Oh, what you can do with old jeans!

Use the front waistband, pockets, and fly to fashion a handbag.



  Use the back pockets to make a smaller, more casual purse.



Use the legs or bottom portion to create a little girl’s purse.


All of these are available for sale at my shop, Jori-M-Porium, on Etsy.  Just click on a picture to be taken to the listing.


Humbug bags

It’s not a name I would give to these cute little bags, but they came with the name, so there you have it.

I first saw a tutorial for humbug bags at Moore’s Sewing blog, and I decided it would be a great way to use up some scraps of fabric that were unusable for other projects.  They are super simple and go together really quickly.

Apparently, these bags are named for a similarly shaped candy called, of course, humbug candy.    Any resemblance to a negative utterance regarding Christmas is purely coincidental.

Grocery bags

Here is a short history of grocery bags from my perspective.

When I was a kid, grocery bags were made of brown paper and had no handles.  You had to hug them to carry them.  They were the perfect size to line our kitchen trash can, but they weren’t very practical since they weren’t waterproof.

Sometime in my teens (I think) is when plastic bags with handles appeared.  You didn’t have to hug them, and they made better trash can liners.  My grandma had the bag boys at her local grocery store put her groceries in paper bags inside the plastic bags.  She liked the sturdiness of the paper along with the plastic handles for easy carrying.

At some point in time, paper bags with handles were introduced.  But you had to hold them just right, and not fill them too full, or the handles would tear off.  Or, worse, the handles would tear the bag.

Then the age of “reduce, reuse, recycle” dawned, and all these bags became no-no’s.  Paper bags were killing trees.  Plastic bags were filling landfills.  So, non-disposable, reusable bags hit the market.  Groovy.  However, most of those cute little bags are not washable.  The long-handled plastic-y ones shaped like the old brown paper bags may go through the washing machine, but not repeatedly over years of use.  And do not put them in the dryer.  The non-woven polyester bags are not machine washable.  I mean, you can put them through a wash cycle, but the result (in my experience) is a weakened, fuzzy, limp bag with small holes in it.  And if there was a design printed on it, that will be mostly gone.  If you’re going to reuse bags over and over again–for groceries–don’t you want to be able to machine wash them?  And machine dry them?  Absolutely!

Now we leave the history behind and enter the present and future of grocery bags: fully lined, fully washable, fully adorable fabric bags.








These are just a few of the many bags I’ve made over the years.  I used a plastic bag from my local grocery store as a pattern.  (I’m still using the same pattern after 5+ years.  How’s that for reuse and recycle!)  Therefore, these bags are just the same size as the plastic bags, but my fabric bags can hold a lot more.  Why?  Because they won’t stretch, or rip, or split at the bottom seam and spill your groceries all over the ground.  Also, the fabric doesn’t cut into your hands like the plastic can when the bags are heavy.

I have 7 bags that stay under the center console in our van.  When I go to the store, they go in with me.  I have “trained” countless baggers to stuff these bags full.  I think they’re scared of overloading them, but I reassure them that the bags are sturdy and will hold more than the flimsy plastic ones.  One cashier knows me and my bags and will instruct the bagger working with her to “fill ‘em full!”  She told one of the young guys that both gallons of milk will fit into one bag.  Disbelieving, he gave her a look that said “no way,” then proceeded to place both gallons of milk into one bag.  He looked at me and said, “Mind.  Equals.  Blown.”  (I think that’s teen-ese for, “That blows my mind!”)

So until the stores start offering free fabric bags instead of plastic or paper, I’m sticking with my homemade version.  They’ve held up for about 7 years, through multiple shopping trips, washings, dryings, and foldings.  I love ‘em!

Progressing down the yellow brick road…

I love spring break!  I can get lots of uninterrupted sewing done.  Here are some pictures to prove it.

This is my progress on Miss S’s pieces.  Her vest (Simplicity  8567) was a little less time-consuming than Miss M’s (New Look 6129), so it’s practically done already.  Since I’m using the same green thread for the dresses and for the rainbow striped vest and apron, I did all those garments first.  (That way, I don’t have to keep changing the thread in the machines.)


This is Miss M’s outfit so far.  Both green dresses (Simplicity 2845) still need side seams, hem, and elastic at the neck and sleeves.  This vest and vest lining are waiting to be put together, and the apron is still 4 separate rectangles.


That was how I left things at bedtime Tuesday night.  Today I made some more strides toward the finished products.

First, the two dresses.  The girls will be here Friday to try them on so I can check hem length and the fit of the elastic around the neck and shoulders.  There will also be elastic at the sleeve hem, but I forgot to measure their upper arms for that.  Oops!  My dress form (I call her Beatrice…don’t ask why) has really broad shoulders, so these girls’ dresses look kind of goofy there.  Trust me, the dresses will look better on Miss M and Miss S!

Miss S is the shorter of the two girls, and wanted a little bit longer sleeve.  Miss M is taller and likes a shorter sleeve.












And here are the almost finished outfits…

Miss S…

…and Miss M.


I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.


Guess how I’m spending my spring break.  Sewing, of course, yes.  But what am I sewing?  A friend asked if I would be interested in making costumes for her daughter (I’ll call her Miss M) and another young lady I know (Miss S).  The girls will be in a stage production of The Wizard of Oz.  When I found out they weren’t cast as the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, or the Scarecrow, I agreed.

The costumes required are green dresses for a scene in the Emerald City, and colorful vests and aprons (worn over the dresses) for a Munchkin scene.  The moms of the girls brought me the fabrics to be used and a pattern for the dresses.  I have vest patterns, and the aprons are simple…no pattern required.  I took the girls’ basic measurements–you know, length for dress, length for apron, length of sleeve, waist, etc.

Here are all the pieces of both girls’ dresses, vests, and aprons, cut out and ready to assemble.  (Really bad pictures taken by me.)

The picture above shows Miss M’s ensemble.  I can hardly wait to see her in that sunshiny vest and cheery floral apron!

The picture below is Miss S’s outfit, with vertical stripes on her rainbow vest and horizontal stripes on the apron.  (The green fabric looks more like the real color in this photo, even though it’s blurry.)

Follow the yellow brick road!