Tag Archives: Sewing

Can I sew? Totes!

Can I say totes while being 30-something and sound cool? I’m guessing I can’t pull it off. But what can I pull off? Making a tote bag to haul my and Tyler’s stuff to work/daycare everyday. I was nervous about this project, but this might be the easiest one I’ve done so far…or I’m just getting better at sewing.

So first why a tote bag?  Well for the past 2 years or so I’ve been using a Menard’s reusable shopping bag.  They aren’t the most stylish bags I’ve ever seen, and on top of that I’ve hauled so much stuff in them that both of our bags now have holes in them .  It was beyond time for a new bag.

My two fabrics.  The chevorn was for the inside and the teal flower print was for the outside.

My two fabrics. The chevron was for the inside and the teal flower print was for the outside.

I found a great tutorial just by Googling for tote bag sewing instructions.  Outside of cutting the 4 pieces of fabric for the body of the bag, it only took me about 3 hours to crank out the rest of this.  That may sound like a lot, but for a novice like me, it’s pretty good!  I decided that the 13.5″x14″ created in the tutorial was too small for me especially when I have to haul diapers to daycare. I increased the size to 17″x16.5″.  I unfortunately didn’t realize I was going to do this when I bought my fabric from Fabric.com, so I had to go back and order more.  Even with having to do that, I still only spent about $14.50 for the entire bag.  I don’t think I could have found a bag at the store for cheaper than that, so I think I finally saved money on a project!  If I’d ordered the right amount of fabric the first go around I would have saved significantly on the shipping too!

So I forgot to take pictures of all my steps because I got in such a zone once I started on the straps and was sewing it all together.  I’m pretty proud of this bag though.  I use it every single day, and I really like how it looks.  It actually looks like something I bought at a store.  I’m seriously considering making another one just for the fun of it.

My finished tote bag.  I didn't get a picture of the chevron on the inside, but it's there!

My finished tote bag. I didn’t get a picture of the chevron on the inside, but it’s there!

This is a project that I could definitely see giving as a gift or something like that. Everything else I’ve done, not so much. I’m definitely beginning to feel like I’m actually becoming a decent sewer though. I’m pretty proud of my progress since the middle of January. Now I need to figure out what to sew next! Any ideas?

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Finally Cushions!

Finally I have finished my chair cushions for our bar stools.  It only took a couple months.  They were busy months though.  At least that’s going to be my excuse.

First Eric and I went round and round about the fabric until we found this bamboo patterned fabric on Spoonflower.  Although it’s not multi-colored like I was hoping.  It does add a color to the room that certainly wasn’t there before.  I used this as my pattern for my cushions.  I made each cushion 15″x16″x3″ for mine.  The only features that were different from the online instructions was that I didn’t make the piping, and I didn’t put a handle on them to make them look more like chair cushions.  I got some foam cushions from Joann’s Fabric (that aren’t staying inflated all that well, but there’s a zipper so I can always replace it!).

Different stages of the cushion being made

Different stages of the cushion being made

The zipper was definitely the hardest part.  It is true that practice makes perfect though because the second one went a lot easier even though I had to rip some seams on the second one and go back and start parts again.  The online tutorial definitely had great directions for the zipper though.  It just took me awhile to get all the sewing lingo.

The chairs with their brand new cushions

The chairs with their brand new cushions

I think they turned out pretty well even though it was only my second sewing project.  I might still add some ties for the back so that the cushions don’t fall off, and Tyler can’t pull them off.  They’re done for now though!  I already have my fabric for my next sewing project.  I just have to find some time to start on them!

A Hobby Update

Other than hobbies related to Tyler’s birthday, I realized I hadn’t written about any other hobbies I’d been involved with lately.  I have had a little bit of time, specifically last weekend to do some baking and some sewing.  Unheard of to have that much time right?

Actually the baking came about because I made a cake to take into work last week, and accidentally bought the ingredients for the wrong cake.  Luckily I had all the ingredients for the one for work, but that meant I had all the ingredients for the other sitting around.  When Eric found out that it was hot chocolate bundt cake, he decided I needed to make it right away and even gave me extra time away from Tyler to make it.  It was pretty good.  I thought it was a little dry unlike the chocolate sour cream bundt cake for work.  Eric has eaten the majority of this cake (definitely unheard of!) although I have eaten my fair share.  The interesting thing about this cake is that it uses hot chocolate mix in the cake and the glaze.  I think you can definitely taste the mix in there.  It is an interesting cake.

Eric's Hot Chocolate Cake

Eric’s Hot Chocolate Cake

Also last weekend I started working on my next sewing project, our chair cushions.  I realized I need to do a zipper.  This was definitely not a beginner’s project, and I probably should have sat down and really thought it out a little more before I started cutting.  I “think” it will turn out ok though.  I’m itching to get started on it again, but haven’t really had time this week to go somewhere to buy a couple zippers.  Hopefully I’ll get one done this weekend, but that’s a pretty lofty goal at this point. I think I’ll just be happy if I get the zippers bought.

In other news, it’s only a week until Tyler’s birthday, and he’s walking a lot more.  I still haven’t caught it on video though.  Hopefully we’ll catch it this weekend since he’s been coming home pretty grumpy from daycare this week.  In their reports they tell me he’s doing a lot of walking though.  Sometimes even pants-less!  I’m definitely looking forward to the end of the work day tomorrow!  Yay Friday and Happy Weekend!

Weekend Away and a Birthday Pennant

It’s getting harder and harder to keep writing 2 posts a week!  Hopefully, by the end of this week things will calm down a little bit.  Although then we start gearing up for March, otherwise known as birthday month in this house!

Well my week away from Tyler has ended.  After my work trip to Ann Arbor , Eric and I left for a weekend in Galena with friends that Friday afternoon.  Eric’s mom came to stay with him.  We’re pretty lucky that both grandmas are so willing to come and watch him when we have something we really want to go do.  (My mom is coming up this Friday to watch Tyler while we go see Miranda and Dierks!  Can’t wait!)  Plus it’s good bonding time since Tyler doesn’t get to see his grandparents too much due to the distance.  It was the first time Eric’s been away from Tyler for more than 24 hours while obviously I’ve been away a bit more (Does that make me a bad mother?).  I was definitely looking forward to some time to sleep in and not take care of the baby for awhile.  It turned out pretty nice, and I think Eric enjoyed it more than he’s willing to admit even though we both did miss Tyler quite a bit.  When we got home Sunday afternoon, he was certainly happy to see us too, which is always nice too!  At least it helps us feel like we’re succeeding in this parenting thing currently.

This is another busy week although at least I’m home for this one though.  Besides the concert on Friday, there’s cake to make for work, plenty of household chores to catch up on from being gone so much, not to mention Tyler and Guster time.  I’m definitely ready for another weekend, and it’s only Tuesday!

After this week, we’ll be in full birthday planning mode I think.  We have made quite a bit of progress in this area though.  We ordered (or I should say Eric ordered while I was exercising) Tyler’s birthday presents last night, and on our drive home on Sunday, we figured out the menu for the family party on the 9th.   What I finished quite awhile ago is Tyler’s pennant for his party and his room.

Tyler's birthday puppy pennant

Tyler’s birthday puppy pennant

I used this tutorial to create the pennant.  I have to say my favorite part was sewing the triangles to the bias tape.  I found it much harder to keep a straight line when I was sewing the pieces of fabric together to make the triangles.  For my first sewing project, I think it turned out pretty well.  It was really simple.  I think a few good first sewing project definitely.  Hopefully Tyler will enjoy it as he gets older, and I think it’ll add some nice color to his room once his birthday is over.  I do wish I’d picked a little bit more colorful fabric, but since this was my first time actually choosing coordinating fabrics the blues work just fine.  Also, the puppies and bones on the fabric are just so cute too!

Detailed shot of the fabric used

Detailed shot of the fabric used

Well that’s where we stand with the birthday preparations at this point.  I think by the next time, I do a birthday post we’ll hopefully have had at least one party!

Sew-Sew Weekend

The last January weekend is in the books and with it our last free weekend for awhile.  My parents were supposed to come up on Sunday, but since there was a freezing rain advisory, we all decided it was best that they stay home.  Unfortunately, all the weather forecasters were wrong (well all the ones that I looked at anyway), so we cancelled their visit for no reason.  While I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to see them, we were pretty productive to make up for it.  Tyler was recovering from his busy busy week at daycare being a big kid, so he took two really good naps, and even slept in until 8am Sunday morning (completely unheard of…especially for a weekend!).  That meant Eric and I got to actually work on some of our hobbies as well as clean and cook for the week.

My brand new Brother sewing machine.

My brand new Brother sewing machine.

The best part was I finally got to try out my new sewing machine!  Eric worked on his beer brewing (it was bottling weekend at our house!) for an hour and a half, so I got the same amount of time to work with my sewing machine.  My first project is a simple project for Tyler’s birthday and later on decor for his room.

The blue puppy dog fabrics for my first project for Tyler.

The blue puppy dog fabrics for my first project for Tyler.

I figured out how to put thread on the bobbin and even thread the needle.  That was my Friday night once Tyler went to bed.  (I’m a party animal!) I was pretty proud of myself though!  It was a lot easier than I remember with my little toy sewing machine from when I was a kid.  Cutting the fabric was a lot of math and lining it up precisely to cut, which was my geometry for the day (or basic adding and subtracting, but geometry sounds fancier).  It was pretty easy with my awesome rotary fabric cutter and the self-healing mat to cut on with a ruler on it.

I’m certainly not the best sewer at this point.  I’m not even very good at straight lines, but I’m hoping that gets better with practice.  I really enjoyed it though, especially when I found the best speed for me to sew at to actually keep a fairly straight line.  Even though I’m not done with this project and I already have my fabric for my second project, I’m already trying to figure out what else I can do.

Hopefully I’ll have more time to work on my project, and I can share it soon.  I have to get it done in less than a month and a half for Tyler’s birthday, so I’ll have to find some time sometime soon!