Archive for the ‘bag’ Category

blue floral Thistle Tote

I’ve been wanting to make myself a new handbag for a while, but apparently I needed a deadline to motivate myself! We took a spring break trip to somewhere nice and warm, and about a week before, I decided to start on this project, haha.

I used the Thistle Tote pattern, which is a free pattern from Blue Calla. This designer came highly recommended to me, and the pattern didn’t disappoint! Not only is it a lovely design, the instructions are very clear and the construction is very straightforward.

I bought the floral cotton on clearance a couple of years ago to use to make cloth napkins, and shortly thereafter inherited a huge stack of napkins, so this fabric has just been waiting for a new purpose. I’m excited that it will coordinate with my aqua cold-weather jacket and also look good in warmer seasons (the first example being our trip to the beach!). The blue and aqua solids that I used as accents and lining fabrics are remnants from other projects! I had recently received some hand-me-down (but new!) fleece interfacing from a neighbor, and I was able to scrounge scraps of fusible interfacing from other projects. I love when I can use what I already have. I even had the zippers and coverable button on hand! The only things I purchased for this project were one of the magnetic snaps and the strap hardware, and some thread (and that will be useful for future projects as well).

The prize for “I-had-it-on-hand-ness” goes to the piping, though!! I made this piping in 2011 (!!!) for my Amy Butler Field Bag, and I had just a short length left. It was the first piping I’d made, and I was very proud of it, so there was no way I was going to throw away the scrap! As I was waffling around about what fabrics to use where for this purse, I pulled it out, and lo and behold, it was literally the exact length I needed to add to the top of this purse. It was SO SATISFYING!!

I made the pattern almost exactly as-written. The only modifications I made were to insert two interior zipper pockets (rather than one plus a slip pocket), and I added a zipper pocket to the exterior back as well.

I really like that the strap is adjustable so I can wear this purse cross-body or over my shoulder!

Read Full Post »

I was honored to be able to test another Just an E pattern– the Presentation Pin Pouch! Abbe’s pattern released this weekend, and you can find it in her Etsy shop.

This pouch is such a cute way to display your pins! I love that you can show them off and keep them safe!

I made the smaller size, which measures 5″x5″ when finished; the pattern also includes pieces for a larger pouch with a finished size of 7″x7″. The pouch has a clear vinyl window in the front so that you can see the padded pin insert inside.

The pattern is so easy to follow, with tips for working with vinyl, which makes it a great one for beginners working with vinyl, leather and cork.

The zipper at the top opens so that you can pull out the padded pin display insert:

With one pouch, you can make multiple inserts to show off pretty fabrics and different sets of pins. The instructions include a wristlet strap so you can either clip your Presentation Pin Pouch to a larger bag or use it on its own.

Abbe’s patterns are always so clear and well-written. Go check out her shop and get sewing!

Read Full Post »

Quick sunglasses case

I have a bad habit of leaving my sunglasses loose in my purse, which means they get scratched up pretty easily. Even though I only buy really inexpensive pairs, it’s still a hassle to replace them, so this time around, I thought I’d actually make a little case for them.

I came across this sunglasses case from BurdaStyle and decided to give it a whirl. It was very straightforward and the case is a good size!

I used fusable fleece instead of felt to stabilize the outer fabric, and I used a magnetic snap, since it seemed like it would be inconvenient to latch a traditional snap to close the case. I also made the hanging loop too long by accident, but– better too long than too short! It still works to clip the case to my purse!

Hopefully my sunglasses will last me a bit longer, protected in this little case!

P.S. The fabrics I used are scraps from my self-designed camera and laptop bag.

Read Full Post »

Just an E has released another fantastic PDF pattern, the Transcendence Makeup set, including this Palette Palace bag.



This large zippered pouch (12″ wide at top, 10″ wide at bottom, 7″ tall) has an angled zippered pocket on the outside front, which I made in vinyl, but could also be made with mesh:


And a smaller pocket (vinyl or mesh) on the outside back:


Inside are slip pockets on each side; one is divided:


and the other is left as one large opening (but you could decide to divide it if you want!).


The Transcendence Makeup set also includes a pattern for a cute little Lip Color Caddy, which is a small divided pouch for organizing lipsticks– but the pattern also contains modifications and dimensions for the pouch to hold items like epi-pens and inhalers!

Not only is the end result great, but the instructions are superb.  Definitely go check it out in the Just an E Etsy shop!

Since I realized at the very last-minute that I was able to test this bag for Abbe, I was limited to what I had on hand… I used zippers from my stash, and the top zipper was 14″, so I lengthened it by attaching coordinating fabric ends.

I didn’t have enough woven interfacing, so I instead used some Pellon 931TD Fusible Midweight Nonwoven interfacing that I had on hand. My bag sides are probably stiffer than normal, but I love how stable it is!  Because I didn’t have enough (and because it’s so stiff), I only interfaced one of each of the interior pocket pieces and the exterior flap piece.

I also don’t have any transparent/translucent vinyl! I remembered that I save all the zippered bags that things like blankets, sheets, and pillows come in, and so I cut my vinyl panels from one of them that seemed to be of nice quality.

I love how the bag turned out, and I’m pretty chuffed (haha, been watching some British shows lately) that the entire thing is made from stash/scrap/repurposed materials!

Read Full Post »

I got to try my hand with sewing vinyl for the first time with this great pattern set: The Decisions Desk and Drawing Set, newly released from Just an E!

Abbe's Decisions Desk set

This set contains five patterns, and I tested four of them– the journal cover, the checkbook cover, the wall pocket, and the pencil wrap.

The JOURNAL CASE AND NOTEBOOK COVER has several size options: I made the composition notebook size.


It has a slip pocket and a zipper pocket on the outside of the cover (I chose to put mine on the front), and a slip pocket for a pen/pencil on the inside.  I’ve been using mine already as a D&D campaign notebook and love how handy it is to keep my particular pens and pencils for notes and marking my character sheet.


The CHECKBOOK COVER is making my checkbook look all fancy!  This pattern is only included within the PATTERN BUNDLE!



The WALL POCKET is a cute circular design.  The pattern comes with several sizes to use as templates, but they can be made in any size you want!  I made a 4.125″ teeny tiny wall pocket so that I have a home for my USB/SD card connector/converter thingy for my computer.  My pocket hangs on the bulletin board above my desk, and I’m so happy that I won’t lose my connector among my clutter now that I have a perfect little home for it.



The PENCIL WRAP comes in two sizes, and I tested both of them!  The smaller size is just right for holding my small set of watercolor pencils:

and I was able to fit 16 fabric markers into the 6″-wide size!


There is also a super-cute FOLDOVER WALLET pattern for a little case that snaps closed.  I didn’t have a chance to make this one, but you should look it up!

These patterns are such a fantastic way of getting your feet wet with sewing vinyl, cork, leather, or other similar materials.  They are really satisfying makes! Check out the whole set HERE!



Read Full Post »

Shell bag

Speaking of beach-themed projects (because who doesn’t want to think about a little warmth in the middle of winter, right?), I made this bag for shelling right before we left for our Christmas vacation in Florida.

Photo Dec 22, 4 34 07 PM

I combined ideas that I’d seen in a few internet searches to create this bag: I’m still calling it a prototype, because there are things I would change about it in future iterations, most notably, I will shorten the bag’s length, and I’ll change the order in which I construct it.

However, I liked that I made a wrist strap to hold it rather than a shoulder or cross-body style (I saw a number of these as I was on the beach, as well as online), because it was just right for the way I carry shells.  I also liked that it doesn’t have a closure at the top, because I didn’t want to mess around with trying to open it if I had a handful of shells to put inside!


This bag turned out to be great for collecting shells, and I came home with quite a delightful haul!

I’ll be making a couple more of these bags with the remaining netting I have on hand so that my kids each have their own for the next time we go to the beach!


Read Full Post »

I’ve mentioned before that my cousin Abbe is an extraordinary bag-maker, and now, she is a pattern-designer, too!

Introducing: the Clarity wallet!

I had the wonderful privilege of testing this pattern for Abbe, and I’ll tell you, it was so much fun and straightforward to sew!  I used a lovely light purple cork…it was my first time sewing with this material, and–WOW–I need to have some more in my life!

The pattern is designed for materials such as vinyl, cork, and leather– materials that don’t fray if the edges are left raw.


The Clarity wallet is sleek and a great size: large enough to hold everything you need, but small enough to fit comfortably into my purse.  I used a magnetic snap on the closure flap, and so it’s easy to open, but closes securely.

Inside, there are SO many pockets for organization!  I made the original “incarnation”, but in the pattern instructions, there are other options for configuring the pockets.



I made six card slots plus a clear vinyl (with glitter!!) slot for my ID.

There’s a zippered pocket for change:


The large pockets can hold bills, a passport, a notepad, and/or even a cell phone!



I am loving using my new wallet, and I especially appreciate how organized I can be with all of the pockets.


Get your copy of the pattern here: justane.etsy.com!  Abbe is offering the pattern at 25% off through Sunday 9/1/2019 in her Etsy shop!


Read Full Post »

This past weekend, I went on a girls’ getaway with two of my cousins.  Besides getting to spend quality time with these quality ladies, the point of our weekend was to be able to craft non-stop.  We rented the same AirBnB (<–referral link…) as last year, brought all of our gear, and dove right into our work.

Unlike last year, when I prepped a number of projects ahead of time, I had nothing ready.  As in, the Thursday afternoon before I left on Friday, I was still making lists of potential projects to work on (and let me tell you, the list is a long one!).  One of the items on my list was a new purse (I’ve been using THIS ONE nonstop ever since I made it–for over 2 years!–, and while it has served me well, it was definitely time for a fresh one), but as of Thursday morning, I didn’t know what I would make.

Enter my cousin Abbe, who is a bag-maker extraordinaire (seriously, check out her work– she makes gorgeous bags and takes custom orders!), who texted me to ask if I was interested in testing a great-looking bag pattern for a new pattern-maker she’s working with– Nosy Pepper Patterns.  YES!  Of course!

She generously offered to supply some fabric for the outside, since I didn’t have what I wanted on hand (thankyouthankyouthankyou, Abbe!).  I hurried out to the store on Friday morning to purchase interfacing, zippers, and hardware (and snacks for the weekend!) before heading out for the weekend getaway.

Not only was it a *great* weekend, but I completed my new bag!  Here it is– the North Shore Hobo, by Nosy Pepper Patterns— all the glamour shots!


The front of the bag is a showstopper, with two zipper pockets along the central panel.  I chose to make this central panel feature this enchanting snail pattern, but I’ve seen some stunning bags made with all one material.





Each zipper opens to its own pocket– the pockets are layered on top of each other!

I also made the back of the purse with the “feature” fabric:


The top is open,  simply closing with a magnetic snap, which is exactly how I like my bags– not too fiddly when I’m in a hurry and with my hands full with my kids!


The pattern includes instructions for a slip pocket and a zipper pocket inside, but I chose to do two zipper pockets, one with a pink zipper, just for fun!


The pattern also gives options for straps: a shorter handle, and a longer adjustable strap.  I’m glad that my cousin suggested that I make both– this bag is a perfect shape for wearing cross-body!


The hardware really makes this bag look fantastic, and Abbe let me use her industrial strength rivet press to add these final touches.  Oooh, don’t they look nice?!


I loved the opportunity to test this pattern from Nosy Pepper!  It is set to be released this weekend, so check it out!

P.S. Check out all the tester bags in THIS POST from Cyndi!

Read Full Post »

Have a look at this post at Sew Mama Sew, where my summer metallics bag is featured with two other challengers’ bags!



Read Full Post »

I was completely thrilled when I got an email from Kristin at Sew Mama Sew that I had been selected to participate in the Robert Kaufmann Fabrics summer bag challenge, featuring the brand-new and absolutely gorgeous Manchester Metallics line!

Getting to work with this fabric was the perfect way to celebrate the fact that  I’m finally graduating out of using a diaper bag with my kids, and so I need a new, big summer bag for myself!  I couldn’t help “oooooh”-ing to myself when I opened the package.  This fabric is so elegantly shimmery.





I chose to make the “Hey Mercedes” bag from Windy City Bags by Sara Lawson.  I modified the pattern to make some cosmetic changes.  As I considered which fabrics to use, I was immediately drawn to the “Evening” color.  I chose the “Silver” Manchester Metallic for the straps and accent on the pocket.  To give the bag a more casual and summer-y feel, I browsed for summer color palettes with a navy base, and as soon as I saw navy paired with bright yellow, I knew I had a winning combination– I paired the Manchester Metallics with Kona Highlight and Kona Candy Green for accents and the lining.   I altered the bag pattern to add the contrast stripes on the outer pockets (I put a pocket on both sides, rather than just one as per the pattern), and the lining is color blocked with yellow and aqua.





It was an absolute delight to work with the Manchester Metallics.  They are simply beautiful (the shine is so hard to capture in photos…the fabric is even more stunning in person!). The metallic fabrics have a lovely drape and smooth texture (which makes me curious to try them for dressmaking…) and yet they are stable enough to make a structured bag.



It was windy!

Make sure to have a look at all of the other fantastic bags made with these gorgeous Manchester Metallics here:

Mo Bedell
Sandy Whitelaw of UpStairs Hobby Room
Michelle Morris of That Black Chic
Kathy Green of Designs by KTGreen
Carrie Federer of carrie bee
Anne Zeitler of AnneZPlace
Sanchia Gair of Red Brolly
Natalie Strand of Vegetablog  (that’s me!)
Devida Bushrod of The Driftwood Thimble
Sara Johansen of The Sara Project
Sarah Sharp of No Hats in the House
Michelle Webster of michellepatterns
Marni Weaver of Haberdashery Fun
Jenny of My Handmade Home

~ ~ ~

Disclaimer: I received the Robert Kaufman Fabrics (Manchester Metallics and Kona Cotton) free in conjunction with Sew Mama Sew’s Summer Bag Challenge in exchange for an honest review.


Read Full Post »