Monday, June 26, 2017

Sewing Tutorial: Toddler Purse

A while back, Josephine grabbed my cross-body purse and put it on with the strap over her body. How about a gentle reminder that my kid is watching everything I do?! I decided I wanted to make her her own purse, so that we could both have one.

I looked for a quick tutorial for an easy (and reversible) purse, but couldn't find one, so this is either a really great and helpful tutorial, or so easy that no one else thought it worthwhile to write. :)

I made this with scraps and materials I already had.

- 4 rectangles of fabric 5.5" by 6" (for the body - can be all the same, all different, or two of each like I did)
- one piece of fabric 2.5" by 27"*
- 2 bits of round elastic (a few inches each - length will depend on your toggle)
- toggle or button

*27" was the correct length for Josephine, but you may want it shorter or longer. I put the measuring tape on her how a purse strap would go, and then added an inch for seam allowances.

1. Press the strap piece in half, lengthwise, right sides together.

2. Stitch along the length with 1/4" seam allowance. My machine allows me to adjust the needle position. I've figured out that if I use the edge of the presser foot as a guide for my fabric, and have the needle position set to 2.5, I get a perfect 1/4" seam allowance.

3. Place two of the body pieces right sides together, and stitch along 3 edges (two 6" edges, and one 5.5" edge). Leave your needle down at the corners, lift your presser foot, rotate the fabric, and lower the presser foot to get crisp, square corners.

Another feature on my machine is the 'Needle Position' button. When activated, the stitching will automatically end with the needle down.

4. Repeat for the other two body pieces.  Now you should have something like this:

5. Turn the strap piece right-side-out. I use a safety pin - attach it to one side...

...tuck it inside...

...then 'scooch' it (technical term)...

...and pull to straighten.

Continue scooching and straightening until the safety pin comes out the other end.

Then just pull the rest through.

6. Press, and top-stitch on both long edges of the strap piece.

7. Take a bit of your round elastic and make a loop. It should be long enough to loop around your toggle, plus a little for seam allowance.

8. Turn one of the body pieces right-side out, and tack the loop in place as shown. Make sure to only sew through one side of the body fabric.

9. Repeat on the other side, with your toggle on this piece of elastic. I forgot to take a picture of this step, but you can see it in Step 11.

Now your body pieces should look like this: 

10. Pin one end of your strap to the right edge of the body piece as shown. Make sure to only pin through one layer of fabric.

11. Turn the body piece over, and keeping the strap smooth and untwisted, pin to the right side (one layer of fabric only). (Your toggle should be on this side, unlike mine.)

(Here's with the toggle.)

12. This is the trickiest part, but you can do it! Take the body piece with the strap, and - just as it is - stuff it inside the other body piece. They should be right sides together - so all you should be able to see is wrong sides. Match the side seams, and pin all around.

13. Carefully stitch all around the top, leaving a few inches for turning.  Make sure to keep the other side of the purse out of the way.  I chose to use 1/2" seam allowance here, just for extra peace of mind, but it doesn't really matter.

14. Before turning right-side-out, go ahead and trim off the excess of the elastic and strap ends.  Then find the gap we left:

Reach inside the gap, and pull out the insides, strap and all. It will look like this partway through:

And like this when your get it all out:

(Other side.)

 15. Press the body seams, then stick one side back in the other (see below) and press the top seam.

16. Top-stitch around the top. This will close up our turning hole, and also look nice.

Make sure you're only stitching through one side of the bag!

You're done!

This bag is very versatile. You can make it any size, any color/pattern, add a pocket, or change up the closure very easily. This would make a very cute water bottle holder.

Love and Purple,
Leah Joy

P.S. If you're wondering about my fabric choices, I let my toddler pick them. :)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Homemade Busy Board

Toddlers are busy people. Emptying boxes, filling boxes. Turning pages. Running, pushing, pulling. They are always going. Sometimes it's hard to find enough things to keep their little hands occupied!

Enter the busy board. You can buy these pre-made, but they'll run you at least $50 for a good-sized one.

I compiled several ideas I liked on Pinterest, and if you're interested, you can check out my Pinterest board to get some more ideas:

I chose to make my own. This can also be really pricey, especially if you buy everything new, but I managed to keep it pretty cheap. (Surprised? I didn't think so.) Here are some pictures of the board, and I'll discuss below each picture where I found all the parts.  I believe anyone could make their own busy board for about $25.

The board is a leftover cupboard door from our old kitchen cabinets. I sanded it and painted it white. Then my mom helped me tape off chevron stripes, which I painted with acrylic craft paints (which we already had). (In case you're following along at home, so far my cost is $0.)

In the top left, I attached a drawer pull I found at Goodwill. On this I hung a bike lock, a lanyard, and a padlock, all from the Dollar Tree. ($4 for all 4 pieces)

In the top right is a little 'door' - this was originally a floating shelf that my parents weren't using. The cute little rose pull was also sitting around waiting to be used. ($0)

I attached the 'door' using a hinge I found at Salvation Army, and put a dollar store compact mirror behind it. For safety, I covered the screw ends and the edges of the mirror in cute duct tape. ($3, including tape)

I checked at our local thrift stores first, but I did end up getting several items new from Lowe's. The slide chain and hook-and-eye latch were each $3. ($6)

I sprung for the nicer swivel casters ($4 for the 2) and found the springy door stoppers on clearance for $0.50. The barrel bolt was $3. ($7.50)

At the bottom, I attached a cute little bucket from Goodwill, and a calculator and pill sorter from Dollar Tree. ($3)

Not pictured: push light from Dollar Tree ($1) - because it doesn't work. (And yes, I still haven't replaced it.)

Total: $24.50

Not bad for a completely customized (and very cute) busy board!

Josephine likes to peek at herself in the mirror (and give her reflection kisses).

It's also fun to hide toys in the bucket.

So far, we've chosen to leave it free-standing, so we can move it around, or put it away for a while to keep it novel.

Love and Rainbow,
Leah Joy

P.S. I also got to learn lots of new hardware terms!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Baby Girl Quilt

My cousin and his wife are expecting their 1st baby this summer! I've decided to make baby quilts 'my thing', so I made a cute baby girl quilt for them.

I was so pleased with the pattern I invented for my last baby quilt that I decided to just adapt it to a different color scheme. Without even knowing, I apparently picked the mom's favorite colors!

This one is a few inches bigger than the last one, mostly because I actually did the math right this time. :)

This was also the first time I got to use my rotary cutter. Boy is that thing awesome!

I used the same great binding tutorial that I did last time, and my corners turned out mostly good!

I also included a little hand-embroidered tag:

The back fabric was actually a (very large) remnant I found at our local fabric store.

It's so pretty and vibrant!

I'm so pleased with how this quilt turned out! Now someone else have a baby so I can make another one! :)

Love and Pink,
Leah Joy