Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Purposeful Sewing

Although there hasn't been a lot of mention of it here on the old blog, I have been sewing fairly regularly. I haven't written about it, because it's been mostly boring stuff like pillow covers and curtains.

Lately, I've noticed a definite mental shift about sewing. I find myself wanting to sew things I need, and not just things I think are pretty. I've really been focused on making things that serve a purpose, things I'll use on a daily basis.

With that in mind, here's some of what I've been making:

The first is this giant tote bag:

I had been wanting a big ol' bag. We go on so many little outings around here-fountain splashing, festivals, etc-I wanted a bag I could fill with all the necessary items and still have room for a towel, my camera, maybe even a change of clothes for the girl. Plus, I wanted it to be able to double as a shopping bag or library tote.

I didn't follow any pattern when I made it-I had an image in my mind of what I wanted it to look like and just sort of went with that. By some stroke of luck it came out looking exactly as I wanted. I love it when that happens. It's made from a heavy duty cotton and is fully lined with the same fabric so it's tough enough to withstand the girl's giant weekly library haul.

The second thing I've been busying myself with are these snack/sandwich bags.
I really hate plastic baggies and want to buy them as rarely as possible. When I saw this tutorial on Angry Chicken, I knew I had to make a slew of them. So this past weekend I made quite a few, all in different sizes and fabrics. I'm still going to have to buy some plastic baggies, because the boy has no interest in using something that will set him apart from his peers, but Jay and the girl will use these almost daily. (Although Jay probably won't be touching the Disney Princess ones.)

And finally, my latest project. For some reason lately we haven't had a lot of luck with dog leashes. Our most recent one was a fancy $35 retractable one and it lasted two months. The other day as I was gathering up our many dog leash parts that we have laying around, it occurred to me that the construction of these things is quite basic and I could probably make one.

So I did: Honestly, it took maybe an hour. Again, I didn't follow any pattern. I basically just made it like how you'd make bias tape, only wider. I was all out of interfacing to put between the layers so I used a strip of canvas drop cloth that I had to give it some strength. (Don't ask me why a drop cloth made the move to Oregon, but hey, it came in handy.)

In the end, maybe none of these projects are all that impressive, but they're little things I'll use regularly that I didn't have to spend money on. It gives me a cheap thrill to not have to buy something that I'm sort of expected to have to buy, you know? Like I'm stickin' it to the man. I don't know who this man is, but he's out there. And hopefully he feels me stickin' it to him.


Dani said...


That's a mother lode of crafty goodness!

Love the bag. Especially your colors and the haphazard patchwork. Nice.

I hate baggies too. But I still buy them. If it only held Goldfish or a pb&j I'll rinse them out and reuse them. Good for you, making those bags. I aim to make a placemat/napkin combo for the kids to use in the lunchroom.

I don't know why, but my sewing machine is just not appealing right now. I want it to be...but it just isn't. I'm sure one day I'll wake up and have a mad itch to sew any and all things. Until then, I'm not going to fight it. I think this summer I was recovering from the year from Hell and now I'm too busy prepping for the new school year. When things settle down I'm sure my stitching mojo will return.

You give me inspiration.

Love the dog leash too. I've made some collars and they are simple and gratifying.

Daphne said...

So awesome! I'm hoping to have a space to leave out my machine so I can sew when inspiration strikes. I have been wanting to make maybe some resuable mesh bags for veggies at the grocery store. Plus I will be needing to make curtains! Such great creativity her e-- I love that bag!

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Now I want cloth baggies. What a great idea! I totally understand about the boy not wanting to stand out. Sorry to say, but the girl will get that way soon too. But, her baggies are more of a fashion statement -- which is very cool.

And for the record, you can never have too many ginormous bags. Just saying.

hester said...

Very funky bag and so useful for fountain splashing outings!

I reckon you could get rich making those dog leashes and selling them. You know how some dog lovers love to have only the best for their pooch and not just any old leash that looks like every other dog's.

PS Glad you found a use for the fairy fabric!

Not Hannah said...

I haven't gotten to the sewing/mending part of Ma Ingall's philosophy, but I've GOT to, to get rid of some fabric. Those baggies might work jusssst fine.

kraftykash said...

Wow! You have been really busy. I LOVE all of it. The boy will be surprised at how many of his peers might just have those lunch baggies. They have them all over the lunchroom, here in Nebraska. :) And Im with you, I LOVE stickin it to the man as well.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

That last couple lines cracked me up and I woke up Izzy who is sleeping at my feet.

I wish I could sew. I love these ideas. The tote is pretty and the idea of not using baggies is pretty darn cool but what is it lined with? I would assume you would have to have lined with something for the food not to stick or make a mess on the fabric no?

can you tell I am not a crafy person? :-)
I make wine coasters.....you can tell what I do a lot of.

Carla said...

I'm impressed! I'm especially fond of your tote bag.

Tammie said...

dani: i want to make a few napkins/placemats too.

hester: the girl loves those fairies!

peggy: these arent lined with anything. there is stuff i could have lined them with, but then i wouldnt have been able to throw them in the washer and dryer. depending on what goes in them, ill probably wash them after every use or every other use.

victoria said...

Ok, it looks like you may be ready for an Etsy shop! Love the little bags. What a great idea! I think it's so good for kids to learn a re-use/less waste/green lifestyle.

Maria Rose said...

Oh I am with you on the practicality! I have been sewing a lot of boring and super useful stuff too. I am going to have to look into the sandwich bags. I hate plastic bags and Tupperware gets bulky.

mandy said...

i have wanted to make some of those little baggie replacement bags just about forever. thanks for the inspiration, i'm putting it on the top of my next time i sew list.
i totally love that bag.
i have a great big one like that and i use it everyday for our outings, even though it's sometimes just to the back yard. your colors are great.

Theresa said...

I love those baggies! I've been wanting to make some but all the tutorials I found used some sort of wipeable fabric, which i don't have, so this tutorial is perfect! Thanks for that. Also, I love sewing things we need. The dog leash is awesome! Of course! Why not sew something like that rather than buy one?