How to make a Potato Bag

The bowl potholders were such a great addition to my kitchen (and office), I decided to try and make a potato bag.  I’ve made a few adjustments from the first one, so as I make more I will use the below steps to get the perfect potato bag!

You can make them any size; in fact, I suggest making a few different sizes!  I use a smaller one at work for just me and larger ones at home for the family.

Before we start, let’s talk about fabric.  Fabric should be 100% cotton, so should the thread.  You also need 100% cotton batting.  You can pick any pattern you want for the outside.  If you want you can use the same pattern on the inside, but I like to pick a natural color that is not died.

How to get the measurements

If you want a potato bag that is 6 ½ inches wide by 9 ½ tall all you need to do is the following:

Width: To get 6 ½ inches add 1 inch for the seam, cut the piece 7 ½ inches

Height: to get the final bag of 9 ½ tall, take 9 ½ (Front) + 9 ½ (Back) + 2 (Top Flap) = 21 inches add ½ inch for the seam to cut a 21 ½ inches.

Final piece should be 7 ½ inches by 21 ½ inches.

Instructions

(1) Cut your fabric: For each potato bag cut one outside piece (My Colored Fabric), one inside piece (My White Fabric), and one piece of batting.

(2) Lay your two pieces of fabric on top of each other with the outside pattern facing inside.  Your pieces will eventually be turned inside out, so make sure you put the pattern pieces facing each other.  Then place the batting on the top of the two pieces of fabric.  The image below shows the inside out fabric and layers; you will want to stack them on top of each other.


(3) Pin or clip the pieces together once you have them lined up.  I typically have the batting a bit larger, so I will flip it over after pinning three sides and trim the batting so all three layers are exact.  I then pin or clip the side I trimmed and remove one side at a time to trim.


(4) Sew around each piece of fabric leaving a spot open to turn the piece inside out.  I typically do this on one of the short sides.


(5) In the gap you left open, separate the top and bottom fabric and turn the piece inside out.  I like to use a chopstick to press out the corners.


(6) Iron along the three sides, and for the gap iron the pieces so you can easily sew along it to sew up the gap.  I like to iron one side, flip it over and iron the other.  I inspect the gap and make sure that there is enough folded over to avoid not sewing the pieces together nicely.

(7) Sew along both short sides.  Only sew along the short sides!


(8) Place the fabric with the fabric you want on the outside facing up.  For me, I place the white fabric down and pattern up.  Fold over the top piece about two inches.


(9) Take the bottom piece and fold it up to the top of the folded over piece.  If your confused, look at the second image closely


(10) Pin the top section that has three layers


(11) When sewing, start on the side without the clip, when you get to the other edge (the side with three layers), turn it around and sew back to where you started.  I like the second stitch to help reinforce the opening edge.


(12) Turn it right side out and your done!

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Classroom Chair Pockets

If you are making Classroom Chair Pockets, there’s a pretty good chance you’re a parent. Like many other parents out there, time is not something freely handed out. This project is one that I struggled to find time to sit down and make them all at once, so I’m breaking them up by days below. Give yourself a week or two and set aside an hour (or little less) to complete each step at a time. You may want to make the first one and try it on the chair to verify size before making them in mass.

The instructions are using two pieces of durable fabric with no inside liners; on average they take about ½ yard of fabric per chair pocket. If you are using thinner fabric you will need twice as much fabric for a liner (those instructions are not included in this).

Chair PocketChair

The chair I had to work with is one of those plastic chairs that are wider and thicker at the bottom. I don’t remember the exact measurements. To find the width of the chair pocket start by finding the widest part of the chair back, also measure how deep the back is at that spot. To figure out how wide to cut your pieces add the width, depth and add a seam allowance.

Each Chair pocket will need: 2 pieces – 16 inches (or a different width) x 17 inches (About ½ yard per Chair Pocket)

Times listed below will vary with sewing skill and the amount you make.

Step 1: 30-60 minutes

Look at the pattern of your fabric; does it need to go a specific direction? What is the width of your fabric? Standard width is 44 inches; as long as your width isn’t longer than about 20 inches you can get 2 pieces with one cut. The fabric I used needed me to cut each piece using the length measurement (17 inches). If my fabric were just dots, I would have cut using the width (16 inches) to save fabric. Note: If your fabric is really wrinkly, you may want to iron it to ensure an accurate cut.

Before you cut take one end of the fabric and make sure the long side ends are matched up (to keep the cuts straight). Trim off the end of the fabric using the folded edge of the fabric to square it off.

Next, with the width of the fabric it can be difficult to read the measurements on the cutting board (depending on the size), so I used two rulers to measure. Take the one that is the easiest to read and measure out from the edge your just trimmed, use the second ruler as the ruler to cut with (they should make a “T” like the picture below).IMG_3985

I needed 17 inches, when cutting lots of pieces using this method I try to add a little extra to ensure I have enough so I cut 17-1/8 inch. Before you cut, make sure you are cutting even. I started by measuring in the middle and moving the ruler along the entire width to make sure the ruler I’m using to cut isn’t un-even. Also make sure you look at the folded edge to make sure you didn’t have an un-even cut, if you do just trim off as little as possible (I did have to do this once). Don’t rush this part; you don’t want to waste fabric!

As you cut each piece, pull the fabric up and ensure the edges are straight so your cuts are even and as accurate as possible.  When I was done cutting them I had 15 pieces that were 17 inches tall and as wide as the fabric, one of the pieces will be one chair pocket.

Step 2: 30-60 minutes

Each piece you have should be cut in one direction; the next step is to cut each of those pieces into the final size. If the fabric is wrinkly make sure to iron it first, I end up doing this to a few of the pieces that were cut on a fold but most were ok.

Keep the fabric folded in half, it will allow you to cut both pieces with one cut. Take one short edge of the fabric and square off the edge, if the fabric has an ugly edge cut enough to remove the ugly part. Sometimes one side has a bigger ugly edge, make sure you cut both ugly pieces off when trimming.

Chair Pocket 04a

 

Using the cutting board ruler or a second ruler measure cut your second measurement, in my case I measured out 16 inches. Repeat this for all the pieces you have, putting the 16×17 pieces in one pile and the scrap in a second pile.

Step 3: 30 minutes

Take two pieces and place one piece right side up, take the second piece and place on top of the first one right side up. Do not sew right sides together and don’t sew back sides together, if you do you will have ugly sides showing.  By sewing tow pieces together it may feel very wrong, but it will allow you to not have any ugly sides showing.  Sew along one of the 16 inch sides.  I saved thread by not cutting the thread after the first one and kept sewing.  Once I sewed a few inches on my next one I trimmed the edge on the previous piece.

Step 4: 3 hours

When Ironing I try to make sure I sew right after, otherwise I might need to re-iron if I store it for another day. If you don’t have the time I suggest you break this up and do about 5 pieces at a time, it should take about an hour.  (More or less depending on your sewing skill)

Iron flat the seam on the 16 inch side, also iron a seam on each of the ends.

Sew along the part you ironed flat, make sure to sew the seam flat on the back. Sew each of the 16 inch seams you ironed.

Chair Pocket 11a

Step 5 – 1 hour

At this point you should have all the prep work done; each chair pocket should be one piece, have the ends sewn to stop fraying, and have the middle seam sewn to reinforce. Watch these steps closely, if you sew the next few steps incorrectly the middle seam could show the ugly side slightly.

Lay the fabric on a flat surface with the nice seam up. Take a ruler and measure 11 inches (This will be the pocket), than pin or clip the ends on each side.  Make sure when folding over the “nice” fabric is on the inside as you will be turning this inside out when you’re done.

Chair Pocket 12a

I put between 7 and 8 pieces layered on top of each other on my ironing board, than I ironed the folded edges.

Sew along the edge on both ends. Below is what the front and back of your pieces should look like.

Step 6 – 2-3 hours

Start by turning the pocket right side out, make sure the corners are crisp (I use a chopstick to help with that).

Chair Pocket 17

After turning inside out you will notice that where the pocket ends the fabric needs to be trimmed. Trim just enough so you can iron it the opposite direction.

Iron the pocket flat and press the side seams. Flip the whole piece over and iron the side seams.

With the pocket facing down, take the end with seams and fold over just below middle seam like the image below. This should give about an 8 inch pocket that when finished will pull over the chair.  Make sure to iron flat, this is the last time you will need the iron.

Sew along both edges. I would suggest going slightly past where you need to sew to and back stitch to reinforce. Once you sew along both sides you’re done!

Chair Pocket

Dog Treats! Yum!

This isn’t a “craft” post, but it was a huge kitchen success my oldest and I had.  When my oldest was off school one day we decided to make some cookies.  As we made the cookies our dog just kept looking at us with those puppy dog eyes hoping for a taste of something yummy, so we added onto our cooking day and decided to make some dog treats.

I know this post is lacking pitchers, but I wanted to spend some quality time with my little man, and the link below has lots to make up for it.

Our dog can be a little picky when it comes to treats, so I figured worst case my son and I could have some fun cooking.

We decided to try this Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats recipe.  I was excited it had pumpkin as one of the 4 ingredients (Yes, only 4!) because I have a freezer full of pumpkin!  I took the equivalent of 1 can of pumpkin and used that to make a double recipe.  I also added at least twice the peanut butter suggested (I thought it tasted a little bland).

I cooked the dog treats 25-30 minutes, and when I placed them on the pan I let them touch so I could get as many pans cooked as possible.  We have larger pans and cooked about 4 large pans worth.

I re-rolled the dough until I couldn’t fit a single piece, than I just cooked the last chunk.

These treats were not only dog approved, but also kid approved!  They really do smell good, my son asks for one all the time!  We will defiantly be making many more batches, I’ve never seen my pup more excited about a treat.

After they cooled I placed them in snack size zip lock bags.  I keep kept two bags out and froze the rest; once we are almost done with one bag I grab another.  I’m not sure what the shelf life is, so I figured the freezer would be the best place.

IMG_3925

Ironing Board Station

I have a lot of interesting projects I’m working on; I’ve attempted to make some slippers, I have more chair pockets for my one of my kids classroom, and I’ve finally started back on my t-Shirt quilt. In the short term, I wanted to post about my exciting new ironing board station.

With my increase in sewing projects I’ve not only grown out of the flimsy standard ironing board, but my board also had some lumps on the top making ironing a challenge. Looking on Pinterest I found two basic options, (1) attach a board to the top of my standard ironing board and (2) use a bookshelf or counter and get rid of the old ironing board.  My dad’s hobby is woodworking, so I gave him a call up and put in my order with my dimensions.  The table top is 53 inches by 18 inches and it stands 35 inches tall.  I requested a slot in the back to slide my cutting boards and tools and two shelves.  Here are a few pitchers before I put the top on.

There are a lot of different posts on how to finish a wooden ironing table, I debated using ironing board fabric but in the end decided against it. I decided two layers of 100% cotton batting and one top layer of 100% cotton fabric would be enough.  A few things to keep in mind:

  • If you are making the table or wooden surface, don’t finish the wood. My dad left the top mostly sanded; it was smooth so I wouldn’t get a splinter but a little rough still so the layers would stay in place (my dad’s idea, not mine).
  • Use 100% cotton, other blends could melt.
  • Sturdy wheels are VERY nice! I move my ironing board around a lot to begin with, so the wheels will come in very handy! I keep mine un-locked right now as it doesn’t move too much on it’s own on the carpet, but when we get hardwood flooring I will defiantly keep them locked when in use.

I had a great visit to JoAnn’s, they had an amazing sale! I got 100% cotton batting in the “Baby Size” (45 in x 60 in) already on a great discount.  That size allowed me to get two layers of cotton batting on first.  I set out the first layer over my new Ironing board and trimmed the long side first, than the short side.  I took the second layer and matched it up with the first to trim the last piece to size.  I suggest a little bit of overhang.  Finally, I took 2 yards of my 100% cotton fabric of choice (it was 50% off clearance prices!) and followed a few steps to allow for a draw string to keep it tight.  I thought the sharp corners might bunch up funny so I went for a curved/flat corner.  If I did this again I would cut a triangle off the corner instead of rounding the corner.  I also let too large of gap for the draw string so I had to re-sew about half what I did.  The steps below are what I will follow if I ever need to re-do the top.

Overview/steps:

  1. Leave about 4-5 inches on each side of the ironing board top.  Place the fabric on the surface it will cover and line one long and one short end up with 4-5 inches.  Fold the opposite long side over the table to the edge, than measure 4-5 inches several places and cut.  I folded both long ends up first.  Repeat on the opposite short end.
  2. Cut a small triangle off each corner
  3. Sew a thin seam to keep the ends from fraying
  4. Sew about 1 inch pocket to feed the draw string through, make sure to leave a hole for the draw string to enter/leave. I used one of the corners for the draw string hole, most of my corners naturally had a hole already due to how I sewed it.
  5. Get a sturdy string to feed through (mine was pretty flimsy, so eventually I will look for a stronger string and re-string it).
  6. Once the string is in, attach to the table.
  7. If it appears sturdy but the middle has a gap use two clips and a string to keep it tight.

And finally, I went through some of my sewing stuff cluttering up the corner of my room and organized it into a few more boxes. As you can see the shelving is already very helpful in organizing some of what I have.  I still have a lot more work to do when it comes to organizing my sewing stuff, but this is a great start!

My Little Pony Costume

My youngest wanted to be a My Little Pony (Pinkie Pie), and by the time I got to her costume there wasn’t a lot of time and I had no inspiration (thus it looks more like a Muppet).My Little Poney Costume More

Lion Costume

For my son’s Halloween Costume he wanted to be a Lion.  I couldn’t find any shirts/pants combo that would work so I started with the costume base found in this post.

To make the costume base look more like a lion I started by wrapping some dark brown yarn around my hand to sew to the feet and arm holes.  After I finished that I cut the ends of the yarn so the loops were gone.

Next I worked on the tale.  I started by taking some brown, yellow, and orange yarn to make a longer puff.  I taped the base of the puff so no strands were in the way.  I took a long rectangle 3 or 4 inches wide and folded it in half.  I sewed from one long end towards the other, before getting too close to the other I put the puff inside with a little of the edge sticking out the short end and finished sewing around.  When I got to the short end I sewed across 2 or 4 times to make sure I sewed the puff in nice and tight.  After the tail is finished, sew it onto the back of the costume.

Lion Costume 04Lion Costume 05 More

The Grinch Stuffed Animal

Looking back at the pictures on my phone and past blog posts I realize I missed at least one sewing adventure. Enjoy the below post about how to make your own stuffed Animal pattern!

The Grinch More

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