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.

Stand Up Oil Cloth Zipped Pouch

Stand Up Oil Cloth Zipped Pouch

Guess what!? I’m going to Chicago for a little vacay in less than a week! And I was thinking about how I don’t have a single make up bag that is big enough to fit all of my necessary travel items. I mainly needed a bag long enough to hold my tooth brush and fat enough to hold all my smaller things like eye shadow and mini size lotions.

And since I had plenty of oil cloth leftover from making my wallet I put some to good use for my travel make up bag.

Most beginning sewers at one point or another learn how to make a zipped pouch. This is a variation on that simple concept that allows the bag to stand up on it’s own.

Rather than cutting a flat bottom piece for the bag, you only need to alter your two pieces that you would use to make a regular flat zipped pouch.

If you’ve never sewn a zipped pouch here’s my favorite tutorial.

This oil cloth bag is unlined for easy cleanup in case I have a spill.

If you sew this pouch design with regular cloth I recommend you use some iron on interfacing to add stiffness.

First, cut your two rectangles for each side of your pouch.

Stand Up Oil Cloth Zipped Pouch

Next, cut a small square from each bottom corner of both rectangles. The size of your square depends on how wide of a bottom you want on your bag. In general, the width of the bottom of you bag will be double the length of one side of your cut square.

Now, proceed to sew your zipper on like you would a normal bag. Leaving the zipper open at least half way sew the sides and bottom seams (right sides together).

Stand Up Oil Cloth Zipped Pouch

Here’s the key part – take your square cutout area and squeeze the side and bottom seam together and fold along the corners of the square like in the photo. Stitch along that raw edge. Repeat for the other corner.

Stand Up Oil Cloth Zipped Pouch
Stand Up Oil Cloth Zipped Pouch

Now, if you’re using this technique to make a lined bag here is where it is different – for the lining you don’t want the raw edge of those corner seams showing, right? You’ll have to push those edges under and stitch over the top of your seam to seal it. This means you’ll see the stitching when you look inside the bag but there’s really no way around it.

Turn your pouch right side out (now you know why I asked you to keep it unzipped!).

Stand Up Oil Cloth Zipped Pouch

Those square corners have been transformed into a flat bottom for your bag, perfect for digging around in at your hotel bathroom.

Stand Up Oil Cloth Zipped Pouch

I only bough 1/4th yard of this oil cloth and I still have enough left to make another pouch or coin case or something. I’m really getting my money’s worth out of this stuff!

Using Scraps: Jersey Finger Knit Bracelet

I found this great idea from V and Co. to make a cute bracelet from strips of knit fabric. What a perfect way to use up my ever growing pile of jersey fabric scraps!

strip of fabric for bracelet

V and Co. gives plenty of instructions, even a finger knitting video if you’ve never done it before or if you need a refresher.

finger weaving

I made my bracelet with the two finger method.

cutting off the tails

My first bracelet was too big (I forgot the key component of this fabric – it stretches!) so I made a second, smaller bracelet.

Vanessa suggests you tie together three 1″ by 58″ strips but I managed to only use one strip for my smaller bracelet and about 1 and 1/4th strips for the first, bigger bracelet. Keep in mind, if you do a three or four finger weave you will obviously use more fabric.

Cute and summery – and so easy to make, too!