Tuesday, March 17, 2015

To Done.

 My "to do" list is long, and my attention span for planned projects is short, so when I finally get to mark something off of my list it's a pretty big deal. And, today I knocked out one of the projects that has been waiting for me to get around to it for quite some time - snack bags.

I told myself years ago that I would stop buying zip-top bags for my son's chips and lunch snacks, but they are just so damn convenient! Reusable snack bags aren't terribly expensive online, but I suffer from the "why should I pay for it when I have the materials to make it here" disorder. You know what I'm talking about.

My main hurdle was figuring out what material I should use for the inside of the bags. I don't have any oil cloth in my stash, so I knew that I would be recycling something from around the house. That led me to plastic bags, of course. I didn't even consider grocery bags because - A: I don't know that they are food safe, and B: I have tried melting them together before, and it sucked. What to use, what to use?
 Cereal bags!! Easy to clean, durable, and food safe. I remember that my grandmother used to save cereal bags to wrap sandwiches and leftovers and stuff, so why did it take me so long to think of them??
 I have to admit that they are kind of a pain to sew. Since the plastic is so smooth and waxy, the slip factor was high. Using paperclips to hold the cotton and plastic together while I sewed helped a little bit, but I wouldn't say that it was perfect.
And, I kept changing my mind about the closure and size. At first, I did a fold over closure - like the cheap sandwich bags, but I hated it. Then, I tried an envelope flap with velcro. Meh. Finally, I halved the size of the snack bag and used a rounded flap with double velcro.

One less project on my mile-long list! Huzzah!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dyeing Debacle of 2015


I got it in to my head the other day that I would love a long circle skirt. I blame YouTube for their "recommended" section that often lures me in to wasting hours on videos that I didn't plan to watch. It's shameful how much time I lose on that site....
Anyway, there was a lady that demonstrated how to turn a king-size sheet in to a "maxi" circle skirt. I will not link to the video because it was mostly awful and I didn't use any of her "instructions," but I mention it because it reminded me that I have a pile of flat sheets sitting around and being useless.

Do you use flat sheets in your home? We don't. Both of the males in my house seem to have internal furnaces that run hot at night, and they can barely stand the lightweight comforters that I force upon them. Thus, every time I buy new sheets the flat sheet gets tossed in a pile while I decide whether to make it in to a second fitted sheet (I'm still mulling it over..).  Anywho, I thought of my "stash" of sheets when I watched the video and realized that I needed to make a circle skirt immediately.

Unfortunately, all of my flat sheets are this tan/beige/neutral color, and that is NOT my style at all.
Which brings me to the "dyeing debacle of 2015."
The above picture is "super saturated." Can you tell that the color is supposed to be ombre?
How about this one:
*sigh* I knew going in to this that it would be challenging since the fabric is a 50/50 cotton/poly blend.  But, I didn't think that the hour and a half that I wasted prepping, dipping, stirring, and cleaning up would produce such "meh" results.  I mean, at least it's not tan/beige/neutral anymore. Right?
Ultimately, I'm satisfied with it. The color is a very light denim shade of blue that should coordinate with just about anything. And, I will actually wear this since I LOVE LONG SKIRTS. The flat sheet fabric is light enough to drape well, but heavy enough to prevent windy day anxiety.
  The skirt is a fitted waist circle skirt with side zipper. I will have to make another waist adjustment because, you know, circle skirts are a pain in the ass and math is annoying. But, it fits very comfortably on my hips right now, so I'm wearing it. And, I busted however many yards are in a queen-sized sheet! 2.5?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bin There, Done with That..


I promise that this is the final project that I'm doing for my sewing class! At the last minute, I decided that I needed some fabric bins to hold shears, rulers, fabric markers, etc.. that go on the sewing tables. After several hours of searching sewing sites for a good tutorial, I came across some simple instructions at the Birch Fabrics Blog. I like that it had an easy to reproduce template and common sense construction.

The technique is similar to the tote bags that I have made with the boxed bottom, and the only things I added were an interior pocket and a couple of handles.
I only have a lightweight interfacing in my stash, so they're not very stiff, but the form isn't as important as the function in this project.  They are the perfect size to hold what I need, and they will be easy to transport.
Now that I confirmed that this is a successful endeavor, I might make a few more to use for organizing things in my bathroom and living room. So quick and easy!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pins and Needles


Once I finished my pressing boards from earlier this week, I decided that the kids in my sewing classes needed pin cushions. After scouring the internet for fun ideas that I could sew in bulk, I eventually realized that it was best to keep it simple - a wrist pin cushion seemed the most practical. Circles are my preferred shape, so I found a roll of masking tape to use as a template and went to work.
 The great thing about the masking tape is that it had a template for the larger exterior of the pin cushion, as well as the smaller interior circle that I used for a piece of wool lining (from an old, gross sweater). A couple of the ladies in my stashbusting group pointed out that wool and other natural fibers (like human hair - WEIRD!) prevent the pins/needles from rusting.
I was initially worried about the younger ones pushing too hard on the pins and impaling their wrists, but I was determined to solve that issue. So, I dug through my recyclables and came up with a solution:
I used some lightweight cardboard from a cereal box as the base lining of my pincushions. The kids would have to poke pretty hard to get through that!

And then, I set up the assembly line for sewing:
4 of the bands are adjustable, and 4 of them are not. But, they are all elastic. I am confident that they will fit the kids' wrists.

Once the circles were sewn, I found that it was really easy to bend the cardboard to fit through the 1.5" gap that I left open for stuffing.

I have to admit that this whole project was really time consuming. After all of the measuring, cutting, machine stitching, and stuffing - I added hand-sewn trim to 7 of the 8 pin cushions. This was an all day event.  But, how cute did they turn out?!?!



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Girl and Her Staple Gun..

Thanks to the children's sewing class that I instruct, there has been a lot of stash-busting going on this week! The class will be contributing to the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge this month, and I have been doing crazy prep work for the occasion! First of all, I busted about 2 yards by making the pillow case examples for the students:
For the beginners

For my advanced class
And then, I had to construct a few portable pressing boards for the kids to use during class:
You may recognize the fabric that I hate from my last post - I think it is cloning itself on my shelf!

This was a really straightforward project, and I had almost everything on hand. An amazingly nice guy in my town donated (and cut) the 15" x 19" boards for me, so all I had to do was dig out my staple gun and get to work!
Cut a couple of layers of felt to fit the board 

Stapled the felt to the board

Stapled the fabric over the felt

Front of the pressing board

I added non-slip grips to the corners underneath
If I had used MDF or particle board for the base, I could have left the back "raw", but since I used OSB (subflooring), it was very slivery (just ask my poor, impaled fingers). So, I added some fabric panels to cover the wood on the back for when these boards are being moved around or transported.

With the exception of purchasing a new box of staples (one day I will find the hidden panel in my house where all of the staples, paperclips, and scotch tape have sought refuge), this project was FREE! And, I busted almost 3 yards of felt (a heinous over-purchase for Halloween), as well as 2.5 yards of cotton fabric that had been languishing on my shelf for years. Hooray!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sprucing things up..

While contemplating what to do for the February Stashbusting Challenge, I remembered that I had an ironing board cover on my sewing "to-do" list that I have been putting off for ages. Because, you know,....this (blech):

So, inspired by February's theme, I chose a fabric that I have had in my stash FOREVER, and that I HATE SO MUCH.

Yuck, right? Where did I get this, and why did I allow it in to my house?? That is not a fabric that I would ever use for garments or bags. I mean, really, the only thing I can see this working for is a tablecloth (not in my dining room), a country kitchen valance (not in MY kitchen), or......AN IRONING BOARD COVER!!

This whole project was 20 minutes, tops. Lay out weird fabric, cut around ironing board, stitch elastic around the edge, done.  I could have used bias tape, or hemmed the edges, but why would I do that? No one sees underneath my ironing board!

It is a lightweight cotton, so I kept my old cover on underneath it (which caused some wrinkling at the edges).  But, I think it turned out pretty good! It's like I got a brand new ironing board, AND I was finally able to use up most of that horrific fabric. Sweet.
Also, one more thing checked off of my sewing "to-do" list. It's always super satisfying to whittle that list down a little. ;)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Third Time's a Charm..

In addition to my stashbusting goals this year, I am working on finding patterns that I will actually WEAR. I have no current TNT garment patterns for myself, and I feel that finding/creating some will help me make better fabric purchasing decisions in the future. So, with that in mind, I have been poring over my "tops" patterns, and came across this Butterick design for a simple jersey tunic (view D).
I crafted a wearable muslin out of some scrap knit that I had, and I was glad that the raglan sleeves are constructed in 2 sections (although, that is pretty weird) since I didn't have enough of the white print for 2 entire sleeves.
As I got ready to finish the hems, I realized that the sleeves and hem were made for a much taller woman. So, I tweaked it a little and played around with adding a "cuff" the bottom - which didn't work out so awesome.
But, I persisted and threw together a new version with my pattern adjustments. One of the big changes was making the raglan sleeves one piece instead of two because that didn't make sense to me (and, I wasn't feeling like matching stripes).
I like the sleeves slouchy, so I trimmed some length and added cuffs. This time, though, I finished the hem with some single-fold bias tape.
The final product turned out okay - the length is good, the sleeves are comfy, but I feel like the body is a little too boxy for my figure.  And, I don't know how I feel about that boat neck style. Plus, this pink is bleh.
A little disheartened, I shelved that pattern until I decide whether or not I want to mess with it some more. Instead, I pulled out a different Butterick top:
My 2 previous tops taught me that I'm definitely more of a "V" neck gal, so I chose to sew up view C and add some contrast sleeves.  Also, I ditched the lace in the example because, eww...lace.
Ignore my face. I don't know what that look is. I would have chopped off my head in the pic, but that just seemed creepier.
The fit on this top is AWESOME. I did add a little length, and I would remove some ease from the sleeves next time, but WOW, I love this.
You guys, I just found my FIRST EVER TNT pattern!! Now, when I look at knits, I will know what I want to use them for. This is pretty exciting for me. I may buy a few yards of fun knit online to celebrate. :P