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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review 6: Reusable Lunch Bags by Stefanie of Girl. Inspired.

Bag in this photo made by Stephanie of Sew Cozy! :)

Looking for an eco-friendly alternative to baggies? Try this reusable lunch bag tutorial! I made two: a bigger one for sandwiches and a smaller one for snacks. This tutorial will show you how to make the bigger one for your sandwich, but it also shows you how to modify the dimensions to any size bag you want! Click here to see the full tutorial.

Creator: Stefanie of Girl. Inspired.

Timeline: 45 minutes (including ~15 minutes to cut and iron vinyl to lining pieces)
35 minutes if not ironing vinyl.

Estimated cost: 5$ each
1/4 yard cotton print: 1.13$ at Mardens - Outer fabric or lining
1/4 yard organic canvas: 2.20$ (8.79$/m) for members at Fabricville (10.99$/m for non-members) - Lining or outer fabric
 1/4 yard fusible vinyl: 1.25$ (4.99$/yd) of Heat'n Bond Flex Vinyl Matte at - Lining
5 inches of velcro: 0.07$ at Wal-Mart

Difficulty level: Intermediate sewer if using iron on vinyl. Otherwise, beginner sewer: the pattern was pretty simple.

I think these bags are a super cute and practical idea. I wasn't completely satisfied with my end result the first time I made the bags, but that may just be because it was my first time using fusible vinyl. A warning to anyone who plans on trying this tutorial: Ironing and sewing vinyl isn't as easy as it looks! You have to be super careful not to touch your iron directly to the vinyl (using the protective sheet that comes with the vinyl), and pressing is near impossible because too much heat will wrinkle the vinyl layer. To top it off, having to turn the pockets inside-out also made the vinyl wrinkly.

**The tutorial actually calls for oilcloth or laminated cotton. I had fusible vinyl on hand, so thought I'd give that a try.

The second time I made this tutorial, I used polyester fabric instead of vinyl (bags shown in the photos). The whole process was a hundred times easier! This fabric could stain, but at least it has some "water-proofness" to it.

One thing I'd like to note about this tutorial is that I found it odd it said to use the oilcloth on the outside of the bags and the canvas on the inside. Personally, I put the laminated fabric on the inside. This way if there's a spill in the bag (ex: sauce from a sandwich), it's much easier to clean. Canvas on the inside would stain way too easy.

The fifth step (preparing the bag for stitching together) was a bit confusing. The photo did help, but it sill wasn't 100% clear. The best advice I can give here is to follow the steps exactly as they're explained. Hopefully this can help you if you decide to try this tutorial!
1) Have lining and flap pieces with right sides out.
2) Place flap on top of lining, raw edges matching at the top. Make sure velcro side of flap is touching lining.
3) Have outer bag piece with right side in.
4) Place lining and flap (as prepared in step 2) inside the outer bag piece. Make sure the lining is between the outer bag velcro and flap velcro pieces.
5) Make sure all of the edges match up! Then sew around the bag, leaving a 3'' opening on the opposite side of the flap piece
*The curved edges of my "flap" aren't level because I didn't pin the bag after having matched up the edges. So make sure to use pins!

My only other comment is that I hope I find a better way to deal with the vinyl-wrinkling because these reusable bags are adorable! Thanks for stopping by, see you next time! :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Special Bag for Mom and Birthday Festivities

Pleated tote pattern by the long thread.

Hi guys and gals! I haven't had a whole lot of time to sew this past week with my birthday and a track competition, but I did start brainstorming some ideas for a Valentine's Day special. I'll share more details on that sometime this week.

My mom asked me to make her a bag exactly like the one I made in my first tutorial review to bring with her on her trip down south in February. She wanted a blue bag and left the fabric selection up to me. I went to Fabricville and found these cute prints that I think go really well together. I hope she likes it! :)

I really have the best of friends. I turned 21 last Friday (yay!) and for the first time in 21 years, I got a surprise birthday supper! It was a complete surprise and I hadn't seen it coming, so they planned it really well!

Now I'm all birthday-ed out and will have time to sew sew sew. (Except for next week-end because I'll be going to McGill in Montreal for a track and field competition. But I'll still post another review on Wednesday and announce the Valentine special!)

Kermit wanted to be in the picture too.

The pattern for the bag in these pictures can be found here and the review for it can be found here.

Thanks for stopping by, have a great week! :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review 4 and 5: Child's Gathered Apron by Jess of Craftiness Is Not Optional AND Pleated Pocket by Rae of Made by Rae

Apron in this photo made by Stephanie of Sew Cozy

Today is a very special DOUBLE TUTORIAL REVIEW day! I didn't really have a choice to do two reviews, because the apron tutorial redirected to the pleated pocket tutorial! In any case, the pocket and aprons turned out to be adorable. I made two for my 5 and 8 year old girl cousins and one for my 3 year old boy cousin! Click here to see the full apron tutorial. Click here to see the pocket tutorial.

Creator (apron): Jess of Craftiness In Not Optional
Creator (pocket): Rae of Made By Rae

Timeline: 1 hour
15 minutes to make pocket
45 minutes to make apron (including handmade bias tape)

Estimated cost: 8$
1/2 yard cotton print: 2.26$ at Mardens - Main apron fabric
1/2 yard muslin: 2.88$ (7.19$/m) for members at Fabricville (8.99$/m for non-members) - Backing
1/4 yard cotton print: - Pocket
1/4 yard cotton print or solid: 1.15$ at Mardens - Bias tape and sash

Difficulty level: Beginner sewer. A simple pattern. Can be a little bit of a challenge if you're making your own bias tape, but this is relatively easy to do. Another little challenge is the pleats for the pocket, but the tutorial explains clearly enough!

I LOVE how my little aprons turned out! I will definitely be making more of these in the future. I honestly don't have any criticism! You could easily play around with the length or width of the sash and adjust the dimensions of the apron to fit an adult (which is what I did for my mom and dad, and little cousin).

The aprons I made for my cousins last Christmas.

Not sure how to make bias tape? This tutorial by Prudent Baby or these two tutorials from Coletterie (first, second) can help you out.

Now hurry up and go make some aprons with the help of Craftiness Is Not Optional and Made by Rae! Just picture your little ones helping you make chocolate chip cookies with a cute little apron around their waist. :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review 3: Traveling in Circles Tote by Becca of Bryan House Quilts

Tote in this picture made by Stephanie of Sew Cozy

DONE! Finally done the tutorial for my third review! I started losing hope when I saw the two hour mark go by and still another ten pages to go (I copy pasted the tutorial into a Word document so I could print it off, and it took 17 pages). I have a lot to say about this tutorial, so lets begin! Click here to see the full tutorial.

Creator: Becca of Bryan House Quilts

Timeline: Approximately 4.5 hours (!!)

Estimated cost: 20$
1/2 yard cotton print: 2.25$ at Mardens - Outer fabric
1/2 yard cotton print: 6.99$ (13.99$/m) for members at Fabricville (19.99$/m for non-members) - Lining
1/2 yard lightweight muslin: 2.88$ (7.19$/m) for members at Fabricville (8.99$/m for non-members) - Interfacing
1/2 yard Pellon Fusible Fleece: 3.49$ (6.98$/yd--was 8.98$/yd when I bought it) at - Interfacing
(1) 22 inch zipper: 1.95$ at Fabricville
(2) 6 inch zippers: 2.70$ (1.35$ each) at Fabricville

Difficulty level: Intermediate to advanced sewer. Working with circles and multiple layers of fabric can be tricky, especially when the directions aren't 100% clear.

First tote made with the tutorial. Notice the bunching of fabric around the circle.

This was a frustrating tutorial to follow. On more than one occasion I wasn't exactly sure what I was supposed to do and had to restart a few steps. But, I love this tote! It's adorable and unique.

1) The materials list calls for lightweight muslin, batting scraps and optional lightweight interfacing. Isn't that a bit much? I opted to skip the "batting scraps" and only used lightweight muslin and heavy interfacing. When I redid the tutorial, I skipped the muslin and just used the heavy interfacing because I didn't see the use of the muslin. If I redo it again, I might try using heavy canvas to add even more stability to the bag.

2) Marking the circular and cylindrical pieces at each quarter. This was wayyy too time consuming! There are easier ways to make sure the pieces are aligned.

3) From the print, cut a 4 inch by WOF strip. Does anyone know what "WOF" means? I didn't, so I had to figure it out. From what I gathered, it means you have to not cut it any particular length, instead leaving it very long so you can cut it at a later time. (Because you have to pleat the bottom at your desired "pleated-ness" to have bigger or smaller pockets, which will make the strip longer or shorter.) A little explanation would have been appreciated in the tutorial.

Second tote made with the tutorial. It turned out much better thanks to the correct scaling of the pattern! (See below for details.)

4) A few times in the tutorial, some of the fabric pieces had to be cut again into different sized strips. I think these steps could all have been done at the same time at the beginning.

5) When the tutorial says to turn the lining piece pockets down, it doesn't mean the pockets are upside-down. (I made this mistake and it took me 15 extra minutes to undo the seam and start over.) It actually means the pockets are on the bottom, the way they're supposed to be.

6) A few of the pictures aren't accurate. For example, the pink lining will be shown instead of the muslin in the final assembly steps.

7) The second time I did the tutorial, I didn't quilt on top of the outer fabric. The bag looks OK both ways, so whether you decide to quilt or not is up to personal preference!

See the bunching? It isn't too bad, but I didn't have this problem on my second go at the tutorial.

LESSON LEARNED (the hard way): Towards the end of the tutorial when I had to assemble all of the pieces together, I got frustrated. The circle pieces for the top and bottom of the bag weren't big enough by more than an inch! At first I blamed the creator of the pattern. However, being more than three hours into the tutorial, I made due with the situation and ended up creating a bunch of pleats in the bag so that the contour of the bag would fit on the circles...which made me not so happy about the end result.

After being done, I took another look at the circle template I had printed off from the tutorial. It indicated on the circle that it was 8 inches in diameter. Now anyone who's ever printed off a pattern knows there's always a line that's one inch long on the first page so that you can measure it to make sure your pattern is the right scale. Well, I measured this line (after being done the tutorial) and it was only 0.75 of an inch. Which means I had a circle that was 7.4 inches in diameter instead of 8. HERE WAS MY PROBLEM! So, I must apologize to Becca (creator of the tutorial). Had I unchecked the "scale to page" option when I printed the pattern, my circle tote would have turned out just fine.

Second tote made with the tutorial.

Although I struggled, I have to say that the circle tote is very cute. I wish the tutorial had been a little more clear, but if I hadn't screwed up, the bag would probably be perfect! It certainly inspired me to start sketching out a new tote tutorial for myself. Want to give this tutorial a shot? Head on over to Bryan House Quilts!

Thanks for reading and I'll see you next Wednesday for review number 4!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review 2: Zippered Bow Pouch by Kate of See Kate Sew

Happy New Year! I hope you had a great New Year's Eve with your friends and family.

Looking for a cute gift for your friend, sister, mother, or maybe yourself? Just follow Kate's tutorial and whip up a whole batch of adorable Zippered Bow Pouches! I especially love the idea of putting Lindor chocolates in the pouch. Click here to see the full tutorial.

Creator: Kate of See Kate Sew

Timeline: 1 hour (including ~15 minutes to cut and iron fabric)

Estimated cost: 6$
1/4 yard cotton print: 1.13$ at Mardens - Outer fabric
1/4 yard cotton solid: 1.13$ at Mardens - Lining
1/4 yard duck cloth (canvas): 2.20$ (8.79$/m) for members at Fabricville (10.99$/m for non-members) - Interfacing
7 inch zipper: 1.35$ at Fabricville
2 inches of 1/4 inch wide elastic: 0.05$

Difficulty level: Beginner sewer. Simple pattern, simple lines. Should be able to box corners (instructions clear enough in tutorial).

This tutorial was relatively short and sweet. I only noticed a few details that were missing. For example, in the cutting instructions, it doesn't specify that the 5'' by 10'' rectangle and the two 1.5'' by 3.5'' rectangles are from the outside fabric. Luckily, the accompanying picture shows us that the outside fabric was used, so this wasn't a big error.

One of the first steps says to press the seam allowance toward the lining and topstitch. However, it didn't indicate if the interfacing should be under the lining or outside fabric. (Once again, not a big deal.) I put it under the outside fabric.

When the zipper has been sewn into place and before sewing together the two sides of the bag, I added three steps. 1) I trimmed the excess fabric from the zipper tabs. 2) I pressed the seams. 3) I topstitched the fabric on both sides of the zipper with a 1/8 inch seam allowance.

I had a bit of a hard time with the elastic for the zipper and bow. 1 inch isn't a lot to work with when you have to fold it in half. What I ended up doing was using 2 inches of elastic and sewing the end, then sewing it again at a shorter length.

Last comment! Instead of zig zaging the seam allowances, pinking shears could have been used. Up to personal preference.

Now go make a bunch of these bow pouches from See Kate Sew for your January birthday friends! :) Thanks for reading and see you in a week!