December 23, 2009 by Marj Hatzell
Because I don’t have enough going on in my life and I NEED more things to do, I had to be all Domesticky and stuff and decide to make HOMEMADE gifts for the teachers this year. This is different from every other year because the last few years I made homemade gifts for the teachers and did it the day before the last day before Christmas Break. Er. Holiday Break. Whatevs. This year, I actually did it, like, THREE DAYS BEFORE. This was plenty of time, since the gifts took about 4 hours from start to finish. Well, it would have been plenty of time if the freaking sewing machine go bonkers and quit me with about ten minutes to go in the project.
Anyways, I made this little tutorial for those of you who can sew( I can’t sew, I just play one on tv.) And here it goes.
Step 1: Choose some purty fabric. I found some at GOODWILL, of all places. It was 2 bucks for 2 yards of heavier canvas fabric. Then I went to Joanne’s and found MORE purty fabric. It was fun, especially since I brought Bugaboo and there was this huge line and I had to wait in it to get the damn bolts of fabric cut and they had this weirdo Christmas music playing and he was all freaked out. A few people in line were all, “HERE. GO AHEAD OF ME” and I was all, “Gee whiz, thanks! So kind!” Turns out that bringing Bugaboo will get you to the front of the line in a jiffy. Let me know when you want to borrow him. All in all, it cost me about $60 total for all of the supplies (fabric plus the stuff for the handles plus ibuprofen for the headache when I finally got to the front of the line), which is about $4 per teacher gift. Not too shabby!
Step 2. Attempt to send the kids to bed. Put them back in bed about thirty times. Turn on videos, give them books on cd, whatevs.When you finally get them there, crack open the wine and have a drink because you’ve been a wee bit agitated with them. Then sit down and forget your glasses so that you can’t see what the heck you are doing. When you are sufficiently buzzed, get a brown paper bag/grocery bag and open it up. This will be the TEMPLATE (that’s a fancy crafter-person word for “thing you use to trace stuff”. Be sure to use Grandmom’s old seamstress scissors, the really sharp ones, because if you are drinking you will be sure to cut yourself at least six times. Don’t bleed on the fabric. People might get grossed out and all. Observe:
Step 3: Turn on sewing machine. Forget how to wind bobbins. After forty-five minutes, go google it. Then realize the manual was in the case when you sit back down. Curse at puppy for stealing thread and gagging on it and puking right under the sewing machine pedal. Forget how to thread machine. Look in manual this time. Go resort to google when you can’t find it in manual. Go sit back down. Then, flip material, nice side in, and sew up one side to make seam. then, make the seam in the MIDDLE of the bag (instead of the side) and sew across the bottom. The bag is STILL inside out. So it looks all pretty and stuff when you are done:
Step 4: Make the gussets. This part suxxors big time, but it maked= the bottom of the bag flat so you can put heavy stuff in it. Get confused looking at your TEMPLATE and go google it. Get distracted, drink another glass of wine. At this point it is ten o’clock. At night. When you finally find an example, BOOKMARK it because you NEVER KNOW when you might need it again. Like five minutes later. Realize you have canvas bags, go get one and take it apart to see how it is made. Go back to the bag, take each corner of the bottom of the bag and flatten it into a triangle-like thingy. Sew across the bottom of the triangle on each side, then fold triangle flap over and sew to bottom of bag. It is easier than it sounds, trust me. Refer to paper bag if you need to:
Step 5: With bag still inside out, fold top of bag down on each side and pin. Make sure it is even and sew it. When the machine gets jammed, rethread it about thirty times. When it gets jammed again, begin crying. Drink more wine. Curse yourself and vow to buy Wawa gift cards in the morning instead. Get machine unjammed and finish the tops of all the bags.
Step 6: Handles! I found handle-type stuff at Joanne’s and purchased it so I didn’t have to sew freaking handles. I think these handles are heavier duty anyways. Cut to desired length, being sure to snip off the very tip of your finger and part of your nail. Bleed, just not on the bags. Get some bandaids plastic bandage strips, suck it up and get back to work. Pin handles at approximate location and then stitch handles on, first making a square, then making an X in the square. This secures them on nicely. That’s about the time the machine jams again, you know, when you have two handles left? Then cry. Then wait until the next morning, dig Grandmom’s $3,000 seamstress Bernina out of the basement, sit down and try to use it. Realize you don’t know how to thread it. Google it. Come back to the table and find the manual in the case. Drink some coffee. Wrangle kids. Go back to sewing. Stitch the rest of the handles on. Run out of bobbin on the last handle, reload it and finish sewing it on.
Step 13,987: Flip bags right side out, clip any extra stray thread. Realize that next time you should use a serger or at least make french seams. Wrap up bags and distribute to teachers. Put stuff aside to make at least 6 more for yourself and the five people who saw them in progress and want them. Smile and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Promise yourself next year you will buy the freaking Wawa and St. Arbucks gift cards.