reusable grocery bags

March 31, 2011

I am participating in my first swap!  I joined in the latest round of the potholder pass that Amy organizes.  This time you can choose to make a potholder, a reusable grocery bag or both.  I chose to make a bag.  So, of course, I had to make a practice one for us!  :)  Here is what I came up with!

It is Keyka Lou's easy reusable grocery bag pattern.  It is so simple and fun to construct.  She uses a method that I had never tried to box the corners and I liked it.  It is a little less structured but I think it really works for this style.  I used my flower applique pattern for the front.  I wanted to use osnaburg (unbleached cotton) for the outside of the bag but it is too plain for my taste and the flower added just the right amount of embellishment, I think.  :)

If you haven't used osnaburg before, it's great!!!  It gives a similar look that linen gives but is so much easier to sew!  It isn't slinky so you don't get all the shifting that you get with linen.  Besides that, it is a lot cheaper!  It is a little less refined but I think that makes me like it more! 

I am off to make more grocery bags!

new bag

March 24, 2011

I really needed a new bag!  I have been carrying a slouchy hobo bag that was my prototype for when I switched up the pattern a little.  I liked it but it was, as I said, the prototype which meant that I had gotten all the kinks out on that bag so it wasn't my best work!  :)  It was also dirty and I just needed a change!  Something bright and fun, of course, and something that can take me through spring and hopefully summer too.  So... I made this!
I LOVE it!!!  I have been hoarding this Amy Butler print for at least a year.  It's one of those large scale prints that you have to have a larger project for.  I lined it with full moon dots in lime.  It is a large bag but that works for me since I still have to carry diapers and toys and whatnot around with me.  The patten is the practical bag by Tanya and Linda Whelan.

I interfaced it with some duck cloth to make it a little more sturdy and give it a little more body.  I like to do that with the hobo bags and other large bags sometimes as it just makes them a little more substantial.  I just baste it onto the exterior inside the seam allowance and then construct the bag as per the directions.

Of course, now that I made my new springy bag it's snowing here today!  :)

Here is a picture of the inside.

art folio sewing kits!

March 21, 2011

I am so excited about this!  Virginia and I have teamed up to offer sewing kits for her fantastic crayon art folio pattern!  I just listed the first one in the shop!  The kit includes everything you need, except thread, to make your own art folio!  It also includes not only Virginia's art folio pattern but a supplement written by me on how to make the version seen in the photos below!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!!

getting organized

March 12, 2011


I have to admit that getting everything together for taxes this year was a bit frustrating.  Last year was my first year in business and I thought I was pretty together.  However, I quickly realized that I was ok for last year because my little shop didn't do a ton of business but that there was no way that my system was going to cut it for the fabric shop.  The volume of business is way different and I do not want to scramble to get organized with the kind of numbers that I am already dealing with!

Vanessa and I were chatting and she had been thinking about organization too.  She mentioned getting a notebook and, of course, I thought about sewing!  :)  I had gotten this cute pattern from Virginia almost a year ago and hadn't done anything with it!  Yes ladies, I realize that this statement comes out of my mouth A LOT!!!  :)  I have a huge pattern buying problem but I have a feeling that I am not alone!  wink, wink

Anyway, the fire was lit and I was ready to get organized!!  I went to staples and bought this binder.  I wanted a smaller size so that I could easily put it in my bag or the car or even on my cutting table!  I also got tabs and paper and a few more goodies to fit inside.

The pattern can be adjusted to fit any size binder or notebook and was easy!  Seriously, I made it with kids in my sewing room, easy ladies!  I think it looks way cuter than an ugly plastic binder and I love that I can close it!!

Here are some pics of the inside and of the back.

i made 2 full size pockets on the front and back

dress a girl around the world - shaped pocket tutorial

March 9, 2011


For all of you who are visiting from LBG Studio, welcome!!!!  I am so glad to have you stop by!  I have to say that I am so honored and humbled to be involved with this fantastic event!!  I have 3 little girls and so I keep thinking of the adorable girls who will be wearing all of our dresses and how excited they will be!!!

I have to admit that this was the first time I had ever made a pillowcase dress!  Pillowcase dresses, to me, are like a blank canvas and are just begging for some great embellishments!  What little girl doesn't love ribbons and pom poms and pockets!  You have to have somewhere to put your treasures in.  :)

When I was trying to think of a pocket design I knew that I didn't want a traditional pocket, I wanted something a little different.  I LOVE color and wanted a way to spice up a plain pillowcase and bring some additional brightness and fun to these girls!  So, I came up with 3 different pocket shapes that are fun and easy to make.  To decorate them I use simple raw edge applique.  If you wanted to you can always just omit the pocket all together and use my applique patterns to decorate your dress, or anything really!  :)

Even though I am only showing a tutorial for this one version, all of the pockets are constructed in the same manner.  Having said that, if you have any trouble or any questions please do not hesitate to ask, I will happily help you in any way I can!!!

Ok, let's get started!  :)

Materials Needed:
  • fabric scraps or about a fat quarter, you are going to need different colors and amounts depending upon which design you choose
  • coordinating thread
  • lite steam a seam (1-2 sheets)
  • pencil
  • water soluble marker or chalk
  • scissors or rotary cutter (or both)
  • iron and ironing board
  • shaped pocket pattern (all 4 patterns are at the bottom of this page)  
***A little note on tracing my oh so awesome, hand drawn pocket patterns!!  :)  I am in no way a pattern expert and you will notice that these patterns are hand drawn and therefore NOT IN ANY WAY symmetrical.  SO, I would suggest that you trace one pocket piece with the pattern face up and the other pocket piece with the pattern face down.  This way you will be assured that when you sew the two together that the pieces will align correctly!  :)  ok proceed!***

First, you are going to have to cut all of your patterns out and get your supplies organized.  For the flower that I am using in this tutorial and in the pictures, I used various scraps from my scrap bin.  If this is not your style, I have also included the template for a solid flower. Once you have your fabrics and your steam a seam lite, you are going to want to trace the shapes of your pocket pieces and your flower petals and center onto your fabrics (read the next paragraph before you do this).  

For the pocket pieces, I just trace the shape directly onto the pocket fabric with a water soluble marker (please see above note) and then cut them out using my scissors.  Make sure that you mark the top of each pocket shape to make aligning them easier later on (this is what the "T" is on the pattern piece).  For the applique shapes (flower petals, flower center, ladybug body, head and spots and strawberry and stem), you are going to want to trace those onto the side of the steam a seam that does NOT remove easily with your pencil.  Once you have the shapes traced, cut the shapes out about 1/4" outside the pencil lines that you have drawn.  Now take your shapes and applique fabric scraps over to your ironing board and press the shapes onto the WRONG side of your fabric scraps according to the manufacturers directions.  You should now have a pile that looks something like this.

Now you want to use your scissors and carefully cut out your applique shapes along the pencil lines.  Your colorful pile should now look like this!  :) 

Now use your fabric marker or chalk to roughly mark the center of one of your pocket pieces.  This is just to help you align your petals onto your flower pocket.

Select 4 of your 8 petals and position them on your flower somewhat like this.  Just make sure that if you are using multiple colors or patterns that you have chosen your petals so that two of the same color group or similar patterns will not be too close together.  You will notice in my picture that the petals are not perfectly aligned to the center dot, I was more concerned with making sure that the outside edges of the petals were an equal distance from the outside of my pocket piece.  Remember that you are not going to see the center but you are going to have to sew your pocket together and I would hate for you to get all the way to the end just to realize that you were going to sew over your beautiful petals.  You want to leave about 3/8" between the edge of your petal and the edge of your flower pocket piece.

Press your petals in place and then repeat this process with your other 4 petals and your flower center so that you end up with this.  

Take your flower over to your machine and stitch all around your petals and the flower center with coordinating thread.

Take your other pocket piece and align the tops, place the two pocket pieces right sides together so that all of the petals match up nicely.  Your applique will now be on the inside.  Mark about 2" to leave open so that you can flip your pocket right side out after it is sewn.  Pin all around the perimeter of your pocket. 

Sew all around your pocket, except for the 2" you are leaving open, with a 1/4" seam allowance remembering to backstitch at the beginning and end.  I like to sew with the appliqued piece on the top so that I can make sure not to sew too close to the applique.

Clip and notch all of your curves. 

Turn your pocket right side out making sure to carefully push out all of the petals.  I use a wooden skewer with the sharp point cut off to help push out all of the points.  Iron everything neatly paying attention that you really retain the shape of the petals as much as possible.  After it is ironed, you are going to want to neatly turn in the edges of your opening and pin them in place.

Almost finished!!!!  You are going to want to topstitch the part of the pocket that will not be attached to the dress so that the petals will stay neat and the layers will stay together.  I topstitched around 3 petals.  This seemed to be a good size so that the girls could easily get their hand in the pocket.  Then, you are going to sew the pocket to the dress.  Just leave the part that you already topstitched open!  All finished!!  Yea!!

Here are all of the patterns!  Enjoy!!!

additional embellishment ideas:

  • use buttons or pom poms for the flower center or ladybug spots (of course, not for tiny girls)
  • patchwork on any of the designs would be awesome! (think outside the box!!!)
  • i used super tiny ric rac for the antenna but you could embroider them, put pom poms on the end, etc.
  • look at your notions and trims and just go for it!!!

I would love to hear from you and to know what you think!!!  Please let me know if something isn't clear or if you have any problems or questions!!!  Or just leave me a comment to say "hi"!!!  Thanks so very much and I can't wait to see all of your beautiful dresses!

***Please note that these patterns and templates are for personal use only, thanks so much***


day one of dress a girl! yea!!!!

March 7, 2011

Ok ladies, I hope your sewing machines are ready and your supplies are gathered! :)  Head over to say "hi" to Vanessa and check out her awesome pillowcase dress tutorials!!!

photo courtesy of LBG studio

 Not only is she giving a tutorial on how to make your dresses but she has also created a pattern so that you can make one out of your own fabric if you would like!  Awesome!!!!

dress a girl around the world sew-a-long

March 1, 2011


I am so very excited to share a really great event with you!!!  I am co-hosting a sew-a-long, my very first, with two of my best bloggy friends!!!  Vanessa, Virginia, and I will be hosting this week long event for a fantastic cause!  This won't be your typical sew-a-long, we are shaking things up a little bit!  :)  The dresses you make will be to donate to a very worth charity!

Dress a girl around the world is an organization that takes donations of pillowcase dresses made by women like you and me and hand delivers them to girls around the world!!!  

From March 7th - 12th stop by Vanessa's blog every day for tutorials from some awesome bloggers!!!  We will be sharing ideas and fun ways to embellish your pillowcase dresses!  There will also be an awesome giveaway!!!  To enter, you need to make a dress and post a picture of the dress in the dress a girl around the world flickr pool (I will post the link as soon as I have it).  For every dress you make and post in the pool, you will get an entry in the giveaway!!!

Get your new and gently used pillowcases ready ladies and let's make some dresses for a great cause! Head over and grab a button so that you can share the love and spread the word!!!  

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