Saturday, August 30, 2014
I took a short break this week to work on a personal sewing project for my home that I wanted to share on our blog for anyone looking for DIY ideas to use scrap burlap fabric. If you are on Pinterest, you'll know that burlap project ideas are a-plenty in the blogging and DIY home decorating world.
I knew I wanted to create a burlap pillow for our living room couch, but when it came down to finding scrap burlap to fit the 19" by 19" raw dimensions, I didn't have enough. So, I improvised and figured it out as I went along.
I chose a tightly woven burlap for this project as I wanted to be sure that the burlap could stand the wear and tear of being sat on, tossed, laid against, and so forth in a high traffic area. I used leftover scraps from a variety of the coffee burlap sacks I used for the Grounds bags. I created 3" strips of the burlap and hemmed one long side about .5". I then used a heavy white denim fabric that was also in my scrap pile from an older project and cut and hemmed those in the same manner.
I used a khaki heavy duck fabric for the main pillow cases, so two squares measuring 19" by 19". After the 3" strips were hemmed, I then pinned them on one of the pillow cases and sewed across one long side of the strip to secure it to the pillow case. I then pinned and sewed the alternating fabric just above it, enough to hide the stitches of the strip below. Once all of the strips were sewn on one pillow square, I sewed the two large pillow case squares right sides together and left an opening to turn, stuff, and hand-stitch the pillow closed.
I actually really love how this came out. You'll notice from the detailed photos that it's not perfect - and that's why I love it. I was figuring it out as I designed it, and the process was fun as it reminded me of working on a puzzle. The stitching isn't always straight, and some of the hems are not perfect so it looks wavy in some areas rather than straight rows. But, it looks like a handmade item, which is what I wanted - imperfect but made with care and attention. In the end, I added a bit of texture to our couch using neutral colors so it works with the more colorful (store bought) pillows I also have on the couch (not pictured).
This was a fun way to spend time on something new and a useful way to get rid of fabric scraps too small for any other projects! Sometimes the process is just as enjoyable as the end result.
I hope you this offers some inspiration for you to make something new, whatever it may be. And if you are looking specifically for a burlap project to decorate your home, here's a pillow design idea that's easy to sew and beautiful to look at.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Our newest Grounds bag is now finished and available in our Etsy shop! Today, I'm going to take you on a tour of the For Export Only tote bag and share a few more photos beyond what you see on Esty.
This large tote is made from a thick, flat weave coffee sack that came with a purple accent twine weaved directly into the burlap fabric. One side of the bag contains the print "For Export Only" in bold, black letters (hence the name of the bag). The second side of the bag displays a beautiful, distressed black print with a graphic design in the center. I'll admit that it's difficult to see what the graphic print actually is on the burlap, but the words "organic" and "arabica" are legible. It's the first design of it's kind for the Grounds collection.
The interior of the bag contains three pockets to secure your goods - two slip pockets and one zipper pocket. The pockets are lined with a brown and white woven upholstery fabric that I came across on a fabric shopping adventure. The bottom exterior of the bag is accented with this same fabric. It's heavy weight, and it works well to keep the square shape of the bag.
As I mentioned earlier, this bag is large. The dimension measure 21" by 13" with a 3" wide bottom and 34" straps. It's a great bag for carrying large items, like books or a tablet or laptop, along with everyday items.
Seeing that it's back to school time, the For Export Only tote would be perfect for carrying books and an iPad around campus this autumn.
I hope you are enjoying your last few summer days! We're busy creating the next new bag already - think polka dots!
Thanks for dropping by -
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Life have been busy these past few weeks, and I've been slowly sewing several new Grounds bags when I've had free evenings. You'll notice that our Etsy shop is pretty bare right now. The support for the Grounds bags have been wonderful. I am so grateful and thankful! I'm focused now on getting some new designs finished and into our shop.
Today, I am sharing photos of the new Water Bag. This bag is custom designed, so many of the elements you see in this bag were specifically requested. I'm very excited about this particular bag because it is the first tote bag that has a zipper closure (of course aside from the zipper pouches and the crossbody bag). It took several drawings and diagrams to determine how to create a zipper top on the bag. Although the zipper closure doesn't extend all the way to the sides of the bag, it covers nearly the entire opening of the tote bag, ensuring that most items inside are secure if the bag should fall over (or tossed around...which I may or may not be guilty of doing with my other purses and bags at times).
The floral print was at the request of the owner, along with the two outer slip pockets and the one inner slip pocket secured by velcro. I love the burlap coffee print on this burlap. It was another coffee sack purchased locally in downtown Plymouth at a small coffee roaster, and it fits the overall colorful and playful design of this bag.
Next, we'll be sharing another new bag - the For Export Only large shoulder tote. Stay tuned for new photos and remember to "like" Lina and Vi on Facebook for more frequent updates and in-progress photos!
Thanks for stopping by-
Monday, August 11, 2014
If you follow us on Facebook, you'll know that we shipped out our last custom order of bridesmaid gift zipper pouches along with our Nicaragua Green tote and the Indonesia No. 42 tote bag today. I'm turning my attention to a new bag design this week, and I have a few photos to share of the work in progress.
One of the best parts of handmade items is seeing the 'behind the scenes'; it's what makes each piece so special. I talked a bit about this topic in the past with the Brazil tote bag here. Unlike manufactured goods, many of which are defined by the marketing and brands they support, handmade items have a story and often a slower, more thoughtful process for their design. I start all of our designs with a few sketches in a small notebook. It's not a fancy notebook and neither are my drawings. They are mostly to get visuals of what's in my head for the next bag, document dimensions, identify the number and cuts of fabric, and write out process-related steps if the design is something new and more complex than I've done in the past. In fact, even if the item is something that I regularly make, like our zipper pouches, I will also write out process steps for future reference - which I did after this last bulk batch of pouches was completed.
I wish I had a fun, organized sewing studio or room to show you as part of the work in progress photos, but I don't and that's okay. I am lucky to use a spare bedroom that's a hodge-podge of new and old furniture, an ironing board, and my sewing supplies on the floor. I'm a firm believer in making due with what you have available to you. It's more fun, and in the end, I think it strengthens my creative muscles when I have to learn to be resourceful with the materials, space, and time I have available. The final product is carefully designed and there's attention to every detail, because it's small batch in a spare bedroom and not mass-manufactured in a factory line and knowing that is what matters when someone chooses to buy a handmade product.
So, here's a start of the story behind the next Grounds bag and hope to share more as the work continues on.
Hope your week is off to a good start! Remember to keep following us on Facebook where we share photos and updates.
Thanks for stopping by!
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
While I've been busy sewing these past few days as I've received a number of bulk zipper pouch orders as bridesmaid gifts for weddings, I wanted to share a few photos of a personal project - a Singer sewing machine restored by my husband. I had the opportunity to inherit this sewing machine from my grandmother who had received it from her own family, so this machine has been passed down over time. When my husband looked up the serial number, the number indicated that the machine was manufactured around the 1930's.
My husband loves working with wood and spends most of his spare time in his workshop creating anything from jewelry boxes to cabinets to dresser drawers. He took the past few months to work on restoring the wood and iron on this sewing machine stand, and it truly looks amazing. I don't have 'before' photos to share unfortunately, but the machine had sat for many years in my grandparents' basement, enduring the humidity and moisture that builds up in Michigan homes. So, needless to say, it was in pretty worn condition, including some water damage.
The machine is fully functioning, however the belt between the foot pedal and the machine was warped and has crumbled. That is the only part of the machine which would need a replacement part to our knowledge. All of the wood was sanded down, stained, and finished with a polyurethane gloss. He spray painted the iron stand with black semi-gloss paint and detailed the gold Singer letters by hand with oil-based gold paint. It looks beautiful.
The machine now stands in our living room, and I love it. I love it because it represents a hobby that I love, but at the same time, it's a piece that comes with family history and showcases my husband's hard-work and talent. I even have a few extra vintage bobbins and five or six vintage foot attachments that were stored in the drawers. One day, I'll do some research to know what all of the attachments used to do on this type of machine.
If you are interested in learning more about how this sewing machine stand was restored to its current state, please leave a comment or send me an email and we'd be happy to share more details. For now, this is a beautiful piece of furniture that adds a lot of character and personality to our home.
Thanks for stopping by,