Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Dog Food Bag Bag

Better known as the project from hell. 
First off, I will admit they turned out pretty cute, but it really wasn't easy getting to the end of this one!

In the beginning I was planning on doing an actual tutorial for this project.  In the end I realized that this was such a pain in the bum to sew I scrapped the tutorial idea.
 I started out with a  Boots and Barkley 20 pound dry dog food bag that was made out of a very heavy Tyvek - this is what made the project hard.  The tyvek was very hard to manipulate. 

I cut the bag open at the bottom and one side making a long rectangle and tried to wash the inside as best I could. (It still stinks a bit like dog food).  Then I cut the bag down to a slightly more manageable size and stitched it right sides together (using a denim needle) on two sides leaving the top open. 

I decided at the last minute to line the bag and since I had the perfect dog fabric in my stash that was the exact size I needed I decided to go for it.   I wanted a nice flat bottom on the bag, so I boxed the corners on both - the tyvek is stiff enough that the bags stand up on their own.

I decided to take the easy route and just stuffed the lining, wrong side out, into the bag that was right side out.  I stitched across the top edge to join the two together.  The tyvek was horribly hard to maneuver and I was so frustrated with it by this point I decided I didn't really care how the bag was sewn to the lining. 

For the handles I used the old seat belt straps that I had cut off one of our car seats when we converted it to a booster seat.  To cover up the edge of the bag (and in an attempt to make it look a little nicer) I added a strip of belt around the top edge of the bag.  What a pain!  Half way through I realized I really needed to turn the bag inside out to sew the strap on because I simply could not maneuver the bag under the needle any other way!  I am glad I added the strip.  It helped to cover up some of my messy stitching from attaching the lining and straps.

As you can see in the picture above I tried to serge the top edge.  BIG MISTAKE!  I think I killed the cutting blades on the machine and I am positive I need to change the needles now!  I am so sorry you poor innocent serger...  I also added some strips of double fold bias to the top edge in an attempt to cover the top edge.  I really should have added it before I attached the handles.

In the end I got a big thumbs up from Ran.   I think the bag took me over 2 hours to make.  And since I really am a glutton for punishment I decided to make a second bag. 

The second one was a TON easier.  I cut out the heart shape from the front of the bag, a matching piece for back and a strip for bottom/sides of the bag.  I sewed this one wrong sides together.   I then covered the seams and top edge with some bias tape.  I used a single strip of webbing for the handle and no lining on this smaller one.

This project was definitely a challenge!  It was not easy to do, but I do like the end result.  We now have two very one of a kind bags!  I think what has been the hardest for me is admitting that the stitching on the bags is far from perfect.  The lines are very wonky and they big one is kind of Frankensteined together.  I really underestimated how hard this material was going to be to sew.  But it truly is a Trash to Treasure!

Now, how long do you think it will take till my hands stop smelling like dog food?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Priceless Treasures from Nagymama

We always called my Great Grandmother, Marczella Szabo, Nagymama.  She was quite a women!  She was a very accomplished crocheter.  She would make doilies, tablecloths, and the most amazing lace you have ever seen.  She actually crocheted borders for the edges of all her kitchen shelves.  We were lucky to find those and they are still in excellent condition.  I brought them home to incorporate them into some dresses.

When I was a child I had a quilt that she made me.  My brother found two quilts that she made in the 40's tucked away in a closet.

This is one that she made for my Aunt Norma in 1948.  Thankfully she signed it!  The applique is absolutely perfect and all the quilting was done by hand and is amazing!

The second quilt is even more amazing!  They are appliqued magnolias dogwood flowers and the center of each flower is done with French knots.  It is a very large quilt.  I didn't measure it yet, but I think it must be at least a queen size.  This one was made in 1946.

As you can see from the photos there is quite a bit of yellowing on this one.  Before I can even think about cleaning it I have to repair it.  The entire binding needs to be replaced.  At some point my grandmother was able to find fabric that was an exact match and stored it with the quilt.  I will be putting my new bias tape maker to good use to repair the binding.  I am a bit nervous about working on such an old and important quilt.  I think I will have to do some more binding before I tackle this job.

Both of these quilts are so amazing I wish I could take better pictures of them.  When the weather warms up a bit around here and all the mud and snow are gone I will try to get them outside for better photographs.

Treasures from Grandma Gizella

Over the Christmas vacation we hit the road for sunny and warm southern Florida.  We stayed with my brother in my Grandmother's old house in Dania Beach, that Great-Grandpa actually built.  It was a houseful!  Me, Marcus, & Ran, plus my parents and my youngest brother.  Not to mention his dog Duke.  All in the 2 bedroom house!

 It was a vacation, but we did a bit of cleaning while we were there.

One of the things we cleared out for my brother was the linen closet.  It was a treasure trove of wonders!  He told us we could take any of grandma's things that we wanted.  I think he was afraid to have all the vintage things, afraid they would get ruined by bugs or mice.

Here is a selection of what we found.

Poppy sheet set - I think Lily will get a pillowcase dress from these!

A beautiful cross-stitched linen hanky

Pillowcases with the most incredible cut work.
None of these photos do any justice to these lovely vintage linens.  I have yet to learn the finer points of photographing linens.

Check back later to see the most incredible find of the trip!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

He can sew too!

I love sewing for Ran.  He loves almost everything that I have made for him - the flannel overalls were not a very big hit last year.  When ever he goes to the fabric store with me he loves picking out fabric and deciding on what he would like me to make.

Over the past year I have slowly let him join in my sewing.  Usually it is for the more simple straight lines.  I usually guide the fabric while he does the pedal.

Well, back in October he had to do a project for his Kindergarten class that involved learning about a spooky animal and making something to share with the class.  He chose to learn about bats.  When I asked him what he wanted to make - a poster, a collage, a drawing - his quick response was that he wanted to make a stuffed animal!

So I found some felt and drew out the shapes on it for him.  He did all the cutting himself and all the sewing & stuffing himself.  We glued the fangs & eyes on.

I am so proud of my little man. 

He did such a good job and had so much fun making his new buddy Fang.

Week #3 Trash to Treasure. . .

 Challenge: Make something out of something you would normally throw away
My Project: Tote from a dog food bag

Heather is making a fabric salvage bag

While I have always wanted to try a salvage project, when she told me the challenge this week I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Last year when we still had two big dogs I would buy our dog food in 20 pound bags from Target.  The bags were made out of a heavy tyvec like material.  While my hubby thought I was a bit nuts, I immediately knew I had to save them to make something. I think Ran will love having a library tote with a cute doggie on it. 

Here are my two old bags, all ready to be turned into useful bags.   

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Sewing Room

I thought I should take few minutes to introduce you to my sewing space.  I call it a sewing room, but it really is just a corner of our basement.  Pre-child I had an actual sewing ROOM - but we figured that Ran deserved a room of his own, so my basement sewing space was born. 

As I mentioned in my last post. My main sewing machine is a Bernina Record 930 Electronic. 

While I inherited it from my grandmother, it was actually the machine that I grew up sewing on.  My mother had the exact same machine - she actually bought it  for my grandmother at the same time she bought hers.  It is an amazing machine.  The thing weighs a ton - approximately 50 pounds!

Luckily I have another machine that is more portable - an Alnita Graffiti, that my mom got me when I was in high school
I also have a Singer 4 thread serger.  Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.
I have slowly been taking over more and more of the basement.  That is partly caused by an ever expanding fabric stash.  I got a text yesterday from a friends asking if I wanted to make a trip to the Fabric Warehouse.  As much as I really wanted to, I had to pass.  I have enough fabric in my stash that I really shouldn't need to buy any for YEARS!

I also have two full size filing cabinets that are almost completely full of various sewing, quilting and cross stitch patterns. 
  I also have a nice size bookshelf in another part of the basement full of all my craft books.  I have sewing, quilting, soap making, jewelry and candle making books.  I have developed a bit of an addiction to quilting book and softie making books.  In fact I made a new years resolution this year that I wasn't allowed to buy any new sewing books until I made at least one thing from each of my existing sewing books.  Well, I have already broken that resolution and it is only January 16th.  Earlier this week I picked up a copy of Sandi Henderson's Sewing Bits & Pieces.  I think I will try to do some reviews on some of my books at a later date. 
Sewing Bits and Pieces: 35 Projects Using Fabric Scraps

Some of my other sewing treasures include: a folding cutting table, a new Simplicity bias tape maker, an antique dress form and two Ott Lights.

2 Birds - 1 Stone

Or, how to accomplish two challenges with one project.

Week 1s challenge we were supposed to be sewing Lil Blue Boo's Sienna Dress.  I never was able to actually get off my bum and do any sewing. 

Week 2s challenge - Sewing with fleece and using a decorative stitch.  Heather is making fleece hats for her munchkin.  My son however has hats galore - probably enough to wear a different one every day for a month.

Hmmm, now how do I combine my first two challenges into one? 
AHHH!! Make a fleece Sienna Dress!

Now for the decorative stitching.  My wonderful machine, circa 1984, is a Bernina Record 930 Electronic that I inherited from my dear grandmother Gizella Nagelvoort.   It has 26 different stitches to choose from.
I decided to use this one on the hem & sleeves.

I hope my dear little Lily Bean loves it!