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Monthly Archives: July 2012

  • Washcloth Toiletry Roll-Up

    July 23, 2012

    Okay, I admit that for years I've used a zip lock plastic bag to put my toothbrush in when I travel, but this is so much better. When I get home I can just toss the roll-up into the washing machine.

    Summer time around my house means visitors. I think it has something to do with the beach and Disneyland, but I could be wrong.  Some time ago I read an article on how to make your guests feel welcome by putting out a basket with items they may have forgotten to pack. I took the cue from my favorite hotel and include a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, body lotion, and shampoo. By including this washcloth roll-up, guests will be able to take home the items they want in a compact and convenient way, and hopefully, they will use it for future travel.

    Supplies: 12” square washcloth 25” of ribbon


    1. Use Fray Check or other seam sealant on the ends of the ribbon to keep it from raveling. Set aside to dry.

    2. Fold up the bottom edge 5” (This makes the finished project 7” high.)

    3. On the right hand edge place a pin  3 1/2” up from bottom.

    4. Fold the ribbon so one side is 11” long and the other is 14” long. Place the fold of the ribbon at the 3 1/2” mark (where the pin is) with the shorter length on top (this will provide the extra length needed to tie a bow somewhat centered when the kit is rolled up with items inside.)

    5. Stitch across the ribbon to secure it to the washcloth.

    6. Line up front and back side edges. Mark stitching lines at 3” intervals. The butterfly pins make it easy to see the 'marks.'

    7. Edge stitch both sides.

    8. Stitch at marked 3” interval lines.

    9. Place your toiletry items into the pockets.

    10. Roll up your washcloth starting at the left side and secure with the ribbon. This project reminds me of the purse organizer, but it is much faster and easier.

  • Shoe Bag

    July 17, 2012

    Shoe bags make wonderful gifts for travelers, including yourself. You can personalize them with an embroidery design, a monogram, or just a plain label such as “Tennies” in case you take 2 or more pairs and want to find a particular pair easily in your over-packed suitcase.

    Shoes! They go everywhere you go – unless you go barefoot. They are the things between the world and the bottoms of your feet. You probably wash the bottoms of your feet when you shower or take a bath (by the way, when you take a bath, just where are you taking it? - did you ask if it wants to go there?). Now the main question - how often do you wash or clean the bottoms of your shoes? Not often enough I'll bet. Anything that rubs against the bottoms of your shoes probably is worse off for that experience. You, as a person interested in sewing, can do something about that. You can sew up one or more shoe bags.

    Supplies: 36” x 18” piece of soft fabric – makes 2 bags 4 feet of cording or ribbon Serger (optional)

    Instructions: 1. Cut fabric into two 18” x 18” pieces, or size fabric to fit your own needs. Cut cording or ribbon at midpoint. If you make bigger bags, use longer pieces of cording or ribbon. You are on your own to determine the length of cording or ribbon needed. 2. Serge or clean finish one edge. No Serger? - Then clean finish an edge by folding it over 1/4” and top stitch.

    3. Fold the fabric at the middle of the only finished edge - right-sides together. 4. Serge or sew 3/8” from the edge along the two remaining unfinished edges, forming a bag.

    5. To create a casing for the ribbon or cording, fold the material at the opening of the bag wrong-sides together to create 5/8” overlap. Press. 6. If the side seam is serged, I find it easier to open a couple of stitches in the side seam before sewing the casing down. Open the stitches in long side of the bag near the fold, not the 5/8” fold over zone.

    7. Whether serged or sewn, make sure you can pass a safety pin through the narrow opening at the fold before sewing the casing down. 8. Sew the casing down with a stitch line about 1/2” from the folded edge of the bag opening.

    9. Fasten a safety pin through an end of the cording or ribbon, and insert the safety pin into the seam opening.

    10. Work the safety pin and cording or ribbon completely through the casing until the safety pin and end of the cording or ribbon come out of the seam opening. 11. Remove the safety pin. and tie a knot in each end of the cording or ribbon. 12. Even-up the ends of the cording or ribbon by placing a finger inside the bag at the opening and pulling on the cording or ribbon. This will center the tie and locate the far edge of the bag.

    13. Stitch across the casing where your finger is (remove finger before stitching). This will secure your cording or ribbon to prevent pull-out. 14. I can fit a pair of sandals in one bag, but for most shoes, I can only get one shoe in the bag. I did not make the bags bigger because I find it easier to find places for two smaller bags in my suitcase than to find a larger place for a single, larger bag that holds two shoes.

  • Snap Bag

    July 10, 2012

    When is a metal measuring tape not a measuring tape? ---- when it is used as a closure for a bag. These bags can be made almost any size, with or without straps.

    Supplies: 1 piece of outside fabric - size will vary depending on your desired finished bag dimensions 1 piece of inside fabric - cut 2 ½ inches longer than outside fabric 2 - 4” squares of fabric (to make prairie points for handles) 1 piece of light weight batting the size of your outside fabric ¾” wide metal measuring tape - 4 lengths, each 1/2” shorter than the finished width of bag Duct tape Spray adhesive Note: Inexpensive metal measuring tapes are available at discount stores such as 99¢ Store or Harbor Freight in 1/2”, 3/4” and 1” widths. Not seen very cheap are 1 1/2” widths. Priceless are metal measuring tapes found in toolboxes in your home – regardless of age or condition. Instructions: 1. Determine the size you want your finished bag to be. 2. Fabric for outside of bag: cut fabric twice the finished depth by the finished width plus ½” for seam allowances. Example - 6” deep x 7” wide would require a piece of fabric 12” x 7 ½”. 3. Fabric for inside of bag: cut fabric the same width as outside fabric but add  2 ½” to length.

    4. To make prairie points, fold the 4” square of fabric in half wrong-sides together. Press. 5. Fold each half of the 2” x 4” rectangle at a 45 degree angle so that the short side raw edges match the long side raw edges. Press. You have made what quilters call a prairie point. Set aside. 6. Cut 4 pieces of metal measuring tape, each 1/2” shorter than the finished width of bag. 7. Round the ends of the measuring tape pieces so there are no sharp corners. 8. Place 2 pieces together and tape ends with duct tape. (Note: if your fabric is very light weight and the bag relatively small, you can use only one piece of measuring tape in each side.) Set aside.

    9. Place fabric for inside of bag wrong-side up on ironing board and fold the ends that will become the bag opening over 1 ¼”. Press. 10. Open the pressed fold from the previous step and fold the raw edge over 1/4”. Press only the 1/4” fold. This will form a 1” pocket into which you will slide the measuring tape.

    11. Attach batting to the wrong side of outside fabric with spray adhesive. 12. Create a fabric sandwich with the inside fabric wrong-side up on the bottom and the outside fabric with batting facing down on top. Center the outside fabric on the longer piece of inside fabric, exposing both measuring tape pockets. 13. IF ADDING PRAIRIE POINTS - Center the prairie point at the middle of the raw edge of the outside fabric along the opening. Line up the raw edges of the prairie point and the outside fabric. Pin these two pieces together. DON'T follow the picture above.  Pin from the center of the outside-fabric towards the raw edge. Repeat for the other end of the sandwich.

    14. Fold the inside-fabric measuring tape pocket over the outside fabric raw edge (and prairie point if applicable) and pin. Top stitch close to the edge to form the pocket for the measuring tape pieces on both ends of the sandwich. 15. Fold fabric sandwich in half with outside-fabric halves together. 16. Sew a ¼” seam on ONE SIDE ONLY from the opening edge to the bottom. I start at the opening edge and sew to the sandwich fold so I know that the top edges will be even. 17. To prevent the fabric from raveling, use an overcast stitch on your machine or a serger. REMEMBER; sew only on the first side seam at this time. 18. Slide measuring tape pieces into BOTH pockets so the concave side is facing outward (towards the inside of the finished bag). NOTE – I am assuming that you don't want to announce to the world with a loud 'snap' that you are opening your bag. On the other hand, if you WANT to announce to the world that the bag is being opened, reverse the curve of the measuring tape pieces and the 'snap' will be like a burglar alarm going off.......   If you are a secret agent, follow the instructions as written so as not to draw attention to yourself when accessing the contents of the bag. 19. Sew the remaining side seam with a ¼” seam allowance and finish the edge the same as the other side. The measuring tape pieces were cut 1/2” shorter so you won’t hit them with your needle when sewing the side seam. 20. Turn bag right side out.

    You can 'reverse' the snap sound setting occasionally by turning the bag inside out when you switch from secret agent to armored truck guard with 'alarmed' money bags. You might want to neaten up the raw edges of the side seams a bit with a strip of fabric with fold-over edges sewn over the side seam raw edges.

  • Luggage Tag

    July 3, 2012

    Luggage tags are not just for your suitcase, they are also great to use on your computer case or sewing machine luggage. This project is great for using some of those small scraps of fabric hanging around your sewing area or lounging in your fabric stash.

    Supply List: 1 – 2” x 13 1/2” cotton fabric for strap 2 – 3 1/2” x 6 1/2” cotton fabric for tag 2 – 3” x 6” fusible interfacing 1 – 3” x 4 1/2” piece of clear vinyl

    Sewing Instructions:

    1. Fold strap fabric in half lengthwise wrong-sides together and finger press. 2. Open flat and fold each long edge to the center fold line. 3. Re-fold at the center line fold.

    4. Edge stitch close to the folded edges. Set aside. 5. For both pieces of tag fabric, place the fusible interfacing 1/4” in from sides and flush with the top edge on the wrong-side of tag fabric. Fuse in place. 6. On one of the 3 1/2” x 6 1/2” tag fabric pieces, make a mark 3/4” along the top and side from each of the top corners. 7. Draw a diagonal line connecting the marks at each corner. 8. Stack the tag fabric pieces (top edges together) and cut off the corners along the marked lines.

    9. Press 1/2” bottom edge to wrong side. 10. Fold the strap, raw ends together. Center the raw ends of the strap loop on the right side of the front tag fabric piece and stitch in place using a scant 1/4” seam allowance. 11. Place the back and front tag fabric pieces right-sides together. Make sure the strap is sandwiched between the front and the back fabric. 12. Sew around the tag leaving the bottom open for turning. 13. Turn the sandwich right side out - pulling on strap will help. Push out the corners. Press flat.

    14. Top-stitch close to the edge around all the sides of the tag. This will close the bottom opening.

    15. Center the vinyl on the tag and sew around three sides, leaving the side closest to the loop open. Start and end the stitching past the edge of the vinyl. 16. I used painters tape to hold the vinyl in place while stitching. I stitched through the tape. It was easy to remove.

    17. Loop strap around handle of bag, then slip tag through loop. 18. Insert your form of ID in the vinyl pocket.

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