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!


secret tote swap

So here it is, the bag I made for the tote swap. I had one word to go off of for the description: purple. I hope this suits!purplepleatedpurse_toteswap01AI used the pleated purse tutorial from Modest Maven. I knew I wasn’t game for the complicated piecing and quilting that the other participants were skilled at, so I wanted a pattern with some design elements that would show up well with simple fabrics. (Other patterns I found in my search were the pleated tote tutorial and the roll-up tote.)


I used two layers of off-white broadcloth for the lining since it was a very thin fabric and divided the pocket on the inside.

(This is my third magnetic snap and I love them! I can’t believe it took me so long to try them out.)

Since the largest piece of purple fabric in my stash was the solid color I used for the body of the bag, I wanted to add a smaller fun piece to my package.

The rosy wedge bag tutorial is simple, but the fabric and shape add some personality.


I used interfacing and batting instead of using fusible fleece and quilted the batting to hold it all together. It made it a bit more difficult to get the ends right, but I do like the look of the quilting on the pouch.

I went all purple on everything since that was the only word I got describing my partner’s preferences.


a light purple lining using fabric that had been in my stash for over a decade.

I liked both bags, but they looked a bit plain so a friend suggested adding an embellishment to the purse. I got out my crochet hooks and made a pink swirl flower from this tutorial. It gave the bag some needed excitement.

pleatedpurse w flowerA

I also made a bow and added it to the pouch. Too cute!

pouch w bowA

Then I played with Photoshop and made this for the swap’s Flickr page.


I realized later it should have said Secret Tote BAG Swap but oh well. 🙂

I have really gotten into posting my projects in blogger groups on Flickr in the last month and it’s been a lot of fun. The ladies in this swap were so encouraging and left lots of nice comments, so that was a great part of the swap experience.

(My username is photosarahcrafts if you want to check me out!)

I rounded it out with a scrapbook paper card (in purple of course!) and sent it on its way.


I had a partner in the U.S.A. this time which was nice to keep shipping costs low. Hopefully it has arrived and I’ll hear from her soon!

jumpsuit to summer top

I’ve been able to tackle some new projects and some that have been on hold for awhile thanks to a bit more free time and being relatively organized and motivated. Here’s piece I picked up a year ago that took very little time to refashion once I sat down and worked on it.

I bought this jumpsuit last summer. I remember the guy selling at a yard sale it tried to get me to pay a little more, but honestly, what would you have paid for this atrocity? I paid less than $1.

jumpsuit beforeA

head removed to protect the innocent. thanks to my former roomie Kendra for snapping this shot one Saturday morning last summer.

This is perhaps the most ridiculous thrifted thing I’ve bought. Aside from the design, it was so horribly unflattering.

The first thing that had to go was the pants. There’s a peplum-y top hiding in there somewhere. Then there were a few nips, tucks, and additions.

jumpsuit topA

Here’s what I did: – I cut off the legs, took the front and back seams in where there was extra fabric, and gave the whole thing a narrow hem. – I let out one of the sides that had been taken in and finished the fraying edges inside. – I removed the belt loop from the front. – I added a triangle of black in the center to offer more coverage. – I also added a few stitches on the black stripe to secure the pleats.

I was excited to use my narrow hem foot for the first time. I’d gotten it awhile ago for a project but hadn’t taken it out of the package until a few days ago. It worked out really well on the lightweight fabric of this jumpsuit turned top.

jumpsuit hemA

The pleats aren’t exactly how I’d like them and it’s not quite a peplum, but oh well. It’s an easy, wearable summer top and way better than it was when it first came into my hands. The fabric isn’t what I would normally go for, but it drew me in for some reason; I see it pairing well with neutral colored shorts this summer.

jumpsuit afterA

So there you have it. From horrible jumpsuit to not too shabby woven summer top.

jumpsuit b+a A

I realized my striped jumpsuit fit the theme for last week’s Refashion Runway sew along so I’m linking it up over there. A lot of blogs I read regularly are contestants so I’ve been following along closely. Here’s a link to more info about the competition, or just go over to Chic Envelopments to catch all the action. I’ve got this week’s denim refashion in mind and hope to have it ready for the sew along too!

dress to midi skirt

If you haven’t heard of Marisa at New Dress a Day, let me introduce you. This lovely lady creates wearable items from thrift store dresses I wouldn’t even give a second glance. I’m hoping to channel her a little in this post.

We start with a thrift store dress for less than $3.

I’m a total sucker for this color of blue and like how it pairs with the white.  The pattern was working for me, just not on this dress. Also, pleats!

There’s a lot going on with this dress.

I tore three or four seams out to separate the top from the bottom and had to pin and stitch across every pleat to hold it in place. I cut a piece from the top and attached it to the waist for the elastic casing. I was afraid the pleats would stretch out with the elastic if I’d just turned down the top section of the skirt for the waistband.

After getting all those pleats in place and attaching the waistband, I just threaded some elastic through and had a new pleated midi skirt.

Here it is in flowy action. I’d planned to make it into a high-low skirt, but with the pattern, color and pleats, it had enough going on already.

As I was working on this skirt, I found this dress on Pinterest with a very similar pattern. And yesterday, Marisa posted her remake of a dress into a pleated skirt.

This skirt is on its trial run today. It’s breezy, and my fingers are crossed that the polyester is more flowy than sticky in the heat.



Update: This skirt can also be worn as a strapless dress! As a dress it has a high-low hem and looks best when belted.