DIY Recycled Reusable Produce Bag Tutorial

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This is my first tutorial in a while!  I made one of these reusable produce bags today, and loved the outcome so much that I just had to share.  Super-easy, inexpensive, green, and handy if you hate those flimsy plastic produce bags from the grocery store as much as I do!

Supplies you will need: 

-Cotton fabric (you just need a little tiny bit–less than 1/4 yard will probably do!  Pull out the scrap basket!)

-Mesh produce bag from the grocery store (I used a softer mesh bag, but you could probably use the stiffer plastic ones too) (Mine came from Trader Joe’s)

-Thread

-Something for a drawstring (I used baling twine, but you could use yarn, hemp, or a sewn strap of your own)

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Step 1: Gather your supplies. Remove the tags from the bottom and top of your bag, being careful not to pull on the netting too much so that it holds its shape.IMG_0568 IMG_0569

Step 2: Cut a 5″ x 2.5″ piece of your cotton fabric and fold and press it as if you were making bias tape, turning under the ends about 1/4″ as well. IMG_0570

Step 3: Pin onto the bottom of your bag, enclosing both layers of netting between the layers of fabric.  The netting will overlap itself a little bit–that’s ok!
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Step 4: Using a straight stitch and starting from a bottom corner, at the folded edge, stitch up the side of your hem tape.  Next, using a zig-zag stitch, stitch across the length of the tape.  Switch back to a straight stitch to stitch down the other side.  If you want, you can do another row of zig-zag across the bottom of the tape, near the folded edge.  I did this, just to give it some extra strength.

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Step 5: Measure across the top of your bag. 🙂

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Step 6: Double that measurement, and cut out a piece of cotton that double measurement x 2″ (mine was 14″ x 2″). Make hem tape just like you did for the bottom of the bag, but this time stitch over the ends once they are folded over.

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Step 7: Pin around the top of the bag, catching only a single layer of the netting.  Make sure the ends of the tape are right next to each other.
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Ok, back to the tutorial. 🙂  Here’s what your bag should look like at this point:

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Step 8: Sew tape to top of bag.  Be sure to backstitch at the ends!   I used a zig-zag stitch.  Now you have created a channel for your drawstring to go through.  Hopefully yours will turn out a little more even than mine did…

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Step 9: Prepare your drawstring!  We have SO MUCH baling twine that it is practically coming out our ears, so I figured I would put it to use.  You want your drawstring to be 25″-30″ long.  I tied a knot at each end. 🙂

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Last step: Using a safety pin, guide your drawstring through the tape at the top of your bag.  Ta-Da!!!

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You now have a beautiful, cheap, eco-friendly produce bag!  Enjoy!

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~Bessie

Sewing Room

May I present:  My Temporarily Unfinished Sewing Room!

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This room has been weighing on my shoulders for so long.  We have a leak in our basement, and every time we think we have gotten it under control, it gives us more trouble.  Thus our basement, which is huge, has been sitting unfinished and unused for two years.  I’ve been waiting and waiting to be able to finish this space so that I can actually work down here–it is rough living in a small house and having all of your art and sewing supplies strewn across the kitchen and living areas!  Especially when you have two online businesses and stock everywhere as well.  Golf clubs in the guest bathtub anyone? 😉

Anyway,

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 I decided to just move my stuff down there and use the space, finished or not. 🙂  I’m so glad I did!

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I still need to move some shelving down there for fabric storage.  I have a few things draped on an old quilt rack right now, which I like very much. 🙂

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This is the other side of the room.  Eventually this is where my Etsy stock is going to go.

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I get to share my workspace with my cute little chickie friends!

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So all in all I am very excited.  We will get it finished eventually, but for now this allows us to utilize our space more efficiently and allows me a place to be creative, which I desperately need. 🙂

Anyone have any awesome sewing room organization tips they would like to share??

Love,

Bessie

Sexing Chicks

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This post is for those of you who enjoy chickens and farming blather. 🙂

As you know, we have been hatching our first batch of Barred Plymouth Rock chicks over the past week.  We planned to take them to the local farmer’s market Saturday, so I thought it would be a good idea to learn a little about sexing chicks so that people would know what they are getting.

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(I love this little hen.  Isn’t her face pretty?)

In doing research, I came across a method of sexing by wing development.  Apparently this is fairly accurate.  Both of the click below are about 1 week old.  The first one is a cockerel (aka rooster).  Notice the first feathers are short and not very developed yet.

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This second one is a pullet (hen).  Notice the long and well-developed feathers. Her tail feathers have also already developed.

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Barred rocks are a type of sex-link chickens, which makes it a bit easier to determine gender by color.  The pullets are generally much darker, with lots of black on their legs and minimal spots on their noggins.  The cockerels are the opposite–much lighter in color, with light legs and scattered spots on their heads.

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We took 11 chicks to the market and sold all but 3!  The hens all went first, of course.  We had a lot of people interested in more, so we will definitely be going back next weekend with our next load of chickies. 🙂

In other news, I am slowly but surely working on setting up my new sewing room!  That means it will be easier to sew, so many  more projects to post about!  Speaking of which, I had a great idea for a project inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee that I am excited to tell you about…

Well, off to put the baby to nap and tailor a shirt for a friend!

Toodle-oo,

Bessie

Mother’s Day Project

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I can’t reveal the project just yet, but here is a sneak-peak at what I am making my mother for Mother’s Day.

Let’s just say it has something to do with the bathroom she is redecorating with a vintage camping theme…:)

Oh, and this:

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Yummy!

~Bessie

Goat Coat

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Poor Hana.  It has been rather nasty outside for the past week or so, and it looks like it is not going to get any better for another week.  Hana was shivering when I went out to feed the animals this morning, so I made her a little coat out of an old child-size sweater.  I think it helped. 🙂  I also put some fresh pine shavings down in their house to make it a little more cozy.  

I usually love the rain, but since owning farm animals I have definitely loved it less.  It makes everything more difficult, and it is hard on the animals to be wet and muddy for weeks straight.  😦

Here is another reason why I am starting to dislike the rain:

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Giant trees tend to fall down on your house. 

Well, it technically fell on our porch.

Thankfully it only knocked off the front gutter. 🙂

 

Well, I am off to a very busy day!  Stay warm and dry and cozy. 🙂

~Bessie

Chicks

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Today was an exciting day.  Three little chickies hatched out into the world!  Baby E and I went to check on mama hen and heard lots of little peeps coming from underneath her.  Much to our delight, we soon saw little beaks peeking out from under her fluff, no doubt curious as to what the strange human voice sound was. 😉

Mama hen is sitting on 13 eggs now, which have mostly been laid by the other hen, one per day over the past couple weeks.  That means that we should have one chick hatching every day for the next 13 days.  I will be removing the chicks to the brooder as they hatch to encourage mama to keep sitting on the remaining eggs.  Not an ideal situation, but I could not get the other hen to lay in another nesting box–she was quite determined!

Chicks are so precious.  And chickens are such a delight.  We have really enjoyed ours.  I love walking out on my front porch and finding fresh eggs in the nesting box each morning!  What a sweet gift.

My friend loved her nightie!  It was a hit!  I’m so glad. 🙂

Have a lovely weekend!

Bessie

1960’s Babydoll Nightgown

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Hello fellow sewists!  The first project I am going to share with you is a very adorable babydoll nightgown that I am making as a gift for a friend of mine’s lingerie party. 🙂

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This is the view I am making (they are both practically the same, only mine is made with chiffon and lined with crepe and has a tie belt) (I opted out of the lace around the yoke).

So I pulled out my pattern and fabric, anxious to start cutting, and much to my chagrin realized that half of the pattern was missing (i.e. the yoke front and back pieces).  Ah!  So out came an old sheet–I had some drafting to do.

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It didn’t take long.  🙂

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Once drafting was finished, I proceeded with the cutting. 🙂

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Next it was time to seam together the chiffon with French seams.  Oo-la-la!

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Is not this crepe georgette luscious?  I kinda wanted to eat it.

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The top edges of the nightie were gathered using three lines of basting stitches, which made for extra scrumptiousness.

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This is a shot of the underarm bias binding, pinned in place and ready for the first stitching.  It was a double layer, and once machine stitched onto the outside, it was hand stitched in place on the inside.  It turned out very nice, as you will see in following pictures!

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Sisters and babies!  The baby on the left is my little E.  The one on the right is her sweet cousin. They had fun playing with each other while I was sewing away. 🙂

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The almost-finished product!  At this point, all I need to do is hem the crepe georgette.  The chiffon is made of nylon and does not fray, so I am just going to leave it as-is.  You can see a little pulling on the yoke–I need to give it another press.

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Something terrible did happen in the process of making this lovely nightgown.  I um, well…

I melted a bit of the nylon chiffon.  On the front of the garment.  Yep.

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That is why there is a cute blue bow there. 🙂

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The back!

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Lovely bias binding.

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And this is what it looks like with the ribbon tie.  I love it!

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Hopefully my dear friend will love it too. 🙂

And with that said, I ought to go and finish hemming it, as the lingerie party is this evening!

Toodle-oo!

Bessie