Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sewing with Vinyl

Hey Girls -

I'm about to share with you a very good problem...wet bathing suits.  This is a good problem because it means that my family has been swimming and not cooped up in our non-air-conditioned house with the blinds drawn and doors closed trying to preserve every ounce of cool air in the house.  So, this year, instead of trying to beat/survive the heat in our house, we joined a community pool.  It's been the absolute best.  My favorite part is that somehow my boys don't whine when submerged in water.  My least favorite part is when we finish swimming and we have to tote home their wet suits.  To solve this problem, I went shopping for vinyl and started sewing.

After a trip to Jo Ann Fabric's I bought a remnant of vinyl (12 gauge measuring .7 yards), a 16 inch zipper, and jumbo rick rack.

First I cut two pieces of vinyl 13 x 16 inches and cut a piece of rick rack 16 inches to decorate the front of the bag.

I prepared my sewing machine for sewing vinyl by putting some tape on the bottom of the presser foot and on the bottom plate of the machine (next to the pokey things.)  This makes it way easier for the vinyl to slide through the sewing machine.
Look closely...can you see the tape on the machine/foot?

I measured down four inches from the top of one piece of vinyl for the placement of the rick rack.  I felt like a total genius when I taped the rick rack in place so I could sew it onto the vinyl.
Turns out...clear vinyl is hard to photograph.  Sorry.

I ran a single stitch across the rick rack (over the tape) and then I couldn't get the tape off the vinyl.  Then, I felt like a total idiot for taping that rick rack in place.  (I've since used Goo Gone to get that tape goo off the bag.)

Then, I stopped sewing and started reading up on sewing a zipper.  I've never sewn a zipper.  So this was kind of a big deal.  Here are the tips I learned/tried.

1.  Place the zipper face down on the right side of one piece of the vinyl.
2.  When the top edges of the vinyl and zipper are lined up, use clips (I used magnet ones) to secure the zipper in place.  I didn't use pins because it would have poked holes in the vinyl.

3.  Sew along the top edge with your zipper foot (I added tape on the bottom of this foot too.)
4.  Open it up and run another stitch under the zipper, pushing the vinyl down so it is nice and flat.
5.  Repeat the process with the other piece of vinyl on the other side of the zipper.
My zipper fears were unfounded...if you're scared, don't be.  It's totally easy!

After the zipper was in place, I admired my first zipper for a good three minutes.  Then, I unzipped the zipper halfway (that's an important step), put the right sides of the vinyl facing each other and stitched all around the sides of the vinyl.

Before I turned the bag right side out, I decided to add a bottom gusset.  To do this, I simply pinched the bottom corners of the bag so that the bottom seam and side seam lined up.  I measured up two inches and sewed a straight stitch across the corner.  Then, I cut off the excess (below the stitched line.)
Here's the gusset when the bag is right side out.

Now, the best part...turning the bag right side out. 

I love this bag.  When we're at the pool I get absolutely giddy when it's time to change out of our wet suits and head home. 
Swimming or bust,

Mrs. Kelly Comment:  What the h*$# is a gusset?  And, should I know?  Your bag is really cute.  Be honest...did you pick the rick rack to match the bathing suits?  This seems really complicated for a non-seamstress but maybe if I'm really lucky one of my sewing friends (ahem, *cough) will help me make one?  

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