Zipper Top Tote – free bag pattern

Love how good this bag looks, can't believe its home-made. Free pattern.

Did you ever see my review of the Craftsy Design your Own Handbag class?  It’s a great class and I wrote 3 articles about it which you can review here (Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3).  This bag today is inspired by one of the bags completed as part of the course, and uses some of the techniques and hardware I learned about in the class.  You can get this class at 50% off if you want to learn about how to design your own bag patterns. 50% off Design Your Own Handbag This pattern isn’t for beginners.  I’m calling this an Intermediate pattern and as such it comes with regular pattern-style instructions rather than the full step by step tutorial you might find with beginner patterns.  So some previous experience in sewing bags before and an understanding … Continue reading

The perfect Maxi Skirt pattern

How to make the perfect fitting maxi skirt without it being too flared or too tight.

If you’ve been reading sewing blogs for a while now, no doubt you will have come across tutorials for easy maxi skirts.  Basically, sew a tube of fabric, add in some elastic and you’re good to go.  I’ve read some really funny reviews recently of ladies who did just that and then had to hobble around with tiny little steps because these skirts didn’t have enough room to actually walk properly! Most of us take a stride which is much greater than the width of our hips. Making a tight fitted ‘wiggle’ skirt might be OK for knee length, but make it longer and it will be like a permanent sack race. photo credit: Steve Bowbrick via photopin cc There are basically two types of maxi skirt I think – a low volume skirt that is not gathered and basically … Continue reading

30 minute easy skirt pattern

I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

  While I was learning to sew with stretch fabrics and taking the excellent Sewing with Knits class (see the class review here and 25% discount), I got lots of knit remnants to practice on, and one day I simply sewed up a tube, added a fold over waist and made a skirt.  It all took no more than 30 minutes from opening the door to my sewing room and leaving wearing my new skirt.  In truth, I never did wear it a lot because I’d made it rather too tight, the fabric was very thin and it showed a VPL in the rear.  But the theory was good. Today, I’m having another go and refining my sizing to make a skirt that is the same principle, a 30 minutes easy skirt, but this time with a more everyday fit. … Continue reading

Make a handy mesh shower caddy

Use mesh fabric to sew this shower caddy or organiser

Did you see the mesh lingerie bags I sewed?  I had bought a yard of the mesh fabric and even after several bags, I still had a good size piece left over.  What to do?  Well I thought about the properties of the mesh fabric.  It’s pretty hard wearing, its breathable and lets water drain right through.  Washable, you can see through it and its a bit stretchy in one direction. I was in the shower wondering about how to use the left overs when I realised my husband had used the last of the shampoo. Grr, I hate having to drip water all over the bathroom floor to go and get a new bottle. If only we had room for more bottles and all my beauty goodies without cluttering up all around the bath.  Light bulb moment – we … Continue reading

Free bag pattern – Turning Japanese Bag

Free bag pattern. The handles make this bag really easy to make, but it looks fab! I want one!

Never sewn a bag before or just looking for a quick and easy project? The use of metal handles in this bag means there is no need for fiddly zippers or closures, but the bag still looks super cute and just like something you could have bought in a nice store. Feedback to the site, comments on Facebook and emails I’ve received show that you all love to sew bags!  You asked for more quick and simple projects, more bags, more for new and beginner sewists and more projects that can be made with small pieces of fabric, or short periods of time.  I think this bag fulfills all of those. My First Bag Series - In fact, I’ve decided that over the next 12 months I’ll try to bring out several new bags that could all be sewn by beginners … Continue reading

Gathering Apron – free pattern

Gathering apron

My monthly sewing contribution to Little House Living is this gathering apron.  What’s a gathering apron?  I had the same question when I was asked to design one. Basically it’s an apron you wear out in the garden to allow you to collect produce.  This one keeps your hands free because the whole apron it one big pocket, so you can pick and carry your fruit and veg. Great for putting the washing out too because you can keep your pegs/clothes pins in the big pocket for easy access.  Find the free gathering apron pattern over at Little House Living. Thank you to Penelope for being my model.

Easy felt Christmas tree ornaments pack

Genius idea for how to make quick and easy felt ornaments for the tree. These come in 2 sizes, mini and regular. Great for kids.

To accompany the Felt Christmas Tree I shared with you yesterday, today the easiest set of felt tree ornaments ever!  It’s totally cheating and the minimum of effort, but they make great mini felt ornaments which are a perfect size for your felt tree, and totally toddler safe too. Each of these mini ornaments is just 2 inches tall and you don’t need to collect lots of colors of felt or cut out lots of teeny tiny felt shapes to make them.  Let me show you how to create a whole bunch of ‘cheater’ felt ornaments for your toddler’s tree. Materials: White felt An iron Some string, cord or very thin ribbon An inkjet printer Iron-on transfer paper The So Sew Easy felt ornaments pack Optional – Polyfill Have you ever used this iron-on transfer paper before?  It’s genius!  I … Continue reading

Christmas in July – Fab Felt Christmas Tree

I'm in love with this felt Christmas Tree! Too cute and you should see the ornaments too!

When my husband saw me gradually assembling and sewing what looked like a Christmas tree in late May, he was rather confused. He knows I like to be organised, but even he thought that was a bit early.  I tried to explain about Christmas in July, but he’s never heard of it.  We’re from the UK and its not a term you’d hear there – is it just the US?  You can read more about the origins of Christmas in July at Wikipedia. Not to be deterred by his Scrooge impressions, I’ve made the cutest Christmas Tree.  What do you think?  It’s the perfect size to go on an entry table or use as a table centerpiece, although I designed it initially with toddlers in mind, so they could safely decorate their own Christmas Tree. I even included magic buttons … Continue reading

Gathered Summer Skirt – free skirt pattern

How to sew a pretty and easy tiered and gathered skirt.

Well, it took me a while, but it’s here at last.  Do you remember I wrote a while back about a skirt I wore during the Cayman Islands first ever sewing meet up?  Robin suggested I should sew a skirt like the one I was wearing, and immediately I knew it was a great idea and got to work. Introducing the Gathered Summer Skirt.  Sizing given for sizes 34-52 inch hips, all should fit on less than 1.5 yards of fabric. Summer is here at last.  For some of us it lasts longer than others, but whether it’s a trip to the beach, a picnic, shopping with the girls or a day sailing, you’ll still need to look cute and summery. The design for this skirt was copied from a Ready To Wear skirt I already owned and loved.  I … Continue reading

Two Become One – free t-shirt dress pattern

Free dress pattern. I love how this dress can be made to look like a t-shirt and skirt with belt, or how you can make it to look like a regular dress.

Need a comfy every day dress?  One that looks good no matter where you go, and one that can take on the look of separates or be sewn in the same fabric throughout?  Then the Two Become One Dress is for you. I became fascinated with this style of dress just recently.  I love the casual look, like a t-shirt and a skirt, but without the fuss of having to make sure both matching pieces are clean and ironed at the same time (lazy I know).  Now I can just grab it off the hanger, slip it over my head and rush on out – anywhere.  Of course, you can also make it throughout in the same fabric so it looks more like an obvious dress if you like and I think that would look great too – I’d really … Continue reading

Expanding Nautical Tote Bag Pattern

Great free bag pattern. Side closures make it small and neat or expand for bigger loads. Great hardware options

Want to keep everything ship-shape as you go to the beach or the pool? This handy tote bag has lots of great features and optional extras to keep your organised.  It also has a handy expanding feature to keep the bag trim when you don’t carry much, and expand it out when you have enough ‘stuff’ for the kids too. With the use of really cool hardware and handles, this bag looks anything but home-made.  Use a nautical fabric in red, white and blue and big rope handles to be on-trend, or mix it up with cool prints of your choice for an everyday tote that is sure to bring admiring comments from all your friends. Change it up a little Of course, all the hardware and fancy stuff is optional.  If you want to skip the rope handles and … Continue reading