Archive Page 2

Birthday Planning, Part 3

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Birthday Planning, Part 2

Birthday Planning, Part 1

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.


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

April 2019
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It's Fluff! Curious, master napper, likes to try new veggies.

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