Lina and Vi: March 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Beaches and Burlap Beach Bags

Burlap beach bag - Lina and Vi - plymouth MI -

Over this past weekend, I took a break from the cold and headed south to Florida to visit a friend from college and spend some time relaxing at the beach.  In the pan-handle area where I was, the weather was mid-70's all weekend which was fantastic! I also tried out my first Pure Barre class, but more on that another time.

The warmer temps got me thinking about beaches and more specifically, beach bags.  If you saw my Facebook post last week, you know that my wheels are turning on a brand new coffee sack from Indonesia, purchased in Plymouth, that has a beautiful, original design in red and blue.  I'm nearly certain that this new sack will be cut and sewn into a beautiful new beach bag.

In the spirit of the warming temps and my recent trip to the Florida coast, I thought I'd share a recap of the various beach bags I've sewn in the past. All are now sold with the exception of the La Florida bag, which is still available in the Lina and Vi Etsy shop here.

In the very early stages of Lina and Vi, I created this colorful beach bag using a burlap sack from El Salvador. I paired it with a soft, bright red interior lining fabric. It was also my first go at using grommets, which was much easier to do than I had originally expected. This is the only photo I have of the bag as it sold to my husband's work colleague quickly. You can see my photography is slowly getting better! Progress.

El Salvador burlap beach bag -

Shortly after, I purchased another colorful sack, this time from Costa Rica. Again, I went the route of rope handles and grommets. I balanced the exterior colors with a simple beige linen lining fabric.

Costa Rica beach bag - Lina and Vi - plymouth MI -

Costa Rica burlap beach bag - Lina and Vi - plymouth MI -

I sewed the Allegro bag in a very similar shape and design. This burlap coffee sack had a variety of different designs, including what looked like was a hand-drawn red flower. The color scheme was much simpler with this bag, but simple is good when there are a lot of different graphics combined together.

Allegro Burlap Beach bag -

Allegro Burlap Beach bag -

Most recently, I designed the La Florida bag which is slightly different in design. Rather than exposed rope handles, I created my first fabric covered handle in a dark brown cotton fabric. The bottom of the exterior is sewn from a soft but durable light brown suede-like fabric. But, the real focal point of this bag is the original print on the coffee sack showcasing how coffee creates community. The back of the bag features the Peruvian flag.  As I mentioned earlier, the La Florida bag is still available for purchase here and is a perfect addition if you're looking for a large summer bag for an upcoming vacation or daily trip to the pool.

So do you have any big plans for this summer? I'm still working through my to-do list after returning from vacation, but I'm looking forward to getting a few weekend trips in place, in and out of Michigan, this summer.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

DIY Gray Patterned Baby Girl Dress

Although it's been a bit quiet here on the blog this month, I've been busy sewing in the background on a variety of new projects. Earlier this month, you saw the DIY dog blanket and since then I've made two more DIYs that are not burlap related but rather baby related. Over the weekend, I sewed two versions of this sleeveless baby dress to give as baby gifts. I've sewed this dress once before for one of my nieces several years ago, and it's a quick project that finishes as a very sweet and cute baby dress that can be customized with piping detail, bias tape, lace, buttons, etc.

For this specific dress, I choose a cotton fabric with a base gray color and printed white, pink, and yellow flowers.  I selected a bright yellow cotton fabric for the interior lining, which I also used to create the piping detail. This was my first try at creating my own piping rather than buying it pre-made, and I was surprised by how easy it was to make. I thought it would end up being more effort and time than it was worth, but it was actually pretty quick and as a result, matches the lining fabric color exactly.  I chose not to adventure down the path of making my own bias tape to trim the bottom hem. Instead, I just used a straight stitch and folded it over twice to give it a nice, neat line.

The pattern I used for this can be found here. I edited the pattern in a few ways: I added a half inch to the pattern to make it for a 3-6 month old, I overlapped the straps rather than tying them, and I used a button and button hole to open/close the straps so the dress can fit over a baby's head easier.

I realize that I risk ruining the surprise when I give this gift away if that person sees it posted here, but I plan on making a few more so it will still be a surprise! This again is one of those faster projects that took me about two evenings to complete from start to finish. It's not a one hour project, but it's short enough to still have that instant gratification feel when you have this adorable and professional looking lined baby dress in the end. 

Keep on creating!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

New Blue Stripe Burlap Clutch

Blue Stripe Burlap Clutch - Lina and Vi - Plymouth MI

To close out the week, I'm here to share a brand new burlap clutch that I just wrapped up as a new item for the Grounds Collection - the fun new Blue Stripe burlap clutch!

This burlap clutch design is very similar to the earlier Cocoa Clutch, but it's a bit larger and features a zipper pocket on the interior. It measures about 13" wide and 8.5" tall (slightly longer than the Cocoa Clutch), with a flap top that secures shut with a wooden stained button. The burlap chosen for this clutch bag is a fun, deep blue graphical print with stripes, tear shape silhouettes, and a bold 'decaf' text on the back of the bag. It has a soft wrist strap, so it can be used like a wristlet or wallet on the go, or the strap can be folded into the bag easily to use it purely as a hand-held bag. It's flexible, which I love!

As I mentioned earlier, I inserted a small off-white zipper into this clutch as I knew it would be incredibly practical to have this extra storage pocket for small items. I'm not sure about you, but when I carry clutches or wristlets, I really have to be selective in terms of what I put in it because I typically cannot fit my large wallet and key ring. I know that having a zipper pocket can be a huge win for clutches, as it can keep IDs, cash, gum, and other small items safe and secure. This was a great choice for this bag.

Blue Stripe Burlap Clutch - Lina and Vi - Plymouth MI

Blue Stripe Burlap Clutch - Lina and Vi - Plymouth MI

Blue Stripe Burlap Clutch - Lina and Vi - Plymouth MI

Blue Stripe Burlap Clutch - Lina and Vi - Plymouth MI

The interior lining fabric I chose is a neutral color beige cotton. I kept it similar in terms of solid fabric and no bright colors in order to balance out the bold, playful design on the exterior burlap. I finished the outside with a top-stitching detail around the outline of the flap top.

Overall, I characterize this clutch as a fresh, whimsical bag that still has that natural, organic air to it. Honestly, it's just fun all around, and I think it embodies all of my personal excitement for the coming spring and summer!

You can find this Blue Stripe Burlap Clutch in our Etsy shop where it can purchased along with many more of our burlap bag designs.

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Make It: Up-cycled Dog Blanket

Last week, I took a break from the burlap to sew a new blanket for our upcoming new addition. If you've been reading for a few months, you may know that my husband and I will be welcoming a  brand new puppy into our home in three weeks. We're incredibly excited (and nervous, of course), and we're slowly gathering dog items to prepare for it. I've been hearing that puppies love to snuggle and make a "nest" or "cave" in their sleep area when they are initially adjusting from being away from their mother and siblings.  Since I know puppies can also be quite messy and destructive, I decided to create a blanket from an old-repurposed bath towel and some store-bought faux sherpa fabric.

This project was a win-win as it was less than an hour and required very little supplies. Sometimes we all need those quick projects, right? I'm here to share a very quick tutorial about how I created my puppy's blanket. If you're also interested in making a dog bed, visit our earlier post here for the sewing DIY I put together on how to sew a large dog pillow bed.

Let's jump into how to make one of these dog blankets!



1. Take your fleece or sherpa fabric and lay it on the floor open with the right side facing you (if it's fleece, either side will be fine).

2. Next, lay the old bathroom towel on top of the fabric completely. If you prefer to use one side of the towel over the other, make sure the side you'd like to be showing on the blanket is facing down on top of the fleece fabric.

3. Using scissors, cut the fleece fabric by following the outline of the towel. You will end up with a big rectangle piece of fabric.

4. With the pins, pin the towel and the fabric together about every three inches on three sides. Leave the fourth (short) side open. You will need to flip the fabric inside out after stitching.

5. Using your sewing machine and selected thread, stitch around three sides of the piece of fabric and towel, removing pins as you go. You may need to help keep the towel and fabric straight and aligned together as you feed it through the machine. Where there is a lot of bulk, sew slowly or use the hand wheel on your machine to slowly guide the needle through the bulky fabric.

6. When all three sides are sewn, flip the rectangle inside out, just like a big pillow case. Your corner will look like the corner below.

7. Turn the fabric into the inside and the towel edge into the inside on the final fourth short side of the rectangle. Pin as you go. You are closing the final edge of the blanket by turning in the raw edges to make a nice seam on the end.

8. Using the sewing machine, sew the final fourth side using a straight stitch. Remove the pins as you go and carefully guide the fabric under the pressure foot to make sure both the fleece and the towel are being caught by the needle.

9. (Optional) Lastly, after the fourth side is sewn closed, cut about a yard of thread and thread a hand-sewing needle with a knot at the end. Sew small stitches with knots throughout the blanket to keep the fleece and towel together in the middle of the rectangle. I choose to make six knots (you'll see the black knots in the photo) to keep the pieces of fabric together.

This is another quick DIY sewing project for an extra hour of time. What I loved the most is that I was able to use up the extra sherpa fabric I had on hand from the dog bed I made in January and repurpose an old bath towel. If the puppy destroys the blanket, I won't feel like I had wasted supplies and effort to create something from scratch.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Burlap Farmer's Market Tote

Burlap Market Tote bag - Lina and Vi

I spent the last week working on this light-weight, large burlap market tote appropriately named the Cafe Market Tote. This was a fun project as it is the first design with exposed exterior burlap seams, giving it some fringe and texture. The interior is super simple - no pockets, no zips, no fuss. Just a barn red canvas fabric to give the bag a bit of structure and softness.

I've been wanting to design a market tote for quite some time, as I've seen them trending quite a bit around the blog and Pinterest communities online. I love that they are multi-purpose. They are very basic, as in, they hold your stuff. But, a market tote is meant to be light-weight and thin so that you can fold it up and carry it with you on the go, for those times when you're stopping in at the library, walking around a weekend farmer's market, or toting your towel at the pool.

This particular burlap design is quite colorful. This is my second time using this print (see our Brazil tote here from last year here, which is now sold.) It's embellished with black industrial print, green leaves, and apple red fruit.  The handles are self-made using the same burlap in triple-ply thickness with a finished edge, so no scratching on your hands. Typically, our bags use a store-bought woven belting for straps, but that felt too heavy for this bag's design.

Burlap Market Tote bag - Lina and Vi

Burlap Market Tote bag - Lina and Vi

Burlap Market Tote bag - Lina and Vi

I was channeling my inner sun when I created this bag. I am longing so much for the winter to end here in Michigan. It's about this time of the year when even the smallest bit of sun and warmth feel like heaven. As I looked out the window this past weekend, I was trying to determine if the inches of snow that have been on our patio were melting. Is that wet there at the bottom? Oh yes, I was having a desperate moment, clinging on to the excitement that winter is finally (hopefully) wrapping up.

So, get ready for spring with a brand new market bag. Casual, fun, repurposed. Visit it in our Etsy shop here.

Oh, and as a added bonus, we're offering one our small zipper pouches as part of this market tote for free.

Thanks for dropping in,