The man-apron

Well, so far I’ve been almost a stranger to the sewing room, although I did manage to get one thing made – and it wasn’t even from my new Christmas present! Plans are in the works for a purse with some of that fabric, by the way, and for a couple of tea towels…just didn’t want anybody to think I’d forgotten about it. ūüôā

Anyway, just after the New Year, I was wandering around Outer Blogovia, looking at sites I’ve never visited, and came across a blog¬†showing¬†how she made a cute apron from old jeans. I’ve made a LOT of stuff from old jeans, so I thought this would be a good thing to try, just to get the ol’ creative juices flowing again. Well…it didn’t ‘exactly’ turn out like hers. She put cute little appliques on hers, and made it look really fun. I thought about doing mine the same way, but I used hubby’s old work pants – there just ain’t no dressin’ them thangs up!! He’s a plumber, and his pants get pretty . . . uhm . . . yah. But I figured I could make a decent work apron he could use in his shop or in the back yard, so it didn’t need any cute stuff.

I opened the inseam¬†on one leg, and¬†attached the widest part of the leg to the waistband.¬†I cut a hole in the narrow end and finished it with bias binding, to keep the apron around the neck. ¬†I even added an extra button to the waistband, in case I wanted to wear it myself. Think ahead, y’know!! I don’t even mind the worn-out spot near the neck hole. That used to be the knee in these jeans’ first life. ūüôā

He likes it. I like it. So, whatcha think?? Do you like it?? ūüôā



final product


hubby wearing his ‘new’ apron


no more vested interest

I finally finished using up that huge reversible vest, just about the time I lost interest in the whole project. That thing was big enough to get four purses and a clutch, with very few scraps. Not bad for a Goodwill find, eh? ūüôā

Here are the last two purses I invested¬†my time in, and the clutch made from the last little swatch of the fabric. The only ones I have left at home are the green-lined one and the clutch. All my other purses are gone begging; my friend is taking them to a Christmas bazaar at her church to try and sell them for me. I can’t be there myself because of other commitments, so she is a sweet friend to do this for me. I plan to give 20% of anything made from these to missions, and 10% to my friend for helping me out. The rest will be for Christmas gifts this year. Lord willing, they will ALL find a home. If not, then they will become Christmas gifts – so either way, they’ll find new homes. ūüôā

You may need to click on these to make them more easily viewed. The gallery didn’t show them up very well.

The third one:

the fourth one:

. . . and that last little scrap:

exactly big enough for a clutch with 2 card pockets

Now on to other projects – like that backpack purse I’ve been meaning to make.¬†I hope to have one¬†done¬†before Christmas. A coworker asked me to make her one, so I really need to make¬†a prototype first so she can see if it’s a style she likes. Hey, no pressure, right?

is it lunchtime yet?

I love the weekends! But this weekend, I actually looked forward to Monday Рespecially lunchtime! Not that I was hungry or anything. I just wanted to try out that new lunch bag I made this weekend.

I had a lunch bag already, but¬†hubby needed one.¬†So I made one for…myself. ūüėÜ

OK, it started out to be for him, but he’s so picky. He didn’t want ANYTHING fun like embroidery or flowers or stuff like that on it.¬†So I did what any loving wife would do. I gave him my old, plain bag and made a¬†new one for myself.

The original¬†bag (the one he now proudly uses) is made from a single layer of thin,¬†thermal-type fabric (I don’t know what it’s called) that looks almost like paper on the outside, with a silver lining – see, I just KNEW there was one in this story somewhere!! ūüėÜ It’s lightweight, and the design is simple – only four¬†pieces: a front, a back, a side/bottom strip, and an¬†outer pocket.paper bag?

I felt the need to complicate it a bit, just to spice up my life. I didn’t have any of that thin thermal fabric, so I used what I had: insul-bright ¬ģ, a partial pair of¬†jeans, a strip from¬†an old jeans skirt (used for the side/bottom of the bag), iron-on vinyl, a strap from a defunct camera bag, and cotton broadcloth for lining. It’s a tad bit bulkier than the original bag, but it works!side pocket

For the side pocket, I used¬†the other back pocket from the old jeans, cutting the pants around the pocket to make the piece¬†measure 7″ X 8.” I ran a stitch down through the middle of the jeans pocket to make smaller slots, and embroidered fork and spoon¬†to make¬†it fun.

Is it lunchtime yet?

Abbreviations I used:

  1. RST –¬†right sides together
  2. WST – wrong sides together
  3.  Рinches
  4. ¬ģ – registered trademark

Steps I took to make this bag:

  1. Cut all front &¬†back pieces [outer fabric, lining fabric, Pellon Vinyl-Fuse¬ģ (an iron-on vinyl¬†coating), and insul-bright¬ģ (used in oven mitts and hot pads)] to measure 8″ by 12″.
  2. Cut side/bottom pieces (outer fabric strip,¬†lining fabric, vinyl, and insul-bright¬ģ) to measure 7″ by 31.5″.¬†side/bottom strip
  3. Cut handles to whatever length you prefer – I cut them 18″ and turned each end under 1/2″.
  4. Attach insul-bright¬ģ to wrong side of lining, using whatever quilting style you like. I just used a plain X shape. Trim the extra insul-bright¬ģ out of the seam to cut down on bulk when you’re adding the bias tape.
  5. Remove paper backing and put vinyl sticky-side down on back of lining pieces. Lay paper back over the vinyl to use like a pressing cloth. Press vinyl to lining pieces using a dry, medium-heat iron. Turn piece over and press from other side also Рbe sure to read the instructions for using this product!
  6. Cut outer pocket 7″ by 8″. Turn top under 1/8″ and iron down, then again at 1/2″ to form a casing for elastic. Cut elastic 4.5″ and pull through casing. Tack down on each side of casing.
  7. Measure¬†11.5″ down from top of side/bottom strip and mark – this will be the bottom of the bag. Lay pocket RST on strip, with bottom facing toward top of strip and 1/8″ above¬†the mark. Sew a 1/8″ seam across bottom of pocket. Flip pocket back up, with top toward top of strip, and sew another seam 1/4″ on outside of pocket bottom, to encase the seam¬†just made.
  8. Attach sides of pocket to the strip with 1/8″ seam.¬†The elastic will pull the sides in, so it will be a little tricky to keep it straight while sewing the side seams.pocket
  9. Put¬†front piece and¬†side/bottom strip WST – start with the side with the pocket on it, and about 1/2″ below front piece (to leave room for the zipper later). Clip pieces together down to the bottom¬†of the front piece, curve side/bottom around bottom of front piece and clip, continuing on up the other side. Sew together with 3/8″ seam. Attach back side same way. Clip curves at bottom of piece, but don’t clip seam!sides attached
  10. Encase seam in wide, double-fold bias tape. Open tape up, clip to seam with raw edges even and sew, following fold line. Fold over to other side of seam and clip in place. I hand sewed this part using a slip-stitch.bias tape
  11. For the zipper, I used a 12″ and let the extra 4″ hang over the side away from the outer pocket. Lay zipper on top of front side, WST, and using a zipper foot, stitch about 1/4″ from outer¬†edge of zipper. Open zipper and attach other side to back side in the same way. Cover edges of zipper with single-fold bias tape. Open tape, line up raw edges, and sew along fold line, all the way down the zipper.
  12. Cover the end of zipper. Cut a piece of fabric about 1/2″ wider than width of zipper and roughly 3″ long (you can cover more of the end than this¬†if you want). Turn wrong side out, fold raw edges of top 1/4″ down and press. Run a 1/4″ seam up each side. Turn right side out and slip over end of zipper. I hand-stitched this down because I used a metal-tooth zipper.zipper4


Well, here’s the final product!





More tea towels

Ever since I made that first batch of tea towels, I’ve been wanting to perfect a pattern for the ‘dressy’ one. Well, this was the weekend to try it. It seems there is always a problem or ten with any pattern I try to develop, though. So what’s there to do but work through them. Which I did.

What’s the first thing I did when I tried out the pattern? Cut the fabric wrong! Yes, sad but true. But I was able to salvage it and actually make something out of it (I’ll just let you guess which of these was the mistake). That’s part of the process of pattern experimentation, I plumb reckon.

I started out by drawing a pattern on some craft paper. After about ten drafts, I came up with one that seemed to work.

But when I tried to take a picture of the pattern, I forgot to account for the glare from the overhead light. I had to get creative and redo the pattern to show here. I started with a rectangular piece of craft paper, about 6″ tall and 12″ long, and fashioned the pattern within those parameters.

Anyway, I thought I’d share how I made one of the towels from my experimental pattern. Just click on the gallery and follow along! If you’re able to make one from these pictures and explanations,¬†I’d love to see yours.

I used a lot of scraps from my scrap stash in these, since I consider them all practice pieces.¬†Once I get through all the humps and bumps of these practices, the next one should only take me about an hour. I’ll time it, though, just to be sure. ūüėÜ

. . . and now . . . HOW to throw in the towel

So, I’m still throwin’ in the towels, only this time I’m throwin’ ’em in our own kitchen. And since they were so much fun to make,¬†I wanted to do¬†a mini-tutorial to share the fun. Every towel I did was a little different, but for simplicity’s sake, I’ve only included a couple¬†of styles¬†here.¬†Once you get the basics down, you can just do what I did – improvise!

I first washed everything, to make sure it was all finished shrunking Рer . . . shrinking. Then I ironed everything really well.

I cut the towels in half width-wise, making a set of two from each original towel. On one set, I folded each panel in half and pressed a crease, then folded the sides towards the back, up to that crease, and pressed again. On the other set, I ran a basting stitch and gathered them up to about 1/2 the original width.

Next, I had to decide on rectangular or triangular topping. Being the (in)decisive person that I am, I made both! I used two matching washcloths for each set of towels.

These cloths had netting sewn in, so I didn’t use interfacing (I did use it on all the other towels, though. Follow mfg. instructions if you use it). I actually cut the netting out of one towel¬†to cut down on¬†bulk, leaving it in the other for some shaping. The cut-out netting was then used for another set of towels (yup, the ol’ REmissionary thing never goes completely away).

I lay the two washcloths together, right sides facing. For the rectangles, I first¬†drew¬†a line at the center of¬†one cloth, and sewed up each side of that mark, 1/4-inch away. Then I sewed around three sides of the two cloths, leaving the bottom open. I cut along that center line, making two rectangular pieces. I then trimmed the corners at the top, leaving the bottom corners uncut, and turned the rectangles right side out. Since these were finished on the edges, I used that as a decorative accent. This wasn’t laziness, I promise!! But it did save that extra step of folding a seam allowance under on that edge.

For the triangular tops, I sewed all the way around the outer edges, and then drew a line from one corner to the opposite corner, forming two triangles. I cut along that line, leaving the cut edges open. I folded and pressed the triangles to get the exact center of the top point, and laid the towel on top of the ironed-in crease. I marked where the towel fit, and drew my seam lines. After sewing the lines in, I tried the fit to make sure the points came out where they were supposed to. As you may notice in the photos, I wasn’t too terribly concerned that they weren’t perfect – but close enough to hang fairly straight when finished. Close DOESN’T only count in horseshoes and hand grenades, folks!! These were close enough for government work (a saying my government-employee friend used to detest).

those corners were cut off after sewing side seams

those corners were cut off after sewing side seams

After getting the side seams to my satisfaction, I trimmed the excess corners off, trimmed the seam at the top point, and turned right side out. I pulled the corners out as pointy as I could get them, and then turned under a 1/2-inch seam on the open end and pressed it down really well. I slipped the top of the towel into this open end and stitched across as close to the edge as I could (about 1/8-inch), then up from the edge about 1/2-inch. That enclosed the towel inside the topping.

Next was the top-stitching. I went all the way around the outer edge, starting and stopping at the first line of stitching on the bottom encasing edge.

After topstitching, I folded the top in half and pressed a crease into the fold (the tops measured about 4 inches at this point). After that came the buttonhole and button. My oven door handle is about 1 inch around, so I measured down about two inches from the fold, to leave plenty of room. Handles come in all sizes, so I tried to plan for the biggest one that might be used. About two inches should be enough РI mean, who has stove handles bigger than that???

My sewing machine has a handy little gauge for buttons, so I measured them and set the buttonholer to the right size, and marked my starting point on the flap. Then W H I Z went that wonderful little buttonholer gizmo. Be careful cutting the holes open, not to cut through the top of the buttonhole. After the buttonholes were in, I lined up the button and marked the spot, sewed the button on, and rushed lickety-split to the kitchen to try it out. Whaddya know Рit worked!!!

Here is how each top looked after finishing. I don’t know if I like the gathered look or the smooth folded look better. What do you think??