Lina and Vi: August 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back to School Pencil Case

It's been a busy few weeks as I've been working on a few new products for the fall season and enjoying the last few weeks of summer. Today I want to share a project that I worked on last week which is a completely new design for Grounds, a pencil case!

This guy may seem little and simple, but I will be honest with you, I was a little bit on the struggle bus with this one.  It's a quick and simple sewing project, right? Nope. Not for me last week. It seems like the smaller the item, the harder is to shape and bend the burlap. I managed to bend a needle while sewing this pencil case (needle meet metal zipper teeth). I walked away frustrated one night and was able to come back to it a few days later, make a few tweaks, and wrap it up nicely. Sometimes, you just gotta walk away for a bit to avoid going down a deep, dark sewing black hole.

At any rate, this is a cutie and a great way to carry your pencils, pens, highlighters, etc for the back to school crowd. The interior is a thick, cream canvas fabric and provides the shape for the case. The exterior burlap features graphic print original to the burlap sack, "Save the Amazon. Use jute" and "Hydrocarbon free".

You can purchase it now in the Lina and Vi Etsy shop.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pink + Brown Zipper Burlap Clutch

A quick update to share a few photos from a clutch I made as a gift for my mom's birthday last week (Happy birthday, Mom!). I sketched out a clutch bag with a wrist strap and a metal zipper closure that I thought fit her style well. The design I came up with called for a solid contrasting bottom that I had planned to be my first try sewing with leather, but my local fabric shop came up short and didn't have leather in stock so I went with vinyl.  The look is very similar, just the texture of the vinyl is slightly different than the leather, of course. Sewing the vinyl was also my first go at sewing with a ballpoint needle, and I honestly had absolutely no issues sewing it at all. I love how the contrasting cream thread appears against the dark brown solid fabric.  The interior is a heavy cream canvas material. Also, if you're looking for tips sewing with vinyl, I received advice from someone working at the fabric shop to spray a bit of Pam on the zipper foot to keep it moving smoothly over the vinyl. Who knew!

I waited to share these photos with you since I wanted this to be a surprise.  I'm thinking about designing a second one very similar to this for sale in our Etsy shop. What do you think?

Hope you're having a great week!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Lowdown on Burlap

It will be two years next month when I started sewing with burlap. I remember seeing a burlap sack in the coffee shop and thinking, hey maybe I can make something out of this. At the time, I was looking for anything to get me back into sewing. I was near the end of wedding planning and ready to just move on with everything and get back to "normal".  Over time, I have learned about how to work with burlap fabric, specifically with some of it's unusual characteristics that aren't found in most traditional sewing fabrics. I wrote a few tips that I posted a while back here. Although I've learned how to sew with it, I never had done research to learn more about where the fabric originated and some of the history around it's use.  I've managed to dip my toe into a bit of the background around burlap which I'll be sharing today.

Burlap is a natural fabric, which I knew about.  It's made from plant fibers often from a jute plant. Burlap is a modern term for the fabric woven from the jute plant, and most people use the term jute interchangeably with burlap. Jute is grown in tropical areas (often southeast Asia) during the summer months and is known for it's golden color. It is often woven with other plant fibers, so textiles made with the jute fiber can taken on many different weights and textures. The good news is that burlap/jute is totally biodegradable and thus an eco-friendly fabric.

The most common use for burlap fabric is for containment and transportation.  Jute fibers are woven into a dense cloth which is then sewn into a sack that is used for many things, from covering plant roots to transporting green coffee beans. Of course, I am most interested in the coffee bean utility since that's the previous life of the burlap sacks used to create the Grounds collection bags. I've read that the beans are stored using burlap sacks because the weave allows for air to pass in and out, helping to avoid mold and other conditions that may arise from being transported in an airtight container. Only green coffee beans are shipped in burlap sacks. Once the beans are roasted, they are then transferred to airtight containers so that they retain their new flavor and aromas.

Aside from uses as sackcloths, burlap is used in a variety of other utilities including the creation of sandbags, clothing, art canvases, rope, rugs, and of course the more modern use in crafting.  It's not very typical to see burlap clothing since the fabric is very heavy and tends to be a bit wiry. But, it's undeniable how durable the fibers are. That's why it's so often used in these types of applications, where a heavy load is being transported.

There's a lot more out there if you're interested in doing further research. You can find a few good resources here, here, and here. I love that I get to recycle and reuse the burlap coffee sacks and create new and interesting designs from their original markings. The fact that the fabric is natural and still has it's utility to durably hold items means that it's a great match for being repurposed into totes, purses, and pouches.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of background on burlap fabric. It certainly has made me look at the fabric in a new light and I hope it has done the same for you!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Giveaway! Burlap zipper pouch + Avon cosmetics

Just popping in quickly today to share the news that we're giving away one of burlap zipper pouches filled with Avon cosmetics this week! These pouches are the perfect cosmetic companions - and what's better than winning one of these handmade beauties along with makeup and samples from Avon!

To enter, you need to like our Facebook page and Danielle's Avon page along with sharing the original post here. When you're done, let us know by leaving a comment on the Facebook post and you'll be entered to win! You may also end up getting a few free samples even if you're not the winner, hint hint ;-).

Danielle is my sister and we're partnering together to help both our local businesses grow. This giveaway is open through Tuesday evening and open to all U.S. residents.

Good luck and happy Monday!