Cloth Bags and Napkins

I hope to start using my sewing machine more in the upcoming weeks.  I bought 3 patterns on sale at JoAnn Fabrics yesterday, and maybe I can convince Mama K to help me get started next weekend.  In the meantime, I’ve been refreshing my sewing skills with a few projects.

Last weekend I stitched up two produce bags to use at the grocery store instead of those clear plastic bags that the store provides.  About a year or so ago, I made two by combining instructions from a few different sites.  This time, I tried to take my lessons learned and improve the end product.  I used sheer fabric leftover from last time and just cut it into 2 equal rectangles.  I did a double-fold hem along each short edge (top of the bag) and then folded the fabric in half and did a french seam along the sides.  I inserted a piece of bias tape into the seam to use as a tie.  I’m very pleased with the results.  If I make any more, I intend to re-purpose old sheer curtains instead of purchasing new fabric.

This weekend I finished up a cloth napkin project I started around the same time as I made the original cloth bags.  Although we’ve been regularly using the napkins I made back then, they are a bit too small.  For this batch, I cut the fabric into 16″ squares — unfortunately, I only had enough for two napkins — and then I did a double-fold hem along each edge.  The finished products are about 15″ square and just the right size.

 Just because I think it’s cool, check out my vintage green Singer sewing machine.  It even has a lid that goes over it and snaps on to form its own carrying case. 

According to my Google search, these machines were made between 1955 and 1964.  The copyright on the machine manual is 1958.  Also, please notice my awesome vintage pink plaid sewing basket.  Inside, the markings on my measuring tape indicate it was made in West Germany (fyi – the wall fell in 1989).  The trick to getting these ancient goodies?  You need relatives who purchase things at yard sales and Goodwill just because they are in good condition and someone they know might need/use them some day.  I believe my grandmother gave the sewing machine (along with many other “treasures”) to my mother years ago just in case one of us girls wanted one.  Turns out she was right this time.  I’m pretty sure all my other sewing supplies were purchased under similar circumstances.

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