Archive for the 'Sewing' Category

How to make a reusable grocery bag out of a busted umbrella

Reusable grocery bags are all the rage now.  There are so many pretty ones out there but I refuse to spend money to buy them when I can make them myself.  Here’s one I made out of a busted umbrella I found in the trash! 

1.  Remove the umbrella fabric from the frame (careful not to poke your eyes out).  Cut out each of the seams and you should have 8 triangle pieces.

Umbrella fabric

2.  Iron the pieces on a low setting.  Use a rotary cutter to neaten up the edges.

Umbrella triangles

3. Cut 2 of the triangles in half lengthwise.

half of triangle

4. Take 2 triangles and 2 of the half triangles you just cut and piece them into a rectangle.  The right angles of the half triangles should be on opposite corners of each other.

4 pieces for sides

5. Sew the pieces together and press.  Make another one.  These are the 2 sides of the bag.  Sew the 2 sides together (right sides facing each other) on 3 sides.  You should now only have 2 triangles left.

6.  Cut 2 strips (about 11″x3″) out of 1 of the remaining triangles.  Fold each strip in half and sew lengthwise.  Turn them inside out and press flat – these will be the handles.


7.  Fold the top edge of the bag down about an inch and a half on the wrong side of the bag and press (this will give the top of the bag a little more strength for the handles).  Center and attach the handles.  I squared out the bottom of the bag but you can leave it as is.  Turn the bag right side out.

8.  Now the really fancy reusable grocery bags out there have their own little pouches.  This is where the last piece of the triangle (the one with the velco tab!) comes in.  Cut a 6″x6″ square out of the triangle (I had to decrease the width after I took the picture). 

9.  Fold the square in half lengthwise with the velco tab inside and sew the side and bottom.  Turn right side out.

10.  Roll up your bag and stuff it in the pouch!

This bag is super light and it takes up no space at all.  Throw it in your backpack, car (I mean, bicycle), pocket, and you’ll have a waterproof bag for any occasion!

Mending torn bedsheets


I have 2 fitted sheets and they both have big “T” shaped tears in them.  Instead of chucking these and buying new sheets, I’ve decided to mend them.  I’m sure there are people out there who thinks it’s a waste of time but I think driving to the store and waiting in line at the cash register is a waste of my time (not to mention money) and I choose to spend my time living consciously, creatively, and simply.   I actually really enjoyed mending the sheets and now I like my sheets even more than before!  Here’s what I did:

Iron the sheet where the tear is and tape the tear with masking tape on the wrong side of the sheet to stabilize the fabric.

Cut out a piece of fabric that’s bigger than the tear with pinking shears.

Baste the fabric patch onto the right side of the sheet over the tear.

Zigzag stitch all around the patch.

Cut out the torn part from the back of the sheet with pinking shears to prevent further fraying of the tear.

Ask your dog to pose on the patched sheet.

And here’s the second sheet I patched.  The tear is huge because I kept on putting my foot through it when I’m sleeping.  The patches are so cute that I wish I didn’t have to cover them up with my comforter. 

My new curtains

It’s hard to take pictures of curtains during the day but here it is.  I bought yards and yards of this fabric from Joann’s 2-3 years ago and I finally made some curtains out of it.  All I did was hem the bottom and made a sleeve on top for the rod to go through.  Nothing fancy but it makes a big difference in how the room looks.

Another thing for a dollar

I picked up this little (vintage?) organizer for a buck at last weekend’s yard sale too.  I love all the little drawers that you can pull out.  This would be perfect for all the little sewing things like bobbins and embroidery needles that need a home.

Weekend fun

Hexagon Flowers

I haven’t been crafting much lately because I’ve been busy cleaning and organizing the FlyLady way but I did make more grandma’s flower garden pieces.  I think I’ll put these on some placemats now that I got rid of all the stuff that was on my dining table!

Some things I did this weekend:

Fixed friend’s toilet (now I don’t have to help her dig out an outhouse in the backyard)

Brought yard sale leftovers to the Goodwill and DID NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THE THRIFT STORE (this is definitely the NEW “less is more” me)

Hung out with friends at Malibu beach (a city beach in Boston).  Molly (the dog that doesn’t like most dogs) got along really well with a big yellow lab (hurray!) and they both went in the water.  Molly swims!

Gave Molly a bath (the dog seems to like creeks and beaches but doesn’t like baths or rain puddles…what’s up with that?)

Flower power

I just learned how to make these flower garden quilt pieces from a couple of tutorials here and here.  These can be addictive so take breaks and don’t kill your hands and wrists (they’re hand sewn).

First real quilt done!

Yay, I finally finished the baby quilt!  It’s been washed and dried and all I have to do now is try to pick out the animals hairs and I can give it to the expecting parents (the baby’s due in 1 week).

And here’ s the back of the quilt.  I used a flannel with sleeping kittens.  I think I have enough flannel left over to make another baby quilt which is perfect because another friend’s baby is due in September.

more crafty organization

I finally made a pocket wall board for my craft room.  I sewed pockets on canvas and stretched it over a corkboard.  Now I don’t have to turn the craft room upside down to look for my scissors!

New pillows


My old couch pillows were looking a little tired so I thought I’d make some new ones.  I really like the charcoal gray linen with Amy Butler’s print.  The solid gray pillow is quilted.

Quilting the baby quilt


Quilting a life sized quilt turns out to be quite different than quilting a little doll quilt.  I wasn’t patient enough to baste the quilt or pin it so I just started quilting.  It doesn’t help that I used a mix of cottons, poly cottons, and a flannel backing.  It seems like everything is stretching differently but so far so good.  Here’s what I’ve done with the quilt so far.

I’m using the blue painter’s tape as a guide.