Saturday, March 29, 2014

More Wallets and How To Make Them

So I'm addicted to making the wallets.  I made 2 more for myself, which is very silly, it's not like I really have a lot of money to carry around.

I decided to write down notes, and drew out some diagrams for future use, because I have a suspicious feeling that once I get more magnetic buttons, I'm going to make quite a few more of them.
I did try to stop by the local fabric store to get some more of those buttons, but gusess what, the store is gone!  Just like so many business is this town... one disappearing after another. Now there is no fabric store in this town.

After all the time I put in on the notes, I thought it would be a waste if I just make a few more wallet myself, so I should share it with people on my blog.  Yeepee, my first sewing tutorial/pattern/whateveryoucallit.

So here it is, Folding Wallet.

  • Finished measurements when folded: 3 3/4" wide x 4 3/4" tall.
  • I used cotton fabric for everything, and fusible fleece. 
  • Nice thing about making this is that I can use up the little scrap pieces I've saved.
  • Besides fabric and thread, I used one 1/2" magnetic button. 

Fabric Cutting Guide
Cover, Lining, and Fusible Fleece:  5 1/2" x 8" each

A:  5 1/4" x  8"
B:  5" x 8"
C:  5" x 8"
D:  7 1/4" x 8"
alternately, you can just use a single fabric and cut 8" x 21")
Button Tab
Fabric:  3" x 3 1/2"
Fusible Fleece:  1 1/2" x  3"


*Seam Allowance = 1/4"
I used my serger for most seams except top stitching and straight lines. And of course the serge stitches can be replaced with zigzag stitches.


1. With RS facing each other, serge (or sew) fabric A to fabric B along long edge.

2. With RS facing each other, serge the other long edge of fabric B to one long edge of fabric C.

3. With RS facing each other, serge the other long edge of fabric C to one long edge of fabric D.

4. Fold the piece like an according starting with fabric A edge:
Fold fabric A at 3". Fold at seam. Fold fabric B at 2 1/2" above the folded seam. Fold at seam. Fold fabric C at 2 1/2 above the folded seam. Fold at seam. Fold fabric D at 2 1/5" above folded seam.  Match the other edge of fabric D with bottom of fabric A. (Alternately, you can make it easier on yourself and just take a credit card and fold the fabric by placing it between folds.  This works well especially if you only use one long strip of 8"x 21" of one piece of fabric.)

5. Stitch a straight line along the center of pockets.

Cover and Lining

6.  Iron fleece to Lining.

7.  Serge along top long edge of the Lining/Fleece.
     Also, serge along the top edge of Cover.

8.  Sandwich the Cover, Pockets, and Lining/Fleece as such: Place at the bottom the Lining/Fleece (RS facing up.)  Then place the Pockets on top of Lining (RS facing up, and mach the bottom long edge to Lining.)  Then place the cover on top of Pockets (WS facing up.)

9.  Serge along the 2 short sides and the bottom long edge, leave the top edge open.

10.  Pull the wallet right side out, so the RS of cover is facing up.  Press.

11.  Secure the magnetic button onto the RS of Cover at about 2 1/2" from bottom edge, and 1" from side edge on the right.  Make sure only secure button through the Cover and Lining/Fleece, but NOT the pockets.

12.  Fold the top edges of Cover and Lining/Fleece about 1/2" inward. Press.

13.  With Cover racing up, top stitch 1/8" along the 4 edges of wallet.

Button Tab

14.  Serge along one short edge of Tab.

15. With RS facing each other fold the Tab in half lengthwise.

16.  Iron the Tab Fleece onto one half of the tab, matching at the non-serged short edge.

17.  Secure the other half of magnetic button onto the RS of Tab at the side with fleece ironed on.  Button placement is about 1" from the short edge and 7/8" from bottom long edge.

18.  With RS facing each other, serge the tab on all 2 edges (the long edge, and the short non-serged edge._

19.  Pull the Tab right side out. Press.

20.  Fold the open edges about 1/2" inward. press.

21. Top stitch along all 4 edges at 1/8" from edges.

22. Sew the tab onto wallet along the top stitching line at the left side of wallet.

23.  Press.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

An Afternoon of Sewing

After making my sister an iPad case as I'd promised. I decided while I had my serger and machine out, I'd make a wallet. Then I made another.

They're nothing extraordinary, just some very quick instant gratifications. A fun afternoon of quick sewing.  I think I'll send them to my niece.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lazy Fairisle

So I got lazy. I also had few ideas that brewed in my head on the long drives during spring break that I may wanna play with. And most importantly, I just wanna be done with this sweater.

I stopped the fairisle motifs at the bottom of yoke, and did a few stripes below that so the Fair Isle wouldn't seem to stop too abruptly. Originally I had Fair Isle long cuff in mind as well, but guess what, I was just too lazy to bring myself to do more Fair Isle. It's all because I found myself not super in love with the sweater, so I wanted to move on to something else. Short sleeves it was.

It came out a bit bigger and loose than I'd planned (as if I really had any concrete plans to begin with), but I like it this way as a layering piece.

Even though I said it previously that I was enjoying the not so tasteful color combo, but it was getting a bit like a kid's sweater with the color so bright. I also just wasn't liking the purple. After finishing the sweater, I overdyed it with diluted black acid dye bat to pull the colors together a bit more. It did dulled down the colors as I'd hoped.

Yay, now I can move on and play with some ideas, don't know exactly what I'll do next, but I feel like I'm freed from this project.  I'm actually thinking about summer knitting, I was looking at linen yarn in my stash yesterday...  Or maybe I'll do some sewing...

I'm calling this sweater Sunflower. This is in support of the students protest against government in Taiwan. People are angry that the government passed a trade agreement with China without any transparency.  The students dubbed the protest as "Sunflower" signifying for hope and desire for a better, brighter future for Taiwan.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Break

Finally, the long awaited spring break is here.
Paul and I decided to go for a short trip down to Death Valley. Neither of us had been there before. It was only 5 hours drive down to Southern California. We took 395. Since we had a late start on the day, the only place we stopped along the way was the town Bishop to get something to eat at the original Schat's Bakery.  They opened up one in Carson City coupla years ago, but I'd heard so much about the one in Bishop so we made sure to make a stop and got some sandwiches, bread, and candies.  Bishop, like many small towns in US, the highway runs right through the main street, and it takes about 3 minutes to drive from one end to the other. But surprisingly, it seems to have quite a few restaurants and bars.  It's a gateway town to go to Mammoth ski resort and other eastern Sierra Mountains for hiking.

Then we drove past Owens Lake, the waste lake resulted from LA Aqueduct combining with silver mining in the nearby mountains. The toxic, wasted Owen Lake/Valley is also the backdrop of the classic noir movie Chinatown. Interestingly, we just saw an exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art: Lauren Bon and the Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio. The team set up their photo lab at Owen Lake, taking photos of the lake using camera obscura, and they experimented with using chemicals found on the lake bed to develop the photos onsite. I found the photos to be very mesmerizing of how metallic they look, and the images haunting. One of the few really good shows I've seen at that museum (sorry,I'm just not a fan of the curating direction of that museum.) Unlike so many artless, and self-important political work that always feel more driven by the desire of being trendy,  these photos speak for themselves as art. The driving force was the environmental concern but not in your face preaching. The story of the project that accompanied the show can be seen on You-tube here and I really liked this documentary. 

dried up Owen Lake

We camped at Death Valley for 2 days.  Much to our surprise, the temperature, albeit a bit windy, was very pleasant.  We're shocked that we didn't feel like we'll die of heat and thirst like we'd imagined from watching all those western movies. We did the hiking in the early morning around Badland area. It was very interesting to walk along dry riverbeds.  

we also drove through artist drive and did some very short hikes as well.  It was neat to be at 200 ft below sea level and looking at the Telescope Peak that stands ~11,000 ft tall.

After Death Valley, we decided to go to Las Vegas. I'd been there a few times, but other than changing flights at the airport, Paul had never been to the city.  Since it was only 2 hour drive from Death Valley, we decided to head over there for coupla days before heading back home.  I have to admit, it felt so decadently luxurious to sleep on comfy kind size bed after our crappy sleeping pad during camping.  We totally spaced out and brought the old flattened foam pads instead of the nice self-inflated sleeping pads for the trip.

Of course we walked around the strip and stuffed ourselves silly with buffet, the quintessential Vegas experience.  Next day we drove to Red Rock Canyon just outside the city of Las Vegas.  Even with a lot of tourists (whereas Death Valley was really empty) we were able to go for a nice hike and scrambled among boulders. The crazy highlight of the hike was while we're hiking into the ice box canyon we saw a group of rock climbers.  Paul even commented on that it must be a guided group because of the bright color shirts they're all wearing. On our way out a helicopter flew over towards where that group was climbing and hovered for a long time.  Paul said he kinda had a weird feeling when we first saw them thinking they must be a group of very beginning rock climbing skills.  The hike to where they were climbing was not a lot of elevation change but the trail was very rocky. It would be hazardous for the EMT to carry out the injured person.  Eventually the person was pulled out by the helicopter, and dangled from the helicopter in midair.

The rescue helicopter next to the cliff

We did our token gambling and each gambled $3 with penny slots.  Not our thing, and not to mention we live in Nevada as well, there are casinos in our own town.

Even though Vegas wouldn't be Paul's choice of vacation spot, he and I both had fun walking the strip just to soak in all the weirdness of Vegas.

We drove back along 95. We nicknamed it Brothel Highway. There were so few residential areas along the way but they all have brothels, even places that has only 3 buildings, and one of them would be a brothel. Welcome to Nevada! It was a surreal drive, mostly desert, few brothels, few nearly empty abandoned towns, very poor, very little mobility for kids growing up in these towns. Native American Reservations along the way in the most uninhabitable lands. Also, military base of ammunition storage facility next to the beautiful Walker Lake. One can only imagined how polluted the Lake is. These are all realities I saw as postcard pictures along the way home, but when pulled into gas stations and saw the kids behind the counter, it became more real. I realized how much I have, not just things I own, but even if I'm not living a life I'd like to have, better job, more income, more traveling, at least I had a chance for some kind of aspiration when I was in my teens and my twenties.  I was privileged growing up middle class and that line of privilege was so thin. It just so happened I was born at one side of the line. The line is thin, but the gap is getting larger and larger between the rich and poor in this country as it became so evident along the way home.