Spring Cleaning: handmade storage solutions

Spring Cleaning is awesome! It feels so good to remove clutter and bring joy back into the home. This year as we clean, we are also working on updating items to reflect the way we feel. If you have read Love the Home your in that I wrote a few months ago, then you will understand what I mean.

IMG_4182.jpg

For us, that means creating a home that is full of both functional and beautiful items. And also, to showcase our own talents and skills-not what is readily available at thousands of stores across America.

Today was the day to get rid of the plastic toy containers, that no matter how hard I have tried to make them work over the past couple of years, they just don’t. The things that are organized into them look great for about 5 minutes.. The shelf that used to hold them took up wall space we didn’t have, leaving rooms to feel cramped, and they just don’t bring joy.

IMG_4173.jpg

So as I cleaned them out and sorted the items, I decided that I should just sew up a bunch of bags to hold and hide the stuff. In the past I attempted the method of toy storage by purchasing zipper garment bags. These work great, except they can’t hang and they don’t bring me joy when I see them.

IMG_4180.jpg

I keep seeing all of the great things out there on Pinterest, and that is where I went again today to visualize what would work for me.

This was my criteria:

  • Fast and Easy to sew
  • To use what is on hand (dual purpose: spring clean the sewing supplies by using it up!)
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to store
  • Attractive to the eye

After taking inventory of supplies and searching tutorials, I whipped up 3 bags in about 2 1/2 hours (including interruptions from kids).

IMG_4171.jpg

They aren’t perfect. I didn’t take time to iron, or even make sure each piece of fabric was cut perfectly straight. But they look great, were fast and easy,  I didn’t have to make a trip to the store to complete them and most importantly they are functional! Also, I made sure to double stitch every seam so that they will hold up to the abuse they are sure to get.
IMG_4177.jpgIMG_4177.jpg

I want to make a few more, so the next article in this series will have a tutorial for you!

For now, here are some of the places I visited and found inspiration:

Toy Sack with tabs

Hanging toy storage

Lego sack

Hanging laundry bag

Be a Butterfly!

Heidi

 

Advertisements

Sewing Tutorial: Pretty Little Denim Pouch

Denim is one of  my favorite fabrics to re-purpose with. It might be because we get a lot of holes in the knees of pants around here, and there is only so many times you can patch a hole. So, when the pants are beyond repair (or the mending basket is overflowing), they get tossed into the denim box to be utilized in another way.

It’s readily available, and comes in soft shades of blue-pretty much anything goes with denim. It looked great even using it for the peg-loom rug!

IMG_3955.jpg

To make the Pretty Little Denim Pouch, you will need:

  • any denim (preferably an old pair of jeans, any size will work)
  • a zipper that is roughly the size of the pouch you want to make
  • scissors
  • sewing machine (or super awesome hand-sewing skills-denim is tough!)

Some optional supplies:

  • scrap fabric
  • embroidery floss
  • embroidery needle
  • button or other notions

*Disclaimer: my sewing technique tends to be more towards the “just wing it” side than the “perfection is a must” side of things. My projects always tend to turn out best when I just allow for creativity. It just comes naturally.* (winky face)

IMG_3896.jpg

This is a pant leg to a small-humans pair of pants. I would guess about a 4T or 5T size.

IMG_3897.jpg

After cutting off the remnant of the knee hole at the top, it measured about 10 inches in length.

IMG_3898.jpg

The length is about 5 inches before cutting off the hemmed edge.

IMG_3899.jpg

I prefer to cut this off too, but you could potentially leave it on…your end seam would just have to be to the inside of this since it is too thick to sew through.

IMG_3900.jpg

After all of the trimming, it is now about 8 inches in length. I really like making pouches and bags from pant legs because you can utilize the existing side seams. Here is a full picture of what our pant leg looks like now:

IMG_3901.jpg

The next step is to decide on your zipper placement.

IMG_3902.jpg

The zipper I had to use was roughly 9 inches in length.

IMG_3903.jpg

The length ended up being just barely too short for the fabric. I thought it could possibly work, but it just wouldn’t grow…more on that later. (I warned you about my natural ability to “wing it”)

IMG_3904.jpg

Once, the zipper was in it’s happy place, the fabric needed to be cut to make a place to insert it. To do this, I just simply unzipped it and cut down the middle. After cutting, the pant leg now looks like this when opened up:

IMG_3905.jpg

If your pant leg or fabric was long enough to fit your zipper you can scroll down to where it says “Continue with Plan A“. Unless of course you decide you would like to have pretty fabric ends on your pouch, then just proceed as normal.

IMG_3906 (1).jpg

This pretty piece of flannel was leftover from a blanket project long ago.

IMG_3907.jpg

The flannel was cut to the width of the soon-to-be pouch. Then it was cut in half:

IMG_3910.jpg

IMG_3912.jpg

Next, I did a test layout to see how the measurements were. I never really decided how long to make the fabric accent on each end of the pouch since it only needed an extra inch or so, it wasn’t something I was concerned with. But if you lean more toward the “perfection is a must” style of sewing, you may prefer to decide this ahead of time. I found that mine were going to be too wide making the length of the finished pouch be longer than I wanted. So, I just folded one of the pieces in half and cut again:

IMG_3911.jpg

IMG_3914.jpg

This gave me two pieces that would work much better. These ended up measuring around 9″ by 5″.

One more test to make sure the length is right for the zipper:

IMG_3915 (1).jpg

Time to take it to the sewing machine.

IMG_3920.jpg

Putting right sides together, each accent end was sewn to the denim. There was not large seam allowance, I just ran it right along the foot.

(Continue with Plan A)

IMG_3921.jpg

Folding at the original pant leg seams, I arranged it and tested out the zipper placement one more time.

IMG_3922.jpg

Flipping the zipper directly over, lines it up for sewing the first side in place.

IMG_3923.jpg

My machine does have a zipper foot, but since this was just a quick little project I chose to not change it out. The zipper foot does allow for an easier made seam, so you may want to use it if you have one. Instead, I just put my needle in the far right position, with my fabric on the right side of the machine. If it were on the left, you would want the needle in the far left position.

Do the same thing to the other side:

IMG_3927.jpg

Line up the edges with right sides together, be sure to check your needle position before you begin sewing. Notice this time my fabric is on the left, so the needle is also positioned to the far left.

Turning it right side out, check to see if the zipper seams are secure.

IMG_3932.jpg

Once, it is sewn well the first time, sew each side again making it a double-stitched seam for durability. As mentioned above, my mending basket tends to be full, so fixing a zipper on this pouch would probably be low on the priority mending list. Making sure it won’t come apart from the pouch is important.

IMG_3933.jpg

Open the zipper and then turn the pouch inside out so that the end seams can now be sewn.

IMG_3929.jpg

I noted on mine that the “tails” of the zipper needed sewn before moving on the the end seams.

IMG_3937.jpg

Lining the edges up sew this edge closed. Be sure to check your needle position and other settings from sewing the zipper in. You may also need to change the foot if you had changed to use your zipper foot.

IMG_3943.jpg

After doing this, check the seams again. Mine had a hole.

IMG_3945.jpg

I ended up sewing the hole closed on sort of a diagonal.Because of the zipper the needle couldn’t reach to sew it shut doing a straight seam.

IMG_3942.jpg

It mostly fixed the issue. I could have messed with it some more but determined to fix it later with some hand sewing.

Ta Dah!

IMG_3951.jpg

Our Pretty Little Pouch is complete-minus embellishments.

Here is a photo of one without the accent fabric ends and with embellishment:

IMG_3894.jpg

It will work great for pencils or whatever pleases the user.

IMG_3954.jpg

I like them for holding crochet hooks, knitting needles, or other related tools. It would also  make a great cosmetic bag or for hair accessories.

IMG_3893.jpg

I love the embroidery and crochet button flower on this one. Decorate yours and share a photo!

 

Here is another type of bag that I have made with a denim pant leg:

IMG_3959.jpg

 

The hem of the pant is the top of the bag and all I did was sew the other end shut. For decoration on the front I hand-stitched a thrifted doily. And on the back, machine sewed some belt loops from the pants to hold a strap:

IMG_3960.jpg

The strap is a belt-like accent piece that was around the wrist of a jacket. The other one was missing so this one was taken off for repurposing. This bag is a favorite for small knitting or crochet projects. It hangs really nicely on my wrist and I can work on my project while walking or standing in line.

Let me know how you liked this little tutorial and post a picture on the Facebook page if you try it out!

Be a Butterfly!

Heidi

 

 

 

 

 

You Have Talents!

We are remarkable creatures.

God’s design is perfect and unflawed. He makes no mistake.

So then, why do we question our abilities to act on the desires within us? Each of us has been put together in a specific way, with individual talent and weaknesses. Most talent we don’t even see is there. Those were the hardest interview questions. What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths? It seems like it is always easy to list of the things you find yourself lacking in. It needs to stop. We need to see ourselves not as we are, but as what we can become.

When you feel that spark of desire to try something new or to learn more-  don’t let a doubtful wind blow it out.

First-Begin with Faith, Second-Act, and Third-Ask for more.

_MG_6648.jpg

School taught me: reading, writing, arithmetic and a handful of other educational tools. But essentially, as with all of us, it was up to me what to do with them next. For a long time they lay dormant. I wasted away many moments on t.v. and entertaining but mind-starving books. When my desire for learning was allowed to waken, I realized the deep hunger that had been growing for knowledge.

It hasn’t been long really. And the more I learn, the more I desire to know. God gave me talents in many things. Many of which I still do not know I have-or give credit to.

I just wanted to encourage you today to be mindful of your talents and abilities. Give them a chance to be a priority in your life and you will find that it will bless your life in one way or another.

Thanks for being a friend,

Heidi