Color Blocked Perfect Little Lunch Bag

Today I'm going to show you how to add a contrasting bottom to my Perfect Little Lunch Bag pattern. There's more than one way to do this.  I chose this method because I didn't want the fabric to get too bulky at the bottom.  There are already a lot of layers with the insulation, lining, and interfaced exterior.  This is really easy to do and is a cute variation on this already cute lunch bag.
From your contrasting fabric, cut 2 pieces that are 6 x 15 inches.
 Use the pattern piece to figure out how much of the main fabric you need to sew to the contrasting band to make the height tall enough.  You might notice that I have folded my pattern piece down at the top.  That's one thing I love about this pattern, the size is really flexible.  You can get different sizes by trimming the top off a little bit.
 With right sides together, sew the the contrast and main piece together along the long edge.  Press the seam allowance toward the contrast band and topstitch on the right side.
 Cut the bag shape using your pattern piece and continue with the rest of the instructions.
 Take a little extra time matching up the sides and you'll have a great looking lunch bag!
 Ready to try it out?  Get your pattern HERE.


New Cutting Tool // New Cutting Technique

 I just recently started following the Brindille and Twig blog because I love their patterns so much.  A recent post sent me to this video which is a basic tutorial on fabric cutting.  The takeaway for me was less about the layout and more about the tool.  I've never attempted to use a rotary cutter to cut anything but straight lines.  Typically I lay my pattern out, trace with marker, then cut with scissors.  
 Since the video made it look so easy, I picked up a small rotary cutter for under $20 and decided to give it a try.  I will tell you, I will never go back!  Not only does this take less time, but it is so much more accurate.
 So fun and exciting to learn something new.


Upcycled Grocery Bag Tutorial

One of my New Year's resolutions is to find little ways to be more earth friendly and create less trash. 
 We have a bird feeder on our deck and really enjoy seeing all the beautiful birds in our backyard.  We go through quite a bit of seed feeding both the birds and squirrels, so we often end up with an empty 50 pound bird seed bag.  Before putting it in the trash I had the idea that I could turn that bag into a reusable grocery bag and do double duty for the environment!  Here's what I did.
(my bird seed bag is made from a woven plastic type material)
 The bottom of the bag has a gusset, so first I cut that off so I could measure and trim the bag to the size I want.
 I grabbed a bag I own to get the general size.  I trimmed the birdseed bag to be about 24 inches tall by 20 inches wide.
 I forgot the snap a picture, but make sure you SAVE the pieces you cut off, these will be your straps. 
With the right sides together, sew the sides and bottom of the bag with about a 1/2 inch seam allowance. You'll want to use the same kind of sewing tricks you'd use for oilcloth.  Check out the section "getting the fabric to slide" HERE.
 I got to try out my new roller foot which worked great.
 Fold down the top about 1.5 inches and sew.
 To box out the bottom, I cut out 4 x 4 inch squares off each bottom corner.
 Match the side and bottom seam and sew across with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
 To make the straps, I took my scraps and cut them to be about 2 inches wide.  I folded them in thirds and sewed down each long edge.  The straps were originally the same length as the original bag, but I trimmed them down to be about 26 inches each.
 I pinned the straps to the inside of the bag, about 3 inches from each side seam, then sewed them in place. 

This was pretty easy to do and I really like how the bag looks.  The material is really sturdy so it will definitely hold up well which is not the case for many of our other reusable grocery totes.  Next time I think I'll trim the bag a little more strategically so that the barcode gets cut off and more of the picture is showing.
Hope you try it out with your next birdseed bag!