Friday, 15 March 2013

When should you stay off the computer?

Good question in my case I think it has been all week long. I should have stopped and gone to sew in the first place it would have been safer for anyone involved.

I have been bugging ChrisWDesigns all week as I screwed up my profile on the linking for the purse hop.

But today is the top, I just succeeded in deleting my tutorials off my blog.  GRRRRRRRRRRR!  I think I will leave anything to do with my computer work to my husband for the rest of the week. Hopefully he can retrieve it from somewhere dark in this computer. There is always hope right.

I just got a new computer yesterday and I haven't even turned it on today. Now I afraid that I will do something to it, as I was able by mistake to freeze up the the Touch Pad last night.  Hubby fixed it by rebooting it. I didn't think Blogging was going to add so much stress to my life. lol

I'm sure by next week I will find my computer knowledge again.  If not I will fudge it and maybe no one will be the wiser to things that are missing on my blog.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Blog Hop

Bag Loving Blog Hop

This looks like lots of fun. Thanks Janelle for suggesting it. Now if I could just figure out how to add my icon, I would be all set.

Just saw an awesome idea on ChrisW Designs blog.  She started a blog hop link party of Bag Loving Blogs.. I added mine and have the linked to the blog hop here.  Add yours and visit some others!

If you've come here dropped by here via the hop, welcome and look around!

Here's the instuctions from ChrisW

Step 1) Just add your blog link below by clicking on the "Click here To Enter" link and follow the easy steps to add your blog!
Step 2) Click on the "Get the code here" link shown to grab your copy of the code and add it to your blog!

This is a Blog Hop!

You are next... Click here to enter
This list will close in 2556 days, 17 hrs, 52 min (3/13/2020 11:59 PM Australia - Australian Eastern Standard Time)

Sunday, 10 March 2013

How to sew plastic fabric.

I have had no problems sewing the plastic fabric. It is quite easy to sew with. The only difference I have found is that it isn't always flat, it could have a wave to it.  It has to do with type of plastic bags you used to make plastic fabric.  Thin flimsy plastic bags are the best for making plastic fabric as I find it stays soft.  Some of the plastic fabric is very stiff in nature so the bag will stand up straight without interfacing needed.

To get away from the wave and to add structure to the back of a  pattern piece, I sew in a combination of interfacing.  I use fusible light weight fleece and woven fusible light weight interfacing.  I fuse them wrong sides together. Then I make sure to cut them to the size I need for the pattern piece.  I have already cut the plastic fabric to the pattern size but due to the waves you might have in it, it could be off a little bit.

I then use clips to pin the interfacing to the back to the fabric, having the wrong side of the fabric to the right side of the fleece.  That way you have the woven interfacing showing on the back. I make sure to clip while I have the fabric on a flat surface, clipping one side at a time and pushing the wave down. The goal is to have the fabric match the interfacing as you know that it is a true piece of the pattern.

Once it is all clipped I then baste down one side at a time, stop there and then move unto the next side. This way you are not distorting the pattern piece.  If  once I have basted all the sides and the fabric is a bit off, and hanging over the interfacing, I will trim the fabric.  This step with the interfacing is very important if you wish to keep your bag true to size and shape.  If not, and you try to take the bag apart afterwards, you will have sewing line showing on the bag.  It is worth the little extra work at this point in your project. I will interface the lining of the bag the normal way, for whatever the pattern calls for.

If you are sewing a pattern that doesn't need the structure and no lining needed, I just cut the fabric out and start sewing.  As the plastic fabric is a lot like a typical canvas weight.  I have even sewn a zipper into my one lunch bag, it didn't have a lining in it. I sewed the zipper right onto the fabric without an extra interfacing, it held up just find.

I use what ever seam allowance that is asked for in the pattern, if I make up the pattern I use a 3/8 " seam allowance. I used a straight stitch usually a 3.5 stitch length. A sharp new needle and what every thread you like to use. If you are top stitching it, keep the longer stitch length as well. It goes through the sewing machine under the foot with out needing anything between the fabric and the foot.   I have even used my industrial walking foot machine to sew this fabric into bags and it holds up well.

With the extra interfacing in the bag it will keep it's shape.  It is also strong enough that I was able to use magnetic snaps on the front.  

Now that you know and how to make and sew plastic fabric, I hope you come up with some cool uses for this fabric.

Fused Plastic = Plastic Fabric

I came across the method of making fused plastic years ago. I did make up some fabric and sew a few bags. Of course, it was before I was good about taking pictures of the bags I made.  I made a Messenger Bag with Target bags, a Home Depot lunch bag and a flowery shopping bag.  They were all a little different, as all the plastic shopping bags you are using are different thickness/weight.  You can tell the difference by how your fabric turns out.

I use to work at Home Depot in the returns department.  So we always had tons of bags that were returned to be recycled. These ones ended up becoming a lunch bag.

If you do any bags with printing on it, it will come off when you fuse it.  So I made sure to place the clear plastic on it before fusing. 

This one I thought I needed flowers on. I didn't 
need to cover the flowers with clear plastic they
came out fine and just fused to the other plastic bags.

Start by getting an idea of how you want the fabric to look. If you want it to be just plain bags fused together, or some type of pattern. If  you want a pattern I would cut out the shapes before first.


To make fused plastic you need an iron, ironing board, parchment paper, scissors and bags.

It is best to have good ventilation, as you are melting the plastic.  Crack a window open if you can.

I like to use 6 to 8 layers of bags if I using the fabric that needs a good structure.  But of course it depends on the bags thickness - thinner, flimsy bags work best.

Place parchment paper unto your ironing board.  Make sure to cover the whole area you are working on. Cut of the bottom end of the bag and then the top handle part. You can leave the bag side together and count that at 2 layers or cut one side and open it up to a larger 1 layer.  You need to cut off the end so there will not be air caught between the bags that end up as bubbles. If there is writing on the bags turn them to the inside as the ink will run when heated up.  If you wish to use the logo in the design, cover with clear plastic.  Keep putting the layers together until you have 6 to 8 layers.

Once you get all the layers together, place parchment paper on top of it. I use an iron on Rayon setting but you might need to experiment with the setting. Start in the center of the piece and press down and lift, then reposition then press again, working across the plastic from centre out (no definite time, it depends on the iron, the plastic, etc.).  You can peek under parchment to see if it is working.  Once you have done the one side you will need flip it over to press the other side as well. I find the plastic is ready when it looks like it is sticking to the parchment paper.

You are best to work with smaller pieces of plastic fabric, as large areas are hard to handle and fuse evenly - no more than about 14 inches per side which is about the width of your ironing board. Make sure to make extra fabric as you go, as sometimes just when you think you are done you melt it a little too much and it will put holes in it.  It is plastic so the piece you started with will shrink (and the amount is quite variable, up to about 15%) so it might end up too small for your pattern piece. 

Once you get the hang of it, certainly try to do larger pieces.  However, I find it easier to work with small pieces especially when returning to making plastic fabric after not doing it for a while.

This is so much fun to try and if  you get on a roll you can use up a lot of plastic bags.  They are very strong and can be washed and hung to dry.  The flower bag I made back in 2008, and I still use it today.

So have fun with it.

Next up, how to work with plastic fabric.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Sew-vivor, Up-cycle Plastic Bag Tote

Well with a little push from my friend Janelle at Emmaline Bags & Patterns. I have decided to jump into the Sew-vivor auditions.

So I came up with a new pattern for a tote to hold my Kobo (and also my dream of a perfect tote to put my iPad mini in.)  That is of course just a dream, sadly to say I don't have a iPad mini. It is so great to have a safe place to put it just in case, one shows up for Mother's Day or something. (Yes it is a suggest in case my DH is reading this.)

With the new pattern I had to come up with a new fabric to go with it.  Plastic fabric or fused plastic - I'm not sure how to describe it. Something that is water proof, sews up like fabric and can be any colour or design you want.

In my case many colours of polka dots, the funniest one having text that says "recycle where facilities exist". I laughed when I saw the symbol fit perfectly into my dot size. Well if I was going to reuse/up-cycle items for this tote, I should try to reuse pretty much everything I could think of. Plastic bags became the fabric, an old car seat belt became the strap for it (that way it is adjustable from on the shoulder to over body). I did use cotton duck, felt, thread, magnetic closures, and interfacing that were all new to ensure good structure for the bag. 

I use to make fused plastic material years ago and then sew up bags - heck I also use to make up plarn (yarn derived from plastic bags) and crochet up bags with that as well.  I was known to do that, so hence my piles of plastic bags that people use to give me.  I have since gotten stronger and said no more plastic bags.  So my stash is getting smaller, which is a good thing. I have even folded them nice and neat and placed them in boxes so they take up less room.

I have written up two tutorials, one How To Make Plastic Fabric, and one How To Sew With Plastic Fabric. So get out your bags and irons and go to town and see what you can come up with. The skies the limit or is it more your plastic stash is your limit.