This is a guest post by Sonia Spence over at Fabric & Flowers. Go check out her awesome blog full of tips, tutorials, and patterns!
Sewing the Huxley Bag – a convertible rucksack
NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links. It will not cost you any money if you click on them and just means that I get a small commission for recommending it.
A little while ago, I was debating designing a new bag. My messenger bag was threadbare and I’d cut it apart to remove the hardware for my daughters’ bag! I wanted a bag that I could convert from a shoulder/ crossbody bag into a rucksack and although I had come across quite a few – I especially liked this one – they weren’t quite what I wanted. Then I saw the Huxley Bag by Goheen Designs and I was smitten. The idea of using rivets and other hardware seemed like good fun!
Originally, I’d hoped to have it finished in time for Festival of Quilts, but that didn’t quite happen……kids, holidays and the like mean everything’s taken a bit longer. I also decided to take my time to enjoy the making process: the pattern is rated as confident and there are a number of steps to follow – not in a scary way, mind! – and I’d made a few adjustments to it due to the fabric that I was using, which involved a bit more thinking!
I made a large View A and used a waxed cotton (from here) – it has a leather-like look, but is a bit thinner and provides an element of being waterproof which is handy! It meant that I could do without the webbing but had to adapt the pattern – both in terms of width and length (on some strap pieces, the pattern calls for leather to be top stitched to a longer piece of webbing) which required a little bit of planning.
I also decided to add a zip to the back pocket – I love having a secure place to keep valuables, especially when it’s being used as a messenger bag. I added the zip in between the outer and lining fabric of the back pocket and then secured the ‘free’ zip side straight on to the back piece of the bag with a few lines of stitching. However, I didn’t really read the pattern fully through – schoolgirl error! – and then realised I would have to alter the length of the bike straps in order to make it all look ok! Ah well, if you chose to do this, you can learn from my mistake!
Overall, the pattern is really well written. On first look at the download, it can seem slightly intimidating – there are over 40 pages! However, many of the early pages are used to share tips, and the rest of the pattern takes you through step-by-step in a clear and concise way.
Tips for accurate placement of rivets & poppers
I think that covers everything?! Someone on IG asked me if the bag was heavy, which is a really good question and one I had to think about! It makes sense that it would be with all the hardware on it, however, its actually quite tricky to tell. The waxed cotton is a heavier fabric anyway (the bag I made for my daughter weighs probably double the one I’d made out of cotton and wadding!) but having never sewn with leather, I’m not sure how this would compare? So far, all I can really say is that it is a good weight and I’ve not been put off using it!
Overall, I am so happy with the bag! It’s not the biggest rucksack – it’s best to think of it as a shoulder bag that converts into a rucksack – but is perfect for my needs. Having never used hardware before, I feel that it really lifts the finished look to a much more professional level. Not all of my rivets are perfect – in fact, there are a number of things that I could pick on as ‘could be better’ – but I think that’s the makers’ curse, isn’t it?! I’m trying to let these little things go though and concentrate on all the skills I learnt! I can see myself making another in the future, maybe using different fabrics and having made this one, I can see (hope!) that others will go together a lot quicker and easier!
See you soon,
When I send out my patterns during the testing stage, I always make sure to tell my testers that they should go ahead and make any changes that they want to the pattern. I do this so that my testers can end up with a finished product that they actually love and will actually use! I also do this because I find it so inspiring to see all the different ways that people can take my patterns and make them their own.
This blog post is going to highlight some of my testers, their bags, their thoughts on their bags, and some of the changes that you can make to The Huxley Bag!
Make it your own:
I didn’t use leather over the webbing, also no rivets, I sewed boxes with an x in the middle rather than rivets
That pattern is amazing. I have gotten so many compliments on the bag this week. I make all my bags, but this one people have been surprised to know I made. I am happy to know that it worked using home dec and canvas fabrics in addition to leather.
I posted a pic of it on my FB page and all my friends were so impressed and said the bag looked awesome! Great design is also what my husband said, so I'm so happy I was selected to try this pattern. Given how complex the bag looks, and the big package I printed for instructions, I thought the sewing was going to be super complex. To my surprise, it was much easier than I imagined. My husband keeps saying he's surprised I finished it as soon as I did. :)
Make it your own:
Use a contrasting fabric for the front.
Make it your own:
Used one rivet instead of two on the straps, and added an inside zipper pocket to the lining.
The waxed canvas is great and holds the bag shape
I found the conversion great! Ingenious idea! Someone asked me if I was going to start producing them (I said NO!!)
I would advise anyone making this to spend time cutting out this whole pattern before starting to sew. If you leave parts for later you really need motivation to go back and cut. Besides that, it brings you to a halt if you are being especially productive! I also recommend using a walking foot to sew cork. I changed to a regular foot at one point and actually curled one of the straps! I won't make that mistake again! Last, but not least, always put a thick board under your anvil when you are installing your rivets. Otherwise, you will hammer a hole in your nice Ikea tabletop! Don't ask how I know this!
I was a bit intimidated by this pattern because it held a lot of new-to-me skills. I'd never used leather (or cork) before and I'd never used rivets or this type of snaps either. I've discovered that I LOVE rivets! I plan to use more cork in my bags because it makes everything look so professional! Thanks for making me try something new!
Make it Your own:
Love the idea of converting the straps to have a multi functional bag. Plus, with it having detachable straps, you can also make different ones and interchange them.
I think you did a great job with this pattern! It was fun and challenging but not too hard. I think with the leather/webbing parts, I overthought a lot of it but once I started to change a few things and make it my own, the project was a breeze! I was so happy seeing the final product at the end.
My foot did not like the faux suede. For the topstitch on the flap, I actually had to put paper on top of the bag to sew it and then peel the paper off. It helped make for a smoother line.
Make it Your own:
I only used one snap on the front straps and I left off the bike straps and made the bag so it's just a cross body/backpack.
I would say this pattern is the hardest I've ever completed; I found it to be harder than a button-up, but maybe that's my pregnancy brain. I really like the end product (it looks so professional and makes my awl wound acceptable lol) and can't wait to use it for school and as a small diaper bag.
I'm happy to report that it fits my wallet, phone, changing pad, 2 pacifiers, 2 onesies, a swaddling blanket, 5 disposal diapers, a full pack of wipes, and an adult shirt. It also comfortably fits my husband (he's happy to wear it).
Make it your own:
I did a fusion of the two styles (zippers plus flap). I used denim rather than leather. For the straps, I used a double layer of a decorative trim I had on hand (rather than covering with leather). The trim was 1 ¼”, so I needed to get wider hardware. I used a scrap of ultrasuede for the reinforcement and strap for the technology pocket, zipper pulls, and (double layer) for the guide for straps on the front.
My tween daughter LOVES the sample that I am making.
Here are some more modifications that I've thought of, or seen pop up on the #HuxleyBag on Instagram:
- Leave off the front straps and handle for a minimalist look
- Print your own fabric with a site like Spoonflower
- Use a fabric or article of clothing with special significance (like dad's leather jacket)
- Use velcro for your closure
- Add in more pockets
- Get rid of pockets you don't want
- Add in more rivets or studs as decoration
- Use a contrasting topstitching
I want to see what else you all can come up with for your own Huxley bags! Keep tagging me on instagram!
A couple of my pattern testers made a particular request after reading through my Inara instructions. After seeing one of the photos of my grey robe at the end of the instructions, they each let me know that they would love to read a blog post about how I added the lace to it. The good news?? It was super duper simple to do!
The great thing about lace (most lace anyway) is that your can cut it, and it doesn't fray. So really, this beautiful lace overlay was really as simple as cutting out pieces of lace that I loved, pinning them in place where I thought they looked good, and then I chose a matching thread color and topstitched the pieces down. Easy as pie. I'm not sure why people say this, pie seems like a rather intimidating dessert to make. Easy as.....no bake cookies. There you go.
If that sounds wayyy too simple, here are a few details and tips of what I did, in case you are planning on replicating it:
- I placed the lace onto the robe after sewing the side seams but before the bottom hem step, and before adding the binding. In retrospect, the stiffness of the lace did weird things to my hem, so next time I'd hem and THEN add the lace overlay, and then put on the binding. I added the sleeve lace after hemming the sleeves, and as you can see it lays much nicer!
- The lace sleeve bands are 3" tall. The lace around the hem is about 4", except at the sides where it goes up to 8" above the hem. I LOVE the way the higher lace on the side seams accentuates the curve of the hem.
- As you can see in a photo below, I didn't have one nice big piece of lace to work with. There are actually several parts that are pieced together. But the beauty of matching your thread color is that you can only tell that it's pieced if your eyes are about a foot from my butt. And I don't usually let people get quite that close to my rear end.
- I added a final touch of lace to the center back neck of the robe. I love that it brings the triangular motif of the hem to the back of the robe as well.
- Unfortunately I cannot point you in the direction of this beautiful lace I used. It was a small sample piece in my stash from when a local fabric store was downsizing. #makeyourstash
I would LOVE to see how you guys hack The Inara pattern to make it your own style, this way or any other way! And if you have any questions about what I did, just comment below! In the meantime, I'm now going to go make myself some no bake cookies....
I'm so excited to be releasing my third garment pattern! This is the my first pattern that uses my animal sizing, which I absolutely love. And it's already a staple in my closet! I've made three for myself, and I already have plans to make a fourth one! Robes are one of those garments that I never knew I wanted until I had one. My mother in law surprised me with a super fuzzy and warm robe for Christmas a few years ago, and now I barely take it off during the winter because I'm always freezing. But I decided I loved wearing it so much that I wanted a cute summery version too.
And voila! The Inara was born. The name is a nod to the show Firefly, because Inara is one of my favourite characters and a flirty robe seems right up her alley! The robe is short and sassy with a hem that curves up on the sides, and it works great with all the lightweight drapey fabrics in your stash. It can be a beach coverup, a bridesmaid gift, lacy lingerie, a maternity delivery robe, a house coat, or a light outer layer for summery days. So much possibility!
And it's a great pattern for Capable (advanced beginner) sewers! The curved hem, the thread belt loops, and the homemade binding might be new skills to add to your repertoire, and they each come with step by step instructions, tips, and even a few videos to help you along your way. And of course, I'm always here as a resource! I can't wait to see all the fun you have with this pattern!
I have a new PDF pattern for you guys!! It is a super quick and easy anatomical heart appliqué!
As I'm sure you know by now, I'm obsessed with all things Halloween. I love the big elaborate costumes, but I also love little touches of macabre. Things that I can wear all October long, simply as a part of my outfit, without drawing a ridiculous number of stares. And this simple little heart is absolutely perfect! You can add it to a tshirt, a dress, a coat, or a costume. Make it really stand out with contrasting fabric, or make it a subtle addition as I did here.
I appliquéd this thrift store sweater last friday, and then immediately wore it out to Kings Island for their Halloween Haunt night and it was perfection!
Now I just need to make about ten more!
If you haven't picked up the pattern yet, you can head on over to the shop to grab it. I have the basic written instructions on the one page pdf as well, but if you want a more detailed tutorial, you are in the right place!
Cut out the 2 (only two!) pattern pieces, and use them to cut your fabric. I really like the look of having two different tones for the two different pieces of the heart. A super easy way to do this is to use the same fabric, just flipped to the back side, which is what I did here! One is right side up, and the other is right side down.
Transfer the dotted line markings from your pattern to your fabric. I honestly just used a black marker since I planned to sew over them in black thread anyway.
If you are using a fabric that may unravel along the edges, you can use fray check or some sort of stabilizer to help keep your fabric intact.
Once the fray check has dried, intertwine your two heart pieces together so that they look like so:
Pin them into place on your main fabric (whatever you are adding this appliqué to) and topstitch them in place! I just followed along the edges of my heart pieces, and then sewed down a few of the dotted lines as well.
Then, if you like, you can use embroidery thread to really make your heart lines pop!
Boom! Done! Enjoy your new anatomical heart! And don't forget to use #anatomicalheartapplique so I can see your creations!!
Hello and welcome to the Tombstone Pillow Sewalong! It's time to start thinking about Halloween decorations (I just got mine out of storage today!) and this creepy pillow is a great addition to any spooktakular home setup!
If you don't have your own copy of the pattern yet, you can pick it up in the Goheen Pattterns shop, or in my GreenGraves Etsy shop.
If you would like to order a custom Tombstone (you get to pick what the epitaph is) I can do that too!
The Tombstone Pillow Sewing Pattern is rated CONFIDENT on my sewing levels chart. This means that you sew on the regular, are familiar with sewing patterns, and you know your sewing machine like the back of your hand! Basically, if you have never sewn anything before in your life, this one might not be the pattern to start with.
HOW IT WORKS
Over the next few weeks, I'll publish a series of blog posts taking you step by step through the entire process of making your own tombstone, from PDF pattern to finished pillow. You can sew along with me, ask me questions, and share your techniques and advice with other sewists following along as well! You can leave comments and questions here on the blog, in our Goheen Patterns Sewing Group on facebook, or on instagram with the hashtag
I'll try my best to answer any questions as quickly as I can, but feel free to jump in and help each other out too!
The Tentative Schedule for the Sewalong is:
Aug 17th - Part 1 - Intro, Gathering Materials
Aug 20th - Part 2 - Putting together the pattern
Aug 23rd - Part 3 - Cutting out the fabric, and Quilting the front
Aug 30th - Part 4 - Making cording and Sewing your tombstone together
Oct 7th - Part 5 - Flipping, Clipping, Stuffing, and Closing your pillow
Show off your finished pillows! To be featured, email me a photo at email@example.com or use #TombstoneSewalong
So if all goes according to plan, you will have a finished decoration by Oct 7th! Plenty of time to use it for Halloween 2017!
GATHERING YOUR MATERIALS
Materials and Tools you need by Aug 20th, for Part 2:
- The pattern (available in the pattern shop)
- A way to print the pattern (printer at home or at a copy shop)
- Paper Scissors
- Clear Tape
- A ruler or measuring tape
Materials and Tools you need by Aug 23rd, for Part 3:
- 1yd (1 meter) of any 40-60" wide woven fabric, prewashed. I love using a nice textured grey fabric from the home decor section!
- 1/2 yd (1/2 meter) of "lining", prewashed. This can be any fabric at all, it will not be seen on the outside of your tombstone, so it is a great stash buster.
- 1/2 yd (1/2 meter) of any quilt batting (18"x22" for you scrap busters)
- Contrast Top stitching Thread (black thread is great on a grey tombstone)
- 145" of 5/32 of welt cording (370 cm) Etsy is a great place to find this if it's not at your local craft store. You can also sub in 5/32 inch clothesline found at a hardware store or even a grocery store!
- Fabric Scissors
- Fabric marker/chalk
- Sewing Machine
- Handsewing Needle
- Skinny Black marker
- Press and Seal OR Transfer Paper OR Tissue Paper
That's it for now! I'll see you back for Part 2 on the 20th!
Let me know if you have any questions about gathering materials!
This blog post may be coming a little late, but my excitement about releasing a garment pattern is so fresh that I figured it’s still relevant!
The process of creating and releasing a sewing pattern, especially one that requires grading and testing, is a lengthy one. I started patterning my first rendition of The Eddie Tank in January, and didn’t release the finished pattern until May. Obviously, I wasn’t working non-stop on this project all those months. I was also working my day job, fulfilling Etsy orders, working on the wholesale side of my business, and also doing all the back end administrative work as well. Finding (or creating) time to work on the patterning side of my business isn’t always easy. Which is why I’m so excited to finally have the fruits of my labor ready for the picking!
The Eddie was inspired back in January by…. You guessed it…. Eddie! For those of you who don’t know him, Eddie is my husband, and his signature look in life is a running singlet. Years of running every day, often multiple times a day, means that running tank tops are one of the staples of his closet, and an easy pick even for when he’s lounging around in the Indiana summer heat.
Inspired by this, I wanted to create a simple, comfortable, and stylish workout tank that is a quick sew.
For my household, this garment is one that we can make over and over, and wear over and over.
Exercise is a very high priority to us, and we aim to work out in some form every day, and Eddie's usual form is running. And when you run every day, you can go through 7 of these puppies in a week. And that is only if we manage to do laundry every week (we don’t). So quick to sew was a must. Stylish is the other side of the coin. The swoosh in the front is just enough to add some interest to the tank, a way to make it stylish, and a way for you to individualize your singlet by incorporating different fabrics into the same tank. The bound arm and neck holes also allow for a contrasting fabric, and give the top a very clean, professional look. Also, the side panels not only add to the style of the top, but also allow for use of a mesh fabric to keep super cool and comfortable when you are working out.
For this sample of the Eddie tank, I used performance honeycomb mesh on the top and sides and regular performance mesh for the main back and front pieces. I found these at my local Joann’s (I was surprised too!) and they have been great to work with.
Along with all the photos I took of Eddie in the Eddie (he is such a trooper) I wanted to share some of my testers’ photos too! They did a great job, and I love seeing the different color combinations they came up with.
Basically, I love my Eddies, both human and fabric, and I can’t wait to see even more of them pop up as more people try out one of their own.
PDF sewing patterns can be so convenient!
You have such a wide selection of patterns to choose from, and of course downloading the pattern leads to near instant gratification. That, and the fact that PDF patterns are usually less expensive, make them a fantastic sewing resource. But, they do come with an extra step, which can be a hassle. Printing, cutting, and taping together a sewing pattern can deter some people from even wanting to use PDF patterns in the first place.
This is where large format printing comes in handy.
In some of my patterns (like the clothing ones) you will find that I've given you two ways to print your new pattern. The first is labeled "Tiled Pages" and the second is "Wide Format"
The "Tiled Pages" version is just what it sounds like. The pattern has been broken down into 7.5" x 10" sections that can be printed on letter or A4 paper, from your home printer if you want.
The "Wide Format" version has the pattern laid out on one large page, which can be printed on a wide format printer at a copy shop (or I suppose at home, if you are lucky enough to have one). This version will be no larger than 32" wide (to accommodate different types of wide format printers) and however long it needs to be to fit the whole pattern. If you open up the PDF and hover your mouse over the left-hand corner, the measurement of the PDF will appear, so that you can get an estimate of how expensive it will be to print.
no matter which version you use, I've created layers in the PDF, so that you can minimize ink usage, and minimize any confusion from all the different sizes. When I printed The Eddie, I wanted only the lines for sizes F, G, and H. I was making a size G, but I wanted to print one size above and below, in case of future changes in body measurements, or in case I wanted size references for altering the pattern. Turing on and off layers is super simple to do! And don't let copy shops tell you that you can't do it! I've been told by a few different shops that turning off the layers isn't possible, but once I showed them how, it worked just fine! Here is how: open up the file in Adobe Acrobat. On the left-hand side, you will see a panel with 5 little symbols running down the side. Click on the fourth one down, the one that looks the photo below (two square thingies hovering, one translucent one above the other). Then you will see the list of all the layers, each with a little eye next to it. Click the eye to turn off the layer, so that it won't print.
Some options for places that have wide format printers:
(sometimes your large pattern prints will be categorized as blueprints, fyi)
College Campus Copy Shops
Local Copy Shops
How to Print:
1. Save the pattern onto a thumb-drive and take it to one of the shops listed above. Or upload it to the copy shop website if you don't have a thumb-drive.
2. Take it to one of the employees behind the counter. Ask for an estimate of how much it will cost. For real. Different shops have different printers, that print different qualities. When I took The Eddie to get printed, the prices ranged from $6 to $47 at different shops. Always check the price!
3. Tell the employee that you want to print
a. in black and white or in color, whichever you want
b. printed to scale. NOT resized or shrunk in any way
c. on the cheapest, thinnest paper they have
d. certain layers. If you want to turn off layers, now is the time. You may have to show the
employee how to do it. I've been told a few times that it isn't possible, only to find out that
the employee didn't realize they could!
4. Check the print when it comes out, and measure the test square to be sure that the sizing printed correctly.
Getting my pattern printed took less than 5 mins, and $8. It was extremely convenient (and made me want a oversized printer of my own). It is an added cost, but depending on the size of the pattern (aka how many pages you would have to print out anyway and tape together) in question, it may be worth it. Especially if I'm in a rush!
As I move my company more towards sewing patterns and kits, and as I work on my first ever clothing pattern for sale (!!) I've had to develop a series of sizing charts to help you pick out which pattern size will fit you!
I've thought a lot about this, especially about how confusing and emotional clothing sizes can be. When I shop for a dress, I can come away with anything from a size 6 to a size 12, depending on the brand I'm trying on! Every company has developed their own way to size clothing, and some have even started "Vanity-Sizing" their clothing. This means that these brands have begun shifting their sizing to make shoppers feel skinnier. For example, someone like Twiggy, who was a size 8 in 1962, would now be considered a size 00 in some brands. And really, as a marketing campaign, it's not that surprising that companies would do this. As women, we especially tend to hold a lot of stock in our size, and are more likely to buy clothing with smaller sizes because it makes us feel more confident.
So what does this mean for the Goheen sizing system? It means that I've decided to do away with these numerical size labels. Instead of seeing that you are a size 00 or a size 16, my sizes are simply letters of the alphabet. I'm hoping that this little change will help in a few ways. First, it will hopefully get rid of any self-conscious feelings associated with a number that, let's be honest, doesn't even have a real meaning anymore! Second, it will make sure that you look carefully at the measurements instead of the size. Instead of someone being sure that they are a size 8, they now have to take their measurements and compare which set will work best for them for a particular pattern.
And since I've gotten rid of the sizing numbers, I figured why keep the small - medium - large setup? So I've dropped that too! Now, I offer animal sizes! If you ever have any questions about my sizing, you can head on over to our Facebook Pattern community for help :)
The animals are: Unicorn, Octopus, Dinosaur, Bunny, Hedgehog, Penguin, Tortoise, and Fox!
My next task is to make sure that we are all on the same page as far as how to take your measurements for these charts. Stay tuned for the next blog post!
Women's size chart in inches:
Men's size chart in inches:
Women's size chart in centimeters:
Men's size chart in centimeters:
I have a new downloadable pattern for you! Just in time for Halloween, you will be able to make yourself a Blood Pool Pillow!
This pattern is super easy, and a perfect DIY for when you are in the mood for a quick Halloween project.
You can get the pattern on my website, on Etsy, or on Craftsy.
Once you get the pattern, you can come on back here for a helpful photo tutorial:
When you print your pattern, make sure that you click the option that says "Actual Size" so that it will print correctly.
Print just the first page, and use a ruler to make sure that the Test Square does indeed measure 2"x2"
Print the rest of your pages, at "actual size" and lay them out, matching the diamonds on the edges. (A1 to A1) It should look like the layout below.
Cut the right edges off the printed pages along the rectangle line.
Now match up the lines and diamonds and tape the pages together. Do the same for connecting the top row to the bottom row of pages, to create your whole pattern!
Now cut out your pattern along the solid black line, and you are ready to go!
To start your pillow, you first have to cut out your fabric. Cut two of your pattern pieces, making sure that one is face up, and one is face down.
If you have a fabric that is likely to fray, serging the edges is always an option at this point.
Now machine stitch around your pillow using 3/8" seam allowance (or just inside your serging) all the way around except for the area between the notches that says "Leave Open". Make sure to reinforce where you stopped and started with a little backstitching.
Clip the curves, turn the pillow inside right, and stuff the pillow as much or as little as you like!
Close up the opening in the pillow using a ladder stitch. If you need a refresher, take a look at my ladder stitch tutorial post.
Enjoy your pillow, and Happy Halloween!
creative business owner. designer. hoosier. crafter. runner. sewer. swing dancer. outdoor enthusiast. entrepreneur. wife. material hoarder.
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Madeline Stage firstname.lastname@example.org
"Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway."
- Earl Nightingale