Easy Sew Grocery Bag

Large Reusable Grocery Bag

My niece asked if I could sew her some reusable grocery bags. She didn’t like the ones you buy at the grocery store. I don’t blame her. They are thin and the handles constantly rip off. I decided to try making some that would hold up way better than store bought cheapies.

I found some checkered canvas on sale for $7.99 a yard so I grabbed it.

One bag takes quite a bit of fabric.

2 outer pieces at 20″ x 21″

2 inner pieces at 20″ x 21″

2 pieces the handles at 5″ x 22″

The 21″ is the height.

Optional – 7″ x 13″ iron-on stabilizer for the bottom.

I used a light canvas for the outside and handles and a quilter’s cotton for the inside. 

First, I washed and dried the fabric. Wouldn’t it be nice if fabric was already washed and dried before we purchased it? I swear I lose a few inches of fabric to shrinkage after washing it and then I have to iron it.

Cut the fabric.

Put the right sides together of the outer fabric and sew either a quarter inch or half inch seam along the bottom. I did a quarter inch but I think a half inch might have been easier because the next step is to iron the seam open.

Iron the seam open.

Iron seam open

Optional – Place the stabilizer, with the rough side down, centered onto the bottom so the seam is in the center and iron it on. I could not get it to stick all the way down no matter how much I tried with my iron so I ended up sewing it down on the sides. I was so annoyed by this that I forgot to take a photo.

Sew the sides closed.

The next part is tricky.  Fold the corners of the bottom on each side into triangles. They will measure about 3 ish inches.

Draw a line across and pin. If you used a stabilizer, the line is the outer edge of the stabilizer.

Sew over the line.

Stabilizer and corners

Cut the triangles off about a half inch from the seam.

Put the right sides together of the inner fabric and sew the sides and bottom.

The liner does not use a stabilizer so you will gave to measure the corners to match what you did on the bottom of the outer fabric. Mark it, pin it and sew it. Then cut the corners off.

Cut corner off

Fold under the top of both the liner and outer bag an inch and iron.

Make the handles

Iron the fabric for the handles lengthwise in half.

Unfold it and iron each side towards the middle and then fold it all in half.

Fabric for handles
Fold in half
Fold sides to middle fold

Sew down each side of each handle as close to the edge as possible.

Sew down each side

Measure 6″ in from each side of the inner bag and mark it. Pin the straps on the insides of the marks. Do this on the inside where the top is ironed under.

Pin on handles

Sew a square with an X on each side. It’s hard to see in the picture.

Square with X

Do the same with the other strap in the other side.

With wrong sides facing, put the inner bag inside the other. Pin around the top, matching seams.

Sew close to the edge all the way around. I sewed 1/8 inch and then did a zigzag stitch.

I think it turned out pretty well.

Finished bag

Non-Slip Hangers

I thought I had a great idea to make my hangers non-slip. I was going to glue the rubbery shelf liner onto my hangers with rubber cement but I discovered something better by accident.

I cut a piece of shelf liner and glued it onto one side of my hanger. I put rubber cement on the other side but became distracted with something else so I left it. A few hours later, the shelf liner hadn’t dried but the other side was dry and had the perfect texture to hold on my garments.

I decided to just use rubber cement by itself.

How easy is that? I just painted on rubber cement on each side of the hangers and let it dry. My shirts stayed put.

DIY Christmas Card with Window

Why buy a card for less than a dollar when you can spend a ton of money and time making your own?

Because I love handmade gifts and appreciate when someone goes through the effort to make a card.

Card making is something that I have never been able to do well but I am determined to improve.

I used my Cricut but I am sure you could just cut out the shapes if you don’t have one. I made the window frame on Inkscape with basic shapes.

Here’s what I used.

Cardstock – I think it all was 60lb (not sure where they get that weight) but I’m not really sure because it didn’t say on the package. I just guessed.

9″ x 5″ red, plaid or any color. I made a bunch of different colors. The cut out was centered on the right. It measures 2.83″ x 3.41″. The size was determined by the size of the window frame because it had to be the right size for it to be glued over it.

4″ x 3.37 blue for the scene. Again, this could be any blue or even black.

3.37″ x 3.82 White for the window frame.

Pieces of the card

After I cut the pieces out, I used a rubber stamp and white paint to stamp and then paint the scene.

Rubber stamp
Painted scene

I let it fry and glued it all together. I always get glue everywhere. No matter how much I try, I cannot keep the glue from making a mess. I have tried glue dots but that was a disaster.

I added some embellishments on front. I bought them at Michael’s.

Front of card

I printed out a snazzy saying on my printer and cut it to size. It probably would have looked better with a border.

Add a quote

I did a different spin on the card for my daughter and her two boys. They love the Sans and Papyrus characters so I put that as the creepy scene.

Papyrus and Sans

I find card making is a lot harder than it looks.

Dr. Seuss Scarf

This scarf has Cat in the Hat red and white stripes but the quote is from Horton Hears a Who.

This started out as a simple red and white scarf but then I learned in a Cricut group that infusible ink can be used on fleece so I had to add a Dr. Seuss quote.

Quote from Horton Hears a Who

Cut out 5 white strips 16″ x 6″.

Cut out 4 red strips 16″ x 6″.

Cut out 2 red strips 16″ x 8″ for ends (fringe).

I used my Cricut and wrote out the quote in four colors and then sent them to cut. This was the hardest and most frustrating part of this scarf. My Cricut has been acting weird lately so it wastes vinyl and infusible ink. Infusible ink sheets are expensive. I finally was able to get it all cut out and then I pressed the words onto the white fleece.

I sewed all the strips together, folded it lengthwise with the right sides facing each other and sewed the side closed.

I turned it inside out and sewed both ends closed. I sewed across each red end piece a quarter inch from the seam.

I cut one inch wide strips for fringe on the end red pieces.

Dr. Seuss Scarf

I think this is one of my favorite things I have ever made and it was simple to make.

Making Harry Potter Inspired Fleece Scarves

Years ago, I crocheted a Harry Potter scarf for one of my grandsons. He wore it until it started falling apart. He’s 13 now and still asks me to make him another one but I cannot get into crocheting lately so I decided to make one out of fleece instead. I decided to make Harry Potter themed scarves for three of my grandsons. The 13 year-old likes Gryffindor. The 14 (almost 15) year-old likes Slytherin and the 6 year-old has yet to get onto the series so he’s getting Hufflepuff. I wanted to do Ravenclaw but couldn’t find the colors at the fabric store.

I usually don’t do a list of materials because I fly by the seat of my pants when sewing and crafting and make it up as I go but this one is pretty simple.

* Polar Fleece in the colors you want to make the scarf. It can be any fleece, not just polar fleece. I bought mine at Joann Fabrics for $3.88 a yard. They call it blizzard fleece.

* Matching thread

* Some kind of ruler to use for measuring and cutting. I used my 9 1/2″ square ruler.

* A rotary cutter or scissors

* A sewing machine

* A sew-on patch (optional) I ordered four from Amazon. All four cost $16.99.

And, of course, the obligatory colorful words for when you mess up or poke yourself with a pin. Some of my favorites are “By Zeus’s Beard” and “Mother Jumper Cables”.

I started by cutting the selvage off of the fleece.

I want the width of the scarves to be between 7 and 8″ and it needs to be doubled over for a number of reasons. One, is to make it super warm. Two, is it will hide all the seams. Hmmm…I guess there are just two reasons. I cut the fleece 16″ wide. My widest ruler is 9 1/2″ so I folded the fabric over and cut it on the fold at 8″. When opened, it would measure 16 inches. I cut all the way down.

I bought a yard of each fabric except for the yellow which I bought a yard and a half so the strips ended up being 16″ by 36″ except the yellow which was longer.

Cut 16″ wide strips

The folded strips will look like this.

Folded strips

I cut out all the colors. I had to work on this while the 15 year-old was at school because he lives with me.

All the colors

Next, I had to cut the strips down to the individual stripes. I had to look at quite a few Harry Potter pictures to try to figure out the height of each stripe. I determined 5 1/2 inches looked about right so I cut the strips down into 6″ pieces. I kept the fleece folded over to make it easier. So they were 5 1/2″ tall by 16″ wide.

Scarves are typically 5 feet in length so doing the math, I figured I needed 5 of each color but I had to include fringe so this is how I cut them.

Gryffindor

5 gold/yellow at 6″

4 maroon/reddish at 6″

There needs to be fringe so I cut two pieces (one for each end) 8″. I cut half inch strips 6 inches up.

2 marron/reddish at 8″ for the fringe at the end.

Cut stripes and end pieces for fringe

I did the same for the other scarves. For Hufflepuff, I used Black as the fringe and for Slytherin, I used green as the fringe.

Now, sew the strips together right sides together Start with the fringe piece and alternate colors. End with the other fringe piece.

Fold it in half lengthways so the messy seams are on the outside. Match each stripe and pin then sew down the length to where the fringe will be.

Turn right side out and topstitch down each side and a little above where the fringe will be which will close that end.

Cut fringe to about a half inch to the seam.

Place the house emblem somewhere near the bottom and it’s finished.

Harry Potter House Scarves

Making a Padded Tablet Case

I learned a lot of things not to do on this project. I’m making two for two of my grandsons and the second one will be much better so I hope one grandchild doesn’t get upset that his looks a little different.

First, let me apologize for not taking photos of the first few steps. I just plain forgot.

I measured their tablets last time they were here. 10 1/2″ by 7″.

I wanted it roomy enough so I cut 2 dark blue pieces of fabric at 12″ by 16″.

I cut a piece of batting the same size.

I placed both pieces of fabric on top of the batting (there wasn’t a right side) and sewed around all the edges, leaving  a space large enough on one of the long sides so I could turn in inside out.

Padded piece

I pinned the side where I turned it inside out.

Outer Pocket

Next, I cut a piece of checkered fabric 12″ x 7″ and a dark blue in a little smaller.

Mistake #1 – I should have cut both pieces the same size. My thought was that I was going to fold all the sides under of the checkered part and didn’t want bulk but that wasn’t the greatest idea.

Zipper

I centered the dark blue fabric onto the right side of the checkered fabric and drew out a long rectangle with a line in the center. I had a 7″ zipper so I made the rectangle big enough for it to fit.

Draw a rectangle

I sewed over the white lines.

Mistake #2 – I should have drawn the rectangle on the checkered side so it matched the lines.

I used a seam ripper to cut a line in the center, making sure not to cut through the end seams.

I pulled the dark blue fabric through the hole and ironed it flat. This is when I realized it looked all crooked. There might have been cursing.

Zipper opening

I put the zipper under the fabric so the right side showed and the pull tabby thingy mcgoober was at the end. Peek a boo!

Zipper

It looks all wonky. 😭

I folded the fabric under, mitering the corners, and ironed it.

Fold under

Then I pinned it onto the quilted piece.

Sew pocket onto padded piece

I folded it and pinned on the zipper. I opened up the zipper to make it easier to sew. I used a 14″ zipper because it was the only one I had that would match.

Mistake #3 – I should have made zipper tabs for each end of the zipper and cut it down to size. I have made zipper pouches before and should have known this.

It was hard sewing this onto the bulky padded piece. My sewing machine doesn’t like sewing thicker fabric, despite its claims, which is the reason I bought it in the first place. Actually, my boyfriend surprised me with it after researching machines that would sew through thick layers. It kept slipping and bunching.

Open zipper
Zipper

I made the strap. I cut a 35″ x 3″ strip, folded it in half lengthwise and sewed it. I turned it inside out and ironed it.

Strap

Mistake #4 – Not thinking out exactly how the straps would be placed. I had thought I could turn the bag inside out and sew the strap on the sides but that didn’t work. How would the strap get outside? This is where I should have sewn the strap in three pieces or used D rings.

Because I couldn’t figure out the simple solution, I ended up sewing the sides closed from the outside. I sandwiched the straps in between the seams. I was tired, hangry (I’m diabetic so when I get hungry, I get grumpy or angry so we call it hangry) and my back was aching because I had done a lot of other work that morning. My mind was not functioning correctly. Oh well, my next one will look better.

Finished bag

I shared my mistakes so others will know what not to do. It also shows that I’m human and we are all prone to mistakes.

To err is human – to forgive is divine ~ Alexander Pope

DIY Pin Cushion on a Canister

I had to stop all my projects to make a pin cushion. The pin cushion I was using was lopsided and hard so every time I pulled a pin out while I was sewing, I had to stop to wrestle with the pin cushion. It was seriously messing with my flow. Now, you would think I would have a dozen pin cushions lying around but, strangely, I dont. My boyfriend had bought me this one because it was pink so I threw the old red tomato out. Plus, I wanted it pink. Below is a photo of the lopsided one.

Lopsided mater

I originally wanted to make a pin cushion on a short mason jar but I couldn’t find one so I picked up a small tin with candle melts in it made by Pioneer Woman at Walmart. I have to confess that I usually am not a fan of Puoneer Woman’s designs. My boyfriend calls them “butt ugly” but I liked this tin. The candles inside, however, are nostril hair burners. Those will be given away.

Inside, I found this round corrugated paper which was the perfect size to sit on top of the can. I used it to trace it onto cardboard and then cut the cardboard out.

Tin and round template

Next, I used a salad plate to trace an 8″ (ish) circle onto flannel. I didn’t have pink felt.

Use plate as template

I cut it out and set my sewing machine to its longest stitch length then sewed all the way around. I did not lock the first or last stitch and left the strings long.

Sew long stitches around

I then pulled one of the strings and gathered it all the way around

Gather

I used batting and stuffed it.

Stuffing

I added a small wad of steel wool. I heard that it keeps the needles sharp.

Add steel wool

Then I added more batting until it was overstuffed and tied the loose threads together. I snipped off the thread.

Super stuffed

I glued the cardboard on the bottom with a glue gun. I cursed a little when I burned my finger.

Glue cardboard on bottom

I found a green button and sewed it onto the cushion. I poked it right up through the cardboard. Of course, I poked myself a few times before I grabbed a thimble. I sewed as tight as I could without breaking the thread.

Sew button onto the cushion

Finally, I hit glued it to the lid of the tin and poked my pins into it.

Finished!

Now, I can go complete my other projects without struggling with a lopsided mater.

I can store more pins inside the tin.

Making a Tiered Dress for Plus-Sized Women

So, I have this dress that I love because it is all flowy and makes me feel feminine. I found it in Arizona when my sugar plum and I went to celebrate his mom’s 80th birthday. Arizona, unlike Oregon, has tons of cute dresses everywhere. Oregon has things like flannels and hunting vests. I’m kidding…kinda.

The dress was washed with something purple last time so it is dingy now. Anyone know how to get the dingy out?

I looked online for the brand and couldn’t find anything like this dress so I decided to make one.

I chose five different fabrics. One for the top part, one for the lining and three for the ruffles. I wanted three ruffles instead of four because I didn’t want it to be as long as the original dress.

I started by folding the top of the dress in half and tracing it. One thing that I noticed was the front and the back are exactly the same. Usually the back is wider than the front and the front is lower but this dress is exactly the same. I traced it and left a seam allowance of a little over a quarter inch on the shoulders and the bottom. The dress is getting baggy on me because I have lost thirty pounds since I bought it so I didn’t leave a seam allowance on the sides. I didn’t have any butcher paper so I used a paper grocery bag.

Trace the top

I used the cut out pattern to cut out four pieces of fabric on the fold, two for the outer front and back and two for the lining front and back.

Pattern

cutting my fabric

Next, I measured the width and length of each ruffle. I measured the bottom of each ruffle because the top would have been gathered. I came up 7″ by 66″, 8″ by 90″ and 9″ by 140″. GREAT DROOLING MONKEYS! That’s a lot of fabric! I cut them out. I had to sew some of them together to get the entire length.

I should have sewed the outter all together and the inner all together and then connected them but I was chatting away with my honey bunches of O’s and sewed the front outter and liner together and then the back the same way and then sewed them all together. Oh well. I top stitched around the neck.

Sewing lining to outside

Next, I made the belt casing. I measured it at an inch and a half wide by 52″ but I cut it out at 3″ by 52″ because the back part has elastic in it and the only elastic I had was one and a half inches. I wanted the casing to be wide enough to fit it. I cut a 20″ piece of elastic. I cut two pieces out, one in the witchy fabric and one in black and sewed them together front sides facing. I turned it inside out and ironed it.

belt or elastic casing

Now, I had a little dilemna. The original dress has the elastic in the back and it seemed to be separate from the ties in the front like the casing might have been separate. I did not want to go through all that so I sewed the ties to each end of the elastic and threaded it all through the casing. I know. I know. It probably wasnt how it is supposed to be done but it worked.

Sew the ties to each side of the elastic

My next dilemna was that the original dress had button holes so the ties could come out of the casing but that would have required more forethought than I had given it so I just sewed the ends nicely together and kept a little hole for the ties.

Sew top and bottom, leaving a space for ties

Then I sewed the casing to the top part.

finished top part of the dress

Next, I sewed all the tiers into loops. Then, I used the longest length on my sewing machine (5) and sewed all the way around the top. I pulled the bottom string and slid the fabric down to make it ruffle. Do this very carefully so you do not break the thread. My mom taught me to sew three loose lines and pull the bottom three threads to make a ruffle but I’m lazy so I didn’t. I would have regretted not doing that if the thread would have broken.

Make the ruffles

I pinned the first ruffle to the bottom of the casing, right sides facing and ruffled side on top. Then I sewed the other ruffles onto the dress.

I tried it on before I hemmed it and decided two things. The top was too big under the armpits so I took it in about an inch on each side in a V shape. And I didn’t like the length. It would have been perfect but I had to hem it and it would have hit just below my knee which would have made me look more squatty than I already am.

I added 225″ of tulle to the bottom. Tulle is a witch to work with. The feed dogs want to tear it all up so I had to make sure the fabric side was down when I sewed the tulle ruffle onto the bottom ruffle. I top stitched it but from the bottom. I guess that isn’t really a top stitch but it served the purpose of a top stitch. One good thing about tulle is that you don’t have to hem it because it doesn’t shred on the edge.

Finished Tier Dress

I really should have showed it to you while it was on me. This photo just does not do it justice. I’m just really camera shy.

Rant about shopping for plus-sized clothing!

Shopping for a plus-sized dress can be a nightmare. It is easier to find cute styles for plus-sized women today than it was ten years ago but they are still expensive and the selection is limited.

Let me share a not so pleasant experience from a few years ago when I needed a dress for my niece’s wedding.

It started out with going to the mall. I hit Torrid, a store with trendy plus-sized clothes. They had cute clothes but not much for a Spring wedding. The one dress that I liked was $180. It was basically a simple long cotton dress with wide shoulder straps but I was not going to pay that much for something I could make for a quarter of the price.

So, it was off to the other stores that might have something suitable. We (my sweetie and I) hit JC Penney. We walked through the store and couldn’t find the plus-size section. I asked someone and they told me it is upstairs with the bedspreads and towels. I felt like they were hiding the shameful big girl clothes from the world, lest they offend someone. We rode the escalator up and looked at their sparse selection. All the patterns looked like Jackson Pollock threw up all over them and the styles were not appealing.

We headed to the other end of the mall to Macy’s. We stopped in Forever 21 where the 23ish looking saleswoman sneered at me when I asked if they had a plus-sized section. She told me they have a few things in the back corner and then she ignored me. They had a few larges but nothing plus-sized so we headed to Macy’s.

Macy’s hides their plus-sized section way in the back. Their selection was pretty good but there weren’t many dresses. The one dress I liked was yellow and I cannot wear yellow with my skin tone.

The message these retailers are sending is not flattering to curvier women. It’s not very smart because one in three women are overweight, according to the data I Googled. They’re missing out on a big market.

Steampunk Mixed Media Book Cover

When I say “mixed media”, I really mean it. This cover used chipboard, clay, metal pieces, plastic, foam sheets and more.

I like Steampunk because I can use my imagination and found objects. A lot of the pieces on this cover came from an old microwave we had in our garage.

I based my design off of a design I saw on Pinterest by Ola Khomenok. Here’s the link to her video – https://mixedmediaplace.blogspot.com/2018/02/steampunk-canvas-tutorial-by-ola.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+MixedMediaPlace+(Mixed+Media+Place)&m=1

Ola used pieces she bought. I did not, mainly because I’m cheap. I cut chipboard for the first time on my Cricut to make the hot air balloon. I couldn’t make one with the gears already on it because the Cricut won’t cut intricate designs out of chipboard.  I decided to just design the carcass of the air balloon and then glue gears all over it.

Chipboard with gears glued to it

IT TOOK FOREVER TO CUT ON THE CRICUT! Just for the hot air balloon, a lock, a gear, Roman numerals and a circle, it took over three hours to cut. It estimated that it needed 24 passes. It also ruined my mat because it cut into it. I actually stopped it around the 13th cut because I needed to go to bed. It was cut all the way through so ai don’t know why the Cricut thought it wasn’t complete.

Chipboard pieces

I was going to cut a few more pieces from chipboard but decided to try cutting foam sheets instead, thinking it would be faster and easier. NOPE! The Cricut tore the pieces up. I managed to save a lock, a star and a bicycle link out of the mess.

Clay Pieces- I have always wondered where everyone was getting their little copper pipes for their designs. I discovered a mold for pipes. Isn’t that the coolest ever?

Mold
Clay pipes

I cut out the heart with a cookie cutter and stuck tiny gears in it.

I was going to use a 6″ by 8″ book but decided my design was too big so I used an old binder I had.

I painted it black with gesso and started arranging my pieces.

Arranging pieces

Notice the metal piece under the hot air balloon? That’s from the microwave. There is a motherboard or whatever it is called with a fuse and a few other pieces I used too.

I painted almost everything with black gesso and then just started highlighting everything with metalic paints in gold, silver and copper. I used a chestnut brown to imitate rust. I used a metalic green for the motherboard thingy and the star and metalic coral on the heart.

Close up

It was fun to make.

Next, I’m going to make a cover for my genealogy research.

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