Guess what? This is my 99th blog post, with my 100th just around the corner! It’s taken me a pretty long time to get here, considering my first post was on October 19, 2010. But my last-minute decision to go to grad school in 2011 meant my blog took a really, really long break and I’ve recently hopped back on the sewing train. Celebrate!

In my next post, I’m going to announce a cool new idea I have up my sleeve in honor of the 100th post. But for number ninety-nine, I thought it would be fun to dig into the archives and highlight some of my previous projects – including some that were never even mentioned in my blog. This is just as exciting as getting the DVD and watching the extra scenes that were cut out of the movie, right!?

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The Friendship Bag: Rinse and Repeat!

Ahhh. The return of the Friendship Bag. I promise that one of these days, I will learn to sew something other than Friendship Bags and tissue box covers.

But in the meantime…

Wall-E inspired Friendship Bag eye candy that I made for a friend! Well, I guess you could say that it was actually inspired by Eve, the sleek white robot in the film. Details, details!

Wall-E Eve inspired tote bag

Wall-E Eve inspired tote bag close up

What I love so much about this bag is how much leftover fabric I was able to incorporate. The only materials I had to buy were the white calico prints. The black calico fabric was leftover from the Minnie Mouse Friendship Bag, the light green calico print was leftover from my first set of Friendship Bags and the dark green was leftover from Mike Wazowski’s eyeball. It’s almost as if I was able to stitch little pieces of my memories into this bag – and that makes it feel even more special!

Inspirations and modifications

I get the most brilliant ideas in the most inopportune places. Having a lightbulb-over-my-head moment is so inconvenient when I’m pushing through the last few minutes of an evening run, driving 70mph on the highway or rinsing conditioner out of my hair. I have to wonder how many wonderful ideas float out of my head, never to return again simply because I don’t have a means of writing them down when they come into my life.

But it’s understandable that ideas would come to me during these times. Let’s face it – running, driving and showering are boring. What else is there to do other than think? (and sing to the RENT soundtrack… which is usually blasting in all of the above scenarios)

Luckily, one shower-sewing-inspiration a few months back was so promising that I started mapping out a plan in my head before my hair was even dry. My dear friend’s birthday was approaching and I wanted to make her something memorable. Because we share a special understanding about the magic of Disney, I used Minnie Mouse for inspiration and made a Friendship Bag using the same modified measurements I wrote about a few posts back.

A variety of black calico prints + a red/white polka dot fabric + a magical, inspirational mouse = One successful sewing project!

For an extra magical touch, I added a mouse-head applique using a really amazing product called Heat’n Bond Iron-On Adhesive. It’s available near the ironing supplies in the fabric store for around $10/roll and comes in a variety of adhesive strengths to turn any fabric into an iron-on piece. Since I planned on stitching around the border, I only needed to use the lightest strength to iron my applique in place. Non-sewers would appreciate Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold adhesive – no sewing required!

And last, I created a little coin pouch – my first experience with a zipper. I had to mix and match a few different online tutorials to create the exact quilted zipper coin pouch I had in mind, but overall it wasn’t very difficult. Zippers look more intimidating than they really are!

What I learned from this project:

  • Inspiration can strike anywhere!
  • Heat’n Bond is an amazing product for creating appliques, and may even be useful for non-sewers.
  • Zippers are not scary!

Am I the only one who gets inspired in strange places?

The Friendship Bag

In my first few weeks of sewing machine bliss, I was lucky enough to stumble across p.s. i quilt, an inspiring blog with lots of incredible tutorials. I was immediately drawn to the Friendship Bag tutorial. Not only was the bag adorable, but I read the instructions ahead of time and understood each and every step thanks to the wonderful photos included throughout the tutorial. Plus all of the fabric pieces were rectangles that I could easily measure and cut myself without having to print a pattern.

I eagerly chose a variety of “fat quarters” at the fabric store. I have since learned that “fat quarters” are a quarter of a yard of fabric… duh, makes sense. But that means they are not always the best deal at $1.99 apiece, as that would be about $8/yard on the bolt! A little pricey for a beginning sewer, prone to disaster, who is just experimenting with a new project. But alas, the fabrics I chose complimented each other perfectly, were very “Lindsay-ish” with their cutesy blend of browns and pastels, and therefore worth every penny.
I made the bag and was shocked at how tiny it was. But my euphoria about making a successful bag outweighed the fact that I hadn’t really paid attention to the measurements, which clearly indicated how small the bag would be. Since I had plenty of fabric left, I later recalculated the measurements and made a larger bag.
What I learned from this project:
  • There are lots of awesome, free tutorials available on the internet, thanks to savvy sewers on the web. Wahoo!
  • Pay attention to measurements in order to get an idea of how large or small the final product will be. Don’t assume!
  • “Fat Quarters” may look like a wee little economical choice in the store, but that is not necessarily the case. That doesn’t mean I’d ever pass up an adorable Fat Quarter, but I’ll never pass up an adorable fabric on the bolt out of convenience, either.

And now, I will leave you with the measurements for the larger bag. Follow steps in the p.s. i quilt tutorial, with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

  • 16 strips, 9.5″ x 2.5″
  • 1 bottom panel, 17.5″ x 9.5″
  • 1 lining, 16.75″ x 25″
  • 2 straps, 24″ x 4″

Happy sewing!