Tote bag recipe

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So the new year brings resolutions. The best thing that I read was the concept of “taking up” rather than giving up. As soon as people think that they will miss out, they seek it. So I am changing my mindset and “becoming”. Last year I became a non smoker. This year my goal is to become a more confident sewer. I have just taken up the challenge to learn to sew and one thing that I have discovered is that the style of tote bags that I like share a “layout”. It’s just resized on some blogs. Basically you have:
1. Two side panels that are the same height as your bag
2. One front panel
3. One back panel
4. A bottom panel
5. Two handles

One you understand how to sew the two side panels to the front and back panels the formula is simple. You can simply change the fabric and the size. I have created many bags to practise. I just resized and experiment with interfacing. Loving the results!!

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Keeping those threads organised

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Organisation is super important when learning to sew. It ensures that you use your time more effectively and can focus on developing high standard projects. Loose threads drive me crazy. I was wrapped when I came across this thread container on sale at Spotlight. For ten dollars, this was a steal!

Christmas Gift design: Carley’s Gift Tote bar

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Ok, what a busy time Christmas time is. As a teacher, the end of year is so busy that I don’t have time to breathe. I wanted to kill two birds with one stone so to speak. Continue to learn to sew as well as gift Christmas gifts. So I thought what do most people love. My first thought was relaxing. So “Carley’s Gift Tote bar” was born. Firstly I learnt to sew a mini book tote. I used the tutorial listed below. Except I placed gifts in it.

http://www.u-createcrafts.com/2013/06/mini-book-tote-tutorial-by-crazy-little.html

Then I sewed and sewed until I had about fifteen designs. Next I learnt to sew a sunglasses case. The tutorial that I used was amazing. Here’s the link: http://www.createcraftlove.com/2012/05/stitched-sunglasses-case.html

I am finding it easier to learn to sew by doing one project over and over. This way I am learning from my mistakes!

Then, what do most people like to use when relaxing: hot & cold packs. This one was trick as there were so any tutorials out there. So I simply traced a pattern shape, drew a 1 cm border and stitched it around three sides. After flipping it, ironing it and filling it with rice I added two drops of essential lavender oil.

Lastly I repeated the same process for the heat packs. I simply added labels & ribbon and behold….Carley’s Gift Tote Bar!!

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Then I lined all of the bags, heat packs & sunnies cases up. People had a ball picking which designs they wanted to include in their gift pack.

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Sewing basics: winding a bobbin

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One thing that I understood quite quickly was winding a bobbin. Once I got it, I revised it so many times until I could do it with my eyes closed. I won’t use technical language as that is what confuses me the most about many sewing tutorials. So, here are the steps that I took:
1. Place your cotton on the rod. Make sure that the thread is in the direction as per your machine instructions.
2. Wind the thread twice around the small circular winder.
3. Pull the thread through ONE of the top holes in your bobbin
4. Clip it on the bobbin winder and push it to the left.
5. Pull the large circular knob on the side of the machine out.

Hold the top thread with one hand. Press the petal and watch it go. I repeated this process until it was second nature.

Sewing boxes a must

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One thing that I have found remarkably helpful has been sewing containers. There were so many little bits and pieces in my sewing kits and that I had purchased. It was like overload. When shopping at my local $2 shop, I came across these storage boxes. They were more than $2, $3.50 actually. My mind was racing. Perfect. So I organised all the bits and pieces into categories that worked for me such as bobbins, safety pins etc. Here is the result. Since I have these it is easier to store more items in my sewing box.

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Storage of sewing materials

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Any art and craft project comes with an element of organisation and planning. There is nothing worse than starting a project and realising that you have the wrong materials. Just as I started sewing (my journey began a few weeks ago) I browsed the net. Most sewers seemed to have a system that worked for them. I started buying things bit by bit. So I started buying cotton, pins and containers. I also had a few sewing kits that I had been given over the years that had gathered dust.

I decided to place them all in one large box. As I also like smash booking and other craft projects, bits and pieces everywhere would slow me down. So I simply purchased a basket and stored all sewing materials in that. Now every time that I sew, I just bring out the basket!

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Sewing basic: What is a bobbin?

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So I even had to learn what a bobbin was. Having no idea I read many websites. All I needed was a simple explanation so I created my own simple summary.

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After purchasing my machine, I needed to work out how to thread the machine. I found instructions, well awful because they assume that you know the language. The language is the most challenging part of learning to sew. I found the videos hard to zoom in on. So here are five simple steps that I have discovered.

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1. Line your bobbin up. I had trouble with the thread. A tip that I read was make sure that your bobbin and it’s case kiss.
2. Place your bobbin in the case.
3. Grab the thread. Thread it into the small slot.
4. Drag the thread across and into the larger slot. You will hear a click.
5. Load the bobbin into the machine.