Thursday, July 28, 2011


Have you seen one of these on blogland? First saw it here. Her kid was so adorable and I immediately wanted to make one for my girl. But then, had too many projects in mind and didn't take it up until recently. When my 2 colleagues came back to work after their maternity leave, I decided to finally make one for them and for my girl. 2 girls and 1 boy.

If you follow Jess's tutorial, it is really simple and you don't really need a sewing machine to finish up the job. Just print out the pattern piece, cut both the front and back fabric together and finish up the edge with bias tapes.

I'm not sure if it's me but the pattern was a tad too small for my 18 months. It was ok for my colleagues 6 months old baby though. So, I use free hand to draw a bigger pattern from the original design. Just that you will need to also adjust the length of the bias tapes so that it fits for the bigger size.

It took me less than 1hour to finish up the 2 baprons. Cutting the pattern and pinning the long bias tapes took the longer time. For the blue car bapron, I use ready made bias tape. For the pink ones, I made my own since I don't have one in that colour. How I wish I've the Simplicity's bias tape machine but sadly, it is not available here in Singapore and Amazon wouldn't ship in for me : ( Anyone got any idea how to get it shipped to Singapore??

It is a good design and perfect for my active toddler who wouldn't keep a bib in place. The ties at the back helps to keep it in place as she keeps pulling the regular velcro type off.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Messenger Bag

Ikea is having a sale now and I got this home furnishing fabric for $6 per metre!

Bought 2 metres as I thought the blue is so dreamy looking and hey, my daughter needs a bag for school. Her current bag just disintegrated! I mean, the zipper tab came off, her strap buckle broke and it's really getting very sorry looking. She looks sling bag and so the birth of a new Messenger Bag! It's really easy and I love how it turns out. Follow on if you want to sew along..

1 metre of med weight cotton fabric {go get them at Ikea at only $6/m!}
0.5 metre of light weight cotton or muslin {i bought these from Ikea too at $2.40/m}

Cutting Instruction
[Main fabric A]
Front and back: cut 2 pieces @ 13.5" X 12"
Flap: cut 1 piece @ 13.5" X 16"
Base: cut 1 piece @ 36" X 5"
Strap: 19" X 5"
Inner Pocket: 11" X 8" (Optional)

[Lining fabric B]
Front and back: cut 2 pieces @ 13.5" X 12"
Base: cut 1 piece @ 36" X 5"

Sewing Instruction
Main body
1. First, lay the base fabric A right side up. Find the centre of the base piece and match with the centre of the Front panel piece.  Pin and align the bottom edge for the Front panel piece.

2. Turn the 2 pieces, so that the Front panel is now below, facing up.  Flip the base piece down at the corner, making a shart 45 degree turn [see below for better illustration].
Then, flip up again so that it is now Right Side facing down.
 Align the side seam and pin all the way up on the side of the Front panel.
 Do the same for the other side so that you have the base panel all pin nicely around the front panel.
Do the same for the Lining pieces.

3. Start sewing from the top of the panel all the way down the bottom and up again.  

4. After you have sewn the Front panel to the base, pin the Back panel to the other side of the base. Do the same step as 1-2 and sew. Repeat the same for the other back panel for the lining piece.  Turn your bag (Main Fabric) Right Side Out.  Your bag should take shape now.

1. Fold the flap piece Right Side together to measure 13.5" X 8".  Sew the two 8" sides with 3/8" seam allowance.  Clip corners and turn Right Side out. Press.

2. Sew all round the folded edge with a straigth stitch, leaving the top unsew.

Attach Flap to Bag body
1. Pin the flap to the top edge of the bag Back panel, Right Side facing. Leave about 0.5" from the top of the main bag and pin the flap. Make sure your flap is pinned straightly. The reason for the gap is when you sew the bag to the lining piece, you don't want to have so many bulk in the seam.

2. Sew with straight stitch along the pinned flap top edge, using 1/4" seam allowance. Make sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of the stitch to secure.

it looks almost like a bag now..
Inner Pocket (Optional)
If you like to have a pocket in the bag, you can sew it in before you sew up the lining pieces or like me, which is an after thought, sew in after you have sewn the lining piece. It's still possible but abit trouble some.

1. Simliar method as the construction of the Flap. Fold the pocket piece, Right Side Facing, into half to measure 8" X 5.5".  Sew the 2 short edges, clip corners and flip over and press. Fold in 1/4" from the top open edge and press.

2. Decide on the position of your pocket and pin in place on the lining piece. Sew a straight stitch around the pocket, U shape, starting from the top right to the bottom and up to the left.

1. Fold the strap Right Side Facing, into half lengthwise and sew the edge close with 1/2" seam allowance. Turn it Right Side Out.

2. Press and sew two rows of straight stitch along the length of the strap.

3. Mark 2.5" from the top edge on the side panel of the bag and 2" measure from the side of the bag.

4. Pin the strap to the bag and fold in the edge.  Sew a box stitch to secure. Do the same for the other end of the strap.

Putting the Bags together
1. Insert the Main Bag (Right Side Facing Out) into the Lining Bag (Right Side Facing In). Align side seams. 

2. As I like my inner pocket to be at the back of the bag, make sure that the Main bag with the flap (back) is facing the Inner pocket on the lining bag.  Tuck in the strap.

3. Pin around the top edges of both bags and sew with 3/8" seam allowance. Be sure to catch both the main and lining bag as you sew. I've used a size 90 needle and longer stitch width and tension to sew. Go slowly.  Leave a 2" gap at the opening for turning.

4. Turn the bag out from the gap and sew the gap close.  You can also sew the label and velcro on the flap
 and the bag is good to go!
front view

Inner pocket

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tea towel turned Cross-stitch Lunch tote

I've got another lunch tote tutorial here. Actually, you can also use this bag for any short marketing trip if you want. It's the first time I've tried to incorporate a cross stitch design onto a bag. I didn't do the beautiful cross stitch. My colleague did it and had asked me if I can help her to sew a bag to display the work.

So, from here,
to here

1/4 yard of choice main fabric or a tea towel
1/4 yard of lining fabric
cross stitch design
button (optional) or magnectic snap

Cutting Instruction
Main bag body (Outer & Lining)
1. Fold fabric with Right Side Facing.  Cut 1 piece from main fabric and 1 from lining fabric. For this project, I've used a nice tea towel that I got from Ikea [yes! if you didn't know by now how much I love that place : )]

2. Depending on your size of the bag or cross stitch, you will need to make adjustment. See diagram below. Just remember to cut out 1" square at both folded corner to make the base. The size of your bag should allows you to have a border to frame your cross stitch so you must leave enought allowance.
3. My cross stitch measure 4.5" X 5.75" so my bag is about 8" X 8" at base.  Give about 3/8" seam allowance at top and sides but not the base.

4. You will need another piece of fabric to frame your cross-stitch.  Cut a piece from the main fabric, slightly bigger than the cross-stitch. So, I cut another 6.75" X 5".5" from the main fabric. I will call this B in short.

Cut 2 pieces of straps measuring 1.5" X 11"

Sewing Instruction
Bag Body
1. Place the fabric Right Side Up and decide which is the front of the bag.  Mark out the size of your cross-stitch position on your main fabric.  Try to centralised it at the middle of the bag.

2. Cut out the box.

3. Place the fabric B to cover over the window that you have just cut out, make sure that you have allowance all around the box.  Pin in place.

4. Turn the fabric over and sew close to the window.

snip at the 4 corners

Turn the fabric B through the window to the Wrong side of the main fabric.

Pin and Press.  You now have your frame to insert the cross-stitch

5. Place your cross-stitch behind the window and pin in place. Sew close to the window to secure the cross-stitch.

6. Fold the main fabric Right Side Together, align side seams and sew with straight stitch.

7. To make the base of the bag, press the base flat so that you see a U shaped gap when you press open the side seams.

8. Fold in the flap to cover the gap. Pin.

9. Sew with a straight stitch to close the gap. Do the same for the other corner.

10. Repeat steps 6 to 9 for the lining piece.

1. Serge the raw edges of the straps and fold in 1/3 from both long edge. Sew 2 parallel stitches along the length of the strap. Do the same for the other strap.

2. Measure 2.5" from both side seams and sew the strap to the top of the bag using a box stitch.

Note: As I'm using the existing hem of the tea towel, I didn't need to fold in the edge. If you are using regular fabric, you will need to fold in the top edge before you sew the strap on.

3. You can also make a loop from the main fabric (about 2")  and sew to the middle of the strap.

Putting the bag together
1. If you are using the normal fabric, you will need to do the same steps that I did for the messenger bag and turn it right side out.  BUT, since I'm using a tea towel with the hem all nicely sewn, I just need to fold in and press the top edge of my lining bag before I insert it (Right Side Out) directly into my main bag (Right Side Out)! So convenient!

2. Pin and sew all around the top of the bag. Just adjust the top edge of the lining bag to hide all the raw edges of my loop and straps.

3. Sew on the button on the front of the bag and you are done!