calling for volunteers, fill in on that extra shift? This is the kind of person that keeps the world spinning properly on its axis, and I’m not saying we should refuse to pitch in when we can help. But we all have our kyptonite, and it really is OK to say no.

Or tell your kid to buy new clothes.