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!


secret tote swap round 4: received

I know I need to get on with sewing my end of the Secret Tote Bag Swap because I received mine a week and a half ago. Since the tote for my partner isn’t done, let me share the one I got. I should have a post on the one I’m sewing in the next week or two. 🙂

I got this lovely package in the mail and since my partner was so quick, I wasn’t expecting it at all! (Apologies to my swap partner for being less than speedy.)



I’m a sucker for a nicely wrapped package. Inside was this bright tote!


I recognized the Noodlehead pattern immediately. Love the fabric on the pockets.

Inside was equally as colorful.


Note the cat checking out the tote at the bottom of the photo.

But the little guy who stole my heart was this fantastic Mr. Fox. (Natalie, a fox?! can you believe it?? It’s like she knew about my love of foxes :))


This guy is now my sewing room mascot and he’s hanging out on my scissors/rotary cutting/ruler rack.

I also got these other fun goodies. I’m a big fan of the colors in the text fabric.


Now I just need to work on the tote for my partner. It is started and I’ve already got some other goodies sewn up for her.

secret tote swap: round 2

I really like the bag I made for round two of the secret tote swap, and was almost tempted to keep it for myself! It was fun to bring the somewhat ambitious project (for me at least) out of my head and into the world.

I’d been wanting to do a pieced project with some of the fun vintage fabrics that I had from Kathy’s mom’s stash. My partner requested a lot of solid colors so I threw in some solid scraps of my own.


I bought the purple and orange to round out the rainbow, fitting the nature theme of the swap.


As I was sewing it up, I added some light blue and fuchsia scraps to give the rainbow more depth.


I used strips of the rainbow colors at the top of the inside pocket, on the straps, and as a feature for the front of the bag.

I added some diagonal quilting to the back of the bag and a few vertical lines to the front alongside the rainbow piece.


I like how the quilting shows up on the navy linen I got at JoAnn’s.


I added a pocket on the back of the bag and secured it with velcro.


And stuck a snap inside as per my partner’s request. I used a lighter blue fabric from my stash for the lining.


And that was it! My bag was complete and sent off to my partner.


My bag for the swap came to me from England. I always get excited when I see this stamp in the mail.


I got a couple of additional goodies along with my yellow and blue hexagon bag. I was pretty psyched that I had a partner who was willing to put that kind of time into hand-sewing the hexagons and I really like the fabrics she chose.

I also got a bag pattern, card and fat quarter of white hearts on a red background (not pictured).


Thanks so much to my partner over at The Patchwork Robin and to Lia’s Handmades for putting the swap together again for round two. Check out more bags from the swap on Flickr!

secret tote swap: received

As I mentioned a while back, I got my secret tote swap package!!! Thank you so much SewLindaAnn!

The first thing I saw when I opened it was a yarn basket filled with fun buttons and some cute washi tape (so exciting because I only own one roll!) and a very nice handwritten note.


This yarn basket will be put to use to store craft supplies ASAP!

The main event was wrapped in a pattern.


the sniffing begins.

My tote is beautiful and blue.


It even matches Harvey’s collar!


The cats investigated it thoroughly, and both had to stick their entire heads in it.



I thought I recognized the pattern and sure enough it’s a very purple person purse. I’ve made the pattern twice before, once using a thrifted shirt for fabric, and another time I made a striped one for a friend.

Here’s the other side of the purse.



And it’s reversible! I think I’ll be carrying it with the pocket on the inside and this showing on the outside for now.


I really like all the different blue fabrics my partner chose. 🙂 Thanks again SewLindaAnn!

I’m mostly settled in to my new place (blogging this live from the craft room!) and finally got internet access yesterday so I hope to get back into a craft and blog routine soon.

backpack for me

I’ve only had one significant backpack in my life. My mom bought me a navy Jansport just like all the cool kids had when I was going into 8th grade (ca. 2000) and told me at $60 it wasn’t cheap so it better last a long time. I used that backpack on an almost daily basis all through high school and college until the zippers started to go at the end of my Costa Rica semester in 2008 and I passed it along to a friend.


I took a picture on our last day together in Costa Rica. I’d say I got my money’s worth!

I didn’t really think about backpacks much after the student phase of my life, but I saw a couple of cute ones recently that made me reconsider the idea.

store backpacksA

palm trees at Victoria’s Secret {only on eBay now} | birds at Target {source}
both have since sold out.

I wasn’t sure I’d use a backpack enough to justify buying one so I figured I’d make a cute one from some stash fabric and test its functionality in my post-student life. (The mini palm tree VS backpacks are selling for between $30-50 on eBay currently and the Target one was originally $30.)

I used two stash fabrics for my project: a loosely woven mint fabric from an Alabama thrift store for the accent and this Greek key fabric found at a Kentucky yard sale (and seen on Pinterest here) for the main body of the backpack.


love a magnetic snap!

This backpack tutorial was my starting point.


that’s my craft corner in the background.

I added a flap using this tutorial as a guideline. I had to make mine bigger than that pattern piece to fit over the whole drawstring apparatus.


Of course, I figured out I needed to make it bigger after I finished the smaller one.

I used rope from Lowe’s for the drawstring. It’s cheap, thick, and shiny.


To cap off the ends, I made two tiny tubes of the main fabric. It was a big pain to turn them, but they’re nicely finished and I’m not worried about the ends unraveling.


Here’s how it all came together.


I kept it simple and didn’t make adjustable straps.

And here’s the backpack from outside to inside.


Left to right: flap closed with magnetic snap, drawstrings tied, velcro front pocket closed; flap open to reveal drawstrings tied in a bow; and flap hidden, drawstring untied revealing contrast lining, velcro pocket open.

I made a few modifications to the tutorial to personalize the backpack. As you saw earlier, I added a flap with a magnetic snap closure. The top of the front pocket has extra space sewn in so the pocket fabric isn’t lying flat against the body of the backpack. That way it doesn’t bulge too badly if I put an object with some dimension to it in there. The velcro closure keeps the top of the pocket closed whether something is in it or not.

I took the backpack on a trip, but haven’t had an occasion to carry it around much making me glad I didn’t spend the money on a store-bought backpack. I’m really pleased with the look and hope I can find reasons to use it in the future.

In other news, I got my tote and some extra goodies from my swap partner yesterday! I’ve been stalking Flickr for weeks in anticipation, but it turns out I’d missed the last few days when pictures of my tote were posted!

Here is a picture posted by my partner; I’ll have more shots of my bag and the extras in my next post.


It’s blue! She used such gorgeous fabrics.