Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MINE....all MINE!!!

One of the downfalls of this little sewing venture I've gotten myself into is that I'm often so busy sewing for other people that I don't have much time to sew for myself. Well, this Monday I decided to take a couple hours in the afternoon and remedy that....I made something for myself.

Since it's now fall, I decided that I needed a new bag. I've been carrying all my "mom junk" in my great Mama Backpack, but I decided that I'm ready for something more "cute" and less "utilitarian."

I was discussing what I wanted in my new bag with my friend Tracey, the Queen of all things handbag related. I mentioned that I really liked the Amy Butler Frenchy Bags....and wouldn't you know it, Tracey had the pattern in her stash!

Next I had to choose fabrics. I wanted something fall-ish that reflected my personality. I love browns, reds, greens and golds. I'm also kind of a mix between "sporty" and "girly." I found these great fall floral patterns with a little bit of a retro feel to them at my local fabric store. I think they have "Jenn" written all over them!

On the whole, I'm thrilled with this pattern. I was easy to follow and I finished it in a couple of hours. One change I am going to make: I don't particularly like how she designed the interior pockets....when I get a chance, I'm going to take it apart and redo them to make them more "user friendly."

Can't wait to show off my new bag!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

That's a Wrap!!!

A friend of mine contacted me a couple of weeks ago, sent me a link to an item and said “can you make these?” The “these” that she was referring to are reusable sandwich wraps.
The idea behind these isn’t new. People back in the “olden days” had to have wrapped up their food in something. But I’ve decided these are genius. Not only do these cut down on the number of plastic baggies you use, but they give you a nice, clean surface to eat on….kind of a portable place mat. And you can just wipe off the inside surface and use them again. Less waste!

After scouring the internet looking at all the different ways people have put these things together, I just sat down and tried a few things out….different shapes, sizes, types of closure, etc. My friend Tracey joined in and tried a few prototypes of her own. Our conclusion: a 12 inch by 12 inch square and a Velcro closure are the perfect combination.

Next was the dilemma of what material to use for the inside. It needs to be something moisture-resistant, so your sandwich won’t leak (think of sticky jelly….yuck!), and it needs to keep your sandwich from going stale by keeping a lot of the air out. My first thought was laminated cotton, which is pricey. Then I found out that you can laminate your own cotton fabric with an iron-on vinyl. Again, that is not a very cost- (or time) efficient option.

And then one day in my local craft shop I had an epiphany. Why not use a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth? They sell it on big bolts by the yard…cheap! And I love the look the gingham check gives….kind of nostalgic. Takes me back to grandma’s house and neighborhood picnics and potlucks.

So here's how they work. You just place your sandwich in the center like so:

Then fold in the sides around your sandwich like this: Fold up the bottom: And VOILA!!!! Your sandwich is wrapped!

But….as if I don’t have enough guilt as a mother….there is the whole “vinyl controversy.” I have read all the concerns people have about their food coming into contact with vinyl, and I totally understand. I get it, and I’m not even rolling my eyes at their choice. There are products available out there that are believed by many to be safer than vinyl.

I have read all kinds of information about the potential toxicity of vinyl from the off-gassing of chemicals (particularly volatile organic compounds [VOCs]). Now, I would never dump my kids in a vat of chemicals or have them inhale fumes right from the gas pump at the gas station, but you can drive yourself absolutely crazy trying to eliminate your exposure to chemicals.

The fact is, all plastics contain petroleum products, and VOCs are found practically everywhere…paints, permanent markers, cleaning supplies, adhesives, even some deodorants. I know from working several years in the environmental consulting world that toxicity has a lot to do with dosage and exposure. I feel quite confident that the level of exposure my kids will get from eating off the vinyl table cloth a few times a week is probably well within acceptable limits. I’m by no means an expert, but I feel comfortable with my choice.

If you’d like some reusable sandwich wraps, I’d be glad to whip some up for you! I’m going to sell them at the following prices:

$6 each
3 for $16
5 for $25
7 for $32

Fabrics will be based on what I have available, but you can request if you want something more boy, girl, or unisex.

Contact me if you’re interested!