Thursday, July 29, 2010

Grocery Bag Holder


Are you a grocery bag collector? Use them for mini garbage can liners? To carry picnic lunches in? To throw diapers in before throwing those stinky bombs in the garbage?

Where do you put all of your bags? Need a tutorial for one? Well, here you go.

Now, I know no one really sees these if they are tucked away in a closet.......but maybe it'll make you smile every time you see it, if you pour your little heart out while making it. Go on and make it with some darling fabric to brighten up that closet. Just an idea.

You'll Need:

• If you want your holder all one color - 1 piece of fabric, 20 x 25 inches. If you want strips like pictured here, you'll need 9 pieces of fabric, 20 x 3 1/2 inches.

• 2 pieces of narrow elastic (1/4 wide or smaller). 11 inches and 6 1/2 inches.

• 1 piece of ribbon - 14 inches long.

• Thread

If you're using strips, sew all of them together along their long sides (1/4 inch seams). Iron all of the seams open.
Then, make a casing for your elastic at each end. Turn over the fabric about an 1/4 of an inch and then fold it over again about 1/3 of an inch. Sew really close to the fold so that your 1/4 inch elastic can still fit. Do this to both ends

Now, thread your elastic through each end and sew each end of the elastic securely to the opening of each end of the casing. Keep in mind, the larger piece of elastic is for the top of your holder (so you can shove many bags in) and the smaller piece of elastic is for the bottom (so that you only pull one bag out at a time).

Next, turn the holder right side out and pin the ribbon (I turned the end under once) into place, about 3/4 of an inch from the top. Sew the ribbon into place several times, making it secure.

Lastly, sew the 2 long sides together, with right sides together.

Hang................and stuff.

Mini Wallet

Tiny little wallets that fit just perfectly into the mini clutches from my first official pattern, The Infinity Tote.

It's perfect for the minimalist (like me) who wants just enough wallet to cart around a few credit cards, a bit o'change, and some greenbacks. After lugging a huge diaper bag around for 8 years with everything but the kitchen sink, it's so nice to be able to grab a tiny tote when I'm running a couple of errands or spending a day playing tourist.

It's also a great way to make use of extra little scraps you may have lying around, begging to be made into something useful and pretty.

The front pocket is designed for coins, the middle area is for bills, and

the back pocket holds credit cards/drivers license.

I feel like I should issue a bit of a warning about this little wallet, though - despite its benign appearance, it's not exactly a project for beginners. Not because of a lot of complicated pieces, but because it's so tiny that it's pretty hard to do a really good job constructing it. Any slight variance in seam allowance or the tiniest error in alignment will result in a glaringly obvious crooked pocket or flap, so be patient and do your very best when stitching it together to avoid problems.

I went through 5 prototypes (2 were complete rejects because things were crooked and didn't fit well together) to get all the measurements exactly right, so be precise! Cut the pieces EXACTLY square and to the measurements given. And be sure to sew EXACTLY 1/4" seams so the parts will fit together well.

Okay, I hope I didn't scare anybody too badly...I just wanted to give you a heads up so you didn't run into the same problems I did during construction.

The first step is to cut all the pieces. You can look at the finished product in photos above to see which fabric goes where, but basically you'll need 2 separate fabrics for the cover flap and main body of the bag, plus a long piece that will be doubled over to create your pockets. In this example, the blue dots fabric is for the pockets.

Main body (cut 2): 5" x 7 3/4"
Cover flap (cut 2): 5" x 2 1/2"
Pockets (cut 1): 5" x 12"

INTERFACING (heavy duty, fusible on one side like Pellon DuraBond):
Main body (cut 1): 4 1/2" x 7 1/4"
flap (cut 1): a scant 4 1/2" (meaning just shy of 4.5") x 2 1/4"

HINT: To get a nice curve on the interfacing, use a spool of thread as a guide and trace around it on one corner.

Fold interfacing in half, then trim along that line to create 2 perfect, uniform curves.

Fuse the interfacing to the backside of your chosen fabric. These will be the pieces that will be facing outward, not the lining pieces (although I must confess that I wasn't concentrating and accidentally sewed the flap for this wallet wrong-side out...I had intended for the little red-dotted "Seed" fabric to be facing out and, as you can see in the finished product, I did it wrong. Just in case you noticed and were confused about that.)

With right sides together, sew the short ends of the pocket fabric together to create a "tube". Put the 2 fabrics for the flap right sides together, and stitch VERY carefully all along the edge of the interfacing to create the curve. Be sure to backstitch at beginning and end.

Trim the seam around the flap very close (but not too close!) to where you just stitched.

Turn the pocket "tube" right side out and press flat, with the seam right at the edge of one of the pocket sides. If desired, stitch ribbon along the edges of pocket as shown. Make sure ribbon is sewn on straight = a crooked ribbon will be very apparent later on.

NOTE: press the ribbon with a hot steam iron BEFORE stitching onto pocket fabric. Ribbon can shrink and could cause fabric to pucker if not pressed beforehand.

Turn flap right side out, press very carefully, and topstitch all along the sewn edge.

Reduce the stitch length to about a 2 so that you can navigate the corners more precisely, and go very slowly (sometimes I even "walk" the needle through the corner areas instead of using the foot mechanism) so you can do a good job.

Set aside.

Now, take the completed pocket fabric and center it on the Main Body fabric (the one with interfacing fused to it). Using a long stitch length (4 or 5), baste 1/16" away from edge for a few inches on either side of pocket fabric so that it won't shift when you sew up the sides. Take great care in making sure the pocket is sewn on straight. If it isn't, rip out the basting and do it again until it's straight so you won't end up with crooked pockets.

With right sides together, stitch up the sides of both the Liner and the Main Body fabric (the one you just basted the pockets to). Make sure that whatever version of 1/4" seam allowance (everyone sews 1/4" a little differently based on different machines) you use on one, you do the exact same to the other or they will not fit together properly. Clip the bottom corners slightly as shown above.

Leave the liner inside out as shown above.

Turn Main Body fabric right side out, press well.

Take your flap and baste it in place (1/16" seam) along the backside of the wallet.

Now, take the liner (which is still inside out) and slip it over the top of the wallet and flap so that the raw edges meet up exactly and the side seams match up.

Okay, this is the tricky part. Starting at where you basted the flap to the Main Body, stitch exactly 1/4" seam all the way around the wallet. If this seam varies at all, the wallet and flap will be crooked. Since it is so small, I recommend stitching it from the bottom inside as shown above, which is opposite of how I would normally stitch a bag.

Using a seam ripper, take out part of the side seam of the liner. Pull wallet out through this gap.

It will now look like this. Stitch up the gap either by slipstitching by hand or stitching close to the edge with machine like the photo above.

Tuck lining into wallet and press well.

To make the coin pocket gravity proof, take *Fusible* Velcro (especially designed for fabric, not the gummy stick-to-everything kind) and cut to about 4" long. If it's 3/4" wide, cut in half lengthwise to make a skinny strip. Following manufacturers directions, slip both sides of Velcro into pocket near the top and fuse in place. Let cool then make sure it fused properly.

If using a decorative button for the outside flap, sew in place now.

On the backside of the flap, sew on a little snap closure right over where the button thread is (to hide it) and then sew on the other half of the snap onto the pocket.
And there you have it! A customized, compact little wallet to brighten your spirits (and lighten the load in your purse) every time you pull it out.

Pom Pom Gift Topper


Anyway, don’t laugh at my wrapping. This was an octagon shaped gift. A little tricky to wrap, OK. And the pom pom gift topper was a huge hit. They ended up keeping it to reuse. I love it. Reuse, reduce and recycle. Remember, if you made something inspired by Simply Modern Mom, please upload pictures of it in our Flickr group to show it off to everyone. You may be featured on Simply Modern Mom.


 4 sheets of tissue paper (mine was 18 x 26 inches)
 scissors
 string
 credit card or ruler (SOMETHING TO CREASE THE EDGES WITH)

1. Stack the tissue paper together and fold lengthwise in half. Trim off about 5-6 inches from one end of the length.

2. Get rid of the portion that was cut (the 5-6 inch). Use the bigger portion of the tissue paper. With the paper still folded in half lengthwise, crease it into an accordion fold about 1 inch wide. Run over the creases with the bone folder or credit card.

3. With the open side of the tissue paper, cut a rounded end. It will be tough to cut through all the layers of tissue paper at the same time. Use a pair of sharp scissors.

4. On the folded side of the tissue paper, tie it tight with some string.

5. Fan out the tissue papers and break up the layers. Be gentle so you don’t rip the tissue. Fluff as needed.

Storage IdeaFURNITURE PLANS: 6 Cube Bookshelf~Inspired By Land Of Nod's Cube Collection

6 Cube Bookshelf ~
Inspired By Land Of Nod's Cube Collection


It's modeled after Land of Nod's Cube Collection, and yes, those bins are also modeled after Land of Nod's bins, measuring 11" x 11" x 11". I believe you can also buy these at Target, but the Land of Nod price is very reasonable and the colors are fantastic. The pink dots are from Pottery Barn Kids

Fabric Covered 3 Ring Binder


(Beginner Project: From start to finish project should take about 1 hour.)

Materials Needed:

One 3-ring binder (I used one that was 21" x 11.5")

** You will need to adjust measurements of fabric and stabilizer depending on size of your binder**

2 pieces of iron-on stabilizer: 23" x 12.5"4 pieces of fabric: 13" x 8.5" (for the pockets)2 pieces of fabric: 23" x 12.5" (outside cover of binder)
Trace around binder onto the two pieces of stabilizer and cut out.
Make sure the pieces of stabilizer are the exact size of binder.

Take one piece of stabilizer and fold in half.
Measure three inches from fold and cut.

You now have two pieces of stabilizer that will be used for the pockets.

Should have this.
Gather the fabric pieces.

Time to iron on the stabilizer.

Take two pieces of fabric sized 13" x 8.5" and iron stabilizer onto wrong side of fabric.

Take one piece of fabric sized 23" x 12.5" and iron stabilizer onto wrong side of fabric.

Should have this. Don't worry about trimming off excess fabric.
Gather all the 13" x 8.5" pocket pieces of fabric.

With right sides together sew one piece of fabric with stabilizer to one piece without stabilizer. Make sure you sew on the straight edged side. (The rounded edges are the corners of binder.)Repeat for other two pieces.

Turn right side out and iron

Time to layer the pieces.

Place the 23" x 12.5" piece of fabric on table right side up.

Place one pocket piece on far right side and one on the far left side. (Straight folded edge is towards the middle and the rounded edges are on the outside.)

Now place stabilized 23" x 12.5" piece of fabric on top of pockets, stabilizer side up.

Carefully line up fabric so that all the pieces of stabilizer line up perfectly. This part is a little tricky. Pay special attention to the rounded edges of the pockets. You want to make sure all the pieces of stabilizer line up perfectly, if they don't, it may look a little bulky on the edges.

Pin in place.

Leave a 2 1/2" opening in the middle bottom of fabric. (Opening will be used for turning fabric out.)

With using the stabilizer as your guide sew together leaving 1/4" space from stabilizer.

Trim off excess fabric. Reach into hole and pull fabric out. Iron. Hand stitch opening closed.
Place binder into pockets. Now your finished!