Star Wars Messenger Bag: Cutting Complete!

Um, thank GOD the cutting and interfacing prep is over! I think I’m about 5 hours into actual work on the bag (vs planning – probably already invested about 2 solid hours of planning before I began!) and I, only now just finished cutting all the pieces and applying fusible fleece. PHEW!

I’m glad I bought 2 yards of my accent fabric, because I changed up what would be cut from the main fabric and what would be cut from the accent fabric, so I couldn’t follow the cutting layouts exactly. I ended up having to cut an interior bag lining piece not exactly the right direction because I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut it facing the right way. Thankfully it’s not striped fabric and won’t be too obvious – but I’ll know. I think I’ll survive though!

I’m planning on starting the actual sewing tomorrow night! My wishful thinking is that I’ll actually get it all done tomorrow too – but I highly doubt it. There are three zippers and piping to be done (OMG!) and about a billion pockets. I’m also planning some modifications to the strap construction which will require me to actually think myself through that part and not just follow the pattern. So… Yeah. It’s a pipe dream that I’ll bet it all done in one night!

Star Wars Messenger Bag Planning

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....(or actually: Right now, in my craft room…)

Star Wars Messenger Bag!I’m embarking on a new adventure: sewing a bag using a pattern! I’ve sewn quite a few bags in my limited sewing experience – bags are the thing I’ve sewn the most out of anything – but I’ve never bothered with a pattern. I’ve always just followed online tutorials. My favorite has been the Convertible Stroller Bag from Make It and Love It, which I’ve made about 4 times since I began sewing. ANYWAY, so now for the first time I’m going to use a purchased pattern to make a bag for myself. I picked up the pattern at Joann’s this past weekend during their $0.99 McCall’s Pattern sale. It’s M5824 – a laptop bag and case:

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 10.37.41 PM

And since character fabric was on sale for 40% off at Joann’s, I figured there was no better fabric to use for my new adventure than some Star Wars fabric:


I originally was going to do the bag in navy blue with the comic book Star Wars fabric for the front of the flap and the starships in space fabric for the inside contrast pieces, but I decided to narrow it down to just the starships in space fabric and the navy blue canvas.


I also decided that I’m going to do the entire outside of the bag in the navy blue, and only use the contrast fabric on the inside. I was inspired by my friend, Carrie’s Harry Potter umbrella: it looks like a plain black umbrella from the outside, but open it up and you see stars (so it looks like it’s enchanted like the ceiling in the great hall at Hogwarts). I figured that my bag would be even more amazing if from the outside it looked pretty plain, but when you opened it up you’d see it in all of its geeky glory.

I do have one cool idea in mind for the outside flap, though… See that Millennium Falcon on the starship fabric? I’ve got plans for that…

And speaking of planning:


Here’s what my work table in my craft room looks like right now. I’ve read the reviews on Pattern Review about the pattern and they definitely weren’t all rave reviews. From those reviews, I’ve learned that many of the individual pattern pieces aren’t labeled clearly (or at all!), so I made sure to label them before I cut them out. A few of the reviews mentioned that the side pocket was a bit outdated for today’s smart phones, so I’m going to attempt simple slide in pockets for both sides of the bag. I also learned that the strap directions are confusing, the strap comes out oddly puffy, and that making the strap adjustable using D-rings wasn’t the greatest idea. I decided to forgo making the strap out of the bag fabric and bought webbing to use instead. And since I inadvertently bought it about a half a yard shorter than I meant to, I’m going to leave out the adjustable length feature. I bought swivel hooks to use to attach the strap to the bag which will add back in a couple of inches to the length and will also make it so the strap twists easily to maneuver what is going to be a large bag on and off my shoulder more easily.

I spent a lot of time studying the finished project photos on and I decided that I wanted to keep all the fun fabric on the inside. Since that will mean a difference in the cutting layout vs what the pattern says, I spent some time annotating a photo of the instruction sheet using Skitch on my iPad:



I’m pretty psyched for this bag. I’m a bit intimidated by it, but I bet it will turn out to be like most projects: the anticipation is worse than the actual work. I hope so, anyway!


Custom Cross Stitched Climber

The second part of my craft exchange gift from earlier this year was a cross-stitched climber that I designed. The girl who the gift was for is a beer lover and also a climber. I made the painted beer plaque for her using a custom-designed vinyl reverse stencil I made with my Silhouette, and, since I have Craft ADD, I decided to totally switch it up and do a cross-stitch design. I couldn’t find anything on Etsy that was exactly what I was looking for, but I did see a pretty cool climber t-shirt on Zazzle:


That inspired me to create my own cross-stitch design. I dug out the little graph paper journal I found on clearance at Target last year and tried my hand for the first time at creating my own cross-stitch design. I knew that I wanted to do something small (that could fit in a 4×6 frame), so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard. And it really wasn’t!


My first attempt was OK – but it wasn’t great. I thought I could do better. I googled rock climber and found this picture:


I liked the look of it and thought it shouldn’t be too hard to “8-bit-ify” into a cross-stitch design. I was surprised with how well I thought it turned out!


So, the second attempt was what I went with. I used an online calculator to figure out that my finished design would be 3″ wide by 4″ high – perfect! I went to work stitching and I was pretty happy with how it turned out!


It’s not perfect – I mean, none of my crafts are – but I think it’s pretty cute. I like the motion that I think I captured in the image – for reference, this is the rock climber photo I modeled my design after:

Painted Wood Beer Plaque

OK, so this is pretty much one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. And I gave it away.

Beer Reverse Stencil Wood Plaque

I mentioned in my Potter Pub Sign post that I had an idea to do a painted wood sign for a craft exchange. Well, this is the sign. It’s only the second thing that I’ve ever done with a reverse stencil technique, but I love it so very much. And I gave it away in the exchange! And the worst part: I did a ton of work tracing and editing the beer glass image in the Silhouette Studio software and somehow I didn’t save it. So I’m sure that I could recreate it to make one for myself, but it will definitely take some time and effort.

After I created the design, I cut it out of vinyl (the vinyl was everything that’s cream in the image) and applied it to the wood plaque that I’d painted a few coats of cream acrylic paint. After the vinyl was applied, I painted over the inside portions of the design with a few coats of gold acrylic paint, and the outside of the design with the a few coats of the cobalt blue. When everything was dry, I very carefully peeled off the vinyl design. Peeling it off was a little nerve-wracking, but weirdly pretty fun!


But seriously, how cool is this?! Pretty cool. The quote is one that is often misquoted as Ben Franklin’s (though he did write something very similar about wine), but is still a good one regardless. The cobalt blue, cream, and gold color combination is one of my favorites. I’m definitely pretty proud of this and I hope I can get my second attempt at it to turn out half as well as this one did!

Potter Pub Sign

So there are a few things I like a lot – and Harry Potter and pubs are two of them! I was participating in a craft exchange a few months back and one of the crafts I had in mind was a painted wooden sign that I’d make using vinyl cut with my Silhouette as a reverse stencil. It sounded like a good idea, but I’d never actually used that technique before, so I figured I should create something for myself first, just to prove that I could make something that way.

I picked up this naked ornate-looking wood sign at Michael’s and a few bottles of acrylic craft paint. I thought it would make the perfect pub sign. Since my husband and I are big Harry Potter fans, I thought it’d be fun to do a Potter-themed pub sign. I downloaded a Gryffindor lion design from the Silhouette store (which is no longer there, otherwise I’d link to it…), and asked the girls from my craft group for some ideas on Potter sounding pub names. Someone suggested “The House Cup” and I thought it was perfect! I used a Harry Potter font (probably Wizard school) for the pub name, and cut everything out using indoor vinyl on my Sil.

A few coats of paint and some peeling later, and I had an awesome new Harry Potter-esque pub sign:

Gryffindor Pub SignIsn’t it just, like, the greatest thing ever?! I hung it in our dining room, across from the wine cabinet and wine glass shelves that we use as a bar area. It fits right in with our other beer and liquor related art and it makes me smile every time I see it in the room!