Friday, August 30, 2013

ZIP-adee Doo Dah

Oh, look! More zippers!


There's a good chance I'm feeding my addiction to making zippered bags out of fused bags by ripping zippers out of old clothing. It's ... recycling, right? Exactly!

I also fused a bunch of bags and am starting a collection of sheets of plastic:


Oooh. A Bernina bag!

I'm also STILL sewing the hand part of the binding onto my table runner:


I have no idea what's taking me so long. I totally enjoy the hand sewing. Maybe just because I'm out of practice? Or am distracted by fusing bags and playing with puppies? Hmm. Could be. And you know ... that fused Bernina bag was calling me...

I watched a cute video tutorial on how to make a boxed bag. I didn't buy into all of her techniques, but it sparked an idea for me. I wanted to know if I could pull off a boxed bag in plastic fused "fabric"!!! Could I do it?


Apparently so! HA! How perfect is that?!?

Here's the bottom:


What a kick!

As you can see, I did some quilting on it. It was a pleasant experience, I must say!

I think the bag came out pretty cute. To do it over again, I would put a little loop in the seam allowance at the beginning and end of the zipper to have something to hold onto while you use the zipper. The tutorial didn't call for one, but I'm sure you could just slip one in there. It would be a nice touch. Next time!

That's what I've been up to in the Studio for the past few days. As always, thank you for reading!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Here a Bag, There a Bag ...

This whole fused bag thing is getting addictive!

If you read the Ao4 Digest this morning, you'll know that Zim has his own bag to hold bags now, too.  Here's a look at it in the Studio:


I tried a little quilting on it, just to see how it would look and how easy or challenging it would be.  I think it adds a nice touch - and really no tougher to do than any other quilting.  Just use your walking foot!

I think the zipper was on an old backpack or fanny pack.  It's nice and sturdy and the "pull" has a very nice feel to it.

Here it is in action, so to speak:

"Totally cool, Mom!  My very own man bag!"

I found a source for the bone-shaped carabiners, which just delighted me.  I switched Cam's over to one that's a hot pink/reddish color.  It goes nicely with her leash.

Speaking of man bags, I also made one for my hubby - to carry his iPhone and a flashlight for the early morning walks.  In my stack of "heavier" bags, I found the perfect one - it's from the US Cavalry Museum!  The bag went together really well.  I was going to get Zim to model it, you know - keeping with the whole "man bag" thing - when ...

Nice, tough bag!

I guess you could say a certain daddy's girl put her foot down.  All-righty then!

"This is for my DADDY!"
Thank you, Cammie.

He's already tried it out and loves it.  Yea!

This is really fun ... and soooo incredibly addictive!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Another Bag, Part II

Where was I?  Ah... the zipper woes.  Let's just move along.

Once I had a zipper that was long enough and stopped breaking needles, I was good to go.  Here is how the zipper placket-thingie came out:


I used a variegated thread, as you can see. It's by YLI. Purples, pinks, greens ... it's really a nice one.

Bag construction went well:


The bags from KSU are a bit heavier than the grocery store bags, so they're a little stiffer. It makes for a bit stronger bag, I think. I layered one layer of heavier bag with 3 layers of grocery store-weight bags.  (You can see the recycle - HyVee logo on the inside in the photo above!)

Here is the outside of the bag, in the flat stage:


I needed it to be a little wider than what the KSU bag was, so I added the purple bag strips. I really like how that looks! I also did a little top-stitching, as you can see, to help flatten the seams.  The purple bag might have come from the Vet School, too; I can't remember.  But it's purple. That's what counts!

Here's a look at the front of the bag:


This is the first one I put one of my tags on. It just felt right.

Here's a look inside:


Nice tall divider in there, to keep items separated!

Here it is, all finished:


I took apart a little-dog leash, then sewed snap hooks on either end.  I like how the variegated thread stands out a bit!

The zipper I used has a smaller pull than what's easy to grab on a bag, so I made a little pull tab using some of the purple bag parts:


Easier to grab!

Here's a close-up of how the snap hooks are attached:


I couldn't resist playing with the back of the bag a bit. I "fussy cut" a plastic bag warning and layered it into my stack to be fused:


These are the touches that totally amuse me.

Speaking of being amused, I thought Beth's bag should be modeled and sought a volunteer.

"Hmm.  It's for Beth, huh?  Very nice!  I think maybe Cam should model this one!"

How did I know he'd let his sister take the reins on this one?

"It's for Beth?  I've just about got her wrapped around my dainty little paw ... I'd love to model it!"

Cam has just about everyone at the Vet School convinced that she is the sweetest, most cooperative, prettiest thing on four paws.  (Which she is.)  It hasn't taken long at all.  (I've been taking her there for non-appointments, to check her weight, pick up meds, that sort of thing.  It's part of my process to help her get used to car rides and to see trips to the hospital as fun.  She's really SO GOOD about everything and I want to keep it that way!)

She struck a super-model pose for me out in the front yard:

"I wonder if the handsome Border Collies will smell me on this!?!"

Is she good at this, or what?!!?

Beth seemed really happy with her bag (Cammie helped me deliver it!) - I hope it works out great for her!

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another Bag, Part I

Sorry I didn't post yesterday like I said I would.  My husband and I ran off to the lake to do a little birding instead.  Hot and thick, but very enjoyable!  (You're welcome to view photos here, if you'd like.)

Speaking of birding, I wanted to make a little fused bag for my birding buddy Beth!  She saw mine and was complimentary ... and I had JUST the plastic bags to use for her!  She works at the Vet School at KSU, so ...


How fun is that?

See the zipper there? Got right to work on that. It was another re-purposed one. I started working on its placket thingie:


Did the tabs (above) then got the ol' #4 foot out to stitch nice and close to the zipper, switched back over to my #37 foot (the 1/4" foot) AND ...


Follow the arrows to find the pieces of my needle.  Yes, the needle I forgot to move back to the CENTER!!!  Readers, once again I say ...


The #4 foot is EVIL!!!

I'm soon going to need to replace my masking tape; I just may do a frowny-face on it this time.  GRRRR!

Moving right along ...

Somehow, I made that zipper too short. Go, me!  Oh, well.  It'll work great in another smaller bag.  So ... I grabbed another pair of pants, ripped the zipper out, and ...


... nice.  All set.

Except that that one was too short, too.  Where was my HEAD?!?

Having had my fill of re-purposed zippers, I got out the only store-bought one I had.

Now that's a zipper!

Yeah.  Just a TAD long.  No problem.  That's why God gave us scissors, right?


Much better!

Despite zipper "learning opportunities", the bag came out REALLY great!  More on that tomorrow!

Until then, thank you for reading!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

More Experimenting

When I was a senior in high school, my mom hurt her back and had to lay flat in bed for what seemed like an eternity.  It was up to me to take on all household duties.  Most chores (cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, laundry...) were ones I was already well-trained in, but cooking was totally foreign.  To say there was a sharp learning curve would be an understatement.  The whole concept finally clicked for me when my dad compared following a recipe to conducting a science experiment.  That totally put a different and understandable face to it all!  Science (and Math) had been my best and most favorite subject area(s), so it made perfect sense to me and everything fell into place!

Quilting and bag-making has also been much like that.  I think that's part of the appeal of this whole fusing plastic bags together kick I'm on.  It's like a big science experiment!  Too cool!

I've made a couple more bags and thought I'd show you one today.  I did a bunch of fusing, then cutting!

Pieces for the next bag!

I wanted to see how it would be to piece the bag - more of a patchwork/quilt type of look.

It's a little slippery to sew through, and I found myself inserting the occasional pin (tucking into the seam allowance or along the sewing line -- any hole made in the bag itself would stay a hole!) just to keep things lined up.  It went quite well, though!


I pressed the seams flat with that wooden presser, as I showed you, then decided to add a line of top-stitching to help keep it flat.  Can you see it in the photo above, in the brownish stripes?

This bag was for me.  I need something to hold my car keys and phone when I go birding/wildflowering; a lot of my outfits lack pockets, so I needed a small, cross-body bag to compensate.  This fit the bill perfectly.  Because it's plastic, it's SO light - I've tested it out and I barely remembered I was "wearing" it.

Here's my supermodel, Cameron, with the finished bag:

"Does this make me look like a bumblebee?"

Yeah, OK.  I sort of forgot about the bumblebee effect, but that's OK.

"No, you look great, Cam!  Doing an excellent job with that bag!"

I think her brother/mentor was more than happy to see someone else have to model for me.  He did want to be in on the action a bit, though, in case there were treats involved.

I'll post another bag probably tomorrow.  This has been a great experiment!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Science Day Two

The fusing and bag-making process using the recycled bags is just way too addictive.  As I mentioned yesterday, I was back at it the very next day.  I was seeing plastic bags in a whole new light and started trying to find every plastic bag in the house to experiment on.

Things might have gotten a bit out of hand as was feeding the pups.  We were at the bottom of Zim's Prescription Diet bag.  I looked at the empty bag and thought ... go for it!


I mean - how cool would that be!?! I cut it apart, scrubbed it, and soaked all the pieces over night in Dawn. The next morning - no smell! Excellent - let's hit the Studio!


OK, it failed. But hey! I had to try. The plastic is too thick. It warped when I tried fusing it AND somehow, when I hit it with the iron, the smell came back. There's a reason we call Zim's treats that I make with this stuff "Stinky Goodness Treats" ... let's leave it there. Fail.

Did you notice in the stack of "plastic fabric" from yesterday I did one with the PGA logo? I wanted to do something special for my husband. He had requested something to hold note paper on his desk. (When we have "misprints" from the printer, we cut the paper up and use it for scratch paper.) Here's what I came up with:


Just cut, fold, and I used grommets to hold it together!

So then I got back to fusing. Not dog food bags.


I wanted a little zippie bag to hook to a leash to hold bags. A bag made from bags to hold bags. I might be going backwards here. Anyway ...


The plastic "fabric" cuts very easily! Just know that it's a wee bit slippery and you'll probably need a new rotary cutting blade if you ever tire of making these.

For this bag, I need a tab for a carabiner clip:


I decided to use a variegated YLI thread, so it would look decorative. I also used a 70 microtex needle and it did very well. This stuff is like butter to cut and sew through.


I know. How cute is that carabiner? I wish I had more than one. Perhaps I need to see about ordering some.

I took apart another piece of clothing so I could have a zipper:


I wonder if I should buy some of those, too? Nah. It's more fun this way. A challenge.

I decided to have a little divider inside the bag:


I folded the top down about 1/4" and top stitched for durability. And because it looked cute.

Here it is, with the zipper sewn to the sides of the bag, divider in place. My snips are tucked into what will be that pocket-divider.


Stitch it up and voilà:


Here's a look inside. My orange squishie thimble is on one side of the divider and some black binding clips are on the other.


One side for bags, one side for training treats!  Cool, huh? Let's see what Cam thinks!

"I think we should take it for a test drive!"

She had a lot more to say about it on today's Ao4 Digest post, and shared more photos.

I'll be doing a lot of baking, so I'm not sure if I'll get back to fusing today.  I can tell you that the Super Shopper went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and came home with one of those gigantic bags yesterday.  Oh, is THAT going to be fun!!!

Thanks for reading!