Friday, September 30, 2011


Happy Friday, everyone!

First, let me tell you how much I appreciate all your wonderful comments. It's great to know that I'm not just talking to myself, but there's someone out there reading and responding. Someone, who actually knows what I'm talking about when I say "I need to sew, or at least touch and see some fabric almost every day, or I'm getting withdrawal symptoms". It's because of all your encouraging comments that I finally decided to put some of my handmade stuff on Etsy for other people to buy.

And, what better way to say Thank you! than with a giveaway. So, this is what you can win.

Option #1:
Dumpling zipper pouch ( I used tutorial by Keyka Lou)

Exterior fabric is one of my favorites by Denyse Schmidt and the happy contrasting lining is Ta dot polka dot by Michael Miller.
Option #2:
fun shoulder bag. Pattern is by Suzuko Koseki. Do you remember the ones I made for my daughters? I was even surprised myself how wonderfully versatile they are.

Option #3:
lunch box (maybe even a  messenger bag for a child?).
I made this lunch box when I was working on my tutorial. You can find a free tutorial here.

So, here's how this giveaway works. Leave me a comment saying that you are my follower, or become one and let me know. Also, write which option you'd like to win.

Giveaway is open until Tuesday, October 4th.

On Wednesday, I will randomly (having one of my children picking the number out of the hat with their eyes closely shut) select three winners, the first one will get his/her choice first, then second, then third.

International entries are welcome. I will ship anywhere in the world.

Any questions? Leave me a note.

Have a wonderful day, Svetlana.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

s.o.t.a.k handmade store is now OPEN!!!

I took a plunge today and re-opened my s.o.t.a.k handmade store on Etsy. I can't even believe I'm saying that.  I first opened it in January, put a few of my handbags up for sale, chickened out, pulled everything down, and that was it for my "selling".

I'm hoping this time around it will be a different experience. The reason I decided to give it a try again is that at this point our house is full of my handmade stuff, every bed has at least one quilt, pillows are everywhere, and I can't even count how many bags and pouches we all have. And I keep sewing, and really LOVING it. So I thought it might be a good idea to try and offset at least some of the expenses involving my ever growing stash of fabric.

I made a few Dumplings yesterday. No, don't worry, I'm still talking sewing here. I mean Dumplings - zippered pouches using Keyka Lou's tutorial. I put one in my store today and I'll be adding more hopefully every day.

Aren't they just adorable? Here's the one I listed at my store today - I love this Echino fabric.

And, to celebrate the opening of my store, I'll have some giveaways for you tomorrow so I hope you'll stop by.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sashiko embroidery and Pretty {Little} Pouch Swap

Sashiko embroidery is a very old form of hand sewing that only uses simple running stitch. I came across this tutorial a while ago and I absolutely loved the way it looked.

I decided to combine this traditional Japanese technique of embroidery with some modern fabric and linen to make a pouch for my partner for Pretty Little Pouch Swap 3.

I like how it looks, hopefully my partner will, too. I also did a few lines of straight running stitches on the back of the pouch.

So, as it turns out, old and new do mix together well. I'm pretty sure I'll be using Sashiko embroidery in my other projects again.

Have a wonderful day, Svetlana.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My WIPs (works in progress)

Hello, happy Tuesday!!!

It's been raining for 2 days straight now and so even though I have a finished quilt to show you I have to wait to get some good pictures. In the meantime, I thought I'd share some snippets of the projects I'm working on.

I signed up for Pretty Little Pouch Swap 3 and, once again, I'm obsessing too much about what to make for my partner. I think she might like some sashiko embroidery on her pouch so I practiced  last night while watching TV. What do you think?

I also started working on a new quilt. I took a plunge and designed my own pattern.
I kind of like it, I'm just not sure if I chose the right fabric. I might have made it too busy? I did plan to give it to my mother- in- law for Christmas but after seeing it all pieced together I decided that it's going to be for my sister. I was planning to make a pouch for her, now she's getting the quilt, instead. I don't really think she'll mind, do you?

And just one more sneak peek.
This project is so much fun to work on and I hope to show you more soon.

What have you been working on lately?  Perhaps some Christmas presents, too? 


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lunch Box Tutorial

Happy Friday, everyone!

I got so many wonderful comments when I posted about lunch boxes I made for my daughters and many of you asked for a tutorial. It's been a while since then and I finally finished it. Yay!!!! I hope you give it a try. If you have any questions, just write me a note in the comment section.


 Materials  needed : 1/2 yard exterior fabric (fabric A)
                               1/2 yard fabric for lining (fabric B)
                               1/2 yard fusible fleece
                               1/2 yard mid-weight interfacing
                               3" piece of velcro

Step 1: Cutting the fabric

FABRIC A: cut two 10" x 13" rectangles for lunchbox body
                   cut one 9" x 6 " rectangle for the flap
                   cut one 4" x 27" for strap handle

FABRIC B: cut two 10" x 13" rectangles for the lining
                   cut one 9" x 6 " rectangle for the flap

FUSIBLE FLEECE: cut two 10" x 13" rectangles
                                cut one 9" x 6 " rectangle for the flap

INTERFACING: cut two 10" x 13" rectangles                            
                           cut one 9" x 6 " rectangle for the flap
                           cut one 4" x 27" for the strap handle

Step 2: Attaching fusible fleece and interfacing to exterior fabric, lining, and handle.
Iron fusible fleece to all FABRIC A main lunchbox body pieces (two 10 x 13 and one 6 x 9 rectangles). Then fuse the interfacing to all FABRIC B pieces and the handle. 
Please refer to manufacturer's direction to make sure that fleece and interfacing is fused properly.

Step 3: Attaching velcro to flap lining and 1 panel for exterior of the bag.
Put one part of velcro closure on the flap lining about 1.5" from the edge of the 9" side. Pin in place and sew all around to attach in place.
Put second part of velcro on one 10 x 13" exterior fabric about 2" from the edge of the 13" side, center it,  pin in place, and sew all around the velcro (make sure to attach velcro close to the 13" side of the main panel that's going to be the top of the lunchbox).  You can set both pieces aside for now.

Step 4: Making a strap handle. 
Fold your interfaced handle fabric in half, along the 27" side, and iron.

 Fold each long edge in 1/4 inch and iron again.

With wrong sides together and small fold nicely tucked in, pin the handle closed and double topstitch along both sides.
The strap is now ready. Put aside for now.

Step 5: Making a flap.
Place FABRIC A and FABRIC B lining pieces on top of each other - right sides together.

Pin  and stitch around 3 sides ( 2 short and 1 long ones), make sure to stitch around the side where velcro is attached to the right side of FABRIC B (lining) of the flap.

Clip corners, do not cut into the stitches.

Turn right side out, iron, pin, and double topstitch all around the 3 finished sides.

Step 5Sewing the exterior and the lining of the main body of the bag.
Put 2 FABRIC A (main body) pieces right sides together, stitch all around the 3 sides. Now make sure that the part where Velcro is attached is left open (that's going to be the top of our bag). 

Repeat the process with FABRIC B (lining of the bag). Note: there's no Velcro attached to the lining part of the main bag, but if you have a directional fabric, make sure to leave the part that's going to be the top of the lining open.

Important!!! While sewing around the 3 sides of FABRIC B parts, leave a 5" gap on the bottom of the bag lining, we are going to use this opening to turn the bag right side out.

Step 7: Shaping the exterior and the lining of the main bag. 

This step is a little tricky, so I took  a lot of pictures along the way, I hope that makes it clearer.
Iron seams open on both the exterior of the bag , as well as the lining. Pinch the corner, holding open seams on top of each other.

 Using a ruler, measure 1.5 inches from the tip of the corner, mark the line.

Sew along the marked line and trim.

Repeat the same process for the second corner on the bag lining, as well as both corners on the exterior of the bag. Keep the lining wrong side out, turn the exterior of the bag right side out. Push the corners out to make them nice and pointy.

Step 8: Attaching flap to the exterior part of the bag.

Please note, I used magnetic snaps while working on my sample lunchbox. Yours is going to have velcro where my snaps are. Sorry about the confusion.

Center the flap, exterior fabric side down, on top of the exterior main bag.

 Pin and sew in place.

Step 9: Attaching the handle.

Center one end of the handle along one side of the exterior main bag. Pin in place, stitch over a few times to make sure handle is nice and secure. Attach the other side of the handle, pay attention not to twist the handle.

Step 10: Attaching the exterior and the lining together.

Put exterior and the lining parts of the bag together, right sides touching. Match the top raw edges and make sure the handle and flap are nicely tucked in, pin in place.

Stitch all around the top pinned edges. 
Remember the 5" opening we left in the lining? Use that to turn the bag right side out by pulling both lining and the exterior through the opening.

With the bag is right side out, push all the corners of the exterior out.

Stitch the opening in the lining closed and push it inside of the exterior of the bag. Iron along the top edge and double topstitch.

Step 10: Admire your finished lunch box.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Frenchy handbag

I've wanted to make a new handbag for myself for a long time. Unfortunately, with all that bounty of gorgeous fabric and amazing handbag patterns I just could not make up my mind. That is, until I came across this wonderful Echino Panther fabric by Etsuko Furuya. It was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!!!

Then I discovered a handbag pattern by Amy Butler (by the way, I absolutely love all Amy's patterns) called Frenchy Bags. I thought it would make a perfect everyday bag. I decided to combine Panther Echino with Kona Cerise and I used brown webbing for the handles. This color combination is not very common in my sewing as I'm usually drawn to bright, sunny colors. But, with fall and winter coming I thought it was a good time to give more saturated, darker colors a chance. And I am so glad I did, because I adore this bag.

The pattern has two sizes available, larger one called shoulder bag and smaller one, the one I chose, a handbag.

I decided to add a zippered pocket on the inside of the bag and I also added a ribbon with swivel snap hook for my keys. I like to add it to all my bags as it saves me tons of time when I need my key fast.

I used Laurie Wisbrun's Tufted Tweets in purple for the lining. I felt kind of bad putting this gorgeous fabric on the inside but then I thought it's nice to have a pretty lining instead of just a blah! one.

So, I guess I'm ready for colder, darker days, at least when it comes to my handbag. 

I'm going to submit this bag to Celebrate Color {wearables} over at Stitched in Color. I hope you'll stop by to see all the great fall inspired projects people are submitting. 

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