Zipper Top Tote – Free Bag Pattern

Zipper Top Tote – Free Bag Pattern


zipper top tote

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 of construction would be useful for this project.

But it’s well worth it – this is a great bag.  Previously my husband told me my Expanding Nautical Tote Bag was the best bag I’d ever made, but now he says he thinks this one is even better – looks like it was from a ‘nice shop’ he said.  Praise indeed!

zipper top tote

Sadly I had a bit of an interfacing issue and my interfacing came away in parts when I turned my bag, giving it a bit of a crumpled and bubbly look, but I can live with it.  When I get more supplies, I’ll make this one again, maybe in a stripe!

The Zipper Top Tote

Features:

  • Full-length top zipper as a feature
  • Two front slip pockets with twist locks
  • One full-width outside zipper pocket on the back
  • Ready-made handles
  • Zipper pocket and slip pocket inside
  • Finished bag measures about 12 inches wide by 15 tall, plus handles.
Love how good this bag looks, can't believe its home-made. Free pattern.

Materials needed (to make one the same size as mine):

  • Outer fabric – 1/2 yard  ( I used an organic cotton twill from Fabric Mart)
  • Lining / contrast fabric – a bit less than 1 yard
  • Two small twist locks
  • Ready-made handles
  • Top zipper – 16 inches
  • Back zipper – 12 inches
  • Internal zipper – 6 inches (suggested)
  • Dangles – cute pink flower dangles – optional
  • The pattern download

I used materials that are all available from Amazon.

Fabric Suggestions from Amazon.com

Pattern Download

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Pattern Download HERE

Instructions on how to make the Zipper Top Tote Bag

Full step-by-step and photo instructions are included with the download PDF file.  Abbreviated instructions and small photos are included here so you can see if the pattern is for you.

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

Cut and interface all of your pieces.  Assemble the outer front pocket by stitching the pocket lining to the top edge of the pocket.  Turn and press.

Line up the pocket on the outer of the bag and pin in place.  Draw a line with a disappearing pen down the center of the pocket top to bottom, and stitch through all layers, reinforcing the stitching at the top.  Install the twist-lock hardware.

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

Assemble the back of the bag.  Take your lower back piece and the zipper.  Center the zipper at the top edge with the right side of the zipper facing the right side of the fabric.  Add the pocket lining on the top, face down.  Match up all raw edges and stitch with your zipper foot.  Press and topstitch.

Take the upper back piece and match it right sides together at the other side of the zipper.  Bring the bottom of the pocket lining up to match to the raw edges and stitch through all layers.  Press the lining towards the bottom and topstitch along the top of the zipper.

http://wp.me/p2WfGc-2W1

Assemble the lining.  Match the facing at the top of each lining piece, pin, and stitch. Press the seam between the two and topstitch.  Check the length of the lining pieces to the outer pieces and trim if necessary.

Inside pockets.  Add a pocket or pockets of your choice to the lining of the bag now.  You can read here how you can add the perfect slip pocket, or how to add in an internal zipper pocket.  I’m adding a zip pocket to my bag on one side and a small slip pocket on the other side for my phone, keys, and pen.

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

Add in any handles and decorative studs or hardware at this point.  I used ready-made handles.  To place them, turn over ½ inch at the top of your fabric to check for placement.  Make sure the handles are level and equal on both pieces, front, and back.

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

Prepare and add your zipper tabs.  Repeat for both ends.

Lay the outer fabric face up.  Line up the zipper on top and center it with the same overhang at either end.  The zipper teeth should be facing the right side of the fabric.  Place the lining on top, face down.  Mark in 2 inches from the edge of the fabric on each side and stitch through all layers between these 2 marks only, securing the zipper in place.

Repeat for the other side of the bag and zipper.

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

Flatten out your bag with the right sides of the outer fabric together and the right sides of the lining together, and the zipper in the center.  Match up seams and edges carefully and stitch around the perimeter.  Leave a large gap in the side seam of the lining to turn the bag right side out later.

Box the corners of the bag, both the outer and the lining with a 2-inch line across each corner.

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

Turn the bag right sides out and give it a good press.    Press the fabric carefully away from the zipper, front, and back.  Close the gap in the lining by hand or machine.  Push the lining down inside the bag.  In the gaps under the zipper at each end, turn in the raw edges, match up seams, and pin.

Topstitch all the way around the top of the bag, making sure to push the lining down and away from the back of the zipper as you go.  Close the gaps under the zipper.  Add on your cute zipper dangles for a bit of fun.  Give everything a final press and you are done.

zipper top tote

I hope you enjoy your bag as much as I love mine.  Do you have any ‘must-have’ features on bags that you always look out for or add when making your own?


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Make your own Hammerhead Shark Pillow Pet Pattern

Make your own Hammerhead Shark Pillow Pet Pattern


How to make your own Pet Pillow Pattern - love this one is a hammerhead shark. What a great idea.

Hi! I’m Stephanie from Swoodson Says and I’m excited to be contributing posts over here. My son is almost 2 and at such a fun age; I love making him unique toys, dress-up accessories,  and softies. Two of my favorites that I’ve blogged about are a DIY Buckle Toy & a giant Floor Book Pillow.

Pillow pets are so popular – we already have one store-bought small one and my son loves to lay on it and read or drag it around by the tail. The selection of animals is pretty small, so I decided to make my own!

Materials:

Opt In Image

Download the shark pillow pet pattern

You can download the hammerhead shark pillow pet pattern here.  This includes the template for the shark only, all sewing instructions are here for you to refer to.

How to make up your hammerhead shark pillow pet pattern

1. Cut pattern pieces! Eyes  (2 grey, small + 2 ivory felt, large) — Head (1 fleece + 1 minky) — Tail (2 minky, as a mirrored pair) — Body (1 minky + 1 fleece; rectangles 15″ X 15″) — Velcro (3 pairs; 2 inches long each) — Straps (6 fleece rectangles; 4.5″ X 3″)

How to make your own Pet Pillow Pattern - love this one is a hammerhead shark. What a great idea.

2. Pin or clip together the head & tail pieces, right sides together (RST), and sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance around the outside, leaving the bases open. A walking foot is handy to keep the layers together as you sew. Snip curves and turn right-side out. Stuff the tail firmly and the head lightly with poly-fill and baste the openings shut.

Step 3 & 4

3. Fold each rectangle in half length-wise and sew two sides with 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving one short end open. Trim seam allowance and cut corner, turn right side out. Sew Velcro on to the closed end.

Steps 5 6

4. Lay the minky pillow piece right side up and lay the head minky side down on top and centered, pull an inch of the head outside of the pillow edge, and pin. Center the tail on the opposite side, pull an inch outside of the pillow edge and pin. Baste in place along the pillow’s edges, using the extra inch of fabric to keep it straight and guide it under the feed dogs without skewing. (Please ignore that the minky pillow base hasn’t been fully trimmed yet, it was an oversight when I was taking pictures!)

5. Lay the fleece pillow piece right side up and position the three hook-Velcro straps facing up, laying on the inside of the pillow. Place the outer two straps 2″ from each edge and the third strap 8″ from both edges. Position the loop-Velcro straps facing down, laying on the inside of the pillow with the same space. Baste along the edges of each strap. Optional: use tape to keep the end laying straight.

Last 2 steps

6. Lay the pillow bottom and pillow top RST making sure to keep all straps, head, and tail tucked inside. Pin or clip around the edges, leaving a 3-4 inch gap open to turn the pillow. Sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Trim off the excess from the head & tail bases, clip corners.

Finished

7. Carefully turn right side out, stuff, and ladder stitch the opening closed. Hand or machine sew the grey smaller eye on to the ivory larger eye and then hand-stitch the eyeball on to the head, centering over the fleece/minky seam.

How to make your own Pet Pillow Pattern - love this one is a hammerhead shark. What a great idea.

Trim any basting threads that have snuck out and enjoy! Your very own custom pillow pet!

How to make your own Pet Pillow - love this one is a hammerhead shark. What a great idea.

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Crossover Baby Bib Pattern | So Sew Easy

Crossover Baby Bib Pattern | So Sew Easy


crossover baby bib pattern

The Baby Showers are fast approaching and I’m sewing madly to get the bundles together. Today, I’m making bibs. Not the most glamorous of items, but an everyday essential and no one wants a grotty one when you can have a really nice homemade one instead.

I’ve tried several styles, and depending on time might share some of the others later, but here is the crossover style that I’ve been making in batches today.

It has a cross over front with the option to have two different fabrics, plus, it’s fully reversible so you can have another two different fabrics on the back if you want to. The perfect way to use up 4 smaller leftover pieces of fabric from other projects.

crossover baby bib pattern

With the 4 layers of fabric, this is going to be long-lasting, hard-wearing in the wash time after time and won’t be likely to leak mess through to any nice clothes underneath.

Materials list (to make 1 bib finished size approx 7.75 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall):

  • 4 pieces of fabric 9 inches tall by 8 inches wide
  • Bias tape – about 2 yards
  • Pattern download (see box below)

Download the Crossover Baby Bib Pattern

You can download the pattern and instructions for the Crossover Baby Bib from my design account at Payhip.  It’s a PDF file containing both instructions and pattern pieces all in the same file.  Enjoy!

How to make up the crossover baby bib pattern

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Step by step

Layer up your fabrics first of all as follows:

  1. reverse contrast fabric – face down
  2. reverse main fabric – face up
  3. front contrast fabric – face down
  4. front main fabric – face up

Now we can cut all of the pieces at once and save some time and make sure we have them cut out correctly.  I’m using a rotary cutter but you could just pin your pattern piece through all the layers and cut with scissors too.

crossover baby bib pattern

Match up the pieces of fabric with wrong sides together.  You’ll have two that ‘point’ one way and two that point the opposite way (assuming you cut them correctly.)

Add a few pins to keep them together without shifting.

crossover baby bib pattern

Add bias tape along the top edge until you get to the marked area on the pattern piece.  Depending on how experienced you are in working with bias tape for edging, you could use one of two methods.

  1. The same for each.  Sew with a straight stitch along the first fold of the tape, keeping the raw edge of the tape level with the raw edge of the bib pieces.  Trim the ends.
  2. More experienced method – fold tape to the reverse side, pin and then stitch in the ditch from the front, catching the edge evenly on the reverse side – OR –
  3. Easier method – fold the tape to the reverse side, pin in place and then stitch with a zig zag stitch or decorative stitch through all layers to make sure to catch both sides.
crossover baby bib pattern

Repeat the bias tape trim to both pieces.

Layer one piece on top of the other and open the points at the top until you get the shape you are looking for.  Pop some pins through all layers to keep them still.

crossover baby bib pattern

Take your remaining bias tape, find the center and match it to the center bottom of the bib.  Pin in place on the front side all around the curve.  Stitch the bias tape around the curve on the front side.

crossover baby bib pattern

Turn the bias tape to the back of the curve and pin around.  The overhanging tape is folded into 4 and pinned too.  Check the length of the neck ties.  I suggest about 12 inches long, so trim if necessary.  Fold in the small ends neatly and press, then repress the folds at the ends.

crossover baby bib pattern

Then stitch from one end of the tape right round to the other, keeping close to the open edge, to form the neck ties and secure the bias tape to the bib.  If you feel confident, use a straight stitch, if not so confident, switch to a zig zag when you get to the bib part to make sure you catch the reverse of the tape.

Give it a final press and you are done.  The second, third, and forth you make will be so much faster now.

crossover baby bib pattern
crossover baby bib pattern

Download the Crossover Baby Bib Pattern

You can download the pattern and instructions for the Crossover Baby Bib from my design account at Payhip.  It’s a PDF file containing both instructions and pattern pieces all in the same file.  Enjoy!

My bundles are coming together now.  So far I’ve made:

Still on the cutting table:

  • Crinkle toy
  • Travel changing mat
  • Diaper bag

But I’m fast running out of time – who knew these things grew so fast!  With 3 to sew for and each of them needing several of some of these projects, I’m over-run…


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Gathered Summer Skirt – free skirt pattern

Gathered Summer Skirt – free skirt pattern


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.

gathered skirt

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 think it has the perfect ratio of gathers to length and with the elastic waist, is comfy and casual.

I think you’ll love it too.  Pick your fabric and design carefully and it will become your go-to skirt for summer.

gathered skirt

How to sew a Gathered Skirt for summer

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gathered skirt

This skirt has 3 different tiers, a loose comfy fit, and an elastic waist.  Easy and fun to sew and can be made in any size.  Not just for the grown-ups, but good for teens too.

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Download the Gathered Summer Skirt pattern

You can download the pattern and instructions for the Gathered Summer Skirt from my design account at Payhip.  It’s a PDF file containing both instructions and pattern sizing all in the same file.  Enjoy!

Don’t go gathering mad!

At last! A quick and easy way to gather long pieces of fabric with out breaking the gathering threads, ever. The secret is in the dental floss!

This skirt has a lot of gathering, over long pieces of fabric so do check out the earlier post about how to gather using dental floss – written totally in response to the trouble I was having with this skirt!  Make your life easy and gather with dental floss and this skirt will go quickly and smoothly and soon be ready to wear.

Enjoy your new skirt!  We would all love to see what you make.  Please do take a couple of photos and attach them in the comments section below so we can all see your work.


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Turning Japanese Bag – some variations

Turning Japanese Bag – some variations


Japanese Bag

Have you tried the Turning Japanese Bag pattern yet? You should give it a try – it’s really easy! Part of the ‘My First Bag series’ it’s a single pattern piece, no fancy zippers or closures, the handles are ready-made and it’s perfect to showcase a really nice fabric or a large-scale print.

However, just because it’s simple, there’s no need to stop there. A simple pattern is often an ideal base to start from if you want to add a few additions of your own.

Japanese Bag

In this example:

  • I add a hard bottom and some shiny bag feet
  • It has a couple of small d-rings on the side where you can add a removable shoulder chain
  • I split the pattern to use two different fabrics instead of just one. You can split it in any direction, sew a curved seam, diagonal, or even patchwork.
  • I add a simple slip pocket
  • I also (very badly) add on the bias trim handles instead of the ready-made grommet handles.

Here is the original bag.

Japanese Bag

You can watch me make a few simple changes to the pattern and hardware to create something a little different.

Links you’ll need:

Please review this tutorial

Here’s some more information on Making the Perfect Slip Pocket for Your Bag

Japanese Bag

Making changes and additions to the Turning Japanese Bag pattern

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So, to summarize, make a better job than me with the bias tape handles or treat yourself and create a much better bag with the metal ones!  (I’ll be getting myself another set of those handles and replacing my terrible sewn ones!  Ashamed…)  Otherwise, the additions of the bag feet and the strap are really nice, and I’ll use this version of the bag a lot. I like having a light shoulder strap so I can keep my hands free while shopping and then just slip the chain back inside when I’m not using it.  More versatile than a heavier-weight long strap I think.

Japanese Bag

Having the option to change up the look with the different fabrics is an easy way to change the pattern and I think I might make another with a diagonal fabric change, perhaps in a really bold combination, or even with faux leather!  If you know me, don’t look – you’ll probably be getting one of these bags for Christmas!


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Free Bag Pattern with Video Tutorial- Turning Japanese Bag

Free Bag Pattern with Video Tutorial- 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 and would be perfect if you’ve never sewn a bag before.  They’ll all be simple to sew, have simple patterns and each will come with instructions even a beginner can follow – it’s the ‘My First Bag Series’.

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

Sew the Turning Japanese Free Bag Pattern

  • Finished bag approx 11 inches tall by 10.5 inches wide

Firstly, download and print the pattern and read through the written instructions.  You will need the following materials

  • Outer fabric – 14 x 30 inches
  • Lining fabric – same
  • Metal handles
  • Matching thread
  • Interfacing/fusible fleece

Download the Turning Japanese Bag Pattern

You can download the pattern and instructions for the Turning Japanese Bag from my design account at Payhip.  It’s a PDF file containing both instructions and pattern all in the same file.  Enjoy!  Trouble downloading the pattern? Check out this article – How to Download and Print PDF Sewing Patterns.

Fabric Suggestions from Amazon.com

I’m struggling to find the exact fabric I used for this bag.  It just doesn’t seem to be being made anymore.  However, here are a couple of other really good alternatives that will still give you a similar style.

Free Video Tutorial

You can also watch this tutorial video.  See how easy it is!

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You can do it !  You can sew a bag to be proud of and that others won’t believe you made yourself.  Give it a try.  I’m always here to answer your questions if you read through the instructions and watch the video and are still stuck.

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

And watch out in the future for simple variations you can add to this bag too.  Once you have the pattern and know how to sew it, making your own changes to the pattern isn’t too difficult.  I’ll show in a future tutorial how to add some piping and make it in two different fabrics. Even how to add a shoulder chain and some bag feet too so you can really Wow your friends!

Download the Turning Japanese Bag Pattern

You can download the pattern and instructions for the Turning Japanese Bag from my design account at Payhip.  It’s a PDF file containing both instructions and pattern all in the same file.  Enjoy!  Trouble downloading the pattern? Check out this article – How to Download and Print PDF Sewing Patterns.

  * * * * * *

Why the Turning Japanese Bag?  When I saw this lovely fabric (and the lining fabric) it reminded me of a popular song from the 80’s – Turning Japanese…


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