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.