Thursday, April 21, 2011

Craftiness for my Cruiser!

Well, I told you guys a while back that I got my very own beach cruiser, and I LOVE it!  It's definitely one of my favorite things of the moment, and it's coming in super duper handy for exercising Duke while Kent is gone.  I've even used it to go down the street to the mini mart in my neighborhood several times to pick up an ingredient or two when I was missing something....:cough:.cough:... and-the-late-night-chocolate-ice-cream..:cough:.cough:..

Since I was using my super awesome cruiser so much, I thought that, of course, the next logical step was to get a basket!  I needed something to hold my keys, phone, wallet, doggie poop bags (since I'm a responsible dog owner), and whatever else while I was riding.   I searched online and couldn't find anything reasonable that I wanted, so I just went to Wal-Mart.  After standing in the toy aisle looking at my two choices-- wicker or black metal-- for about half an hour, I finally decided to go with the metal.  It was slightly bigger, and I felt it would hold up a lot longer... even though it wasn't that cute and didn't match my adorable cruiser at all (I may be just a little bit partial).  

By now you guys should know that if I don't like how something looks, I'm going to give it a little make over.

So that's exactly what I did.

I grabbed my basket, found some spray paint that pretty much perfectly matched the cream on my bike's fenders, and headed home.

The very first thing I did when I got home was make Kent put it on my bike as it was so that I could make sure it would fit right before I started personalizing. (This was last week when he was still around.) 
Oh yeah... He wasn't quite as thrilled as me since I pulled him away from "THE Cruiser,"  his 1967 land cruiser, to do this for me.

It fit, so I started work.  I spray painted the whole basket, and I was very patient... waiting a whole 24 hours for it to dry.  If I were to re-do this project, I would definitely get the super fast drying paint because the wait pretty much killed me.  When I start a project, I usually see it in my head finished, and I want it done right away so I can enjoy it;  this basket was no exception.

It looked great on my bike.  Yeah, I would show you a photo, but I got so excited about my next grand idea for it that I forgot to take one of just the basket and the bike. 

While I had been searching online for a basket, I stumbled upon some really adorable bike basket liners... some of which doubled as totes so you could just pull it out and have your keys, wallet, whatever, inside your built in little shopping bag.  These tote liners were REALLY adorable, and I NEEDED one!  Unfortunately, I'm kind of a tight wad, and $40 or more was just waaaaay more than I was comfortable paying for one of these.  Soooooo..... I decided to make my own.

Oh yeah, another hobby of mine is sewing.  I know, I'm all over the place... painting with oils and acrylics, re-finishing furniture, wreaths, soft pastels, sewing, jewelry making, and whatever else strikes my fancy... I just can't help it.  I love making stuff!  I got my sewing machine years ago when I was in middle school, and although my parents thought I was nuts, I taught myself to sew.  I've made coats, blankets, skirts, dresses, quilts, pillows, and tote bags... yep, tote bags.... BINGO

I remembered the basic concept for making a tote, so I just ventured out with no pattern and no real concrete plan...  just a vague idea of what I was going to do.  (Be forewarned.  My explanation of how to do this requires a little visualization skill in the sewing arena.  If you've ever made a tote, you'll get it, but if not, and you want to create this project, you may want to buy a pattern for a tote and practice first. If you're not into sewing at all, feel free to skip down to the "finished" picture... haha)

From some of the others I had seen, I liked the look of three different fabrics, and one of the websites (where you buy your own fabric, send it in, pay a lot of money, and get a finished product sent back to you) said to get 3/4 of a yard of each fabric.  That's what I did.

I stood in the fabric store for probably an hour trying to find something I liked that wasn't "Aloha" print... not that there's anything wrong with "Aloha" print, I just didn't want it.

I finally came up with these.
I also bought a couple of yards of fairly heavy interfacing to give it some structure.

Then, I needed a pattern of sorts, so I took some tissue paper I had, a ruler (just in case), and a pen (since I couldn't find a pencil downstairs) and traced the bottom and each side of my basket.

Again, at this point I got too excited and "gung-ho" to take many photos, but I'll try to explain what I did.

When I had everything traced, I cut out each piece and taped the sides together.  I only wanted one seam, so I when everything was taped, I cut straight down the middle of the back side.  Then I had the pattern for the sides of my bag.  (It wasn't perfect, and I had to make adjustments as I went, but I made it work, and it turned out fine; although, if I were to do it again, I might measure the top circumference of the basket and the bottom circumference and use those measurements plus a 1/2 inch seam allowance for each side.)

 My mess

I ironed the outside bottom and side material (the blue floral) to attach it to interfacing and cut it out.  I also did this for the lining's bottom (the cream color).  

Then, I sewed the outside and liner down what would be the back seam and attached each to the corresponding bottom.

At this point, I added a pocket to the back side of the liner.  After that, I proceeded to fold one edge of the green material over itself and cut it to the circumference measurement of the basket top in order to create a piece to fold over the outsides of my basket. (If you skip down to the "finished" picture, you'll see what I'm talking about.)   I also cut out pieces for straps and attached them to interfacing.  To create the straps, fold the fabric (already attached to interfacing) in half, iron it, then fold each edge to the center and iron.  Then sew along each edge to finish it.

When all of the pieces were ready, I assembled them by putting right sides of the outside and liner together, putting the green foldover piece in between, and putting the handles in between facing down.  When everything was pinned, I sewed around the top, leaving enough of an opening to turn everything right side out.  Finally, I finished it by putting a finishing stitch along the top edge of the tote, closing the hole that was left. 

Then I had my tote.  :)  (Again, sorry if that sounded like a lot of jibberish if your not a sewer.  I just thought I would share my basic idea with anyone who might pull out the sewing machine from time to time.)

 (I used the same process as the straps to make the strip of fabric for the bow.)

What do you think?

 I am pretty proud of my little bike basket liner/tote.  I've used it several times now, and it serves its purpose perfectly.  Making it also kind of got me into a sewing mood, so you may see a tote of some sort in the shop soon, so be on the lookout!

I'd like to take a minute to welcome my new "official" followers.  :)  Thank you guys for joining me.  It means so much! 

Pssst.... If you haven't already, go enter the drawing for a FREE soft pastel pet portrait!  Last day to enter is Monday, April 25th, so go do it now... plus, don't forget you can enter two times.  ;)


  1. Is there anything you can't do, Lindsay? I'm soooo envious. I wish I had those kind of talents. Even if I took lessons, I think I'd be one of those people who could put something together and make it look decent, but my grandchild would never wear a dress or Halloween costume I sewed myself. I've said it before and I will say it again - you have a real gift. You are a younger, sweeter, modern day Martha Stewart. :)

  2. You are too sweet, SueAnn! :)

  3. Love it Lindsay! It matches your bike perfectly. And I agree with SueAnn! I don't think there's anything you can't do once you set your mind to it! You are oozing with fact I think you would up getting my fair share since it obviously completely skipped over me!! Love you :)

  4. Love the tote, it makes me want to buy a bike and have a basket, so I can have a tote. To cute Lindsay.


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