Stela, the coin purse pattern and tutorial – just in time for the holidays

coin purse pattern

This coin purse pattern and tutorial are a follow-up to the Leather and Fabric Handbag tutorial we posted last week.  While you certainly don’t need to make this coin purse pattern from leather –you can use vinyl or almost any fabric– it makes a good first project for those who have never sewn with leather before. I am calling it Stela because it just so happens I am going to have a Christmas party at home and every female friend who is coming will get one from my tree.  I am hanging these babies as both Christmas tree decorations and presents at the same time.  The kids will probably get one each as well, but being teenagers, they will almost certainly expect something more than just a few coins inside.. This tutorial is especially for those of you who are taking the … Continue reading

Leather and fabric handbag: the perfect mix for beginners

leather and fabric handbag

This leather and fabric handbag is the perfect project for those who are starting to sew with leather and for those who are bored with fabric only handbags.  You can make this with a normal domestic sewing machine so don’t be afraid to give it a try! I am not yet an expert in leather work.  But, I absolutely love the material for its durability and handling.  Furthermore, the shine of the leather will forgive a mistake should you need to unpick a seam, so I suggest to buy a whole hide and not to be afraid of trying.  It won’t go to waste! If you don’t feel like trying with leather, you can also use vinyl, oilcloth, canvas or another heavy fabric.  I just wanted to try with leather and it came out so well, my daughter won’t give it back … Continue reading

Crushed velvet dress – easy project for your fall wardrobe

crushed velvet dress

A crushed velvet dress is all the rage this fall.  This style usually means dressing in layers.  Stockings, light coats, long vests, short dresses worn as tops –the possibilities are endless.  The short dress for autumn is an essential piece of clothing that can take us from morning to night time.  It is easy to add to if the temperature drops and easy to wear during the warm hours of the day. Autumn and spring really is when northern and southern hemispheres actually have similar temperatures, so this design should work for everyone.  This particular dress is one of my favorites because of the flexibility that it provides –worn with high boots, stockings and ankle boots, over skinny jeans, leggings or just a scarf.  It is the perfect piece of clothing for your wardrobe.  Layer it any way you want and you’ll have … Continue reading

The easy long cardigan, a staple in your wardrobe

easy long cardigan

This is a super easy project.  You’ll see that there isn’t a long tutorial because the design and construction are so simple.  This cardigan is very minimalistic and streamlined –perfect for the busty girl.  I have used tulle in the back to add a bit of drama but it is completely optional and you could use the same knit fabric to make the project even simpler. The easy long cardigan is a design that has been around since the sixties.  A favorite of women who have to step out in their pajamas to drop the kids at school.  At least that is what we see in the movies, isn’t it?  The fact is that it is a staple in women’s wardrobes. Worn with leggings and a tank top or shorts and heels, it is the perfect accessory to hide your bottom. … Continue reading

Free Baby Swaddle Pattern Easy Tutorial

baby swaddle pattern

This baby swaddle pattern and tutorial has been requested by many of our readers over the past few months.  I have tried to make the baby swaddle pattern both easy to adjust and to sew. Hope you enjoy it and put it to good use either with your own family or as a gift for a friend. I credit many more hours of sleep to the baby swaddle, a humble practice dating back to the discovery of linen –I am sure somewhere around 4000 to 4500 years ago.   You can read more about why we use the baby swaddle by reviewing the article.  Please have a look through and contribute to the many reader comments which are very informative. My own earliest recollection of the swaddling practice was when I was very young.  My mother was swaddling my baby brother using a very thin … Continue reading

Bag Handles from Twisted Fabric – New Full Video Tutorial

bag handles from twisted fabric

Hi Everyone, just letting you know that we’ve posted the full video tutorial for how to Make Bag Handles from Twisted Fabric Scraps on our Youtube channel.   You can make the handles long or short depending on the style and functionality you want.  It’s totally up to you and explained fully in the video. You can also follow along and read specific instruction on our website by clicking here:  Making Bag Handles from Twisted Fabric Scraps. These handles not only work great with the popular Anti Pickpocket Bag which is featured in the video, but will compliment almost any sort of bag. Please check out the video and let me know what you think.  As always, any thumbs up on the video would be much appreciated!  Your words of support always keep us going.

Anti pickpocket bag: FREE pattern, tutorial, and video sew-along

anti pickpocket bag

This is my take on an anti pickpocket bag made of fabric with twisted handles.  I’m calling it Helsinki and here’s the backstory to this design: As many of our regular readers know, I was recently away on vacation with my family.  During the break, we managed to visit the Bernina factory in Switzerland, call in on what I’ll argue is the finest fabric shop in the world in Italy, and as a final stop, we went in search of the famous design house, Marimekko, in Finland –all of which I’ll be writing about in the near future. In any case, while we were in Finland, in supposedly one of the safest cities in the world, my teenage daughter was pick pocketed and lost her very, very expensive iPhone.  Needless-to-say, her father was none too happy about this.  The small handbag … Continue reading

The Ultimate Beach Blanket

Ultimate Beach Blanket

When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I were living in Sydney, Australia.  The beach was never far –take your pick north or south you are bound to find one of the finest quality water lifestyles known to man.  Pristine, unpolluted water that can go on for miles along the coast.  So it comes as no surprise that the weekend activity for many Australians is generally beach-related. I was due around February 14th and I started to feel uncomfortable with a huge belly around New Years Eve.  It’s usually very hot at that time of year, and the only respite is to go to the beach.  However, the water current in summer changes and cold water from the south pole makes its way up the shore, dropping the temperature of the water to an average of 66 degrees.  So … Continue reading

Perfect Beach Dress for Summer Fun

perfect beach dress

The town where I grew up sits in a valley over a mile (1800 meters) above sea level and surrounded by mountains.  But if you found it on a map, you’d see we were not really too far from the sea.  From time to time, we went to the beach in the back of a big pickup truck.  It was the same one they used to move the cattle, horses and chickens to the abattoir, so it was pretty rustic. On the way from my small town to the beach, we would pick a few of my cousins on the way.  When I say “a few” cousins, I mean until the pickup truck was full.  It only really took 3 or 4 stops to fill the truck because as it happens, I have 68 cousins, if you can believe it, and filling almost … Continue reading

Boho Chic Tunic free pattern plus tutorial

Boho Chic Tunic

The first time I made this Boho Chic Tunic pattern, I had just turned 15 years old.  Originally a dress, I decided to remake and share it with you.  For me, it represents freedom which is why I wanted you to have it. Long a ago, one time when my parents were not getting along, my father worked far from home and would only come every 3 months.  My mother was in charge of a household and 5 kids and a very small business, so you can imagine her day.  I wanted to go to a school party and my sister wanted to come with me.  Needless to say money for new outfits to go to school parties was not in the budget.  My mother always happy to help said “I can only give you 5 dollars, see what you … Continue reading