Five little zippered pouches

A couple weeks before Aurora was born, some friends hosted a brunch for me. Because this is baby #3 for me, I was really humbled that they still wanted to have a baby “sprinkle” in my honor. It’s always nice to have a reason to get together with your girl friends, I guess! I decided to make them each a little hostess gift.

Five zippered pouches

Because I decided on this project late, these are simple, “no frills” zip pouches. Just outside, lining, and a fun colored zipper.

Five zippered pouches

They are each about 8 x 4.5 inches, if I remember correctly, so they will work well for a little wallet or cosmetic bag or a place to keep smaller items in a larger bag.

Five zippered pouches

I tried to choose the fabrics that reminded me of each friend, or that I already knew they liked. I hope they enjoy their little bit of handmade fun!

Five zippered pouches

Custom “fill in the blank” tote

I had a request for a bag that a 3-year-old child could be involved in “designing”.

Mary wanted to purchase a bag for her daughter and have her granddaughter add some artwork to it.  She said that she had some fabric that she wanted me to use in the construction of the bag and that she would sew on some patches later with her granddaughter’s drawings.

When I went to pick up her fabric, I realized it was a heavy weight fabric, like I would use on the inside of one of my totes.

I suddenly had a brilliant idea.  I would use her fabric on the inside of the bag.

Fill in the blank tote inside

The next day, I brought selections of a few different color combinations to show Mary.  She chose the one you see in the photos, and I created a patchwork bag that included several patches of white fabric.  She could purchase some fabric markers and guide her granddaughter in adding artwork before she gave the bag to her daughter.  It would save her the trouble of sewing on patches later.

The bag includes “blank canvas” patches of various sizes, and I was sure to include one that would be large enough for a 3-year-old’s handprint (I used my 4-year-old as a model. Handy that I had one of those around!)

Fill in the blank tote side 2

There’s plenty of room for drawings on the front and more on the back!

Fill in the blank tote

The bag has a small accessories pocket for all those small things the recipient wants to find easily.

Fill in the blank tote: zipper pocket Fill in the blank tote: pocket I’ve requested a photo of this bag when it’s “finished” with the art embellishments.  This was a fun project for me, I can’t wait to see the final version.

The laundry basket project

When one has demonstrated some sewing talent, there are sometimes requests for help with unexpected projects.

A friend has a frame that sets on some wheels and holds a bag, which she uses to cart her laundry from her house to her line.  The old bag had started to rip along one of the corners, so she asked me if I could help her construct a new one.

I used a home dec weight fabric, hoping that it would last longer than the previous laundry cart bag, which was made with a lighter weight fabric.  I also doubled the thickness where the bag attaches to the frame.

The previous bag was permanently sewn to the frame, but I wanted to make this one removable in case she wanted to take it off and wash it.  I used long strips of 1.5 inch velcro.  Since I didn’t presently have a load of wet laundry to see if the velcro would hold, I used a small child instead.  It seems to work.

The velcro is simply attached to the outside of the bag, and the upper sections fold over the frame to secure.

And my friend has her laundry cart back in action.

Just a little clutch

A quick clutch ordered as a gift for a new mom.  I must say, as a mom myself, this clutch is perfect for keeping all the “mom stuff” separate from all the “baby stuff.”  I have a clutch with just this design that I slide right in the top of my diaper bag.

And I’m completely crushing on the yellow and gray combination right now.  Love!  Plus, those chevrons.  Seriously, what’s not to like?  I certainly hope the recipient agrees!

The accent and lining on this clutch are organic cotton, part of the Cut Out & Keep line by Cloud9 Fabrics.  An inside zipper pocket is a great place to stash all those little items!

Do you like this clutch?  You can win one of the same design.  There’s just ONE DAY LEFT to enter the Grand Opening Giveaway!

Kid’s sports bag/cinch sac: a tutorial

My 4-year-old daughter is signed up to play soccer for the first time this fall.  She was in need of a little bag to carry her cleats and shin guards to and from practice and games.  She looked at fabric with me and we found this great soccer monkey fabric (she’s thrilled there are GIRL monkeys on the fabric) in green (her favorite color).  Thank you Michael Miller!

This tutorial is for a soccer or sports bag for a child.  It has a cinch top and the straps can be used as a backpack.  The measurements I will give you are for a small bag; just large enough for a 4-year-old’s cleats and shin guards.  If you have an older child (with larger gear) or you want to fit more in the bag, you’ll have to size up accordingly.

Cutting directions:

Straps: Cut two strips of fabric, 3 inches x width of fabric.  I actually would have preferred my straps just a couple inches longer, but I didn’t feel like piecing the strips for just a couple inches.  If you are making a larger bag, you will need to add some length to your straps.  

Bag body:  Cut on the fold.  Cut one  rectangle of fabric, 9 inches x 13 inches with the fold along one of the 9 inch sides.  When you open the fabric along the fold, your piece will be 9 inches x 26 inches.

Pocket:  My daughter requested a pocket with a button.  So that is what she got.  I figure it will be good for hair ties.  Maybe a granola bar.  You’re welcome to leave it off if you don’t want/need a pocket.  Cut on the fold.  I made my pocket 8 inches x 5.5 inches with the fold along the 8 inch side.  When opened, the pocket piece is 8 inches x 11 inches.  Pocket flap: I simply moved my ruler up from the cut I made for the pocket and cut TWO pieces 8 inches x 2.5 inches.

Constructing the straps

Fold each strip in half, lengthwise.  Press the fold.  Open the strip back up.  Fold one raw edge to the center and press.  Then fold the second raw edge to the center and press.  Fold the strip in half again, enclosing both raw edges in the center.

Topstitch along the length of the strap, very close to the open edge.  I like to topstitch along the opposite edge as well so that the strap looks more even.

Creating the pocket

With a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew along each of the 5.5 inch edges of your pocket piece.  Clip the corners.  Turn the pocket right side out, poking out the corners.  Press.  Topstitch about 1/4 inch or less away from the fold.  This will be the top of your pocket.

Center the pocket on the bag, with the bottom edge of the pocket 3-1/4 inches from the bottom of the bag (the fold along the 9-inch edge will be the bottom of the bag).  The pocket and the bag should be right sides together, so the inside of the pocket will be facing up.  The pocket will be placed upside down on the bag, so the bottom of the pocket (the raw edge) will be nearer the top of the bag, and the top of the pocket (the folded edge) will extend below the bottom of the bag.  

Unfold the bag and sew the pocket to the bag, 1/4 inch below the raw edge of the pocket.  Fold the pocket up over the raw edge, enclosing it inside the pocket and press.  Topstitch along the two sides of the pocket, close to the edge, to attach the pocket to the bag.

Creating the pocket flap

With right sides together, sew the two 8 inch x 2.5 inch pieces together along three sides.  You can see in the photos below, I decided to angle the edges of my pocket flap.  To do this, I simply measured 1 inch from the end of each line of stitching and drew a line connecting the adjacent sides.  I sewed along the line, and then trimmed to about 1/4 inch outside the stitches.

Turn the pocket flap right side out and press.  Topstitch around the sewn edges.  Decide on the placement of your button and mark for the button hole.  All sewing machines are different, so you will have to check your manual for directions on how to create a buttonhole to fit where you marked.  Carefully cut the buttonhole open.

Pin the pocket flap on the bag, right sides together, about 1/4 inch above the top edge of the pocket.  The raw edge of the pocket flap will be near the top of the pocket and the bottom of the pocket flap will be up toward the top of the bag.  Sew the pocket flap to the bag, just under 1/4 inch from the raw edge of the flap.  Press the flap down toward the pocket.  Sew along top of the pocket flap, just over 1/4 inch from the fold, enclosing the raw edge.

Mark where the buttonhole falls on your pocket.  Attach the button.  I ordered the monkey buttons ages ago from this Etsy shop.  Her buttons are darling and well made, and I just clicked over there and her selection is even better than when I ordered.

Sewing the bag

Fold the bag in half, right sides together, along the same fold you used when you cut out the fabric.  Place a pin 1-3/4 inches from the top edge of the bag, and another pin 3 inches from the top of the bag.  Do this on both edges of the bag.  Sew along each side of the bag from top to bottom, ending at the first pin with a backstitch and leaving a space between the two pins.  Leave about 1-1/2 inches at the bottom of the bag open as well

Iron each of the side seams open and sew the seam allowances to the bag from the top of the bag to the bottom of the upper gap in the seam.  (My gap in the pictures below is higher than it should be.  You gap will begin 1-3/4 inches from the top of the bag and end 3 inches from the top of the bag.)  

Fold the top of the bag down 1/2 inch all the way around.  Press.  Fold down an additional 1-1/4 inches (to the top of the gap).  Press.  This will position the gap you left on the outside of the bag, and it will allow the straps to pass through the casing to the outside of the bag.  Do not stitch down the casing just yet.

Attaching the straps

Fold each strap in half, placing them in opposite directions above the bag.  Tuck each strap under the casing, maintaining their respective positions.  Push the loose ends of one strap through the gap in the right side of the bag.  The strap will circle the bag under the casing, with one loose end entering the gap from the front and the other loose end entering the gap from the back.  Push the loose ends of the other strap through the gap in the left side of the bag.

Tuck both straps fully under the casing.  Be careful not to catch the straps in your stitching, and sew the casing down, very close to the edge.

Turn the bag right side out.  Pull each strap to make the ends even and insert them back into the gap you left at the bottom of the bag.  I placed a pin on each strap just to keep it in place until I was ready to sew.  Once again, turn the bag inside out.  Sew up the last bit of the bottom of the side seam, catching the loose ends of the strap in your stitching.  (In the last photo, I drew in the approximate position of the straps as they would appear on the opposite side of the bag.)

Trim the seam allowances with pinking shears to prevent unnecessary fraying.

One soccer cinch sac/backpack!

And a very happy little soccer player!


Mother-daughter clutches

My friend Lorae requested a clutch from me months and months ago.  It’s been so long ago now, that I’m actually embarrassed by how long it has taken me to put this project for my sweet friend on the top of my priority list.

Last week, she chose some fabrics for a clutch for her mother as well.  I am happy to say that in under a week, I finished both of them!  That’s more like it.

The navy on Lorae’s clutch is Lizzy House Outfoxed Jewels deep purple (though it really is more blue than purple).  The band is Michael Miller Whimsy ditto dot accented by a Kona solid that is a yellow-gold color (not sure which one).

That same yellow accent provides a nice pop of color on the inside of the bag.

Her mom has this gorgeous yellow and gray version.  I’m loving this combination of colors.  The floral is Moda Salt Air Coral Blooms and the yellow dot is part of the Clothworks Joined at the Hip line.  I love it and I really wish I had more.  Too bad.  The gray accent is a print from Silent Cinema.

Quilt square pouch + mini patchwork pouch

My youngest sister called me the other day and her lead in was this: “Em!  I think you should go back to school and get another degree!”
Me: “Um … no.”
She:  “Yes!  You really should get another degree in fashion design.”
Me:  “Ah.  So, I guess your gifts arrived and you like them?”

I was intending to make Jenn a quilt square pouch for Christmas, but it got pushed to the back burner and I didn’t get around to it until now, just in time for her birthday.  I used the quilt square I made for my sunset squared tutorial.   It’s a 12-inch quilt block, and resulted in a 12-inch square pouch.

All I had to do was add a fun, red zipper.

I picked this Michael Miller fabric to line it because it’s a great black-white-red print that coordinated with the colors in the quilt square.

I used Kona black for the back and added a patchwork strip made from the fabrics in the front of the pouch.

Since I was so terribly late on the Christmas gift, I gave myself penance and constructed a tricky patchwork pouch for her accompanying birthday gift.  The design is simple, but the tricky part is that the patchwork squares finish at just 1 inch!

I kept the reverse simple with this cute black and white polka dot print.

And I tied the two bags together as a “set” by using the same red zipper on the mini pouch.

I lined the little one with the same print as the larger one as well.

Here they are together, ready for sis to pack them up for her travels.  I think they are a great set.  The big one is large enough to pack delicates or other things you don’t want getting lost in your luggage, but it’s small enough that it can still be shoved in to the corner of a larger bag.  The mini pouch could be used for cosmetics, or jewelry, change, or even an iPod and ear buds!

Enjoy, little sister!!

Sometimes I make stuff for ME

Back in December, I made a clutch for a gift exchange the night before the gift exchange.  Sheesh!  Talk about procrastination.  Anyway, I loved it so very much that I decided to make one (almost) just like it for myself.

I like to have a clutch to carry around because I can just slide it in the top of my diaper bag and then all my things are right there and handy, and when I don’t need the diaper bag, I don’t need to worry about transferring my things to another bag!

The main fabric and the accent band are both from Michael Miller’s Pretty Bird.  I added a little detachable wrist strap.

I got this little crochet flower from the Heather Ross studio sale a year ago and it seemed just perfect for this bag!  Now, I want to learn how to crochet little flowers.  This clutch is one of the products I hope to have in my store, and I would love to have the crochet flower as an option because I just love the look.  I happened upon a crochet hook when I was cleaning out my desk last week (can you say “random”) and my friend Laura says she learned to crochet by watching YouTube videos, so there may be hope for me.

I was careful to center the birds on the back.

The inside is lined with a print by Denyse Schmidt and has a little zippered pocket (that I sadly couldn’t include on the original gifted one because I was so short on time).

Dance bag take 2

I loved the way the first dance bag I made turned out.  I loved it so much that I made one for Sierra as well.  She started dance back in September and since then she’s been carrying this way-too-big-for-a-3-year-old cinch bag that I got at a triathlon.  It worked in that it carried stuff, but it wasn’t ideal.

Sierra’s favorite color is green, so I used this fun polka dot fabric and made the dancer applique in green.  Fun!

Like the last dance bag, I added a fun detail with the green hardware on the bag.

The dance bag has a large velcro pocket on the back and the flap is secured with velcro as well for easy in/easy out for a 3-year-old.

The inside is: green denim!  Do you think I overdid the green?  I don’t think so; Sierra loves it, and that’s the most important thing.

As I was making this (second) dance bag, I realized that this size of small messenger bag is exactly the size and sort of bag I preferred to carry before I was carrying a diaper bag most of the time.  Which led me to think that perhaps with an additional pocket and longer straps, I could make these for grown-ups as well.  If only there were a way to find out if people would be interested.  Guess I’ll never know if I don’t just go for it, right?

Custom dance bag

My friend Phoebe asked to make a dance bag for her daughter.  “It’s time she stopped carrying that tote bag I got at a conference a few years back,” she said.  (I know the feeling; my daughter’s dance bag is something I got at a triathlon many years ago!)

Phoebe told me that her daughter loved anything purple and pink and that it might be fun to incorporate some tulle into the design.  She wanted it to be easy for her young daughter to open and get her things.  I came up with this messenger style bag.

I drew the silhouette of the dancer and when I was happy with her, traced her on to freezer paper and then cut her out in fabric.  When Phoebe mentioned “tulle”, I originally thought I might do a dancer applique and make her skirt out of tulle.  In the end though, I thought that might be too easy to snag and decided to add tulle under some coordinating fabric ribbon next to the dancer.

Since it needed to be easy for a little one to open and close, I kept the closure simple with two strips of velcro.

There is a large velcro closure pocket on the back of the bag.

And an inside zip pocket to keep any small items that might get lost.

The details of this bag are really fun.  The tulle has some glitter in it and since I had to order loops and sliders for the width of this strap anyway, I went with pink instead of the standard black.

I am really pleased with how this bag turned out and I think that a child sized messenger bag might be one of the products I offer when I get my online store up and running.  This bag is 8 x 11 x 3 inches and the strap adjusts from 18 – 36 inches so that a young person can carry it over her shoulder or slung across her body.