Friday, September 10, 2010

Pillowcase grocery totes as a gift

I seemed to be in a real pillowcase mode with my Christmas gifts for 2009... I made vintage style ones and also embroidered and cross-stitched ones. But it went beyond that. I saw a tutorial for making pillowcase grocery totes from existing pillowcases. You can find it here:

Pillowcase Grocery Totes

I had so much fun making these. I wanted to make a set for each of my daughters for Christmas. I think I ended up with a set of eight for each girl, plus I made a few for myself. Mostly, I just used pillowcases I had on hand. We love flannel sheets, but we don't love flannel pillowcases (not to sleep on, anyway; I've occasionally used some as sort of slipcovers for pillows). And every set of flannel sheets comes with two of them. They turned out to make gorgeous, sturdy grocery totes. I also purchased several pillowcases at the thrift store for 50¢ each to use for this project. Each tote took an hour or less to make. It was so much fun to see how the different prints turned out!
A snowflake tote.

This was a king-size pillowcase from the thrift store.

A blue toile in flannel

This flannel sheep pillowcase made a smaller tote, so I kept it for myself.

More snowflakes.

A western design.

Most importantly, I managed to devise a way to present the pillowcase grocery totes as a gift! That had been on my mind for some time. Of course I could have just stuffed them in a gift bag or a large box, but then the recipients would have to think of a way to store them. My idea was to make the gift packaging something that would be usable for storing the bags.

As I observed shoppers at my local supermarket, I noticed that most of them who use fabric bags just bring them all stuffed into one bag, and then just send that bag along on the conveyor ahead of their groceries. I also envisioned that they probably store the fabric bags in just the same way -- stuffed into one bag and hung on a peg or nail or whatever.

So it made sense to package the bags within one of the totes. But I wanted/needed some sort of label -- something to make it look a bit gift-y and to identify it. So I came up with the idea to make a clear plastic pocket for the container tote and to attach it with bias tape. I then made up a label to slip into the clear pocket.
For the plastic pocket, I utilized a clear plastic pocket that had come on a package of pillowcases -- a set that I had bought to embroider. I cut the pocket off, then edged it with bias tape and sewed it to the tote, then slipped the label in.
The pocket without the label in place.

I designed the label to be the right size to fit the pocket and printed it out on card stock.

I figured that when the recipient starts using the bags, she can put anything she'd like in the clear pocket -- coupons, shopping list, a picture of the kids, whatever. I am quite pleased with how this idea worked out.

The pocket with label in place

So there you have it. Hope someone else can use this idea!

Some crafting from last Christmas

Okay, I guess I posted these on my regular blog back in January, but I really should have put them here, too. First, here is a train quilt I made for one grandson (age 1 1/2):

This is just a panel, but it came out so cute. It was free, too... the panel and matching fabric came from a thrift store.

This shows the back.

And this, taken a few months later, shows the quilt in use:

From matching fabric I was able to make 2 vintage-style pillowcases for the little guy's siblings.

Two more pillowcases -- one for a girl and one for a boy.

Two more... the pink fabric on one, and the kitten fabric on the other are both vintage fabrics handed down from my grandmother. She would be pleased to see how I've used them. I'm not completely satisfied with the border print on the kitten one, but it was the best I could find to coordinate with the kittens.

Lastly, a snowman pillowcase for a little boy who wanted to build a big snowman. I do apologize for the blurry photo. The fabric is really cute.

This inspires me to get crafting for this Christmas. How about you?