Adventures with Jan, Part 1

Who, you may ask, is Jan?

Actually, what would be a better question.

I need to get a picture, but Jan is my brand new sewing machine (Oh good grief, I named my sewing machine! It’ll be the car next…). It isn’t a totally random name as it is a Janome machine.

I have only had it/her (anthropomorphising- sorry Dad) for a couple of weeks. I spent a silly amount of money at the Festival of Quilts on buying a new machine because I needed more versatility for quilt-along.  Actually, trying out different makes of machine was a lot of fun, and highly amusing. Possibly another post… 

Anyway, my new machine arrived about 10 days later, at which point I realised just how big it is and how much more space than my current machine I would need for storage (I finally got a wheeled bag ordered on Friday, so hopefully that will help). On the other hand, I love the automated things it has which I didn’t have before, although I have reverted today to using the foot pedal rather than the Stop/Start button. And the main plus is the huge throat space and the quilting extension table which came with it.

I did a sampler thing to try out a load of the stitches which I thought I might use (I think there are quite a lot I won’t use), but on Saturday I decided to attempt my first project with the machine. I prepped a couple of mug bags the other day, adding the interfacing and batting on Saturday afternoon, so it was silly to not start sewing.

I have wanted to do a mug bag for a while, especially as I have been carrying a mug to and from quilting classes and groups, and at some point I will probably drop the bag it is in. A mug bag will hopefully give a little more protection. I eventually managed to find a pretty pattern (it turned out I had had this pinned on Pinterest for a while) and set about making it. The pattern is by Bronwyn of Red Brolly (Red Brolly’s Facebook page), but currently her website is unavailable due to personal reasons.

I have broken into my stash (shock, horror!) and found some gorgeous fabrics to attempt 2 bags. I went for some Tilda Candy Bloom fabric which I picked up at last year’s FOQ, and some Ella Blue Chirpy Lola fabric I got in a sale earlier this year. The Solids were Kona from my stash (still trying to work out which colours they were).

The pattern proved straightforward, and I have started to get used to using Jan. I have even braved using some of the auto-stitch features and experimented with needle position. I remembered how to thread the spool and bobbin threads, and am even getting the hang of the automatic threader (I have that on my older machine but never used it).

I finished the bags by hand-sewing the bags into the wraps today whilst Maxi was at school, Mini was at Playgroup (having started last week), the washing machine and tumble dryer were going full pelt, and the sides in the kitchen were drying.

Then I discovered that American mugs must be smaller than UK mugs, as most of my mugs do not fit! Eep! The one I take to class goes in sideways, so that is ok, but I have had to dig out a smaller mug to go in the other. Note to self: if I make these again, add about an inch to each measurement. 

Here they are. I love them regardless of their tight fit. The only thing I will change on them is that I am not so happy with the button/ribbon closure, and may change them for Kam Snaps. Other than that, what do you think? (Matching mug rugs next…)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Quick Makes 3 – Fairy Wings Bag

I wasn’t sure whether to add this as a Quick Make, but in the end I reasoned that it really is quick to do when you aren’t disturbed by small children wanting to climb on you.

 

As I mentioned in my post last week, I was commissioned to make a replacement bag for a friend’s daughter’s fairy wings. The one she had was made of chiffon and had finally fallen to pieces. Could I make a replacement which would hold more than one pair of wings?

 

The original bag was a drawstring affair, so I suggested making a larger version out of cotton. The fabric combined with the use of French seams should make the bag much more robust and suited to a small girl taking her fairy wings in and out of the bag multiple times.

 

I went back to the drawstring bag tutorial I have used previously as it is straightforward and doesn’t leave raw edges. I probably didn’t need to use the tutorial as I have made quite a few of the bags, but as it is a while since I last made one, I thought I would have a quick read.

 

I had some lovely fabric from Ikea, left over from covering my pressing board, and some Doodlebug pink stripy ribbon I bought from Prints to Polka Dots in their sale recently.

 

The only changes I made to Georgina’s version of the bag was to French seams the bottom of the bag as I didn’t have a large enough section of fabric to cut the whole bag on the fold, and I double-hemmed (2 folds rather than 1) the channel at the top.

Double-hemming fold, and sewing the drawstring channel:

 

French seams on the bottom and sides.  I also stitched a curve on the corners at the bottom (not my neatest sewing, but it did the job):

French seams Picklepiemama

French seams on the bottom and sides

 

And the finished bag, kindly photographed by the recipient’s mum 😊

This slideshow requires JavaScript.