Lina and Vi: June 2014

New Bag! Nicaragua Green tote

It's been a busy weekend here, but I'm really happy to share that I've wrapped up the latest Grounds bag today, and it's now available for purchase on our Etsy shop.

Nicaragua Green tote - Lina and Vi - Grounds Collection

Welcome the Nicaragua Green toe - a medium size, shoulder bag with two inner slide pockets, one inner zipper pocket, and splashes of quirky, multicolored zigzag fabric to line the bottom and inner pockets. You'll notice that the accent fabric is the same heavy-weight, upholstery fabric used on the Crop 2013 bag made a few months ago.

This is the first bag in the collection with non-creme straps, and I think the olive green straps turned out great for this bag's design. The repurposed coffee sack burlap is printed with a large graphic of a coffee been in black and green. One side of the bag contains this image while the other side shows the markings of the origins of the coffee burlap.

Nicaragua Green tote - Lina and Vi - Grounds Collection

Nicaragua Green tote - Lina and Vi - Grounds Collection
Nicaragua Green tote - Lina and Vi - Grounds Collection
I especially like this bag because it's both functional and practical. The color scheme is neutral enough to match any outfit, the inner lining is sturdy to carry the weight of the bag's contents, and the colorful pockets provide many options to keep track of things that tend to get lost your purse.

Unlike the Brazil tote, I don't have a significant 'maker' story for this bag. The entire process of making the Nicaragua Green tote was fairly drama free - and my sewing machine was spared from any sort of beating this time around! :-) (Hey, we all have our moments!)

Nicaragua Green tote - Lina and Vi - Grounds Collection

Jump over to our Etsy shop to see more details on sizing, materials, and features of the Nicaragua Green tote.

Thanks for stopping by!
Erica


Lina and Vi + Birch Wood in Downtown Plymouth

Friends, we have a big announcement to kick off this weekend!

I'm so very excited to announce that Lina and Vi has partnered with a local boutique in downtown Plymouth, Michigan to carry the Grounds collection of burlap totes and bags - Birch Wood! Birch Wood is a unique boutique with a variety of shabby chic, artisan goods which includes home decor, apparel, gifts, furniture, art, antiques, and handmade jewelry. The owner of the boutique sells USA-made casual apparel such as maxi skirts and dresses, Alternative Earth lounge wear, and scarves to name a few. This store reminds me so much of Anthropologie, and I fell in love with it the first time I visited. There's such a variety of items that you will never know what you may find in stock that day. You may head in to grab a pair of capri leggings and walk out with an old, salvaged light-up movie sign to hang on your bedroom wall. I love it!

lina and vi - birchwood - linaandvi.blogspot.com

This is a huge milestone for Lina and Vi. It is the first brick and mortar store that features our Grounds collection. The store also just launched their online website. Check out and like the Birch Wood Facebook page for more details!

I celebrated this weekend by stopping by the shop to take a few photos to share with you all. It's crazy to see one of my bags in the storefront window. My husband and I stopped by there Friday night to take a few pictures, and it ended up as a goofball photo session.

lina and vi - birchwood - linaandvi.blogspot.com

If you are in the metro Detroit area and near Plymouth, stop by Birch Wood to see what they have in store including the Grounds bags! Birch Wood is located at 470 Forest Ave Suite 17 Plymouth, Michigan 49170.

I'm busy working on a new bag this weekend and can't wait to share more about it in the next few days. Hope you're enjoying the last weekend of June - can you believe it?! I cannot believe the month is nearly over, but finally summer is here to stay!

Erica

Thoughts on Brazil

Friends, with all of the excitement going on right now with the World Cup games in Brazil, I'm getting even more excited about Brazil due to the latest Grounds bag - the Brazil Tote.

Today I'm sharing the final product photos that were taken two days ago. As mentioned in the prior post, this new gem reminds me a lot of the Cafe Tote we made a few months ago. The difference here is that the Brazil Tote is all about color - with a bright color scheme accented by pops of cherry red to fit with the Brazilian burlap print. Like all of our Grounds bags, this one can be use for multi-purposed reasons and seasons.

Brazil Tote - Grounds Collection - Lina and Vi
If you enjoy handmade products, you know that every product and piece has a story.  This tote is no different. I want to share this story with you because it demonstrates the hard work, patience, and care that goes into making something handmade - even if it's not always the most easy experience. Three nights ago, I was putting the finishing touches on this bag which included sewing the button hole on the top flap piece. I've sewn button holes plenty of times, so it didn't seem like it would be a real hurdle for me like some of the other techniques that I'm gradually learning to add to the bags. Plus, my machine has an awesome setting to create a button hole and the appropriate foot to make the hole exactly as large as needed.

So, I measured and marked where I thought the hole needed to be placed, lowered my pressure foot, and starting sewing away. Everything was great until I released it and realized the hole was larger than I expected and thus off center, which looked terrible to me. Taking the seam ripper, I took it apart to try it again. Took a few deep breaths, repositioned the fabric, and pushed the foot pedal to get it going. Everything was going well until my bobbin thread went out. I stopped sewing, refilled the bobbin, and started again from the beginning. That was probably my mistake - starting again from the beginning rather than taking out the old thread - and suddenly things went awry. The thick threads jammed and soon the fabric was completely tangled into the machine. I was so frustrated at this point, spending the small amount of time I had at the end of my busy workday to unjam the machine rather than actually make progress sewing, that I pulled the fabric out, cleaned everything up, shut off the machine, and called it day. Thinking things were okay the next night, I attempted to start sewing again and the machine would not feed the fabric. It was incredibly frustrating, so much so that I stomped off to find a YouTube video to teach me how to unscrew the metal plate from the machine to see what's going on.  Taking everything apart, I could find nothing wrong so I cleaned the machine and started again. No luck. After some not-so-lovely words, I realized that the feed setting on the back of the machine had switched so the feed dogs were lowered, hence the fabric was not moving. I was seeing red at this point as I flipped the switch and finished the button hole. I ended up taking the entire button hole apart (even after I had already cut the fabric) because it was not to the quality I had wanted it to be. The entire experience was incredibly frustrating for me, but it was such a good lesson in patience and focus on making things right, even if it takes three or four times to get it right.

This is why I sew. Whatever you are making, you can always start it over again. It's a lesson in persistence and a good reminder for me that everyone faces obstacles, small or large, even if they are experienced in what they are doing.

Brazil Tote - Grounds Collection - Lina and Vi
I have to say that if you are interested in purchasing this bag, it has already sold to a buyer. I hope you enjoyed learning about the "behind the scenes" process of making this bag and can relate in having the reminder of needing patience in whatever you do or create as well.

Erica



Sneak Peek: New Brazil Tote

Hello, friends! I'm here today to share a few sneak peek photos of a new tote for the Grounds Collection that we are naming the Brazil tote. This tote is design very similar to the Cafe Tote. That bag was sold last month to a lucky new owner, so I've decided to add a new tote with a similar design to the collection.

Brazil Tote - Lina and Vi - Grounds Collection
The Brazil tote features repurposed, printed burlap on both the outer front and back sides. The print is four colors - black, green, red, and yellow. Just like the Cafe Tote, the Brazil tote is secured with a flap panel and a button closure.

Brazil Tote - Lina and Vi - Grounds Collection
The inside of the bag features soft, flannel-like cherry red fabric to match the Brazil burlap print. There is one inner slide pocket to carry small items separately. This tote has two thick, beige shoulder straps, strong enough to use it as an everyday purse or occasionally as a market tote to carry vegetables and fruits from the summer farmer's markets.

Brazil Tote - Lina and Vi - Grounds Collection
I have a few more finishing touches for this bag, including finishing the button hole, hand-sewing the metal button, and tacking down the inner lining to the bag shell. It will soon be posted on Etsy, so check back soon!

Thanks for stopping by-
Erica


Introducing the Decaf Utility Bag

Hi everyone! Here in Michigan the weather has been - what seems like - uncharacteristically fantastic these past few weeks. We braved a brutal winter so seeing the sun multiple days in a row feels oddly rewarding.

Today I'm sharing the latest Grounds bag - the Decaf Utility Bag. This is the first custom order bag sewn to requirements for the overall size, number and type of pockets, strap design, etc. I happen to know that this bag will be used as a summer diaper bag, but I do think it can be used for any need - not just for carrying baby items.  The only custom feature in the bag that really says 'diaper bag' are the two elastic loops placed in the inner side seams. These are meant to hold baby food spoons. But really, you could be resourceful and loop your key chain on them to keep your keys from disappearing to the bottom of the bag. Many purposes!

Decaf Utility Bag - linaandvi.blogspot.com
Decaf Utility Bag - linaandvi.blogspot.com
Decaf Utility Bag - linaandvi.blogspot.com
Decaf Utility Bag - linaandvi.blogspot.com
The finished dimensions are 17" wide, 13" tall, and 5" deep. There are two outer side pockets for bottles and one large outside pocket secured by velcro for small items like books, etc. I admit that I struggled with how to design and fasten the side pockets. This is why this bag has separate side panels whereas the other Grounds bags do not. We needed the side seams to enclose the two outer side pockets. I cannot believe how great they turned out. This was a learning lesson for me, and there's nothing I would change about them now so I feel like they are a success!

The inside of the bag is quite large and includes contrasting fabric along with the sides of the interior lining. As mentioned earlier, there are two elastic loops for securing spoons. There are two pockets, one secured by a zipper, and the entire bag snaps close with a magnetic metal snap.
Decaf Utility Bag - linaandvi.blogspot.com

As you can see in these photos, the Decaf Utility Bag can easily double as a laptop bag. I've placed my laptop and several other inside the bag to give you a sense of scale.

This bag is very spacious, colorful, and surprisingly light, which helps to avoid carrying additional weight in the summer heat. The burlap print is a brand new print for the collection. It was actually sourced from a coffee grinder in Alabama - so shout-out to Alabama for allowing us to expand our styles with new, fresh coffee sacks.

I hope you're having a great week and enjoying the day!
Erica





Sewing Saturday

Happy weekend! I've been busy this week working on a brand new bag - a custom order diaper bag featuring side pockets for bottles, two interior pockets, two interior elastic bands for holding spoons, and an outer pocket. This bag is large, and it will carry everything from diapers and wipes to an extra pair of clothing or pajamas for a little one. I've shared a few photos of the bag in progress on our Facebook page, and I'll be sharing more here at the blog in the next few days.

Today I wanted to share with you some new photos taken of the Costa Rica beach bag. This bag is the perfect chic, colorful, and casual bag for the beach, lake, pool, or anywhere your summer adventure takes you. I've refreshed the photos so they are better quality and include a few close-ups of the details and interior.
costa rica beach bag // lina and vi
costa rica beach bag // lina and vi

costa rica beach bag // lina and vi

If you've got your eye on a new bag for an exciting summer trip this year, check out our Etsy store for the details on the Costa Rica bag - it's still available!

Hope you're having a great weekend!
Erica


The New Guatemala Clutch

Guatemala clutch // linaandvi.blogspot.com
I'm happy to report that the pieces of fabric you saw in the last post are now pieced together as our newest Grounds bag, the Guatemala clutch. It is now listed in the Lina and Vi Etsy shop! This one is truly special as it's the first clutch in the collection and was something that I've been dreaming up for a few months now.

The bag is small, but not teeny tiny, so it will comfortably hold a small wallet, keys, cell phone, makeup, and other miscellaneous goods. It has a metal snap on the flap top to secure all of the items within the clutch. On the side of the bag is a metal loop which connects to a burlap and white denim lined wrist strap.

Guatemala clutch // linaandvi.blogspot.com


Inside of the bag is a small inner pocket to separate small items from the larger items, with the intention that you don't have to dig and empty the entire contents of the bag to find something small (awesome!). The pocket and outer bottom are sewn from a fun, black and white cotton fabric. The accent, printed fabric gives it a modern feel without taking away from the graphic coffee print in the burlap fabric.

I have always struggled to find a clutch that can actually hold the items I need to carry. Although those wee-little zipper wristlets I see in stores are cute, I find that they are not very practical when I'm nearly breaking the zipper to stuff my phone into them!

Enjoy! And hope you're having a good weekend!
Erica