Archive for the 'Crafts & DIY' Category

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.

 

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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!

Recent Projects 12

A collection of recent non-shop projects.

My friend asked if I could whip up an ID holder for her. She wanted something with a clear front, and a pocket to hold business cards. I made the one on the right first and the ID fit perfectly, but the zipper opening was too small to wiggle any cards into. I elongated it, and made a second one with a snap back pocket (not pictured). I hear they’re working great!

My cousin asked if I could make a Minnie zipper pouch for her daughter, and I made a matching xs makeup bag to match. I usually keep the pouches a solid color on the back, but for this one I added a second Minnie panel.

My friends moved into a new apartment and I put their cat’s face on fabric to make housewarming gifts! Here’s the coaster set:

And the tea towels!

I used SpoonFlower’s tea towel tutorial to make them. I didn’t want to go in blind, so I made a test towel out of my butterfly print. It goes well with our yellow Star Trek kitchen towel!

And I made one last set for my brother’s boyfriend for Christmas! My one disappointment with this design was my decision to label what the animals were. Once I uploaded the image and shrunk it down, you couldn’t read them anymore. Which I learned when the fabric arrived in the mail. I tweaked the design a bit and order it in Kona cotton, so it’ll be in the shop soon!

Recent Projects 11

I made this padded zipper pouch for my sister-in law! Definitely planning to add something similar to the shop in the near future.

I FINALLY completed my longest outstanding project to date: A t-shirt blanket for my friend Lauren. She let me hold her undergrad shirts captive for over 6 years. The blanket is double sided with a zipper on the bottom so she can tuck a comforter inside and make it extra cozy.

My old boss asked if I would make a travel car mat/carrier for her son! It was pretty fun to make, but I’m not planning to make any more of them. There are pockets under the parking spots, and the it folds into thirds as a small carrier.

I’ve been working on UV activated color-change earrings! These go from white to a deep fuchsia, depending on how much sunlight they’re getting. I have a few colors in the works, and just cast a glitter set last week. I’m still working on getting all the bubbles out, so it might be a little while before these show up in the shop.

I’ve got a couple more projects going that I’m excited to share when they’re done. Have you been working on anything new lately?

Recent Projects

I turned an XLT button up shirt into a dress. I mentioned it in this comic.

I designed some fabric for my husband’s cousins featuring their cute little pup, and made laptop sleeves with it!

A trio of travel bags for my friend’s mum:

And a couple of bags for my friend! I found this sweet fabric at a cute little store in Littleton, NH and picked up a fat quarter bundle with every color :D

I got a custom order request at the farmer’s market last weekend for, essentially, a much larger version of my zipper pouch pattern with a handle. So, a wristlet! I made a prototype immediately, and I’m trying to decide if I want to re-introduce wristlets back into the shop.

I hilariously forgot to order more bag labels before I ran out, so I’m kind of at a shop stand still right now. Oops! I have about ten which I’m saving in case I get any special order requests before the new ones come in. The good news is that I’m completely wiping out my “Outstanding Projects” list! Completely. Everything is getting done. And I’m working on developing a few new items for the shop :)

I tried to clean my sewing machine and broke it.

My primary sewing machine is a Brother DZ3000. My parents got it for me for Christmas 5 years ago and it’s been amazing to work with even though I don’t usually use any of the fancy functions. But a couple of years ago, it started making a squeak noise. And today I decided I should open it up and check it out. While in the middle of a project. Because, why not?!

The inside looks like this:

It was a real piece of work to put back together when I was done, but I got all the screws back in, set it right side up, turned it on, pressed the foot and… Error message. Also, the needle seems to have shifted.

I BROKE it!

The good news is that I have another one. Well, I have a couple of other ones but I need one that works properly / I know how to use. Enter: the Brother LB6800:

My father-in-law sent this to me right after I moved in with my husband (Thanks again, Norman!) and it’s even fancier than the fancy one I was using for basic sewing! And now I get to learn how to use it. And NOT open it up. Ever. For any reason. No matter what.

Plus, there is a quilt shop a few towns over that offers sewing machine cleaning at the end of each month, so DZ3000 will be going on a field trip!

Recent Projects

I made some cool bags for my sister-in-law with this AMAZING Beauty and the Beast fabric she nabbed:

I took a special order for some mustache pencil cases:

I used some Harley Davidson bandannas to make mini pouches and makeup bags for a former coworker:

I went on the hunt for Bruins fabric, also for a former coworker:

I spent some time time designing Tofu fabric for my husband’s cousins! Tofu is their adorable pup :D

I still have a couple of long-outstanding projects I’m planning to wrap up this year, so keep en eye out for those!


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

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

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