Tried it: Little Things to Sew Messenger Bag

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I am huge fan of Liesl Gibson, creator of the Oliver and S and Liesette pattern lines. Not only does she have impeccable taste, she writes patterns that make seemingly difficult projects simple and fun. So, when her book Little Things to Sew was published two years ago it went to the top of my list–even though my little person was too old for most of the projects. It is just too cute not be in my craft library. I made family of bucket hats last year and this year I tackled the messenger bag, which comes in kid and adult sizes. I made the adult size using a fun yellow canvas, a print from Lotta Jansdotter’s Glimma collection for the lining, Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Flax for the strap, and Kona Fog for the binding.

The hardest part was finding the hardware for straps. I finally found just what I needed at Rebel Surplus on Etsy–hoorah! Liesl’s instructions are just perfect. I particularly love that she really explains how to execute each step successfully. Instead of saying “sew on bias binding,” she includes a little tutorial in the back of the book that explains how to align the binding so you catch both sides. Ah ha! This bag uses a lot of bias binding, so you will be a total pro when you are finished with your project.

If I had worked on the bag from start to finish, I think it would have taken about three or four hours. Even though it has lots of pockets, is lined, and looks very professional, if you go step by step, I think anyone with a modicum of sewing experience could complete this project.

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I think if I were to make another bag (which I might!) I would use a heavier weight canvas for the outside or some interfacing to give the bag a little more structure. Either way, I love my bag!

Bucket hat

This bucket hat was a snap to make–thanks to the excellent pattern from Liesl Gibson in her book Little Things to Sew. My daughter is on the cusp of being too old for all the patterns in this charming book, so I had to make something quick. I finished this hat in a morning, just in time to head out into the Florida sunshine.

Here is a peak at the interior fabric–Walk in the Woods from Moda.


Sewing patterns for spring

How excited was I when I saw that Liesl Gibson, the incredibly talented designer behind Oliver and S, teamed up with Simplicity to make patterns for women? Well, over the moon. I’ve made one dress for my daughter using an Oliver and S pattern and just bought the fabric to make another. Liesl’s instructions are wonderfully clear and the patterns have details that make the end product look professional, not like something made in home-ec class. The woman’s line, Lisette, is supported by a blog, which promises to offer tips and additional instruction. I’m already planning to make the traveler dress (pictured here from the Lisette site) and the market skirt. I will post the results!


Update: I just purchased three yards of lecien yarn-dyed gingham in large blue and ordered the pattern from Sew Lisette. I can’t wait to get started, but before I do must finish: quilted placemats and napkins, dress for miss b., quilted play mat for expectant friend. Best get cracking!

Quilted table mat

My dining room table is weirdly sensitive to water. One droplet and the surface blanches like it’s seen a ghost. So for Thanksgiving, I needed something to keep my table happy. A quilted table mat was the perfect opportunity to try out a cross pattern, a simple nine-square. Easy, peasy–at least in theory. The fabrics are an irregular stripe from Leisl Gibson’s lovely City Weekend collection, and a tiny dot. I really love how these patterns work together.

Less happily, the stumpy crosses on the end were not intentional. I used my presser foot as a guide to sew my 3/8″ seams, which, it turns out, left them all a smidge too narrow. That smidge, compounded over several seams, left  my center panel longer than the top and bottom sashes. Rather than ripping out the seams and adjusting (which actually wouldn’t have been that hard), I lopped off the long ends.  Hence, it’s just a little wonky. On the bright side, I learned where to place the fabric for a perfect 3/8″ seam in the future, just peeking out from the presser foot on my machine.

And, I have something cheerful for my table. I made these place mats and napkins this summer, during a red and blue period. Not a very autumnal palette for my Thanksgiving table, but patriotic! And, in the spirit of being nontraditional, I am serving chocolate cake for dessert–yum!