G31002: Ink & Spindle Portside Set

I’ve loved the Australiana prints and earthy textures of Melbourne’s very own Ink & Spindle ever since ‘discovering’ them – they make eco-friendly hand printed textiles on ethically sourced fabrics. I’ve even been lucky enough to hang out in their production space a couple of times when I’ve joined the Handmaker’s Factory ladies (Jorth! and Nikkishell) for knitting lessons. It’s a wonderfully inspiring and feel-good place!

The Portside Travel Set was perfect to get my heavy-weight fabric on. It also rather stylishly fills the gap between carry-on suitcase and backpack for weekend escapes and overnight trips.

Portside Duffel Bag

I chose a Kangaroo Paw print (a pretty native plant that blooms in reds, yellows and pinks) on a 600gsm raw hemp canvas from their online shop, and paired it with some of the left over oatmeal-coloured canvas from my Baby It’s Cold Outside coat.

Yellow Kangaroo Paw

Kangaroo Paw image from The Two Minute Gardener

The yellow and oatmeal match means I now have a coat and weekender bag that unintentionally match each other. Ha! I was actually a little concerned about all the neutral tones being a bit much, but I think it worked ok.

The hemp canvas is surprisingly soft (and pliable!) given it looks rather a bit like hessian. I interfaced all the Duffel Bag pieces with iron-on interfacing, and also underlined in calico. Seeing as it matched so well and I’m reticent to buy new fabric (stashbusting is go chez poppykettle atm), I also lined this with calico.

Portside Duffel Bag

Portside Duffel Bag

I do believe I may have halved the remaining life of my sewing machine motor with all the upholstery thread and super thick fabrics… I was dealing with a lot of thread snowballs, but still managed to get the side you see looking good:

Portside Duffel Bag

Portside Duffel Bag

Portside Duffel Bag

It was a real challenge to get my stitching lines up close to the hardware, with a few feet being changed out to achieve the closeness. I was trying to minimise the chances of the D-rings swivelling around during use because they’re so curved.

As was expected, sourcing quality hardware that fitted my vision was very challenging. I wanted gold zipper teeth on cream to play along with the theme of this project, which I found on Etsy. I’ll admit I paid a ridiculous sum to get these zips. The 1.25 and 1.5 inch webbing used for the handles of the bigger bag I sourced here, and the gold hardware from here.

I did notice one inconsistency with this otherwise excellent pattern – if you’re sewing with a patterned or directional fabric like I did – pattern piece four has its grainline on the crossgrain, not the grain. Had I positioned this pattern piece as per the grainline mark on the pattern piece, I would have had this segment showing my Kangaroo Paw on the side, instead of being upright.  Thankfully I noticed it and turned it around.

The other thing I might change were I to make this again would be to include a tab either end of the zip, which would be achieved by either elongating the bag or using a 12″ zip instead of a 13″ zip. I did this on a small (unblogged) toiletries bag I made last year and I like both the look and the extra strength/stability it lends to this area.

Instead, I used a bit of the cotton webbing to beef up the seam between the zip end and the side of the bag:

Portside Duffel Bag

Otherwise, I behaved in a highly unorthodox fashion and followed the instructions for this pattern to the letter. Except for deciding to ‘line’ the side pocket (with calico) on the outside because having two layers of hemp folded over to create the pocket opening would have been too thick.

This bag has already made its maiden voyage, and I love it to bits!

I also made the Dopp Kit:

Portside Duffel Bag

Portside Duffel Bag OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I had to move the handle up a little so I could get the layers of fabric through my machine. The side pocket hidden zip thing is super cute and the kind of detail I love when it comes to sewing, but I’m unlikely to use this part of it. But the size of this little bag is perfect for all my toiletries, which makes me happy. I will be lining it, however – which is not included in the pattern but pretty basic to figure out.

My only issue with the Dopp kit is the pattern piece that goes either side of the top zip. The top zip is specified to be 13″ – and the 13″ zip I bought measured exactly 13″ from the start of the teeth to the end of the teeth. By logic then, the piece either side of the zip with 0.5″ seam allowance should be 14″.

Portside Dopp Kit

Not so – the pattern piece was exactly 13″ long. I had to add an additional inch to ensure I had adequate seam allowances. My pattern piece is on the top. As this didn’t affect the rest of the pattern pieces and how the Dopp kit came together, I presume it must just be a mistake.

Otherwise, I love my new bags. Easily stored because they can just be rolled up, but both are fabulous in size and convenience for being able to be carried on as hand luggage onto a plane. Definitely a sewing win!

Portside Duffel Bag

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G32001: Moss Mini Skirt

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After a over 4 weeks of not being able to sew, I’m finally back in action and have made Grainline’s Moss Mini Skirt. The above photo courtersy of TJ from The Perfect Nose, post a frenetic morning of Christmas shopping, humidity and an hour or so sitting in the car (turns out the fabric I used likes to crumple. *sigh*).

But before we get down to business – the consumables need to be thanked. I’d like to take a quick moment to think about all of the now bent pins, snapped needles and bobbin thread snags’n’snowballs that sacrificed themselves in order for me to complete this project.

Because my deep-seated need to own and wear something in a bottom weight army green canvas fabric was stronger than the stab of fright I got when the upholstery topstitching thread I’ve become such a fan of chewed up yet another bobbin. I should have taken photos of the three occasions this occured… but I felt guilty for my poor feather weight Janome so they got removed asap.

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The fabric is a cotton canvas, from Tessuti, similar to the canvas I made my Baby It’s Cold Outside coat from, and the facing and pocket linings are leftover Liberty lovelyness from my Freddie Vest. The only thing I actually bought to make this was the pattern, matching thread, topstitching thread and a zipper – a total score for my fabric diet, which I’ve been on since mid-September. I’m on a mission to sew up stuff with what I already have, and barring the seriously freaking awesome Tessuti Silk Stash giveaway I won (whoohooo!!!), not a single scrap of fabric has crossed the chez poppykettle threshold since well before my birthday back in September (Kat, that fabric you ‘gave’ me is still sitting in the car – on purpose I might add! :P). I would like to claim responsibility for this, but really, my work & personal life has just been so NUTS recently that enjoyable things like drooling over fabric and then buying said fabric (maybe even a bit of sewing with said fabric?) have been pushed out of the schedule.

Call me a skank, but I totally shortened this mini-skirt. By a good 3 inches! I gave the skirt some little splits at the side for ease of getting in and out of the car and the like.
I did my own shank button hammering, too – a first! I bought a huge pack of these off ebay when I was making my Turquoise Terror Jeans, but hadn’t had the guts to try. Like all things I’m scared about that are sewing related, I more than quickly realised I was being stupid. Really stupid. I want to hammer more shank metal buttons! 

Lisa from Notes from a Mad Housewife totally inspired me to go a bright red button hole after seeing her winter coat creation. I’d say the honeymoon period with my Janome’s automatic button hole attachment is over though – it really struggled with the thick layers of fabric, and I’m still a bit miffed that this was the best result I got:

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It’s a great little pattern, but I do have one major gripe. I get that the reason we love independant pattern company’s is because they do things differently to the big 4. That’s cool. But it’s not cool when you’re being different just to be annoying. Like, having 1/2 inch seam allowances? Come on guys – we have standards for a really good reason. I’m sure that 1/2 an inch is fine when you’re sewing up one of those lovely Tiny Pocket Tank‘s, but when you’re sewing up a pattern designed for denim, I automatically think “yeah, flat felled seams would be nice!”. You can do flat felled seams with a 1.5cm (5/8″) seam allowance – just. You can’t do flat felled seams with 1/2 inch seams. It doesnt even convert into metric measurements nicely. Luckily our good old friend Unnecessary Ease came to the party, so I was able to save the day and end up with 2cm seam allowances – the ideal amount for flat felled when sewing with a thicker fabric like canvas or denim, methinks.

Oh yeah, and that little square you use on printed out patterns to check the scale? It’s printed across two pages. Might wanna fix that up, Grainline!

**UPDATE – The lovely Jen from Grainline Studios has advised me that this has been fixed up :) Oh, and they will soon be offering printed patterns. Yay!

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I managed to squeeze in an hour or two with TJ on Saturday who shared with me what she thinks is quite possibly the only copy of these books in this Great Southern Land. You heard it from me that they even smelt amazing. 

Thanks to her University Library access priviledges, a copyright past its use by date and a super high-tech scanning system (couldn’t help myself TJ!), we should be able to convert this into a digital copy for our use. I use the term  ‘we’ loosely because my role in this is simply supplying a piece of glass. She’s going to be an absolute champ and do all the grunt work. 

 
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yay, TJ!

In other news – I’ve decided to start keeping a record of how long it takes me to complete the various ‘stages’ of sewing for each garment I make. Kinda like how some people record the cost of a finished item… but for me this will be a bit more scary than the $! So each finished thing I make will be accompanied by this little table – proof of how slow the process is I am!

The Stats:
00:45  Pattern Preparation
00:00  Toile (cutting/sewing/fitting)
00:50  Fabric Preparation (cutting/interfacing)
09:10  Sewing
10:45  hours