Lina and Vi: January 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New: Jute Mills Cross-body Burlap Bag

Jute Mills burlap bag - - Plymouth MI

I'm excited to share a brand new Grounds burlap tote bag that is fresh off the sewing table. Welcome the Jute Mills cross-body burlap bag.  This is the third zippered cross-body bag we've created for the collection.  These bags are very popular as they allow you to carry a smaller number of items hands-free with the weight distributed across your body so you can travel all day without needing to fuss with it.

This bag is a unique design for us as it has both it's original jute coffee sack industrial tag appliqu├ęd to the front pocket and the original woven green thread throughout the front and back exterior.  We designed the bag so that it's minimal - there is only one outer slip pocket. The inside is lined with textured beige fabric and the bag is secured shut with a metal-tooth beige zipper.

Jute Mills burlap bag zipper - - Plymouth MI

Jute Mills burlap bag top - - Plymouth MI

Jute Mills burlap bag inside - - Plymouth MI

Jute Mills burlap bag - - Plymouth MI

Despite the fact that this is a pretty simple bag compared to others, there is still ample space to fit your necessities in this 9" by 11" design.  It's casual, fun, and practical for any season or time of year.

Sewing this bag was a lot of fun, as it required time to piece everything together to match steps and ensure the label was fitted on properly to give it a nod to its origin.  Like all of the Grounds bags, we love how this bag turned out and now want to share it with someone else. It's available for purchase now in our Etsy shop here.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Burlap Dog Bed DIY

DIY Burlap Dog Bed - Lina and Vi

One of the things I love about sewing is that you can truly create anything you want with a few pieces of fabric, thread, and a sewing machine. Today I'm going to share another burlap sewing DIY with you that is super easy and fun to make in one afternoon.

My husband and I are excited as we will be welcoming a new puppy in our home in a few short months. We've done a bit of shopping, but I knew I wanted to sew something for our new dog.  A few weeks ago, I came across a free pattern for a box cushion dog bed from JoAnn's. So, this weekend, I embarked on the adventure of sewing my first dog bed. You can find this pattern on the JoAnn's site here, but if you're not an intermediate seamstress, you may find that they have left out some important details that they believe you would know off the bat. Today I'm going to share an expanded version of this pattern so you can avoid some of the head scratching that I did to make this fun, practical bed for your dog or other animal.

dog bed DIY - lina and vi


2 yrds 54" home decor fabric, burlap, or anything else that is heavy-weight
3.5 lbs fiberfill
sewing machine and standard foot

*Note: I've omitted the instructions for the cording detail since I did not want this for my pup (to chew on most likely!). You can find pretty good details on how to create the covered piping detail in the original JoAnn's pattern.


1. Lay out your fabric. Cut two 25" by 35" pieces for the top and bottom. If you want to do to two different fabrics for the top and bottom as I did, you will cut one rectangle on each piece of fabric. NOTE: Our puppy will be about 35lbs full grown, so I shortened the bed as it was quite large when I originally cut the pieces. The dimensions used in the photo above are 25" by 30.5".

2. Cut two 5" by 35" pieces and two 5" by 25" pieces for the strip around the box cushion. NOTE: Remember to shorten these four rectangles if you decided to make a smaller bed as I did. I cut two 5" by 30.5" pieces and two 5" by 25" pieces.

3. Stitch the short 5" sides of the four rectangles cut in step 2 together using your sewing machine using a 5/8" allowance. Leave a 1/2" inch at the top and bottom of each of the four seams. You want to do this so that you can stitch the long sides of each of these rectangles to the large top and bottom pieces of the bed.

4. Once you have a rectangle formed from the four small pieces, pin one long side of the entire rectangle to one of the large 25" by 35" rectangles. Make sure that all of your raw edges are facing out at you and not into the rectangle. Sew the entire perimeter of the rectangles together using a 5/8" allowance.

5. Now you will pin the other long edge of the sewn rectangle to the last large 25" by 35" rectangle piece. Leave a 8" opening on one side for turning the bed right-side out. Stitch the perimeter using a 5/8" allowance.

6. You should now have a 3D rectangle that has all of the seam allowances facing you on the outside. Turn the bag right-side out through the 8" opening you have intentionally left open.

7. Fill with fiberfill with as much stuffing as you want for your pup. Then pin the opening closed and stitch it on your machine or by hand to close the bed. Basically it is one large pillow.

I loved how this bed turned out as I was able to use some scrap coffee burlap bags for the sides and bottom. The top is a faux white soft sherpa fabric I purchased from JoAnn's. I think our puppy will love laying on it, of course if she decides to not chew it up (at least the burlap is a natural fiber). I have a feeling that I will come home from work one day and I will see pieces of fluff all over the place, but it's worth it as she will have a bed to get familiar with as she gets comfortable in our home.

I recommend this pattern if you have an afternoon and are looking to sew something new for your pet. If you have questions, please leave me a comment. Enjoy!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Introducing the Swiss Bag

As you know, we're in the midst of the winter season now, and with the holiday excitement past us, days and weeks seem to be moving slowly.  So, I decided to spice things up and add a pop of color with our newest repurposed burlap tote bag in the Grounds collection. Welcome the Swiss medium burlap shoulder bag, featuring a bright blue graphic print that is characteristic of minimal and clean Swiss design.

The Swiss bag is a medium sized bag, which is great for those of us who need a little more space to carry our items. It measures approximately 15" across at the topmost of the bag and 14" tall. The bag bottom is lined with a gray metallic print fabric that spans the bottom's nearly 3.5" width. The bag's interior lining is a deep navy blue linen fabric, finished with a white cotton fabric in the interior bottom.  I designed the bag with ample space to keep items compartmentalized and organized, as the interior features a large metal tooth zipper pocket and one slide pocket fashioned from the same metallic gray print fabric used on the exterior of the bag.

The straps are two pieces of 27.5" long beige woven belting, and the entire design is finished with a burlap flap top that secures with a beautiful stained wooden toggle button. I love that this bag has a flap top. If you're not a fan of open totes, then you will love the ability to close this bag at the top and to keep going about your day.

With its bright blue industrial burlap design and playful metallic bottom, this bag is a way to bring color back into your winter wardrobe. I enjoyed creating this bag, and I truly love how it turned out.

As with all of our bags, this lovely Swiss burlap bag is now available in our Etsy shop for purchase. Remember to stop by our Facebook page for more day to day updates with Lina and Vi. 

Thanks for dropping by,


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Details on my New Bag - The Gavo Burlap Tote

Gavo burlap tote bag - exterior -

This past week, I focused on creating a new bag for my own winter wardrobe, the Gavo burlap tote. If you've been reading for a while, you may recall that last spring I created a new burlap tote bag for myself, the Crop 2013, where I hand-sewed leather handles on to the bag. I used that bag for nearly seven months, and the leather handles are still in excellent shape. I decided that I needed a new bag for winter, something that was a bit more neutral for the colder months. That is how the Gavo burlap tote bag was born.

I cut the Gavo burlap from a coffee sack that had simple purple industrial text printed on it. For me, I tend to prefer graphic text and a more industrial look for my own bags. I paired the purple with some leftover gray thick upholstery fabric for the bottom exterior (same fabric used on this Arabic cross-body fold-over bag) and dark gray fleece for the interior lining. The fleece is super soft on the inside, which is a nice contrast to the rough burlap on the outside. However, it does add some bulk into the bag, so I lost a little bit of room on the interior for storage. From there, I removed the leather handles from the Crop 2013 and hand-sewed them onto the Gavo bag.

Gavo burlap tote bag - exterior -

Gavo burlap tote bag - exterior detailed -

Inside the bag, I created a small zipper pouch using a white 7" inch zipper I had on hand. I also sewed two slide pocket on the opposite side of the interior lining, where one pocket was measured to specifically fit my cell (the perks of sewing for yourself!). I trimmed the opening of the pockets with the same gray material used for the bottom of the bag to bring it all together (slide pockets not pictured here).

Gavo burlap tote bag - interior view -

Gavo burlap tote bag - top view -

I like how this bag turned out, but it ended up a little bit smaller than I had hoped it would be. I'm giving it a whirl this week to see how it goes in terms of holding all of the items I carry with me daily. Overall, I love the neutral colors used for this bag and I love the use of the fleece - that was an unexpected win for me.

So, have you created anything out of fleece that wasn't a fleece blanket? I'm curious to know what other ways fleece is used in sewing outside of the traditional blanket.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Lending a Helping Mitten with our Michigan Burlap Pillows

Lending a Helping Mitten - Charity Burlap State Pillow - Lina and Vi

I'm popping in today to announce that Lina and Vi is partnering with a local Michigan friend to help raise donations to help fight injustice in Thailand and Burma. So, how are we doing that you ask?

We're teaming up with Jeff Mitchell who is raising money for this cause via Venture Expeditions where he will travel by bike across the continental United States this upcoming summer. Venture Expeditions uses adventure to raise funds and awareness for missions and humanitarian initiatives around the world while providing an intentional life and faith development program for participants.  Read more about Jeff's efforts on his website

To support this cause, we're donating $5 for every purchase of our burlap Michigan state pillow that is available for sale in our Etsy shop here. You'll get a hand-painted pillow sewn from repurposed burlap while giving back to those in need at the same time. A win, win.

100% of your donation will go directly to feed the hungry, educate the oppressed and spread the gospel in Thailand and Burma.

What a better way to start the New Year than by giving back?

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sewing with Repurposed Materials - Reinvention

Reinvention - Maya Donenfeld - lina and vi

Friends, I hope you're week is off to a good start! I'm happy to be back into a daily routine, despite the fact that it means early wake-up calls again and commutes in the icy winter terrain.

I wanted to share a few bits of a sewing book that I'm in the midst of reading called "Reinvention" by Maya Donenfeld.  My husband gave this to me as a gift for Christmas this year since the entire book is focused around sewing with reclaimed/repurposed materials, one of which is burlap.  Each chapter is written around a specific material, and there are tips on working with that material along with sewing project ideas and templates to go with them as well.

I'm only about half way through the book at this time, however some of Maya's comments in the burlap chapter were meaningful to me. She says "This drab and humble cloth is sought out for its weather resistance, strength, and breathability, and over the centuries it has remained the utility fabric of choice in many industries.

When I started sewing with burlap, it honestly felt a bit strange. Here was a fabric that was somewhat itchy and scratchy and mostly plain. There weren't different colors, just varying shades of brown. Some bags had some graphic elements to them. However, it's not much to look at next to the colorful cotton prints or the metallic baroque or intricate lace alternatives. It was a bit drab honestly, but that's what drew me to it. It was simple and functional. It is bit utilitarian, but a perfect fit for a durable and sturdy handbag ready to take on each day with its owner. All of the Grounds bags have that industrial feel and look to them, which is offset with colorful prints for the interior fabric of the bags or in the case of our state pillows, the fabric paint silhouettes. They are beautiful because of their past and their present use, and that's why I love sewing with this unexpected fabric to create items that make a statement. They are tough on the outside but soft on the inside!

Did you know that you can compost burlap? I learned that from Maya's book as well. I don't know how to compost, but I would love to learn how to sometime in the future. I may have found a home for all of those burlap scraps I have stocked up that are too small for other projects!

If you're interested in learning how to sew with repurposed materials and are a beginner to intermediate seamstress, check out Maya's book "Reinvention" for ideas working with burlap, jersey, linen, and more.