Turtle Bib

This turtle fabric was a lucky find in the remnant bin and is big enough to make several bibs.

DSC01060Sometimes it’s fun to make a bib that requires no fancy work like embroidery or applique and to just allow the cute fabric to speak for itself.  This fabric made up into a nice bib:

DSC01055I finished another grocery bag, but then the tension on my machine just stopped working, so I guess it is destined to visit the repairman.  I’ve been meaning to try out another one of my machines so now is the time.

Grocery Bags

The first two grocery bags are finished and are on their way to be filled with groceries.  The first bag was sewn in the same way the paper grocery bag is put together but that was a huge hassle and took all day to sew.  The second bag was sewn in the fast tote-bag style with the bottom corners sewn across to square them off, plus some topstitching down the side folds, and that was so much easier and looked much better.  I love it when that happens – the easy way wins! I got the spouse to model the bag which is pretty much exactly the size of a brown paper grocery bag.

DSC01051When my daughter was here to pick up the bags, she said they should have a piece of cardboard or something like that on the bottom so the bag would keep its shape.  I suddenly thought of all the plastic cutting boards I had bought at IKEA a few weeks ago, so we got one out and cut it to size.  The cutting board was big enough to make two of the bag bottoms.  Here’s the product name:
DSC01054I cut the insert about 6 1/2″ x 11 1/2″  (I measured the bottom width of each bag because they vary a bit) and put it in the bottom of the bag.  I rounded the corners so that the plastic would not poke through the fabric. Cutting the plastic is easy to do since it cuts easily with scissors.  Here it is in the bag:
DSC01052The removable insert keeps the bag looking crisp and square and is washable by hand if some grocery item leaks on it.  It has to be removed before you put the bag in the washer and dryer, especially the dryer because it could melt all over the dryer drum.

Now I need to make a few bags for myself, and then I will continue in my effort to never ever pay for a grocery bag.


February Already?

Lots of stuff going on around here, but not a lot of sewing.  We had some construction done on the house, and we are still waiting for the inspections and finishing up.  Today my husband did some painting, and tomorrow I’ll have to put back one of the bookcases and restock the books, and then, hopefully, back to the sewing machine.

One of my first projects will be to sew up some grocery bags.  Yes, our state has gone shopping bag mad and passed annoying laws that make you pay for the bags for your purchases.  Years ago they said that paper bags were evil and bad for the environment (poor innocent trees were killed to make the bags) so we were forced to switch to plastic bags.  Now they have decided that plastic bags are evil and have banned them, and if you want a paper bag you have to pay for it.  I am not fond of junk-science environmentalists who keep making mistakes and changing their minds whilst messing with our lives.  Since I am ticked off about this, I refuse to ever pay for a shopping bag.  Since it is important to have clean bags because they can carry germs, they need to be washable.  I saved a paper grocery bag to use as a pattern and have bought up a large stash of white canvas from the craft thrift store to make the bags.  I haven’t decided exactly what style of bag to sew but it will be the size and shape of a standard brown paper grocery bag.  My daughters want some bags, too, so I think I will use several construction styles and let the girls test them out to see which one works the best.  Hopefully it will be the one that is the easiest to make.

Christmas Shirt

Christmas this year was very nice, and the spouse wore the Christmas shirt three times.  He wore it to the office on Christmas Eve, to the festivities that night with my side of the family, and to Christmas dinner the next day.  It was a big success.


DSC00979What’s next?  Unfortunately, it’s cleaning up the sewing room which got a little out of hand during the Christmas rush.

Christmas Sewing

Some years I have sewn a lot of gifts, but not this year.  The only thing I sewed this year was a Christmas shirt for my husband.  His Christmas shirt had to be Christmasy but not too cutesy, so the hunt was on for the proper fabric.  Here’s what was eventually chosen:

DSC00943It has a navy background so will work with his navy flannel shirt if it is too cold for short sleeves.  I finished it up yesterday and hope to get a picture of it on him next week.  While shopping for other novelty shirt fabrics, this one also came home with me:
DSC00944Before I fell back into shirtmaking, I was busy making a handbag for my MIL.  She had asked for one a few months ago and drew out the size she wanted.  I managed to finish up the bag so that she could get it on her birthday.

DSC00941Here it is half done.  I put in lots of pockets and a zipper under the flap for safety.  We measured the strap on her to get the right length.DSC00942The bag is made of black denim, but I wanted it to be easy for her to see what was in the bag, so the lining is a light color.  The pockets are lined with scraps from the Route 66 shirt I made my husband.  I don’t have much of a picture of the finished bag, but here is one of my MIL carrying the bag downtown when we were on our way to the church Christmas concert:

Night Of The Christmas Concert At The Presbyterian ChurchYou can barely see it in this picture, but she obviously likes it, so mission accomplished.

Book Covers

When my younger daughter was at college, she used to cover her textbooks to protect them, and she gradually perfected a method that produces a strong, long-lasting, wonderful-to-the-touch book cover. She covered one of my cookbooks, and I was so impressed that I asked her to show me how to do it.  I took pictures of her while she was making one of the book covers so that I could remember what she did.  She used wrapping paper, index cards, and contact paper.Glue on the backs of corner reinforcementsShe makes corner reinforcements out of the index cards to keep the edges from wearing.

I found a copy of McCall’s Dressmaking Made Easy at the craft thrift store, and it was in great shape except for the cover.  Sometimes publications from the 30’s, 40’s or 50’s have covers that are dyed red, and it can rub off on surfaces now that the dye has aged.  I like to cover these books or pamphlets so I can still use them without my hands turning red.  I decided to give the book cover instructions a try myself, following her directions carefully.  It is fun to use colorful wrapping papers for the book covers.  Here is the result of my first effort:DSC00927

DSC00928I’ve never been as successful using contact paper, but this project taught me to use a credit card to smooth it out when applying it to the wrapping paper.  I made the title labels with Word and cut them out with deckle scissors.  They are held down temporarily with a glue stick glue and then the contact paper holds them in place.

The sewing project in the works right now is a handbag for my MIL.  She lives by a small shopping center, and needs a nice small purse that she can carry when walking over to the shops.  Her regular handbag is large and heavy and doesn’t have a shoulder strap.  I’ve got it all cut out and am ready to start sewing tomorrow.


I mentioned that I have been cutting out bibs to replace the ones that have left the Baby Gift Box to become shower gifts.  This week I had some free time so I used it to sew up a few.  I absentmindedly cut the first one out upside down:

DSC00931I decided that this way the baby can look down and recognize a fire engine, so it’s all good.  This is a pre-quilted fabric I bought as a remnant, and the back is cute, too, so the bib can be reversible.

DSC00932Then I made another one, being more careful with the cutting out:

DSC00929The bindings are double thickness, cut from an IKEA Dvala sheet, and they are very soft and comfy.  Back in the day, a few years ago, you could buy the IKEA sheets separately, so I have several twin sheets I use to make aprons and binding.  I also picked up some fabric remnants with a sea turtle print and a panda print, and these will be nice for boy baby gifts along with these fire engine bibs.  I have quite a lot of fire engine fabric, it turns out.

I am never skimpy with the velcro because it keeps the baby from easily pulling the bib off.  I buy the velcro by the yard (2″ width) and cut the pieces myself crosswise, slightly rounding the corners so sharp points won’t hurt the baby.



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