Posts Tagged 'DIY'

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!

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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!

New in the Shop: Magnet Sets

I recently added magnet sets to the shop! I’ve been making wooden button magnets for a few years but I usually give them as gifts or keep them for personal use.

I used E6000 glue (the best glue) to secure 10mm neodymium magnets to the backs of wooden buttons. The magnets have a rounded edges so they are not supposed to scratch away surfaces or leave residue behind.

They come lightly taped to card stock and sleeved in a little zip-lock bag.

They can hold at least 4 sheets of paper and a greeting card. I use my own sets to hang takeout menus and invitations!

I haven’t decided if I’ll bring them to fairs and markets with me yet, so for now they can only be found online.

Find them in the housewares section! https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTragicWhale?section_id=16516425

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!

New in the Shop: Earrings!

I’ve been making earrings out of fishing lures for years. My favorites are the Acme Phoebe fish because they have a great shape and come in two different sizes. Whenever I spot them on sale, I grab them to make earrings. I put them away in a little tackle organizer and say, “Someday, I’ll add these to the shop.” I haven’t yet because I’ve always wanted my focus to be bags. But since adding coasters two years ago and sweater pins last yes, I thought maybe it was time to give earrings a go.

I specifically ordered stainless steel earring hooks because I want them to be more appealing to more people. My ears are happy with them so I know other people with sensitive ears will be happy with them, too.

I also made stud earrings with wooden cat buttons, at the request of my friend. I have no idea what the posts are made out of, so I only made a few. I have my own pair that I’ve been wearing around to test and they don’t bother my ears. But if I think I’m going to add more to the shop, I will definitely take the time to ensure that the posts I’m using are hypoallergenic.

They can currently be found in the Accessories Section with the sweater pins!

Makeup bag tutorial

I do a lot of sewing but I don’t share too many sewing DIYs on the blog- what’s up with that?! So today I’m going to show you how to make your very one makeup bag!

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Supplies:
– sewing machine
– all-purpose foot
– zipper foot

IMG_3776All-purpose- left, zipper foot- right. Most machines comes with these feet.

– card stock
– ruler
– pencil
– pen
– scissors
– fabric, two colors or prints

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– interfacing, to make it sturdy!
– zipper
– iron
– pins

Let’s get started!

1) First we have to make our pattern. You can use the one I did or you can make your own- the directions will be the same. You’ll start with a rectangle, I used 8.5 inch by 5.5 inch, and then cut two squares out of the bottom, so it looks like the picture. I cut out 1 inch squares.

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2) Grab your fabric and interfacing. What I like to do is trace my pattern onto the interfacing with pencil,

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then cut out the fabric to match the pieces of interfacing I have.

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That way, when I go to iron it, I’m not trying to match two perfectly-cut makeup bag pieces together and worrying about them not lining up just right.
3) Iron your fabric and interfacing together.

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4) Cut out your pieces, along the pencil lines. But tracing the pattern just once onto the interfacing, and cutting it after you iron, you only have to cut the pattern once! And I specifically use pencil because you can’t see it once the project is done AND you don’t have to worry about it getting wet and running (like with pen and markers).

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5) It’s zipper time! Zippers can seem intimating, but they’re really just scared and acting out in aggression.

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Take one of your inside fabric pieces and lay it right-side up. Lay the zipper right-side up on top of it.

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And then lay your outside piece right-side down. Make sure the pieces line up with each other on all sides, and that the zipper is tucked nice and close to the tops

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6) Secure with pins.

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7) Using your zipper foot, sew along the edge with the zipper pinned in place.

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It should look like this when you are done.

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8) This part is optional. I like to flip the fabric right-sides out and sew along that zipper edge again. It helps hold the fabric in place and I like the clean look it gives the finished bag.

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Next) Repeat with the other two pieces of fabric. Make sure you place your pieces on the right sides! Inside fabric should be right-side down on the inside fabric side, and outside fabric should be right-side down on the outside fabric side.

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So when you are done stitching it together and open it up, it will look like this:

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10) Flip your project around so that the inside fabric pieces are touching and your outside fabric pieces are touching, with the zipper in the middle. I like to call this butterflying but I know that can mean different things and I don’t want anyone to, like, fillet their bag or anything.

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11) Very Important! Unzip the zipper halfway! If you skip this part, you won’t be able to turn your bag right-side out when the time comes!

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After that) Before we pin anything in place, make sure the zipper teeth face up into the inside of the bag.

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Still facing up.

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13) Secure with a pin.

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14) Again, make sure your zipper is facing teeth up into the bag before you pin anything down.

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Pin in place. Sometimes I add an extra pin here or there to hold it together while I sew, and sometimes I only pin where the zipper is.

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15) Switch your sewing foot to the all-purpose one and sew all the way around, making sure to leave an opening along the bottom inside-fabric edge.

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Just sewing.

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Be Careful!) Because I lined my zipper up with the edge of my fabric, there is a little metal nub hiding in there. And that nub is a land mine to your sewing machine needle. As you get close to it, check to make sure you aren’t going to run it over.

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words

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And Remember) Leave that opening! You’ll need it later.

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18) Trim off the extra threads and zipper.

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19) Remember those little squares we cut out of the pattern? It’s time for those to come into play. Where each corner should be, line up the edges of fabric…

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and pin them in place.

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Now) Sew right along that edge.

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It should look like this when you’re done.

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21) Repeat for all 4 corners. Or lack-of-corners. Anyway, this is what will give your bag a proper bottom and will allow it to stand up on its own.

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22) Remember that opening we left?

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Reach in and pull your bag out. Well, pull the fabric right-side out.

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23) Push out the bottom corns,

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24) and the zipper. It’ll look like this when you first flip it right-side out. But with a little pushing…

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it will look like this!

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25) Now we just have to close up that little hole in the bottom.

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So pull the inside fabric out a bit, and pin the hole closed.

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26) Sew it up.

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27) Push the inside fabric back into the bag.

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28) And you did it! You made a makeup bag!

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I love this pattern because it’s so easy to tweak. Need a wider bottom? Cut bigger squares. Need a longer bag? Elongate the width. I use a pattern close to this for my extra small – large makeup bags in the shop, shaving just a little off the pattern as they go down in size so they are actually nesting bags.

Let me know if you have any questions, need anything clarified, or if you make one yourself! Thanks for reading!

Jingle Shell picture frame

I found this picture of my Gramma and Great Gramma after my Grandpa died. It’s one of my favorite pictures of them because it’s exactly how I remember them- smiling and happy and in the kitchen of the condo (where we lived when I was very little). It makes me think of going to Great Gramma’s in the summer so Dad could mow her lawn, only to find that she had already done it. Running around her back yard on Easter and shrieking at ear wigs. Summer cookouts at my Grandparents. That time my Great Gramma gave me hot mustard. Making play dough spaghetti at the table when Dad got home from work. When my parents had the kitchen tiled and we got to eat in the living room!

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But (obviously) this frame is a little worse for the wear. It’s tarnished and held together with elastics. I used to keep the picture out on a shelf, but it kept falling off and busting open. It needed a new frame. I got a cheap frame from Walmart, one that the back would definitely stay on. And on Easter, I collected jingle shells from one of my favorite beaches.

Jingle shells are these fragile, translucent shells that absolutely litter Little Harbor. Growing up, my Dad said they’re called jingle shells because if you fill your hands with them and shake them around they make a jingling noise. But he also made up a lot of names for things (a story for another day) so a Wikipedia search was in order. Turns out, jingle shells are an acceptable, and widely known name for them.

I got my shells, frame, and glue gun together and put a piece of paper down so I wouldn’t get glue all over my desk. Again.

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I decided to go with hot glue instead of E-6000 because it dries quickly and I wouldn’t have to worry about the shells sliding around (as I learned from my Glass Jar Upcycle project).

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It didn’t take long to cover the frame.

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And once I added a hook, I could add it to my wall!

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That’s my Gramma’s retirement announcement on the left, a baby picture of my Mom below, and a mini whale poster from my cousin in the bottom right. I keep my strong ladies in view of my work area :)

Do you have any craft projects going on? A wall devoted to the strong women in your family? Baby pictures of your Mom on display? I want to know about it!


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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