square zipper pouches

My friend wanted a zipper pouch to go with the purse I made for her sister. She looked on my blog at previous zipper pouches I’ve made (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) but thought they were too big for what she was envisioning. I went to my Pinterest board for purses and pouches, found this coin purse tutorial, and sent it to her.

She thought it looked good and the matter was settled. I put it off for several days because my (relatively) new job is leaving me pretty exhausted, but once I sat down and cut the pieces out I realized just how simple this tutorial is. Seriously, it’s genius!

A few straight lines of stitching and you’ve got a cute little coin purse. The only thing beginners might not have is a zipper foot.



It reminds me of a mouth when the zipper is open.




The edges aren’t finished inside, but it doesn’t bother me like I thought it would. The topstitching was a little difficult because it’s hard to sew all the way along both sides of the zipper after it’s attached.

I liked this pouch so much that I made two more the next day using some short zippers I had hanging out in my stash.



Here they are “mouths” open.



I just happened to use solid colored linings on all three which is an interesting coincidence. I think a pop of patterned lining on a solid colored pouch would be cute.

In other sewing room news, I have a new iron! My mom got it for me for my birthday and I’m excited to start working with it. (Confession: I didn’t actually use an iron on these pouches.) Here’s my new Rowenta iron.



And here’s the old iron it’s replacing. This was a leftover from the boyfriend’s old roommate. I dropped it a few times, thus the teal duct tape on the top. It was kind of a pain anyway. I will be more careful with the new iron 🙂 Plus the new one has automatic shutoff, which is quite a nice feature.


I’ve had a few weekends full of social engagements in a row, so I’m hoping to hang out at home and get some things done this weekend. The boyfriend is already working to assemble my new dresser from IKEA, and I’ve got a few projects cut out.

Look for a giveaway or two in post 200! (This is 199.)


reusable lunch bag and snack pouch

I got three pieces of plastic fabric (vinyl maybe?) at a yard sale in the spring, and have been wanting to make lunch bags since then. My friend Crystal was coming to visit, so I kicked it into gear and made the lunch bag I’d been intending to make her for the last several months.


I cut out the fabric a few months ago and had my mom buy me a non-stick sewing machine foot, but still hadn’t sat down at the machine to sew the bag. Once I did, it took me hardly any time at all. I pinked the edges before I started sewing so the inside would look good.

I combined two tutorials to get the look I wanted: this one from Skip to my Lou for the body of the bag and this one for the button closure.


I’d thought to use ribbon for the closure initially, but then I found the second tutorial which uses a much more functional piece of elastic.


The giant button was taken off a sweater I unraveled for yarn.

While I had the non-stick foot on the machine, I tried my hand at making a snack pouch. I used construction method from this tutorial, but wanted the green gingham showing on the inside and the outside so I improvised a bit and added a lining.

Here’s how it came out.


I folded the edges under to reinforce them and hide the unevenness that comes from sewing layers of plastic fabric. The sides were pinked because I didn’t want them getting to bulky with layers turned under.

I used a fun zigzag stitch on the top flap and closed the pouch with velcro. I don’t know if it will hold a lot, but it should manage some snacks.


So here it is, the matched set.


Crystal said she’s been eating lunch at the park lately and taking her lunch in plastic shopping bags, so now she can carry her lunch in style!

P.S. It’s a beautiful fall day today, and it’s my birthday 🙂 *shameless self-promotion*

I’ve got several birthdays coming up that I plan to sew presents for, so that’s what will be coming next!

shirt to shirt dress

My friend Crystal came to visit last weekend. It has been way too long since we saw each other last, and it was a blast.

She’s mentioned to me that she wants to start shopping at yard sales and thrift stores, but got overwhelmed when she tried it on her own. We were heading out to do some non-thrift shopping Saturday when I saw that there were two yard sales on my block.

The first one was a wash, but at the second one there were lots of plus sized clothes. Neither of us is plus sized, but I know you can get a good amount of fabric to work with in one shirt. I found one in a fabric I thought she would like and convinced her to buy it. For $0.50, I thought I could make a cute skirt with buttons in the front and get it done before she left.



When I brought the garment up to the sewing room after a marathon day of non-thrift shopping, I realized it had dress potential.

I wasn’t sure it would work, but here are the steps I took.

First, I removed the sleeves. You can see just how big this dress was on Crystal initially. It fits around her twice!


Next I took off the outer bodice panels. In the previous photos you can see where the bodice seam goes all the way up to the top.

After this step, we had what looked like a jumper. Thankfully I had a model to try it on at each stage of the process!



I took the skirt in on the sides, and realized the the bodice just needed a few inches on each side to make it wearable.



I took a piece of the extra fabric that I cut off the sides and stitched it in place on the bodice, then did the same on the other side. From there, I cut a rough armhole and did the rest of my fitting.

There was a good bit of tweaking on the fit. I basted my stitches so the dress could be easily adjusted in or out. Crystal often has trouble finding clothes that work for her, and a lot of time she needs things taken in at the tailor, so I really wanted to make her a dress that fit well.

Once I got the fit and armhole shape looking good, I showed Crystal how to make some bias tape. I also had her help on the ironing, pinning, and cutting because she wanted to get some insight into the whole sewing/refashioning process. I cut the bias tape, and she ironed it all quite nicely. I attached it to the armholes, and voila!


The dress turned out even better than I thought it might. I contribute it to the fact that we made an awesome team 🙂

She was so pleased with her new dress, and especially the fit. I know because she kept it on for an hour after we finished it and wore it when she left the next day!

I was happy to show Crystal the process of refashioning, though at first I was a little nervous to have someone watching me while I was working. I wish she lived closer so we could get together and sew. She’s sewn some simpler projects, like aprons and basic dresses, and they’ve turned out great, so hopefully now she’ll try her hand at refashioning!

I made her a lunch bag and snack pouch to take with her, so I’ll post about those next time.

I did manage to snag a photo of her wearing her new dress with her new lunch bag, so here’s a sneak peek!



And doesn’t she make it look fabulous ladies and gentlemen? I wish I had a willing model around more often!

boxy bag and birthday purse

I’ve conquered the boxy zip bag! I was nervous, but I’ve made a few different types of zipper pouches (curved top, wedge, pleated, gathered, embroidered) so it was time to further my knowledge. Guess what? It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.

I used this pattern from Pretty Modern and it worked out well. It was a bit nerve-wracking since you don’t turn the bag right side out until the end when all the sewing is done. I thought I’d try to turn it and it would look like a big mess, but it looked like this!


Instead of interfacing for the lining, I used batting to give the bag a cushy interior. Look, it unzips correctly and is nice and finished inside!


One of my zipper tabs is off center but I’ll live with it, or wait until I can’t stand it anymore, rip the lining open and fix it. So far, I’m going to live with it. 🙂 The most tedious part of this bag was boxing all eight corners (lining and exterior), but it’s so worth it!

Where did I get this awesome fabric that is truly “the cat’s pajamas” you ask? At a yard sale of course! I used a pillowcase from the same day of yard sales (previously seen as a pillowcase dress) for the lining.


I’ve mentioned my sleep shorts addiction before. This pair was too big and billowy but I didn’t want to part with the fabric. I figured a pair of sleep shorts is well suited to be made into an overnight toiletries bag.

I finished another bag last weekend for my friend’s sister’s birthday. She’d seen the pleated purse I made for my swap partner and requested one for her sister. She picked the fabric and I did the sewing.


I did a matching pocket on the inside and a magnetic snap closure as the pattern suggests. I was more careful with the fusible interfacing this time so there are less wrinkles and bubbling.


Now I just have to give the bag to my friend!

doll quilt for Emma

I realized I never posted about the doll quilt I made for Emma when I found the pictures stashed in a folder a few days ago.

The only picture I did post looked like this. At this point, the doll quilt was two layers of high loft batting stuffed into fabric from a vintage bed sheet. I planned to just tie it or quilt it with some small tacks and be done.


Then some random craft room mojo struck and I rummaged through my felt stash and came up with this.


It is far from my usual style, but I was inspired to mix it up. I sent a picture to my mom and she told me it needed more quilting. So I went back to machine and it turned out like this.


It isn’t perfect, but it is whimsical and will work to cover up a two-year-old’s stuffed animals.

I’m glad I tried something different. I learned something new and hope to apply this style of quilting to future projects in a less random way.

If you’ve missed my Emma project posts, here’s a photo I forgot to post that shows everything I made for her this summer.

I sent her a couple of denim jackets I found on the cheap too. The cat was not sent in the package, despite her desire to lay on everything I was trying to pack.


I think that wraps up the Emma sewing for now. I got a hilarious video of Emma “unpacking” the package by picking things up one at a time and dropping them on the floor.

shorts to purse refashion

I printed out the pattern for the Phoebe bag a year or two ago but hadn’t gotten around to making it. These shorts my friend Amanda gave me from her Goodwill pile inspired me make this bag happen.


The flowers are a bit much with the multicolored plaid. When I went to cut up the shorts, I was pleased to find that the flower motif was only happening on one side of the fabric.


I saved the flaps on the back pockets…


and used them and their buttons on the inside pockets.


I didn’t have enough fabric to cut a whole outer panel from, so I cut two halves and sewed them together in the middle for each side. I covered the seam with a piece of black grosgrain ribbon because it looked weird with the plaids not matching up.


The flower on the bag came from a pair of sandals that recently bit the dust.


The sole was coming off and the interior had crumbled, so I salvaged the flowers and tossed the soles.

shoeflower01AThe flowers were sewn on to the straps, so I just had to sew the whole piece together and attached a safety pin through the threads.

These are the backs of my magnetic snap halves. It looks like I’m not the only upcycler!


And here’s a final inside shot. I like the looks of a bag lined in satin and I have a bunch of it around. I used black canvas for the handle.


So there you have it: shorts to purse! I gave the bag to Amanda this weekend, but I might have to make another version for myself!

Does it seem like everything I’ve been making lately is a bag? Well I just finished another one for my friend’s sister today, and have a few more planned.

I went to Joann’s yesterday and bought some more fabric for curtains and the right size zipper for the boxy bag so I hope to have that done this week. Maybe I’m just destined to be a sewer of bags, though I do hope to get some work clothes sewn soon.