Sewing Bags for my Linen Closet

Projects, household

I had been storing my bedding/linens in large plastic bins with lids. These were all stacked-up doing a balancing act in a reset in the hall. All was fine until I actually needed something from one of these bins. As luck would have it, the something needed was usually in the bottom bin. So, all the bins had to be taken down from the stack. What a back breaking task! I’d had enough!

This is where it helps to have a handy husband. My husband made shelves and really good shelves at that. Built-ins fit for a queen. (I’m the queen in this fairy tale.) Next came my part. I was through with the bins. I decided to sew lined bags made of linen. These I custom made to the size of the shelves and to the size of the linens going inside them. Some have zippers and some have draw-strings. Some are rectangular, some are barrel shaped which fit large comforters well. All are labeled with the contents with hand embroidery.

A drawstring ‘barrel’ shaped bag for a comforter.

Ah, it feels good for the linen closet to be organized at last! And, if we have an earthquake, I don’t have to worry about the bins toppling down.

As always, Happy Organizing!

DIY Pan Protectors Review

Projects

Tired of bowls banging together? Want to stack your pans but don’t want them scratched? DIY Pan Protectors to the rescue!

I found a Pattern for pan protectors and got to work. This is a fast and easy DIY project. I used scrap material and batting so the project did not cost me any extra money. Gotta love that!

First, I got the pattern template online at: https://sewverycrafty.com/how-to-make-fabric-pot-protectors/ . I cut out the material and batting, piled them together (material pieces with right sides together and batting on top) and stitched all three pieces together being sure to leave an opening for turning. After sewing and turning, I top-stitched the piece and stitched a circle in the center. It was ready to place inside the bowl. I am happy to say that the bowls no longer clanged together. Ah…silence.

I highly recommend these pan protectors. They definetly do the job and look nice as well. I am sure they can be resized (enlarged or reduced) if needing larger or smaller versions.

As always, Happy Sewing!

DIY Flatware Wrap Review

Projects

I was looking to make a portable flatware wrap. I wanted something that would not take up much space and that could easily be thrown into a bag and taken places. I find, when taking flatware to the beach or on a picnic, the flatware never really has a good means of transport. During these Covid times, when ordering take-out to take to a park or beach to eat, it is nice to be able to bring flatware that can actually cut the food without bending. Bringing reusable flatware along is also a good thing to help the environment by not using all that plastic.

I found the pattern at: https://www.bhg.com/crafts/sewing/how-to-make-diy-utensil-wraps/ . I LOVE this pattern SO much! It was incredibly easy to make. I was able to make it from scrap fabric I had around the house. The only item I had to purchase was the twill tape. So this cost me next to nothing to make and went together in very little time. Perfect solution!

The flatware is protected in the wrap and rolls up to a very compact size. I love this wrap! I am planning on making more for family members. These will make wonderful gifts!

As always, Happy Sewing!

DIY Travel Sewing Kit

Projects

My son is going off to college next month. I wanted him to have a little sewing kit to take with him, nothing fancy, just the necessities. However, everything I was finding was too feminine, too large, too expensive, or low quality. What’s a mom to do? DIY!

As a college student being stuffed into a small dorm room with two complete strangers, my son will have zero space. Every item brought has to be thought through and essential. While he did not think a sewing kit was essential, I thought he should have one in case he pops a button, or needs to make a quick repair. Better prepared than not I should think.

I had a small hinged tin that came with tea bags I had bought once. Perfect! It is even smaller than the Altoids tins (which would also work). It measures about 3 inches x 2 1/2 inches x 3/4 inches. Since I did not think he wanted the image that was on the tin, I made an artistic collage on top. Inside this tin, I have stuffed 8 bobbins that I wound with thread in colors to match most of his clothes, various sizes and shapes of buttons, safety pins, needles, and pins. I used the tiny plastic bags that contain buttons on new clothing to contain the bobbins and safety pins to keep them together. I cut a small square of felt to stick the pins and needles through. It turned out incredibly awesome if I do say so myself. Also, by doing it myself, I got to chose exactly what went inside and not have random useless items enclosed. The family concensus was that the DIY sewing kit was a thumbs up.

Other uses for a sewing kit this size would be: tucked inside a handbag, popped inside the glovebox of a car, packed for a vacation, etc…

The contents: Bobbins, buttons, safety pins, needle and pins
It all fits!

As always, Happy Sewing!

Using a Darning Loom

Projects

I came across this cute little darning loom to mend holes in socks. It can also be used to make patches in jeans or sweaters. The below picture shows my progress darning a sock.

The Katrinkles darning loom is very simple to use. As with everything these days, there are youtube videos to help guide the beginner. Basically, a disk is slipped inside the sock/garment to be darned. On the outside, the loom part is added and secured with a hair tie. Next the warp threads are put in by wrapping the threads around the teeth and taking a small stitch at the bottom of each row, past the hole that is being mending. Weaving is down under/over as always but at the end of each row the needle grabs a bit of the sock/garmet to secure.

I found the Kartinkles darning loom easy to use and the finish product turneded out nice and neat. Since I like weaving, it was a nice little something to do. The socks turned out much nicer than with needle and thread. I am planning on using it to repair some hand knitted socks that I made. Since I went to the effort of making them, I hate to have to toss them.

Since I bought my loom, (which was very recently), the company now carries them in different sizes. It also looks as though one can buy an extension piece if they already own a loom.

As always, Happy Mending!

Fair Isle Knitting – Not as Intimidating as it Looks

Projects

I have avoided Fair Isle Knitting all these years because it looked difficult. Multiple colors of yarns are used and charts need to be read, all making it seem very complicated. But as they say, looks can be deceiving.

If I could learn to skateboard, I figured I could learn to Fair Isle Knit. Turns out it only took me one sitting to learn Fair Isle Knitting. Much easier than skateboarding. I already had the basic skills I needed to do this type of knitting, the only thing stopping me was fear of the unknown.

To Fair Isle Knit, one needs to know how to knit, how to pearl, and how to read a chart. The rest is so simple that I feel silly for avoiding this technique for so long. Also, there are two types of knitting styles, English and Continental. While this technique can be used with just one of these styles of knitting, it is more efficient to use both styles at the same time. Doing so takes less time as the yarns do not cross and tangle.

I found easy directions for learning to Fair Isle Knit at: https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/fair-isle-stranded-knitting-2116385

Basically, a color is added to the knitting and then after using it, it is dropped and the other color is picked up and used. When picking up a different color the yarn goes under the last strand that has been dropped and knitted as normal. All this is done without cutting the yarn, the yarn is picked up when needed. Longer strands will form on the backs of the knitted piece (the pearl side) but the front of the piece (the knit side) will show the pattern.

To read a chart: The charts are made of squares. Each square represents a stitch. The charts are read from right to left on the knitted side and from left to right on the pearl side. The squares will be in different colors depending on the color of yarn to be used. So if there are two dark squares (let’s say dark=blue), one light square (let’s say light=pink), and three dark squares, one would knit two stitches in blue, then switch to pink and knit one pink, and then switch back to blue and knit three blue. All this is done without cutting the yarn, the yarn is picked up when needed.

Do not be afraid to try Fair Isle Knitting. It looks beautiful and is much easier than it looks.

As always, Happy Knitting!

Bodkins

Projects

What is a bodkin? A bodkin is something every seamstress should have in their sewing box. It’s a clever tool (that looks like a large needle without the point) used to pull elastic or drawstring through casings.

I had been attaching a safety pin to elastic and drawstring cording for years to help pull them through casings. While it worked, it was not the best way to go about it. The safety pin is short and hard to grap and pull through and can come undone (which has happened to me more than once) in the middle of the job.

I then came across bodkins and decided to order a set and see how they worked. The pair are different shapes. Pick the bodkin depending on the needs of the project. My set has a very flat, thin bodkin with two holes in different shapes and a thicker, rounded bodkin with one oblong hole.

For me, the magic lies in the amount of metal material there is to hold onto to be able to pull the elastic/drawstring through the casing. It is a much faster and smoother process than my safety pin technique and probably much safer as well. I suggest that the elastic/drawstring be knotted after threading through the bodkin, safety pinned, or stitched with a couple of hand stitches to secure it in place so that it does not come undone in the middle of the casing.

I am glad I came across the bodkin. It has sped-up my time threading materials through casings and made things a bit simplier for me.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Making Single Fold Bias Tape

Projects

I decided to make Simplicity’s pattern 4177, a simple Boho style blouse. The neckline called for 1/2″ single fold bias tape. Since I wanted to have my bias tape match my fabric, I set off to make my own bias tape. Good thing I had extra fabric.

To make bias tape, the fabric needs to be cut on the bias, a 45 degree angle from the selvage edge. This gives the fabric more stretch and can form to curves easier. By folding over the cut edge of the fabric to the selvage edge and then cutting along the fold line, the bias cut is made. From there, all cuts can be made parrallel to the bias cut in long strips. My bias was cut into one inch strips. Strips can be sewn together to reach the desired length.

fold side down to selvage edge- cut along angle

Once the strips are cut out, they are folded in half and pressed. For single fold bias tape, the sides are then brought in to meet the center fold and pressed. The tape is then pressed flat to erase the first center fold pressing.

A bit more work than picking up a package of the pre-made stuff but ever so worth it. For prints, such as I was using, a plain color would have looked “home made” and even though my top is home made I do not need to advertise the fact. If the pattern calls for bias tape that will show, be sure to purchase a bit more material to account for it if wishing to do it yourself.

As always, Happy Sewing!

Underlining a Garment

Projects

What is underlining and why bother with it? Underlining is refered to as pieces of lining fabric that are cut to the exact dimensions of the pattern pieces and sewn together as one piece. These underlining pieces are placed on the wrong side or back of the material pieces and are stitiched in place to form one piece. The pattern is then sewed as normal and the garment is fully lined.

I disovered underlining recently when wanting to line a dress I was working on. The fabric for the dress was on the thinner side and I would either need to line the dress or wear a slip. I decided to line the dress. However, lining involves making a seperate lining of the dress pattern and attaching it to the inside of the dress. This is like making two dresses. This seemed a lot of work and frankly, a bit intimidating to tell the truth. That is when I ran across the term underlining. Easy! This was for me!

So with underlining, as I stated earlier, one cuts out the pattern in the chosen material and then cuts out the pattern in a lining fabric. The lining fabric is sewn to the wrong side of the material pieces using long running stitches just outside the seam allowance so they will not be seen when the garment is sewn together. This can be done on the machine or by hand. I read that one gets a flatter, smoother outcome doing this process by hand, as bubbles can sometimes form when feeding two fabrics into the machine at the same time. Doing this by hand, one works flat on a table. This keeps the bubbles out. I have tried this both ways. I can say that it does work better by hand. “By hand!” one might whine. “That will take forever!” Oh contrar. The hand method actually does go by quite fast and does indeed give smoother results. If the piece is a garment, I would highly recommend doing this process by hand. I made bags, and sewed the underlining by machine and they were not as flat, but for these bags it did not matter.

So, if wanting a lined, professional looking garment, without the hassle of sewing and attaching a separate lining, why not give underlining a try. As always, Happy Sewing!

Hoppy Easter!

Projects

Easter seems a bit earlier this year. It is this coming Sunday. I am a bit late at getting my Easter decorations and baskets out. However, we are ready for the Easter bunny. After all, one is never too old for a few Easter treats.

Speaking of decorations, I am re-posting my Easter Diorama directions. This is one of my all time favorite decorations. One that is fun to make as an adult or along with children. Each one is unique and special.

https://anotherdaywithjuliehome.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=3114&action=edit&calypsoify=1&block-editor=1&frame-nonce=67f3f80b61&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com&environment-id=production&support_user&_support_token

Happy Easter!