Doggie bag re-fashion: turning a surprise find into a useful item

Don’t you love re-fashioned unused or found objects? Last year, I tore apart the basement in order to paint the concrete floors. When I pulled away the large workbench, I found an old UPS messenger bag under it, left behind by the previous owner. I’d been wanting to make a doggie bag to take along on long walks with the pup, so this fit the bill. Plus, she’s starting “group adventures” this week with a local dog walking/boarding company and needs to bring a few things along. They pick her up each day along with other neighbourhood pups, transport them to private farm land outside of the city, walk them for a bit as a pack, then let them loose in a grassy area with swimming pond for some crazy fun pupster play time. Extravagant? Meh. Leni is half husky, and full of energy, she needs an outlet so that shredding our baseboards again is less of a temptation, not to mention getting a much-needed potty break each day while we’re at work. She’s going to have a blast!

Here she is, modelling the finished product:

The bag in it’s original state, after having been washed:

I wanted to make the bag something that could be worn over the shoulder, so I clipped one end of each handle, and sewed them together to make a single, long handle:

It was pretty simple. After cutting opposite ends of each strap away from the bag (pic above, left), I sewed the straps together right sides facing, opened the seam, pressed it flat, and sewed the raw ends to the strap sides using a zig zag stitch to catch any bits that might fray:

Next, I had to find a way to cover up the UPS logo. I found a scrap of black fabric in my stash, a kind of heavyweight felt that didn’t fray. I measured the UPS logo, adding 1/4 inch to the measurements to ensure it would cover everything:

Off to the fabric store I went, luckily, they had an adorable pair of doggie paw print embroidery patches. I sewed them on to the felt piece first, then stitched the felt piece to the bag by hand. After, I used a zig zag stitch around the edges:

I also made a smaller pocket for the inside of the bag, with a zipper closure, to hold my keys and such. I attached it by sewing it to the bag’s upper inside edge, under the bag’s facing and velcro closure:


And voila! Doggie day bag! Ready for fun and play…

Here we are on the weekend, having a great time at the local dog run:13872989_10153516238606599_6295832438157812922_n


MMM 2015, Day 13: simple knit dress, with double darts

Me-Made-May, day 13! Wednesdays during Me-Made-May were supposed to be variations on Burda’s Princess Seam Dress #138 09/2014, but I kinda gave up on the pattern last week. The muslin needs to be redone, and honestly, that style is probably more suitable for fall. So today, I’m showing a piece I finished a while back but never blogged about. It’s a rendition of By Hand London’s Anna dress. Apparenyly, I’m a moron, because I didn’t realize it was available as a pdf download, and didn’t want to wait for a paper pattern to be shipped overseas. Turns out its ONLY available as a pdf. Mine’s definitely not as nice, but it will do for now! FullSizeRender-49 FullSizeRender-47

As with most of my dresses, I kept a centre back seam down the back of the dress even though this was a stretchy knit fabric, to allow for a swayback adjustment. Worked pretty well, decent fit:

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Pattern & Instructions: I can’t outline the exact steps I used to draft the pattern, but here’s the basic gist. I used my basic top and skirt sloper for knits. I added double darts to both the top under bust, and skirt. See line drawing below. I kept taking the darts in on the top until the fit was nice and snug under the bust. I sewed darts in the skirt, so that they lined up with the darts in the top.


Final thoughts: I like it, but need to buy the Anna. I have Anna-envy, check out these to see what I mean…

MMM 2015, Day 12: Butterick 5951, in floral print

Me-Made-May, day 12!

I didn’t get to post yesterday, but here’s Tuesday’s garment. Tuesdays during Me-Made-May are Butterick 5951 days, a cute dress with front shoulder and under-bust rucking. Last week, I made the pattern into a top, using knit fabric. For today’s version, I made dress view A, using what I believe is a crepe de chine. Whatever fabric it is, it’s light and flowy, and I love the colours, kind of like stained glass on a black background…


Pattern & Instructions, Garment Assembly & Alterationssee this post

Check the back and side views, the fit on my swayback is pretty good (the hollow dip between my back and backside), I’m pleased. Love the skirt, I don’t usually care for A-line skirts, but this one sits nicely off my hips.

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 Final thoughts:

What a great sumer dress! Nice enough to wear to work, and breezy enough to keep me cool on hot summer days…

MMM 2015, Day 11: New Look 6123 faux wrap dress, in knit print

Me-Made-May, day 11!

Mondays in Me-Made-May are all about variations on New Look 6123, a lovely dress with options for a 1-piece or crossover bodice, and plain or side-gathered skirt, with an optional side flounce. I adapted the pattern for medium-stretch knits in order to stash-bust a bit. Today’s version is the faux wrap top, and skirt with side ruching:

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Overall, I’m happy. I added 1.5″ length to the front and back bodice, and raised the heckling by 1″ (I don’t like showing too much cleave at work).

Pattern & Instructions, Garment Assembly Alterations – see last week’s post

Final Thoughts:

Another comfy dress for work, I’m happy. I’ll be making another 2 of these as the pattern is very versatile…

MMM 2015, Day 10: Hungarian embroidery – Róza peasant top, with red/blue Palóc design

Me-Made-May, day 10!

Sundays during Me-Made-May are Hungarian embroidery days, and today is another version of the Róza top, also featured last week. The embroidery used for this version is my rendition of a traditional Palóc design, from northern Hungary. I’ve provided the pattern below, should you want to give it a try!

Here’s a link to more images of Palóc embroidery.

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Embroidery Pattern:


Palóc Design, SeaminglySensationalSewing

Garment Assembly and Alterations – see last week’s post.

This version is a cross between both options provided with the pattern – I used the centre square piece to embroider on, but decided to finish the centre front with a straight piece of fabric instead of the fuller option.

Thread used = DMC666, DMC825

Final Thoughts:

Happy, happy, happy!!!

MMM 2015, Day 7: Perfect pencil skirt, with pleated front overlay

Me-Made-May, day 7!

Thursdays during Me-Made-May are a time to explore variations on the pencil skirt. Today I’m wearing a piece I started about a year ago, but for whatever reason it ended up in a heap of UFOs (Unfinished Objects). It’s a basic pencil skirt, with a folded overlay across the front. The fit’s a bit off, because my body shape has changed a bit since I first sewed the skirt, but I did wear it today nonetheless.

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Pattern & Instructions:

To draft the overlay piece, lay our your skirt front piece and trace out one edge – including the dart – onto drafting paper (or right onto your fabric, if you’re daring). See blue lines below. Next, you’ll need to extend the width of the overlay piece by width +1/2, so if your skirt is 24″ wide, your overlay will be 24 + 12 = 36″. This forms your outermost waistline. Next, draw a curved line from the outermost waistline all the way down to the overlay’s bottom edge. See red lines. Cut from your fabric, and follow assembly instructions below.


Garment Assembly:

(1) hem the curved line of the overlay, (2) create a couple of folds in the overlay as desired, and baste in place (I created 2 folds for my skirt), (3) baste the overlay to the front skirt piece at the top and side, (3) finish following whatever instructions came with your skirt pattern, (5) once completed, gently press overlay folds and tack in place with a few stitches if desired.

For the folds, it doesn’t matter if the overlay reaches across the entire waistline, or stops a little ways from the outer edge, like mine. And if you find adding an extra 1/2 width makes the overlay too full, simply trim some width away, and place your folds again to see how it looks.

Final Thoughts:

I think it’s worth making again, I like the style, next time I’ll use my current pencil skirt sloper so the fit is just perfect.


MMM 2015, Day 5: Butterick 5951, as a top in knit

Me-Made-May, day 2!

Tuesdays during Me-Made-May are Butterick 5951 days, a cute dress with front shoulder and under-bust ruching. For today’s piece, I used the dress pattern to make a top, and further adapted for knits so that I could use up a piece of cotton knit fabric brought back from Vietnam by one of my sisters. I like the hearts print, paired with a black skirt it made a cute outfit for a sunny spring day.

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Pattern & Instructions:

Level of Difficulty – novice/intermediate. PDF download = 55 pages to print, giving you 2 options for the top, and 2 options for the skirt. Worth it, in my opinion.

Sizes 8-24

Garment Assembly:

(1) sew darts on front piece, and then on back piece, (2) attached front to back at sides, (3) hem sleeves, set into sleeve holes and sew, (4) folder over neckline and topstitch in place, (5) hem bottom. I used a zigzag stitch to assemble, and finished the inside seams with another line of zigzag stitching, nothing fancy. I also used a strip of bias binding along the ruches seams in order to stabilize the gathers.

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Garment Alterations:

To make the top, I added a few inches of length to the front and back pieces.

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To adapt for knits, I took a bit off the shoulder and side seams. I didn’t use the facing around the neckline, but rather folded over the fabric twice and top-stitched in place. I probably should have taken the darts in more under the bust, but hey, it doesn’t look awful.

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Final Thoughts:

I like it, a little causal for work but paired with a black skirt it looks just fine, even got a few compliments.

Check out this google search for more design inspiration!