secret tote swap round 5: received

So the good thing about a swap is you make something and you get something. I tried to be pretty specific in my requests this time so I’d get something I liked and it paid off quite well.

Here was my inspiration board. I kept it small to give a narrow idea of what I would want.


I mentioned that I’d like Echino fabric if they wanted to use it since I’ve never had any and really like their designs. I also said I liked blue, green, and geometrics. Here’s what I got from my awesome partner.


An Echino tote with yellow accent fabric and green zippers. Also candy (delicious), notecards, washi tape, bobbins, a mini charm pack, and a square of the green pearl bracelet fabric that was used for the lining.

I had been thinking this bag might be mine since my partner first posted her fabric choices. Turns out I was right! You can’t tell unless you have it in person but the patterned side panels are the same fabric as the main panel, just a different area of the pattern.

I love this tote and have been carrying it to all non-work occasions since I got it. Actually, since it was a casual Friday with no meetings yesterday, I swapped it out a day early and took it to work.

It debuted at the barbecue festival I went to last weekend. I took a crochet project with me so I brought it with me in another one of my totes from a previous round of the swap.


There’s been five rounds so far and I’ve participated in four of them. Previous rounds: round 1 made, round 1 received, round 2 made/received, round 4 made, round 4 received, round 5 made. This round is my favorite so far.

Themes for round six are being discussed now. I’m hoping for a black and white theme :)

secret tote swap round 5: made

For round five of the Secret Tote Bag Swap hosted by Lia’s Handmades, the theme was the 241 Tote by Noodlehead. I was quite excited about this theme and decided to order some fabric online instead of just heading to my local Hancock Fabrics. (I’d like to go to a local quilt shop, but their hours aren’t often day job friendly.)

I like the availability of options at Hawthorne Threads but couldn’t decide, so I created a collage of fabric options and got some feedback.


The first options (my favorite) were popular, but I thought my partner might prefer #4 which was also getting some good responses. I couldn’t commit to two as I just didn’t like it even though some others did. Was I overthinking my fabric selections? Perhaps. As the mailing deadline got closer, I realized I better go ahead and order something.


So I went with the Joel Dewberry and paired it with some white twill and a unused belt from the boyfriend as a strap. I had a metal and navy zipper that  went right along with it and even though I was nervous about making a zipper pocket like this, it went together easily.

And I did buy some of the fabrics in option one for me. :) Couldn’t resist!

For my extras I made a zipper pouch with some leftover charm squares. I reorganized lately and found a bunch of things I forgot I had.


And made a key fob too. I ordered some more hardware after running through the first 10 pieces pretty quickly.


And then threw in some buttons and cupcake ribbon to round out the package.


So all in all here’s what I sent.


My partner said was happy with the package and it looks like I picked the right fabrics for her. Success!

key fobs, round one

My key fob mania started because I’d been wanting to make something to carry my keys on and DIY key fobs popped up in my Pinterest feed one day. I ordered the supplies right away and got going.


The first one I made was for my tote swap partner.


While making my first one, I realized I didn’t have much ribbon that was the right width. Shortly after, I found the ribbon clearance section at Hancock Fabrics.


Then when Crystal came to visit I showed her how to make one since she’s always wanting to learn more about sewing. Here are the two we made that day.



Crystal did the bottom one by herself, and the blue flowered one I made has been hanging out with my keys ever since.

So after she left, I go to work making the rest of the key fobs I had hardware for and sending them off to friends.


Yes, that’s a second blue one. Loved the color combo!


I’m keeping that long fabric one for myself, but the rest are headed out to friends and family.

These are so simple to make I know I’ll be making more soon! I just need to order some more hardware. I think I’ll be trying some more with fabric instead of ribbon for the next round.


gingham for a baby boy

My friend Julie had a son a little while ago. I’d been meaning to sew something for him ever since I found out he was coming, but his arrival is what it took to spur me into action.

Baby pants and bibs are simple to sew up quickly. I used Made By Rae’s newborn baby pants for like the zillionth time. I’d received a good amount of gingham and some terry cloth in the Gerchow fabric stash I got a few months back, so here’s what I made.


One large check and one small check. I made a matching bib for each pair of pants and one extra from orange gingham.


The red and orange bibs are backed with terry cloth, and the blue bib is reversible!



I used blue and gray striped YS fabric for the reverse of the blue gingham as it’s one of the few boy fabrics I have. I’ve used it before for a boy project, Anthony’s backpack.

Yay for gingham and babies and little boys!

big beachy striped tote

I was flipping through an issue of Lucky magazine and spotted this tote. I loved the stripes and handle treatment.

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Then I recalled that I had a very similar fabric in my stash and decided to make a knock-off for my friend Crystal who lives near a lake.

I started by making a lined zipper pocket to sew in at the top hem of the bag. I really wanted a sturdy lining so there wouldn’t be anywhere for sand to hide out. I basically just made a square zipper pouch like I’ve made before, but on a larger scale. The lining was a little fiddly, but it all worked out. (I don’t know that I’ll ever do a tutorial because I generally hack things until they turn out how I want them.)



Quite proud of that pocket! And I like how the vintage metal zipper finishes it off. Here’s how it looks in the bag. I just sewed it right in to the top hem between the straps.


The bag itself is pretty large. I figured it would fit two or three towels, snacks, extra shoes/clothes, water bottles, and anything else you might need on a trip to the beach.

I finished everything off on the inside with French seams to stop this home dec fabric from fraying.


To add some form to the floppy bag, I boxed the bottom and added seams along each of the four corners to reinforce the shape.

I was going to buy cotton webbing for the handles but it would have been around $10. Instead, I bought a remnant of nice crisp off-white cotton for less than $2 and made my own handles and pocket lining from that. Crystal said she preferred that for the handles anyway!

So leftover yard sale fabric (previously used for an apron for my brother) + vintage metal zipper from stash + $2 remnant = way less than $77 for a beach tote for my friend!

I threw in the second sunnies pouch and a pair of baby pants to finish off the package.beachstripedtote05AMade by Rae’s newborn baby pants are probably my most sewn pattern to date. They sew up quickly, make good use of small bits of fabric, and are perfect for anyone having a baby, especially people having boys as you can’t just whip up a cute dress or hair ribbon for them.


My plaids don’t match up because I didn’t have much of this fabric left and what I did was in an odd shape, but I think they’ll looking darling with a red onesie or yellow or navy sweater.


belated birthday dress and infinity scarf

I gave my mom a store-bought infinity scarf for her birthday and my Aunt Amy, whose house we were visiting at the time, was intrigued by the concept. I am not sure how she hadn’t heard of one before but I decided to make her one with this red flowery chiffon I found thrifting back in Alabama.


I’d been considering making a top out of it, but am glad I used it for a scarf instead. I probably could have chopped it in half since it was wide, but worried about the fabric being difficult to work with since it felt so silky. I just french seamed the short raw edges together so no threads would escape, left the selvedges alone along the long sides, and it was a scarf! Since the weave was very fine it condenses nicely when worn even with a larger than normal amount of fabric.

While I was at it, I made my little cousin Emma a belated birthday dress in summery plaid. (Also made myself a top that I need to photograph.) The fabric is perfect for summer, very light but not sheer like everything else seems to be this season.


I had some white eyelet fabric leftover from a skirt refashion (that also needs photographed) so I used it for the yoke to add some visual interest instead of just using plain white.


This was my second time using the popover dress pattern. I also used it to make her a birthday dress last year. She actually wore last year’s dress for Easter while I was visiting. It was fun to see it in person and she looks so cute in it!


And here’s my aunt and Emma wearing their new stuff.


Many more things to blog and photograph as this summer has been declared to be my summer of sewing after a near hiatus over the winter/spring months. Hopefully I’ll catch up a little on posts over the long weekend.

secret tote swap round 4: sent



My partner has received her tote and extra goodies, so I can blog about it now!

I started off buying some purple and blue fabrics for the outside of the bag. I had a different lining cut, but laid the fabrics down on top of a box full of fabric near the machine while working and realized the fabrics I’d bought matched a vintage piece from the Gerchow stash.



Quilted squares look so nice and orderly.


This lined tote tutorial from The Inspired Wren popped into my Pinterest feed and was exactly the sort of thing I wanted to make.

I used denim on the bottom and the quilted pieces for the sides. I eliminated the outer pocket, and changed around a lot of the proportions to make it work. I got a little thrown off when I was putting on the bottom (it gets sewn on top of the side panel, not at the bottom of the piece) but it all came together.


my partner requested a darker fabric for the bottom of the bag. check!


I added some pockets to the inside, but forgot to add a closure. Sorry partner!


I also made a quick key fob (thanks again Pinterest!) based on inspiration and the supplier link found here. The place on Etsy she recommended for hardware (bag lady of SC) was great and super fast! I see many more of these in my future.


And after reading about this sunglasses pattern on Pillows-a-la-Mode I had to make a couple of those too, one for the swap and another for a friend.


Skipped the word on the front, added a piece of ribbon to the zipper. And lined in satin for a bit of luxury…and a bit of a challenge in sewing.


I still wasn’t ready to wrap up the package and since my partner had mentioned having a Kindle I wanted to throw in a case for it. I’d made one out of a sweater for myself awhile back and couldn’t find the other sleeve so I decided to try something scrappy.


I’m pretty proud of how this case turned out. I didn’t QAYG because I didn’t completely understand the concept when I started, so I just quilted it afterwards and went in different directions on different pieces of fabrics. As a matchy-matchy person I had a hard time liking all the different fabrics together in one project, but after it was sewn up I came around.


yay leftover daschunds!


vintage sheets and some thrifted shirt pieces making an appearance on the other side

I was glad I stepped out of my usual comfort zone for the case and enjoyed the result. I’d like to work on more projects like this.


all together

In conclusion, I had a lot of fun working on this group of projects for my swap partner, and I hope she’s enjoying everything!