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1  Evangelion Insulated Bento Bag! in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by DivaLea on: September 06, 2009 04:09:37 AM
My daughter and I got into bento in a really big way when she returned to public school in January '09. She tried the school lunch about one time and declared that she'd make and carry lunches from home so she a) could save us money (awwww!) and b) have actual food to eat. (I saw the "food" with my own eyes, and she made a good call. There's nothing pretty about a school cafeteria duplicating fast food that was already gross!)
We had some bento bags, but they were very small and uninsulated. My daughter needed a bag that was a) insulated b) a decent size c) cool, which meant it had to feature some of her art. She chose a piece of Evangelion fanart she painted called "Thinking."
(My daughter's a ridiculously talented plush maker, and she's about to start a Craftster account to share her work.)

I almost made the lunch bag with the fold-down top, but then I found this pattern for a lunch bag with a drawstring top from Oh Fransson!

The Oh Fransson! pattern calls for a quilted interior and vinylized exterior (puzzling choices). I used iron-on vinyl on the lining fabric, and used ThermoWeb HeatnBond Lite to laminate InsulBrite (an insulating batting made by needlepunching mylar with polyester batting) to the exterior fabric.
I didn't have any trouble getting a universal-sized (15) needle through the Insul Brite or the vinyl.
OF! laminated vinyl to the handle fabric, which gives the handles body. Since I didn't do that, I stiffened the handles with heavyweight fusible interfacing.

On to the pictures!

The great thing about the InsulBrite, besides its insulating properties, is that it makes the bag stand up on its own and the corners are very crisp! Since I'm a fiend for sharp corners, I'm delighted.
The drawstrings are recycled from a pair of her brother's shoes. (Yes, I put new laces in before I took these!)

This is my daughter's favorite work from her deviantART gallery. She's really gotten into Neon Genesis Evangelion (I remember when it first came out, haha!), and chose this piece she painted of Eva 2. I printed it on to inkjet t-shirt transfer paper, ironed it on to cotton twill, then stuck it to the bag using HeatnBond Lite. (Something I LOVE about HeatnBond Lite is that it's a low-temp adhesive and NO STEAM REQUIRED!)
Pieces attached with HnB Lite aren't completely fixed without stitching, so I did zig-zagged the hell out of it.
For fun, I did it with glow-in-the-dark thread.  
NOTE: I added the patch BEFORE I sewed a single seam.

A closeup of the stitching on the patch. When the thread is "charged" and the patch seen in a dark room, the outlines of the art look like a teeny constellation. :3

Here's the interior! In Evangelion, the Evas fights aliens called "Angels." I picked a fabric that had ghosts that resembled the Angels. From this angle, they look like they're swirling madly in there, like they might take lunch to another dimension.
OF! calls for hand-sewing the lining to the bag, but this gal's not interested in getting a sewing needle through vinyl. I sewed the lining to the exterior by pinning (pinning pinning) them together and following the topstitching lines.

Last, a maker's tag. Tags are a little thing that really make a huge difference! Everyone should use them!
(That's my name "Lea Ada Franco", and "Her Work" on the back. I used the "K" in work as the "K" in 2K9, 2009.)

Hope you dig it!  
I learned a lot from making this bag, since I'd never used InsulBrite HeatnBond Lite or iron-on vinyl before. If you have any questions about the materials, please ask!

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2  Polymer Clay Book Cover Illustration in Polymer Clay: Completed Projects by DivaLea on: November 11, 2007 05:03:30 PM
Long time no post, Craftsters! (Mine is the Sticky in Purses for adding a slash pocket to a hobo bag.)

I haven't been crafty enough to post for a while. I lost everything in a house fire a little over a year ago. Funny how that takes over everything. I did learn a lot about building and patience from the experience, though!

On to the Craftiness!
I made this cover illustration as a donation to a project called "Can I Sit With You?" a collection of stories about tough school situations written by grown-ups for kids. The collection benefits the Special Education PTA of Redwood City, CA. It was stormed up by two wonderful women named Shan and Jen.

My notes on clay and building the set follow.

The cover itself:

Detail on the shoes of Nehal, the cafe au lait kid on the left, and they are all clay!:

Detail of Nehal's face, not quite finished:

Nehal's hair is wool roving, twisted and attached with hot glue. The face is painted with acrylics. The blush is red Prismacolor pencil scribbled on lightly, then burnished with my fingers.
Just before the final shoot, I added a little 'Ooomph" to Nehal's hair with a wash of red acrylic dabbed on with my fingers.

Detail of Perry:

You ever wanted to know just what fiber evidence the FBI would find on you? Work with light colored polymer clay. You will find colors of fiber not even in your room. There is absolutely no way to avoid fibers. That's what sanding is for. I love the porcelain smoothness of Perry's head.

There is an annotated version of the cover pic at my Flickr page that explain how many of the things in the picture were made.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/1964299329/

A word about materials:
I used mainly Kato Polyclay, because it is, IMNSHO, the best PC out there. The colors barely change in curing, it's got some snap, but blends well and holds detail. I smoothed using acetone and alcohol, but a waterless hand cleaner like Gojo works MUCH better, and it's CHEAP. (Less than $2.00 for a tub that will last years!)
The armatures are wire wrapped with fusible fleece. (After baking and before dessing.) The head and hands were covered with Apoxie sculpt. While Apoxie isn't as light as foil, there's no chance of getting a trapped air bubble that will later crack clay, and Apoxie is ROCK HARD when it cures.
Except for the chains, leaves on the tree and the mini ornaments, everything in the illustration is made from materials I had on hand, both stash and recycled.

Feel free to ask questions, and thanks for looking!

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3  Re: Show off your hair! in Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions by DivaLea on: July 31, 2005 12:06:23 PM
After years of safe things like red, highlighting, one professional streaking that was functionally a bleach job, and a beloved (but small bleached streak, I decided to go two-tone.

Feria Bleaching is my best friend. I was super-careful sectioning my hair. And guess what? That Glad Press and Seal Wrap is ACE for wrapping your hair while it processes! I keep my bangs from getting crsipy with Aussie Hair Insurance, a leave-in conditioner and sometime Citre' Shone pomade.
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4  TUTORIAL: Add a Slash Pocket to Your Bag in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by DivaLea on: October 08, 2004 11:56:47 PM

This got a little lost in Sushimifune's roomy bag tute thread, so I've deleted the message and am re-posting so no one misses it.

WARNING: large images. Please be patient. Hope they are not too scribbly to follow.

Here's what this looks like at Step 6:

The white lines show how the stitching goes, the arrows indicate where to pivot.
After I made the pockets square (as seen), I changed my mind and made them with rounded corners. I highly recommend rounded corners in any pocket--less places for lint, change, and other kipple to hide.

And here's the finished pocket:
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5  Sushimifune Roomy Bag Biscotti Style! in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by DivaLea on: October 08, 2004 12:23:11 AM
I finally made a bag using sushimifune's rocking tutorial from here:

I had a really neat textured fancy fabric, but the texture would be too much for a whole bag, so I paired it with a woven stripe.
I decided to line it with some pretty blue flower print from Jo Ann's.
And pockets.
Then I wanted piping on the pocket edges.
And I wanted Chinese knotted closures.

I wanted fiddly detail, and LOTS OF IT.

I made mine without using the rings, since I didn't have any. The end result is reversible, which I didn't plan, but I like!
I did a lot of very careful cutting to keep the stripes straight, and the diamonds of the textured fabric all running at the same angle.
I made the piping for the pockets using some of the striped fabric, cut on the bias. My first go at the knotted closures gave me pretty knots, but they were too small. I reserved those for the pockets, and made the knots again, about twice as wide, and was happy.

I decided to call the bag "Biscotti" after my sweet girl rat with the beautiful beige fur, and in honour of Sushimifune's home country.

In the post following this one are scribbled out pictures showing how I divided Sushi's pattern to make a contrasted bag on one side and with piped slash pockets on the other. They're big pictures, so get a latte and a cookie while they load.

"I am Latias the tortiseshell sewing assistant cat, and I approve of this purse. Zzzz."

Biscotti, the brown texture and stripe side:

Biscotti, the blue print and piped pockets side:

Darwin the hairless rat, taking the purse for a ride:

The Chinese knot closures, made from the blue fabric, and the three
vintage buttons. Makes Biscotti look like a chemise, no?

Bisc's fabrics, and the decorative machine stitch I used to tame the seam allowance and add interest:

The pocket closures that used the first try at making Chinese knots:

The lining of the pocket, a lightweight vivid blue twill:

Thanks for looking! I hope Biscotti inspires other Craftsters.
Thanks to Sushimifune for her excellent tutorial.
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6  Re: Purple Cord Messenger Bag: Needle-Slayer! in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by DivaLea on: September 28, 2004 11:40:02 AM
i LOVE IT!!!...did you use a tutorial?? i've been looking for a messenger bag tut but haven't found any i really like...

claire bear, I used gloriana's excellent messenger bag tute as a starting point:

I made my flap and bag back in one piece instead of two pieces, though, like so:

And I turned the bag through the front edge of the flap, instead of through an unsewn corner. (This will make sense once you've studied gloriana's tute, I swear.)
Hope this helps! (And sorry to gloriana's for not reffing her tute earlier. DOH.)
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7  Purple Cord Messenger Bag: Needle-Slayer! in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by DivaLea on: September 25, 2004 10:06:18 PM
I finally finished my messenger bag! I started in early August. I wanted one that would hold at least a binder, a pad of layout paper, and a box of supplies, plus various pens, a wallet, keys, and a CD player or Palm.

And was STYLISH. My computer bag holds all, but it's logo-fugly.

Materials were all "free": the purple corduroy was from an outgrown pair of my daughter's pants, the lining from a 99c pair of pants from Goodwill bought ages ago and never worn, the patches made from my own art and iron on inkjet paper.
The finished size is about 11" x 13", with a 3" gusset. It has a zippered inside pocket (made using sewpixie's great tute), a large flat pocket, and four smaller ones for pens.

It was top-stitched to a fare-thee-well for shaping. I call this bag "Needle-Slayer", because it broke six needles, five during top-stitching after the lining was inserted (my rusty experience with multiple heavy layers is to blame).
It closes with magnetic snaps. I'm going to add a loop and buttom for the center, as it gaps a bit. More of an asthetic issue than a structural one, and it gives me a reason to take a bash at Chinese knot tying.

I basted the zipper and interior patch using Aleene's No-Sew water-soluble glue. Works GREAT.


Interior, loaded up:

Interior, with stuff out, to show off the pockets:

Interior, zipper pocket. Ain't it pretty? I top-stitched it to the lining for extra strength:

Strap detail. I didn't have enough cord to make the width, so I added lining fabric to the sides for contrast, and used a decorative topstitch. It's sturdy and the width is comfy:

Exterior patch of my character Nan1^1, who will appear in my book "Manga Secrets" next year. I loved this piece of art so much I made an iron-on transfer of it, and put it on heavy cotton, pinked the edges, and used a "cross stitch" decorative stitch for a lacy effect:

What do you do when you put a magnetic snap in the wrong spot and you have a hole? You add a patch and pretend like you meant it that way all long. This patch is of my hairless ratties Darwin and Wasabi, made and applied the same way as the Nan patch:
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8  Re: Drawstring jordy w/zip and beads + Tote jordy w/long straps in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by DivaLea on: September 14, 2004 01:48:11 AM

I love that you used the faggoting stitch to sew in the zipper. Brilliant!
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9  Re: Flowery clutch in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by DivaLea on: August 27, 2004 06:49:03 AM
Very clever solution!

Something that can help you sew close to the wires is a "zipper" foot. They look like this:

They allow you to stitch very close to encased cord (or coathangers!) and zippers, and you can move the foot part to the far left or right of what you're sewing..

A good site to learn about a bunch of different kinds of zipper feer is http://www.sewfancy.com/feet.htm

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10  DIY Tape Dress Form--Everything New is Old Again in Discussion and Questions by DivaLea on: August 24, 2004 11:13:24 PM
I found an AWESOME resource on line for people who want to learn fine sewing:


Which is a reproduction online, FOR FREE, of a 1920's sewing course--an excellent one!

And what should be in this course from almost 80 years ago but this!

A custom-fited dress form made on the body using gummed tape over a knitted shirt!
"This new way of fitting the figure, makes it easy for everyone in the family to have a perfectly-proportioned form of their own. There can be one form for grandmother, another for mother, and still another for the young miss who seems to require so many new clothes for school."
"Even if you do not use your "fit-to-the-figure" form, however, you should know how to make it. For, after all, aren't you planning to be a skillful, accomplished home clothes-makerand as a skillful clothes-maker isn't it necessary for you to know all there is to know about sewing?"

Wow. Cool
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