How to Sew a Custom Canvas Tote

canvas tote 1

Pretty Handy readers it’s Jaime again from That’s My Letter here today to share useful sewing project.  How to sew a custom canvas tote complete with painted monogram:

canvas tote

This tote makes a great everyday bag or purse, just big enough for all the important stuff but not too bulky.  The finished size is 16″w x 9″h x 8″ square at the base, and the handles extend about 6″ in height.

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The tote is fully lined and includes an interior zippered pocket.  The zipper is easy as pie I promise!  I’ll show you how down below.

You can add any monogram or name to personalize the tote.  Then you’ll be making canvas totes as gifts for all your friends.

canvas tote 3

The square base makes for a nice wide tote and the canvas is super durable:

canvas tote 2

Materials:

  • drop cloth canvas (1 yard)
  • blue canvas (1/2 yard outdoor patio fabric Sunbrella or the like)
  • lining (1 yard)
  • medium weight fusible interfacing (1 yard)
  • firm interfacing – 9″ x 9″
  • 1 1/2″w cotton webbing (1 yard)
  • 9″ zipper
  • lightbox
  • small paintbrush
  • acrylic paint
  • sewing machine, thread to match, iron, seam ripper

Materials Cut List:

Base:

  • 1 – blue canvas 9″ x 9″
  • 1 – lining 9″ x 9″
  • 1 – drop cloth canvas 9″ x 9″
  • 1 – firm interfacing 9″ x 9″

Body:

  • 2 – drop cloth canvas 10″h x 17″l
  • 2 – med. fusible interfacing 10″ x 17″
  • 2 – lining 10″ x 17″
  • 2 – blue canvas 4″h x 17″w

Handles: 2 – 1 1/2″w cotton webbing @ 17″l

Instructions:

canvas tote fabric cuts

Step 1: Cut materials (see cut list above).

canvas tote base

Step 2: Prepare base.  Sandwich drop cloth, firm interfacing then blue canvas. [Read more...]

Stenciled Drop Cloth Table Runner

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I love a functional gift that will last beyond the holidays! These stenciled table runners are just the ticket for anybody who likes to host parties or just make their table look festive.

AND you could win a $75 Gift Card from Lowe’s which would pay for most of the supplies! (see the bottom of the post for more details.) [Read more...]

Scraping Your Own Popcorn Ceilings – It’s a Messy Job, but Someone’s Gotta Do It!

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Many of you guessed correctly that I would be scraping my own popcorn ceilings.

It wasn’t hard to do, but it also isn’t for the bad neck or bad back sufferers. Normally I hire out this job — but because our laundry room is so small — it seemed silly to pay someone else to do the work. Now that it is done, I’m really glad I decided to tackle this project. The sense of accomplishment and the resulting smooth ceiling is HUGE!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you live in a house that was built around 1978, take several small samples of your ceiling and test it for asbestos before you begin. Eventhough the cutoff date for asbestos in popcorn texture was 1978, the inventory could still be bought from store shelves well into the 1980′s. Do yourself and your family a favor, If you have asbestos popcorn contact a professional who is trained in asbestos removal to handle the job. If you want to learn more, you can read more about our experience with asbestos remediation.

 

[Read more...]

Demolition Day

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This past weekend I was able to make some serious progress on our laundry room. Yeehaw! Sometimes in order to make a room pretty, you have to make it uglier first. That was certainly the case with this project. If  you are just joining me, a few weeks ago the nice folks at Flow Wall sent me a custom wall system to install in the laundry room. The FlowWall system of storage will look something like this: [Read more...]

Making Printed Drop Cloth Bulletin Boards

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I’m so excited to share this tutorial with you. I knew it could be done, but honestly I didn’t believe it until I tried it. When I saw THIS cute project over at Home Frosting, it got my creative wheels turning.

I asked Lesa for a few clarifications and she gave me the courage to try feeding drop cloth material through my printer. {gulp}

Printing on material is fairly easy to do if you have the right materials.

Materials:

  • Laser or ink jet printer (I only tried it on the laser printer, but it can be done on either.)
  • Reynolds Freezer Paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Sheet of letter size paper
  • Scissors
  • 3M Duct Tape
  • Cork Board
  • Irwin mat knife
  • Painter’s drop cloth bleached and washed until soft

Start by creating your words that you want to print in Word or any other program.

Set your iron to preheat.

Tear off a sheet of Freezer paper slightly larger than letter-size paper. Cut the freezer paper down to 8.5″ x 11″.

Lay the freezer paper shiny side down on the drop cloth.

Press firmly on the paper and move the iron around constantly for about 15 seconds. Let the freezer paper cool for a minute and test to make sure it is lightly adhered to the drop cloth. If not, iron a little longer.

Now trim the edges of the drop cloth until it is the same size as the freezer paper.

Take your freezer paper/drop cloth sandwich to the printer. If you have an individual sheet feed location on the printer, it would be best to use it. But, it can be done without. Print the document you created earlier.

Oooo, sooo pretty!!! I actually ran my “sandwich” through twice to get it darker, but it was still too faint for my liking.

If you have the same issue, you can go over the letters with a ball point pen.

Peel off the freezer paper.

Now, cut your cork board. (If you are using the these cork boards in a window, be sure to pre-measure the individual window panes first.)

I have to tell you that Irwin sent me another tool to try. The mat knife. Their claims sounded outrageous, claiming it can cut better than other mat knives. “Whatever” is what I thought. But, as usual, they proved me wrong. I used the Irwin knife to cut BOTH cork board and foam core!

Have you ever cut foam core with a mat knife cleanly? Not me, until now.

I swear to you that Irwin has not paid me to say any of this. I just like their tools. I am waiting for an Irwin tool that I don’t like and then I’ll let you know what it is. But, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Line up the drop cloth where you want it with the cork board underneath. Fold one edge of the fabric over onto the back.

Secure it with the duct tape.

Pull the opposite side of the fabric and wrap it around the back. Continue until all the sides are taped to the back of the cork board.

And there you have it! A unique personalized cork board.

Want to see how to use the drop cloth bulletin boards in this Artist’s Inspiration Board?

Slipcover for Bistro Table – Going Undercover

Our office renovation is nearing completion. We’ve been working on the room for two plus months now. The majority of the work is complete, but we are waiting for two desk cabinets to come in to the Office Depot warehouse so we can actually order them. At this point I’m wondering if I should just build my own! <<Sigh>>

After searching for over a month on Craig’s List, I finally broke down and bought a small counter height bistro set from Big Lots for the corner of our office. We thought it would be a great place for the kids to sit and do homework. Or better yet, for Pretty Handsome Guy and I to talk and have our morning coffee!

The height and footprint is perfect, however, the dark wood (in addition to the other furniture in the room) made the room too dark for my taste. Okay – and I’m a sucker for hidden storage (need to hide that stop sign red box!) So, I came up with the idea to slipcover the table.

Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric left over from my yard sale re-upholstered chair and the back of the bookcase project. But, I did have enough to cover just the top of the table.

Then I bought two small 4′ x 5′ painter’s drop cloths for $5 each. I am seriously addicted to these must have fabrics! I already used a pair for our laundry room curtains and I bleached another one to make grain sack valances for our dining room at a later date.

So, anyone remember their geometry class? I barely remembered enough to figure out that the circumference of my 3′ diameter table is 9.42 (π x diameter or 3.14 x 3= 9.42). Therefore, two 5′ wide cloths would just cover my table!

The first thing I did was trim the fabric around the tabletop allowing a 1″ overage for seam allowance.

Then I ironed the drop cloths, and decorative table top fabric. I hate ironing  – I hardly ever iron. Usually I’ll just spritz water on my shirts or pants in the morning and they dry wrinkle free. Or if it is really wrinkled, I will dampen my clothing and toss them in the dryer for a few minutes.

Sometimes, I just have to break out the iron. But, I found a way to make ironing enjoyable. I set up my ironing board and watched a little HGTV or DIY Network while I de-wrinkle. Nothing like a hot DIY hunk to make me all steamy. Hee, hee.

I folded the top of the drop cloths so they just meet the table top and the bottom brushes the floor (this way I won’t have to hem the bottom.) Next I pinned the 2 drop cloth pieces around the table. Being sure to use lots of pins, since sewing around a curve can have a tendency to make the fabric pucker.

Then I stitched on top of the drop cloth, as close to the edge as I could. Being careful to avoid letting the fabric pucker.

After a few trial and errors, I got a smooth line and the drop cloth edges overlapped slightly.

Next the fun part! Digging in my grandmother’s button tin! She passed this down to my mother and somehow it ended up in my possession. (Shhhh, don’t tell my sisters!) I love this tin. The smell I encounter when I open the tin is part metal, part perfume, and 100% nostalgia.

I remember the feeling of running my fingers through the buttons. Isn’t this the prettiest eye candy? All those colors and textures.

<<snap of the fingers>> Okay, back to the project at hand. I chose four large brown buttons. Then eye-balled them on my slipcover and put a pin where each one would be attached.

I used a disappearing pen to mark the size of the button on the side that overlaps the other.

 
This is the first time I’ve used the buttonhole foot on my Brother CS-6000i sewing machine. (No, I’m not paid to endorse this sewing machine. I just can’t believe all the features it has for the $125 price!) I was impressed by the button holder that automatically tells the machine how big to make the hole.

The machine also has a feature where it can stitch your buttons on, but I knew it would take me longer to read and measure how to tell my machine where the holes in the buttons were. So, I sewed them on by hand.

And presto, I have a pretty bistro table with storage underneath!

And, a place to have morning coffee with Pretty Handsome Guy.
And, somewhere for the kids to do homework (or brush up on reading at Starfall.com.)

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