Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sewing with Laminate

One of my custom orders was for a diaper bag made out of laminated fabric. I have never sewn with laminate before and it was quite the experience! I love how the bag turned out...it will be very easy to keep clean. It had 2 front pockets and 2 side pockets...a large back zip pocket and 5 interior pockets. I also made the strap adjustable for over the shoulder or messenger style wear.

as you can see from this picture it is super shiny!

While I was sewing this I came up with a few tips. I simply used the same pattern that I would for any bag I make but there are some adjustments that need to be made. 

1. I still interfaced all pieces of the bag with Thermolam. This actually helped me sew it as the laminated part was on the inside as I sewed. 

2. To sew a top stitch I had to use my walking foot. If you don't have one it is well worth the investment to get it!!! 

3. I also had to increase my stitch length to 4. 

5. I had a heck of a time with my bottom thread having "gathers" as my thread was going too loosely through the machine for this type of sewing....I had to put tape on my spool to make it go through tighter. 

6. I did not have any problems with wrinkling like some people have stated. I even turned mine out and in a couple of times.  You can see in the photo that its not very wrinkly and looks good. I think the key here was that I interfaced everything. It gave it a good bit of support. 

7. This is a slow bag to make. Most times I can whip out a diaper bag in 2-3 hours....this one took about 5 to make. 

All in all I loved the laminate and there are so many fabulous prints in this fabric.....I cant wait to make more!!

♥ Christina

Friday, January 27, 2012

Adding a Hard Bottom to Your Bags

 I love a hard bottom on a bag...I think it adds a touch of polish not to mention helps it be more stable and durable. This tutorial is how I add a hard bottom to a simple tote bag. I have been doing it this way for awhile and I think its one of the simplest ways out there. 

For this tutorial I am assuming that you know how to make a simple bag. While this tutorial is easy to follow you do need to know how to make a basic bag to follow along. If you do not know how to make a basic bag Creative Little Daisy has a great tutorial on one. This picks up after you have cut out all your pieces and interfacing.

If you follow a basic bag pattern for a square bottom..you know that you need to cut a square out of the corners of your bag front and back like the picture below....for this bag I used a 2 inch square

Line up your front and back pieces and sew across the bottom. 

Open up the pieces and iron flat

Measure the front part of the notch 

and the long side part of the notch

Cut a piece of interfacing the same as your measurements.

Tip!! I always use Pellon #72 for my bag bottoms. It is double sided fusible and it is super stiff. For this tutorial I didn't have any so I used Pellon #71 It is one sided fusible. I just used two pieces...one on top of the other and put the fusible side to the outside on both. This works fine..but I still prefer the #72.

Cut a piece of your main bag fabric big enough to put the interfacing in the middle like below. Make sure you have at least 1 inch of fabric on the ends.

Fold over the sides and iron flat (this is where the fusible is so necessary!!)

On your bag pieces lay the hard bottom piece on top of your sewn line...making sure you center it up. Pin in place.

Sew down the sides of the bag twice...making sure your lines are nice and even as this will be seen on the bottom.

Tip!!!! I always use a #18 size needle when I make bags. I never have a problem going through all the layers this way!

Now you assemble the bag like a basic bag pattern...sewing down the sides

In a basic bag pattern you square off the corners and sew across...you do the same thing here...just make sure you pull the ends of the hard bottom fabric through your opening and smooth it out!

Sew across the bottom!

Tip!!!! I never do a back and forth motion on this part....I have had my needle jam as there is alot to put through your machine. I simply sew across....pull out and start at the top again and sew across once more.  This adds durability without trying to shove everything back words.

Do the same thing to the other side and you will have a nice square bottom.

Turn everything right side out and there you have it......a hard bottom for your bag. Just simply finish your bag the way you normally would. 

I hope this helps...if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask!! 

♥ Christina

PS: Next week I will be sharing a tutorial on how to install a inset zipper to the top of your bag like this

I am adding this to Amy's Sew and Tell Friday....check it out!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Make Your Own Febreeze!!

I absolutely love the smell of febreeze!!! Love, love, love it! But I hate the cost. With my boys (seriously why do boys stink so much?!) I go through it alot. A year ago I found the best recipe ever...it was how to make your own febreeze! I wish I had bookmarked the site...it had the best house tips! I have used this for awhile and I absolutely love it...I will never go back to febreeze!!

All you need is a spray bottle (use an old febreeze bottle if you have one) baking soda and fabric softner. You can pick any softner you like. I love Suavitel its cheap and the vanilla/lavender scent is divine! Let your nose be your guide..lol!
To make your own febreeze (this will make a 16oz bottle)

1 Tablespoon baking soda
1/8 cup Fabric Softner

Add this to your bottle and then fill with warm water to the top. Thats it!!! Shake and spray!!!!

So, so easy isn't it? I find that the scent from this lasts a lot longer than normal febreeze and my house smells so good...even with the boys ;)

♥ Christina

PS: Let me know if you try it!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

20 Minutes and 20 Dollars for a years worth of Laundry Soap!!

Laundry detergent....the necessary evil. I have 3 very active boys and a hardworking husband...I feel like I am constantly buying laundry detergent. Or trying to find coupons so I can get it cheap. I knew there had to be a better way! I started researching laundry detergent and was shocked at what I found...there are TONS of chemicals in them. They put dye in... then they put chemicals in to remove the dye to sell it to you dye free! I also found that they diluted the detergent so much that it takes alot of it to wash your clothes.  No wonder I go through it so quickly.

While searching the internet I also found tons of recipes to make your own detergent. Alot of people do it this way. The Duggars make all their own laundry detergent. So I decided to give it a try. I used some of what I found and added my own little steps....so here is my recipe...

1 Box of Borax 4lbs
1 Box of Arm and Hammer Soda 4lbs
1 Box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda 3lbs
1 Tub OxyClean 3lbs
3 bars Fls-Naptha Soap
1 Bottle of essential oil (your choice of smell)

Take a big bucket (I used a left over bucket from a previous purchase of laundry detergent) and pour all the powder ingredients into it.

 Take the 3 bars of Fels-Naptha and grate them. This is the only hard part...I promise :)

 Dump this into the bucket with the powder...
Take a big spoon and mix it all together.

Now this is the part that I do differently than most...I don't like "chunky" powder...I wanted mine to look more like store bought and I also wanted to scent it. So I took 5 cups at a time and put it in my blender..I also added 15 drops of the essential oil. Then I blended it til it was smooth. I forgot to take a pic of the oil...I got it a health food store and it was lavender/vanilla.

You can see by the photo below the difference. The left side has not been blended yet and the right side has. It just gives it a smoother texture. And it smells YUMMY!!!

I store the detergent in the bucket and use what I need for my jar. No one would ever guess that I made it myself!!!

Now the best part of all this is that you only use 1 TABLESPOON!!!  per load. For heavily soiled clothes like jeans I use 2. I absolutely love the stuff. I have not had any problems with my clothes not being cleaned and they definitely smell great!  My jar holds 10 cups of detergent...that 160 tablespoons....or 160 loads of wash! I still have another 20 cups in the bucket!!! WOW~!~
Total cost for all the ingredients were
Total time
20 minutes

If you make your own or have any different recipes let me know...I would love to hear from you!


PS: Check back tomorrow for how I make my own Febreeze!!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ball Jar Makeovers

Happy 2012 everyone!!! I hope the holidays treated you all with lots of love and laughter! I was so busy that mine just flew by. As always with the start of a new year I am on a major clean/organization spree. Time to get rid of the old and ring in the new! Since I am organizing (once again) my sewing area I thought I would share a little tutorial on how to "dress" up your ball jars. I love any and all crafts that involve ball or mason jars. They work fantastic for storage and it adds a bit of whimsy to any area. These are amazingly easy to do...all you need is

Spray paint...any color will do. I ALWAYS have black spray paint on hand so that is what I used. Modpodge...if you have never used this stuff...RUN to the nearest store and get some. It has UNLIMITED uses!!! Cardboard...you can use cereal boxes or anything else you have on hand and scraps of fabric.
And of course Ball Jars with the lids and rings. That's it!

Remove the rings and spray paint them the color of your choice.

While these are drying take a lid and trace it on your cardboard.

 Cut your circles out and set aside

Pick out scraps of fabric that you like and want to use and trace the lid on it.

Once you have all your circles cut out this is what you will end up with.

Now for the fun part....spread a good layer of modpodge on top of the cardboard piece

Do as the picture says...lol

 Once the modpodge has dried gently push it into your Ball Jar ring. The cardboard will keep it nice and tight inside it. On some of them I glue them in but most of the time I don't.

and voila!!! Your newly decorated ball jar!

I absolutely love how they look on my shelf. They hold all my sewing essentials and look cute too!

 These are so addicting....have fun making them...betcha' cant make just one ♥
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 ♥ Christina