Thursday, November 15, 2018

 Zipper bag: A tutorial...

I've never done a tutorial online.  In a blog.  How many pictures should there be?  Will I be able to describe in words clear directions? So here goes nothin':

This cute bag is made from a table place mat.  I bought this one at a thrift shop for a buck. You'll also need a plastic zipper- any size is fine as long as it will at least fit across the short side of the place mat.  See?  Mine's much longer- no problem. And 20" of strapping.  That's it.  Pretty simple. 

Unzip zipper and pin onto the place mat with right sides up.  (Both the zipper and the place mat is right side up.)  Any where along the zipper is fine.  I usually space mine somewhere in the middle.The plastic zip coil should be showing along the edge of the place mat.

I usually stitch along the top stitch sewn seam of the place mat.  It is very close to the zip, but will still be out of the way.

 Next, sew the second side of the zipper. Make sure that the place mat is centered on the zipper so that the zipper tab meets at the same place on both sides of the place mat. 

Add caption
Unzip zipper and pin second side of zipper to opposite side of place mat. Sew second side of zipper onto place mat the same as the first side.

When the bag is folded in half, right sides out, it looks like this:  But we're going to turn it inside out for the rest of the sewing.  I forgot to take a picture of it, but now is the time to open the zipper halfway. (Or else the zipper tab will be cut off your bag!)

This is a tab and I put them on either end of the bag to help with pulling the zipper opened and closed. (I made my own strapping by cutting a 20"x 4" piece of fabric, folding it in on itself and stitching 1/8" from either side.  This tab is 1" x 4", folded in half.)

Making strapping

I fold the place mat in half with the zipper centered down the middle. Tuck tab with raw edges running along the outside edge of bag and under the end of the zipper and back of bag and stitch along the side- being sure to catch the tab.  I use a 3/8" seam allowance. Repeat on the second side- MAKE SURE YOUR ZIPPER IS AT LEAST HALF WAY OPEN!!   Otherwise you won't be able to turn it right side out.  Seam rippers do exist, so all is not lost if you forget and sew it up tight.

Trim excess zipper off from the top and bottom of the bag. 

 At this point, you have a perfectly serviceable bag, but I like mine to stand up. This is what is called a box bag. 


This is the hardest part to describe.  Leaving the bag inside out, match an end seam up with the fold on the sides of the bag.  It will make the bag come to a point.  Draw a line 1.5" across the point and sew on that line.  This is what makes the square corners of the bag.  I slide a strap the width of my place mat into these corners of one side and when it's all sewed up- tada. Your bag has a handle.  This is called a "Box bag" and you can youtube to get a step by step tutorial video. They just tend to be a little long and I like to keep things as simple as possible. But sometimes you need to see it being done to get a grasp of the concept.

handle on end

This is what the bag looks like when it is finished- but not turned right side out.  See how there are no raw edges?  The lined place mat makes a lined bag.

I use mine for hand sewing projects.  My grandson keeps his quiet time toys for church in it. My daughter in law stores her make up in one. They're just a nice size and a really quick project- about 30 minutes. Probably less.
 Ice storm...

The winds kept me up for a couple hours last night.  Winds are common place here, but the pecking of ice on the windows is a bit more ominous.  Good news, we still have power. I thought I'd share some of the beauty with you.  The air after an ice storm always smells especially sweet.  I'll spare you the havoc that the ice wreaks on our trees.  Trees in this neck of the woods are honored, I guess because there are more fields than anything.  So when a tree is taken out, or nearly so, it's always a bit sad. But you can't deny that the ice is awfully pretty and if you can't take the bitter with the sweet then you can't be a very well adjusted person, now can you? 
 The flower garden that went to weed at the end of the summer now has it's own sort of beauty.

 This garden ornament is my favorite picture after the berries. 

The grass shatters when you walk on it and makes a slight jingling noise.

My sweetheart broke the handle on his truck door trying to get into it, this morning.  Wonder how long this will take to melt?  

Monday, November 12, 2018

 Easy does it...

I don't know about you, but I like to ease into the week.  I am blessed with being able to work from home.  So I'm wearing a ratty sweater- holes and all.  Box of tissues at my elbow- sinus infection. Pumpkin roll- remedy to a low blood sugar. My daughter is an assistant baker at a bake shop and she brings home some amazing goodies. Thoughts of sewing. Just taking things slow. 

Thread guide... maybe you'd be interested in this little gadget.  It's such a small and insignificant thing, but it works like a dream.  A dress maker would never be able to grasp the concept of how much thread a quilter goes through.  Where they buy a spool, we buy a cone.  My cone is getting low.  That's alright, I have a drawer of extra ones.  This guide keeps the tension nice and also keeps the cone from skittering across the table.  It's just a dowel rod with a hole drilled in the bottom, and an eyelet screwed into the top.  You could put your cone in a mug if you're still having skittering problems. The cones sure are nice when you're winding 25 bobbins at a time.  Barely makes a dent in the thread.

This is one of the little bags I make from ready-made place mats.  I actually made this place mat from some scraps, but I usually buy the place mats at a thrift shop for a buck.  The bags sell for $10.  Not bad. The place mats are lined and the edges are finished so there are no raw seams. Think they will make nice Christmas gifts- stuffed with some fun things. A lot of nurses buy them to store their stethoscopes and such.  Keeps toys separate in diaper bags.  Store make up.  Just whatever. Takes me about ten minutes to whip one up. Pioneer Woman has some really pretty place mats.

Saturday, November 10, 2018


  In the US when we say "homely"  we're describing something dowdy, ugly.  But I've seen some home improvement shows from the UK and when they say "homely" they're using it as we would "homey."  Something cozy and warm. This one has the bases covered.  It's homey and homely. It's a client's quilt and I'm impressed with it- in that it's entirely hand stitched. It's just not entirely pretty.  But very homey.  And I think it will look sweet on a bed.  Of course, I've never actually met a quilt I didn't like on some level. As you can see, I'm just meandering it and she is using a Warm and Natural batting so with one wash it will have an even more homey feel and look to it.  It's growing on me.

Sleepy head...

I just couldn't resist sharing this picture.  He was eating some cheese puffs and then he wasn't. Fell asleep with his hand in the "cookie jar."

This is my fat goat.  I love him as much as any one ever loved their dog. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration as some people are just a a little over the top with their dogs.  But you get my point.  We love him.  He moves around the property taking care of weeds and overgrown grass.  He loves people.  He especially loves to be read to. He never head butts. But if you punch him on the top of the head, he practically purrs.  

Thursday, November 08, 2018

I'm getting my autumn quilts put up.  I don't have a lot of free wall space, so sometimes I need to scour the house for an empty place.  This is my bathroom wall.  Yes, it's orange.  (I heard somewhere that the color is complimentary to skin tone, so you look better in the mirror.  That's what I heard anyway.  I am going through a grey phase where I want to paint everything grey- a shocker to my family because they know how much I like color.  But grey makes a nice background for pops of color.)  I made a couple wall hangings using this design and then had a moment where I thought, "Wouldn't it be cool to have a bed sized tree quilt?"  With the tree as big as the bed.  No kidding.  I got all of the HST(5") made and got distracted by something else.  Now where did I put that...

Today is a "BIG" day.  I'm putting a king size quilt on the quilting frame.  I've been putting it off for three weeks now.  I had to unearth the frame- it was a landing zone for husband's crates and boxes.  And then all of my tubs underneath were getting clutter on top of them which makes it impossible to get the quilt through. So, now all of that's resolved and the quilt will go on. Hopefully.  I had a happy moment when the batting and the backing proved to be big enough.  It's for a client and it's always a gamble that they have the measurements correct.  My luck with that gamble is about 50/50. It's just a simple meander as the top is super busy.  I'll try to post a picture when I get it on. The size is a bit daunting, but maybe I'll be surprised and it will go more smoothly than I expect.


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Two minis bound and ready to go...

Finished binding these two mini wall hangings.  I love hand sewing- just hard to find the time.  Or to justify the extra time it takes when I know I can do it in a fraction of the time on my sewing machine.  But there's something very therapeutic about sliding the needle through the fabric while listening to music on the stereo.  Peaceful.  And who couldn't use a little more peaceful in their life? 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Forty Christmas postcards...

I finished up these postcards for the holidays.  Can't wait to send them on their way!  

I've had the worst head cold this week, but I think I've turned the corner. Today I'm attempting to sew little draw string bags for my husband's business.  One of the things he engraves is bracelets and I just haven't found a way to package them pretty.  So I'll try this and see if it is time effective.  Post pictures later!  Hope everyone is having a pleasant- and productive, day!