Posts Tagged 'sewing'

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!

New in the Shop: XL Makeup / Project Bags

When I first introduced makeup bags to my shop, I made the bag patterns for 5 sizes: XS to XL. My original idea was to sell them as a nesting set (bet you didn’t know these were nesting bags!) but it seemed easier to categorize them by size and the Extra Large never made it to the shop. Until now!

I’m making them EXCLUSIVELY in my own fabric designs! I know this will limit the variety of them at first, but eventually the section will grow as my design library increases.

They can hold a full can of dry shampoo and a standing bottle of contact solution. They comfortably fit a skein of yarn with supplies. With that much room, there’s so much you can use them for!

Find them in the XL Makeup / Project Bag section here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTragicWhale?section_id=24823650

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!

The Organic Collection is back!

I’m happy to announce that The Tragic Whale Organic is making it’s way back into the shop! There’s just a few bags to choose from right now- large makeup bags and a couple of pencil cases- but now that I’ve dug out my organic cotton thread I’m basically unstoppable.

I make all the Organic Collection bags using GOTS certified organic cotton fabric AND thread. More organic materials means lower impact on the environment.

Here’s a couple of the new bags:

DSCN9054DSCN9011DSCN9083

Find these and the rest of the collection here:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTragicWhale?ref=hdr_shop_menu&search_query=organic+collection


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

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

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