Archive for January, 2019

Working with PUL

PUL, which stands for polyurethane laminate, is a waterproof fabric most often used for cloth diapers and wet bags. I started my PUL journey about 2 years ago, when I made some side-mirror covers for my father-in-law for Christmas. They were gray terry-cloth inside, PUL outside, and he uses them for every storm. They were a wild project, and they didn’t leave me in love with PUL so I stashed it away, until last summer.

I was part of the Leominster Marketplace (farmer’s market) last summer and one of the shoppers asked if I could make her a smaller version of a dinosaur bag I had with me, nothing that she wanted to use it as a snack bag. The PUL I had is food grade, so I said “Yeah, absolutely! I’ll make it and bring it with me next week!” Obviously, she never came back for it. But I got my first taste of lining a bag with it!

I don’t love working with PUL because it’s kind of slippery and I never know if I should pin it in place or just hold it so it can slip around more. But since making the dino bag, quite a few people have expressed interest in makeup bags that are not cotton lined. Makeup explodes or seeps out, gets all over the cotton, leaks through. But if I was going to make a waterproof makeup bag, I needed to stand by it’s waterproof-ness. So I made a tester and did some tests.

Test 1: Pour 4 cuts of water into the bag.

Delayed leaking but still massive leaking. The fabric is waterproof but the seams are not at all.

Test 2: Pour a cup of shampoo into the bag.

Minor seeping from seams after 2 hours. I had it set on a paper towel, propped up so the shampoo pool would sit on a side-seam interception, and you could see the small seep spot. I moved the bag after an hour and ended up with a second small spot next to the first.

Conclusion: The bag is not waterproof. But it is leak-resistant. A little water isn’t going to leak out and get everywhere. A cup of shampoo isn’t going to ooze out and sticky-up the rest of your luggage. It will stay in the bag! That’s what I was after.

After the rigorous testing, I made a few bags for the shop. I put my labels on the outside of the bags so that 1) there was one less seam for liquid to seep through and 2) I can visually differentiate between these and cotton-lined bags without having to unzip them. I’m going to start them off in their own section, called PUL-Lined Bags, and see how they do.

 

Fluff Friday 11

Just napping.

Our librarian, sleeping at her post.

This is not an invitation for a belly rub! This is a bear trap!

“What was that?”

“Please go away. I don’t want to be brushed.”

 

Clear Pencil Case Project

Norm’s coworker asked if I could make her a clear pencil case so she can see all of her colored pens without having to root around too much. And since I already had a small collection of clear vinyl for making wallets, I decided to give it a go.

First, I modified my existing pencil case pattern. Vinyl can be finicky and I needed to make sure it would sit flat, so I didn’t want a seam on the bottom of the bag. My seam allowance is closer to 1/4 of an inch, so I traced my pattern butterfly style, taking off 1/4 inch from the bottom.

I usually hide my label on the inside but if I was to sew this label inside, you would be able to see the ugly background. I put it right on the front, so hopefully the ugly bit will get covered with pens and pencils.

I don’t know the exact thickness of this vinyl (medium thick?), but it was definitely thick enough to fight me when it was time to turn the bag right side out. But you know what? I have a space heater. I sat it in front of the heater for a couple of minutes and then it was TOO malleable and I thought I was going to rip it! Then I had to let it cool down, and it was too fighty again! It was a PROCESS. But I got it. I turned it out and it looked fly AF.

Voila! I didn’t top stitch the zipper edge like I do on every other bag I make, and at fist I was like, “This is fine!” But then it was puckering weird when I opened it so I pulled all the seams out and went back to add the top stitching. You can see the line get crooked towards the right side- I didn’t want to take the zipper off so I just pushed it under the needled as far as it would go. In other words, this one is mine to keep.

I decided to try a slim one next, and it came out so good! The zipper top stitch was on point. I used an iron to relax the bumps out of the vinyl before sewing it up, which made it easier to work with. And then, when I was turning it right side out, I ripped it. Just the tiniest bit, near the corner, on the bottom of the bag. And what did I do? I said, “Ooh, I’ll just melt this with a lighter and stick the pieces together!” Except the pieces did not stick together. The sides of the tiny rip shrunk, and the rip turned into a hole. So, this pencil case is also mine to keep.

But I made a bunch! And all the other ones came out great, without any rips or weird puckering. I had so much fun working on these that I actually worked through my clear vinyl collection and don’t have any left. As you might imagine, they don’t photograph super well so I don’t know if I’ll add them to my Etsy shop or just save them for in-person selling.

If you have questions about this project, or are interested in seeing a full How-To, please let me know!

Etsy Advice: photograph your mailing envelopes.

I’ve been selling on Etsy since 2011, so roughly 7.5 years. And in that time, I’ve developed some habits to make shipping out orders as smooth as possible.

In the very beginning, someone complained about my packaging style, which was to wrap a ribbon around the order and tuck the receipt under the ribbon. Now, I wrap orders in tissue paper, still tie a ribbon around it, and tuck a thank you note under the ribbon. I don’t include the receipt at all, knowing that people can print it themselves if they need it.

I used to write out all the envelopes for orders, and then wrap all the orders and place them on top of the corresponding envelopes, and then close everything up. Then one time, I mixed up two orders and sent a bird bag to Australia instead of to New York. Now, I package each order individually and completely seal them up before starting the next.

And I used to just package up orders and send them off. Until two summers ago when a package got stuck in an undeliverable mail loop for 4 days. Yes, that’s a thing. Every morning, it would go to the local post office, get sent out for delivery, get marked as undeliverable, go back to the regional post office where it was resorted, and sent back to the local post office the next morning. And you could see this mess happening in the tracking info. The buyer was eventually able to collect the package in person, which was wonderful. But mid-week, I contacted Etsy to ask advice on this bizarre situation. And Esty Support said, “Oh, just send us a picture of the package!” And I was like, “You mean when it eventually gets returned to sender?” And Etsy Support was like “LOL no like the picture you took before you mailed it.” I think it’s clear that I didn’t take a picture before I mailed it.

So now, after I wrap an order in tissue paper, and individually package it into a bubble mailer, I take a picture of it. I hold it up against my computer screen so the picture shows the envelope’s address and the mailing information provided by the buyer, and also shows the time/date on the computer. I email the picture to myself, highest quality possible, and move it to a special folder just for Etsy Shipping Labels. Since I started this photographing process, I haven’t needed it. But if I ever do? I’ll have a photograph with a time stamp, in an email with a time stamp.

Not every shop is the same, and not every order is the same, and not every brain is the same, so find whatever way works best for you to prep and mail out orders. But definitely take a picture of your packages before you send them off.

Find me at EcHo!

Located on Elm Street in Wareham, EcHo recently opened in the Tremont Nail Old Company Store building! It’s run by Beth, who has just the front room open right now and is currently renovating the second room. She’s breathing new life into a building that’s been closed for a couple of years, and served as “The Old Company Store,” selling candy and crafts for decades. Beth has an incredible vision for the space, and for using the closed Elm Street bridge as a community space.

Enter: The Tragic Whale. MY STUFF IS HERE! That’s right, you can now buy Tragic Whale bags in an actual store. Holy wow! Just look at this cute little display! (Display was 100% Beth, I was already gone when she found a place for everything).

This is a HUGE deal for me. This past year has brought a tremendous amount of growth for me and my little business and this was the logical next step, but for a while I didn’t know how I would actually get here. I am so proud, and so honored that Beth has included me in her store.

Click HERE for more information about EcHo.

Click HERE and HERE for more information on the Tremont Nail Company.

New Years in Ogunquit

We’ve been up to Ogunquit, Maine a couple of times in the late spring/ early summer and it’s beautiful. We love walking the beach and Marginal Way, the restaurants are amazing, and even though there are people everywhere we’re still able to relax. My in-laws have been known to spend New Years there and since this was the first time I wouldn’t have to work early on New Year’s Day, we decided to head up for a long weekend. Turns out, my in-laws had the same idea! And Norm’s aunts and a couple of cousins! It was a real party!

We stayed in this room and loved it. We had a great view of the water, could hear the ocean at night, and had a little fire which made it extra cozy.

view from our patio

We walked the beach on Sunday because Norm had to work on Monday and would be glued to his computer for most of the day. The idea was that we’d go together on Sunday, and then I’d walk it again on Monday with my mother-in-law and her sisters. But then I wore the wrong shoes and blistered my heels, so I stayed behind. They walked much further than we did so while I’m sorry I missed it, my heels were not.

from our room, I thought all this sea foam was seagulls

They had a lobster trap tree on the lawn and turned the lights on at night. Contrary to rumor, they did not use it as a bonfire on New Year’s Eve. Also, I started that rumor.


New Year’s Day was a little blustery but you can’t beat the whitecap waves!

It was definitely a great way to ring in 2019.

New Bookshelves

I have a lot of books and Norm has some books so together we have a lot of books. When I moved in with all my junk 3 years ago, we reassigned my bookshelves for board game, Lego, and craft supply storage. My books stayed in their boxes and eventually moved to under the basement stairs. And that’s where they stayed until a couple of months ago.

We had talked about bringing them out before but we didn’t know where to put them. There wasn’t a free wall in the living room, dining area, game room, guest room, or desk room (aka the office). We realized that the only room that we might be able to rearrange was our bedroom. So we thought, and we measured, and we imagined, we measured again, we did some googling, we measured again, and then we went for it.

We looked online at Ikea, knowing that would be the fasted way to start this project, but we started our physical search at a locally-made furniture store in Westminster. We figured we would be able to find beautiful, well-crafted shelves and support the local community at the same time. The pieces were beautiful, and we had the option of what wood and stains we wanted our shelves to have. They would be made right in town, and would only take 8-10 weeks to make! I was like, “Ok, perfect, sounds great!” But Norm was like, “8-10 WEEKS?”

So we left and went to Ikea. On a Sunday afternoon. And picked out three Billies. They were build and secured to the walls by Monday night, and we had all the books upstairs and organized by the end of the week. The natural light in our room is amazing and during the day it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

But night time is a different story. We have a couple of lights next to the bed but they aren’t bright and the shades restrict how far the light is thrown. So Norm ordered some light kits off Amazon, and had those fully installed 2 weeks later. He even mounted a wireless light switch for the shelves next to the regular light switch!

We still have some books scattered around the house, and we’ve slowly been collecting them and adding them to the new shelves. I love that my books are out for easy perusing again. And Norm loves that we have a place to add new books to.


Hello, I’m Kerry! Maker. Sewist. Fan of all things bright.

January 2019
S M T W T F S
« Dec   Feb »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

It's Fluff! Curious, master napper, likes to try new veggies.


%d bloggers like this: