Sunday, December 18, 2011

He takes home the medal; she ends up making more bags! *grin*

Yup! That’s what happened last year when my hubby took part in the Penang International Bridge Run, and it’s been repeated again this year, not that I am complaining, actually. LOL! *grin*

I am very happy to blog report that I successfully managed to learn to make 3 bags during my 2 day bag making class from the 19th to the 20th of November. The bags this time around, except for one, aren’t that complicated as last year’s bags as I think I was a little bit unadventurous this time around. No, make that I was being more realistic this time around as I know I would not have that much time to spend finishing the bags if I don’t complete them during the class once I am back in Kuala Lumpur as I will be having my nose grinded into my Assignments right up until March next year, God willing.

I had made the purchase for the templates and gotten all the preliminary instructions from Corine during one of my earlier working trips to Penang about more than 2 months ago when I had some extra time after my meetings, before flying back to Kuala Lumpur.

By purchasing the templates and getting the instructions earlier, I would be able to make some early preparations before the class like have the templates all cut out, the interfacing all ironed onto the fabrics, and have them all cut out ready to be put together during the actual bag making class. This way, I get to complete making the bag faster, and completing the bags faster equates more bags that can be made in the same amount of time! LOL!

However, as it turned out, I didn’t get to have all the preparations ready before the class as I fell sick just days before the trip to Penang (talk about last minute preparations! LOL!) , and besides, I was busy working on my Assignments, which I think made me fall sick from all the stress of working on the paper. This bag making class would be just perfect as a stress buster.

But all was not lost though as I still managed to prepare at least one bag before the class, and I had planned to finish the preparations for the other 2 bags in the hotel room the day before the class. Talk about squeezing in time at the last minute! LOL!

Anyway, on the first day of class, I did not manage to finish even a single bag. Even my hubby found that odd. I blame it on my lack of efficiency as it had been quite some time since I last did any sewing or crafting due to heavy work load at the office. It took me some time to get back into rhythm of things.

Also, I had another new and exciting thing introduced to me by Corine on the 1st day of class. Corine let me use her latest addition to her family of sewing machines – a brand new Brother Innovis QC 1000!

It is one awesome machine, and I think I might have just fallen in love with it! LOL!

The Innovis QC 1000, to me, is a cross between the BERNINA and the JANOME, but at slightly more than half the cost of the BERNINA. That, to me, is affordable as it is almost the price of my JANOME. Eerr…, I am not buying it, BUT, if ever I want to get another sewing machine, it just might be the BROTHER. *grin*

One of the things I like about this machine is its large touch-screen LCD.

Also, I like that all the basic feet are all kept within the machine, even the bobbins too.

No more having to lug around the box of feet and bobbins to class, as, I have, at numerous occasions, ended up not able to do any sewing in class when I accidentally left behind my box of feet and accessories. No chance of that happening with this machine, except if you buy more extra foot. But then, they will be foot you won’t usually use all the time for the basic sewing.

Another thing I like about this machine is that I can make adjustments of the needle to every 0.5mm, and the needle threader is just awesome!

I thought that the needle threader on my Janome was awesome already, but this machine’s needle threader is even more awesome as the thread clicks very easily into the needle.

OK, enough about the machine. Yup! I am in love with this machine alright! LOL!

Back to my bags, I left Corine’s hut on the first day of class feeling a little bit incomplete when I had nothing to show of what I did the whole day, though I had fun playing with the Innovis.

I left with loads of homework though. I had to get some hand stitching done in order for me to move on to the next step. I did not want to spend time hand stitching in class as I could do that in the hotel room. I would rather spend my time in class doing all the machine sewing and the cutting where I would need Corine’s guidance to proceed.

I slept at midnight that first night, doing my homework – hand stitching and ironing the interfacing; and slept just as my hubby got up to get ready for his run.

Early the next morning, I took the cab with my son to Corine’s house, leaving my hubby to rest in the hotel room after his run to recuperate.

This time, I was the only student for the day (the day before, there were a hive of activities with about 4-5 students taking classes at the same time), thus allowing me to be able to work faster as Corine also helped me with some of the hand stitching that needed to be done.

When the class ended at 6.30pm, I was about ¾ done on the One Nighter or overnight travelling bag, ½ done on the Xora bag and with only the hand stitching and the bag handle to sew on the Omra bag.

Here’s a photo of the inside of the Xora bag which I am in the midst of hand stitching.

I just love these clips I bought from Corine. It takes away all the pricking from the pins which is almost certain I will get when I use pins to baste for hand stitching.

I completed the One Nighter bag in the hotel room the next day after breakfast.

What do you think?

When I first saw the sample bag at Corine’s, I thought it looked more like a diaper bag. But when I completed my own version, it no longer looks like a diaper bag. But definitely, it won’t be my One Nighter bag either, what with all my toiletries, make-up bag, telekung, and at least one change of clothes to pack, this bag certainly won’t be able to fit in all those! LOL!

Instead, I think this bag would make a very nice document bag. What do you think?

I will put up photos of the completed Omra Bag and the Xora bag when it is fully completed, which, for now, I wouldn’t know when that will be. Hopefully next year after March, or,maybe, just maybe, earlier! *wink*

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All hung up!

One day after coming back from one of my meetings at Sultan Abdul Samad building, I came across a shop that looked like it was selling things that shop owners would usually buy to put up or organize their things in the shop. You know, those bars with hangers to hang clothes, bags etc?

I have been looking for some sort of organizer or hangers to hang up my handmade bags so that it will be easier for me to see what I have made, and so, easier for me to refer to it should I forget how to make it. It will also be easy for friends and future customers to see what bags I have in a more organised way.

So, yesterday, Friday, 9th December 2011, during my long lunch hour break, I decided to hop on the LRT from my office to the Masjid Jamek Station and check out the shop.

A whole new world opened up in front of me as soon as I stepped into the shop! Talk about being a frog under a coconut shell (Katak bawah Tempurung). LOL!

They have so many things which I have been wondering where to get if and when I open up a shop, and now I have the answers! Well, most of it, at least! LOL!

I don’t know how to describe the things they have and I was too shy to ask if I could snap a photo of the shop. But, knowing Malaysians, especially those that are ignorant of the power of IT and the blogging world, I am sure the shop owner would say No. So, to save myself the embarrassment, I said nothing, and just talked to myself silently and controlled my excitement from within. *grin*

Anyway, I came home with the handbag hanger like I had planned on buying. Imagine me carrying this on the LRT? LOL! It came dismantled but still it was long and quite troublesome, but, I carried it back anyway. *grin*

It is supposed to be used to hang my handmade bags, but, since I don’t have time to sort out my sewing area at the moment, I decided to temporarily use it to hang my handbags I bring to work. My bags looks more organised now rather than having them all stacked up in a box at the corner of the room.

I can see the bags I want to use immediately instead of having to rummage through my wicker basket looking for the right bag.

I think I will get another one instead of bringing this down to my sewing area for my handmade bags and leave this present one in the bedroom. It looks good at the corner of the room. I told my hubby we can even use it to hang the clothes we want to wear for work the next day – have everything all hung up ready to wear the next day! Neat, huh? LOL! *wink*

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Going Bananas!

It's finally done! I finally completed the Banana Bag for Mel!

I started on this bag in April 2011, but I could not complete the bag because I could not get a strap that comes with a leather tab like the one in the original design on the bag I learnt from Corine in Penang in November last year.

Mel ordered this bag during the NNC Anniversary Meet in March 2011. I told her that I would get it done in two months time. I did, but minus the strap.

I had bought my strap with the leather tab from Corine, but when I wanted to order the strap from Corine for Mel's bag, Corine no longer had stock of it and wasn't planning to order anymore so soon. So I tried contacting this lady in Penang who does leather things if she would be willing to custom make me the leather tab. I could buy the strap myself and put them together on my own.

Unfortunately, she was no longer willing to take custom orders because she was tied up lots of orders for custom made leather bags, her core business.

Corine offered to show me how to make my own tab but using PU instead. I was supposed to drop by her house during one of my many trips to Penang for work. Unfortunately, I was always short for time as I rush from meetings to meetings when in Penang. By the time work is done, it's time for me to catch a flight back to KL.

I was beginning to get a little bit embarrassed that I am taking longer than 2 months before I could deliver Mel's order. That's not good when you are in the business line. I had to find a way to buy the leather tab somewhere or try making my own from PU like what Corine suggested.

I was going online almost every spare evening I have in search of the tab, but all in vain. I could either be searching at the wrong place or I am not keying in the right key words. I only know that it is called a tab. For all I know, it could be going by another name.

I eventually ordered 2 pieces of PU on eBay in two different tones of browns in an attempt to make my own tab. It didn't work. It just did not look right for the bag.

I spent several nights trying out different ways to attach the PU tab to the bag, but nothing seems to look like how I imagined it to be. I went to bed on many nights feeling frustrated.

I was about to give up when suddenly an idea popped out of my head one day.

I imagined the idea that I had in mind, when done, would look sweet and cute. Now it is a matter of whether Mel would like it, it being lacy and all. Not many people like laces, so I can only hope that Mel wouldn't be one of them.

The result of my idea? Here it is, lace and all....

What do you think?

Why the need for the lace, you might say? Why couldn't I just have the handle sewn directly onto the bag? Well, I did try but I didn't like the look where the strap meets the bag. It did not look right, neither did it look nice. It looked like an after thought and not much thought and time was given to the detailing of the bag. It's just not me to make something that looks like an after thought.

If you don't mind my saying so myself, I like the way I have managed to resolve this tab issue which has been "haunting" and bothering me for the last 4 months since completing the bag body.

Here's a peek inside the bag to show off the Uniquely Aznique label. *wink*

I can now finally hand over the bag to Mel and hope that she likes what she sees. I hope that this bag will be Mel's constant companion each time she goes out with friends and family.

Thanks, Mel, for the opportunity to do business with you. I hope there will be more to come in the future. *wink*