Monthly Archives: February 2013

Pattern Tracing

Today I traced a pattern for the first time ever.

Pattern Tracing Craft Paper

It was time.  I have bungled the cutting of my favorite pattern of late, Kwik Sew 3721.  I’ve made the cardigan three times.  Twice I intended to use view B, for a hip length cardigan.  But I cut out one piece at three quarter length, view A, instead.  This wastes a lot of fabric.  So, I finally purchased a roll of craft paper (kind of pricey) and tried the pattern tracing method explained by Kim at Ubercrafter.

I began by laying out the paper on top of the pattern to get the length I needed, as shown above.  Then I taped the two sheets together (24 in width), and flipped them over so I wouldn’t be drawing over tape.

Then I drew a line with sharpie across at the length for view B.  It did not seep through. So perhaps I have a different type of sharpie or thicker paper than Kim.  I marked on either side where the line should go.  Then I traced all the way around the rest of the pattern, picked it up and used a straight edge to get the hemline.

Pattern Tracing View B

Now I have the awkward many letter size sheets view A, and the two sheets of craft paper for view B.  This should prevent me from wasting more fabric when I want the shorter length, so long as I choose the right set of pattern pieces.


  • Use a straight edge as a guideline unless you have a very steady hand.
  • Flip your paper so you aren’t drawing over tape.  Then add more tape afterward, on top of your writing, if necessary.
  • Clean your straight edge with rubbing alcohol afterward so that you won’t get any permanent ink on your fabric in the future.
  • Label everything.

Reusable Grocery Bag

Simplicity Pattern 2806, view B, is my very favorite reusable grocery bag pattern. I have made it with a self lining, with leftover decorator fabric, and with tapestry. I have given them away as gifts.  I use them for storage.  And now it’s time for a new print.

Reusable Grocery Bag Completed

This is a Michael Miller print, which I incorrectly thought had seals swimming right side up and up side down.  So… on one side, they’re upside down because I failed to use a with nap layout.  But that hasn’t stopped me from liking the end result.  And I don’t think that the children have noticed.

Reusable Grocery Bag Sewing Pattern

The pattern is written to use one yard of fabric.  But I often use one half yard of print fabric, and one half yard of plain light colored fabric as a lining. That way I get two print bags, and can easily see things that are inside the bags.

Reusable Grocery Bag Pressing

Unlike the t-shirt bag, this grocery bag really does look nicer if you press it.  I also top stitch along the opening, to keep the fabric from twisting.

I interlined the bag (sewed the lining and outer layer together), because it’s faster.  And I don’t intend to carry the bag with the plain side out. So I don’t care if the serged edges show inside the bag.  I’ll only see them when I turn the bag inside out into the washing machine.

Reusable Grocery Bag Serged Lining

As with the t-shirt bag, turn the bottom seam to the side seam to make a point.  Then sew across to form a gusset.

Reusable Grocery Bag Gusset

I have tried several methods for attaching the two straps together.  On this version of the bag, view B, the pattern instructions specify to press in the edges, then hand sew.  But I haven’t found that to be a very strong way to fasten the pieces together. So, after trial and error, I like this way best:  Serge the edges.  (Yes, they are going to show.) Overlap the two handle pieces.  Sew across three times.  Then sew near to the top stitching on each side.  Repeat. This will not come apart while you cross the grocery store parking lot with a bag full of heavy items.

Reusable Grocery Bag Handles

Voila, a cute, eco-friendly grocery bag.

Reusable Grocery Bag Michael Miller Seals

I think I’m finished with bags for the moment.  I need to make one more fleece jacket.  Then it’s time to begin sewing for Spring.

That’s the plan anyway.

Upcycle T-Shirt to Grocery Bag

I was inspired by an Instructable to recycle a previous season t-shirt. I think it ‘s a cute t-shirt.  But my child has two of them and only wears the pink one. Still, I was surprised when I asked if she minded if I turned it into something else, and she said, sure go ahead.

upcycle tshirt to grocery bag front side

Here’s my version, for a child size tote, using a child size t-shirt.

Materials Needed:

  • Child Size T-Shirt
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Water Soluble Pen
  • Curved object (for example a dressmakers curve, drafting curve, or plate)
  • Sewing machine or serger, threaded

Makeover Instructions:

Get a clean child size t-shirt and lay it flat.

upcycle tshirt to grocery bag

Fold the t-shirt in half and draw lines (around your logo if you wish) in a bag shape.

drawing curves with a drafting tool and water soluble marker

Cut along the lines you just drew.

Turn the t-shirt inside out. Sew the bottom closed.

Fold the side seam and the bottom seam together to make a point. (If you don’t have a side seam, use the armscye to line up the point). Sew or serge a line perpendicular to the existing bottom seam, to form a gusset.  Bottom seam folded to point

Repeat on the other side.  The bottom of your bag will now be a rectangle shape.


Turn right side out.

upcycle tshirt to grocery bag Finished

Voila, you have a washable, reusable grocery bag!

And a shameless plug for your local organization.  If you don’t want to keep the writing, cut the bag shape without regard to the logo, and sew with right sides together.

You do not need to finish the edges, because knit fabric does not ravel.

Reuse It Plastic Bag

Are you wondering what to do with all those weird little plastic envelopes that enclose sheets and sometimes underwear?  You can reuse them as containers for non-food items. They are especially handy if they have snaps, like the one shown below.

Reuseable plastic bag as a crayon container

Yes, this one has a warning not to allow children to play with it.  And I have filled it with crayons.  Only my older child, who is old enough not to put her head in it is allowed to use more than one crayon at a time.  The rest of the time it is safely tucked into a drawer.  And I get out one crayon at a time, for she-who-would-eat-crayons.

The larger plastic envelopes, that contain sheets and usually have zippers are great for organizing luggage, keeping in the car as wet bags (not completely waterproof), and organizing socks or doll shoes.

Fleece Jacket Pattern

I have a new fleece jacket.  It’s Kwik Sew Pattern 3721, in the car coat length.

Fleece Jacket Pattern

Once again, the photo is overexposed so that you can see the detail.  I suppose that I should make things in lighter colors so that they can appear clearly on this blog.  But… I need to wear them.  And black is a good coat color.

I made the coat from winter fleece that I got from  It was very different to sew than the sweater fabric.  I used clear elastic at the shoulder seams again.  Only this time it slipped out of my hand.  And I sewed it off a few times.  Now that I am wearing the coat, I can feel the elastic.  So, I may not need the clear elastic when sewing with fleece.

horizontal seam reinforced with clear elastic

The pattern layout looked just as odd as with the sweater fabric.  But I had seen it once, so it was familiar.  And I was able to cheat a bit, since fleece is without nap, and cut both arm/front pieces at once.

I used yellow tailor’s tacks and safety pins to mark the pattern pieces. I had originally made snips in the seams where appropriate.  But I wasn’t able to see them. So I added the tailors tacks afterward.

The pockets do add bulk to the side seams.  But I liked having them a lot yesterday when the wind was blowing.  And I didn’t want to mess around with gloves.  I may use a complimentary fabric for the pockets in the future.

This pattern is versatile.  By making a longer variation in a different fabric, the coat feels very different.

Infinity Scarf from Free Pattern

This was a fun project.  It was so fun I did it twice!  Simplicity has a free pattern for the infinity scarf.  I used a serger, with the jersey knit it was only one seam, and all finished. I like instant gratification, especially when it keeps me warm.

Infinity Scarf

Here’s a close up.  (Photos overexposed so that you can see the drape of the fabric.)

Infinity Scarf Detail

And, actually the first infinity scarf, I made from leftover sweater fabric.  So for that one, shown below, I serged one side, used the selvedge edge for the other side, and then serged the ends together. I like to wrap it three times so it forms a cowl when it’s windy outside.  I love that it doesn’t blow away like a regular scarf.

Infinity Scarf as Cowl

Girls Jumper Finally

This jumper pattern, McCall’s M6154, is so time consuming.

Every step requires multiple substeps. As I discussed previously with the pockets.  Same frustration level gathering the bodice, and preparing and attaching the yoke.

The bias tape on the armscye was the same number of steps as always, but with really thick fabric that needed to be carefully trimmed.  Although the pattern includes corduroy as one of the fabric recommendations; I think it was a bad choice.


The only tasks that were straightforward were attaching the pocket to the jumper, and the hem.

Attaching the Yoke

It did finally come out cute.  But my little model refuses to wear it.  I don’t know why.  While I was sewing it she kept saying, “It’s for me.  It’s cute.”

Corduroy Jumper Inside Out

Now she doesn’t like it. And refuses to keep it on long enough for me to photograph with her in it.  So, a flat photo it is.

Sewing Corduroy Jumper Completed