Tag Archives: patterns

Simple Tote Bag Pattern


This simple tote bag pattern is perfect for mass production or beginners.

We made one for each our Girl Scouts bridging up to Brownies.

This would be a great project for any beginning sewer and even a wonderful troop activity, there are many places that will rent out their sewing rooms for an hour or sew. Jo-ann and many other locally owned sewing shops that have machines would welcome troops. Be sure to call ahead and inquire about pricing.

CUT: (seam allowance in included in the pattern)

For one bag you will need:

One piece of fabric  for the main body: 15 inches wide x 34 inches long

Two pieces of fabric for the straps: 3 1/2 inches wide x 24 inches long*

*For child size straps, 20 inches in length works best.

The fabric I used was a medium weight canvas, lightweight would work find as well.




Iron each strap, so that a half inch of the fabric folds to the inside (wrong side) of the fabric. Do this on both lengthwise sides.

Iron the entire strap in half with the two folded edges lining up. Pin the strap so the edges stay together.



Take the large bag piece and fold it in half wrong sides together. (The blue fold arrows will help show where this initial fold is in relation to all the other folds).

Take one layer of the fabric and move it as if to unfold it. Stop 2 inches before the fabric unfolds completely and press the fabric down. This will make a 2 inch pleat.


Your side should look like this when one part of the bag is folded. Flip the bag over to fold the other side the same way.

Your bag should lay like the image on the right. Right sides of the fabric should be together. The bag folds should look like this:

Pin your bag. Once all the items are pinned they should look like this:




Sew the straps along both sides lengthwise, as the blue lines indicate.


Sew the bag, with about 3/8 an inch seam allowance. Sewn pieces should look like this:


I trimmed the seam allowance on my bag with pinking shears, but a small trim and zig zag stitch would work well too.


With your bag still inside out. Fold down and press a 1/2 inch hem around the top of the bag. THEN fold down a 1 inch hem and press. (The 1/2 inch hem will be folded inside the 1 inch hem).


Slide one strap into the folded hem of the bag. The ends of the strap should go flush with the hem fold. Fold the straps up and pin. This will make your straps extra sturdy.

Flip your bag over and repeat with the other strap on the other side of the bag. One strap per side.


Sew the hem with the straps along the top and bottom of the hem fold, as shown above.


Flip your bag inside out and enjoy! The bottom corners of your bag should look like this from the outside:


We designed some iron ons that we printed for us and our girls. Here is my bag after one year of use, with some extra pins.


If there is something I forgot or needs clarification, please comment below.

Happy Sewing!

CHECK YOUR GAUGE and other hard lessons learned.

Yesterday I learned a hard lesson, a very hard lesson. Learned it so well, in fact, that unless due to circumstances beyond my control, I will never, ever be forgetting it.

I mean, I know that the words CHECK YOUR GAUGE, are important, they are almost always all capitalized. However, I never found them necessary due to the project. Mittens, hats, scarfs, small bunnies, even a most complex scarf with a specific pattern. Never have I had to check my gauge. Then a couple of months ago I started a sweater. I thought it would be a wonderful sweater for spring. I used the same exact factory made yarn the pattern suggested. I used the same exact needles it wanted. So I didn’t think to check my gauge, given it was the exact tools needed.

Fast forward through the knitting holidays and a post knitting holiday break and a move and I am back to knitting the sweater. Making extremely good progress. I am about to finish the whole body of the sweater, a Raglan cardigan by the way, when for curiosities sake I decide to measure it. I lay it flat and measure and squint to read the poorly written picture measurements the pattern has and find that I am almost 3 inches short on width. I measure height and I am a little over 2 inches short. Fantastic. I sent an email to the pattern helpers from the site the pattern was from and they emailed me back telling me to check the gauge. Nothing about my mostly made sweater. After many tears, a crafting break down, thinking how I can live sustainably when I can’t create anything, and a long talk with my husband. I felt better. Only slightly though.

Hours later I did go back to the, now so hated, sweater and grabbed the yarn and the needles and sat down to check my gauge. The gauge is supposed to be  18 sts + 25 rows = 4 inches. Using the recommended yarn and needle I finally accomplished the gauge at 22 1/2 sts + 35 rows.

So my question, that I will be asking them, is why have that gauge when it doesn’t even work for the yarn or needles that are suggested for the project. Why not just change the gauge and alter the math or change the required needles. That is what the correspondent told me yesterday, that she checked the math and if I had done the gauge correctly, it would have worked out.

In the end I took a good hard look at the picture of the sweater, decided I absolutely hated the collar, which I really had never noticed before, and unwound the whole project. Done.

I am going to just knit rugs for a couple of weeks now and then maybe I will try again. After first checking my gauge on probably everything from now on.

Other hard lessons learned recently;

I can’t do 5 billion things a day, I am down to 3 billion and quite disappointed.

The movie I have had overdue from the library for a week only had a 30 second snippet about a moldy orange.

The only good story books on mold are ones I can find only on amazon.

That making things for animals need to take priority or else the dog uses the laundry basket for a bed and the sugar glider has a panic attack. (still need to make the dog a bed).

A sewing machine on a light craft table feels like an earthquake to a set of aquatic turtles. Hard lessons handed round that day.

That Thursday is trash day and the trash has to be out early! (husband read this one in particular)

Geckos are not machine washable. (more on that later though).

Geckos are also not capable of going through the dryer. (cringe).

I’ve been setting up for friends to come over for dinner recently, only to realize we have no table and two chairs in our entire house. (This is a preview of a hard lesson I will be learning soon).

That I really don’t like whole wheat flour, if only for the reason that it makes me less hungry than I need to be.

And the hardest lesson learned of all, is that I can’t have 12+ homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, with said whole wheat flour and expect to eat well or sleep well for that day. However, given I am eating a cookie right now, I think this lesson still needs some work.


I am mittened out!

I am finally done with my holiday mitten making. After a pair for an uncle, my mom, myself, my daughter and my brother, I am spent. No more mittens for me for months to come. Whoever didn’t get mittens this year, can definitely expect them next year. Well, they can definitely maybe expect them. No promises though, my suggestion is to just try to go through life without any expectations.

This is the pattern book I used for my mittens this year. I loved it and I will definitely keep this pattern/yarn company in mind.

Patons Mittens and Gloves Book!

It was easy to follow and aside from time-consuming, given they are mittens and there are two of them, (apparently you can’t just make one mitten for a person with two hands and expect them to switch off). It is a great project. I did the first two patterns, Basic two needle mittens, with medium worsted yarn and super fine yarn.

Thank goodness that is finished! No wonder grandmas used to yell at the kiddos for losing their mittens. I have a better understanding of the Jan Brett book The Mitten than ever before.

Happy knitting!

Tea Towels…part one: Homemade applique decoration.

I love tea towels. I adore tea towels, I vow never to buy another dish towel and to only use tea towels for the rest of my life. I will still make some dish towels, occasionally, when the fabric presents itself. Beyond that though, all tea towels, all the time.

I have yet to make myself a tea towel, but over the holiday I made quite a few. They were for my beloved, disbanded book group. They love tea towels too. I didn’t take pictures of the creation process because I was short of time and indecisive about a post. Only written instructions this time and hopefully a re-do is in the future.

Here is a picture of the finished tea towels, with one missing that I had to send off early in a different box.

Here are the instructions;

Homemade Applique For Tea Towels

You will need; a plain tea towel (I know kick me here, I haven’t made a tea towel yet, but you can buy them for cheap, otherwise called flour sack towels),  an image, scissors, scrap fabric in your needed size, double-sided fusible interfacing, thread and a needle.

First you get your tea towel and wash it, then you will have to iron it. That is a hard task, as you can see my tea towels were still a little wrinkly.

Next find an image, online, in a magazine, in a picture. This is silhouette work here, you are going to want to cut out the image or shape, so that it is recognizable but not incredibly detailed. Shadow imagery.

Now get your scrap fabric and find a piece big enough to hold the image. Get some of the interfacing and cut it to the same size of your scrap fabric. Follow interfacing directions to fuse the interfacing to the fabric.

Now grab the section you just fused and trace the image onto it. I traced onto the interfacing, with just a normal pen. My mistake: See how one of the girls is facing the other way? The one on the bottom left. Ya oops. When tracing on the interfacing be sure to remember that it is the equivalent of tracing on the wrong side of the fabric and change the direction of your image. For example, for the bottom left towel I had the image top facing me, for the rest I had the image top facing the fabric.

Now cut the image out.

Following interfacing directions again, fuse the image to the tea towel.

Wait for it to cool.

Now grab some thread that matches you fabric and a needle and hand sew around the inside of the image.

Tie the thread off and enjoy!

You can see all the little stitches above. You can do a more decorative stitch, but I didn’t want to take away from my images and only did a running stitch. I also did a two ply of thread, which means, I pulled the thread through my needle and then kept pulling it and had it meet up with the spool, cut and tied off the ends together, so instead of just sewing with one long string. I had two piece of thread, looped through the needle and tied at the end.

In the end you won’t really even be able to see the stitching.

These were lots of fun and very easy too.

Happy Tea Toweling!

*Note on my image. It is originally a wood carving, I can not find the image or the site again and I wish I could, it is beautiful work.

Knitted Dishcloths!

So the holidays were crazy, right? Right.

They always are. I had just forgotten how much crazier they are when you are actually around family. I had also forgotten how long it takes me to make presents, I was running short on time and patience and needed something simple and new to make. I have been making/knitting presents for close family and friends for the past 3 years. The first year was scarfs, the next year was hats, the third year was more scarfs and hats. This year though I wanted to try something new, I wanted to make mittens. Which I did do, for some people. Unfortunately mittens are a little more time-consuming and since, again, I was running short on time I desperately searched the interwebs for something, anything. I found this site!

Knitting Pattern Central

That is a link to the dish cloths page, but the website is loaded with tons and tons and tons of free patterns. Lots of cute and clever things! I fell in love with these dish cloths and all the different designs.

State Dishcloth Patterns

This link is to dishcloth patterns for every state!!! Most of them contain the shape of the state as well as the state abbreviation. I love state stuff! States, states, states!!!!

All of these patterns are so easy, fast and are perfect for beginning knitters who need to practice the simple stitches. Here are pictures of some of the ones I made. They go very fast too, without interruptions I say it would take 1-2 hours max. Timing is hard to gauge with a preschooler and eighty billion other distractions, it would take me 3 max, with the interruptions.

This was the first dishcloth I made for Halloween! Adorable spider!!As you can see, for most of the patterns the contrasting stitches make the design.

This one is called Irish Moss. I love it. I made a couple of these.



I love these dish cloths! They can be used for cleaning, dusting, scrubbing, dishes, mopping, sopping, anything!! Possibilities limitless once again!!!

However, you will want to use 100% cotton yarn to make these. They work the best for cleaning. They hold up well in the wash too. No hand-washing needed. Which is why the yarn is so nice. Sugar n’ Cream is the main brand, pretty cheap, especially if you can find it on sale. One skein of Sugar n’ Cream (2 oz) will make 2 dish cloths, with a little left over.

I can not wait to make a million of these for my house! I am never buying wash cloths again! Hooray!!!


Felt Tree.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Oh wait…that’s right the holiday season is over…hmm. Well so is this project, how convenient.

I wanted to try really hard and hold off posting this project until next November, but I can’t do that, I need to abolish as many free radicals as I can, this blog post being one of them. However, this tree can be modified and used in many different ways. It could be a thankful tree for Thanksgiving, a countdown to spring tree, a days of the month tree, a goal tree, anything really, options limitless.

This project is a lot of fun and a lot of work. Fair warning. Here is a picture of the completed project, I made it a little too big, I was making it up as I went, winging it, measuring for potential, going for…well you get the idea.

Here is what you will need for this project:

Lots and lots of felt in many different colors, lots of the small 8 x 11 rectangle sheets and one yard each of two different colors of big felt, (we got two yards each, but really you only need one), tacky glue, needle, sewing floss in any color, scissors, velcro (only the super stick side), sharpie and some patience.

1. Lay out the background color or big felt. The measurements should be around 70 inches by 36 inches. A big rectangle. Adjust and cut down to the size you prefer. (Mistake time! I really would have done half the above size. I just kept it at a yard, but I think a half yard by 36 inches would have been better.)

2. Lay out your tree color and cut it the same size or slightly smaller than the size of your background color.

This is a picture of our tree color uncut, so monstrous, I apologize for lack of measurements, but this is 2 yards of 70+ inch wide felt. We just cut it down that line in the center. Our ending size was around 72 inches by 36 inches.

3. Using your best drawing skills, free hand what you think a tree might look like. Unless you have any art talent, unlike me, I find it is best to just jump in the deep end and start swimming. In other words, even if you have absolutely no idea what you are doing, like me, it is okay to just do it. Have faith and confidence that it will look like a tree and it will.

4. Get your little helper and start cutting!

5. Lay out your tree on top of your background and adjust as needed. This may mean trimming some branches.

6. Start gluing down the tree. You may glue down more than I did, I only glued slightly because of the next, optional step.

7. Pin the tree. (optional).

8. Sew the tree down to the felt. (optional). (You can do this if you have a sewing machine, but more glue would work just fine too).

9. Once the tree is firmly set on the background, roll it up and set it aside.

10. Go to the internets! Hello internets!!! Tell it you need leaves. I would look for leaf coloring pages and cut and paste as needed and print them off, to a good size that would work for your tree. We used five different varieties.

11. Get your little snug bug and let her cut away! It is cowgirl cuttin’ time!

12. Lay out your leaves onto a piece of felt and trace over them. The tracing works best with a sharpie.

13. Take a second piece of felt and flip the leaves over and trace them. You want the leaves to be able to sandwich together with the sharpie part on the inside.

Of course try to fit as many leaves as you can onto the felt. We did a bunch of sheets with only five leaves and then I figured out how to put six on there. It made me happy. We had a lot of leaves to cut out.

14. Repeat steps 12 and 13 until you have as many leaves as you need. We needed 31, one for each day of November.

15. Cut out numbers, however many you need, again we needed 1-31 and glue them onto the leaves. You can trace or write or free hand cut the numbers. I did free hand and they turned out fine.

16. Take a small square of velcro and glue it on the back of the leaf. Glue should work just fine, I sewed mine, I have no idea why I sewed 31 little squares onto leaves. I confuse even myself on the best days.

17. Now you have a happy little leaf ready to be put together.

18. (optional) Take some colored floss, sewing not dental, and a needle and add some pretty stitches around the numbers. It in no way helps the function of the product, it just enhances it and makes it look pretty.

19. Adhere the two sides of the leaf together. You can use glue again, or a sewing machine, or if you have time and talent you can use more floss and stitch the sides.

19-2. Mistake Time!! When sewing the two sides together, you should double-check to make sure the velcro is on the outside of the leaf.

(side note: my nails are black and white striped because I had just read Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, it is amazing! I loved every minute of that book).

20. Once your leaf pocket is complete you can put a little note or treat or whatever into it. This is our first note of thanks, Snug had been thinking about it for days and this is what she came up with; “Snug is thankful for her skeleton pajamas and slippers.”

I worried for a couple of days about her placing so much importance on items, but her thankful notes got better or more significant as the leaves wore on. Not that skeleton pajamas aren’t pretty cool or something we shouldn’t be thankful for, I was just trying to get her to see a bigger picture.

21. Go ahead and stick that leaf on the tree!

It looks wonderful and stays very well, thanks to the velcro.

22. Repeat steps, 15 through 20 until you have all the leaves you need. If at one point your table looks like this, you are going great!

Or so you think. In you mass assembly of leaves don’t make my mistake, one of these is supposed to be 19. The one on the right to be exact. I have no idea how this happened and I didn’t even realize it until I was already done stitching another 6. Whoops. Let’s see if we can fix this.

Nope, there is no fixing that. Maybe next year.

Snug had a wonderful time putting the leaves on the tree.

You could do them in number order or by color, by leave shape, by even numbers, by thankful category. Again and as always the options are fairly limitless.

23. Once you are done categorizing your leaves, take a strip of felt any color. Snug chose bright green. You can glue this, but depending on the weight of your tree with all the leaves, I would/did sew it. We did three tag type hooks. However, you could do more and get a wooden dowel to hang the tags on. That would be nice.

Here is a view of the back.

24. Hang and admire!

The end.

I ♡ Vinatge: Patterns!

The other day my mom and I were at Savers. I had never been to a Savers before. They are a thrift stores that are privately chain owned and support local community programs, local charities and local non-profits. Also they usually advertise that if you donate items they will give you a 20% off coupon. That is pretty exciting.

Local, thrifty, coupons, I like all these things.

We found some fun stuff there, but my favorite thing we found were the patterns. We found a ton of patterns. We also found a couple at the goodwill too.

Now while we found a ton, I only picked up a couple, that eventually I would be willing to make.

I love them!

My suggestion is to pick them up when you find them. Pattern reprints are hard to come by for the average person and are very expensive (in comparison to the average price of a pattern).

This way you can mix and match and gather inspiration.

Now I have to get some pattern tracing paper.

Though I doubt I will be able to find that at a thrift store.

Happy hunting!!!