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The Chic Bag Chick

I love Jesus, am married to a firefighter, am a nurse, learning to cook (while dealing with a gluten allergy), sew, and keep house, love to crochet, and am a planner fanatic, as well as run several small businesses. This is my life…a little bit of everything, which you'll find here on this blog!

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Sewing

DIY labels for handmade products!Β 

I have fun making stuff for my Etsy shop (www.TheChicBagChick.com), but I really, really wanted to add labels:

1. Because I am proud of my work, even though I’ve not been sewing long, it takes me a long time to tweak my usually self-made pattern to what I consider a quality, functional, and cute product. So naturally, I want my brand on there. =D

2. I feel like it makes it look so much more professional, while still retaining the artisan feel of being handmade. 

So! I set out to find labels on Etsy (I swear you can find anything on there…people are amazingly talented!). Except…they were so expensive. While the labels were high quality, I just am not set up for that kind of business expense right now. Perhaps down the road…but for now, I needed an inexpensive alternative. 

Since I mostly wanted them for coffee cozies that wouldn’t be worn, or even washed as much as clothes (most likely, although I’m a klutz and constantly spilling on mine), a non-woven label should do…? I looked up info on pinterest, but had a hard time actually finding a tutorial, and since I’ve never done anything remotely close to this, I needed like, a STEP-BY-STEP. Lol

I tried several things, and finally found a method that works for me, and although tedious, it saves me a lot of money. I estimate these particular labels to cost around $0.15 a piece, more if I botch a whole sheet or batch lol. 

Materials:

*5/8″ ribbon (or whatever size you want), I’ve used several kinds successfully

*tea towel or muslin

*flat, hard surface like the bottom of a pan (I use a pizza pan haha!)

*iron (make sure all water is out, I drain it and let it set on the cotton setting for a bit, and then even occasionallly run it over my ironing board with the steam on to get it all out)

*printable, light t-shirt iron-on transfer paper-I’ve included a picture of the brand I used, I’ve not tried others. This is available at craft stores, as well as on amazon. 

*scissors

*parchment paper-ok, I’m going to go ahead and say this, because as embarrassing as this is to admit, I wish someone had put it out there for me lol. There is a huge difference between parchment and wax paper. Since I am not a baker, or a seamstress, and since we were dirt freaking poor growing up, we only ever had wax paper. I thought parchment paper was just a fancy name for wax paper. I can assure you, it is not. I know this, because I grabbed wax paper for this project, and couldn’t figure out why it was ruining my nice labels. Oy. Parchment paper is heat resistant, I discovered…please, don’t melt wax onto your freshly made project lol. 


Directions:

The first thing you must do is create a document with whatever you want on your label. There is no shortcut for this, it’s just trial and error. I don’t have a logo yet, so I opted for simple text. I printed out test runs on cheap paper to check size and placement for the ribbon I was using, then when it was perfect, I printed on the expensive transfer paper. PLEASE NOTE…you have to flip the image first lol. I have forgotten to do this when I’m printing in a hurry, and I’ve shed a few tears over the loss of a very expensive piece of now-useless transfer paper lol.

To do this in Word doc is very easy (I had to search forever to find this info…weird). Just do the normal print, then when the box pops up, go to “layout,”


Then check the “flip horizontally” box.


It’s very important to let these dry for at least 30 minutes, otherwise they will smudge ALL over, and it’s just a mess, and wastes a lot. I sometimes even print them before bed when I know I’ll be making them the next day, and let them dry overnight. 

Then, using scissors or a paper cutter, cut into strips, and then I cut into sections of 2 or 3 long, to fit under my iron.

Prep your surface: cover your hard surface (don’t use just the ironing board, it won’t work. I tried lol) with the towel or muslin, and lay out the ribbon:

Position your transfer paper print side down on the label, making sure the transfer paper isn’t wider than the ribbon, or it will stick to the towel lol (I know this is basic stuff, but I learned it the hard way, so in case anyone else is as uneducated about this stuff as I was, I’d like to save them the trouble lol). Press with iron on cotton setting (no steam) for about 15-20 seconds. It’s important to press pretty heavily while doing this, I’ve noticed, for it to really adhere well.

Then clip off that section of ribbon and let cool. (For the first run, complete one whole cycle to see how they turn out, and then tweak as needed. Once you’ve ensured it will work right, then the most time efficient way is to do in batches-first cut all the strips, then iron on all the strips and cut and let cool, then do the next step to all, and so on)

Once it is cool, gently peel off the backing.

Lay completed labels face up, and place parchment paper over

Press firmly with iron (still on no steam) for about 10 seconds. The labels will “stick” to the back. Let them cool after. 

Once cool, peel labels off the parchment paper.

Trim to desired size…then they’re ready to use! I found that if I leave enough room on the transfer paper to cover the whole length of the label I’ll be using, it acts kind of as a fray-check, otherwise I have to fray check all the ends and let them dry, and that is a PAIN. Lol

These are just ones I’ve done that I place on top of the product and stitch around the border, but the same concept can be applied to other styles of labels!


Here is a sew-in version I made, the only extra step is folding in half and inserting into a piece of parchment paper folded in half (so the label doesn’t stick to the iron), to set the crease/fold better.

I hope this helps! So far, I’ve washed products with these labels on, as much as 3 times without any problems, but on a few, you can start to see the transfer coming off a bit. I’m sure they won’t last many washings, but it’s still cheaper than purchasing custom labels for now. =)

Oh, so far all my products have similar wash instructions, which have been fine for the labels: machine or hand wash cold/gentle, lay flat/hang to dry. 

Happy label-making! =D

Lined maxi t-shirt dress (with pockets!!)

I’ve attached a skirt to a t-shirt before, but it wasn’t wide enough at the bottom, nor was it lined, and cotton just is too thin to wear alone, in my (old-fashioned) opinion. πŸ˜‰

I found tutorials for variations on what I wanted to make, but none with exactly what I had in mind, so I set out to try and make it on my own. 😱

Materials:

3 yards fabric 

3 yards (could be less, depending on how long you want the lining) lining

Wide elastic (enough to go around waist)

Instructions:

I planned to have a simple 2-panel pattern, so I took my fabric, kept it folded as was when purchased, and then folded it over again at the length I wanted, for 4 layers of fabric.

I measured the bottom of a dress that I like the fit of, and divided that by 4, and marked the bottom of the panels. Then I measured around my ribcage (I wanted the waist to sit there), and divided that by 4, added a couple inches, and marked that on the top of the panels. Then I used a tape measure to mark a nice straight line between the two points, and cut. Then I cut the fold at the top of the panels, so I had 2 pattern pieces.

  
Same for lining, except I made the length shorter:

  

Then I cut my pockets (4):

  

I stitched and serged the sides of the lining, and pressed:  

I measured how far down I wanted my pockets to fall, and pinned right sides together to the sides of each panel. I stitched only the pockets along the side.  

Then I put both panels (with attached pockets)  right sides together, aligning the pockets, and stitched down the sides, but going around the pockets.  
Like this:

  
I took my elastic, and stitched the ends together…and forgot to get a pic lol.

Then I matched the right side of the fabric with the wrong side of the lining, and tucked the elastic in the middle.  
I pinned it all together, matching even points all around.  

Then I sewed a zig zag stitch around, stretching the elastic as I went.  
 I serged this edge, again stretching the elastic as I went: 


  

I took my t shirt, and marked where I wanted the waist to fall:

Chop!

 
Pin right sides of t shirt and elastic band together, and sew with zig zag stitch, stretching the elastic to match the t shirt:

 Hem the lining:

  
  

Hem the fabric (I did a double hem just for fun): 
My lining is maybe 4 inches shorter than my skirt. I think next time knee length for the lining will be just fine, but I wanted to err on the side of too long, since I can always shorten it later. πŸ™‚ 
It was “poofing out” a little, so I went back and stitched it down:

  
  
 
The finished product:

  
  
  

  

Valentine’s Day on a budget!

Ok, the back story to this is that we are in the middle of moving, but due to life, couldn’t get our new bedroom set up in time for Valentine’s Day…which bummed me out at first, but then I decided to just make the best of it, and that’s how some of this plan was born. 

Normally, we’ve escaped to a themed hotel room and just hung out for a whole weekend, no distractions. But this year, money is super tight, due to a surprising lack of work for my husband for a couple of months, coupled with our moving expenses and the cost of fixing up the house. 

This was our first Valentine’s Day on a budget, and I must say, even though I was wary, it turned out to be the most fun we’ve ever had! I don’t think I ever want to rent an expensive hotel again! Lol, ok maybe eventually. Just not every year. πŸ˜‰

Here’s how it went:

My sweet husband  asked me to go for a walk with him at sunset Saturday night (the 13th). This is significant because we both have been trying to be more active, logging steps in our fitbits. So it helped me get some steps in, but was a wonderful time together (even though it was freezing), and the sunset was gorgeous.

I carried my camera and water in the everything crossbody from Thirty One Gifts (www.mythirtyone.com/jessbruner), and it was perfect. We got our steps in, and I got pics of the sunset. 

  

I had been working hard for some time on this project, the idea of a little indoor camping getaway for us in our new bedroom. I dragged our tent up to the room (it barely fit lol), and got to work.

 

I strung up some Christmas lights inside the tent, and blew up our air mattress and added a soft blanket and pillows. I used some chocolate to make a heart on top that we could eat later. ☺️ 

I got LED flame less tea lights on Amazon, and lined pathways, and lit up a TV tray table. I filled a square storage bin from Thirty One with extra blankets and pillows.  

I bought some firewood (although it would’ve been cool to save some sticks for this purpose, and reduce the cost further), and used some clear decorative stones on top of an old poster board (there are pictures on the other side lol) to keep the floor somewhat debris-free, and placed the LED lights inside. They are flickering  candles, so it looked more like a fire. πŸ™‚ 

I put some of our favorite sparkling peach wine on ice, with some water bottles, in my favorite family fun thermal (Thirty One) by our mattress.  
 

I set up my computer on a TV tray table, for watching movies and Netflix/Hulu, and paired it with a Bluetooth speaker for movie-like sound. 
 

Here is what it looked like:

The original plan was to just hang out in this on Valentine’s Day/night, but since he had to work Monday (most have off because of Presidents’ Day), we decided to make a whole weekend of it, and started our getaway on the eve of Valentine’s.

We ate a simple dinner of leftovers, traipsed up to our grown-up fort,  and watched Hulu.  

Now, lingerie is always a part of Valentine’s Day right? Except it costs SO MUCH. πŸ˜– So I decided to make my own, and here is how I did #1 and #2 of my very own, homemade lingerie outfits for lounging through the weekend!

The hubs loved that I made them, and he laughed when I told him how cheap they were to make, and how I had used a coupon, and said “if you tell a girl you used a coupon on a gift to her, it’s an insult, but to a guy, it’s music to their ears!” πŸ˜‚ He speaks the truth lol.

  

 We had fun, stayed up way late, and slept way in on Valentine’s Day, which was super nice. We made a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and pre-cooked bacon, and then ran to the store for milk (for the dessert).

I quickly put some new sparkling wine on ice, and then ran to start dinner and dessert.

 
  

Like my cute apron? 😁

 

For dinner, we made this recipe (to help make up for dessert a little bit lol): 
    

My friend had sent us a coupon for a free Redbox, so we watched a movie and ate dinner and dessert!


 

For dessert, we made this recipe , which tastes delicious, and looks amazing!  
   

We even opened our February date box, but fell asleep right after the movie lol. I guess we will just have to have another date. ☺️

 
So there was our date night. I estimated the total cost of the weekend to be around what we would have paid for a nice dinner with dessert and drinks at a decent restaurant. And it was loads more fun!

I hope this inspires you to plan a fun date night/weekend! πŸ™‚

Another DIY lingerie!

I learned a few things from my first piece, and wanted to try again with a few tweaks, so here it is!

Return Of The Lingerie 😜

Materials:

small scraps of lining fabric for the cups

Approx 1 yard of sheer fabric

Approx 1/2 yard solid coordinating fabric for band and ties

1 package (1 yard) decorative elastic for straps

Items I used:

Sewing machine

Serger (optional)

Seam ripper (optional)

Rotary cutter & mat (optional, can use fabric scissors instead)

Sewing pins

Iron and ironing board

Tape measure

Directions:

I cut my cups from the fabric and lining first, and set aside:
 
 

Then, I cut the bottom part to the length and width I wanted, and sewed a basting seam, and slightly gathered it:

 

 Next, I measured around my ribcage, and cut two strips of this coordinating black fabric for the band, leaving a bit for a seam allowance.

Then I sandwiched the bottom piece in between the band parts, right sides together:
  
 

I serged this together: 
 

Then stitched it nice and tight: 
   

Fold the band up and iron, then surge the tops wrong sides together:

 

Next, I worked on the cups:

  
  

 
 

I pinned the elastic straps in and sewed them while sewing the cups together for a nice clean look: 
 

   

  
 

Turn right side out and iron: 
  

Then I pinned the cups to the band of the bottom piece:

 
 

Then I made some straps and pinned to the band, pleating in the middle: 
  
 

Then all I had to do was fasten the shoulder straps to the back, hem it, and voila!  
 
I can’t wait to try more of these! They’re fun to make, and relatively inexpensive. πŸ™‚

DIY lingerie (EASY!)

So, as all of us ladies know, Valentine’s Day is coming up quickly! For a lot of women, that involves a pretty piece of lingerie, rose petals, wine, chocolate covered strawberries, etc. 

Most of the time, my husband and I get a cool hotel room, themed or special somehow, and relax for a couple days. This year, however, work has been slow to nonexistent the past few months, so money is not a luxury we have at the moment (as evidenced by my excitement in finding a cheap casserole we eat almost every night lol). So…this year, Valentine’s must be on a budget. I love planning fun surprises for my Love, it’s not really his forte to plan those kinds of things, and I don’t mind being the planner, because he enjoys the surprises so much, it makes it all worth it, just to see his eyes light up. πŸ™‚

So! There will be several posts about Valentine’s on a budget! 

This first one, I debated even sharing because of the personal nature, but I was searching high and low for DIY lingerie ideas, and I came up with little to no help, so I decided to put this out there. Now, keep in mind, there were intricate patterns available, with advanced techniques. I am NOT a seamstress. I like to mess around with basic sewing, but even some of the most basic techniques I’m not familiar with, and have to find out or be told what to do/not to do. Lol

So I hope for those of you like me, this is helpful. I was amazed to find that while this took an entire day to make, it was relatively easy, and probably only cost me about $10-15 at the absolute most to make. Maybe even closer to $5-10! At any rate, even $15 is gobs cheaper than $80+ for Victoria’s Secret, and while those are super nice and detailed, the idea is to just have a simple pretty little piece to look nice in for an evening, so I’m happy!

Ok, here goes!

Items I used:

Sewing machine

Serger (optional)

Seam ripper (optional)

Rotary cutter & mat (optional, can use fabric scissors instead)

Sewing pins

Iron and ironing board

Tape measure

Materials:

Approx 1/2-1 yard of material for bottom part, I used a sheer polka dot fabric

Approx. 1/4-1/2 yard satin for cups and straps

Scraps of lining material for cups (I had some already)

Lace (however wide around your rib cage is, I used stretchy lace, but since this ties, you could use plain lace)

Black thread

Instructions
:

I started with the cups, by using a swim suit top and cutting approx. half that size and shape from lining fabric. I cut 4 (2 sets of 2).

   

Pin together and sew along the curved edge:

   

   
The result is a nice cup. Try it on to make sure it fits. You can also try the pattern with scrap fabric until you find the right fit, then use as your pattern piece.

    

I cut an extra piece before sewing to use as a pattern in case it fit, and used that to cut 4 pieces of satin: 

  
  
Pin right sides of satin together and sew again along curved edge.

  
Then take the lining cups and satin cups, put right sides together, and sew along all but bottom edge. (Hindsight is 20/20, and after finishing, I know now that I would’ve made straps and sewn them inside at this stage, so they would’ve looked and felt much nicer to wear)

    

  
  

Turn right side out when done and iron:

    

I was being lazy and just serged everything together, but realized the seams were very loose, so I had to go back and sew everything with a nice tight seam lol.

    

Serge the bottom of the cups (after they’re right side out again):

    
  

Nicely lined cups!

   
Cut two ties for front, stitch and serge edges:

  

 
Turn them inside out and press (this was a bit tricky for me lol). The second one you can see isn’t pressed yet: 

  
Next, pin the lace to the ties, and since mine were slightly different sizes (I didn’t want the ties as wide as my lace), I pinned a little fold in the lace:

  
  

     
 
  

I sewed these carefully, and had to hand-crank the wheel in the middle to make sure to get that fold nicely sewn:

    

  

  
   
 
I cut the front a bit rounded, but I didn’t realize it was wayyyy too long, so I hemmed the whole thing and had to go back and chop stuff off and re-do it! πŸ˜–  
 This is my hem, just serged and stitched:
    

  
 I sewed the sheer fabric onto the elastic lace, stretching as I went, then stitched with a straight stitch on the right side, because I felt it laid better:

    

Then I added the cups:

    

  

My afterthought straps lol:

  

 
I stitched in two places in the back, since the elastic was pretty thin:

     

Here is how the bow looks tied:

       

The finished product:

 
  
 
I paired it with a cute satin robe for Valentine’s Day lounging:

  

I love my cute hang-it-up pocket from Thirty-One! It’s perfect for lingerie, I can put matching panties or whatever else I want in it. πŸ™‚ Check it out on http://www.mythirtyone.com/jessbruner (search hang-it-up pocket)

I hope this helps some of you who are sewing-challenged like me, but still want to try some simple projects! πŸ™‚ 

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