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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bring Your Own Wine.... DIY Wine Tote Tutorial

Want to make this?? Here's a tutorial on how to do it.  But... please don't freak at the length of this tutorial.  I have not been sewing long and I want people who are just starting out to be able to do this without difficulty so I have included more details than necessary (I'm sure).  No paper pattern needed!

I am part of a girl's group that has Girl's Night Out (GNO) once a month.  Each month has a different theme.  Our game night, was titled "Don't Wine, It is Just a Game" and our St. Patrick's GNO that was titled, "Pot O'Luck."  Yes, I know that is corny, but it was fun.  Don't get me wrong.  We are NOT professionals.  I repeat... NOT professionals.  We aren't exactly sure what the "earthy" or "tannic" descriptors actually taste like, but I will tell you I don't want any that tastes like "cat pee."  (That is a true descriptor.) We have our own score cards that I made myself so we can keep up with what we like and what we don't. 

Here is a picture of our score cards.  They are printed on a 5x8 blank index card.
For GNO, we each bring a bottle of wine to share.  That way we can all taste it, score it (redneck style), and decide if it is something we want to add to our cellar.  Yes, that is our group name... you know that is funny.
Since I am not a wine professional, I wanted to, at least, tote my bottle in style (we are conservative so most of the time we have some to bring back home too).  Computer geek - gone sew crazy style, I searched the internet high and low for ideas and patterns.  I pinned too many to count on my "Little Sips" board on Pinterest and I actually bought two patterns from different sellers on Etsy.  After all my searching, I decided I wanted to try Kathryn Goodman's pattern.  The best part... IT WAS FREE!

Being the rebel that I am, I had to tweak it and make it my own.  I have not been sewing long, but with her simple 15"x15" squares, I could do that math in my head!  Thank you Kathryn Goodman! 
For this project you will need at least two fat quarters, or three if you are going by my pattern redo.  I use fat quarters for everything I can because they are big enough for the little projects I do and they come in all kinds of colors.  Most of the time, I find them for less than $1.

You will also need thread to match and a 15" square of batting.  I have tried it with cotton quilt batting (the brown paisley/flower bag) and firm iron-on stabilizer (the Wino. bag). The stabilizer makes a tote that stands up by itself, but it is hard to turn when sewing.  The quilt batting is a little too thin and limp.  Both work, but the high loft batting is my favorite.

Applique supplies: Iron on stabilizer (or solid color fabric), Heat n Bond (or similar), freezer paper, pencil, tape

The stabilizer or fabric serves two purposes.  It acts as a "slip" to keep the pattern from showing underneath and it makes your design stand up a little.  On the Wino. bag, I used white fabric and on the initial bag, I used the stabilizer.
Left: slouches (cotton quilt batting), Middle: very round and stiff (iron-on stabilizer), Right: High Loft Polyester Batting
Tools include a ruler or two (one needs to be at least 18"), rotary cutter and 18" cutting mat (or scissors if you are old school), and several pins.  You'll need some taylor's chalk/fabric marking pen and the appropriate feet for your sewing machine.  I use a blind hem foot, a 1/4" foot with guide, and a clear applique foot with mine, but depending on your skill and design, you can certainly use a regular presser foot.

Before sewing, wash, dry, and iron your fabric (or don't), but if you do, you will be able to wash and dry your tote without terrible shrinkage.

You first want to pick your colors.  I used two fat quarters and a scrap of material I already had.  The lining matches the inside of the handle and the outside of the handle matches the bottom of the tote, however, I encourage creativity (Please send pictures!).

CUT IT OUT... no really, cut it out (I know, corny, but just keeping things interesting)
ONE: Cut out two 8"x15" rectangles in coordinating colors for outside of tote (or just one 15"square if using single color on outside)

8"x15" each (will make a 15"x15" square)
TWO: Cut out one 15" square of batting

THREE: Cut out one 15" square for the liner

FOUR: Cut out two 3"x10" rectangles of coordinating colors for the handle

Handle Pieces Cut Out -- 3"x10"

MAKE THE HANDLE
ONE: Pin the right sides of the handle fabric together and sew on long edge.  Press open.

TWO: Fold the long edges in, measuring 1/2" from the seam, then fold in half along the seam and press, matching the edges up. Pin in place.

Each long edge is folded in 1/2" from the seam
THREE: Sew.  I use my blind hem foot to make a stitch on each side of the handle very close to the edge.  Then I use my 1/4" foot with guide to make two more stitches on each side.  This gives a total of 4 stitch lines.  You may use decorative stitches if you would like.

FOUR: Set your handle aside for later.

SEW THE OUTER LAYER  -  Use 1/4" seams, unless otherwise noted.

ONE: If using two colors, put right sides together and pin on long edge.  Sew together and press the seam to the darker side (so it is not as visible through the fabric).  You now have a 15" square for the outside of the tote. -- Skip this if you are using one color for the outside of the tote.
Press seam to darker side
The two 8"x15" squares become one 15"x15" square
TWO: If you are attaching an applique, iron it on now, before basting the batting because the iron will melt the batting.  Measurements and applique instructions are below.  Machine baste the batting to the outer layer using longest stitch setting on machine and no knots.  I am a lazy crafter... I don't want any extra work and I want to get my projects done quickly, so I actually baste it using a smidgen LESS than 1/4" seams so it is not visible later and I won't have to remove them :)
batting pinned to outer tote layer and ready to baste
baste a smidgen less than 1/4" seam
longest stitch length on my machine is 5.0
THREE:  Sew around the applique (you may skip this and add decoration such as buttons or flowers later).  Your applique should go through the outer layer and the batting.  If using other decorations, you can hand sew them/safety pin it through all the layers of the complete bag. Applique instructions are below.
FOUR: Fold the right sides together, pin and stitch along the bottom and long side.

SEW THE LINING
ONE: Fold right sides together and pin.  Mark a 5" gap on the long side in order to leave it open to turn it.
TWO: Sew along bottom and long edge (don't forget the gap!)

MAKE THE BOTTOM FLAT  -- These steps are for both the liner and the outer layer of the tote.
The lining and the outer tote layer should still be inside out (right sides together/wrong sides out).  Follow these steps on both of them.  Ironing both the liner and the outer layer before starting this step will assist in finding the middle on the side without the seam.  You may also fold it and add a pin to the middle (especially on the batting side so you don't melt the batting).

ONE: Open up the layer you are working on and fold the bottom corners to form a triangle -- matching up bottom and side seams on one corner and matching seam to pressed fold/marking pin on other corner.

TWO: Measure 3 1/2" across the corner -- 1 3/4" is your halfway point to line up the seam.  One side of the corner will be a the "0" point on the ruler and the other side will be at the 3 1/2" point while the 1 3/4" mark will be on the sewn seam.  Using chalk or a fabric pen, draw a line using the ruler as a guide.
Yes, my ruler is off!! Do as I say, not as I do! :)
Do the same for the outer layer (my ruler is just moved in this pic... lol)

THREE: Sew across the marked line.
Sew across all marks
Both will end up looking like this
FOUR: Trim all corners to 1/4" seam
Trim to 1/4" seam

FIVE: Turn outer layer only right side out.  Use your finger to press into the corners to turn all the way (you may use a chopstick or pencil, but don't push too hard as it will deform your pretty corner).

ATTACH HANDLE
ONE: Using a pin/fabric pen/chalk, find and mark the middle of the straps ends by folding in half

TWO: On the outer layer of the tote, use the seam as the center for one strap and then find the opposite side and mark.  Make sure handles are perpendicular to raw edge (if not, you will have a crooked handle)
THREE:  Line up your center marks on the tote and the handles and pin well.  The right sides (outer sides) should be next to each other.  This will bunch up the side of the tote a little, but that is okay.
FOUR: Sew the handles on the exterior of the bag.

ATTACH THE LINING  -- you're getting there, just a few more steps
ONE: (Although it is not absolutely necessary, I pin the handle down a little on each side so it says out of the way, but your chances of getting stuck increase... I know this)

Put the outer layer (right side out) into the inner layer (right side in).  Line up the seams
TWO: Pin all the way around, lining up the raw edges.  Make sure the strap edges are even too and are tucked in out of the way between the outer and inner layers.

THREE:  Sew around the top edge making sure to go through all layers.  I probably use just a smidgen over 1/4" seams here to make sure I got it all. (I never claimed to be a good seamstress)

TURN IT
REMOVE the pins in the handle if you pinned a few extra (if not, you will find it... trust me).  Pull the right side of the bag through the opening in the liner.  OH MY GOSH isn't it looking cute!!

STITCH UP THE HOLE
I told you I was lazy... You can hand stitch this, but I use my blind hem foot and blind hem stitch the hole in the liner closed.  You may also use a tiny over the edge stitch.  If anyone is nosy enough to look, then let them look...
FINISH IT UP
Lightly press your tote and stitch around the top.  I use my 1/4" presser foot with guide to go around the edge.  Sometimes, I put two stitches by adding a regular stitch with my blind hem foot.  You may also use a decorative stitch.  Get crafty with it!
Add any decorations that you want to pin on or hand-sew on.

Send me a pic and let me know what you did!
I now grant you bragging rights!!


APPLIQUE DIRECTIONS  - if desired (these instructions are for steps two and three in the Sew the Outer Layer section)

ONE: Decide what you want... that's the hard part.  I have put initials as well as words on the totes.  You may want to applique flower stems and then sew on flowers.  The list is endless!

TWO:  I usually cut out the freezer paper in the approximate size I desire (lazy).  I then use the computer to find and size the image I want to applique.  Of course, you can draw your own images.
THREE: Sizing pictures - pressing control while using the scroll wheel on your mouse will increase/decrease size of browser)
Word Processing Program for Letters (words and initials) -- use the font size and zoom feature
FOUR: Tape the cut out freezer paper to your computer screen and draw off your design with a pencil on the matte side.


FIVE: Attach iron on stabilizer or fabric (with heat bond) to wrong side of fabric, then attach Heat N Bond on to the back of the stabilizer (or fabric), leave protective layer in place
Stabilizer attached to fabric my initials will be made from

SIX: Place freezer paper on top of the fabric's right side and iron to bond (protect your iron and ironing board with newspaper)

SEVEN: Cut out through all layers

EIGHT: Remove protective backing from Heat n Bond

NINE: Iron design onto bag (before attaching batting).  See MEASUREMENTS below.  Then attach batting.

TEN: Zigzag stitch around design, going through batting too.  For directions on how to applique, see Mug Rugs: A Picture Tutorial.  Just keep in mind, on my design here, the D is sewn last.  Always sew the top layer last.

MEASUREMENTS -- My seam is on the LEFT side of my bag.  The center of the completed bag front is 4" from the left raw edge.  I measure this and mark it with a vertical line.  I placed my initials 3" down from the raw edge of the top and centered them with the mark I made.

On the WINO. bag, I placed the letters 4 1/2" from the raw edge of the bottom and 2" from the raw edge of the top.  Centered each letter with a vertical line that I made 4" from the left raw edge.

Thank you for reading my tutorial.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  I welcome your feedback, links to your blogs, and pictures of your finished projects and ideas!!  Feel free to share, but please link back to my blog (that way my hard work, as well as the original designer's is recognized).

If you are interested in a PDF pattern, please let me know.



Saturday, April 19, 2014

This isn't your ordinary trellis

I have taken a semi-vow not to plant anything I can't eat. That is why I have food growing in my flower bed :). The vow can't be a full-blown vow, because I can't part with my orchids. Are they edible?



I love whimsy. I love having fun and finding things that are out of the ordinary. When I came across this metal dress form while "junking" with my sister-in-law, I knew I had to have it for my garden.  I planted some melting sugar snow peas and they needed some support. I thought, "Why not?" and went with it.
 Placing the form where I wanted it, I made a line in the dirt as a guide for planting. I planted the peas where they would be just under the back of the form. I then placed the form on top and used two electric fence posts to support the dress form, securing them together with zip ties. I should have painted the orange posts black, but didn't have any paint on hand.
This is how it turned out.

 Cute, huh? I hope to add some updated pictures as they grow and let you know if this is as practical as it is cute. Please share your ideas too!



Monday, April 14, 2014

Save the Dirt for the Seeds

It drives me crazy when dirt falls out the bottom of my pots when I am starting seeds. To remedy this, I just cut a little piece of paper towel, newspaper, or a coffee filter and pop it into the bottom before filling it with dirt. Problem solved!