Lina and Vi: February 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Styling with a Burlap Bag - Pinterest Board

I'm stopping by quickly just to remind everyone that we are busy collecting ideas for how to style outfits and everyday looks with burlap bags via our Pinterest board Styling with a Burlap Bag. If you're stuck inside this weekend or if you are on the hunt for new outfit ideas or if you just want something new to view, visit the Lina and Vi on Pinterest to see the latest looks we're curating for you!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DIY Handmade Fabric Labels Tutorial

DIY Fabric Labels Using Iron On Transfer Paper -

Over the past weekend, I stepped away from sewing for a bit to play around with iron-on transfer paper. My first project using this paper was about a month ago, when I printed and ironed on a design for my nephew's "big brother" t-shirt that I gifted to him when his sister was born a little over two weeks ago. It was super easy to create that t-shirt, so I thought I'd experiment a bit more with it in order to create fabric tags for the Lina and Vi collections.

Back at the end of December, I mentioned in this post that I have set up goals for Lina and Vi this year. One of those goals is to improve branding so that the collections are more cohesive and professional. Adding fabric labels to the bags has been on my to-do list for many months, caught in a debate whether it was worth buying them or making them. As you can see, I decided to venture into DIY to make something to just get me moving in the right direction instead of sitting in limbo land. It was much simpler than I was expecting, and I am so happy with the end result. The labels feature the Lina and Vi logo, proudly subtitled with "Plymouth, Michigan" just underneath.

If you're interested in creating fabric labels for your handmade products, I highly recommend iron-on transfer paper to do the job. Here's how I created these handmade DIY fabric labels:



1. Design a logo or use an existing logo to create an image on your computer of the design you want for your fabric labels. For my labels, I copied my logo into a design program on my computer and added the "Plymouth, Michigan" subtitle just underneath. I then copied both the logo and the text into Word, copied it multiple times down one page to create two columns. You want to utilize all of the space on the page, while still having room to cut the images out.

2. Test print that page onto a regular piece of printer paper. Cut out the image and place it on your fabric or ribbon. Is it the size you had hoped it would be? If not, adjust it on the computer again and print another test page.

DIY Fabric Labels Using Iron On Transfer Paper -

3. Once you're happy with the size and the design, place a piece of the iron-on transfer paper into your printer. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer which will tell you which side of the paper needs to be facing up and whether you will need to mirror the image as part of the print settings before you print it out. Pay attention to the details! This paper is pricey, and you don't want to waste any. Hit print when you're ready to go.

4. Using scissors, cut out the images from the transfer paper carefully. Fire up the iron to get it warm. Put the iron on the setting as recommended by the iron-on transfer paper. You may need to wait 30 minutes for the images on the iron-on transfer paper to dry completely, but it will depend on the manufacturer.

DIY Fabric Labels Using Iron On Transfer Paper -

5. Once the iron is hot and the designs are dry on the transfer paper, begin placing the cut out designs onto your fabric or ribbon. Follow the instructions again on the transfer paper package to ensure you are placing the image the correct side up. The image should be facing up, so you can easily read it as normal.

DIY Fabric Labels Using Iron On Transfer Paper -

6. Press the iron down hard on the paper to melt the glue and adhere the image to your fabric or ribbon. Let it cool.

DIY Fabric Labels Using Iron On Transfer Paper -

7. Remove the transfer paper backing.  The image should stay on the material. It will look and feel like a screen-print on a t-shirt - a little glossy. Trim any excess dried glue.

8. Cut out the image from the material, or trim the ends if it's a ribbon as I did.

Now you can sew the label onto anything you choose by hand or by machine. You can decide if you want it to lay flush to your fabric or if it will stick out of a seam. If it's flush to a piece of fabric, you may want to turn under a bit of the edge of the label with an iron so that the raw edges aren't exposed.

I love the way these labels turned out; plus how easy they were to create! The final look is a polished, professional fabric label for the Lina and Vi burlap bags, totes, pillows, and more. It's a great, inexpensive way to add the finishing touch to handmade products, especially if you are a small operation that doesn't need 100+ labels, as many of the commercial label manufacturers are willing to offer.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful. Have you tried another way to make these? Leave a comment - I'd love to hear about it!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Details on the new Cocoa Burlap Clutch

This past week, I wrapped up a brand new clutch bag design that I'm loving. If you follow Lina and Vi's Facebook page, you probably saw a sneak peek photo of it earlier this week. It's now available in our Etsy shop for purchase, so I'm here today to share the details.

I'll start with the fact that the burlap used for this clutch has a different origin - rather than being used a coffee bean sack, the burlap was part of a cocoa bean sack. This cut of burlap was chosen for the deep purple woven thread that was part of the sack's original design. It ran the front and back of the burlap sack entirely. The back of the clutch shows the industrial black printing original to the burlap fabric. If you look closely, you'll see the "cocoa bean" and "produce of" markings. 

I designed this bag to be a clutch that can be held either by its strap or as a handheld clutch where the strap is folded into the inside of the bag. The interior fabric is a gray corduroy, and it includes two inner slide pockets - perfect for storing IDs or money when you'd rather carry a clutch than your wallet or large purse.  The bag secures shut with a fun faux wooden toggle-type button.

This design is meant to be simple, clean, and chic. The purple is an early nod to spring - which I am so eagerly awaiting (hello again negative temperatures this evening, ugh).  Overall, this bag was pretty easy to make, with the exception of the button hole which gave me trouble. I had sewn a practice hole on a piece of scrap fabric, but when I went to make the button hole on the burlap, the foot acted up and sewed only one side twice. Needless to say, I spent a good half hour with my seam ripper pulling that heavy weight thread out of the crevices of the burlap, but I started fresh the next night, and the second button hole turned out beautifully.  All for the love of sewing!

You can find Cocoa Clutch photos, dimensions, and pricing info over on Etsy. Stay warm out there!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Traverse City and the Newark Cross-body

Over the weekend my husband and I headed north to Traverse City, Michigan for a few days of wine, food, and friends. If you are a frequent visitor of Traverse City or have heard about it from others, you likely know that this city is known for its vineyards, arts, food, and beaches.  Each year, my husband's friends organize a weekend away in the winter for a day of wine tasting across Old Mission peninsula, and we end up spending a few days eating great food, drinking wine, hot tubbing at the Grand Traverse Resort, and playing games. Unfortunately, this weekend, the weather did not cooperate and we ended up attempting to drive to the peninsula but had to stop due to a blizzard. We were able to get in a few tastings on Sunday, but we spent most of the day on Saturday holed up in our rental house waiting out the storm. We're back in lower Michigan, but the below zero temps have not yet left us. I'm ready to say goodbye to the snow and cold - it's time to start counting down the weeks left of winter!

Despite the traveling, I was able to get in a bit of sewing last week, and I'm excited to share this brand-spankin' new cross-body bag, the Newark. Our cross-body bags are super popular, so I whipped up this new design last week to replenish the Jute Mills bag that sold a few weeks ago.

The Newark is a small/mid-size cross-body with a 41.5" strap featuring silver claw clips for easy removal. What's really unique about this design is the exterior 7" zipper pocket for easy access to those small items on the go - it's the first cross-body in the collection with an exterior zipper pocket.  With the interior lining fabric being a soft, pale pink and white flannel, this bag is designed to be casual and comfortable (and practical of course!).

You can find the Newark cross-body bag and all of our bags for purchase in our Etsy shop. Remember to follow us on Pinterest and Facebook for in-progress photos of new bags, styling ideas, and more!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Burlap Zipper Pouch Giftsets

I spent an afternoon this weekend working on a bunch of new burlap zipper pouches to add to the Grounds burlap bag collection. I love making these pouches because there are so many unique combinations of burlap fabric and interior lining that no two pouches are alike.  Most of the lining fabric chosen is patterned with bright, fun colors, although there are one or two with more neutral and solid lining fabrics.

I'm offering gift sets of two or three now at a bundled price on Etsy. Visit the details here and here.


Friday, February 6, 2015

DIY Sewing Desk Reveal

Corner Sewing Desk -

It's been a busy week here with a few unexpected things cropping up (like that lovely nail that lodged itself in my rear tire Wednesday morning on my way to work), so I haven't had much energy to sew in the evenings this week. Although I don't have a new burlap bag to share this week, I have some great photos of a brand new sewing/computer corner desk that I husband recently finished for my sewing room.

As I was thinking about this new desk today, I had a mini-flashback about the various places I've sewn over the years. I'm thrilled to be sewing in a spare bedroom and feel lucky that we have the space in our home for me to do so, but it wasn't always like this. Before I left home, I learned to sew on my mother's sewing machine that sat in the corner of a computer/office room and nestled itself nicely into a cabinet. When I moved out onto my own, I didn't have a sewing machine for a long time until a co-worker offered me his family's old Kenmore. I remember pulling it out the back of his trunk in our office parking lot and lugging it up the stairs to my apartment where it lived on my kitchen table (it was extremely heavy), next to my laptop and textbooks.  When I moved into a different place with a roommate, the machine sat on the carpet next to my bed for a while until I bought a TV tray to place it on. I somehow managed to sew sitting on edge of my bed, hunched over this massive machine waiting for the TV to tip over.  Eventually, I got rid of that machine and replaced it with a newer Brother which sat on a hand-me-down desk in the spare bedroom in our current home, next to that same TV stand which housed craft supplies and a printer.

This past Fall, my husband (who loves woodworking) came up with a design for a desk that would hold both a computer and my sewing machine for our spare bedroom. After a few redesigns (and negotiations), we ended up with this corner design featuring two towers of drawers on each end and a reclaimed wooden top. The wood used for the top of the desk is a beautiful piece of natural elm purchased from Urbanwood in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The wood is stained the color walnut, which brings out the wood's beautiful grain and enhances the knots. The towers are painted an off-white pain from Sherwin-Williams. The black cabinet handles were purchased from Home Depot.

Corner Sewing Desk -

Corner Sewing Desk -

Corner Sewing Desk -

I use the cabinets to store sewing and craft supplies, shipping items, and paper. The printer is stored under the desk in the corner, so it's hidden out of the way. The desk chair sits in the middle and allows me to shift from the computer to the sewing machine pretty seamlessly. The only thing that we didn't find a home for was my cutting mat, and that's because it's so large.  My husband had a few ideas on how to store it, such as a drawer that would roll out with the mat laid on it, but we just nixed the idea in the end because it was too complicated and not worth the time and effort. For now, the cutting mat remains on the floor (until I can convince him to make me this cutting table :-) ).

The desk is gorgeous, and it may be one of my favorite pieces that my husband has made (maybe tied with the restoration he did on my grandmother's old Singer sewing machine here). I wish I could say it's always as clean as shown in these photos but it's not. It's a workspace, and there's plenty of room to spread out and make a mess which I love to do.

Corner Sewing Desk -

Corner Sewing Desk -

If you're interested in details about how this desk was created or any questions about the materials, feel free to email me at or leave a comment.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Floral and Burlap Together - Clean, Sound, and New Tote

Hi and happy Monday! I hope you're having a great start to your week. For those of you in the upper midwest areas like me, I'm sure you are digging out today. Here just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan we received at least a foot of snow and many business and schools are closed today so that we can all clean out. Over the weekend, my husband and I drove to Chicago to visit some friends and hit the storm yesterday on our ride home. It was eventful to say the least, but we are now home safe and very thankful to arrive back in one piece.

Today I'm excited to share a new large tote bag that I just wrapped up - the Clean, Sound, and New tote bag. Yes, the name is a long one, but once you see the detailed print on the burlap, you will understand the reason for the name.  This bag is one of our larger designs at about 20 inches wide by 13 inches tall. I chose an upholstery fabric to detail this bag's bottom and the two exterior slide pockets. This woven fabric is a beautiful black and beige design that works really well with the bold, black industrial type on the alternate exterior side of the bag, which is where the Clean, Sound, and New text is featured. The burlap bag used to create this originates from Papua New Guinea, and you can see a bit of that location on the printed side as well.

Clean Sound and New burlap tote bag - exterior -

Clean Sound and New burlap tote bag - exterior -

A lot of detailing went into this particular bag, specifically the 9" metal-tooth zipper pocket on the inside, the large slide pocket also on the inside, and the two slide pockets on the outside. There's definitely maximum storage capacity with this bag! Plus, it all seals up nicely with a magnetic metal snap closure.

Clean Sound and New burlap tote bag - pocket detail -

Clean Sound and New burlap tote bag - interior detail -

Clean Sound and New burlap tote bag - pocket detail -

Clean Sound and New burlap tote bag - top view -

This bag was a blast to make, and I hope you love it as much as I do! You can find it for sale in our Etsy shop here.

Also as an update to our last post, the Jute Mills cross-body zipper bag has sold on Etsy! It's no longer available for purchase, but if you would like a custom designed bag in a similar style, feel free to email me at

Stay warm (no matter where you are) and have a great day!