Looking for a fun, quick and easy project which won’t break the bank? How about turning a T-Shirt – old or new – into a handy, environmentally-friendly tote?
Creative inspiration struck as I skimmed through the racks of one of my favourite discount clothing stores. I spotted these gems in the Clearance section for $8 each. SCORE! My older sister was, and still is, a Blondie fan and I always thought Debbie Harry was the sexy rocker version of my idol, Marilyn Monroe, so I just HAD to get these T-Shirts. It’s cool that my 25 year old niece is also a Blondie fan, so I knew that transforming these T-Shirts into tote bags would make some very special gifts.
Once I cut apart the T-Shirts, I backed them with fusible fleece, then trimmed to the size I wanted. I purposely made them different as I didn’t use a pattern for these bags and just made them up as I went along. As I’ve often said, one of the joys of sewing is that YOU’RE the designer; you are in complete creative control!
If you’re one who just absolutely must have a pattern to follow, however, check out our Janome Artisan, Celine Allaert of Blue Calla Patterns, based in Toronto, ON, who has many fun, useful tote bag patterns from which to choose.
The back of the T-Shirt was blank, so indeed the perfect blank canvas to try out some special features of the machine and some fun techniques. I reached for one of my favourite accessories, the Janome Ruler Work Kit.
One reason I love quilting with rulers and templates is that they’re sew easy to use and make me look like a better free-motion quilter than I really am. I’m still practicing, still learning, but I find that having a guide to follow is a great confidence booster and less intimidating as you never have to worry about where to go, what to do next. All that design work and thinking has been done for you; you just have to follow the ruler/template to do the stitching. We’ve done many posts on Janome Life on ruler quilting so be sure to check them out for more information!
The Janome Continental M7P‘s HUGE 13.5″ throat space and accompanying huge extension table make quilting – ruler or otherwise – a joyful breeze! I just LOVE that handy accessories drawer to keep the extra needle plates and my favourite, most-used presser feet with-in easy reach. Check out the recent review from Sew4Home, and you’ll easily understand why I describe this machine as FABULOUS! There’s lots of convenient, time-saving features built-in, as demonstrated in the video below. (Now would be a good time to point out that I was sick while filming these little videos, so I’m sorry for my voice being a little shaky. Nothing will stop me sharing the Janome love! lol!)
I used the special QR Ruler Foot, which comes with the machine, and my favourite template from the Janome Ruler Work Kit, the Spin-E-Fex, to create my design, then echo quilted around the outside edge. I didn’t even have to change the foot, as you will see in the video below, though the Janome Continental M7P comes with a variety of free-motion quilting feet, which I also could have used instead.
Join me again soon for Part 2 (on Friday 10 January )as I finish this quick and easy T-Shirt tote. I’ll share more tips and more fun using decorative stitches on the NEW Janome Continental M7P!