Tagged: diy


022: tutorial; lined drawstring project bag

I’ve ignored this blog for seven months now but I just sat down to write a tricky part of my current book project so obviously I now suddenly have to write a tutorial for these three bags I made! There are a ton of tutorials out there, but I find that this is the easiest way to do it, plus I wrote down how to box corners, which is a thing I always struggle with. So here we go.

(And yes, this is a messy tutorial because I mostly took the pics for my own reference and then decided to post them after the fact.)

I made three, because I happened to have three knitting projects in progress. And YES, they’re the same size, it’s just that the black one has a much smaller project in it, so it looks smaller, bu the finished size is about 23.5 x 18 cm (9.25 x 7 inches), and fits a little more than a sock project, though I am knitting a gigantic scarf and I’m curious to see how much of it fits before I have to either make a bigger one or resort to a normal tote bag.

But yes, this is how I did it:

For each bag, cut two pieces of fabric, one for the outside, and one for the lining. Each should be 52 x 20 cm (20.5 x 7.8 inches, but if you’re doing the inches thing I’d just round it into nice even numbers, the size really doesn’t matter exactly). Or, if you’re using scraps, just do four pieces at 26 x 20 cm and seam the bottom, you do you.


Fold them, turning right sides together.

For the outside piece, on both sides, put a mark 3 cm down from top, and then one 2 cm below. (Or, you know, about 1 inch down, with marks 1/2 inch apart.) Seam down sides, but leave a gap here. This is where the opening for the string goes! (Also, ignore my pen marks. I messed up.)

For the lining piece, on one side, mark a gap about 5 cm (2 inches) wide on one side. Not too far down, because you still have to box those corners. This is how you turn the bag right side out when you’re done!

Or, if you do two pieces, just do it on the bottom. And yes, seam the rest of it, aaaall the way down.


Time to box the evil corners! I always found this the actual worst until I found this method, and I have to relearn it every time so now I took pictures. So, first draw a square, either from the seam like here, or from the edge of the fabric. I like doing it like this. Do this on both sides of the fabric, in both corners. And yes, on both the outside fabric, and the lining fabric.


Then you pull it apart at the seam, and magically the two squares will mesh like this, into a straight line. Pin carefully, making sure that it’s all straight and that the pins go through on the line on both sides. This is the front and back of the same corner, for reference.


Seam along the lines and you’ll get this. Cut off excess fabric. Zigzag/serge the edges if you’re a nervous sort (I am) but the seams won’t be exposed so it should be fine anyway. (Also enjoy the ruler my dad gave me, an advertisment for the communter trains in Stockholm, made some time in the 1980s or 1990s.)

Then just straighten it out and discover that it can stand! On it’s own! I forgot to take a picture of the pieces doing this before the bag was finished, but this picture shows it pretty well.


I admit that this picture only exists because I’m unable to remember how to put the pieces together to make the outside the outside and the inside the inside once you turn it right side out. But: right sides together, but the lining must be on the outside as you seam it! (Possibly there’s an easier way to do this. I’m a messy, trial-by-error, self-taught seamstress.)


I forgot to take pictures of the rest, but these that I took after-the-fact shows the rest pretty well. So, flip the bag right side out, press the seam and top stitch. Sew a channel about 3 cm down. Use the width of the gap on the edge for reference on width. Getting it straight sucks, but I think I managed okay. (Also, seam the gap in the lining, obviously.)


Finally, pull string through. Basically, tie it to a safety pin and run it through from one side, all the way around, and out the same hole, put a bead on if you want (not necessary but if you slide them up like on the bag on the right they’ll keep the bag closed) and tie a knot. Take a second piece of string and put it through the hole on the other side. I’m using elastics here because it’s what I had, but I don’t recommend it! If I can ever get to a store that sells ribbon by the metre I’m going to replace it but they keep closing the fabric stores in town and the only one that’s left isn’t on a bus route so it might be a while and I got impatient.

How long string you want varies! I like mine long enough that I can loop the bag around my wrist when I knit at the bus stop, but not so long that they tangle into everything if I toss one in my backpack. I think this time I made them about 45 cm (28 inches) long after trimming, but that’s maybe a little on the short side.

And I guess now that this is done and I’m out of procrastination I have to go do my actual writing anyway…


020: Seed packets

This is possibly a bit niche and definitely completely unnecessary, but a fun thing with ADHD is that sometimes you just Have To Do Things, and this weekend that Thing was making little envelopes to put all my flower and vegetables seeds in so they’d be uniform. Previously they ranged from jars, to coffee filters (wrapped up and taped closed), and regular ones I’d bought. And then I found a glass jar to put them in. And then, suddenly, I was slaughtering a notebook for it’s pretty papers, and figured out how to make these in the perfect size, and I honestly just want to remember how I did it in case I need more. So, picture time, because just writing down the instructions without a step-by-step is useless, as I found when I tried to ask the internet how to do this.

This is the finished product! It has type, name and year they were bought or picked on the front. If they’re commercial seeds I cut out and taped the instructions on the back, but left the top untaped, so I could tuck the top of the envelope underneath it.

I happened to have these laying around, so that’s what I used. They also happened to be 15 cm (6ish inches) along the short side, so that’s the size I cut, which will give you an envelope that’s 9×6 cm (3.5×2.5ish inches).

So, cut a 15 cm square. Fold it from corner to corner, and then mark 6 cm in from the edge on both sides. (I forgot to take a picture of the actual marks. Arrows will have to do.)


Fold the sides in like this! Stand it up on it’s edge, to take a good picture.

Once you’ve folded the sides in, also fold the first of the top pieces down. Then, fold out the sides again (you only folded them first to get the top thing to line up, you see), and glue the top down like this. Glue isn’t really necessary because it’ll keep together anyway but seeds are sometimes tiny so I did it to be safe.

Then, forget what you’re doing, finish a dozen envelopes and then realise that OH RIGHT, it’s tutorial time. Continue with pictures, although you’re now using a white paper, not a green. So, unfold it again, and glue only the triangle I marked out, because you need to be able to tuck the tips in for the next step, and you can’t do that if the bottom is glued.

Fold it back up, and then fold in the sides (glue them down if you want!), and tuck them together like this.

And then you have this! I folded some extra envelopes too, because I ordered some more seeds online, and I want somewhere to put them when they arrive! I’m way more about vegetables than flowers, but when they arrive I will have the following:

carrot x 2 (regular, and mixed colour),
beets x 2 (regular and striped),
tomatoes x 2 (regular, yellow tiny tomatoes),
sugar snap peas,
broccoli (failed last year, trying again),
cucumber (I have no idea how to grow cucumber),
bell pepper (have never successfully grown bell pepper),
physalis (saved from a fruit),
butternut squash (also saved from a fruit).

marigold (picked off last year’s flowers, that were picked off the previous year’s flowers, etc, you can do this endlessly),
runner beans (which I grow for the flowers, and just save the beans to plant the following year, so I count them as flowers),
Indian cress,
two kinds of tiny blue flowers,
gigantic red sunflowers.

Summer can’t come soon enough.


008: Chocolate and fudge

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So, I made things! Lots of things! People ask me a lot of it’s hard, but it’s really not. The chocolates are a bit fiddly (you need to fill the forms, tip it out, freeze it 5 minutes, then fill them, freeze them until the filling is solid, roughly 5-15 minutes depending, and then spoon some chocolate on top, and freeze it again — for a video on how to do it, check this post at How To Cook That), but the fudge is super easy! I’ve found recipes all over the place, and simplified and played with the ratios and things, so recipes of that will follow after the pictures.

(Note that these are all quickish! I always take a shortcut if I can, like using mint extract instead of fresh mint, ginger spice instead of fresh ginger, instant coffee, etc. That’s good enough for me.)

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My dad always wants nothing but some of my chocolate for Christmas so for his sake I go fancy and make a box from scratch. It’s just card stock thick paper (the above box is made from two  pieces of A4/letter sized papers, cut and folded into a box shape and covered in Christmas present paper. The text above just says the flavours:

Orange ~ Ginger ~ Raspberry ~ Caramel ~ Coffee
Mint ~ Gingerbread ~ Chai ~ Lemon/meringue
Peanut butter ~ Saffron

My basic chocolate filling recipe is based on several videos from How To Cook That, and also advice from my chocolate making friend Claudie:

Recipe for both chocolate fillings and fudge ⌲ ⌲ ⌲