Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stroller Bag!

You have to love Pinterest. I get so many ideas on there that there is absolutely no way for me to keep up. Like, for example, this Convertible Stroller Bag over at Make It And Love It.

Of course, being me, I made a few changes.

First off, I wanted it to have a more structured bottom. So I decided to add a bottom panel and side panels. Note: You need to convert the measurements of the front and back panels if you want the flap to fit exactly. I made my front and back panels too big, so there are slight openings on either end. Handy when you need to reach in quickly, not so much for aesthetics!

Use 1/2" seam allowance all around unless otherwise specified. Be warned, about halfway through the tutorial I will use steps from the original tutorial that can be found here with a few changes because of the other structural changes I have made. This means that there are no pictures because I don't want to take those from the original author. Please reference the original tutorial for pictures (she does not number her steps, so look closely)

1 yard each of a heavy home dec fabric, coordinating cotton fabric, and medium weight interfacing (I use Pellon SF101)
3/8 yard fusible peltex
1/2 yard extra wide velcro
6 Heavy Duty Snaps (they come in a kit with the tool and 7 snaps for about $8 at Joann's)
4 purse feet


1) Cut your panels:

From Exterior Fabric:                                   From Interior Fabric:                From Interfacing:
2 12X17.5 pieces (front and back)               Same as Exterior                      Same as Exterior
2 12X6 pieces (side panels)
1 17.5X6 piece (bottom panel)                     From Peltex:                             From Velcro
1 17.5X14.5 piece (flap)                              2 5X16.5 (for bottom)              1 15 inch piece
1 43X3.25 piece (long strap)                                                                        1 3 inch piece
2 10.5X3.25 pieces (short straps)

2) Fuse your two peltex pieces together following manufacturer's instructions.

3) Fuse Interfacing to all corresponding exterior fabric pieces EXCEPT for the bottom panel.

4) Center your fused peltex pieces on your exterior fabric bottom panel. Place the bottom interfacing piece over the peltex, fusible side down, and fuse in place, thus securing the peltex. Attach the 4 purse feet following package directions (don't get too close to the edge, you still have to sew it!

5) Take one side panel and the front panel of you exterior fabric. Sew right sides together along the 12" side. Then use a serger (or a zig zag stitch) and sew over the edge, reinforcing the seam.

6) Repeat step 5 with the other side panel. Attach the back panel on the other side of the side panels.

7) Repeat steps 5 and 6 with your interior fabric.

8) Attach your bottom panel. Take the exterior bottom panel and, right sides together, pin to the exterior sides/front/back panels. Now carefully sew around the perimeter, being careful not to sew through the peltex. Reinforce with a zig zag stitch. (I didn't to that, but should have) Clip your corners.

9)  Place the two Flap pieces together with right sides together, then sew along the sides (14.5 inches) and the bottom (one of the 17.5 inch sides).  Leave the top open. Clip your bottom corners.

10) Then turn the bag flap right side out, poke out the corner and then press flat.  Then top-stitch around the 3 sides, making a seam about an 1/8 of an inch from the outer edge.

11) Then sew the two long Strap pieces together along the sides and one end, with right sides together.  Then sew each shorter piece together with its matching piece of lining, with right sides together.  Again, sew along the sides and one end.  Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance. 

12) Then trim each corner on the one end of each strap piece, turn right side out, and press flat.  Then top-stitch around the 3 sides, making a seam about an 1/8 of an inch from the outer edge.

13) Take one of the short straps and place it face up on top of the long piece, which is also facing up. Match up raw ends.

14) Then turn the two straps over and line up the exact middle of the straps up with the middle of one of your side panels on the bag.  The right side of the fabric will be facing the right side of the bag exterior fabric.

15) And instead of lining up the upper edges of the bag opening and the raw edges of the two straps, raise the straps up about a half inch above the edge of the bag opening and then pin in place, making sure the center of the strap is still lined up with that center side seam of the bag.

16) Then attach the other short strap to the other side seam of the bag, raising the strap above the top edge of the bag by about a 1/2 inch.  Make sure to have right sides together and center the strap on the other side panel.

17) Next, grab your bag flap, turn it over, and attach it to the back of the bag with pins along the top……placing right sides together.  Make sure to match up the raw edges of the bag flap (the un-sewn edges) with the raw edge of the bag.  And also be sure to center the bag flap between the two side panels, along the back of the bag.

18) Once your straps and bag flap are all securely pinned into place, drop your bag down inside of the lining.  At this point, your bag is right side out and your lining is inside out……..making the two fabrics rights sides together after you drop it down inside

19) Line up the seams and the top raw edges, and pin it into place all the way around the bag.

20) Sew all the way around the top, securing the straps and bag flap into place but leave about a 10 inch opening along the front side, opposite the bag flap.  Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

21) Then turn the bag right side out, pulling it out through that hole that you left (this is a little difficult with the peltex, but possible..  Then fold the raw edges of the opening down towards the inside of the opening hole, a 1/2 inch.  Pin into place.  Then iron flat all the way around the bag opening.

22) Top-stitch around the top opening of the bag, making a seam about an 1/8 of an inch from the upper edge.  Even continue sewing all the way around to the back of the bag, keeping the back seam flat and in place.

23) Feel for the extra 1/2 inch of fabric you left on the side straps that is now on the interior of the bag. On both straps sew a rectangle with an 'X' in it to reinforce the strap's attachment to the bag.

24) Add two snaps (female side) to the base of each of the short straps……and the male side of the snaps to the other end of the short straps. Hint: You want the short snaps to attach to themselves so that they can be hung from your stroller handles.

25) Then on the long piece, add two male snap pieces to the end.  Then on the short piece (that is on the opposite side of the long piece), add the female sides of these snaps about 4 1/2 inches from the end.  Then place the 3 inch section of  wide velcro along the underside of the long strap and then on the front side of the short strap (between the snaps).  This will give the strap extra strength when being used as a messenger bag. Hint: on the long strap place the velcro on the lining side, on the short strap place it on the exterior fabric side.

26) Lastly, add the 15 inch section of velcro to the under side of the bag flap and then along the front of the bag. (I put the rough side of the velcro on the front of the bag. May I suggest not doing this? It's killing my leg if the bag is facing the wrong way and the velcro isn't lined up. I'm going to have to change it).

All done!!!

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

T-Shirt Quilt...time consuming, but not hard

My younger sister and I saved all of our "event" T-shirts from childhood through college. We both had quite a few...her more than me (no idea why, we both did a ton of stuff). So my mom decided that she wanted to make quilts out of them. Great idea in theory for her, but not in practice. My mom does not sew a lot, and a quilt is a BIG project. So she asked me to finish them. The problem with mine was that she had already cut out the logos from the T-shirts...and not very evenly. So mine is a bit wonky. And then my dog decided that she didn't like one particular shirt on there, and tore a hole in it (no worries, I repaired it). 

Then she asked me to make my sister's quilt. I had gotten better at sewing at this point (3 years later) and decided to go for it. My quilt is sister's ended up being king-sized. Here is the finished product: 

The dang thing took up my entire living room! I love this idea though, it's a nice, practical way to make a great keepsake out of your old T-shirts. 

You just need a ton of shirts, enough fabric to make the backing, pre-packaged batting for the center, and an extra yard or two of fabric for the spacing (I like putting a decorative spacing between the panels, I think it makes it look more polished). 

Then you decide if you want your spacers more decorative, like my triangles here, or just squares. Cut your pieces (measuring everything to see how it will be laid out, and start sewing! I suggest sewing each row together first, then the rows get sewn together. 

Your front is done! If you have to piece the back together (you probably will) do that next. Then lay the backing out (wrong side up), put the batting on top of it, and then the top on that (right side up. Pin pin pin!!! You want that puppy as secured as possible!

Now you can sew the three layers together...using whatever stitching pattern you want. I usually use a grid pattern or a starburst pattern, I'm not great with decorative stitching. 

Using the last of your fabric, create a double bias tape to go around the edge. Place it, pin it, and sew it in place. You're done!

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wipeable Pocket Bibs

The inspiration for these comes from a) needing pocket bibs to catch all the food that falls into my son's lap b) wanting said bibs to be cute, yet easily wiped down so that I'm not constantly washing bibs and c) Don't want to pay bookoo bucks for one measily bib!

So, here it is. This bib is oversized...9 inches wide and 13 inches long. Great for little ones who (like mine) manage to get food EVERYWHERE!



  • Fat quarter (18"x22") of LAMINATED cotton (aka oilcloth)
  • Fat quarter coordinating cotton (you can also use more laminated cotton for this step, there will be enough in your initial fat quarter)
  • Coordinating double fold bias tape
  • Coordinating button (or velcro, if you prefer)
  • Buttonhole foot (if using button)
  • Blue painter's tape (Not Pictured). You will stick this to your presser foot (and possibly the "table" of your machine)
  • Bib Pattern:  Print Pattern Here*
*Note...the pattern SHOULD measure 4.5" X 8" on the first page, and 4.5" X 5"/4"on the second. The top of the bib will be slightly wider (to go over the shoulders).

Please check out these Tips for Working with Laminated Fabric before starting this project!


1) Cut out your pattern pieces. (sorry about the cruddy curves, I had trouble with those). The main panel of the bib (with the dashed bottom edge) needs to be taped to the bottom of the main panel (with the dashed top edge). The pocket is an entity all it's own!

2) Cut 1 Main Panel from the Laminated Fabric, the Contrast Fabric, and the Batting. Cut 2 Pockets from the Laminated Fabric.*
*Note: if you need to change the size of the neck opening, do so. I have made it to fit my 14-month-old son with a little room to spare, but it is easily customizable!

3) Place your Laminated and Contrast fabric wrong sides together, with the batting in between.*

*If you choose to use laminated fabric on both sides, like I did, lay some blue painter's tape on the floor of your sewing machine and on the bottom of the presser foot. It will help to prevent sticking!)
Example of painter's tape on table of machine
Painter's tape on presser foot
4) Place your two pocket pieces wrong sides together, baste in place
I used bobby pins to hold my pieces together. If you choose to
use traditional pins, do so within the seam allowance (approximately
1/4" from edge) since they will leave visible holes
5) Place a section of bias tape along the top edge of the pocket; sew in place.
6) Now line your pocket up on the bottom of the bib (make sure it is on the laminated fabric, not your contrast. Baste in place along sides and bottom edge of the pocket and around the entire bib.

7) Use Bias Tape to finish all edges around bib.*
*Go SLOWLY with the bias tape, especially if you get the narrowest type like I did. I will be the first to tell you that I SUCK at bias tape, and had more than a few areas that I had to redo so that I caught all of the fabric within the narrow strip! If you don't catch all of the fabric, you will get water inside the bib when you wipe it down (or wash it)...and that will leave a brown mark on the laminated cotton. Ick.

8) On one "tab" that will go behind baby's neck, create a button hole with your button hole foot (or place the "rough" velcro on the laminated fabric, I was going to do a button but got lazy and did velcro instead)

9) On other "tab, sew on your button (or sew on the "soft" side of velcro to the contrast fabric side)

All Done! 

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Coming Soon: August 2012 Edition

End of Summer! Here we go...

August 8, 2012: Wipeable Pocket Bibs

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jack & Jill Shortalls

Recently I volunteered as a tester for Amy over at Naptime Crafters. She has a wonderful shop called the Peekaboo Pattern Shop where she sells patterns to make cute outfits and accessories for your baby/toddler/child. She also has a facebook page, through which she asks for testers for her patterns before they go into the shop (a great way to work out the bugs!).

Because she has a daughter, she doesn't do a ton of patterns for boys, so when the Jack & Jill Shortall pattern came up for testing, I jumped all over it! After all, I'm always game to make things for my son, and when I can get the pattern for free, I'll take it! I consider myself to be a good enough sewer that any "problem areas" are usually things I can fix. Granted, I don't make clothing a whole lot, but the only way to get better is to try!!!

So, here are the pictures of my completed shortalls...if you like what you see, check out the Peekaboo Pattern Shop for more great patterns!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bedazzled Dog "Couch" Tutorial

I've been wanting to make my girls a special bed for a while now. I really wanted them to have a dog "couch," but you have to pay an arm and a leg to buy one, and even then I couldn't find anything that was what I really wanted.

I apologize in advance for the pictures...for some reason I had a lot of trouble with them. Blogger wouldn't let me center them as I wanted to, and it rotated some of them (even though they are not rotated on my computer). Sorry!

As many of you know, a huge trend right now is to make dog beds out of old suitcases. I personally love this idea, and wanted to give it a try! This will work with any hard-sided suitcase, all you need is a little elbow grease (and some true determination at points). This way you get exactly what you want, and if you have some of the materials at home it can be pretty darn cheap...other than the polyfill (because I made my bolsters big) I spent about $35. Here you go!

Materials Needed
  • Old, hard-sided suitcase (I picked up an old Samsonite Suitcase for less than $3 at the local Goodwill)
  • Painter's Tape
  • Tarp
  • Rustoleum Spray Paint for Plastic in color that you want the suitcase to be (only works if you have plastic suitcase, otherwise get the type of paint needed for the material you are working with)
  • Drill w/assortment of drill bits
  • Piece of scrap wood...I had a 2x2 sheet of 1/2" birch
  • Wood screws & coordinating washers in the appropriate size (mine were 1/4" in diameter and the screws were 1" of under $2 for the hardware) (If adding feet)
  • Ratchet set or screwdriver (you can also use your drill with a screwdriver bit). These are used to attach the feet.
  • Bun Feet...finished or unfinished. (optional, but I think it adds a nice touch. I found mine at This Shop on Etsy for $12 for all 4)
  • Hot Glue Gun and Embellishments (optional)
  • Home Decor Fabric...I purchased 2 yards
  • Coordinating Thread
  • Sewing Machine, Rotary Cutter, Mat, etc (Your normal sewing tools)
  • Zipper Foot
  • Coordinating Zipper that is the approximate width of the suitcase (longer is better than shorter, even though my bed was only 25" wide I got a 30" zipper)
  • Polyfill (for the size I made, 44-56oz is plenty)
  • Fabric Glue (spray or liquid) (optional)
  • 2 layers foam (2" thick) cut to the size of the inside of your suitcase
  • Batting cut to same size as foam (optional)...cut as many layers as you want, or skip it altogether!
For the purposes of this tutorial, RST=Right Sides Together and WST=Wrong Sides Together. Right Side refers to the side of the fabric with the print showing, and Wrong Side is the back side of the fabric without the print.

Also, 1/2" seam allowances throughout.

  1. Take apart your suitcase. This varies with the type of fasteners used. Some suitcases simply use pins, others rivets. You'll just have to see what the fastener is and remove accordingly. My Samsonite Suitcase was held together with small rivets, which I drilled out. Here's a How-To
  2. Now take your painter's tape and tape off any parts of the suitcase that you do NOT want painted. I chose to keep my metal parts in-tact (at least the ones that would show on the finished product). 
  3. In a WELL VENTILATED AREA, spread out your tarp. Lay your suitcase on the tarp, and paint away! Make sure to use even strokes, and let dry approximately 10 minutes in between coats. I used 2 coats, and let dry 24 hours before continuing on to step 4. I also painted my Bun Feet and the inside of my suitcase at the same time.
  4. Now it's time to drill some holes! I love drilling. It's therapeutic for me. Because you will be drilling through plastic, you need to be careful, because it can crack. Thanks to my father, I had no trouble! He gave me the following tips: 

    • Once you have marked where your holes will be, lay your piece of wood on a firm surface (Think packed dirt, NOT Concrete). 
    • On top of the wood, place your want the flat surface directly on the wood, so you will be drilling on the INSIDE of the suitcase. 
    • When you know the size bit you need, mark your places and carefully drill through the plastic...the wood is there to stabilize and to "catch" the bit once you break through. I followed those tips and was 100% successful!                                                      
  5. Now, if you want to, embellish your feet, the suitcase, whatever! I chose to hot-glue some "bling" to the feet and the handle of the suitcase. 
  6. Once the embellishment is done, you can attach your feet. Place the feet where you want them, thread the screw through the washer, then through the suitcase (from the inside) and tighten into the feet. My screws required a ratchet set, but whatever works for you is fine! I also purchased bun feet with pre-drilled holes, so that determined the size of screws and washers I needed as well as how large the holes I drilled in the suitcase were.       
  7. On to Sewing!!! For this you will need to cut 14 different pieces: top and bottom, front (think long and skinny), 2 sides, above & below zipper in back (2 pieces), either side of zipper (2 pieces), 2 circles (for ends of the bolster), 2 bolster sides, and one bolster back. My Foam (cut to fit into my suitcase) is 25"x19", so the dimensions I used are:

    • Top & Bottom: 2 26"x20"
    • Front: 1 5"x26"
    • Sides: 2 5"x20"
    • Above & Below Zipper: 35"x2 3/4"
    • Either Side of Zipper: 2 5"x5"
    • Bolster Ends: 2 6"x6" (cut into a 6" diameter circle)
    • Bolster Sides: 2 18 7/8"x20"
    • Bolster Back: 1 18 7/8"x26"
    • You want your pieces for the main portion of the bed to be 1" bigger in each direction than the width/length of the bed itself. For Example: If your bed is going to measure 25X19X4 (as mine will be), then my top and bottom panels should be cut to be 26X20 and my side panels should be 20X5. For the bolster, you want the ends to be 1" Wider than the desired DIAMETER of the bolster, and the sides/back of the bolster should be 1" longer than the side of the bed it is attaching to and 1" wider than the CIRCUMFERENCE of the bolster end. So, if I want my bolster to be 5" in diameter, I should cut the bolster ends to be 6" in diameter, and my bolster sides should be about 18 7/8" wide by 20" long (because that is how long the sides of the bed are +1"). To calculate the width of the bolster sides/back cut, plug in the diameter of your bolster end HERE and it will tell you.
  8. Install Zipper: I always do this first because it will help to determine whether or not the side panels need to be shortened (if your zipper is longer than the back). 
    • Fold the small pieces of fabric for either end of the zipper in half, RST. Press a crease with your finger.
    •  Open them back up, and place the crease as CLOSE as possible to either end of the zipper with the Right Side of the fabric against the zipper (see picture).                       
    •  Sew in place along the crease: re-fold. You should now have the right side of the fabric showing on the outside of the zipper (see picture). 
    •  Now take the piece that goes above and the zipper and place it, right side down, on top of the zipper, lining up the top edge with the top of the zipper fabric. 
    • Using a zipper foot, sew in place, making sure your stitches are as close to the zipper itself as possible. 
    • Now fold it so that the right side is showing and you can see the zipper. Topstitch it in place if you wish...but it is not necessary.
    • Repeat with the piece that goes below the zipper...Viola! Your zipper is installed.                                                      
  9. Now...does your zipper go beyond the ends of your foam? Mine did, because the back of my foam was 25" and my zipper was 30". It's ok, it actually makes inserting the foam easier. Shorten your side panels accordingly so that (after your "ring" is sewn) the total circumference of the ring equals the length of all 4 sides of your foam combined.
  10. Sorry the pic is sideways, I don't know why...
  11. With RST, attach the side panels to either end of the installed zipper. Attach the front panel in the same manner; you should now have a "ring" with the zipper along one long edge, with all fabric right sides on the same side.                                                                                                  
  12. Now time to attach the BOTTOM panel. With RST, pin the "ring" to the bottom panel and sew in place.                                                      
  13. Before attaching the top panel, we need to make the bolster. 
    • First, take the bolster sides and pin them, RST, to the bolster back along the short ends (one on either end of the bolster back). The only reason I have these as separate pieces is that I didn't want to have to buy extra yardage to get the full length of the bolster. 
    • Stitch in place. 
    • Now...RST, pin the bolster ends to the free ends of  the bolster sides, matching raw edges. Stitch in place. You will now have one LONG raw edge still exposed. 
  14. Attaching the bolster and top panel to the constructed "couch" bottom. This can get a little tricky.

    • First, turn your bolster right side out. Match the long raw edge of the bolster to the raw edge of the constructed bottom, RST (you want the right sides of the bottom on the "inside" of the couch). Make sure the bolster back is on the same edge as the zipper.                                                             
    • Now place the top panel on top of all of it, RST (all you will see at this point are the wrong sides of the constructed bottom and the wrong side of the top).                                                           
    • On the sides and back of the couch, match ALL raw edges (bolster, bottom, and top). At the front you will match the raw edges of the top and bottom, but not the bolster because it shouldn't be there! 
    • Starting in the back, stitch around, leaving a 6" gap open in the back (you will need this to stuff the bolster).                                                   
  15. If you would like, top stitch around the end panel of the bolster and along the front (top stitching the top panel and front panel together). This gives it a more "finished" and "couchy" look, but is by no means required!                                                          
  16. Now...Turn it Right Side Out through the zipper. Stuff your bolster with Poly Fill to the desired fullness...turn wrong side out again. Pin the opening that you stuffed the bolster through shut and stitch shut.  (I had to hand stitch this because all the stuffing wouldn't allow me to put the bed in the sewing machine...and once I was done I wished I had stuffed it more!
  17. IF you choose, use the fabric glue to seal the two pieces of foam together. Top with the layer(s) of can glue these to the top if you wish.
  18. Turn Right Side Out (through the zipper), insert foam into the body of the "couch," and place the couch in your finished suitcase. It should fit snugly. All Done!

Please feel free to message me with any questions. I've done the best I could to add pictures to help, but I know that sometimes the pictures just aren't enough and more explanation is necessary. Thanks!

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