Saturday, February 25, 2012

Week 9

Another short post because of a crazy week. The kids were out on vacation this week, so we were out of town for 5 days.

The trapeze show went great. I did crash into the catcher on my first swing, but I caught both my tricks on my next 2 tries. Thanks to all who came out!

Especially to Amy, who gave me a big bag of big shirts to transform into bags for her school fundraiser. They're leftovers from printings gone by, so many of them are gigantic. Almost ridiculous for shopping bags. But then we got a couple of bags with take-out while we were away, so I used those to size these. It's kinda poetic that a XXXL shirt has been transformed into something to carry a pizza or a box of donuts. The red bag actually has 2 clementine crates in it and the blue bag has a 12" pizza box inside.

So while these might not net enough to send a kid to Europe, they're not completely useless.

Here's my original post on the t-shirt bag concept, with notes on making my version. And here's the tutorial I based it on.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Week 8

Very short post this week. Must go shower before performing in a trapeze show tonight. Go TSNY!

I spent a fair chunk of sewing time making a horse costume for that. Just a tail, an embellished t-shirt and a headband with ears, but the little things always take more time than you'd expect. I wasted some sewing energy making a pair Colonial-era aprons and caps for a 3rd grade dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence which ended up not needing costumes.

So today I dug into the actual sail for the second time. The first time was for a gift bag for a 5 year old. I grabbed the "5" off the sail and made a little drawstring shoulder bag. This time I went for a big round tote with a cinch top. I think you could fit a whole sail in that thing. Or a load of laundry.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Week 7

Saturday snuck up on me this week. I was busy with other things and thought I didn't have time, but then a couple of 2-hour holes appeared in Friday's schedule and I took advantage of them to make my bag of the week. Good friends and good planning made this week's bag possible.

I'm calling it my Quack Bag. That's Quack. He's a character from Peep and the Big Wide World, which if you ask me is about the best little kids (science) show out there. Quack is a duck. He's blue. He wears a sailor hat. There's a beaver, named Beaver Boy. He has trouble remembering names. So he calls Quack "Blue Sailor" because of his sailor hat.

This bag is made of remnants from the local sail shop. And it's blue.

Pretty basic construction this week. Four short blue strips sewn together to make the two faces of the bag. One long very dark blue strip to go down the sides and across the bottom. One long skinny white strip to go around the inside of the top edge. Four giant grommets and four scraps to reinforce the holes. Four feet of thick rope for the handles.

I sewed the short strips together in pairs and topstitched the seam down because the material is so stiff that seam would never lie flat on its own. I sewed the long dark strip around 3 sides of the faces. I sewed the skinny strip inside the top edge. Then I sewed the ends of it together and topstitched along both edges. Next time I might put the white strip on the outside of the bag, as more of a nod to Quack's hat.

Who says a bag can't smile?

Next came holes for the grommets and hammering the grommets in place. Nothing like a good session with a hammer to work out your frustrations! I cut the rope to length and melted the ends to keep them tidy and help them get through the holes. Four knots and I was done.

No pictures of the process this week because I was too focused on just getting the thing made. At some point I need to decide if this is going to be a tutorial blog of a voyage of discovery blog. If you have any thoughts, post them below.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Week 6

Funny, I'm busier than ever this week, but I still managed to make 4 bags ahead of schedule. A teacher friend was looking for items to auction off so her inner-city students can take a trip to Europe. I offered the pants bags from Weeks 1 & 2. But they're a fair amount of work and she mentioned that she had school t-shirts that maybe I could use. 

The idea of a t-shirt bag has been floating around in my head for years, but I generally give my shirts to Goodwill, so it never got out of the idea phase. I found this tutorial for a no-sew t-shirt bag, but I have a sewing machine, so why not sew it and eliminate the hole at the bottom?

Using a standard-issue plastic grocery bag as my model, I cut off the arms and neck to make handles. I added a dab of Fray Check to keep the shoulder seams from unraveling. I cut slits in the handles and added a loop tag to the top edge. (It's even easier if you cut another slit at the top edge instead of sewing in a loop.) Why? Because I hate the exasperated looks the grocery store baggers wear when they have to hold my reusable bag open with one hand and stuff it to the gills with the other. With the slits, it can be propped up on the metal racks they use for the plastic bags. 

After a couple of trials, I figured out how to make the bottom seam most easily and in such a way that stuff wouldn't get lost in the pleats so easily. You turn the bag inside out and just fold over the edges and sew across the bottom. I hate a bag that drags on the ground, so I took a few inches off the bottom. It also allowed me to cut off the bulk of the bottom hem so my bag would sit nicely while I set it down to get my keys out to open the front door, with the added benefit of making the exasperated bagger's job a little easier by helping the cereal boxes stand upright.

So, in about 5 minutes, I can whip these puppies out for fundraisers of all types. As one teacher put it "You win the award for the best use of a ... field day shirt!" School pride, recycling, and not having to wear a dull, ill-fitting shirt. Win, win and win!