20 September 2010

quick trip diaper bag

My sister found the pattern for the quick trip diaper bag. She was having a baby in July and I thought a new diaper bag would make for a cool present. (I had already decided to make the 'Amy Butler modern diaper bag' for her .. but you can never have too many bags.)

I found a really groovy dot fabric at JoAnn's and paired it with green duck cloth fabric. I thought the duck cloth would hold up to the daily wear & tear for a diaperbag. Finding PUL fabric was a bit more difficult. JoAnn's does carry what they classify as PUL and oil cloth ... but only in some really strange colors and patterns. I wanted it in white, green, or a turquoise to match the dots ... but no such luck. But, I found a 'mystery fabric' in the clearance section. It looked like a laminate of some sort - smooth plastic-y on one side and cotton on the other. The bold only said it was suitable for rainwear, but not rainproof. I have no idea what this fabric is, but I thought it would work.

I didn't follow the directions (uh, no surprise there) and used my favorite thick pellon interfacing (stiff enough to make any fabric stand up straight) ... and the bag was _horrible_. The shape was really bad ... and it just didn't work. I took it all apart, and used the called for fleece interfacing.

This bag doesn't have separate 'end' pieces ... the side and end is all one piece. I think that's why the thick interfacing just didn't work.

I also didn't keep track of the left and right lining pieces - sewed everything wrong - and figured out I had a problem after I sewed the bag and lining together. (The joy of the side and end being just one piece of fabric.) I took it all apart, cut new 'white unknown fabric lining' pieces, and was very careful putting it back together again.

I like the elastic at the top of the inner pockets - but it took a lot of work to thread the elastic in.

This pattern claims to be a 'quick trip bag' for when you don't want to carry your 'full size work horse bag'. I have no idea what most people carry for diaper bags - but this bag is BIG. You can put everything you need for a baby plus stuff for an older sibling, wallet, keys, water bottles - and more. I can't imagine carrying a bigger bag around - along with a baby.

My sister has gotten a few complements on this bag - and several asking where they can get one too, so I consider this project a success.

Amy Butler's modern diaper bag

I read about Amy Butler's book 'Little Stitches for Little Ones' and immediately put it on hold at the library. In it, is a pattern for a 'modern diaper bag'. I really liked the shape, so I made a copy of the pattern ... and thought I'd make it for my sister. (Before she found this pattern.)

I found some really cool oil cloth fabric at JoAnn's and knew it would be perfect for this bag. (Then I had to wait until I had a coupon because there was no way I was paying $14.99 a yard for fabric.) I found some 'celery' duck cloth fabric for the lining. It's not a perfect match, but I thought it would work.

I sewed the outside of the bag ... and realized this bag is ENORMOUS. I couldn't imagine anyone carrying this bag, so I looked on-line to see what others had said. I found this page and used her dimensions to cut this bag down. I didn't even take apart the seams, I just started cutting. I looked some more and found this page. Once I got over being envious of her really cool fabric (oh when will Ikea come to Denver???) I noticed she shrunk the entire pattern 85%. I did that, but I liked just cutting it down better, so that's what I stuck with.

The instructions were just okay. I got a bit confused on the inner pockets and just did what I thought was best. (The book could definitely do with a lot more pictures.) I did my own thing on the handles ... but still had to hand sew most of the inside edges.

I didn't even try to substitute the interfacing and just used what it called for. (I know, shocking for me to actually follow a pattern.)

The front flap has a magnetic snap I _love_ them ... and I know this won't be my last time using them.
Sewing on oil cloth was surprisingly easy. I bought a 'teflon' foot for my machine and I didn't have any problems with the fabric sticking to the foot or plate.

I do like this bag ... but it is still big. I love the shape, so I think I'd like to make it again, using the shrunk 85% or 75% pattern.

Update: I gave this bag (along with the other) to my sister. While visiting, I used this bag as 'project central' to keep track of everything and it worked great for that. However, she's used it a little and noticed that while it seems _huge_ ... it won't even fit a 3 ring binder. I've got bags that look much smaller that fit 3 ring binders ... so I'm a bit disappointed in this bag. Time to figure out what I can do to make this bag more usable.

buttercup bag

I found the buttercup bag by 'Made By Rae' a few months ago. I like the shape, the curves, the pleats - it just looks like a fun bag. So it was put on the never ending project-to-do list.

But it looked small. I wanted it bigger (so it would actually be able to hold a knitting/crochet project), but with the same shape. Then I found her post on the buttercup bag remix. I could do that.

I enlarged the pattern 129%. Then cut it in half horizontally and added 2 inches. Then put the top band back to the original size (and modified the lining to fit to that). I _love_ a box pleat, so I changed it to one large, oversize box pleat with two smaller pleats on the side. I lengthened the strap and placed it between the outside and lining instead of on top of the bag.

I found some great corduroy fabric ... but it was thin and I wanted to make sure this bag would be able to keep its shape. I decided to try Pellon craft fuse. It worked great. The corduroy suddenly held a shape and kept it's form without adding thickness. The lining is duck cloth. Then to give it just a bit of softness - and some thickness, I added a layer of fleece interfacing.

This was my first time using a magnetic snap as the closure for a bag ... but it won't be my last.

I love this bag. It holds a paper back book, cell phone, keys, mp3 player, and crocheting perfectly - the perfect 'portable project bag'. I love it so much I'm making 7 more for Christmas presents this year. (gift recipients: uh, act surprised.)

Note to self: think about putting little "corners" on the bag ... and maybe a recessed zipper like Rae did.

Got labels?

For the last labels I made, I used fabric, freezer paper, and my laser printer. They worked. They worked really great. But I wanted something with finished edges. Edges that I didn't need to keep folding to hide ... or hem.

I started searching for tutorials again. I found many that use iron-on transfer paper that you can run through your ink jet and then iron onto ribbon or fabric tape. But I don't have an ink jet. And I'm not wild about iron-on transfer paper ... you can see the iron on!

So I wondered if I could run the ribbon right through my laser jet.

I bought ribbon at Wal-mart. White ribbon. 5/8" wide.

I made a page with columns of my label with MS Publisher. I mirrored a few across the x-axis. I printed a page, grabbed the double sided tape and stuck down the ribbon in 3 places.

Put it into the tray for my laser jet ... and hoped I didn't just ruin my printer.

And ....

it worked!!!! It actually worked. I printed the entire roll of ribbon. 4 sheets of paper, 7 columns = gobs of labels. A quick heat set with the iron and I have more labels that I know what to do with.

They're not perfect. I'd like to try writing on the ribbon with permanent marker ... but they will work for now.

11 August 2010

Petunia the Cow

Petunia and her friends were cut out before Christmas and have been waiting (patiently?) to be sewn. I was finally in the mood and they jumped to the top of the 'to be done' list. Besides, the refrigerator had to be cleaned before I could mark them using the 'light box'. (table opened, clear fridge shelf placed where the table leaf would go, lamp on the floor)

Two weeks of sewing and two spools of thread later and here is what Petunia x3 look like after their cold water bath to remove the marking pen marks and before their trip through the washer to attempt to shrink the muslin lining.

Sewing went pretty smoothly, but then I had learned on the horse to gather the curves on the belly piece before attaching the legs. Lots of sewing, lots of lines ... but nothing too hard.

And here's Petunia, freshly stuffed with eyes on. Her face is still drying after removing 'eye marks' ... but she gracefully consented to a photo shoot.

I'm pretty happy with her. I've made the snake and a horse so far. Next up, the sheep - or maybe the pig. After the rest of the sewing pile is finished. Two unstuffed 'petunia' will be delivered to their owners in September.

Patterns for Petunia, and the rest of the menagerie can be found here.

'bean' - aka pyramid doorstops

This is one of those 'finish this project in under 30 minutes' projects. I made a bunch earlier (last year maybe?) and then gave some away so that all of the upstairs doors don't have them. The doors continue to slam shut when windows are open ... so these needed to be made. The fabric and interfacing have been cut out for months (or maybe a year) and they just needed to be sewn and stuffed.

I think it took all of 10 minutes to sew 3 of them followed by a trip to Walmart to buy some pinto beans to stuff them with. They look cute, work great. A niece named them 'bean'. Tutorial found here.

09 July 2010

Plarn tote bag

I just realized I didn't post the final picture of my plarn tote bag.

I first mentioned it here. It took a little over a month to make and several trips to Walmart to buy enough groceries to have the needed bags. I used this pattern to shape the curved bottom of the bag, but used this pattern for everything else. I made the handles for the bag longer than the instructions, but I like to be able to put bags over my shoulder. The corners where the handles attached are stretched a little, but it's not breaking.

The flowers were a lot of fun to make. I wish I could have found different colored bags for them, but gray was the best I could fine.

It makes a perfect swim bag or knitting bag or an 'isn't this a cool bag to carry around'. I'd like to make another one - maybe from Target bags.

heart garland

This was one of the decorations I made for camp. I don't remember where I first saw the idea.

It's pretty simple to make. Fun foam. Trace cookie cutters. Cut out. Sew. It took a couple hours to cut out the hearts but only a few minutes to sew them. They looked cute strung between the tents before the strong winds tore them off. But they looked cute while we had them.

04 July 2010

bags: box and pyramid

While looking for whirly-giggle quilt patterns on-line, I stumbled across this blog with bag patterns. I love sewing bags. The whole process is fun with the added pleasure that I'm not trying to fit the final product to an actual real person whose shape is nothing similar to what pattern companies design for.

I fell in love with the pyramid bag at first sight. But they mentioned the pattern had been taken down from the web. A few google searches and help from the 'way back machine' and I had a pattern.

I gathered what fabric I had on hand, what zippers I could find (uh, sure - green goes with anything!) and started cutting out patterns. I started with the box bag. The pattern gave instructions to line it so that no raw edges would been seen. It's always a bit of a trick to do that, but it didn't sound too bad. I didn't follow all of the directions (it's a curse - I always think I know better than the instructions), so I had to undo a couple of seams a little bit to maneuver everything into place - but nothing big.

Looks great - doesn't it. The pattern size called for 16"x12". I think if I was to make it again, I'd do it a bit bigger. It's a cute bag - but a little on the small side. Only my small knitting (socks or leper bandages) would fit in it.

On to the pyramid bag. I was glad I did the box bag first because it helped explain how to sew the lining and exterior fabric separate while they were both sewn into the zipper so that all of the raw edges would be hidden. I made it 12"x24" - instead of the 7.5"x15" mentioned in the pattern. It went together really fast ... but was way to big to hold it's shape. I ripped the entire thing apart and re-cut to 10"x20". (Sometimes the experiment fails. At least I learned that unless you break out the heavy duty craft interfacing, don't go any bigger than 10" x 20".)

It was a great "evening" project, I've got two bags to hold small projects, I love the green zippers (Mom - where ever did you find that color of lime green?), and I found a new blog to watch for more bag patterns. In all, it was a successful Friday night of sewing.

screen printing - the shirts

Printing on t-shirts is an art form. One that I need a bit more practice in. :)

Because I procrastinated took too much time to work up to the task of screen printing, I was on a deadline. Thursday night I found scrap fabric and t-shirts, gathered my supplies, and started working on it - knowing that Friday we were going to print 27 shirts for the young women - and I had to figure this out fast.

I watched two different videos on u-tube and read at least 4 blogs on how to apply the ink. It sounded pretty straight forward. Make sure you had plenty of ink, spread the ink with the squeegee at an angle of 75-80 degrees, then lift the screen straight up.

I started with the white ink and the t-shirt design. (Remember, deadline. We were printing the shirts the following night!) It went something like this: The first looked okay. The little letters didn't look so great. I tried again. It looked a little less great. Tried again. It looked even worse. Time to wash and dry the screen. Pulled up the u-tube video and watched it again. Tried again with a different angle. Tried again with more pressure. Washed and dried the screen. Tried again. Looked it up on the web. Learned that white ink is a very hard ink to print with because it needed to be thick to be opaque. (I couldn't believe it. Out of all the colors, we chose the hardest ink to put on a t-shirt to give to teenagers - possibly the hardest audience in the known universe. Yea.) I tried the black ink. Worked perfect. (Insert scream of frustration here!)

By the end of the night I had the black ink figured out and had made two reasonably good prints with the white ink. I could only do 3 prints before the screen needed to be washed. The thick white paint dried fast - fast enough that the small letters under the theme could only be printed on the first use of the screen. But the theme looked passable, so I counted it as a success.

Lesson to note: if you are going to screen print at home, choose big fonts. It's easier to print.

Friday night we made the executive decision to tape over the little words and just print the theme on the t-shirts. It took close to 4 hours for 3 of us to print 34 t-shirts. Lindsey had the 'knack' and was in charge of printing (tips: lots of pressure, 80 degress on the squeegee, 8-9 passes of hard pressure, wash after 3-4 uses.), Cosette was in charge of ironing, folding the t-shirts, and letting us use her house and kitchen, and I was in charge of touch-ups.

Not bad for a bunch of amateurs two days before camp starts. And the girls were nice enough to say that they liked them. We got several pictures of them all in the shirts ... and then we went on an underground cave hike in them. They looked great. :)

As for the pillowcases ... it was too windy at camp and the ink was drying instantly in the screen. So we'll do it as one of their activity nights later this summer.

17 June 2010

screen printing

For YW camp this year I thought it would be a great idea to do screen printing as one of the crafts. I found instructions on: lilblueboo's blog - and didn't think it looked too hard. Mom got me 40 donated pillow cases to print on ... so all I needed was the kit and a design.

A coupon for Hobby Lobby at 40% off and I bought this screen printing kit. You _definitely_ need a coupon.

After reading the instructions several times, I procrastinated - fearing that I would screw up the screen, run out of supplies, and the craft would be ruined. (Yes, I'm aware that waiting really doesn't help any of that ... but such is life.)

I designed the logos (um, yeah - the project doubled in size when "we" decided to DIY the t-shirts. gack!) in publisher using free fonts that I found on-line. (My favorite source for fonts: Amanda's Fonts for Peas and Amanda's scrapbooking fonts. Awesome, fun, unique, and FREE fonts!)

Last night I turned the spare bathroom into a "dark" room and with the help of a green glowing night light, smeared photo emulsion on two screens - hoping for thin and _even_ coats. It's surprisingly hard to do this by night light. I was paranoid this morning and put another thin coating on them.

A trip to Kinko's for transparencies (3 copies, taped together in the corner with double stick tape), glass taken out of a picture frame on the wall, a black t-shirt, and the lid of a plastic bin, and I had a screen sandwich that I put outside at 12:30ish for 3 minutes to expose.

It didn't look "done" so I left it for about another 2 minutes. I took it apart and sprayed it with water at the kitchen sink. I now _totally_ understand why some people do this part in the shower. I started getting really nervous because the un-exposed, slime green photo emulsion didn't seem to be washing away, but finally one letter started to clear up and then the rest followed. It took about 15-20 minutes of spraying for the design to clear up.

Here's what the t-shirt screen looks like:
(it looks small because I could only by a 12x16 frame. The design is 9.5" across.)

And here's what the pillow case screen looks like:
(and this one looks big ... but it's in a 10x14 frame. Yes, it is crooked. You try lining up a transparency on a screen in the dark.)

I'm pretty excited. I think they turned out _fantastic_. Tonight I'm going to try screen printing on some fabric scraps and find out how easy/hard that step is.

19 May 2010

scripture totes

I finished this a couple weeks ago - just in time to give to Kate for her baptism. (and by "on time" I mean I finished it at 1:00pm in time to go to her baptism at 2:00pm)

These may seem like not the typical "girl" colors - but Kate loves 'cheetah' prints. If it's cheetah - it belongs to her. :) I had some misgivings while sewing it. I almost scrapped the entire thing and started over with some blue fabric ... but Kate loves it. And her smile eliminated all the doubts.

The bag is lined, has a pocket inside, and is big enough to hold a composition note book, scriptures, a couple pens/pencils, and gum. Perfect for an eight year old to carry to church.

The pattern - uh. The dimensions are taken off of Kate's older sister's bag. I put fabric on the handles like the ikatbag tote. I played with the section sizes until I liked the proportions. The font is just one I liked. (So far, each bag has had it's own font.) I need to write down all of the dimensions here - but I keep forgetting to look them up. Maybe later.

I've made two other bags - one as a birthday present for a niece. The next as a Christmas present because a younger brother needed a bag for church too.

02 May 2010


Question: What do you do with plastic bags? Answer: Use them to make another bag.

I've been wanting to make a "plarn" bag for a while, but I was intimidated by them. Luckily my sister found a great tutorial on etsy (here) and I knew I had to make one. Bags were collected, folded neatly, carefully cut in 1" increments (yes, I used a ruler), loops connected, how to make a center pull ball was looked up, and a ball of plastic yarn (plarn) was created.

(Check out the cradle! Isn't it the coolest. Dad made it and Mom painted the flowers and the "brand" on it.. Plus I love the doll.)

It's coming along really fast. I'm using a smaller crochet hook than they recommended. (I think it's an "I".) I have a tendency to crochet tightly so I was a little worried that I would make it so tight I couldn't stitch it, but the plastic has just enough give to it that it hasn't been a problem. It's a lot of fun to work on. I took it to book club when it was about 4" tall (I watched "The Blind Side".) and after book club here is what it looked like. I also used this pattern for the increases on the bottom that created the "curves".I think it is also helps form the "base".

I think I want it another couple inches and then I'll start working on the handles. The only problem - I'm out of bags. Time for another grocery trip.

16 April 2010

softie, softie, who's got a softie?

After seeing my sister's "selvage whale" - which is _way_ cute (now to save selvages for me!) - I thought she needed some more animal ideas. Plus I know my 'you never sew for me!' nephew needs a monster and maybe a dragon. Here's the listing of tutorials, patterns, and ideas that I've found. I'm sure more updates will come!

Tutorials (some with patterns)
- duck
- hedgehog
- monster
- monster tutorial (no pattern)
- platypus
- humpty dumpty
- goldfish
- sock owl
- owl
- koala bear
- little pocket doll

Patterns to buy:
- dragon (This one is going to be the "exercise reward" this month!
- Funky Friends Factory
- Melly and Me

Look what others have done:
- Peakaboo
- Nosey Nest
- Mariska's blog and her shop that sells Fluffels

11 April 2010

May I see some ID?

I still really love this bag. It works great as a nursery bag. I think it will work great for lots of things.

But do you want to know what my favorite part is?


A label. My label. It makes me giggle. And smile. My sister did a fantastic job coming up with the name. And I love the font. Put the two together and I'm almost giddy when I see them.

How did I do it? Cotton fabric, freezer paper, and a laser printer. No ink jet, so I decided to try it on the laser jet. Iron freezer paper to the back of cotton fabric, cut to 8.5x11, feed into printer. Worked perfect. Now to try twill tape and other fabrics through my printer. I feel the need for more labels.

04 April 2010

tote bag times four

Sewing items assembly fashion makes the job go faster - right? WRONG. I found this tote bag tutorial on Ikat Bag's web site and knew I had to make one. (LiEr is amazing and talented and I want to grow up to be just like her.)

It's functional. It's a bag. I love bags. I love to sew them. I love to have them. I love to carry them. Plus I really needed a second bag to haul to church to carry nursery items in (food, books, lessons, new toys, old toys, tissues, things to be fixed, things to do, etc.) This bag looked to be absolutely perfect.

I knew if I sewed one, I'd want to sew one for my sister. (She needs lots of tote bags too!) Then I thought of my sil who admired the bag I sewed for my sister at Christmas, and knew she needed one. And while I was at it, Mom didn't have a bag I made. 4 bags. It didn't sound like too big of a task

The first one went pretty fast. I didn't put the pocket edging on it because I couldn't figure out how I wanted to do it. I also didn't interface the lining fabric because the bag was made of canvas and between that and the thick craft interfacing, I would be okay - right? WRONG. The bag was okay - it was even cute ... but the lining didn't hold it's shape and the pocket was just okay. Ack. Time to start ripping it apart.

I started on the next three bags. I guessed at how to put the pocket edging and _really_ liked it. I liked it enough that I started undoing the first bag completely so I could also re-do the pocket.

They took twice as long as they should have. But I like them. I really like them. I like the edging around the pockets. I like the lining fabric on the handles. I like them. LiEr is a genius. (Have I mentioned how much I admire her mad design skills?)

But I'm never making 4 bags at the same time again. Or at least for a few months. :)