Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Let's Make Dumplings (Bags)

I love to make dumpling bags. Probably through Pinterest, I found a free tutorial about making dumpling bags (see http://keyka.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/08/lets-make-dumplings-free-zip-pouch-tutorial.html). These little zipper pouches open WIDE. They are great for earbuds, match cars, crayons, medicine, whatever. I do not recommend it as a coin purse as they open wide.

As a quilter and fiber artist, I generate a lot of scraps so I am always on the lookout for ideas about using up my scraps. A great use for scraps is in English paper piecing so that I am assembling larger shapes out of the smaller scraps. The particular advantage that I have with English paper piecing is that it is portable. I'll work up some shapes while monitoring the kiddo's homework progress, or attending his practice, or sitting in a meeting. I was recently at a three day conference and on the third day I found I just had to keep my hands occupied to keep my brain alert.

The Paper Pieces company sells lots of different shapes and sizes of computer precision cut paper templates. No need to trace and cut your own shapes out of index cards or newspaper (or the Sears catalogue if you have heard stories about that or done that yourself). I use my paper pieces multiple times before recycling them.

Putting dumplings and paper piecing together, I make two "flowers" and then fill the area around them with a background fabric. Then, remove all the paper, use the pattern shape to cut to the appropriate size and follow Michelle's directions to complete them.

A suggestion or hint for when basting the zipper, do the first side with the zipper unzipped (just easier to handle). Given the fact that there are lots of bias edges, do the second side with the zipper zipped. Too many times, if I do the two sides of the zip separately, I end up being "off" and the pouch doesn't close as neatly as I would like.

Given the labor time in making the English paper pieced dumplings, I give them as gifts, I don't sell them. I do sell the dumpling bags when I have used just one fabric for the outside.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Time for a Change

Over the past few years, I've been doing less quilts and more usable fiber art items. Maybe this is because I do not have more wall space. Maybe it is because being a parent leaves less time for detailed work processes. Maybe I just wanted more quick gratification and my quilts did not fit that equation.

I confess, though, that I can end up spending a number of days working on the fabric choices for one bag - much in the same way that selecting fabrics for a quilt involves. Some of the construction techniques can be just as involved as an inset seam or a detailed applique.

I liked making the Time for a Change purse / diaper bag. But, this was not a quick sewing process. Time for a Change is a pattern from DogUnderMyDesk, a great independent pattern designer. I like the water bottle pockets. I like the zippered pockets. I am not certain I like the way the straps are installed. I added a key minder to bag.

The issue for all fiber work is how to recover the time in the cost of the good. Living where I do, the cost of living is high. I can recover my material costs. I just do not think I can recover my time. So, while I like the pattern, I don't think it will show up in my Etsy shop, unless maybe it is a custom order item.