Sunday, February 8, 2009

New T-Totes in '09

Yesterday I finally got a chance to try out my new idea with the T-totes. They are the tote bags that I make from old T-shirts. They were inspired by the book Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt. The author, Megan Nicolay, was my softball coach for a travel team that I played on in high school. Her younger sister Sophie was on the team too and their dad was the assistant coach. I think one of the projects in the book uses a t-shirt from a softball tournament we played in. The Nicolay's are the nicest people in the world and I am ecstatically excited about Megan's success... It couldn't have happened to a better or harder working person! Three years after the book came out I am still talking about it and finding it on end caps in book stores all over the place. Anyways... back to my T-totes... I had been making the straps on them out of t-shirt material with a strip of stabilizer in them. But that meant that the straps were pretty thick, which is good for strength but bad for my serger. When I would serge around them on the inside, I would get to the spot where the straps were and I would have to stop because the stitches wouldn't connect. I would go back with my sewing machine and straight stitch over it and then zigzag stitch below that for reinforcement. The inside of the bags didn't look as finished as I would have liked and the straps were taking me WAY too long to make. T-shirt material, aka jersey knit, is very stretchy and can be uber annoying to sew. I had made a large batch of T-totes about a year ago, maybe 25 of them, and then I never made anymore after that. There are only 2 left. I have about 75 t-shirts in my studio space that I have been collecting at thrift stores but I haven't been able to bring myself to make any more because the straps have seemed so daunting. But I have come up with a solution to this strap problem! I have ordered some cotton webbing (basically its a woven cotten strap... think of the stuff cotton belts are made of). Now, I will just be using the webbing as the straps for the bags. It sews onto the t-material so easily and my serger can go over them without any problem! And, whats even more exciting about all of this is that I think the bags can probably take a heavier load now; they seem sturdier! These bags have been a popular item for Moon & Sundries and I am excited to make lots of them for the 2009 season.

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