Bags Bags Bags, Guest Blogger

Zip Zip Zippers!

After reading my posts (Misadventures in Bag Making and If at first you don’t succeed…) my wonderful friend Wendy Hill (IG – @wendyquilter) offered to send me some of her HUGE collection of zippers to support my future adventures (or misadventures, ha!) in bag making. I of course took her up on her offer!

So a couple of weeks some “GOOD MAIL” arrived – a bag of zippers in various sizes from Wendy!

So how did Wendy come to have all these zippers in her stash and what had she done with all these zippers in the past? Well she was kind enough send photos and a summary of the story so I could share with you in this post.


“Zipper Mania” by Wendy Hill (edited by tierneycreates)

Around 2007 I wanted to make things with zipper but they too expensive to even buy used at a thrift store considering how many I needed.

So I put out a request for zippers in the Ruralite Magazine (Western USA, Midstate Electric Co-op) and many zippers arrived to my home!

The smallest package I received: 1 zipper

smallest package
And I received many zippers in the mail which I sorted by color into bags – it looked like a spice bazaar!

all bags #1
I thought of all these zippers as a “material” for my art projects. Here is what I made below.

String piecing using flat zippers

“Autumn Textures” is my favorite. It has been in exhibits.

Autumn Textures, Wendy Hill copyautumn_tex_detail_sm

I did make several quilts with flat zippers between 2008 and 2011)

Coiled Bowls using half zippers

In the photos below are two different bowls- left zip pulls in as decorative elements)

middle bowl2zipbowlzipbowlside

3D Art – Zipper Cones –  Sea Anemones

zipcones#8zipcones#7
I have more zipper ideas— but I have not followed up on them in a long time.


Postscript

Thanks to Wendy for sharing her story and art related to her donated zipper collection. And thanks to Wendy for sharing some of her collection with me. I am pretty sure there will be some “GOOD MAIL” in her future when I send her a little something I’ve made with one or two of the zippers she sent me.

Next post I will show you the project I just finished using one of the zippers she sent me – another bag – this time a different pattern by s.o.t.a.k. handmade.

Bags Bags Bags, From the Woodshop, tierneycreates

Misadventures in Bag Making

My friend Dana* (@chambersdalix) is always inspiring me to stretch my sewing/crafting skills and try new things. These new things in the past have included such techniques as English Paper Piecing (see post From the Basket – English Paper Piecing), and using fabrics I would usually never select on my own (see post The Tale of Three Tulas, Part I).

*Note – Dana is one of those people who can merely look at an image of a handmade item on Pinterest and figure out how to make it from the image…and then make it perfectly!

So when she talked her daughter, me, and our mutual friend Kathy into working on an Instagram based “bag of the month” project to build our bag making skills I was excited. For February the bag was the Devon Pouch by s.o.t.a.k. handmade. You make the pouch and then post the image to Instagram.

If you go to the hashtag #devonpouch on on Instagram you will see some GORGEOUS versions of the pouch:

I was like: “Wow! I want to make this pouch!”. Sure I have not made very many things with zippers but I can follow a pattern; and the designer has a time lapsed YouTube video of her making the bag so you can see all the steps demonstrated in addition to have the pattern.

So I thought I was safe.

Plus Dana was so sweet and sent me cute fabric from her stash and some zippers to make 2 of the pouches. So what could go wrong….?

Excited to get started, this past Saturday I cut out the pattern pieces, applied the interfacing and prepared to make two pouches:

The elements of a wild Saturday night

I put on some yummy music (my favorite Denver radio station KUVO which is also a streamable Public Radio Station from kuvo.org), opened my laptop to the video of the designer making the pouch, sat down at my sewing machine and got to work.

Ready to sew!

In addition to materials to make the pouch, my friend Dana had also sent me scraps from when she made me a quilt (see post Mind Blowing Mail) and I incorporated some of these scraps into the front zipper pocket for my first pouch that I worked on.

Yummy scraps!

I was feeling very clever.

A couple hours later, I was not feeling so clever.

The written pattern stated to change to a “zipper foot” whenever you were working on the two zippers in the pouch. I found the zipper foot to my Bernina, which I’ve only used once before and I think that was in 2006 in a class when I first bough my Bernina sewing machine.

The pattern told me to switch between my regular foot and my zipper foot. Problem: I am very inexperienced using a zipper foot. Wait let’s just say it plainly: I did not know what the heck I was doing.

I will spare you the full saga, but my seams were off and once multiple seams are off in a pattern you know you are in the middle of a serious freaking sewing misadventure!

Here is my quite ugly version of the finished pouch:

Ugh

Here’s an even better image that might make you suspect I was under the influence of mind altering drugs while sewing (Nope, the bottom of the pouch is NOT supposed to look like that):

Gasp

Please look away if the image above is too grotesque. My version of the pouch does not appear to even be remotely related to the examples of the beautiful pouches on #devonpouch that I shared earlier in this post.

I did post the completed bag to Instagram and people were very kind but I was quite embarrassed over how lopsided and poorly constructed it was (the photo actually does not do justice to the sewing abomination!)

As a bonus, I accidentally stuck myself with pin (yay, that is always so pleasant) during final construction and bled on the back of the bag. I did not catch the spot of blood of course until I pressed/ironed in the blood (is this pouch doomed or what?):

A little of me permanently ironed into the pouch…

At first I decided to just keep the pouch and use it to store the fabric scraps Dana sent me:

Trying to create a purpose for the abomination made

But finally I decided to un-assemble it and salvage the nice zippers that Dana sent me; and reuse the zippers in my next attempt.

So when I feel up to it, I am going to start over again and make my first pouch again, before moving on to the second one. I am going to stay away from the zipper foot this time as I discovered towards the end I could sew the zipper just fine with a standard foot.


Postscript

In more successful crafting news, Mr. Woodworker (my partner John) recently finished a remodel of one of our basement closets to become an entertaining supply storage closet with cabinet and coordinating shelves:

Much more successful crafting

This was the first real cabinetry he’s made. He also made a butcher block style counter top of the cabinet!

Oh and John is going to take the advice several of you left in the comment section of the post Handmade Spools, and make more wooden spools for me to sell on either my Etsy shop (if I ever get it reopened) or a craft fair or something.