Thursday, July 26, 2018


How lucky am I to have a block of time that I can devote to charity sewing? My goal was 20 for July, and I did 21 SewPowerful purses to add to the 7 that I did during the winter. These purses are for a menstrual hygiene education program in Zambia, one that is connected with a spiritual, educational, and agricultural mission.  Without whining, I must point out that each one of these purses has 11 pattern pieces, all of which are interfaced because I use quilting cottons. A group of 4 purses in the same colorway takes me almost three days. What really slows me down at the end is the notecard that goes into each purse, a card of encouragement/exhortation. The girls treasure these notecards, so they must be done with care and thoughtfulness. I'm thinking about continuing to sew purses and asking the AAUW group to whom I'm speaking about Sew Powerful in October to help me with these cards. My new goal is to have 50 by then.
I've been working on a couple of purses, one for me and one for quilty Eileen.   I love this new pattern, A Zippy Bag by Jen Fox Studios, for its size and design.   Thanks to all the Sew Powerful purses, I have become the queen of gussets - the long vertical piece that connects the front of the bag to the back of it.  These fabrics - one from Holly, one from South Bend, and one from my stash - are ones that I love.  But look below at Eileen's bag - she provided the fabrics, and her bag is lovely.
On the back of my back I mimicked the design of the front with some quilting.

The front of Eileen's bag
On the back of her purse I added a simple pocket.  I wish I had done that to mine, too.  
Both bags have a top zipper.  

So, next up: more Sew Powerful purses, a Sloan travel bag, binding the quilt for Molly, organizing some hand projects, and some quilt tops. As my friend Bill Stearman often says, Life is Good.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Doing the Math

                      There are 4 Sunset purses.  And there are 4 Navy-Yellow Purses.
 The Design Wall now has 24 purses.  7 are from this Winter.  And 17 have been made this month.  I still have 3 more to go, but then the math isn't even so I might as well do 4 more.  Which equals 28!  And then I can mail them to Washington State where they will be shipped to Zambia.

The hardest part is yet to come:  writing a note of encouragement to put into each purse.  The Sew Powerful staff tell us purse-makers that the girls who receive purses love and treasure these notes.  So, 4 more purses to make, 28 cards to write, and $5 per purse to cover the shipping to Zambia. 

I must do some other tasks before finishing these and the cards.  But it's only July 15! 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sew Powerful

July is my Sew Powerful month.  This purse initiative and the menstrual hygiene education program is just one aspect of Esther's Farm, which also includes Zambian seamstresses, a soap co-op, farming, and spiritual and educational guidance.  This is my 3rd year sewing purses, and it's important to me and the other 2,000 purse-makers from across the world, including Australia and New Zealand.  My goal is to do 20 this month and get them in the mail.
 This particular purse pattern is fiddly, in my opinion, even though I have made over 50 of them.  There are 11 purse pieces, each of which needs to be interfaced.  That's a lot of steam and heat and labor.  But making these purses is addictive.  Instead of saving special fabrics, I am now using more of them to highlight the purse front flap.  A little dynamic fabric goes a long way. I started with 7 and have done 9 more so far.  Look at the changing design wall in the pictures below!