Using Scraps: Wine Bottle Gift Bag (Guest Post by Leah of Struggle Sews a Straight Seam)

***What? I’m still gone? Craziness. Lucky for you there’s more guest post greatness coming up!!!!

Leah’s blog is one of my faves to read for several reasons: her big smile in every photo along with her hilarious writing style always makes my day. You really get the idea that this is one fun lady! Her enthusiasm for her sewing projects is contagious! Not to mention she’s got an adorable cat who frequently makes appearances (I love cats and sewing…). I love how she brings her unique heritige into her sewing. Part Russian and Puerto Rican, you’ll often see her posing in cute shorts amongst palm trees in Puerto Rico and she is using vintage fabrics that she inherited from her grandmother to create her own clothes. Thanks Leah for coming over to the dark side my blog!! ***

When Dixie asked me to do a guest post, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. A guest post? For one of my favorite bloggers? Are you kidding me? Where do I sign? I was all ready to do something Faustian and just give my soul or what have you but Dixie assured me all I had to do was a tutorial. Ha. Is that all?

One of the many things I adore about Dixie is her dedication to using small amounts of fabrics and scraps. The great scrap debate rages across the interwebs, with some desperate to use theirs and others scorning these humble bits of fabric and all they can do. Me, I can’t bear to part with tiny bits of even the crappiest fabric, let alone half or quarter yards. So I like to think up projects that can efficiently employ such pieces of precious (and non-precious cloth). And I figured, what better way to show my devotion to Dixie then with a scrap-based tutorial?

So here it goes, my tutorial for wine bags! I love wine. I love it deeply and completely. But I know that not everyone is into it, so this would be a great way to package sparking cider, soda, or even Perrier! I like to bring wine whenever I go somewhere for dinner, or stay at the house of a friend, and my mom actually gives
bottles of prosecco away at every settlement (she’s in Real Estate). So I thought this might be a great way to make that gift extra special, while using access fabric too!

What you will need:

  • About ¼ of a yard of fabric of any kind
  • Thread
  • A sewing machine (unless you are sadistic and want to hand sew this thing)
  • Pins
  • A Pencil
  • A bottle of whatever you plan to put in this bag
  • Measuring tape
  • A Ruler

Step 1:
Measure your bottle both lengthwise:

and widthwise

Allow whatever seam allowance you enjoy. I personally am a ½ inch kind of a girl, but hey, find the you in you and ask them what they desire in a seam allowance.

So say my bottle was 13 inches long by 6 inches around. So adding ½ inch seam allowance per seam, I would cut two pieces of fabric that were 4 inches by 14 inches. I personally added an inch on the top (and would add another, for the future) just so the whole bottle would be completed covered in the bag (and preserve the surprise!) but again, do what feels right.

I also cut two pieces of fabric 5 inches by 1 inch. These will become the strap of the bag. Feel free to alter those dimensions should you want thicker straps, but I wouldn’t go much thinner, as liquids are heavy.

Step 2: With right sides together, pin and sew the body of the bag, pivoting around
the corners.

Step 3: Lay the strap pieces together at a right angle.

Using your ruler, mark a line across the center of the square formed by the overlap
of the two pieces of strap fabric:

Step 4:
Pin and stitch along that marked line.

Trim the excess and iron.

Press the strap in half, right sides together

Step 5:
Pink the seam allowance on the body of the bag.

Turn the top of the bag over by ½ an inch (or whatever works according to your seam allowance etc). Turn it over again, and stitch the double fold in place. (I like to wait until I’m attaching the straps and do it all in one step, so you can do that too, if you like!)

Step 6: (Optional)
If you want the bag to have a rectangular bottom you can sew along the bottom two corners of the bag. You don’t have to do this but I like it, personally. You just sew perpendicularly to the corner, creating a little sewn triangle:

And it will look like this:

Step 7:
Sew the strap together on the long side, leaving the two short sides unsewn.

Taking a safety pin, pull the right side of the strap through until the whole tube of fabric is facing the correct way (i.e. you can see the right side and the wrong side is the inside of the tube).

Step 8:
Attach the strap to the body of the bag, using the two seams as your placement guide. I like to do a zigzag stitch because I like the way it looks, making sure to double back over the places where the strap meets the body of the bag. As I mentioned before, I tend to double this step up and be hemming as I’m attaching,
but if that doesn’t work for you, no worries!

And there you have it! A lovely wine/prosseco/yoohoo bag to bring to your next shindig!

Thanks, Dixie, I loved making this tutorial, and I hope your readers enjoy it too! ~Leah

Fabric by Fabric One Yard Wonders Neck Pillow

Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders Travel Neck Pillow

In January I bought the new Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders book and a woman in my sewing group, Susan, came up with the idea to have a sewing book club and we chose this book for our first meeting in March.

I’ve already made the wallet from this book and this pillow is my second project.

Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders Travel Neck Pillow

The “Work in Comfort” Travel Set includes a neck pillow and cushioned lap desk but I only made the neck pillow. I could have used one of these for my long car ride/plane trip last Christmas because all I want to do is sleep when I travel but can’t in those darn upright seats. I’m the poster child for someone who needs one of these neck pillows!

Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders Travel Neck Pillow

The pillow was so easy to put together – just one pattern piece, cut two, cut the little loop, sew the pillow, trim seam allowances, stuff and then stitch up the opening. This was a less than 45 min project and Justin even wanted to help stuff the pillow with fiber fill.

Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders Travel Neck Pillow

I used fleece leftover from a dog coat that I made as a Christmas present last year for a friend. I realize I never posted about that, sorry! I get such a good feeling when I create something that both uses up my stash and is very practical.

Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders Travel Neck Pillow

And since I haven’t posted any pictures yet now that I’m back to brunette, here’s me testing out the pillow on the couch.

Yesterday Susan sent me an email. As it turns out the One Yard Wonders people are making a new book – this one will feature all kid related sewing projects and they’re looking for contributors! So if you’ve got a great sewing project for toys, clothes, decor, etc for children you should submit it for the book. The deadline is April 15th. If I have time I might send in a project idea.

Gold Tip Shoe Restyle

Gold shoe restyle

I have a funny story for you – About three weeks ago I visited my extended family. One night we went to meet my cousins who rent an RV space at a lake in the area to camp. Not expecting to go to a camp ground, the only shoes I had were some patent nude flats. It was cold that night so I sat by the camp fire to keep warm.

It wasn’t until later that I realized that tiny bits of ash and embers in the smoke had floated onto my shoes and burned them! They went from nice and shiny to having tons of tiny pock marks where the shiny surface had melted!

Sad burned shoes!

I tried in vain to find another pair just like these – my favorite flats. I thought I’d have to finally say good by and toss these puppies in the trash but then I got an idea – paint them!

Here’s what I did and what you will need –

  • Painters tape
  • Small paintbrush
  • Glitter paint
  • Sand paper (optional)

Now, I’ve seen some people online use glitter spray paint but the craft store was all out of gold, which is what I really wanted. Instead I went with a bottle of Martha Stewart glitter craft paint in Smokey Quartz (which is really more like watery glitter glue. It’s just clear paint with tons of glitter in it).

I didn’t want to paint the entire shoe because I really like the nude color and the pock marks were only on the top front of the shoes. I marked a line with painters tape on either side of both shoes.

Next I scrubbed the shoes with 320 grit sand paper just in case the paint wouldn’t stick to the shiny patent surface.

Sanded and ready to paint

Then I painted one layer of glitter paint, let it dry then covered it with a second layer. Two layers were all I needed but I easily could have added a couple more for a super glittery surface. With this paint you really can’t put too much on at a time. The clear paint itself is a little watery and it starts getting tiny bubbles but those disappear as it dries.

Happy glitter tipped shoes

I took off the tape and voila – partially gold shoes that have now been saved from the trash heap!

Glittery shoes

The paint has held up so far with no problems which is good because I plan on putting these shoes back into heavy rotation.

Have you ever painted shoes before? What did you use?

Peppermint Candy Pillow DIY

Would you like to make your own holiday peppermint pillow? Well, you’re in luck! Mandi from Make it Dear was sweet enough to ask me to contribute a craft for her Holiday Time Tuesday series. A new festive craft project each Tuesday until the 20th. Check out her fun tinsel wreath and another contributor’s awesome chalkboard paint mugs.

I made a this pillow with fleece and tulle. Even my boyfriend thinks it looks pretty awesome (and he’s always a critic).

***Oh, and if you’re looking for more crafty holiday inspiration I did a whole series last year called Dixie DIY Christmas. Some of my faves include the Santa face cupcakes, glitter glue ornaments and the muffin tin advent calendar.