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:

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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

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Too many monkeys, not enough mics…

Whew, where have the months gone?!? Been awhile since I posted something new. Heck, been awhile since I actually finished anything new. Until tonight. My rockstar hubby asked me awhile back to make him some simple covers for his microphones – he’s in a band, practice sometimes takes place here. The covers are to keep dust or dirt off mics when they aren’t in use, simply slide them over the mic, tighten up the drawstring and voila!

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Turned out well, used cute monkey music fabric, but I’m pretty pissed with the single fabric retail chain here in Canada. If you’re Canadian, you know who I’m talking about. My biggest beef = more often than not, you’re paying a decent price for really low quality. As soon as I washed this fabric, a brushed cotton, bits of naked white spots appeared, as if some of the blue top layer pulled off in the wash. Not the end of the world for mic covers, but it was “buy 1m get 2m free” so I had planned to make jammies with the remaining fabric, bought blue lace and cute buttons to match. arg. will have to think on that one.

But still, monkey fabric, yay! and music-themed at that. the monkeys appear to DJing, there’s turntables and headphones and everyone seems happy. Hubby will be pleased.

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I used the same steps as in my orphaned socks bag, threw on some vinyl, and banged out 3 in under 1.5hrs. With fancier fabric and a little more attention to detail, this kind of project would make great Christmas gifts for freidns and family.

Yay sewing!

Arm knitting!

Click here for great link on arm knitting!

I hooked up with friends at a favourite coffee haunt this past Saturday, we tried our hand at arm knitting. My yarn was a bit too thin, so my attempt failed miserably. Determined to make a double-wrap cowl happen, I picked up Patons Cobbles yarn – a really thick yarn, 2 skeins will do a cowl. I cast on 12 stitches, and got to work…beautiful, but way too wide. It literally engulfed my entire face when I wrapped it around my neck, so I unravelled it and started again…

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I tried again with 8 stitches, still too wide for a double-wrap cowl! I ended up casting on only 4 stitches, but the yarn is so thick, it works just fine! I still had 2 balls of yarn left, so I arm-knit a short scarf casting on 6 stitches, sewed on a button to one side, slide it through one of the stitches like a buttonhole, and voila!

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And here’s me playing with kittie, which inevitably led to covering him in bits of leftover yarn…he pretends to hate it, but gets pissed if you don’t give him more attention…

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Making an “orphaned socks” bag!

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Today’s project is something a little different – a bag decorated with a machine embroidered patch. You can make a bag for any purpose, but I really needed something to store all my single “orphaned socks” in, you know, the ones that somehow lose their mate between the laundry hamper and dryer. Where do they disappear to?!? I always hang on to those socks, hoping I’ll find their mates one day…

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The result is a cute little bag to store your lonely orphaned socks in, the awesomely late 80s/early 90s fabric was given to me by a good friend, love gifted fabric!

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To make the bag, you’ll need 2 large squares of fabric, and a smaller piece to make an embroidered patch with. Reinforce the patch fabric by ironing on a piece of one-sided fusible interfacing to the back of it. Flip the fabric over, and embroider as desired. Add topstitching to decorate the patch if you like. Use a needle to pull the top threads through to the back side and knot in place. If you used your sewing machine to embroider, trim the joining threads between letters.

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I added several other rows of coloured thread embroidery, finishing with a purple wavy line passing over the other colours. Trim the fabric to the desired size (pic on left, below), and press under a small narrow hem (middle pic). Topstitch the hem in place, if desired (pic on right).

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Sew the embroidered patch in place to one of your large squares pieces of fabric, using whatever decorative stitch you like.

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Sew around the 3 long edges of the bag, leaving the top edge free. Important, be sure to leave a gap about 1.5″ from the tops of both sides near the bag’s opening (see where my finger is pointing in the pic to the left, below). This will be used for the drawstring. On the right, I’ve topstitched around the hole – it’s optional, but it helps reinforce it.

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Fold over the top of the hem, tucking in the end to form a casing. It really helps if you use an iron the press the folds before sewing. Sew the casing in place, going all the way around the top of the bag.

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Now make a long bias strip to use as the drawstring of the bag. Cut a long strip of fabric, about 1.5″ wide, and the length of the circumference of the bag plus a few extra inches. Using an iron, fold in the outer edges to the centre of the strip, pressing in place (first pic, below). Now fold the piece in two, creating a neat little strip (second pic). Sew the edge, binding both sides of the strip together.

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Attach a safety pin to the end of the bias strip, and insert it through the hole on one side of the casing. Pull it all the way through, and join the ends of the bias strip by sewing them together. Pull the binding out through the other casing hole, so that you now have loops on either side of the bag – you can pull on these to close your bag if wanted, or use the loop to hang the bag by a hook in your laundry room!

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