18 February 2014

Nothing Says Love Like Practicality

I wanted to join the challenge of sewing for seasons and holidays.  I really did.  I made a Pinterest board and had all these cute ideas for Valentine's decor and gifts, and we were going to set a sweet table with a well-planned, fancy dinner.  And then life happened.  Late nights, papers to grade, long hours for my hubby, school concerts...etc., etc.  So I decided that, rather than kill myself trying to make something that was PURELY seasonal, I'd go along with (what I interpreted to be) the "spirit" of the challenge and do something FOR a holiday.  And that led me to focus on sewing my Valentine's gifts, rather than the decorations (which were essentially nonexistent, by the way...a candle on the table and red placemats).

Our family follows the Dave Ramsey financial plan, and we are working our oldest kids into it; the little one doesn't care yet, but loves money!  Anyway, the girls have been using -- for a year -- envelopes that we write "Give", "Save", and "Spend" on to keep up with their money.  The envelopes rip, get wet, and get lost, and we have replaced them often; they also weren't great for holding coins.  Last week, though, I found a seller on Etsy who made three-pocket zip wallets for just this purpose.  They were a little pricey, but I was able to dash off two of my own in about an hour.

They are really easy to make.  You need:
-2 pieces each of exterior and lining fabric (mine were 9" x 4.5")
-1 zipper (mine was 7")
-ribbon or twill tape for the labels (I used ribbon and wrote with a Sharpie; it bled a little on the satin but was great on the grosgrain.  Next time, I might try using printable iron-on transfers because I think they would look neater.)
-matching thread

First, measure where you want your tags; I folded the fabric in half longways, pinned on there, and then divided the remaining distance equally for the other two.  Baste the tags into place.  Then lay one lining fabric face-up, place the zipper face-down on it, and lay one exterior fabric face-down, then sew them together along the zipper.  Iron both pieces of fabric out away from the zipper.  Then do the same thing on the OTHER side of the zipper.  When you iron the pieces out again, the two lining fabrics will be on one side (facing up); if you flip the whole thing over, the two exterior fabrics will be on one side facing up.  Next, unzip the zipper about halfway (to help with turning later).  Pin the two matching fabrics together, right sides in.  Sew from the middle of the bottom of the lining, around one side, across the bottom of the exterior, down the other side, and back to about 2 inches from your start.  Reach inside, unzip the zipper all the way, and turn the fabric.  Then close your seam, put the lining back inside, and iron the whole thing.  Finally, zip the zipper and mark where you want your dividers to be.  (Each of mine was a hair over 2 inches wide.)  Sew from the bottom up almost to the zipper, but don't sew the zipper shut!

Overall, I was really happy with how these turned out, especially since I was just using scrap fabric.  If I was going to do it again, I would say to make the whole thing a bit longer; the pockets are a tad narrow, but little fingers can handle it.  Also, if it gets too long, you need to worry about maybe folding or rolling the whole thing (and having a closure for it) so that it doesn't get too unwieldy.

My husband laughed (in the most good-natured way) when I told him what I was making the kids for their Valentine's Day gifts; I assured him that they would love these.  And they DID...there was so much excitement over giving and saving money!  Which, really, is what this whole thing is about.


Mindy said...

Hooray! So glad to have inspired others to sew and post projects. They are clever little purses (and way better than envelopes), and they totally count for the holiday theme.

treen said...

Good call on the "spirit" of the challenge - do what suits you and your family! That's part of why I didn't want to narrow it down to clothes or decor items. Just because that's what I plan to do doesn't mean that's what fits everyone else. Mindy and I aren't even doing all the same holidays. For March, I'm doing Dr. Seuss and Read Across America, and Mindy is doing something for St. Patrick's Day.

Lauren said...

I think I may try to do something for St. Patty's Day...our whole family has for years done a 5k together, and it might be fun for the girls to have skirts, and D to have a bow tie or something. We'll see! :)