So last week I was working on recovering our porch swing. One of our resident squirrels tore it apart this spring. Argh!! She seemed to think the fluffy batting inside would make a great nest. She was wrong about that in so many ways, but that's a story for another time. Anyway, back to the swing....
I've been dying to get my sewing machine out for a while. I like to sew stuff for the house. I'm not that good at it, but I enjoy doing it. And I think it's good for me. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and sewing constantly teaches me to embrace my little imperfections. (Or at least that's what I tell myself.) Well, a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon Odds & Ends' blog (I sure do wish she'd blog more, hint, hint). She had a link to a tutorial on turning plastic shopping bags into fabric by fusing bags together with an iron. At last! Something to do with all those shopping bags that I can't put in my recycle bin!!! Oh happy Day! (Yes, I use 'reusable' shopping bags, but no matter how I try, I still manage to amass way too many of the plastic ones.) So...since I had the sewing machine out, I might as well have a little fun and try something new, right?
Voila! A fun little cover for my DayTimer!
I followed the tutorial that was in the Etsy Storque a while back. Of course, I didn't follow it right (I don't follow directions very well.) My 'fabric' didn't turn out as pretty and smooth as I thought it would, but I kind of like the crinkly look of mine (breath...embrace the imperfection...become ONE with the imperfection...breath.)
So here's what I didn't pick up from the tutorial:
- The 'fabric' shrunk quite a bit - probably because I didn't have the iron set right and because I forgot to flip everything and iron the front AND the back. I'd already pretty much ironed the hell out of the front trying to get all the layers to fuse together before I remembered I was supposed to iron the back too.
- I really should have made sure the bags were clean before I started fusing them. (There's a little extra character in places, but nothing too disgusting.)
And here are the happy surprises:
- I wasn't sure if drawing or writing on the bags before fusing would work, but it worked just fine. I used Sharpie markers for the text and the panda's thought bubble. I drew them on a white bag and then used a clear produce bag for the top layer so the ink wouldn't come off during the fusing. Worked like a charm!
- I also wasn't sure if I could cut out images and place them under the clear top layer. I thought it might be really obvious that I was 'cutting & pasting'. But again, this worked great.
- I used fusible interfacing on the back of the 'fabric' to stiffen things up and give a more stable sewing surface. I also used it to extend my fabric with the red ribbon on the inside flap (to resolve the shrinkage problem). I wasn't sure if the interfacing would fuse to the bags, but it worked perfectly!
It was a really fun project, and it didn't take long at all. I'm going to do it with the kids next time -- let them cut pictures and words out of the bags, draw on them with markers, etc. I don't know what we'll do with the 'fabric', but I'm sure we'll come up with something very cool.