Lina and Vi: July 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Design Process

Today I'm talking about the process. I focus a lot here on the outcome - a new burlap bag, a DIY project, or a brand new product. But, how do I get there?

I spent some time thinking about this during the last few weeks knowing that I wanted to write a bit about it and open it up for discussion with others in the online sewing community.  Just like everything else in life, the path we each take to get somewhere can be so different, but where we end up can be so similar.  Sewing bags, pillows, and other items is no different.

I wish I could say that I had a linear design process, where I start thinking of a new bag design, sketch it out, select materials, and start cutting, but I don't. There are times when I skip everything and start cutting, not entirely sure where I'm going but I'm working through it with my ruler and rotary cutter. Then there are days where I start sketching bag designs and try to get a variety of ideas going to see which sticks, but then I end up creating the first idea in why did I spend time sketching?

It all feels like a big tangle of ideas sometimes, and since I sew Lina and Vi items without patterns, I don't always have a clear picture of what I'll end up with and the sequenced steps on how to get there. Sometimes I wish I did, but honestly, a lot of my best ideas have been improvised as I went.

So, maybe the planning and design process is more for turning the wheels for me - sort of like overcoming the writer's block. Only once I start working with my hands with a vague idea of what I'm trying to end up with do I really start the design process.

What about you? When you sew, or do anything creative, do you always have a specific design process you follow? Love to hear it!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

DIY Dog Bandana Using Scrap Fabric

DIY Dog Bandana Using Scrap Fabric - Lina and Vi - ESS

I'm here today to share a few photos of an extremely quick DIY sewing project I worked on this past weekend, sans burlap! I busted out the scraps of gold polka dot fabric that I used on the Bold Gold Polka Burlap Tote bag last month and decided that I wanted to make a cute little bandana for our pup. Ever since we knew we were getting a dog, my husband and I have stopped in to many pet stores to peruse and see what's available for dogs. I remember stopping in a store in Philadelphia and seeing these adorable dog bandana in different patterned fabric that were secured with a large button. It was clear that someone handmade them, but the price tag showed $18 and I knew that these were so easy to make that it just wasn't worth it to purchase it.

So, I grabbed my scrap fabric and cut out a triangle using the branded bandana that was given to us from the dog daycare when our puppy stayed there for a few days when we last traveled.  I used gold metallic thread to sew a zig-zag stitch on the raw edges all the way around to keep them from raveling. I sewed on a small Lina and Vi tag on one side, just because ;-). And that's it! It probably took all of ten minutes. This is a great project for a beginner or for anyone looking to use up their scrap fabric.

DIY Dog Bandana Using Scrap Fabric - Lina and Vi - ESS

DIY Dog Bandana Using Scrap Fabric - Lina and Vi - ESS

DIY Dog Bandana Using Scrap Fabric - Lina and Vi - ESS

You can choose to add a button and button hole to secure the bandana around the dog's neck, but since our puppy is, well, a puppy, I was too nervous she would tear the bandana off with her teeth and swallow the button.....and no one wants a trip to the vet's office to see an X-ray showing said button lodged somewhere it shouldn't be!

In hindsight, I wish I would have made mine a tiny bit bigger since my puppy has grown a bit in the last month, but it fits with a small knot at the very end and she doesn't even bother with it or tug at it. This is a quick gift for any dog lover in your life or to spoil one of your very own ;-).


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Make It: Monogram Burlap Flag

It's been a while since I shared my last DIY project here on the blog, so I'm excited to be sharing something new that I worked on this past weekend to decorate my front door. I'm all about the projects that last no longer than a few hours during the afternoon. This was one of those projects where I was hoping for that instant crafting gratification - simple, quick, and inexpensive. This was a super simple project that I made using extra scraps of burlap, twine, paint, and wood.  If you're looking for an easy way to decorate your home, I encourage you to give this a try! It's so much easier than it sounds, and it's such a great way to add a handmade element to your home.


Strip of burlap size is your choice
Gold metallic thread
Black acrylic paint
Sponge brush
Stained wooden dowel anywhere from .5" to 1"diameter
Sewing Machine
Straight pins
Monogram stencil (or freezer paper and printer)


1. To begin, cut a rectangle shape out of the burlap. Reserve about 4" to one of the short sides of the rectangle. This is where you will fold over and create a tube to insert the dowel when ready to hang the flag.

2. Fold over that short side of the rectangle about 2". Use your ruler to measure and pin to secure.  You will see I used the natural hem which I cut from the burlap coffee sack. Using the sewing machine threaded with the gold metallic thread, sew two lines of stitches at the bottom of the fold to create the tube. I used a straight stitch, but you may choose to use something more decorative.

3. Then, I secured the raw ends of the burlap by sewing a small zigzag stitch around the perimeter of the other three sides of the rectangle in the same metallic gold thread. This is done to keep the burlap from fraying. I left a bit of fringe on the long sides of the rectangle by just removing a few of the burlap threads.

4. Next center your stencil on the burlap. Make sure to measure the distance to the edges to get it as centered vertically and horizontally. I hand made a stencil using a print out of the letter A from my computer and tracing it to freezer paper which I ironed onto the burlap as a stencil. (You can see more details on making a freezer paper stencil here.) Grab your brush and paint inside the stencil until no burlap is remaining uncovered. Let it dry for an hour.

5. Peel off the stencil when the paint is dry to reveal your monogram. Thread the dowel through the tube created in step 2. Then cut a long piece of twine and tie the ends together. Place each end of the dowel through the twine loop like a picture hanger.

That's it! Then you can hang this on your front door or on a flag stand if you have one in your yard. Or, you can leave it indoors and hang it by a nail or hook as bedroom decor.

Happy burlap crafting!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Introducing the O'Coffee Burlap Tote

Lina and Vi burlap tote bag - O Coffee tote front

A new tote bag has joined the Grounds collection this week - please welcome the O'Coffee tote! Like all of our other burlap bags, this bag is cut and sewn from repurposed coffee bean sack burlap and handmade into an eclectic, medium sized tote bag. This is the first and only bag in our collection featuring this burlap print. Both sides of the tote bag features printed burlap and both sides are completely unique! The beauty is certainly with the burlap with this bag.

To offset the detailed industrial text and images on the exterior of the bag, I chose an ocean-blue fabric to line the bottom of the bag and the interior of the bag. This soft fabric frames the burlap and provides structure and shape. The O'Coffee is completely simple on the inside with no interior pockets - that's right! This bag may appear medium, but the interior is so spacious that it could fit anything from a laptop to clothing for a day trip and more. With plenty of storage, who needs pockets? Plus, you can always organize your items using one of our zipper pouches and remove the pouch when you only need to carry a few items on the go!

Lina and Vi burlap tote bag - O Coffee tote top

Lina and Vi burlap tote bag - O Coffee  detail

Lina and Vi burlap tote bag - O Coffee tote front 2

I lined the top of this tote bag with the same blue lining fabric, and I think it is a beautiful finishing touch along with the ivory top-stitching that provides just enough detail without being overly busy. The straps are an ivory woven belting similar to what is used in many of the other bag designs. They are tried and true, so why change 'em!

I love that the focus of this bag is purely the burlap print. No metal, no zippers, no pockets or grommets. Just the burlap and the blue. I love how it turned out, and I hope you do too! It is now available in our Etsy shop for purchase.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Plymouth Art Fair

I spent this past weekend walking around downtown Plymouth's Art in the Park fair. The sun was shining and the crowds were thick. If you attended, you probably stopped by many great booths filled with handcrafted items made from so many talented people. If you also dropped into Birch Wood boutique to see the Lina and Vi bags and pillows on display, thank you so very much. We sold several of our Michigan burlap pillows this weekend, which was so exciting. I had to replenish quickly, and we still have few stocked up and ready to sell for anyone who wanted to purchase one at the boutique but didn't have a chance. Plus, they are always available in our Etsy shop...and always hand painted and sewn by yours truly.

I'm working my way through a set of new burlap zipper pouches as we shipped out a new bridesmaid order late last week.  A lot of new, colorful linings are in store for the upcoming set I've been working on. If you follow Lina and Vi on Facebook, you'll notice that I have a few furry disruptions around here these days as my pup loves to lay all over my cutting mat and chase after my rotary cutter. She is 5 months old already and growing fast!

It's a short update today, but I will be back later this week with photos of our newest Grounds burlap tote bag sewn from a brand new burlap design!


Monday, July 6, 2015

New La Florida Burlap Bag Photos

La Florida burlap bag - Lina and Vi - - front

Hi Friends! For those of you in the U.S., I hope you had a great holiday weekend celebrating the Fourth of July and spending time in the sun with friends and family. My husband and I headed up to northern Michigan again this weekend to spend time with his family at their lake house. We had great weather, and it was so refreshing to take a few days to be 'off the grid' and just relax. You may have noticed on our Facebook page that I was able to get a bit of sewing time in over the weekend which was so nice. Remember to follow us on Facebook for more daily updates at Lina and Vi - Plymouth, MI Sewn Goods.

I wanted to share that I have been making some changes in the Etsy shop and have refreshed the photo set for our La Florida burlap bag. These photos came out great and really showcase how beautiful this bag is for the season. It's a large bag, so there's plenty of space for towels, suits, flip flops, sunglasses, snacks, etc. Summer is it's season, and I'm surprised the La Florida bag has not yet sold. Since it's July and we're in the midst of summer now here, I've decided to drop the price a bit and make it available for $29.50! This is the lowest price for any of our large burlap tote bags ever, so it's pretty rare that you'll find one of the Grounds Collection bags on sale again.

For now, I will leave you with the new La Florida look book photos!

La Florida burlap bag - Lina and Vi - - back

La Florida burlap bag - Lina and Vi - - interior

La Florida burlap bag - Lina and Vi - - top

La Florida burlap bag - Lina and Vi - - detail