1.23.2015

New Cutting Tool // New Cutting Technique

 I just recently started following the Brindille and Twig blog because I love their patterns so much.  A recent post sent me to this video which is a basic tutorial on fabric cutting.  The takeaway for me was less about the layout and more about the tool.  I've never attempted to use a rotary cutter to cut anything but straight lines.  Typically I lay my pattern out, trace with marker, then cut with scissors.  
 Since the video made it look so easy, I picked up a small rotary cutter for under $20 and decided to give it a try.  I will tell you, I will never go back!  Not only does this take less time, but it is so much more accurate.
 So fun and exciting to learn something new.

1.17.2015

Upcycled Grocery Bag Tutorial


One of my New Year's resolutions is to find little ways to be more earth friendly and create less trash. 
 We have a bird feeder on our deck and really enjoy seeing all the beautiful birds in our backyard.  We go through quite a bit of seed feeding both the birds and squirrels, so we often end up with an empty 50 pound bird seed bag.  Before putting it in the trash I had the idea that I could turn that bag into a reusable grocery bag and do double duty for the environment!  Here's what I did.
(my bird seed bag is made from a woven plastic type material)
 
 The bottom of the bag has a gusset, so first I cut that off so I could measure and trim the bag to the size I want.
 I grabbed a bag I own to get the general size.  I trimmed the birdseed bag to be about 24 inches tall by 20 inches wide.
 I forgot the snap a picture, but make sure you SAVE the pieces you cut off, these will be your straps. 
With the right sides together, sew the sides and bottom of the bag with about a 1/2 inch seam allowance. You'll want to use the same kind of sewing tricks you'd use for oilcloth.  Check out the section "getting the fabric to slide" HERE.
 I got to try out my new roller foot which worked great.
 Fold down the top about 1.5 inches and sew.
 To box out the bottom, I cut out 4 x 4 inch squares off each bottom corner.
 Match the side and bottom seam and sew across with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
 To make the straps, I took my scraps and cut them to be about 2 inches wide.  I folded them in thirds and sewed down each long edge.  The straps were originally the same length as the original bag, but I trimmed them down to be about 26 inches each.
 I pinned the straps to the inside of the bag, about 3 inches from each side seam, then sewed them in place. 

This was pretty easy to do and I really like how the bag looks.  The material is really sturdy so it will definitely hold up well which is not the case for many of our other reusable grocery totes.  Next time I think I'll trim the bag a little more strategically so that the barcode gets cut off and more of the picture is showing.
Hope you try it out with your next birdseed bag!

1.07.2015

Sleepy Fox // Fabric Scraps

One of my New Year's resolutions is to save more of my fabric scraps, especially scraps from knit fabric.  Knit scraps make really nice stuffing and doesn't tend to compress the way polyfill sometimes can.
 I started collecting scraps before Christmas and then saw this free stuffed fox pattern at Stitched by Crystal via SewCanShe.
 Since we had family coming to visit and stay in our guest space during the holidays, I made this little fox as a sort of guest room mascot.
I decided to give him a sleepy face taking a cue from my daughter's Sewing School 2 book.  She's made a couple of these little sleepy bears from the book and they are super cute.
  I just love this guy.  He's so cute and has a really nice weight since the fabric stuffing is heavier than traditional stuffing.  And, the scarf is just such a fun touch.
I'd love to get some more ideas of what to do with fabric scraps.  

Do you save your scraps?
What's your favorite use for those scraps?