Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bib Bag Upcycle

Jonah is beginning solid foods, which means a necessity for bibs. I've never been one to put a bib on him while he ate a bottle and his "drool monster" phases have been brief to this point, so we haven't gotten to the wear-a-bib-all-the-time stage.

But I needed somewhere for his bibs to live now that he wears one when he eats solid foods (twice during the morning).

It hit me that I had a mesh bag that I was holding onto with no real use. I use mesh lingerie bags to wash his itty bitty socks so that I don't have to go on a scramble for them when folding his laundry and so they don't get stuck down in the feet of his footed pj's making me think I've lost socks!

The first bag I bought was very cheap. The others have been, too, but the first one's zipper stuck the first time it went through the laundry. But I couldn't bear to just cut it apart and throw it away. That would have been a total waste of $2.99!

I dug through my sewing stash instead and found some left-over bias tape. Cut the zippered portion off the bag and then sewed on the bias tape. It's been getting moved around my sewing room for a couple of months though, because even though I didn't want to throw it away, I didn't have a real purpose for it once it was zipper-less.

Until! I needed a place to store bibs. Aha! I attached to 10" pieces of ribbon to areas of the bias tape edge that I had marked to align with the slats on the back of Jonah's high chair. Sewed them on using a box stitch and then tied them on using a square knot.

It works so well because J's bibs are at-hand, but out of the way and pretty much hidden from view since his high chair sits in the corner of the kitchen.

I think I've just up-cycled and didn't even know it!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Toy Bag

Now that Jonah is getting to be more active (ha, when was he not active?!?) we have more need for toys when we go out, specifically to restaurants. Nana & Papa (aka my Mom & Dad) bought him a little set of Tonka trucks and book. We'd had it in a quart-size plastic sandwich bag, but it was starting to get yucky and the book didn't really fit when all the cards were added in.
This is where knowing how to sew can come in handy. Don't have a bag that works? Make your own!

I dug around in my stash of fabrics until I found 2 that coordinated and I deemed "boy" enough. I did have to run down to Joann to get a zipper, but that's only because I normally only use invisible zippers and I really wanted just a regular zipper for the bag.

Then I remembered that I'd pinned this tutorial on one of my Pinterest boards for how to make a flat-bottomed bag. Seemed just right for my purposes. The biggest problem with the plastic baggie was that it had no give for the chunky little trucks that needed to fit inside.

Following the tutorial I drew out a pattern based on my measurements of the book. I drew as she described adding a quarter inch seam allowance.
Then, I ironed stabilizer to my outer (patterned) fabric. The tutorial says to iron it to the inner fabric, but my outer was lighter weight, so I decided that it would be better to iron it to the lighter of the two.

Next, I laid my pattern directly on my fabric and used my rotary cutter and quilter's rule to cut out the pattern. I really, really dislike tracing and then cutting, and since it was all straight lines, I took a little shortcut.
I assembled the bag as the tutorial described. Once the zipper was sewn into place the bag was put together exactly like the snack bags are except that the hole to turn was left in the lining instead of the outer bag. (I think that's how I'm going to do the next snack bag because it looks so much neater).

Once everything was sewn, I did pink the edges of the inner (solid) lining fabric because it has a tendency to fray and the corners. Didn't seem worth hauling out my serger over...

Turned the bag right side out, pushed out all the corners, sewed the hole in the lining up and ta-da(!) bag was complete:
The book and four little trucks fit well inside. In fact, the bag is roomy enough to accommodate one more little books and maybe a couple more cars/trucks and it still slid well into his diaper bag!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Snack Bags with Applique & Monogram

I love the snack bags. Love them! So much sew that I decided to Make Jonah a few more.

But since I've already demonstrated how to make the bag itself, thought I'd go through the embroidery part of it:
Gather your fabrics:

Use a grid to center the fabric or place it in the position you wantUse basting glue to secure fabrics to stabilizer which is what is stretched in the embroidery hoop.
Begin stitching
Trim excess fabric before satin stitching
Continue design
Then proceed with the construction of the bag.. and voila!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Reusable Snack Bags

Are you one of those people who never follows the recipe, but substitutes and doesn't measure and adjusts here and there according to their own preferences? Well, I'm not. I follow the recipe to a T, at least the first time I cook a meal.

But when it comes to sewing? I rarely follow a tutorial or pattern exactly. I tend to take the main idea and turn it into what I want it to be, making edits where I think they are necessary. Just like I did in the preceding projects and just like I did for this one (and a couple more that I've got in the works for posts!).

This one is very "green." Since having Jonah, I've tried to be a little greener when I can. I haven't gone overboard by any means, I mean I do serve him formula and use disposable diapers. But when I can can, I make. Like the burp cloths, receiving blankets, paci clips, and now snack bags.

I found the idea on Pinterest and used a cotton outer bag and PUL to line the interior of the bag, PUL is waterproof. I'm sealing the bags still with Velcro so the bag itself won't be waterproof, but I could put grapes or the like in it and it won't seep like regular cotton could.

PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) is a soft, polyester knit fabric laminated with waterproof polyurethane on the back. It is popular and effective for cloth diapers, washable menstrual pads, nursing pads, bed wetting pads and pants, training pants, mattress covers, and more.

I used 100% cotton fat quarters that I bought from Lola Pink Fabrics, an Ann Kelle collection called Zoologie.

1 .Prewash Fabric
2. Cut out 4 pieces per bag. Seam allowance is 1/4". If you want your liner fabric to be different like mine, you will need 2 pieces of fabric for the outside and 2 pieces for the inside. I cut my pieces to 6"x7" (seam allowance included, finished bags are 5.5"x6.5")
3. Cut a strip of Velcro to 5.5" long.

Now, iron your fabric and measure where you want to make your cuts. Cut fabric, and iron again.

Place either the loop piece or the hook piece of your Velcro 1/2" from the top of your fabric, and pin it onto the right side of your fabric. I measured down 1.5 inches from the top and used a disappearing ink pen to mark it, then basted the Velcro on using my basting glue stick.

Stitch Velcro onto fabric. I stitched 3 rows to secure it tightly.

Place the liner right side up on your work surface. Velcro is at the top. Place your fabrics right sides together lining up all the edges. Pin into place. Sew a quarter inch from the top. Then press seam open. If you use the PUL fabric, make sure to only iron on the colored side. I used my cotton setting and it pressed wonderfully, but if you press on the "plastic" side, it will melt to your iron.

Repeat steps for other side of bag.

Now to sew the bag together. Take your Velcro and stick them together. Make sure they even. Pin the liner pieces together and then the outer pieces.

Sew around the outside of the "box" leaving a 2" gap at the bottom edge of the outer cotton pieces, as illustrated below

Cut off your corners at an angle to reduce bulk.

Your bag is almost complete with the exception of pulling out the fabric and stitching the hole.

Now push your fabric through this hole. Use a turner tool to poke out the bottom corners carefully to have a sharper edge.

I iron the unfinished edge at what is now the bottom of the bag and then sew a top-stitch line across the bottom. Take care to catch both sides of the bag. You could also sew a slip-stitch if you wanted a hidden closure.

Then, align the top of the bag and sew a finish stitch a quarter of an inch from the top of the bag, this ensures that the bag stays right-side-out and provides a nice finishing touch.

Before starting any of the piece-work, I embroidered a small whale in the bottom left-hand corner of one side of the outer material.

Inside the bag: