Archive for the ‘Tracy’s Original Designs’ Category

And Sew On…Reigniting Passion

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Life is funny.

You can love something so much all your life and yet one day you wake up and find yourself in a rut. Tired. Burned out. It’s not that you–and by you, I mean me–hate what you’re doing. You still love it way down deep inside, it’s just not quite the same anymore. What used to hold so much excitement now feels lackluster and dull.

Shhhh….I’m going to tell you a secret. This happened to me with sewing and quilting. YIKES!!!!

Don’t get me wrong. I still love it.  I’m not leaving. I plan to be around for a long, long time.  But the same old stuff just wasn’t lighting me up like before.  I felt like something was missing. I needed something….more.

But…what?  I reflected a long, long time. I resisted an even longer time.  And then…I surrendered. Meet my new best friend, Buelah.

  • B – is for Brave, together we will bravely explore new territory.
  • U – is for (virtually) unbreakable…quite literally, she is an industrial machine.
  • E – is for exquisite stitches sewn, strong and straight.
  • L – is for love, my love for creating beautiful new items out of old stuff that would otherwise go into the trash.
  • A – is for able, because together we are.
  • H – is for happiness and the joy that has been returned!

Buelah is a Juki DU-1181N, single-needle, straight stitch, top and bottom feed industrial sewing machine. She is truly a WORK HORSE! She comes with a high capacity M bobbin, has her own Servo motor, and can sew up to 2,000 stitches a minute (not that we ever get close to that!). She has a max stitch length of 9mm and even has her own sexy knee lifter that can lift her presser foot up to 15mm.

Right about now you’re probably asking what on earth possessed me to purchase this machine. The short answer to that is: Bike Tubes.

As you may–or may not–know, I love recycling UP-cycling old bike tubes (and other things) into useful items. Yes, it’s true. I was able to sew bike tube on my domestic machine…but not without a lot of fiddling, prepping and babying because that machine was NOT made to sew rubber. Buelah? Well…she sews rubber like butter, baby. The truth is that–before I made the decision to get Buelah–I knew I was killing my domestic machine. That made me really sad. So I realized what I was doing was really limiting myself not doing the sewing/work that I crave the most because of course I couldn’t bear to kill my domestic sewing machine. I love her.

What have I created so far?  These are just a couple items. Several more prototypes are in the works.

UP-cycled Bike Tube and UP-cycled Bike Map Cell-Phone Wallet/Pouch gift I made for a dear cycling friend from the southern part of New Mexico
Inside of the UP-cycled Bike Tube/Bike Map Cell-Phone Wallet Pouch.
The patch pocket is an original block print by Tammy Schurr, my very dear friend and Adventure Cycling Event Director/Tour Leader.
Minimalist UP-cycled Bike Tube Zip Pouch
Minimalist Zip Pouch
Lined with UP-cycled DenimJeans

Sew what’s the point of all this?  Here are 3 points I can share right now: 

  • Exploration of my passion to recycle/UP-cycle old materials into something new, useful and beautiful through sewing.
  • Diversification of business for SewThankful. I will be sewing and selling a limited number of finished UP-cycled bike related items. Many bike friends and associates have asked me to sew and SELL my creations. This will be a new adventure and I am excited to see where it takes me.
  • Vehicle for development of new Sew TracyLee Designs patterns. The patterns will be adjusted and written for sewing quilting cottons and traditional fabrics.

What do you think?  I’m interested in your constructive thoughts and comments.  Please feel free to share below but note that in order to prevent spambots and junk I have to moderate each comment so it may take a little while for yours to post.

Discovery Day Sewing — Adding a Carry Strap/Handle to Glamsy

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Glamsy vinyl mesh Spa Bag with Carry Strap

On Thursday last week (9/24/17), I did some Discovery Day Sewing. I wanted to add a carry handle/strap to the Glamsy Spa Gift Bag (pictured here). She’s  for my brand new StandZa Zip Bags sewing pattern.

 

I filled Glamsy with delightful bath/spa items chosen specifically to pamper and please, including: lavender scented Epsom salt soak, body wash, buff pad, spa eye mask, lip balm, shower brush, lotion and more. I *loved* that she could hold so much so beautifully; but then I decided that I really wanted an attractive and easy way to carry and present her.

 

Sew…I decided on adding a single carry strap as a quick, easy and inexpensive solution. After making this, I do believe the method should not be limited to this project. I think it would be great for adding single or double straps/handles of any desired length to a multitude of different bags types and styles. Why spend a bunch of money on designer pre-made straps or handles when you can easily make your own custom straps?

 

What do you think? Would you like to know how I did it?

 

If I get at least 200 unique and positive responses combined I will make a 1-page, step-by-step tutorial full of pictures and provide it as a FREE PDF in NEXT Sunday’s eNews (10/1/17).

 

My time is super limited, so I need your feedback if you would like me to do this for FREE.
There are four easy ways to let me know:
  1. Make a comment on the pinned post on our SewThankful Inc. Facebook page.
  2. Email me directly.
  3. Follow us on Instagram and like the Glamsy with Straps picture.
  4. Make a comment below, on this blog post.

New Release: StandZa Zip Bags Sewing Pattern

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

Introducing StandZa Zip Bags

 

StandZa Zip Bags are flat-bottomed bags that are designed to stand up for you and make a statement of their own. The pattern includes 3 fantastic sizes: Bitsy, Giftsy and Glamsy.

Make great gifts out of leftovers and scraps.

No paper pattern or template pieces to fuss with. This is a rotary cut sewing project. Use your ruler and rotary cutter.

¡ SKILL LEVEL:  Easy enough for beginners, fabulous fun for experts.

 

Amazingly EASY, super cute, flat-bottom standup bags in 3 sizes: Bitsy, Giftsy and Glamsy, made from your choice of vinyl mesh or fabric.

Bitsy makes a sweet coin purse, small decorative fabric candy dish or paper clip holder for your desk. Attach a ribbon handle with buttons and  you’ll have created a gorgeous doll purse.

Giftsy is lovely for:
· Filling with wrapped  candies, chocolates, snacks , etc. Make your favorite grab ‘n go bag.
· Organizing/storing kids’ crayons, puzzle pieces or small games.
¡ Doggie treat travel bag…tuck a baggie full of biscuits or other treats inside. Your pup will love it.
¡ Making a travel sewing kit or mini first aid kit.
¡ Making a hot drink gift bag…fill with hot chocolate, tea or coffee packets.

Glamsy bag made out of vinyl mesh makes a fabulous spa gift set. Simply fill with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, loofa, shower poof or glove, plush facecloth, lotion, and other spa type products etc.  Glamsy also makes a great project bag.

BONUS:  Step by step instructions for making the Double-sided Button Rick Rack Flower used as decorative zipper pulls on the Giftsy and Glamsy bags shown on the pattern cover image are included in this pattern.

 

Whip up a slew of StandZa Zip Bags to have on hand and fill with trinkets, treasures or treats for last minute hostess or “thinking of you” gifts. This versatile pattern makes easy, inexpensive and thoughtful gift making all year round.

You may choose to make StandZa Zip Bags out of:

StandZa Zip Bags are perfect for gift making and giving. Use up scraps and small pieces of fabric from your stash. StandZa is very easy to make.

Want to turn some of your fabric stash into cash? YES—you have permission to SELL finished items using this pattern, no annual limits. NOTE: Our permission applies only to the use of the pattern, not to any fabric company/designer fabric licensing restrictions, where required. For any applicable fabric licensing permissions, you will need contact the specific fabric manufacturer.

Click here to take a closer look and order your pattern today!

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Quilted Sea Turtle Pillow — July 2017

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
Scrappy Sea Turtle Pillow — original design and copyright Tracy Lee Chapman
and SewThankful Inc./SewThankful.com, July 2017.  All rights reserved.

This is the Scrappy Sea Turtle Pillow I designed and made as a gift for a very dear friend. She listens without being judgmental, she encourages without being critical, but she also tells it like it is. She is the best kind of friend and she’s made a wonderful difference in my life so I wanted her to have something special to know that she’s important and cared for.  She adores Sea Turtles–and purple & blue are her favorite colors.

At first I was going to make this as a wall hanging. Then I decided to make it into a pillow instead so my friend can display it easily wherever she wants and it’s hug-able. Making the quilted turtle as a pillow sham (with a custom shredded gel-foam pillow insert) also keeps the quilted turtle sham easy to wash and dry.

This is my own original design, entirely from scratch. Where did I get the turtle image? I looked at many sea turtle images and sketched my own. Then I challenged myself to use only fabrics, threads and items from my own personal stash–no buying anything new.

First the turtle was outlined with a hand sewn big stitch using rayon perle from my personal stash.

I used raw edge fusible applique (using Sew Lazy Fusi-Bond http://www.sewthankful.com/Sew_Lazy_Fusi_Bond_Lite_Sew_Lazy_SLG101.html) to place the pieces of the turtle body & shell.

Microquilter Thread

 

Each piece is freemotion quilted using Superior Microquilter thread (http://www.sewthankful.com/superior-sewing-threads-microquilter.html).

Rainbows Thread

Then I added wavy quilting lines (to give the feel of water) using Superior Rainbows Thread (I used #831 Mediterranean – http://www.sewthankful.com/Superior-Thread-Rainbows.html ).

 

The scrappy binding was made from random small scraps of fabric used to make the turtle.

The finished dimensions of the pillow are approximately 27 inches x 20 inches.

I love how this sea turtle turned out. Even better, my friend was thrilled and loves it too.
Yes, a pattern is being developed…stay tuned.

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Sew BikeChic™ — Sewing a Recycle/Upcycle Bike Tube Coin Purse

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Today I spent the day playing with rubber…rubber bicycle tubes that I recycle into usable items.

So I decided to try making a cute little zippered coin purse that is fully lined. I used my I-Zip Wallets sewing pattern as a guide for determining size and basic construction (note: sewing with rubber instructions are not provided in this pattern).

Here is what I came up with:

Recycled Bike Tube Zippered Coin Purse -- fully lined

Recycled Bike Tube Zippered Coin Purse — fully lined

Here’s a peek inside:

Inside the coin purse

Inside the coin purse…see, fully lined! 🙂

 

Working with recycled rubber–especially recycled bicycle tubes–presents a number of challenges.  One must collect it, clean it (many bicycle tubes are filled with SLIME™ or other sealants), cut & prepare it (it curls, stretches and bulges in places due to the circular shape of the tube) and you need to know how to sew it.

Sewing rubber can be tricky in a number of ways.  For example, once the needle goes in, there WILL be a hole (that will be seen if you have to remove stitching).  Additionally, the rubber likes to “grip” and stick to many sewing machine beds as well as the presser foot.

I find it extremely worthwhile to make the effort in order to keep the tubes out of landfills.  It’s especially rewarding to turn toxic trash into an attractive, functional item that is super durable and FUN to carry.   🙂

If you like the style of this coin purse and would like to make one for yourself out of fabric, you may be interested to learn more about the I-Zip Wallets sewing pattern by clicking here (note: sewing with rubber instructions are not provided in this pattern).