Saturday, November 25, 2017

A beginners guide to double cap rivets & wristlet straps

Many budding bagineers (love that word!) are terrified of rivets before they've even tried them (so was I!) and some after having made a few failed attempts where the rivets come in wonky or bent - swear to never use them again. Which is why I saw the need for:

A beginners guide to double cap rivets

First and foremost you need the right tools for the job, something to make a hole for your rivets with like a hole punch or hole making pliers, a suitably sized rivet setter, a slightly curved anvil and a hammer. You actually don't need anymore expensive tools than this to set rivets prettily.

After having gathered your tools, you need to choose the right rivet for the job, and here this comes down to the length of the post of the rivet mainly.  Many people whom have tried using rivets and failed, have done so due to using a rivet with too long a post for the job. Resulting in bent posts and wonky looking rivets.

These three sizes where the ones I considered for my strap. As you can see, they only really differ in length with 1/16th of an inch generally, however, it makes all the difference!

Line up your possible rivet choices and take the part of the bag you're going to rivet, in my case that is a wristlet strap for a glitter vinyl Bring the Basics Bag. I made this strap exactly like in the pattern but made it about 16" long due to the raw edges when using vinyl and this method.

I fold up the fabric like it will be when I set the rivet and use this to measure out how long my rivet post needs to be, press your fabric together firmly when measuring as that's how it will be once we set the rivet. Like in the photo, the tip of the rivet should only precisely be sticking out. So for this job, the 3/8" long post was the right one to use, however I only rarely get to use such long rivets, the smallest post (4mm) is the one I use most often.

Next we make holes for our rivets, use your favorite tool, I'm making a strap so I threaded on my swivel snap hook and placed a hole 1/4" from the edge the strap, I knew I wanted my swivel snap hook 1" in from the edge so the next hole was made 1 3/4" from the end of the strap to get them at the same distance. Thread on your swivel snap hook.

Next I made the hole on the other end of the strap, this one will be placed between these two in the fold like in the second photo so this last hole was placed about 3/8" from the other end.

Next put your single hole end in between the two holes one each side of your snap hook and push through the rivet. This shouldn't be super easy, then the post is too long! Push it up and through like in the photo and then press on the little cap part of the rivet. Press until you hear/feel a click and the rivet cap stays in place without you holding it.

On the floor or table place your cutting mat (will absorb impact and protect the surface) and on top of it your little anvil. Place your rivet in the anvil and on top of it place your rivet setter. If you're working with rivets with a sensitive finish such as gold, gunmetal rivets or similar I recommend that you place a piece of scrap vinyl, foam or similar over and under it to ensure you don't accidentally scratch the rivet when you set it.  

Firmly and decisively (but not too forcefully!) tap the rivet setter with the hammer to permanently set the rivet. It's actually this easy! Just pick the right size rivet with a correct size post and you don't risk those bent and wonky rivets! If you feel uncertain about the amount of force to use, try it a few times on a folded up scrap. 

Voila! One very pretty wrist strap!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Thank you all!

EDIT 31/10: Thanks to the lovely, overwhelming response I'm closing the applications a few days early, my sincere thanks to all whom has applied. To those I haven't had time to get back to yet, please know I'm reading and considering all applications, and I will get back to everyone.

Thanks again!


I'm currently looking for both English and Swedish speaking pattern testers, mainly right now for my Paris Purse, so intermediate and up sewists in particular. But also for future patterns - so please read on!

What is a pattern tester you ask? A pattern tester is someone who is involved in reading, lightly editing, and sewing up a bag before the pattern is released. A pattern is not ready to be released until after they are tested by a number of sewists/bag makers. Pattern testers are an incredibly important part of the pattern writing process. As a group my awesome pattern testers are able to give the me a unique perspective on the pattern, catch any errors and can generate helpful feedback! You also get to sew my new releases before anyone else ;)

We work mostly through my Facebook group to which you will get an invite once accepted, I post when I have a new pattern in need of testing, a post with photos, description of bag and the skills and hardware needed to complete it along with a deadline for the test and photography of the bag. And then you just comment on the post if you wish to test that particular pattern =)

Are you interested in being a pattern tester, please ask yourself the following before submitting an application:

* Do you have the time? You will be given a specific time frame to for testing (usually 2-3 weeks).  Many patterns are being released on a deadline, so it is important to be sure that you have the time to commit before you agree to test. You absolutely don't have to test each and everyone of my patterns if you become a pattern tester, however, participating in a couple of tests/year is good.

* Do you have the ability to sew something less than perfect – this is important because, believe it or not, even experienced designers can mess up the numbers, write the wrong one or otherwise mess stuff up. And like when in this case, the pattern designer sometimes is very blonde, it's bound to happen. ;)  It is important to sit down and take a look at some numbers to make sure that they make sense before you start. Remember, the pattern hasn’t been published yet for a reason!

* Do you have a willingness to read slowly and carefully as you go through the pattern to look for typos, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies in wording. As English isn't my first language, help with grammar, spelling and wording is extra important for me. And for my Swedish pattern testers, as I work in English most of the time the wto languages does get mixed up for me so help with, grammar, wording and spelling in Swedish is much needed too. Nitpicking is something I very much appreciate I love grammar nazis in my testers!

* Do you have some way to make notes as you work, and an ability to share those notes – whether you send the information in an email body, as an word document, or a scanned/photographed image of your written notes on the printed pattern.

* Do you have the time to photograph your bag after finishing it and are you willing to let me use such photos in blog posts, social media and promotional material, always with full credit of course! You will receive 2 of my finished patterns as a thank you for each test you make.

Does this sound like it might be for You? 
If so, please email me a filled in application below to: Maria AT pinkponydesign DOT com

Pattern Tester Application, to be me at hand before 5th of November.

1. Name and any social media/blog.

2. Native language (interested in testing the pattern in Swedish or English, or both).

3. Bag sewing experience (how long have you been sewing and how experienced are you with sewing bags). Please attach some photos of bags or such you've sewn. 

4. Are you/have you been a tester before? Why do you think you'd make a good tester?

5. Will you be able to give honest feedback, even when such feedback is negative? 

6. Are you able to test the Paris Purse within the next 3 weeks? You will need a bag frame from one of the places in the link places and a very stable interfacing such as Fast 2 Fuse heavy or Pellon Peltex:

Thank you all for considering! 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

New Bring the Basics Bag pattern!

I'm super excited to re-release my very first pattern, the Bring the Basics Bag! It was my first, commercial pattern released over 2 years ago and a lot has happened since then. The new version of this pattern comes in TWO SIZES, so the large version will fit your iPhone plus!

Pattern is available in English and Swedish HERE.
If you've bought the pattern previously, just drop me an email with your purchase confirmation email included and I'll send you the new version for free =)

The Bring the Basics Bag is a very handy design, and it's quick and really fun to make! It came to be as really all my bags really where to heavy and warm to lug around in +40C temperatures here in Malta during the summer. Sometimes you need something small and convenient.
The Bring the Basics Bag is just that, a small shoulder bag, clutch, wristlet or wallet, that will hold just the basic stuff you need to be able to leave the house. It comes in TWO SIZES, one for cellphones up to 6" long, and one for those up to 6 3/4" long.
It has two separate cellphone pockets (holds up to 2 cellphones, 6" or 6 3/4" long denpending on the size you make), card slots, bill slot and a zipper pocket for coins and keys. It's easy, fun and quick to make, the perfect present!

This is my large version of the bag:

Size comparison between the two sizes:

This pretty version was made by one of my student at last weekends classes, you can view them all here

Pattern Tester Bring the Basics Bags!

The pattern was naturally properly tested by my amazing pattern testers! This time around I'äd like to give special thanks for their patience with me, so insanely grateful for your help! <3

Aafke Sijen-Jongsma  Who blogs over here  made two absolutely beautiful versions!

Laura Downs - of funwithtotes whom can be found here on Instagram made this adorable version!

Margareth Tai - Bags by Mags can be found here on Instagram, made this super cute pineapple version!

Alison Heathof Bobbin Girl (she has fantastic bag making supplies!) made this lovely wristlet one!
Ann-Kristin Kristoffersenof Kinnas Lappteknik made this lovely fall time version, love it with the chain!

Andrea Fuhrer - made this super cool cork version! Aren't those heart appliques just to die for?

Gillian Woronko - Made this lovely quilted denim version! Looks so exclusive!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Courses at the Swedish Quilters Associations annual meeting!

I had the great honour of being invited as a teacher during Rikstäcket's annual meeting this year. It was a lovely event held in Kalmar, Sweden. I held two classes, one 6 hour class for the Denver Double Zip Bag spread over Friday and Saturday, and one 6 hour class for my Bring the Basics Bag on the Sunday. We had so much fun! We laughed so much and so many stunning bags where born!

This photo really sums up the whole weekend, we had such a WONDERFUL time!

Me explaining how to make the zipper pocket for the Bring the Basics Bag, making sure we're following along in the pattern so it's easier to remember when one gets home:

Part of the classroom with a number of my lovely students hard at work!

A pretty Denver to be during construction.

More hard working students.
A few of the pretty Denver Double Zip Bags that where made:

Therese and Tiina with their lovely Denver Double Zip Bags, two of my amazing students who's been to one of my classes before, that's the best one can hope for right, that one's students return? =)

This is how happy one can be after making a brand new handbag for oneself! Beaming Charlotte with her beautifully matching Denver!

Here's a few of the gorgeous Sunday's Bring the Basics Bag's that where made, this pattern will be re-released in a few days with the bag in 2 sizes and a brand new description and pattern!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Article about me in Rikstäcket!!

I was so very honoured and happy when the lovely people at Rikstäcket (the Swedish quilters association) asked if I wanted to do an interview for their magazine this summer, I naturally said YES! The lovely magazine with the article just landed in my mothers letterbox, she naturally immediately took pictures and sent to me so I could read it, it's beautiful! I'll translate it below for those of you who don't speak swedish. ;)

"Maria loves fabric shopping. Here she is in Sampeng Market in Bangkok, Thailand where she shopped a ton of bag hardware and fabric - Just wonderful! I always shop most of my fabric and accessories when I travel. There's sadly very little on offer in Malta. "

Maria Wallin, self-employed & pattern designer
Maria Wallin is one of the teachers at our annual meeting and retreat in Kalmar. She makes patterns, primarily for bags, under the name Pink Pony Design. Here she tells us how she got started with this business and how she works. 

Who is Maria Wallin?
- I'm a 32 year old "kulla" (word for woman or girl in the part of Sweden I'm from) from Borlänge. Eleven years ago I packed up my company and two cats and moved to sunny Malta to try something new in a warmer climate. There I've since remained and I live there today with my beloved boyfriend Erik Svensson, sadly my two cats, Edward and Diana has passed away. We also have a summer house in Sweden, in the middle of the woods outside Kristinehamn, where I love to spend a few months each summer to fish, go berry and mushroom picking and fiddle in the garden, which is a few of my favourite things. On top of that I love to travel, good food and good wine and reading, especially fantasy books.

How did you get started with quilting and bag pattern making?
- My mother, who's always been a very talented clothes seamstress thought we needed to find something fun to do together when I moved so far away. So when she'd been to a quilting fair the spring after I'd moved and heard about a quilting retreat that a woman held up in Våmhus (small village in the middle of Sweden)  each summer, she thought we should try quilting together. I was at that point in my life not very interested in, or more importantly good at sewing, and quilting didn't sound super exciting to be completely honest. But I'd love to spend a week with my mother so off we went, I got to borrow one of her sewing machines and from the first day up in the big house with her and 28 other lovely, quilting women I was hooked! We learned the basics of quilting together, everything from the fact that you actually rotary cut fabrics (instead of cutting with scissors as I thought) to sewing a correct 1/4" seam. Already after a few days I decided that I'd had enough of small projects,

I wanted to sew a full size quilt! Together with our teacher I sketched a bargello pattern, exactly like I wanted it and with her help I designed my very first quilt design and pattern. It was a fantastic experience! And absolutely amazing to be able to cuddle down under my very own quilt after several days hard work.
And that's how it all started, I continued to sew and quilt a bit more regularly after that and each summer I spent at least a week along with my mother at the quilting retreat. I tried to learn as much as I possibly could from the internet, and got through the web into bag making also. I started a blog (this blog that back then had a different address) to be able to keep a diary over my sewing. I quite quickly got quite a few hundred readers each day despite the fact that back then, all I did was share what I had made, and my mistakes and lessons making it.  I made a few bags after patterns I'd bought or found online for free, but got very frustrated by the difficult patterns with in my opinion too little information and images for them to be fun or easy to follow and make. So I quickly abandoned following others patterns also when it came to bags and started making my own designs here too.

When did you start your company?
- I made a few free quilt patterns for United Notions in the US - they're still available on their blog, - and that lit the fire and got me started on making my own patterns and tutorials. But back then I worked more than full time with my company that the sewing was put on the backburner a lot. But I stayed with it and made a few tutorials, tried to keep the blog alive and learned to free motion quilt. That is something I really love, it's so amazing to sit there with a blank canvas of fabric in front of you and just create and paint with thread.
When I sold my company about 1.5 years ago I then suddenly had a lot of time for sewing! I wanted to find something new to work with and after much positive pressure and cheers from Erik, Pink Pony Design was born, my very own company for making and selling patterns. It took a lot of convincing and coaching from Erik before I added my first bag pattern to and I was insanely nervous

before the first purchase was made. Thankfully I got incredibly positive response on my first pattern, the Bring the Basics Bag (which I'll be holding a class on at the annual meeting/retreat and that soon will be available in a new version and in two sizes) and I was so excited to continue! Today most of my sales are from my own homepage.

How do you work when you make your patterns?
My basic idea behind my patterns is that they should be

more like tutorials, where each step is followed by a color photo and a thorough description of exactly what you're supposed to do. I presume nearly no knowledge (other than basic sewing skills) from my customers but try to explain every step from the very beginning. You shouldn't have to worry about whether or not you understood or did something wrong.
My design process is pretty simple, most patterns are born from a personal need for a specific bag or bag feature. Then it's very simple to just make what I need and want, but I try to make it with a fun design or clever idea. Other times I start with a basic idea, like with for example with my Batala Backpack, where I had the idea to make a full circle backpack as I'd never seen one. It however proved to be a bit more difficult than I'd initially thought, as I didn't want to to turn out as just a sack, but I wanted it to have a proper backpack with some stability and interior pockets. So I had to divide my circle a little, give it a proper, interfaced middle section and let the two half circles be the sides. So I got my full circle backpack in the end, even if it consisted of two half circles.
Thankfully I have Erik to discuss ideas and thoughts with, and often when we're out and about we discuss handbags we see, designs, patterns, colors, upcoming trends and other things that can be incorporated into future designs.
I usually sketch out all ideas I get, so I remember them later. I have a sketchbook filled with more or less doable ideas and designs. Sometimes I even dream about designs, my so far one and only table runner pattern is from an especially vivid dream where this pattern was so clearly imprinted in my mind I just had to rise from my bed in the middle of the night and go sketch it so I'd be sure I'd remember it.
Once I've decided on a design I dissect it to see what's actually sewable, what might be too difficult or tricky to do for the average sewist and then I redraw it over again. You'd laugh so much if you saw my sketchbook, luckily I'm much better at sewing than I am at drawing. But the most important thing is that my stick figure like bag doodles are good enough for me to remember my thoughts regarding the idea and design when it's time to use it.
Then I sew a trial version, but I always sew using my favourite fabrics, even my very first tests, this as I want to be able to use the bag myself even if it turns out it's not 100% right and needs to be altered a lot for the final version. Many of my finished bags ends up as display exes in stores, some with my parents whom since 1.5 years have the quilt and sewing machine store Borlänge Sycentrum.
Based on how it went when I made the trial version I then make changes, change the order of the sewing process to make it easier and more convenient to sew, change angles or anything at all really that bothered me in the trial version. the I sew the final bag, then I take photos of every step in the construction process, make drawings of the pieces for templates and then from those pictures I write the pattern.

Your patterns are available in both English and Swedish, do you write both versions at the same time? 
- I write all my patterns in English first, this since I've worked in English all my adult life so it is quicker for me to write in than Swedish. And most of my pattern testers, the amazing women who try my patterns before they're available for sale to check I haven't made any mistakes  are English speakers so that way I can get the pattern to them as soon as I've finished the first version. While they're testing it over a number of weeks, I can then translate it to Swedish without stress.

What are your plans for the future?
I want to expand so I spend as much time as I can on my little business. Most of my business is online, about 90-95% of sales are PDF and I like it that way. Many of my customers are in the US, UK and Germany, and Australia is also starting to join the ranks which of course is great fun.

You also have a lot of customers in Sweden, do you have anything you'd like to say to them? 
- I absolutely love seeing what you make from my patterns, it's one of my favorite things in the world, so please tag me on Instagram and Facebook, and please mark your posts with the hashtags for the pattern as it's so amazingly fun to see your beautiful creations!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Win all my patterns and other great prizes! PDF Love of Bags Event!

I'm so very excited to share with you all that this year I'm a part of the Facebook PDF Love of Bags group big event! I'm proud to have been paired up with the talented Namrata Shroff of Bagstock for my 48 hour block!

To enter for a chance to win a copy of all my patterns and to have a chance for the grand prize, join the Facebook group now. Then on the 16th of June (Australian timezone, so please wait for the official post to go up with our block in the group before posting your entries) post photos of bags and wallets you've made from my patterns. Each bag/wallet counts as one entry, so post away everything you have made with my patterns for a better chance at winning!

There are also a TON of other talented pattern designers taking part in this event, so for even more amazing chances at winning, hop on over there now and see who's currently having their 48 hours! I can't wait to see what you all share! <3

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ruby - A little business card holder

I'm so bad with the blogging lately, if you want to know what I'm up too, please follow me on Instagram, if you just want the business/pattern side of things, Facebook is the way to go =)

However, today I did a little sewing and it's such a cute and clever pattern by Serial Bagmakers that I just had to share the outcome with you all <3

It's a super cheap, great stash busting pattern in a tutorial like design, you can find it on Craftsy here.

The construction is super clever, so clever that even I stayed with the pattern and didn't make any of my usual "optimizations" and tweaks! <3

The only thing I'll change for my next one is to use a lighter button *lol*