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Personalized ski bags, color coded for each family

Well I finally did it. With Christmas just around the corner I finally had to jump right in and make the Christmas ski bags I had been planning on creating for my kids and my nieces and nephews. The whole idea for the ski bags were to a) help keep the kids’ ski accessories organized and b) provide a spot to stitch on patches from all the ski resorts the kids have visited.

The project was a bit daunting because it involved dying the tote bags first. I purchase the bags from Dharma trading company but they were a boring generic tan color. I wanted to make my kids’ bags a different color from their cousins so that they could easily be differentiated. So I ordered some dye with my bags from Dharma.

The dye packets presented two different methods: the stove top method and the washing machine method. I chose the stove top method because the instructions stated that this method would yield a more intense color. I was also a bit concerned about staining my washing machine with the dye.

The problem with the stovetop method was that packing three totes into a soup pot made it hard to ensure even dispersal of color on the bags. They were coming out a bit splotchy. After seeing this I decided to opt for the washing machine method which did help in evening out the color on the totes.  The dye did, in fact, stain my washer, but after I ran a load of bleach water, it cleaned it right up.

For the design on the bag – I used my skier embroidery design with customizable initials.  I originally made this as an appliqué design but I also created a small, filled embroidered version which fits in a 4″ x 4″ hoop and it stitched out quite nicely on the tote.

The totes have already been put to use as both families have already skied since Christmas. We stopped at Wintergreen resort in Virginia and it was great to have all the kids’ ski stuff organized in the new totes.  My sister’s family took theirs out to Keystone, Colorado.

While we were at Wintergreen, in an effort to start decorating the bags, I popped into the gift shop to buy Wintergreen ski resort patches.  Here’s the kicker – they don’t have any!!!! It looks like I will be making my own… the subject for a future blog post I’m sure.2013-12-30 07.49.59

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Personalized skier embroidery and applique design

Skier embroidery design
Skier embroidery design

Last week – at the 11th hour – I whipped up a cute, personalized skier appliquéd t-shirt for my nephew, Wilson, who turned 9. I had a hard time coming up with this idea. I mean – nine is a tricky age – you can’t do anything too cutesy. Anyway – the shirt was a hit and got some big likes from my Facebook embroidery friends.

All of their positive reinforcement motivated me to set up the file to offer on my Etsy store. First – I realized that the triple stitch appliqué version wouldn’t work very well at a smaller scale as it would be very difficult to trim around the edges. So – when I scaled it down to fit in a 4″ x 4″ hoop – I made it a filled embroidery design.

In making the shirt for my nephew – I added his initials down the side of the skier to balance it out. So for the file on the Etsy store, I saved out each letter separately so that anyone can add any set of initials to the design. I also created two sets of the letters at two different sizes to work with the larger and the smaller design. Whew! Finally done.

Now that I’ve gotten the file done and uploaded, I think my next plan is to use this design on ski bags for the kids for Christmas. I think personalized ski accessory bags will be a great way to keep track of everyone’s hat, gloves, goggles, etc…

Check out the skier design on my Etsy store. Hope you enjoy the design as much as my nephew did.

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Skier appliqué shirt for my nephew, Wilson

personalized skier applique design
personalized skier applique design

Sometimes the projects I make turn out like crap – but occasionally I make something and I just FREAKING HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK. Today was one of those day – despite the fact that it wasn’t looking like that initially.

Let me explain.  My nephew turned nine today.  But at this time last night I had no idea what I was going to give him. I wanted to make him something, however nine is a tricky age. Anything I made him couldn’t be too cutesy because after all –  he’s nine.  Whatever I made had to be cool.

I got the idea to appliqué a thermal shirt with the silhouette of a skier mid jump. It seemed appropriate because skiing is something we like to do together and my little nephew, Wilson, is a total hotdog.

So I digitized the silhouette of a skier in the triple stitch style of the bucking horse appliqué I made a while back, and I stitched it out with a knit appliqué fabric, trimming the shape and leaving the edges raw.

The stitching went fine – but unfortunately after I was done I noticed the appliqué looked off-center. I considered trashing the whole shirt.  Then I recalled what one of my Facebook embroidery friends had said a while back… “almost anything can be fixed.”

I got the idea that I could balance  the off-centered design by adding Wilson’s initials down the side of the skier. So I put the shirt back on the hoop and started stitching.

It turned out PERFECTLY!!!  In fact Wilson loved it so much he ran in to show his family the shirt after he opened the gift, and by the end of the night he was modeling the shirt. Success.