Midnight Betty

The imposing Chichen Itza Pyramid. Two words, totally awesome!!!

since I posted anything on here. There’s been a lot of stuff happening. Where to start?! I guess the beginning would be as good a place as any.  :)   

The first (and by far most exciting thing for me!) is that I’ve quit my day job. It’s both exciting and scary at the same time. I hope to be able to start my own sewing business making and selling handbags. As yet, I don’t quite know exactly where I’ll be selling them or how many I will have to sell. I will try to sell a few on Etsy and a few at some markets in London. I’ve got loads of research to do and loads of sewing! Just recently, I acquired a fantastic tool that will help me greatly in my handbag designs in the future. Lisa Lam from U-Handbag has written the most awesome book about handbag techniques! I’ve been reading it non-stop for the past few days. I’ve learnt so much from it and can’t wait to put some of the new techniques into practice. Thank you Lisa, you’re a legend!   

Weng and I have also been on holiday. We have spent three weeks travelling the USA. It was fantastic! We even did a little side trip to Mexico and Niagara Falls which were very worthwhile. Never ever thought I’d get the see the falls or pyramids in Mexico. It was a once in a lifetime trip that we thoroughly enjoyed. At the top of this post is a picture of Chichen Itza that I took while we were on holiday. It was such an awe-inspiring site. Such a shame that we couldn’t climb it. We did get to climb Coba though and that was too cool even though I was totally packing myself the whole way up and down!   

We are currently in Malaysia visiting with Weng’s Grandmother. She isn’t doing so well so we extended our trip to be able to spend some time with her. It’s sad to see her looking so unwell but I am glad that we came back to spend time with her. I think she appreciates that we’re here with her and that makes me feel good. I’m really glad that both Weng and I could come back. Although on a purely selfish note, I am quite homesick for my own house. We’ve been gone so long that I wonder if the cats will even remember us! Hee hee hee!   

So, onto some handbag related chatting! I have been speaking with Weng’s Mum since we’ve been in KL. I asked her if I she would like me to make her a bag and if so, how would she like it to be. She knows exactly what she likes in a bag and that is a good thing. You know, I didn’t realise just how fussy I was with what I wanted in a bag until I started to make them for myself so I can totally understand other people’s distinct handbag needs. We spent some time going over all the features she would like to have in it i.e. loads of pockets with zippers for security, it needs to be large, the fabric needs to be strong, the handles long enough to be at waist length. Last night, I wrote up some design specs and construction ideas. Today I even did a drawing to show her how it’s going to look before I start to make it. So far, she likes the look of it so that’s all good. I really need to practice my handbag drawings a bit more otherwise I’d have put the picture up here for you all to see. Maybe in a few weeks time I won’t be so chicken and I’ll put up some of my design ideas.   

I have a lot of work to do on this bag and lots of techniques to learn. I’ve never done a partition pocket and actually had no idea how to go about it. Thanks to Lisa’s book, I now know how and I’m not so intimidated by the thought of it. I am thinking of doing a mock-up either out of paper or out of calico to see how it will all work. This will be a totally unique design and if it looks good and works, I may try to sell similar ones online. Unfortunately, due to the amount of work and findings that will go into it, it will be expensive so I don’t know how that will work for me. Well, no point worrying until I’ve tried to sell it, right?   

So that’s it for me for now. I’ll be spending the rest of the day with Weng’s Grandmother and this evening we may see if we can take her out for dinner. I might even get a chance to unpick a little handbag that I want to make another one of. It’s got a cute circular shape and I want to try to replicate it if I can.   

Bye!

 
This bookshelf holds (most!) of my fabric. I have a tiny bit still stashed in the green suitcase under the window but shh, don’t tell Weng!
 

Now that I finally tidied up my sewing room, I thought it a good time to ask Weng to take a few photos of it for me. It doesn’t stay in this state for very long, especially when I’m cutting out stuff! It’s a shame that it was night when he took the photos. I have a lovely view out my window to our internal courtyard. Its really quite pleasant. The pink boxes on the bookshelf contain my handbag making findings. I bought the boxes from WH Smith. They’re meant to be desk organisers but work really well holding all my junk!You can see my red petticoat that I made to wear to my brother’s wedding hanging up. I have no idea what to do with it or where to put it so it stays to inspire me in my room. Took me ages to make and I don’t have the heart to throw it out.  

 

My padded out Dolly. One day soon I hope to be able to remove most of her padding

 

This lovely lady is Dolly the Dummy. I’ve padded her to my shape. Took me a whole weekend to get it right and I still can’t get the bum to look like mine. I guess its not all that much of a problem since I really only wanted her to help me fit my shoulders and bust.
 
My stuffed toy collection is on the top of this bookshelf. Weng and I love books and have quite a collection! I have no idea how we’ll get them home to Australia. Thankfully we both read the same type of books i.e. Sci Fi otherwise there would be a lot more books on the shelf!
 
Weng also loves to collect cookbooks. I’m also a bit of a cookbook collector but mostly books to do with cake baking. My favourite is still the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. There are so many cakes in there I have yet to try out! The cupcake recipes in it are no brainers. I’ve not yet had one of them fail on me.

Indi loves to sleep on the floor in my sewing room. He's a great little buddy.

 

Here’s one of my kitties. This is Indi, he’s my little sewing buddy. His brother, Tiny, was feeling a bit shy when Weng was taking photos.
 
My boys keep me company when I sew. Usually they sleep on the floor at my feet or on the suitcase under the window. Sometimes they are even up on the table with me to make sure I’m doing it right!
 
They are such cuties and Tiny murmurs and chats to me all day while I sew. It’s so lovely!
 
 
So there is my sewing room. I try so hard to keep it this way but it never lasts! At least I have pictures now so I can see what it should look like!

   

Forgive the dodgy iphone photo but it was late and I was in a hurry

This post is in honour of our German guests, Jess and Lucas. Weng first met Lucas through a coffee forum and when Lucas was coming to London for the World Barista Championship, they met up for a coffee and a chat. The next time they came to London, we invited them to stay with us instead of paying for a hotel.  Since then, we have had Jess and Lucas stay with us once again and it’s always a pleasure to see them. I love having them as our guests! The cats also enjoyed having them around. Indi did go a little bit loopy but I think that was because he didn’t know who to lick first. :)   

I created this purse on the fly for Jess as her purse was broken and she seemed sad about it. She asked if it could be fixed but unfortunately, it could not be. The frame was broken on one side. Jess wanted one similar to her old one but not the same and so this is the result. The reason it is so tall is that it has to hold her student card in it.  It has a round base which is gathered into little random pleats. It can hold a surprising amount and she can get her little hand in it too.  She seemed quite pleased at that. :)  

So all in all, she was delighted with the new purse. She kept showing it to Lucas and saying how much she liked it. I was so pleased! It was a rush job but I think I did ok. I just hope the glue holds! She especially loved the fabric. We had checked out my fabric stash a few nights before but nothing really got her attention until I bought home my latest order from U-Handbag which included this gorgeous fabric. I think it’s so cute! I love the colour and wish I had of bought more. I can’t seem to find this anywhere anymore which is a shame. I think it would make a wicked top. The frame is also from Lisa’s shop. I have one more as well as two round ones about the same size. They’re too cute and I think I’m going to have to make up a few more of these.  

Jess left me her old purse which is a lovely circular style purse. I’ll be unpicking that in the near future and making a pattern from it. I love different bag and purse patterns. I think I’m becoming a bit of a collector of bag patterns! I didn’t realise how many I had till I tried to sort them out today! It’s a job for another day I think! I’m just so glad that I got my sewing room sorted out with some new boxes and organisers. I’ll post pictures of that tomorrow once I’ve folded up my fabric nicely for the photo.  

Notes for next time. I’d like some more puffiness at the top so I might add a few pleats next time to give it a rounder shape. Definitely going to make the bottom a bit bigger as it will make it easier to sew. It was a bit fiddly trying to get right. Probably won’t make it as tall next time too which will also help with the puffiness. I used some sew-in interfacing instead of the fleece I would normally use. This worked much better as it wasn’t quite so thick.  

So that’s all from me today. I know its been a long time between this and my past post. I’ll try to get blogging more regularly again soon, I promise. Not that I have a band of loyal readers I need to worry about disappointing right now, hee hee hee!

This Saturday Weng and a friend of his are doing a pin-up style photo shoot. They have the most awesome model booked and I’m very keen to meet her. I so chuffed that I’m going along! I may not stay the whole shoot but I’d be keen to just see a few shots and help out where I can.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to show you the cigarette box that Weng and I have been making. We went out on Saturday looking for some black wrapping paper. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any. But fortunately, we found this box file instead. It’s already a nice shiny black and we only have to cover the inside in velvet. How cool is that?! Both Weng and I were chuffed!

So we spent a bit of time on Sunday evening making up some paper pattern pieces to pin to the velvet. Its easier than marking directly on the velvet as it tends to slip and slide like a demon! Once all the pieces were cut out, I covered the edges in some stuff called Fray Check. It stops fabric from unravelling. It seems to have helped quite a bit.

When I get home from work tonight, I’ll make a couple of holes in the side so I can attach the ribbon to go around her neck. I’ve got some silver rivets at home so that should be pretty easy to do. Then we will be sticking the velvet to the box. More pictures to follow once the glue has set and its all done.

I’m so excited! I love crafting projects! Especially ones that let me use velvet! Weng has kindly let me have all the rest of the velvet. I don’t know what to make with it first! Hee hee hee! I’m thinking some really cute little velvet bows but not sure what for. Shoes? A little bow brooch? Actually, I’ve got some brooch pins coming from U-Handbag some time this week. Either way, I’ll put up a picture of whatever it is that I make and write a little tutorial for it too.

Oh and I almost forgot! Did a quick little run to McCulloch and Wallis at lunch time today and picked up the most gorgeous silk flower for the model’s hair. Cost a fortune but I don’t care. I’d be happy to wear it myself, it’s just so pretty! I think it would go wonderfully with the navy polka dot dress I have planned. Well, planned for when I finally finish off all of the my handbags that are on my list to make! I also bought the zip for the Diaper Bag, some medium-sized silver press studs and some snaps and a tool to attach them to the fabric.

Before leaving for work this morning, I managed to sew the handles up for the diaper bag and mark up where the zip will be sewn in. I’m excited and nervous. I’ve never put a zip in like this. I really hope it works out. I have faith in Lisa’s instructions so I know I will be totally fine. I’ll put a picture up of it once its done. I know its only a zip and probably won’t be all that interesting, but hey, what the heck, it’s a sewing blog, right?

Anyway, thats it from me for today.

Seeya

Betty

So no sewing happened on Friday night. I was so shattered that I just got home and sat quietly till bedtime!

I spent quite a bit of Saturday afternoon cutting out and interfacing the rest of the diaper bag. Boy there are a lot of pieces! Interfacing is all ironed on and I just need to start stitching it together. Once I have something to show for all my work, I’ll take some photos of it! I hope it works out. I barely had enough of the pretty bee fabric to make up the big pocket I have planned for the inside of the bag. It’s a shame cause I was hoping to make a little bib out of the leftovers. Nevermind. I have some cute little fat quarters that I can use for a bib.

Because I was preoccupied with the cutting out, I didn’t get out to grab a pink zip for the front of the bag. I think a trip to McCulloch and Wallis is in order for lunch time on Monday. Yay! It’s so nice to do something sewing related at lunch time. Breaks up my day and I also get to be outside for a bit. While I’m there, I also need to grab a couple of pretty roses for Weng and his photo shoot this weekend. He’s doing a pinup style shoot and I’m going along to help and watch. I’m very excited!

So anyway, I would have quite happily kept on sewing through the evening (it was actually 4.50pm before I even looked at my watch!) but we had dinner plans with Sandra and her family. She served us Popiah for dinner. Weng took a most awesome picture of one that he made. Looks so good that its making me hungry just thinking about it. Popiah kinda like make it yourself spring rolls. Very cool! So much preparation went into her getting it all ready for us. I really appreciated it! We all had a great night and enjoyed the food. She also gave me a very nice book on how to make vintage handbags for my birthday. How sweet is she? I’ve got my eye on the Doris bag. Love the name and I think the bag is cute too!

So I’d best be on my way. I need to wake Weng from his afternoon nap!

Seeya

Betty

A while ago (read about three months ago!), I bought the lovely Pack it in Tote from Lisa at U-Handbag. It’s an awesome pattern and I’ve been dying to sink my teeth into it since I bought it.

My fiance’s little sis chose the Pack it in Tote after checking out all the patterns on Lisa’s website. She wanted a big bag as she carries a lot of stuff around with her. I love the expanding nature of this bag. Its pure genius! 

Because of that awesome expanding trait, I thought that this bag would also make a wicked diaper bag for a work friend who has had a baby. That and I’ve already got the pattern so why not just use it, right?

So this Saturday and Sunday, I will be spending some time cutting out and making up the diaper bag and also Tracy’s Pack it in Tote. I managed to a get a few pieces of the diaper bag cut out at work so I’ve made a good start so far. If my arms aren’t totally killing me by the end of the day (all due to a personal training session last night) I’ll cut out the rest of bag after dinner. I hate when my fitness routine interferes with my sewing! It’s just not on! Hee hee hee!

The diaper bag will be made out of this lovely browny-pink cotton fabric with cute little cream flowers on it. The lining will be a nice cream colour with little bees on it. Adorable! Perfect for a diaper bag if I ever saw it! My work mate chose the fabric so I can’t take any credit here!

My fiance’s little sis’s bag is going to be this cool, old-looking fabric with vintage cars and airplanes on it. It will have a black lining (I’ve had trouble matching the colour of the exterior fabric so black seems like my best bet). I have my doubts about a black lining. I worry it will make the bag difficult to locate things inside it, especially since the bag will be so big! But nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I still have so many bag making lessons to learn!

Wish me luck! If you don’t see or hear from me over the weekend, it’s because I’m hiding under a mountain of fabric!

Seeya

Betty

You know, it totally makes my day when my favourite bloggers add a new post.

Every day I find myself waiting till 1pm to check out Gerties New Blog for Better Sewing. (www.blogforbettersewing.com) I love seeing all the beautiful outfits she creates. I’m more than a little bit envious of her wardrobe! I hold her responsible for my expanding pattern collection since I start reading her blog! I must have bought at least three patterns after reading her posts on them. They always look so good when they’re made up and I’ve not been disappointed yet!

I also check U-Handbag (http://u-handbag.typepad.com/uhandblog/) at least once a day (and the shop (www.u-handbag.com) at the same time just in case there is anything that I don’t have from it yet!). I enjoy reading Lisa’s friendly and cute posts. Her blog reads just like she’s speaking directly to you and I really enjoy it.

I also love all the tutorials that she’s so kindly put up on there to help people out with making her bags. There are so many lovely free patterns that she gives away from the goodness of her heart. If it wasn’t for Lisa, I’d have never have tried to make a handbag again and what a sorry girl I would be because of it! So thanks Lisa, you’re a legend! You’ve helped to take away all the bad memories of my first Vogue handbag pattern that nearly put me off making handbags for life!  :)

There are many, many more that I visit and read but these two are at the top of my list currently.

One day I hope that people will visit my blog in the hope of seeing something new and sewing related or just to chat with me on a post. I’m hoping that it’s not too far in the future!

Seeya

Betty

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