Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Shirt Bag

Haven't seen a fiber that excites me much lately. Guess I caught that mojo sucking bug that's going around the "tubes".

Had no inspiration to start anything new, and absolutely no desire to finish anything that has already been started. It's a crummy place to be. So today I decided to do something even it was silly. So I made a another bag.......sigh. The only thing that is held my interest was the the fact that it started out as this:

Yep, even though the pic sucks big time, I'm sure you can tell it's a mans shirt. This dang shirt has been hanging around neglected for ever. If I remember correctly I think one of my sons got it for X-mas from his grandmother when he was in high yeah, he's 28 or 24, take your pick which son it was I don't remember, point is, it should have gone to the GW a looooong time ago! It's one of those really heavy brushed denim shirts that never relaxes and feels like cardboard, thus it'd make a decent grocery bag. :-)

Here's the bag:

Again a lousy pic but that's about how I feel, all blurry, dark, and wrinkled.

Super simple, or at least it would have been super, super simple if I didn't want to leave the breast pockets. Without pockets just cut the top of the shirt off even with the underarm. With pockets that are placed higher than the underarms you have to lay the sleeve open on the inside of the shirt. Cut the sleeve lengthwise down the sleeve crease (opposite the seam) and make a dart in the sleeve at the armpit to compensate for the extra fullness of the sleeve and the dip in the fabric that forms the underarm..

The handles are made out of the remaining sleeves. I rough cut rectangles about 5 x 16 folded the edges to the center, lengthwise, fold them lengthwise again. I made 7 rows of stitching down the length of each.

Folded a hem along the top of the shirt, placed the handles, and layered on a stripe of 1 inch bias tape. Sew the edges of the tape and once down the center for extra firmness around the edge.

Button up the shirt, and run a line of stitching on each side of the button band. You could make another pocket and have it open here at the button band, but I didn't. My grocery bag doesn't need pockets and I already have two! BTW the two breast pockets that I left intact are not usable I sewed them closed under the flaps when I sewed the bias tape.

Sew the bottom of the bag straight across, trim the tails, and square off the corners. Done.

A quick update on the leather coat project.


The baseball cap has been kicking my butt. I made the crown a couple days ago, I was OK with it not thrilled but ok. Worked on the brim yesterday and again today, then finally said the hell with it and sewed the brim to the crown. Yep I sure did, and sewed that sucker on upside down!!! Oh you bet I did. I'm no longer loving the baseball cap, but hate it so much right now, I HAVE to finish it. Does that make sense to anyone out there, or am I all alone on this one??? It will be another couple days until the cap is out of the time-out corner, in the mean time, maybe I'll get some mojo going. We can only hope, if the best I can do today is turn a shirt into a bag its time to give up. Sheesh!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Binder Boxes

Space and more storage was my goal today. I have GOT to get a wee bit more organized. I promised myself that today there would be no needles or fiber of any kind in my hands, except for the purpose of putting it away. I thought this was a fairly doable promise.......Um yeah, about that......

I started out pretty good, cleaning the main floor, then I made the fatal mistake of going upstairs. Ooops. Looking around my main workroom, the huge gaping hole where a cabinet use to be, (its now in the kitchen, a casualty of the last furniture shuffle.) was screaming at me. It was undeniable, I needed more storage, a lot of what was in the cabinet is just sitting on the floor.....sigh. But where and what kind of storage was a problem. I don't have that many cabinets or bookcases. OK, that's a lie, yes I do, but they are all in use at the moment. So my brain got going with the, 'if I put this here' and 'that over there' and 'use this to do that' kind of thinking. I decided the solution to today's problem would be a few storage cubes. Now with a solution figured out, the next problem was that I didn't have any storage cubes. Oh well, not really a problem, I'll make some!

From going to school and teaching school I've ended up with TONS of 3-ring binders. Over the years I've been clearing them out, getting rid of the contents, or properly filing it away, and eventually getting rid of most of the binders. I've hung on to a few but today decided that a couple drawers full (that's "a few" right?) of empty 3-ring binders was a total waste of space, and yet I had this nagging voice in my brain that said I could use them for something. (Is it just me or does everyone hear voices?)

(5) 3-ring binders equals 2 storage cubes, aka binder boxes, and one nearly empty drawer!:

How to make them:
With scissors cut a notch out of the spine up to and as wide as the rivet. The notch I cut in this pic is a too narrow. Cut the notch the same width as the rivet.

Pull out the notch. A pair of needle nose pliers really helps.

Pry up the 3-ring part to disengage rivet. I used my scissors, but a screwdriver would probably work better, or one of those nifty mini pry bars. I was just too lazy to get up and get the proper tool. Be careful how you pry this 3-ring part up, you don't want to damage either front or the back. Notice the tip of my pry-bar-scissors are on the spine of the binder under the 3-ring part.

When the rivet comes loose, cut up the center of the spine as close to the other rivet as possible.

Grab the 3-ring part and pull it out.

Cut the spine remnants off. Make your cut close to the spine edge of the fused hinge.

Then again, you could skip all the above steps and just cut the spine away with out removing the 3-ring metal part. :-) Note the cutting line is on the spine side of the fused hinge. Doing it this way leaves the vinyl covering over the cardboard "raw" edges.

Repeat the above steps for all binders. Stack all the individual pieces and tape them together in a bundle. Make sure they are all facing the same way. (I considered turning one so one of the inner clear pockets would face outward when I put the cube together, but decided not to in the end, my storage cube doesn't need a label)) I used masking tape, one strip around all four sides held them well enough. Measure and mark where you want your lacing holes to be. (I measured one horizontal side and one vertical side and then marked the remaining sides with corresponding dots) All holes are approximately 1/2 " from the edge and 1 inch apart. (personally I just eyeballed it, I mean really, it's just a box made out of 3-ring binder pieces and lashed together with string!) I used a drill with a 7/64 bit to drill the holes. (I'm pretty sure it was 7/64ths, it was in the 7/64ths slot in the bit box, but who knows for sure if was put in the right slot!) Sorry no drill photo but drilling with one hand and taking a pic with the other doesn't work very well.

Lace three of them together, using a cross stitch.......yeah I know, a needle and fiber...promise broken.......I used plain old kitchen cotton. Nylon cord, yarn, ribbon, just about anything would work. The cotton did fuzz a little bit with all that lacing. I used the cotton doubled.

To determine how long a length of string I needed, I roughly measured out 5 times the length to be laced, and then doubled it. (4 times the length will probably be long enough, but I'd rather have longer ends to tie off and then snip them, than fighting with short ends inside the box.)

If you don't hold the pieces at right angles and just stitch them like this, make sure you make your stitches loose enough so the pieces will open to a 90 degree angle. (oops, I learned this the hard way) The easiest way to hold the pieces at a right angle to stitch them was stand an undefiled binder upright right and rest one cut piece on top of it holding the other perpendicular to it for stitching.

The fourth piece is oriented differently. You laced the first three together spine edge to spine edge, or long side to long side. This fourth (and the fifth) piece will be laced to the short sides of the first three pieces using two long sides and one short side of the fourth piece. You will end up with about 1.5 inches that can't be lace because there are no corresponding holes. See the right edge below. No problem, just begin lacing in the second hole of that piece. The lip that is formed will give you a nice slot for your fingers if you put this cube on a shelf.

Lace the fifth piece just like the fourth and Ta Da! You have a binder box. See the two lips formed by the fourth and fifth pieces...not a problem.

Notes and other thoughts regarding the binder boxes:
  • A simple whip stitch once across each edge would prob'ly hold these just as well as the cross stitching.
  • I bet several other stitches would work as well also.
  • No reason why you couldn't stitch a nifty string art motif on one of the sides.
  • Obviously the stitching along the top edges of these boxes has no purpose other than decorative cuz the holes were already there.
  • I suppose, when drilling the holes, you could think about it some more and not drill those holes, but I didn't want to think that hard!
  • You could also lace the first three together on their short sides and have a shorter, more cube like box, but then the lip would be about 4 inches high.
  • Kittens aren't a very helpful.

Now what should I do with these???????

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Recycled Summer Cardi

The summer cardi is done. After it sat a few days in the bucket then I decided that I was NOT going to rip out the completed sleeve and just forged ahead.

I found a zipper from my stash (another thrifted thing) I'm pretty sure the zipper was another of the fabulous finds from the The Mouse. The Mouse sells zippers for five cents each. Every time I find a separating zip or a nifty colored one I grab it. At some point I'm going to have to make one of those bags made entirely out of zippers. Oh and I have the coolest zip that is 96 inches long I savaged from a vintage slip cover I can't wait until I finalize THAT design....but I digress.....So without further ado here is a pic of the sweater:

Info for inquiring minds:

Materials used: Recycled ramie from Thrift Store sweater (dark olive) used throughout entire sweater. Egyptian cotton (light sage) bought in UK for 50p (a little less than $1 at the time) used in bodice and one sleeve. One thrifted separating zip.

Construction: Bodice made with 2 strands of sage and 1 strand of olive. One sleeve made with 2 strands of olive and 1 strand sage, other sleeve made with 3 strands of olive. I had to make the bodice longer so the zip would fit so I added some length to sleeves in the olive as well. Neck and fronts are edged in olive also. I have approximately 15 yards of the olive, and absolutely no sage left. (last three stitches on the olive/olive/sage sleeve are olive/olive/olive.) Um, about that.....I'm calling it a diligent use of ones materials. :-)

I started out using a Drops Garnstudio pattern but it never really dictated much about this sweater other than gauge and bodice shaping (which is completely lost now that I added length to the bodice) The sleeves were from another DG pattern that never really followed that pattern as well. And the zipper? well that wasn't called for in either pattern! LOL

Love the sweater in all it's cottony goodness. No sunshine today, 60 degrees, and 12 mph wind....I've been wearing it all day.....ahhhhhh