Category Archives: Sewing

Travel Emergency Kit

Over the next few months, “Road Trip” is going to be my husbands and my middle name (and “On The Road Again” is going to be our jam!).  My husband just found out he has to travel cross country to go to a training for two months, and right when we get back from this training, we’re going to be packing up and moving to a new base, so from now through July, we’re going to be living on the road.  Thankfully, his training allows (and even encourages spouses and families) to attend, so I get to go along for the ride!  Over the next 2 months, we are going to see 17 different states, and our car is going to be our “home”.  I’m going to do another blog post on how I organized the car for the trip, but let me start with one little aspect of it- my Travel Emergency Kit.

Diy Travel Emergency Kit

I gathered a few supplies that are somehow always needed while on the road:  A nail file, Advil, alcohol cleaning pads, Neosporin, bandages and san awesome little swiss army type knife that I found on clearance at Kohls – it has a few small tools, scissors, bottle opener, etc.

For this, you’ll just need a few scraps of fabric and a small piece of ribbon.  I used some scrap upholstery fabric – you’ll want something sturdy, or make sure you interface/stabilize any lightweight fabric.

Out of the main fabric, cut two pieces 15″ x 7.5″, and out of the accent pocket fabric, cut two pieces 15″ long – one will be 5.5″ high and the other will be 4″ high.DSC_7561

On the two accent pocket pieces, make a hem on one of the long sides (I just folded it under about 1/4″ and stitched down close to the edge).  Place the shorter piece on top of the taller piece, and mark out a few pockets.  Your pockets will be different based on what items you picked for your travel kit.  Stitch along the line to create a pocket, making sure you backstitch really well on the upper edge.  DSC_7562

Some pockets will just be on the bottom layer, and some pockets will go through to the top layer.  See my markings below.  To make the upper pockets, lay the two pocket pieces onto one of your outside pieces of fabric and sew through all three layers.DSC_7563

Baste a 12″ piece of ribbon to one end.DSC_7564

Lay your other outside piece on top of the pocket piece, right sides together. Sew around all four edges, using a 1/2″ seam, and leaving a 5″ opening so that you can turn it inside out.  Before turning inside out, trim your seams and clip your corners.DSC_7566

Turn inside out and either machine stitch or hand stitch the opening closed.  I machine stitched along the top edge to help it lay flat and give it a finished look.  Press well.DSC_7567

Fill up the pockets with your items, roll up and tie closed!DSC_7571

Lace Infinity Scarf

What’s the weather like where you are? For us here in eastern Washington, spring momentarily sprung today and it totally had me opening all the windows in the house and dreaming of bright spring outfits.  The problem is, I know this momentarily lapse in our usual cloud/fog/rain overlay won’t last, but I can enjoy it while it lasts!

20140327-085151.jpgI threw together this quick lace infinity scarf today in a matter of minutes- it’s perfect for days like today- the sun is out and you want that pop of color in your outfit, but there’s still a slight hint of chill (or in my case today- wind!) that still means you need a bit of bundling up.

When I say I made this in a matter of minutes- I’m not even kidding. The grey and white one I used in the tutorial took about 15 minutes because I was photographing every step of the way, but the teal and white one in the photo above was done in 4 minutes flat.  Four minutes!  I foresee a lot of my friends getting these lace infinity scarves as gifts- especially when I saw tons of cute jersey knit prints in the fabric store the other day.

Enough blabbing- lets get sewing!  All you’ll need is 1/2 yard of a jersey knit fabric (60″ wide) and 1/4 yard of lace.  Make sure the lace won’t unravel on you because it will have a raw edge.  The lace can be any width you want – on the grey one, the lace was 60″ wide, but I cut it down to 30″ and on the teal one, the lace was 45″ wide (and I left it that length).  You’ll also need basic sewing supplies and a sewing machine.


If you bought a half yard of jersey knit, you should now have a rectangle 18″ wide by either 45″ or 60″ long.  Lay it out lengthwise (right side up if your fabric has a right and a wrong side), and lay the lace (which should be 9″ wide) on one half of the jersey knit as shown in the photograph below.  Pin on the short end.DSC_7512

Fold the jersey knit over so that it forms a lace sandwich- the lace will be in between two layers of the knit.  Trim the edge of the lace 5/8 of an inch at the top, and taper it off.  You can see it in the bottom of the photo below.  This will be so the lace doesn’t get caught in the next seam.  Sew along this short edge with a 5/8″ seam.DSC_7513

Push the lace into the tube of fabric so it doesn’t get caught, then lay the jersey knit flat again to line up the long edges.  Pin and sew a 5/8″ seam down the long side.DSC_7515 DSC_7516

Turn the tube inside out, and on the end that does not have the lace, fold the knit under 5/8 of an inch, and pin.  Loop the free end of the lace around (making sure that you do not twist it in the process, and insert it into the opening.DSC_7517

Pin the lace into place into that opening.


Sew along the folded edge to secure the lace.  You should now have a large loop, half jersey knit and half lace (or mostly jersey knit, with a little bit of lace depending on how wide your lace was.)DSC_7521


And you are done! I told you that was easy!

Here’s another shot of the teal one- this one was made using a very thin patterned jersey knit and I love how soft it is and how easily it drapes!


Burlap Patriotic Wreath

I am so excited to finally get to share this post with you today! I made this burlap patriotic wreath last week, but I had to wait until now to share it. Why you ask? Well, there’s no patriotic holidays coming up, but for me, there was something even more special- my husband’s homecoming! He was coming home from his deployment, and I wanted a special wreath to greet him when we got back home. Hopefully, this will be the last deployment for him for awhile, so I wanted this wreath to be re-usable for other events, so the addition of the chalkboard sign means I can write whatever I want – right now it says “Welcome Home”, but for Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, etc, I can always change out the greeting to fit the holiday!

(And to see pictures from our homecoming- including a link to a news station that interviewed us and covered the homecoming, check out my photography blog here )

Burlap Patriotic Wreath

You’ll need:
A wreath (I used a 14inch straw wreath because you’ll be hot gluing the burlap down later- I’m not quite sure that styrofoam would hold up)
Red, White and Blue burlap – you’ll need about a half yard of each for a 14 inch wreath. If your wreath is larger, get more fabric. Also, I couldn’t find blue burlap, so I used a heavy polyester.
Chalkboard sign (I found mine in the wood aisle of the craft store)
Not pictured:
Hot glue gun/sticks
Wire (to make a hanger for the wreath)
Star sequins
Basic sewing supplies

Note: this tutorial assumes that you know basic sewing terms. Any questions- just ask!


Start off by cutting your fabric into strips.
Cut the following:
Red – 4 strips at 4 inches wide
White – 4 strips at 2.5 inches wide
Blue – 3 strips at 4 inches wide


Lay the white strip on top of the red strip, and using a 1/2 seam allowance and the longest stitch length you can (to gather later), sew the two strips together.  Repeat for all sets of the red/white fabric, and on the blue fabric, just stitch a 1/2 from the top.

Carefully gather your fabric.  You’ll want to end up with a piece that is between 1/2 and 3/4 as long as your original strip was (for example, my fabric was 40 inches wide, so each strip ended up being 20-30 inches long after being gathered.)  Repeat for all strips (you should have 4 sets of red/white and 3 of blue).

Optional- if you’d like you can join all the strips together to create one long gathered strip.  I find this makes the gluing easier in the next step.

Heat up your hot glue gun, and glue down the beginning of your strip.

Begin wrapping your gathered strip around the wreath in a spiraled pattern, hot gluing down every so often (I only glued on the outside edge of the wreath and it held together nicely.)  You’ll want to overlap the spiral by an inch or two so that you can’t see the raw stitched edge.

Continue wrapping all the way around until your wreath is covered.

To make the hanger for the wreath, I looped a small piece of wire, and hot glued and pinned it to the wreath.

Glue some stars on!
DSC00166And not pictured is the chalkboard sign – I glued some wire to the back of it, and wrapped it around the wreath in the lower right hand corner.

Hang with pride!

I’d love to see what you make! Leave me a note in the comments or share with me on Facebook or Instagram – my links are in the sidebar at the top of the page.  Make sure you are following me on Instagram so you can tag me and use hashtag #handmadeisbetter !

Stay tuned, because this isn’t the only crafting I did for his homecoming and I can’t wait to share what else I did with you! Here’s a hint- it tasted delicious!

DIY Easy Burlap Christmas Stockings

Going along with my handmade Christmas decorations (like my Holiday Burlap Banner or my Ruffled Tree Skirt), today I made a pair of burlap Christmas stockings for my hubby and myself.  I knew we needed some stockings but just like my tree skirt, I had several ideas in mind when I went into the fabric store, but as soon as I stepped inside and saw this printed burlap, I knew exactly what I wanted to make!  These stockings were so easy, I had them sewn and hanging in under an hour (and that’s with me photographing every step of the way- I’m sure you could have them done even quicker!)
Burlap Stockings DIY

You’ll need the following (for each stocking)
1/2 yard of burlap
1/2 yard of felt (a half yard of felt will be enough for 2 stockings since felt is typically 72″ wide)
1 Shank button
decorative buttons
thread to match
Typical sewing supplies- sewing machine, scissors, straight pins, etc.

These directions are to make 1 stocking. Adjust as necessary to make more than one.

Step 1
Cut out 2 stockings from burlap and 2 from the felt (which will act as the lining). I sketched out a stocking shape on a piece of newspaper, but I’m sure you could find some printable templates online. For the cuff, cut 2 rectangles that are as wide as the top of your stocking and twice as long as you’d like the cuff to be. (So I wanted my cuff to be 4 inches long and my stocking was 5 inches wide, so I cut 2 rectangles 5 inches by 8 inches).  In the photo below you’ll see I have two cuffs on the left opened up and two cuffs on the right folded in half.

Burlap Stockings 1

Step 2

Place right sides together and sew a 1/2 seam around the stockings and the linings, leaving the top end open.  Backstitch at the beginning and end.
Burlap Stockings 2

Step 3

Fold both cuff pieces in half (so that the short ends are touching) and then lay one folded piece on top of the other, and sew down the short sides.
Burlap Stockings 3

Step 4

Trim.  You’re going to trim the lining (The felt pieces) very close to your stitching and the burlap piece you are going to grade the seams (cut one seam allowance shorter than the other) and clip the curves.
Burlap Stockings 4

Here you can better see the grading of the seam on the burlap piece.  Trim the cuff seam as well.
Burlap Stockings 5

Step 5

Turn the burlap piece right side out (and not pictured here) turn the cuff piece right side out.  Slide the lining into the outer burlap stocking- the wrong sides of each should be facing each other now.  Slide the cuff into the opening of the stocking and pin around the uppermost edge.  (Not shown- sorry! I forgot to photograph this).  Sew around the uppermost edge with a 1/2 inch seam.
Burlap Stockings 6

Step 7

Pull the cuff out of the stocking, fold back the burlap piece and trim down all of the felt pieces.  Leave the burlap seam allowance long because burlap tends to fray.
Burlap Stockings 7

Step 8

Fold the cuff down to the outside.  At this point you could leave it as is, or you can decorate with decorative buttons.  I did three tortoiseshell buttons on my husbands mustache stocking and 3 buttons to form Mickey’s head on my Mickey stocking.

On the backside, I sewed a shank button near the top of the cuff so that I had something to hang a string on to hang the stockings up.  You could omit this and sew the string right to the stocking, but I liked how this looked better.
Burlap Stocking 9

Burlap Stocking 8

Finally, “hang your stockings by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there”
Burlap Stockings 10

I wish our mantle looked this good! Actually, we live in an apartment, so our stockings are currently hanging on our TV stand.  This is the fireplace in our apartment complex’s clubhouse.
Burlap Stockings 8


Did you make some stockings of your own? I’d love to see them! Leave me a comment here or stop by my Facebook page and leave me a picture. Is Instagram more your style? Follow me at @SewIn2Disney so that you can tag me in your picture and make sure you use hashtag #handmadeisbetter

Easy Ruffled Tree Skirt

As soon as the turkey was cleaned up from Thanksgiving last week, my husband and I started breaking out the Christmas decorations and by the end of last weekend we had everything up! (Granted- we live in an apartment right now so that doesn’t take too long! But stay tuned- I am going to do a post within the next week about how to decorate in such a small space). We spent a lazy Saturday putting up the tree and slowly decorating it, and when all was said and done it looked nice, but it was missing something. Tinsel maybe? Hmmm… but with a new dog, we were afraid he’d eat it… no… what we were missing was a tree skirt. When we went shopping the next day we looked at tree skirts and were shocked at the price of some of them– we saw skirts from $15- well over $100. The $15 ones looked horrible, so the next day, I took a trip to the craft store – I had a few ideas in mind, but nothing specific. After perusing the ribbon aisle, I decided I was going to make a ruffled tree skirt. I had originally discounted that idea because who has time to cut all that fabric, hem it, and then gather it? Not this girl! But- in the ribbon aisle, I discovered a host of ribbons that were wired, and I noticed that by gently pulling on the wire, I could easily “gather” the ribbon with no extra sewing for me. Score!

Before I continue- this is what I ended up with after an afternoon of sewing!
Ruffled Tree Skirt DSC_3412

After spending nearly 45 minutes in the ribbon aisle, this is the color scheme I went with- I thought the blue and silver looked so refreshing and was a nice change of pace from all the red and green.

In order to make this project work, you need to make sure the ribbon you are picking has wire in it, and that the ribbon can easily gather on the wire. See that ribbon in the middle in the picture above (the one with the trees) – I guess I forgot to test that one in the store because the wire was glued to the ribbon and it wouldn’t gather- that one is going back.

My tree skirt is 40″ across – and for that size skirt, I ended up using 5 spools of ribbon. Each spool of ribbon had 12 feet on it and was 2.5 inches wide.  You’re going to have to do a little math to figure out how much ribbon you need– and don’t forget that you’re gathering it, so you’ll need about twice as much as you think to make up for the gathering!

Keep in mind that as the circles get smaller towards the center you’ll use significantly less ribbon.  My last four rows were all made with just 2 spools of ribbon, so even though my tree skirt actually has 7 rows of ribbon, it was only made with 5 spools total.

Also keep in mind that one 12 foot spool of ribbon (slightly gathered) will comfortably go around a 40″ diameter circle.  If your circle is more than that, make sure you get 2 of the same spools of ribbon so you can patch them together!

Besides ribbon, you’ll also need felt (as wide as you want to make your tree skirt), a pen, safety pin, ribbon or yarn and a sewing machine.

To get started, decide how wide you’ll want your tree skirt.  We have a skinny tree, so I went with 40″ across.  Take your measurement, divide it in half, and get a piece of ribbon a bit longer than that.  Tie one end to a pen or pencil, and measure out your measurement and pin the ribbon in place in the middle of your felt.  What you’re essentially doing is making a huge compass to help you draw a large circle.


After drawing your initial circle, you can draw concentric circles as guidelines to help you place your rows of ribbon.  My ribbon was 2.5 inches wide, and I wanted a bit of overlap, so I made my circles every 2 inches.  You could omit this step and eyeball it, but some people like that extra assurance!


Cut out your circle, and then cut a slit from the edge to the center


You’re going to be working from the outside in, so pick which ribbon you want on the outside edge and start gathering!


Starting at the slit, fold a bit of the ribbon onto the back and then begin pinning the ribbon along your first guide line.


Keep going until you get all the way around. My outermost row was one entire 12 foot spool of ribbon.

After it is pinned, you’re going to sew it down.  Carefully sew along the gathered edge, getting as close as you can to the wire without sewing over it (you don’t want to break a needle!)

After the first row is sewn down, you’re basically going to repeat the last few steps on each concentric circle- gather, pin, sew, rinse and repeat.


This isn’t mandatory, but if your dog can insist on sleeping on your project while you’re working, that would be great.


Keep going until you get to a point where there is about a 12 inch circle of felt left.  You can either leave it there (if you have an artificial tree, it probably won’t be a problem, because the “trunk” isn’t that wide), or if you have a real tree, you can cut the white circle out to make sure you have enough space to wrap the skirt around your tree.


An overhead view


I just can’t stop looking at this glittery ruffly goodness!


And here it is gracing our tree!




Hmmm….someone looks guilty don’t they?


As always, if you use my tutorial to make your own, I’d love to see it! Comment, post to my Facebook or hit me up on Instagram at @sewin2disney so you can tag me and use hashtag #handmadeisbetter – I love to see what you come up with! The color combinations are endless!

How To Make A Dog Coat

Moving from New Jersey to Washington has brought out several big changes for me, one of which being the fact that it gets colder sooner. Now, in NJ, we have our fair share of winter and a decent amount of snow, but nothing would prepare me for having my first snow on November 3rd! And that is just what happened this year- I woke up early on Sunday morning only to look outside and see snow falling. Nothing stuck, but it was pretty to look at while it lasted. We turned on the Weather channel to see the forecast only to see that we were in for a snowstorm on Tuesday, and yesterday, we got our first measurable snowstorm of the season – 3 inches on November 5th! Crazy, right? Well, for this Jersey Girl it definitely was!
So what does all this snow have to do with how to make a dog coat? A few weeks ago, my husband and I rescued a puppy from the shelter. Gunner is a 9 month old Boxer and Whippet mix (and for those who don’t know, like us, a Whippet is along the same family line as a Greyhound). He really is a great dog, but I’m not so sure he’s ready for winter. A good friend told me that Greyhounds have hair, not fur, and that definitely holds true for our dog. He has very fine hair, and research told us that Whippets can get very cold when the temperatures drop, so with the first real snowfall of the year today, I decided to make him a little dog jacket.

how to make a dog coat

I figured this was something that I could figure out easy enough, but I turned to Pinterest to get some ideas, and stumbled upon this link on how to make a ‘Country Gent Tweed Coat’, and I knew that *that* was the coat I was going to make him!

I followed their basic pattern/directions, but I changed it up a bit- not only to make it easier, but to make it more practical for our use. Their tweed/fur coat was adorable, but maybe for a prim and proper little dog- ours is a run around, rough and tumble dog, and I wanted to make him something that was warm and would hold up to his active lifestyle, not to mention something that would be easily washable!

The changes I made to their pattern are as follows:

  • Instead of tweed/fur, I used two layers of fleece (leftover from my Camel Halloween costume!)
  • Since I was working with leftover fabric, I didn’t have enough to make my piece the shape of their pattern. Instead, I started with a deep U shaped piece of fabric that was the length of his body from neck to tail and was as wide as he was from side to side (with a drape over the side).  I then cut two bands- one to go around the neck and one to go under the belly.  The length of these depends on the size of your dog.  See photo below for a picture of the band in front of the neck.
  • I didn’t use bias tape to attach the two pieces together.  Rather, I cut one piece of fleece 5/8″ wider on all sides than the other piece.  I then turned the excess fleece under (sort of like a hem) and sewed it down.



I did keep the belt (because that was just so adorable!) and instead of a sew-on collar around the neck, I just folded the edge back and hand sewed it down.



All in all, the whole project took me less than an hour to make and he loved it!  We used it last night when we took a 2 mile walk, and he didn’t fuss with it one bit.  Plus, it was icing/drizzling, so it kept him warm and semi dry.  I may make him another one with a more waterproof material for days when it is actually raining- I’m thinking a nylon outer, lined with fleece so it keeps him warm and dry.

What do you think? Would your dog wear one? If you make one, I’d love to see it! Leave me a comment below with where I can see a picture, or visit me on Facebook and leave me a picture! Are you on Instagram? Be sure to follow me and tag me @sewin2disney and use hashtag #handmadeisbetter so I can see what you come up with!

Sew A Passport Cover (With A Pocket)

The wedding countdown continues! Today, it’s not so much of a wedding craft per-se, but a honeymoon craft. I just got my first ever, brand new, shiny passport. I know it’ll accompany me on many fun journeys with my new hubby, and I wanted to protect its blemish-free cover. So I designed this little tutorial to help you sew a passport cover (with a pocket– because all things need pockets!)

Sew A Passport Cover

All you’ll need is some scraps of fabric, a sewing machine and less than a half hour of your time.

Cut a rectangle of your outside fabric (mine is blue with little anchors) 10 inches by 6 inches, and then cut a rectangle of your lining fabric (white cotton in my case) the same size.  If you want a pocket, cut two rectangles of either fabric (I went with my lining fabric) 4 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.  Press all of your fabric to remove any wrinkles or creases.

Place the fabrics right sides together and use a 1/4 inch seam allowance to sew around 3 sides and part of the fourth for both rectangles (I’m better at showing than explaining, so you can see in the pictures below how I started along the bottom edge, sewed around three sides, and then went a little bit on the bottom edge again.  Clip your corners so you can turn it inside out easily.

Turn both pieces inside out and press flat.

Using a needle and coordinating thread, sew up the opening using a whip stitch (or whatever blind stitch you are good at) on both the cover and the pocket.

Lay your cover flat, right side up, and place the pocket on the left side of the fabric, about an 1 1/4 inches in from the left side.  Pin into place and sew around the left side, bottom and right side (leaving the top open).


Turn the cover upside down, and fold in about 1 inch on each side. (You might want to lay your passport on the fabric to measure.  If you didn’t use a 1/4 inch seam allowance, or other differences in sewing may make this measurement different– always double check to be sure!)

Now, you can either use your sewing machine to sew along the very very edge of these flaps (at the top and bottom) or hand sew them using a whip stitch again.  I picked hand-sewing to make for a more polished finish.
Slide your passport into its new cover and marvel in your handy-ness (and dream of exotic vacations to come!)


Knock-Off Vera Bradley Anchor Beach Bag {DIY Tutorial}

I adore Vera Bradley’s line of purses, tote bags, accessories, etc, and this past summer when she came out with her “Seashore” line, I was in love.  Namely- I fell in love with the Seashore Tote- an oversized straw bag with an appliqued anchor on it.  Now, being a Jersey girl, one who spends her summers at the beach, I already have a dedicated beach bag- a large straw bag that holds my towels, cosmetic bag, sunscreen and a book, so I really had no need for this Vera bag.  Then I remembered that next month, my fiancé and I will be travelling to St. Lucia on our honeymoon, and I’ll be needed a cute bag to bring with me to the beach there.  My regular beach bag is too heavy to be easily packed, so I decided I would buy the Vera bag because it would easily fold flat in my luggage.  Then I got to the store….and I got sticker shock at the price.  Now, I do own several Vera Bradley purses, and I know they are quality made and therefore slightly more expensive then a normal purse, but I was shocked that this simple straw bag was $65!  I took a look at its construction and decided I could easily DIY it.
DIY Anchor tote

Check it out- looks just like a Vera bag, but at a fraction of the cost!


To make your own, you’ll need:

-A large tote bag. You could make your own, or do as I did- hunt the aisles of WalMart. I found this one for under $7!
-A fat quarter or a scrap of fabric in a color of your choice
-1/2 yard of Wonder Under (it is a double sided fusible interfacing) If you can’t find it locally, there are many options available on Amazon, including thisThermoweb Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold Iron-On Adhesive
-Thread to match (or coordinate)
-Sewing machine, and an understanding of the basic workings of it
-Scrap paper/newspaper (for making your anchor template)


Seriously- $7! It might not be the most well-made tote bag, but it’ll easily fold flat in my luggage, and was a good basis for my bag.
1. Follow the directions on your Wonder Under/Thermo Web and iron it onto the back side of your fabric.  Make sure there is a good adhesion because this is what will help you adhere your applique to your bag later!

2. Using scrap paper or newspaper, make an anchor (or whatever shape you’d like!) template.  I’d provide mine here, but each tote bag will be a different size, so it wouldn’t be useful for most.  I laid out a piece of newspaper the size of my bag and sketched it until it looked right.  It took me 3 tries to get one that looked good to me.  Don’t give up!   Tip** Keep your design simple- no hard corners or tiny shapes.  You’ll be sewing around these edges later, and small spaces make for difficult appliquéing.

3. Lay out your template onto your fabric and trace the pattern.  When you are done, carefully cut it out.
4. Carefully peel the paper backing off of your anchor.  Make sure that the glue stays adhered to your fabric.  If it is still stuck to the paper, re-iron the paper to make sure the glue sticks to the fabric.  Allow to cool before peeling again.

5. Lay out your applique on the bag in the location you would like it to be.  I made mine off center and titled just like the original Vera bag.  Carefully iron the applique down using the hottest setting that will work with your bag.

6. Thread your machine in a coordinating color thread.  Make sure your bobbin is full because you’ll use a lot of thread!  Adjust your machine so that it is on a fairly wide, and very close zig zag stitch.  I set mine at a width of 4 (out of a possible 5) and a closeness of .4.  Every machine will be different though.  I suggest testing on a piece of scrap fabric to decide the settings.

7. Place your bag onto the arm of the machine, making sure that you are not sewing through the back side of the bag or the handles.  Slowly make your way around the edge of the applique with your zig zag stitch.  This process is very time consuming, so be patient and take your time.  If you rush it, you’ll have gaps in your sewing, or worse, you could break a needle.  Be extra careful when going around curves, and go extra slow.  Don’t expect to start at one location on your applique and be able to make it all the way around in one shot.  I had to start and stop about 4 times so that I could rearrange my tote bag.  I found it easiest to start in the bottom corner and make my way up to the top.

8.  When you are done, clip any hanging threads and check your stitches.  If you have any areas where the stitching is a little barren, fill it in with a sharpie like you see in the two photos below.



Enjoy your new tote bag!

(Not the best picture, but as I was taking pictures of my bag down by the bay, a swan decided he wanted to be in the photo too!)

If you make an Anchor beach bag following my tutorial, please send me a link to your work, I’d love to see it!


Handmade Bridesmaids Clutches

In a quest to DIY as much as my wedding as possible, I made my bridesmaids not-quite-matching clutches.  I knew I wanted part of their bridesmaid gift to be a clutch filled with “wedding day essentials”, so I started to look around for some ideas.  The problem is, I found too many ideas!  I decided that I have 3 different bridesmaids, so I should have 3 different clutches (plus, one for myself!).  Here’s all four clutches (in our wedding colors- navy and coral)


I had so much fun filling them with items I think they’d need on the big day! I got nail files, Tic Tac mints, hand cream, small mirror, a comb, some clear band aids, Chapstick, some bobby pins that I attached to a piece of card stock, and my favorite part– little hand sanitizers from Bath and Body Works that have a diamond ring on them and say “I love bling!”.  How perfect are they for a wedding?

1DSC_2340 copy

Each clutch measures 9in x 5in and have a small strap to hang from their wrist. They are all made out of satin which was strengthened with fusible interfacing.  They are all lined with a silk cotton lining.  Below, I have a picture of each clutch and a link to where I found the tutorial on how to make it.  Note* I did not follow the directions for each tutorial exactly– I modified them to fit my needs, but the basic directions are there.

I used this blog for the instructions on how to make the Bow Clutch.


For this clutch, I just made it up as I went along, but it was based loosely on the clutch featured here — the top is a single band, the middle has four little pleats in it, and the bottom is a single band.  The flowers were made by me, and a tutorial on how to make them can be found here.  The same flowers will also be adorning the bridesmaids dresses.


This clutch I made up as I went along– It is just a basic rectangle with a little ruffle sewn on.  I made the ruffle by making a tube out of the fabric,  basting a running stitch down the middle, gathering it, and then sewing it down onto the front piece of the clutch before sewing everything together.


For this clutch, I used the tutorial found here. That blog also had a fabulous tutorial on how to insert the zipper. I used her tutorial for that on all four clutches, and let me say that they came out so professional looking!


Can you think of anything else I should include in the clutches?

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