January 2010 - Rachel Teodoro

reusable snack bag tutorial

Going Green
Reusable snack bag

At the start of the school year, I was convicted to stop using plastic baggies for the kids lunch boxes. I would ask the kids to bring home the baggies that weren't slimy but that was hit or miss. My hubby will reuse the same ziploc bag for WEEKS...yep, weeks, because he has the EXACT same thing for lunch everyday. It's like groundhog day. Anyway, I had bought some sandwich wraps that seemed easy enough to try to replicate but were really holding up quite well. I figured if the sandwich wrap was holding up so well, then the baggies probably would too. So I set to work. I tried a little bit of everything in my process of coming up with the perfect bag. Vinyl is super cheap but my sewing machine will not sew with it in. I tried using old chip bags that I put fusible interfacing on but those didn't hold up very well (the velcro would pull away and rip the chip bag). I finally broke down and spent nearly $5 on a tube of iron on vinyl (on sale with the coupon at Joann's, normally it's nearly $10) and it works quite well. I sew them with my serger. I love my serger. I picked it up at a garage sale on my birthday and paid $50 for it. If I could marry it, I would. Here is how I made this fancy little baggie that will hold anything from crackers to apple slices. You can wipe them out with a clean rag, or wash them on cold and hang dry.

I don't use a pattern, each baggie ends up being a different size. But I did like the size that this one ended up so I used it as a guide. Here I am lying it on the roll of vinyl and "measuring" it out.

This is what the bag looks like. You will find it in the notions department.

Here the vinyl is cut and then folded. You can see it's 8 squares across, about 6 squares in the main section and 3 squares for the top fold over section. Again, make it however big or small you want. My 4 year old loves the little coin purse sized one for goldfish.

Peel the paper away from the vinyl, then place face down on the wrong side of the material (pre wash your material). Put the paper on top of the vinyl so you can iron over it. Your iron should be on the wool setting. I turn the whole thing over and iron the backside too. Sort of like an iron on transfer.

At this point, I fold it again, with the paper still on it and iron it down making the creases as a guide. I don't peel the paper layer off until I get ready to sew it.

I then serge the top of both sides.

And then sew the velcro on. I have tried placing velcro on the whole length of the inside of the baggie instead of having a top flap and it works just as well too. It's just more velcro, and I haven't had issue with food spilling out while it's packed, so it doesn't seem like an issue.

I then fold the bag up the way that I will use it and serge the sides together completing the whole line from bottom to top, but making sure the top is open so you don't sew it shut!

Trim off the extra strings and there you have it!

A new super cute lunch bag accessory. And what girl doesn't love a good accessory...even if it is just in your lunch bag!

Owen's artwork framed

Owen's pre-school is on the letter R this week. When he came home with this sweet lowercase r (my initial) on red (my favorite color) construction paper, I knew I needed to frame it. The r is made out of rice and is just glued down. Cute, right?!


Re Purposing a T-shirt into a Scarf

Re purposing a t-shirt into a scarf

No question why this Reebok shirt was heading to Goodwill but I thought I could at least try something before this t-shirt was doomed. So I did.

I took the t-shirt and then made a 4x4 template out of an old card. I then started cutting out squares.

I made about 60 squares out of the t-shirt.

Then I placed them all diagonally and pinned the top in the center of the one underneath it. I only pinned the first 5 or so, then I just fed them into the machine individually. The jersey likes to wrinkle up on the edges so I would have to sometimes stop, pick up the presser foot and make sure it was down before stitching again.

And here's the finished product. The perfect new life for that nasty old Reebok shirt.


Re Purposing a Mans Shirt into a Girls Ruffle Skirt

Re purposing a mans polo shirt to a girls ruffle skirt
I have a pile in our room of clothes that are bound for Goodwill. I won't let my husband take them just yet though because I am sure I can find a new use for them. This polo has been calling my name for a few weeks now and I finally got the inspiration to do something about it. Owen was at pre-school this morning so I had some time to do some sewing. Really the skirt only took about an hour to make and that's only because I had to take out a couple of seams that I messed up on. So here is the process.
Raid your husbands closet and find an old shirt. The bigger the better. I will be keeping my eye out this summer at garage sales for some XL castoffs.
Cut the bottom hem off and save for the drawstring. Then cut three 4 inch strips all the way across the shirt and then open them at one seam so you have long strips of fabric. Cut about 7-10 inches on the top around where the sleeves are depending on length. Cut the sleeves off leaving yourself with a rectangle of fabric that will become the underside of your skirt that the ruffles are sewn to. Sew the two pieces together to make one long piece. Fold over about an inch of the top part of that piece to make a casing for the drawstring.

Make gathers on your three strips of fabric and then lay the first layer on the bottom of the long 7-10 inch piece. Then sew about 1 inch up placing the next ruffle on making sure it's the same length as the base layer. Do that with the third layer. My third layer was on the same sewing line as the casing line.

Here it is with all three layers and the casing done. Now put the right sides together making sure all your ruffles are laying flat (I usually shake it down while holding the edges together) and sew together. Make sure you leave the top inch open so you can insert your drawstring. Cut off the extra material at the seam. Thread the drawstring through with a safety pin and Viola a new skirt!

So I am sure I will regret using my 4 year old son as a skirt model later, but he is what was at home at the time. My daughter (who is nearly 8) is the same size as he is and I wanted to check on the length as well as the fit. For the record, I will be happy to pay the therapy bill later.


Using a Pattern to Sew

Following a pattern...but not really
A few weeks ago inspiration (as well as a sale) struck and I bought a few patterns. I'm pretty sure I haven't bought a pattern since my sewing class in High School. I bought a few vintage patterns from goodwill and a few McCall's patterns (or was it butterick?) from Joann's. You won't see too many more pictures of me using a pattern because really, I think they are just too expensive. I would prefer to make my own pattern or re purpose something I already have. I did come up with this vest and scarf duo sort of following the pattern. I cut the length down, didn't add sleeves (not because I don't think it needs some, it does, but because I am not very good at doing sleeves and I didn't like the huge ones that the pattern had), serged the edges, and added some flowy lettuce stitching on the front. I didn't like it very much until I walked into Nordstrom (rack of course!) and saw a zillion shirts just like this. Who knew I was being fashion forward? I used the extra material (probably intended to be sleeves) and made a scarf from it.
I must also take the time to apologize for the pictures on the blog. I am an amateur everything and on top of that I am not a perfectionist. I like when it's nice but I don't love the work that goes into it. It's on my to do list of things to work on, until then, it's sub par pictures on the blog. Sorry!

make it wear it

I lied...another Valentine's day craft

I love antique stores. I often don't have enough time alone to try to hit them and if any of you know my youngest child you would know that Owen (who was banned from storytime at the library) would not be the best child to tag along for a fun trip of antique shopping! I happened to be out with the two older kids and was driving past an antique strip mall I hadn't stopped at in quite awhile. I thought I can do this! So I pulled up my big girl panties and told the two older kids that we were stopping in for a quick trip. My oldest son was less than happy about the detour...and let me know about his dislike for the shop THE WHOLE TIME! I managed to make it a quick trip (Aidan would tell you that an hour is NOT a quick trip!) and picked up some fun little glassware for the house. Which inspired me to make a little Valentine's day thingie...not sure what to call it.


I had Owen help me shred some red and pink scrapbook paper that I have had for ages! I used three pieces of paper.
Then I borrowed my daughter's origami set and made 5 origami hearts (I would like to say the 5 hearts represent each person in the family, but that wasn't my intention). I put the hearts in first followed by the paper and after some swirling of the crystal ball, I got the look that I was hoping for.

I'm excited to try it at Easter with a nest and some eggs.

Little Black Shirt

I went a little crazy a few weeks ago and got super inspired to try making my own clothes again. I bought a few patterns and grabbed some fabric at the fabric store and set to work only to remind myself why I quit sewing in the first place! It's so expensive and you don't always end up with what you want. I am a HUGE garage sale shopper. In fact 95% of our families clothing comes from garage sales. I rarely pay more than a dollar for any article of clothing, which leads me to why I love repurposing so much. Since it isn't garage sale season, I picked up this little racer back tank at Old Navy for $1.49. I knew it had more life in it than to be just a racer back tank, and thus the story of the little black shirt.

Once upon a time, there was a little black shirt. The little black shirt met another black shirt and a new super fun black shirt was made.

Here's the shirt that was sacrificed. I liked the detail on the top, so I cut just below it. I think I see a dress in it's future.

Here's one idea that I thought of. I cut the sacrificial shirt into 3 inch long pieces and gathered both sides. I placed it down the middle and thought that I would sew it on this way. But instead a happy accident happened and the strip got messed up and became this...

A funky little wave of a shirt! I just placed it on in a sort of zig zag pattern, pinned it down and sewed it on the front of the shirt. What do you think?

make it wear it

$7 shopping trip
I love a good bargain. I know my shopping trip today doesn't qualify as a craft, but man you sort of have to be crafty to get a good deal! The kids have been begging for a taco Tuesday night and I didn't have any pico de gallo on hand. I always make ours but was thinking it might have been cheaper and easier to buy it tonight. Thus, the reason I headed into Safeway this morning. I really just wanted to brag about my finds. Here's a picture of all the yummy goodness I got for only $7!
And here's the list:
1 Whole pineapple, 1 dozen eggs, toilet cleaner, jar of salsa, apple juice, peanut butter, 5 pounds of organic onions, 1 box of organic spinach, ice cream, 1/2 pound of black forest deli ham, french bread, safeway selects minestrone soup,and a bag of tortilla chips
Love is in the air

I think this is the ultimate in craftiness for 2009 and with Valentine's day rolling around, maybe it will inspire someone to think out of the box. I always rack my brain for what to get Mike for his birthday and for Christmas. It never fails that the majority of what I get him, ends up heading back to the store. Thankfully, this gift was a hit! Mike's uncle Dave made his very own wedding ring years ago. About 8 years ago when I was getting a new wedding set (long story!), I was without my ring for about a month. Mike didn't like me being in public without a ring on my finger (guess he was afraid that the two small children on my hip wouldn't be enough to fight all of the available bachelors off!) so he made me a temporary ring to wear one day in the machine shop at work. I wore that bad boy everyday until I got my ring back, and if I didn't like diamonds so much, I would probably still be wearing it!

Anyway, Uncle Dave's two boys have both gotten married in the past few years, and each wife made their husbands wedding band with the help of their new father in law. Chad and Shawna were the most recent wedding, and while looking through their wedding pictures there was a shot with the two girls and Dave holding the wedding bands. Mike saw the picture and made a flippant comment like "why don't you make me a ring?" Well, I tucked that little gem in the back of my mind and decided I would ask Uncle Dave if he could help me make a ring for Mike for Christmas.

Fast forward a few months to late November, and I finally asked Dave if he would help me make a ring. I only had one available day to work on it (Owen's pre-school is just not long enough sometimes!) thanks to a playdate after school, so I called up Davie to see if he could help me. Thankfully, everything fell into place. I showed up at the family business (AST) and got to work on this stainless steel ring (after some calculations from Mike's dad on the ring size--I was totally shocked that people actually use pie to solve equations!) made out of the same hunk of stainless steel that Chad and Josh's rings are made out of. Dave helped me on the lathe and we got to work on Mike's ring. I love that the edges are beveled and the front is thicker than the back (sort of off center). I came away from the morning with all my fingers in tact and some experience on the lathe. As much fun as it was, I'm not trading in my sewing machine anytime soon!


Fused Plastic Bag

Fused Plastic Bag

Normally I bring my own bags with me to reuse (you get 5 cents off your order for each bag you use at Target so it's totally worth it for me), but this time, I had SO many items that I ended up just getting them in plastic. Plus I had seen this cool tutorial so I had a crafty motive behind it. Here's the tutorial from MADE

I changed a few things from Dana's tutorial like I made my bags 14x14, and I used wonder under on my lettering. I also learned to make sure you read the WHOLE tutorial before jumping in. Her tutorial doesn't tell you to serge the edges of the top BEFORE putting the handles on. In her instructions it's listed after the instructions on how to apply the handles and after all that work to put the handles on, I didn't have it in me to take them apart and redo the top. Live and learn for next time.

Essentially, you take plastic bags, use some wax paper and fuse the layers together to make a new fabric. I really like her use of only the white side of the bag, but I got a little excited with the project and just wanted to do it rather than wait to collect more bags (we are talking like 25 more bags) and I didn't have any more major shopping to do at Target. So the first thing I did was lay the bags out flat and cut the tops and bottoms off of them. I saved all the extra that I cut off and used it to make the sides and bottom of the bag.

I had some red canvas material left over from when I hemmed Aidan's IKEA curtains 5 years ago and used that to make the lettering and handles. And of course, I got to try out my new serger that I picked up at a garage sale this summer for $50! LOVE IT!

Aren't they cute?!
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