Tag Archives: Sewing

Simple Overlap Pillowcases


I made two pillowcases the other day. I was feeling intimidated by fitting (I’ve been reading books that are at a much more advanced level of sewing than I am) and needed to do something to boost my confidence.

I purchased two “European Style” pillows at Ross the other week that I thought would make good couch cushions. They were 24 inch squares, and I didn’t have anything to cover them, so I used some of the yoga bag project seersucker material and made them cases. Now they’re on the couch and being used instead of sitting in their plastic covers waiting for me!

I used the seersucker weave to get my cuts straight, and each pillowcase was a rectangle 25″ tall and 33″ long. That gave me 1/2″ seam/hem allowances and 4″ of overlap on the back of the pillowcase, so I didn’t have to bother putting a zipper in for a closure. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of my work in progress, but I do have a couple of the finished product! The pictures have a bit of a greenish tinge, but it’s really a natural, unbleached cotton color.


Pillow 1

I used the yoga bag seersucker fabric.

Pillow 2
The 4″ overlap worked out just right!




I’m proud of how nice and straight my hem turned out!

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The Great Yoga Bag Project

The Great Yoga Bag Project

I may be on temporary hiatus from sewing while my wrist heals (no scissors), but I can still write about sewing. One of my big projects I’m working on is designing a yoga tote bag. It actually started with a surplus of fabric that would work great for a bag to carry my yoga mat in, and the fact that the bags I’m using right now aren’t designed for yoga mats. I’m the kind of person who can think of several personalized improvements to any bag or purse that would work better for me, so I decided, why not make several of these and give them to friends? Because if there is one thing better than making something awesome for yourself, it’s making something awesome for someone you care about.

I began with my requirements. There are basically two types of yoga bags–one where the rolled-up mat lies horizontally, and the other, often called a sling, where the rolled mat is vertical. Since I have a tendency to make quick turns in the near vicinity of others, a vertical bag was a must. But I have some other necessaries I want to take to class too, and for that, I need more room. My bright idea was to put a flat pouch sticking off the side of the tube where the mat goes, attached to the carry strap in some way. I tried to explain this to my sweetie and he requested a drawing around this point. I’m going to do one better, and make a 3D model in Sketchup.

My Bag Design3

Three-dimensional awesomeness.

So what do I need to bring to class? None of the pants I like to wear to yoga have any pockets, so everything I need will have to fit: a water bottle, a towel, ID/money, keys, phone, maybe a book, an ankle brace, and my emergency medications, which include an inhaler, an epipen, and some pills. Could throw a strap in there too. This thing is feeling heavy already!

Thinking about the physics of it, it seemed like a yoga mat, even with a bag of goodies hanging off one side of the bottom, is not going to stay vertical on its own–it’s going to slide, unless you hold the strap at your shoulder in place with one hand, like if you put your backpack on only one shoulder. My heaviest requirement is a bottle of water, and I figure I could use that as a counterweight, at least when it’s full, to keep the mat upright. So to be most effective as a counterweight, it will have to go at the far end of the pouch. I like those water bottle holders made of mesh, with elastic on top, so you can fit a nalgene but a store-bought bottle won’t fall out, thanks to the elastic. And while I have mesh, I should make the tube for the mat breathe so I don’t have to take the mat out when you I home. I looked online and most of the slings that claimed to breathe had this funny ring of mesh around the middle of the tube, so the mat would block most of the air flow.. It makes more sense to me to have it on each end, so there can actually be airflow. I also thought the pouch should have an outside mesh pouch for the towel, so it doesn’t make my book all sweaty. A keyring and a small pocket for money and ID would be great on the inside.

My Bag Design4

Someone got tired of messing with Sketchup and just wanted to get the point across. The tiniest text, left to right, says “Elastic Top” and then “Magnet Pocket Closure”

For closures, I can use drawstring at the top of the tube, and a zipper on top of the pouch and for the inner wallet pocket. I don’t want my towel to fall out of the outside pocket, so I think a magnet would be good there. Add some trim, lining, and zipper pull charms (a trick of my mother’s that I just love) and it sounds like the perfect yoga bag to me! Can’t wait to start actually putting a few together!

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Introduction to Attempting Perfection


Hi there! My name is Jessica, and you’ve found my blog. Welcome!
I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a long time. Not just because various people have suggested it, although that did help move things along. But I think my primary motivation for something like this is to know that I’m not alone in what I’m going through in my life, and to let others know that they aren’t either. I want this blog to build a little community. Internet community is something I want to talk more about here, because the idea of community as something we (as Americans) have lost as far as the original, in-person definition goes, but something we’ve also tried to recreate online, is something that fascinates me. I’m interested in exploring the strengths and weaknesses of online community, as well as how well it works to fill the human need for community that has not kept up with our changing world.


But community isn’t the only thing I want to talk about.  One relatively recent but very major aspect of my life is that I am disabled. A stumble down some stairs and a twisted ankle in July 2009 developed into a nightmarish permanent nerve pain condition that changed my life completely. I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which used to be called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). Both of these long, acronymed terms really mean that it is real, but modern medicine doesn’t understand it very well. We don’t know why it happens, and we don’t know how to cure it. I want to share my experiences with being in pain every day because I think most people don’t have a good idea of what this involves. There are some legal issues with the way pain medications are controlled that I think would be improved if more people knew better what it’s like to need these medications. And I hope to connect to others that deal with pain so I can share my techniques for living with this condition and learn about how they do it too.


I have several other interests I’d like to discuss as well. I’m very creative, and I’m almost always working on some project or other. I plan to discuss these as I work on them. Lately, I’ve been learning how to sew, and I’m hoping to learn how to design my own patterns as I figure out what I’m doing, so you’ll be seeing some sewing projects develop here.  I also have some art and musical projects simmering on back burners that could come into focus again as well. And this new craft of blogging will be on my mind too.


My career before I became disabled was in aquatic animal husbandry, and I studied zoology and behavior at school.

American Hairless Terrier - Tagnon

American Hairless Terrier – Tagnon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I realized I would no longer be working with animals every day, I knew I needed to have animals at home. So I adopted two American Hairless Terriers–as someone with severe allergies to everything airborne, including animal dander, this is the only breed of dog I can live with and stay healthy–and had them shipped out to Guam. They are wonderful little creatures and do me worlds of good, keeping me walking when I’d rather lie around, making me laugh, giving me someone besides myself to fuss over, and letting me know every day that I am loved. They have interesting personality quirks and funny habits, and Crackers, the male, has some  pretty serious behavioral issues from his prior life. I’ll be talking about the work I’m doing with his training and diet and how he’s responding to that. And I’m always looking for ways to make my beloved dogs’ lives better, so there will be talk of toys, food, treats, and and other dog care products and tips. I’m also happy to share info on taking care of fish if anyone has questions.


Finally, I’m currently learning a lot about yoga and meditation, as I practice these disciplines. It began as a way to cope with my pain condition, but I’ve found that these activities affect my life more profoundly than mere pain-control, and so they will get their own category. I’m hoping someday to become a  yoga therapist, and help others discover some of these methods that have been so beneficial to me.


It’s going to take me a little while to get up to full speed with this blog (I don’t even know what that is going to be yet!), so for the moment I’m not advertising this blog anywhere. Once I feel like I’m getting the hang of it, I’ll put the word out. I want this to have some dialogue, so please feel free to leave any questions or comments. There will be a comment policy put together soon to make sure things are civil, but I don’t object to differences of opinion or constructive criticism.
Until next time!



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