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Sew Simple: Zippety Bag cute, useful and easy to store

Dear Vicki: Please suggest some small, clever sewing projects for my classes. They have made pillows and pull-on p.j. pants and now need to have more ideas. Thanks so much for your past suggestions. – Meghan P.

Dear Meghan: For the next four weeks I will have some ideas for beginner sewer projects. This little bag is something your students might enjoy. They are so cute and useful, and are easy to store when they are opened flat. There are four different sizes, and they make use of zippers for an amazing little gift or practical bag. If you have access to machine embroidery, your students could embroider designs or monograms before stitching the bags.

The pattern is called Zippety Bag and is from a designer named Jayme Crow for Bella Nonna. If you are a quilter, two fat quarters will make all four bags; for the rest of us, just use scraps and patch them together. Please try to find the pattern at a local shop, but if you can’t find it, send me a check for $12.50 and I will send you the pattern.

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Dear Vicki: I haven’t sewn for a long, long time, but now I have a desire to use my time in this way because I remember loving the creative aspect of making clothing. I learned to sew from my mother years ago. Pressing seams and edges was really important to her, and when she did it she had a special piece of cloth that she used to cover her seams when pressing. My mother is gone now and so is everything in her sewing room. I am wondering about that pressing cloth, and how I can find one to replace it. Thanks for writing about sewing. – Kathy D.

Dear Kathy: Years ago most stitchers used drill canvas for press cloths – they were sponged with water, and then when pressing created heat and steam to persuade seams to lie flat and creases to stay put. So that is what I think your mother was using. Today we more often use lightweight lawn and steam irons, but I personally love a press cloth made of silk organza. I can see through it, and it protects my iron when using fusibles (just in case, I have the fusible side up instead of down, then it fuses to the cloth instead of my iron). Using a press cloth also protects the face of your garment fabric from the hot surface of the iron.