Ode to Joe (and what I sewed)

When I moved to Florida in 2006, one of the first people I met was Joe. We both participated in the Disney College Program together and spent many, many hours living it up in the Disney parks!

Joe

Some photos from our College Program days back in 2006!

After the Disney College Program ended, I stayed in Florida – and Joe returned home to New York. But within a year or so, he was back in Florida and we’ve been able to continue our adventures ever since!

Joe

We still frequent the Disney Parks!

Joe’s thirtieth birthday was this past weekend. Of course, I also had to sew him a little somethin’ for his birthday. Sewing for ladies is so much easier than sewing for guys. Most of the fabrics and patterns I own are pretty girly and would be pretty awkward for a guy. So when I saw a tutorial for a “man bag” – sort of a toiletry bag for guys – of course, I had to try it. Joe travels a lot, so I know he can always use small bags for toiletries and such.

Given Joe’s love of all things Disney, I knew I’d hit the jackpot when I saw this Mickey Mouse fabric – masculine(ish), modern and magical. I knew that if Joe were right there in the fabric store with me, this is what he would have chosen! I also got to pick out a matching zipper – even though I have a ton of zippers in my stash, I needed 14″ for this project (much longer than what I already have on hand) which meant I got to shop in the zipper section for once – a rarity!

Boxy man bag dopp kitt

I’ve always wanted to try fusible vinyl, so I decided to use it on the lining for this project in hopes that it would protect the innards of the bag from any toiletry spills! It’s a pretty neat concept – just iron the stuff onto your fabric for a coated finish.

Sewing with fusible vinyl

Using the vinyl made the fabric a little thicker, and a little more slippery to work with when I was actually sewing – but I’m glad I decided it use it. It makes the bag seem a lot fancier. However, I might think twice before using it in the future for projects that have so many seams that need to be pressed/turned because it really does add bulk. Fusible vinyl might be better for “flat” projects like aprons, bibs and placemats – that sort of thing. It also wrinkles really easily and is hard to smoothe back out. On a “flat” project, you’d be able to iron it again at the very end, but I couldn’t iron the lining of a boxy bag once it was finished.

bag2

Usually, this is where I would link to the tutorial I used. But for the first time, I really don’t want to promote the tutorial. It wasn’t the greatest experience and I actually stopped using it about halfway through the construction of the bag. I realized that there were going to be raw seams inside the bag when it was finished. And not just raw seams that would be tucked up in the corners of the bag that nobody would ever see – there was a huge seam going down the center of the lining. I really didn’t want to give someone a gift with raw seams inside. I stopped halfway through the “man bag” tutorial and did some more research before finding workarounds that would allow me to line the bag without raw seams. And while I was doing the secondary research, I found reasons to believe that the original tutorial I was using was almost directly lifted from another blog. Not cool!

Anyway, I suppose I should give a shout out to the second tutorial I found that helped me finish up the bag the way I’d wanted it to be all along! A  huge thank you to The Boxy Bag tutorial on Slightly Befuddled - without it, I couldn’t have finished Joe’s “man bag!” I should have used this one from the start.

Lined boxy bag dopp kit tutorial

Photo and Tutorial Credit: Slightly Befuddled

At the last minute, I decided to throw together a little earbuds zipper pouch for Joe as well. I had a lot of Mickey fabric leftover, and I really wanted to make a matching “bonus’” accessory! Plus, I recently bought those little key rings in bulk from etsy, so there will be a lot of these little pouches in my future!

Earbud zipper pouch

Joe loved his bag and is excited to use it for some of his upcoming travel adventures! And I was happy to have tried out yet another tutorial (although it got a little rocky there in the middle) and add another set of check marks to my sewing bucket list. Boxy “man bag” – check! Fusible vinyl – check!

Happy 30th Birthday, Joe!

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A magic-filled weekend

This past weekend, the Disney Parks Blog posted this awesome video showcasing how the outfits are created for the little dolls in the ‘it’s a small world‘ attraction…

How incredible is that? I loved seeing the huge binder full of reference photos and the drawer of bling. I want a drawer of bling! Right now I just have a Tupperware of buttons. And most of them are un-fun buttons that come attached to the tag of a new shirt. So… not nearly as magical as the drawer of bling.

The post on the Disney Parks blog was actually pretty timely because I got a chance to visit Magic Kingdom Park this past weekend, and even took a little cruise through ‘it’s a small world!’ I didn’t get any photos on ‘it’s a small world,’ but I did get this photo of one of the floats in the new Festival of Fantasy parade – sewing represent!

Sewing Cinderella's Dress in the Festival of Fantasy Parade

The day at Magic Kingdom was a welcome distraction, as I spent the other half of the weekend trying to thread (and use) a hand-me-down serger – which I think must be broken, because I never got it to work! :(

How was your weekend?

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Easter Peeps Bunny Bunting

Happy (Early) Easter!

After posting ten inspirational Easter tutorials last week, I wanted to actually make one of the projects I showcased. My only rule was that I had to be resourceful and only use supplies that I already had on hand. For awhile now, I’ve felt completely overwhelmed by the amount of fabric and supplies that I already have. I have to draw the line somewhere. No more!

Rewind: A few years ago when I had just started sewing and was still looking to build up my fabric supply. I spotted this heap (around 4-6 yards) of pastel striped fabric on SUPER MEGA CLEARANCE (honestly, I don’t remember the price anymore, but it was good) so I snatched it up, knowing that I needed lots of cheap fabric for practice, and that the pastel stripes weren’t that bad. Well, whenever it actually came to choose fabric for a project – I just didn’t want to use this stuff. The textured, pastel stripes hadn’t looked that bad compared to everything else in the clearance bin - probably because everything else in the clearance bin was really ugly, so it didn’t look as bad in comparison. Oops. This is when I first started to realize that I was a fabric hoarder.

Pastel Striped Fabric

Fast forward: This past weekend, I really wanted to make the Peeps bunny bunting that I had included in the collection of Easter tutorials, but I didn’t have any felt on hand. And because I’m not letting myself buy new supplies unless the situation is dire, I had to be resourceful. Because, unfortunately, lacking felt for a Peeps bunny bunting is not an emergency.

Marshmallow Bunny Peeps bunting

Photo credit: MADE

For my resourceful workaround, I decided to turn the Peeps bunnies into an appliqué for a triangular pennant bunting instead. After playing around with the fabric choices I already had in my bin, I decided that – for the first time ever – the pastel stripes were perfect! Do they scream “EASTER” or what?

Easter Peeps Bunny Bunting

I made the bunnies out of some solid pink broadcloth I had leftover from a recent quilt… more about that quilt in an upcoming blog post!

Easter Peeps Bunny Bunting

For any other appliqué project, I would have slapped some Heat n Bond on the backside of the bunnies, but the solid pink fabric was too sheer – when I laid the bunnies on top of the striped fabric, I could see the stripes through the bunny. No likey. So for this project, I first used some fusible interfacing on the back of the bunnies, and then used a little Elmer’s glue to stick them in place before zig zag stitching the edges. I gave them a quick press with a hot iron after gluing to make sure the glue set before I sewed. Not the most ideal process, but it worked.

Easter Peeps Bunny Bunting

A little wooden dowel and a few dots of brown craft paint gave the bunnies eyes and noses! Sadly, it was just craft paint and not chocolate. I’m not really into perishable crafts.

Easter Peeps Bunny Bunting

I used some turquoise fabric leftover from one of my country-inspired sewing projects to create a sort of double-fold bias tape to hold all of the pennants. I use the term “bias tape” loosely since I’m lazy and don’t actually cut on the bias when I use it for bunting purposes. Oh yeah, and Winnie “helped” with this part by laying across the bunting as I was pinning, while successfully blocking my view of Grey’s Anatomy on my iPad. Good thing I love her.

Easter Peeps Bunny Bunting

I made enough bunnies and pennants to make two sets of bunting – one for home and one for work! Each set has four bunnies in the center, and two “blank” pennants flanking each side.

Easter Peeps Bunny Bunting

I can happily say that I’ve used  up a hearty portion of that striped fabric. Although I still have a lot left! There may be more pastel striped Easter projects in my future…

What projects are you all working on this weekend?

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Safety Story: How (not) to use a rotary cutter

Friends, I consider myself pretty darn safety conscious. I am constantly thinking about safety when I’m at work, so I naturally practice safe behaviors at home too. I’m even in the habit of telling people, “be safe” when we’re saying our goodbyes and going our separate ways.

Sewing Hazard Ahead

Warning: Sewing Hazard Ahead

So, the fact that I chose to open a box using my rotary cutter was a pretty stupid decision. I was in a rush and the rotary cutter was right there. The rotary cutter slipped and I sliced my hand - I’ll spare you the photos. But just know that the end result was not good. Luckily, it wasn’t bad enough to seek professional medical attention… especially since this happened around 11:45 p.m. (maybe this is a lesson about how I shouldn’t attempt to be productive so close to bedtime).

I got some of those surgical tape wound closure strips and they seem to be doing the trick. It’s not the first time in my life that I’ve needed these things… maybe I’m just lying to myself and I’m not as safe as I claimed to be in my opening paragraph.

Wound closure strips

A lovely stock photo… aka, not my eyeball.

Rotary cutters are one of the most magical sewing tools on the planet. They really shouldn’t be used in a way that might cause us to view them in any other light. For those of you who may not sew (but for some reason, still read my blog?? Thank you!) – a rotary cutter is basically a pizza cutter for fabric. And it’s awesome. You know what’s not awesome? Opening boxes with a rotary cutter.

081513

A lovely stock photo… aka, not my hand.

So, this is a Public Service Announcement to my fellow crafters: Do NOT, under any circumstances, use rotary cutters for anything other than what they were intended for.

Don’t be a dummy like me! Be safe!

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Ten Easter sewing projects: free tutorial roundup!

Spring is here! I wish I could say that I’m spending time outside today, but the pollen count is so high in Florida right now that I’m stuck inside taking allergy meds. Yuck.

But this springtime weather has me feeling inspired, so I’ve raided my Pinterest boards and pulled out ten of my favorite Easter-inspired projects for this free tutorial roundup! Scroll down for links to all of the projects shown below.

10 Easter Sewing Projects: Free Tutorial Roundup on the SewLindsaySew blog.

How adorable is this Easter Egg zipper pouch? It would be perfect for holding a smaller trinket within an Easter basket! Really, I just get excited about any excuse to use a fun-colored zipper. Click here for the free Easter Egg Zipper Pouch tutorial from Sewlicious Home Decor.

Easter-Egg-Pouch-with-key-holder-2

Photo credit: Sewlicious Home Decor

These Marshmallow Bunny Plushies – cute overload! I want to simultaneously cuddle them and eat them. Click here for the free Marshmallow Bunny Plushies tutorial from Dandelions and Lace.

Marshmallow Bunny Plushies

Photo Credit: Dandelions and Lace

I’m thoroughly impressed with this picture-perfect Easter Bunny Basket. Not only did Amy create an incredible replica of a basket featured in a Pottery Barn Kids catalog (I’m always impressed when people are able to sew something amazing that looks just like what they saw in an expensive catalog) – but all of the detailed photos and directions in the tutorial actually make this basket look like a project I can handle! Click here for the free Easter Bunny Basket tutorial from While Wearing Heels!

Easter bunny Basket - Free Tutorial

Photo Credit: While Wearing Heels

The saddest part about Easter eggs is having to throw them away after all of your hard work making them! Not so with these fabric Easter Eggs – whip up a batch and you can use them over and over for years to come. Click here for the free fabric Easter Eggs tutorial from Retro Mama.

Fabric Easter Eggs - free sewing tutorial

Photo credit: Retro Mama

You know what goes perfectly with fabric eggs? Fabric carrots! Click here for the free fabric carrots tutorial from Clare’s Craftroom.

Free fabric carrots tutorial

Photo credit: Clare’s Craftroom

No tutorial roundup would be complete without a bunting tutorial – I love bunting! And since I also love candy, I had to share this Peeps Bunny Bunting. Click here for the free Peeps Bunny Bunting tutorial from MADE.

Marshmallow Bunny Peeps bunting

Photo credit: MADE

If you’ve already got a basket, and just need an Easter Basket Liner, there are tutorials for that too! This is another Pottery Barn knock-off – I’m so impressed! Check out the free Easter Basket Liner tutorial from Dream Crafter.

Free easter basket liner tutorial

Photo credit: Dream Crafter

These egg-shaped pot holders are the perfect shape for protecting your hands! Click here for the free Easter pot holder tutorial from Miss Mary Sews.

Easter Egg potholder tutorial

Photo credit: Miss Mary Sews

Theoretically, you could make this Easy Easter Table Runner for just about any season – but I think the jumbo ric-rac around the edges make it feel extra whimsical and springy! Click here for the free Easter table runner tutorial from Make it Do.

Free Easter Table Runner Tutorial

Photo credit: Make it Do

Last, these Hungry Bunnies make me laugh (in a good way!) – I love the idea of stuffing them with Easter candy as if they “ate” the candy. Click here for The Hungry Bunny tutorial and pattern download at Lil Blue Boo.

Free hungry bunny zipper pouch tutorial

Photo credit: Lil Blue Boo

Okay, maybe I should stop writing about projects and instead, start working on some!

Happy Spring!

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The 30-year-old, the plastic dishes and the duvet cover

Last month, I turned 30. Coincidentally, on the morning of my birthday, my favorite radio show was discussing just that – being 30.

Side Bar: I’ve been listening to The Eric & Kathy show since I was a teenager driving to school in Chicago – and even since moving to Florida, the show has always been a part of my life. First via downloadable podcasts, but these days, via live streaming. If you’re ever in need of a fantastic and hilarious daily podcast – check them out!

The Eric & Kathy Show on 101.9 FM The Mix WTMX Chicago

Anyway, on the morning of my birthday, Eric and Kathy were discussing an article titled, “10 things you should have in your home by the time you’re 30.” As if turning 30 weren’t stressful enough – now there are rules?

There are some things on the list that I’m easily in compliance with (a washer-dryer)… and some things that I’m so not in compliance with (“dishes that aren’t plastic” – sorry, the plastic Mickey Mouse dishes are here to stay). And some things that are just ridiculous. Fresh flowers? In my house? Regularly? Hmm. Choose your battles, Huffington Post.

Mickey mouse plate

Instagrammed proof that I use plastic Mickey Mouse plates!

Eric and Kathy asked listeners to call in with other things to add to the list – what should you have by the time you’re 30? I took the opportunity to give them a call and tell them it was my 30th birthday, and they put me on the air – a pretty magical birthday memory! But while I was on the line, I listened to the other callers’ suggestions. One of them said – by the time you’re thirty, you should have a duvet cover.

Well, I may have plastic dishes – but thank heavens I’m about to do something right. A duvet cover has been at the top of my DIY project list for months. Granted, I haven’t finished it. Well, honestly, I haven’t even started it. But I have the pile of fabric and the inner comforter to prove that the intention is there. Does that count?

DIY Duvet Cover

My attempt to take a photo of my DIY duvet supplies was interrupted by the most notorious photobomber ever.

I’ve even pre-washed and ironed all of the fabric – a huge task in itself! Between the duvet cover and the matching pillow shams that I plan to sew, I had almost 20 yards of fabric to prep, wash and iron!

Since then, I’ve had a few other pressing projects get in the way, preventing me from starting the actual cutting and sewing process. Plus, I may have been procrastinating a little – taking measurements and getting the angles perfect on gigantic projects stresses me out.

Stay tuned – hopefully I’ll finish this thing by the time I turn 31!

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A little bit country…

In the past year or so, I’ve become a little bit country. Or… a lot country.

I work with a bunch of country-music lovin’ ladies who like to discuss the latest and greatest country music artists around the water cooler. I’ve had a handful of country songs on my playlists over the years, but had never listened to country exclusively. I finally programmed the local country radio station into my car’s pre-sets, just so that I’d know what these ladies were talking about from time to time… and within just a few days – I. FELL. IN. LOVE. That was at least six months ago, and I’m still going strong!

So, when I wanted to make a jewelry roll for one of my work lady-friends, of course the first theme I thought of was… country! I was disappointed with the country-fied fabric selection in stores, but luckily I found the most adorable cowboy boots fat quarter on etsy. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the finished jewelry roll – which is odd, because I rarely forget to take photos of my projects – but here’s a photo of the fabric and zipper selections from my instagram (the jewelry roll pattern I speak of is from One Yard Wonders).

Cowboy Boot Fabric

I had some beloved cowboy boot fabric leftover after the jewelry roll project, so I used it to make this embroidery hoop desk supply organizer for another work lady-friend when she got a new role and left our team. I’m telling you, all of the ladies love cowboy boots… you might also recognize the polka dot fabric from Katie’s knitting bag and my earbuds zipper case.

Embroidery Hoop Organizer

I wanted to link the cowboy boot fabric creator’s etsy shop to this post and was saddened to see that she has closed her shop. But about two seconds later, I was over the moon to see that she has a shop on Spoonflower – which is even better than etsy, because you can order as much fabric as you want, in any weight you want! She has an incredible selection of coordinating fabrics – including a bunch of other country-fied prints, like horses and horseshoes. I love the colors she chooses and her overall style. Her name is Katherine Codegacheck out her Spoonflower shop here!

Thanks for stopping by, Y’ALL. ;)

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