Tag Archives: sewing

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!

St. Patrick’s Day!

So much for the Valentine’s post I had planned. The pictures are somewhere and hopefully I will get around posting it this week. Though I may wait until April 14th, then I will be an even two months late.

This St. Patrick’s day was ridiculous. I don’t know what came over me! I might as well have thrown all of my standards off the side of a cliff.

First off, I finally made another tutorial I found on pinterest! The instructions for the adorable little shirt we made came from The Life of a Cheap Chickadee.



We obviously went for the greens and golds, being St. Patrick’s day and I only stayed up until 12:30am the night before finishing it. (This was mainly due to the fact that I refused to get up to start the project until after 10:30pm.) With that said, it is a great little project and perfect if you need a green shirt at the last-minute, since you daughter’s closet is stocked with every hue of pink, but not a speck of green.

This is also a wonderful up-cycling project, if you have a shirt that is too short in the tummy or has spots on the lower parts. You can use old t-shirts to make the ruffles.


Some tips I found out while sewing; cut the strips whatever width, but make them at least three times longer than the width of your shirt (I did this by just measuring across the front of the shirt three times with one of the strips, then cutting off the excess). Make a plan of where you want your tie band to be and then work up from the bottom to that point. Last, the shirt we used was very light and thin, it might have been better to use a slightly heavier jersey, that will better hold the weight of the ruffles.

IMG_7749This year has been busy and the house looked nice, so I did not want a “visit” from any sort of “leprechaun” messing everything up. However, silly me, has done this in the past. Made a pile of books in the middles of the floor, spread shamrocks, dressed up stuffed animals, something to that effect. (Maybe it is something about St. Patrick’s day that causes my morals to slip). I had remembered doing it and the snug had too. While she wasn’t really wondering why the leprechaun hadn’t come, she definitely had a lot of questions and hypothesizes about it.

Therefore, I felt a range of conflict (starting at my mom claiming that every child needs to have some sort of magic in their life – to – my dislike of creating implicit lies to my child [we don’t ‘do’ santa or the tooth fairy or the easter bunny, why would we do leprechauns]), so of course, my mom won out. I lied. I said that I had caught the leprechaun the night before, since I had been up late sewing. I had shooed him away since the house had looked nice and I was too tired to clean after him. (upon recollection, this wasn’t necessarily a lie).

Later that day, I picked up a puzzle, put it together, and then took it apart in 10 piece chunks. I wrapped the chunks in tissue paper and hid them around the house.


At least the cat enjoyed it. The snug did too, though she had voiced speculations.

I am losing all of my moral standards. I lied to my child about a mischievous fantastical creature. I bought a gift for St. Patrick’s day, not a well known gift giving holiday. Then I wrapped it, in tissue paper, 2 for each package, that is 20 quarter sheets of tissue paper! What got into me??

P.S. While I talk about the shirt being a great candidate for up-cycling, ours was not. Not even close! The shirt we had bought long ago, but hadn’t worn. The jersey and lace we bought that weekend, since I didn’t have any green jersey. Or at least I didn’t have any that was readily accessible.

Happy Week After St. Patrick’s Day!

P.P.S. I don’t even have a category to put this wasteful account of a holiday in. Tsk, tsk. Oh well. Better luck next year.

Vintage Made Modern: Little Yoga Pants!

I love finding vintage patterns, they are so easy to come by if you aren’t looking for anything specific and impossible to come by if you are.

Now what to do when you do find a super cute vintage pattern, make it of course!!!

Unless it is very, very, vintage, then you should strive to protect it. That means making a copy of the pattern to use.

I found this pattern a while back at a thrift store. It is a McCall’s pattern, #2916 circa 1971. Since that isn’t too far back yet (unfortunately I still think it was only 30 years ago) I went ahead and used it in its original form.

I found the cat yoga fabric on clearance at Jo-ann and eventually paired the two together.


I was very lucky, the pattern I had on hand was the exact size I needed for the snug! I made the knickers and the fabric is cotton, so technically these really aren’t true “yoga” pants.

Then again, is there such a thing as a true yoga pant?

Anyway, this is not really about the pants. This is about the pattern! The possibilities that lie within vintage patterns and how they are superior in detail compared to today’s patterns.


Just look at all the words! The details!!


Which way to stitch the seams! “Lengthwise of goods,” honestly, this is great!

Not only are the pattern pieces incredibly detailed, the instructions where fantastic. I mean this pattern is so simple you really don’t need instructions, but every single thing was worked out and labeled. So much information, yet put in such a way that everything was clear, simple, and fun.





I only wish I had known this before, I would have learned to sew with these patterns and been a ton less frustrated.

So what happened? Why are today’s patterns so hard? Here are the reasons I have worked out.

1. Today’s patterns are trying to do too much, this pattern has four different garment options, long vest, short vest, pants and knickers. It also only comes in one size, but can be adjusted easily. Patterns today have a plethora of options, they might be a similar style but many have three to eight different variations, also sizing is completely different, usually there are four sizes to each pattern.

2. In their attempt to become more encompassing the patterns of today have become more complicated, but unlabeled on complexity. I feel as though the attempt was to simplify the pattern, make it look cleaner/easier, by writing less, but what is written is almost in code, many of the terms unknown to new and sometimes seasoned sewers. Of course most of the patterns come with a key, but the definitions are typically vague.

3. The layout. The general layout for step by step instructions hasn’t changed much, but the layout for that first page. Where it shows all the garments and suggestions for cutting the pieces out, has changed. While attempting to give every possible example for layout depending on fabric width, today’s patterns seem extremely overwhelming. I don’t even look at the cutout instructions anymore. I just get confused and frustrated.

4. Typically when I first start a pattern I have to look at it for a good ten minutes to even understand what is going on. It makes me inspired to fully learn how to draft. With this vintage pattern, it was easy and relaxing the whole time.

While sewing should be challenging, it should be fun, relaxing, and rewarding. Unless you are trying to sew tulle, in a dry, dry winter full of static, patterns and fabric should not make you want to throw them across the room or threaten them with scissors. Not like I have done that.

On with the pants, before my digressions become as frequent as those of Jonathan Swift.


These little babies were easy peasey and sewn up in no time!








Comfortable enough to achieve even the most difficult of poses.

Happy Sewing!!

Duct Tape and Dog beds.

Whew, finally a new post!!! Who knew preschool made everything so busy?

The topics in this evenings post are left over from the summer. I have accidentally been sitting on them, as many other things and now, unfortunately, the pile under me has gotten quite high!

The first is concerning duct tape.

Duct tape is not typically my crafting medium. Though once last year,  Snug and I made flower pencils. Here I’ll go take a picture….

Simple enough, all you have to do is wrap the body of the pencil and for the top, just turn some rectangle pieces into triangles on one end, using the extra sticky side to attach around the top of the pencil, layer and done! You do lose all use of the eraser though.

This summer, a friend of mine invited Snug and I over for an afternoon of duct tape crafting! We made bags.

They turned out cute! My friend’s turned out even cuter, she had gotten some super cute cupcake duct tape. I just used what we had lying around.

Come to think of it, we had a ton of duct tape lying around. Why do we have so much duct tape, yet do so little duct tape crafts????

OH wait we did make dinosaur feet that one time……..

Out of tissue boxes, no less!!!

Back to the bag though, we were able to provide duct tape and my friend was able to provide a grand amount of expertise! She once made an entire dress out of duct tape!

It was a fun-filled afternoon and a great, slightly challenging project! Here is the pattern, if you want to make a bag yourself! Though be forewarned, it does have weight limitations.

Now onto the dog bed.

The poor dog, without a bed.

He’s never had one, it never seemed to be an issue, until we moved into a house without any carpets, without any couch, without anywhere for a little puppy to rest his bones. He tried making his own solutions for a while.

My bed….

Neglected laundry baskets…..

My bed again…..

Anywhere he would be able to curl himself up into the tiniest ball and fall asleep. Dreaming of a place of his own.

Well, after kicking him off the bed and out of the laundry baskets so many times, her started looking at me like this…..

I sighed and finally went out and picked up a simple dog bed pattern (McCall’s 6455) and some fleece.

In one small afternoon, I made my dog very, very happy.

He loves it! He was very excited and I only had to tell him once it was his and to go lay down. He knew right away.

So sweet! He is laying on it right now too! Sweet puppy dog!!!

(P.S. Our dog is very thin and always has been, we had been playing around with food and have finally found one that actually sticks to him! I am happy to say he is currently at a very healthy weight and you can no longer see his ribs jutting out. This bed and these pictures were taken before we figured the food out).

Happy ducting and go out and make your dog a bed, it is a million times less expensive than buying one and very much appreciated!!! Also it is a great starter project!!!

P.P.S. This bed is the size medium in the pattern, our dog is now 40 lbs. Also plan on buying at least a few bags of filling. The fluffier the better! Also, also, the bed has Velcro on the back and an inner lining that you put the fluff into, meaning you can take off the outer fleece cover and wash it once it is too doggy.

Homemade Spring Wardrobe.

I haven’t been sewing as much as I want to, lately. However I have created more new items in the past two months then I have in the past year really. Perspective.

I just hope I can keep this up. I am determined not to but any clothes this summer unless it is something we really need and I cannot make. For example, if my one pair of jeans gets a ton of rips. Or if my husband’s one pair of jeans keeping ripping. Which reminds me, I need to fix the current rips.

Anyway, in the mean time, I made some fun pieces. All from patterns.

The first was a McCall’s pattern, M6167.

It sewed up pretty nicely. There are a ton of steps in making these shirts. Unfortunately, I really do not have the body type for these kinds of shirts. I have tried over and over. It looks fair, but I won’t be making myself one of these again anytime soon. Also the buttons and button holes. There are too many. My machine couldn’t handle it, but my mom was there to help.

I made a size 8. It was a good size, I didn’t need to take the sleeves in at all. The shirt is supposed to be a little baggy. It works best with leggings, but probably not with boots. Too Robin Hood, as my mother in law put it.

Next up for St. Patrick’s Day I decided Snug and I should both have a new green piece. Neither of us really having any green at all in our current wardrobe. I made her a skirt from a Simplicity pattern 2356.

It turned out cute, cute, cute!!! The pattern has four different kinds of skirts, we made skirt A in a size 6. Snug is not a true size 6, though because she is so tall we needed the length. The skirt was a little big around the waist, but it is a very easy fix.

The print is very cute, cats wearing pink and yellow shirts sitting on clouds. Doesn’t make any sense, but very cute. The trim is a little too dark for the fabric, but we were trying to use up what we already had.

The instructions were very easy to follow and only a handful of steps. A very simple skirt we made in an afternoon.

Next was my Saint Patrick’s green item, a dress from a McCall’s pattern I had made once before, M5577.

It is a cute dress, but slightly odd. Definitely a jumper. I also, am realizing now, that I forgot to let of the rest of the pleats.

It isn’t that bad. I won’t be making another one of these though. I will be taking out those pleats as soon as possible and getting my hair done.

The last thing we made was Snug’s skating dress. Kwik Sew pattern K2732. Dress B.

We shortened the sleeves and added a layer on them to look like the skirt. We had to take in the sleeves and leotard a little though. Which I am sure will eventually have to be let out. Otherwise it was a very fast and simple pattern.

Practice makes perfect. I obviously need loads more practice and hopefully I can make snug and I some key pieces this summer.

Happy sewing!

P.S. Almost all the fabric you see here we already had. The exception is the first shirt and the buttons on the skating dress.

Can snakes ice skate??

Last weekend was incredibly busy for my family. Last weekend Snug had her first skating competition, because why not? When they are so little and adorable and can only wiggle and swizzle, you might as well. Thankfully it was a fun competition for everyone and we made a new friend, which was the goal of the whole thing, to make friends. Not to win.

Which we didn’t. Win.  At all. She got last in both events and didn’t notice. She was a little bummed she couldn’t stand on the podium, but someone had to leave early and in the end, she got her picture on the podium. Pretty silly though, at this age the kids could care less whether they win or not, they did, however, love the colors of the ribbons. Most of them wanted ribbons that would match their costumes. Fantastic.

Bug had to miss out on seeing the competition, a big reptile show had come to town and it happened to fall on the same weekend, all the way on the other side of town from where the competition was. We live in the big city now and all the way on the other side means, about 35 miles or more, depending. Plus traffic.

The show was called Repticon and is a traveling convention, as it were, for reptiles and exotic animals. They have over 25 shows all over and are headed to Memphis this weekend, Salt Lake City the next and so it goes.

It was a very nice show, the first time we ever did this one. Since it is just the start of copulating season for our snakes we don’t have much to sell or show, so we shared a table. This shoe lasts two-days, as oppose to our average one day shows.

Bug spent Saturday at the show, with the help of my brother. Where they managed to sell lots of things.

Saturday night, we all dragged home, put an exhausted snug bug to bed and went and got the other animals ready that we would be taking to the show on Sunday. We have new display boxes, they are nice. They are from the, ahem…Container Store. This is relevant.

They are a nice hard plastic and come with pre-drilled ventilation holes. Our friend John uses these and they are beautiful. Plus dry erase paint markers work great on them. Sometimes, though you need to rubber band the lids down since they do not lock. Other times, a rubber band would have done nothing.

We packed up the snakes in our pretty containers, put them in a box and went to bed. Sunday morning brought lots of wind. After dropping off the snug, Bug and I headed to the show. The show was at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and if it is windy in town, it is crazy windy out there. Which it was. Bug and I parked and while I tried to gather our other things, he got the big box full of animals and set it on the bed cover of our truck. Did I mention how windy it was that day? Well it was windy enough, a big gust came up and flipped the big box into the air!! It landed, hard, top side down beside the truck. Whoops.

After a slight panic, we ditched everything else, grabbed the box and ran inside. Not literally ran, that would have been ridiculous.

Turns out our panic was no match for the snakes panic, especially that of the blood pythons. It also turns out that when snakes panic, they don’t die, thankfully, but they also don’t hold they stomachs very well. The whole inside of the box was covered in snake poop and all the pretty clean containers were too. It smelled horrible! I would have taken pictures, had Bug not looked so distraught. He is smart though and had brought along baby wipes. Thank goodness. The mess was cleaned up in no time.

Except something was amiss, or amissing. One of our small ghost corn snakes wasn’t in the box, wasn’t in the car and wasn’t on the ground anywhere. He was gone and we had no idea when, where, how or why. No clues where left, not eve a note.

Sometimes the snakes may think about leaving notes before they run away. Did you know that?

Sunday was a fine day after all and everyone had a great time at the show.

Fast forward to Wednesday. Wednesday consisted of laundry, library, oil changes, grocery store, gas station and skating.

Snug and I get the rink and meet our coach. I get our gloves out of the front compartment in my bag and ask our coach if we need any music. She says no, I agree and I go to zip up the compartment. I notice a pretty stripped band hanging out of the corner and go to grab it out-of-the-way of the zipper. The band moved on its own, which, surprisingly, made me grab more quickly. I knew right away who this was and showed our coach. She in turn, laughs, there was in fact a snake in my skating bag. It was, in fact, the ghost corn snake.

The other skaters weren’t quite sure what to say and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the snake, which I confirmed with my coach when she asked me what I was going to do with it.

I didn’t know, I was just so happy I found him, or he found me. And I was relieved that he was alive, my bag had been in the car all day.

My coach being whole loving and quick thinking, offered up her coffee cup, which was in her car. We all trekked it out to the car. It wasn’t just any coffee cup though, it was her favorite and I am so happy to know someone, who is willing to use something they love to house a snake for an hour or two. It sounds silly, but it is true.

The lid was perfect! It closed while we were skating and after we opened it up to let in some more air.

So who is this little Houdini that only wanted to skate?

Any name ideas? Skatin’ snake, slytherin’, slither and slide, ghost, Sirius Black?

After skating Snug and I headed to the grocery store for a deli cup. They had cherries on special, in small deli cups, perfect! Another plus, Snug got to carry her friend in the coffee cup all through the grocery store. Which, in true four year old fashion, she tried to exclaim to everyone about.

Bug laughed at me when I showed him all the little holes I had made in the deli cup. Apparently it wasn’t necessary. The snake is so small and has such a slow respiratory system that it would have been fine in the cup by itself. Had I known this I wouldn’t have tried to hammer a nail hole in the side, slightly breaking the cup and then use a sewing pin to poke a hundred worthless little holes in the lid.

Always exciting. Hopefully this weekend will be a little more quiet.

Probably not.

Happy Slithering!!!

Framed Quilt Art with Qoute.

My creativity is getting better. This is exciting. I actually tried my hand at free quilting. I never quilt. Leaps and bounds, I tell you!

Recently, (ahem a couple of months ago, before juice was spilled on my computer) I made this…

It turned out adorable!

Here is what you need to make this;

Lots of fabric scraps, an old frame (the one I used was 5×7 ish, my mom and I found it at a garage sale last summer), and a cute card with a saying on it. My mom and I went to a little half antique, half vintage inspired decorating shop and found these cute cards with fun sayings on them. They had a variety of options, but you can definitely make your own. Just word doc whatever you want to say and then print on antique looking paper.

(You will also need a rotary cutter, sewing machine, thread, scissors, cutting mat, iron, iron board and two pieces of tape).

So the first step, if you are easily distracted, pick out your fabric scraps, but while you pick them out organize the rest of them.

I organized mine in freezer bags by color. For now.Very eco-friendly way to organize things….no, no it isn’t.

The first step if you are not the type to get distracted is to pick out the scraps without further organizing and cut the strips. (For those who got distracted, cut the strips for step two).

For size I used seven different 1 inch wide pieces of fabric. However, make them as wide as however many you want in the background. My mistake!!! If you see in the layout picture about I only have 6 fabrics, but in the final picture I have 7, this is because I did not allow for seams. I.E. Seam Allowance!!! Please don’t forget this. So if you want 1 inch strips, cut them 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 wider to allow for seams on both sides. Nice fat seams for sloppy, can’t sew in a straight line people like me. If you already are familiar with seam allowances, go ahead and cut them smaller.

For length you want to cut a good length longer then the frame to allow for imperfections. I did about 10 inches.

After you cut, but before you sew, lay out the different pieces to get a general feel of where you want everything to go. Then sew them together one at a time and iron the seams down or open, whichever you prefer. Since this is going in a frame it needs to be as flat as possible.So unfortunately ironing is a necessity here.

TA-DA!!! But wait….

It doesn’t fit…that’s right. There is my mistake staring me in the face.

Whoops. Thankfully I have all those scraps organized.

That’s better. Once all your pieces are sewn together, play around with the look in the frame and with the saying to see which angle you like best.

After playing around with angles for a while I realized I didn’t allow enough fabric for an angle look. So I went back to the original idea and decided on this look. I especially liked the chicken and the egg peeking out.

Now comes the touchy part. You will have extra fabric in length, so go ahead and mark of the edge of your frame.

Trim it down a bit and grab the back of the frame for measurement.Trim down a little more.

To keep my card in place as much as possible, I added some tape to the back and stuck it where I wanted on the fabric and put it all together.

Fair warning though, things are likely to shift a little bit when you put it together. As you can see my chicken and egg are off. Unfortunately I didn’t notice this until after the pictures were taken and the frame was packed up. I will fix it in my spare time one of these days.

That’s it! You can hang this on your wall or put it on the desk for a daily dose of inspiration!

Also, since practically, almost, quite nearly everything I used for this project came from my stash (excepting the card, but I didn’t think of the project until after I had it in my stash) I am joining this weeks Stash Bash with the Crunchy Catholic Momma.

Happy Creating!!