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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How To Make A Pillow Out Of A Shirt

How To Make A Pillow Out Of A Shirt


Hi everyone!  It’s Jann from Newton Custom Interiors again.  Today, I’m going to share another cute pillow idea.  I’ll be showing you how to make a pillow out of a shirt – with some special added details!

Everyone knows how expensive fabric can be.  That’s what is so great about this type of pillow.  You can use a shirt that you already have, or you can go to Goodwill, like I did, and find some great shirts to make your pillows.  The added bonus is that the buttons and buttons holes on the front of the shirt make your closure.  No need to hand-sew or insert a zipper to close your pillow!

Easy way to make a pillow out of a shirt - already has a button closure ready to use for the back!

I loved finding this bright pink men’s shirt at my local Goodwill.  I think I paid $3.00 for it.  It was an XL, so there was a lot of fabric to work with.

shirt

Since the fabric was pink, I decided to use some of the extra fabric from the shirt to make fabric flowers for the front side of the pillow.  I love how the flowers add a little whimsy to the pillow!  I’ve included a video in the tutorial that shows how to easily make the flowers.

fabric flowers

How To Make A Pillow Out Of A Shirt

Materials needed:

  • Shirt
  • Pillow form
  • Thread
  • Buttons

Instructions:

  •  Make a paper pattern that is the same size as your pillow form, and lay it on your shirt.  My form was 12″ x 16″, so that’s the size of my pattern.  (I don’t like to add in seam allowances when I make pillows – this makes for a snugger fitting pillow.)pattern on shirt
  • Cut out both layers of fabric.  This will give you the front and back sides of your pillow.back and front
  • Cut out strips of fabric for your flowers.  I had one large flower, and the strip of fabric was cut at 3″ x 21″.  For the two smaller flowers, I cut my fabric strips at 2 1/4″ x 15″.  Here’s my video showing how to make the fabric flowers.

I hope have enjoyed this pillow tutorial!

Easy way to make a pillow out of a shirt - already has a button closure ready to use for the back!

I’ve also made a shirt pillow in which the button closure is on the front of the pillow, instead of the back.

make a shirt pillow

How To Make A Shirt Pillow


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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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Star Spangled Table Mat – The Americana Series

Star Spangled Table Mat – The Americana Series


table mat

I have been invited to a 4th of July charity barbecue but unfortunately, I can’t attend because I will be fabric hunting…..More on that later.  The barbecue is organized by a friend of mine who operates a foundation, and this year the funds are being raised to help children of broken families with good grades to finish high school.  I was asked to bring an item for the auction, specifically a table mat, not too big not too small.  The invitation sat on my Facebook messages for 2 weeks and I  just read it 24 hours ago.  I panicked!  Even if I can’t go, I know my friend will expect the table mat.  After all, it is a good cause.

Looking in my sewing room, I  spotted a roll of nylon cord next in my leftover fabric basket.  There’s not much fabric left in the basket, but there’s a lot of cord.  I thought a little bit about what I could do with what I had and I came up with an idea.  I have two different colors of American star-themed fabric, so I can alternate the fabric to make a pleasing, contrasting effect.

The BBQ’s theme is “Americana” and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to launch a once-in-a-month item.  So for this project, I will be showing you how to make a corded table mat which I’ll call the Star Spangled Table Mat.  The cord that we’ll use is encased in a bias tape so that there will be no raw edges.

table mat

In the future, I would greatly appreciate it if you guys could send me some project ideas for this Americana theme.  As well as ideas for future themed series.

For this table mat, I am using a leftover fabric from a past project. I bought it at Spotlight.com.sg and the name of the fabric is Spots and Stripes.  If you don’t have a Spotlight near you, these fabrics from Amazon are very similar and would work nicely:

Fabric Recommendations

Materials:

table mat

How to make the corded table mat

I can see you asking why 26 yards? Is the smoke of the barbecue already getting to her?  No, not really. I have a lot of cord.  Left over from the Fringed Mat, I had fun with that project and because I did not know how much cord I would use at the time, I bought a lot!  Then I bought even more for making the Hoodie.  So you see, I have a lot to go through.

Step One

Cut 26 yards of cord from the roll and fold in half.

Change your machine to a Jeans needle and using a large zigzag, start zigzagging the cord to create a tape with it.  Once you get to the end cut 2″ off on one side and only.  This is so we can make the rope narrower at the end when it is time to finish the table mat.

Step Two

Now let’s work on the bias tape.  We are talking about 13 yards of bias tape.  A continuous bias tutorial is already written so once you learn this trick, threading the tape will be the longest part of the making this super easy table mat.  As I mentioned, I used contrasting colors so when using the technique in the tutorial, I used one triangle of red and one triangle of blue which made a tape of alternating colors.

table mat

Cut strips of bias 1 1/2″ wide.  Sew at 1/2″ seam allowance right sides together.  If you are using a thicker cord, remember to leave 1/8″ for ease so the cord can pass through the bias casing easily.

table mat

To turn the bias tape use a large safety pin.  Grab a good movie and start turning, this will take an hour.

Step Three

table mat

Use the same safety pin to feed the cord into the casing.  Inserting a pen before the pin will make feeding the cord easier and faster. Once you have threaded the cord inside the casing, it’s time to start to sew the mat.  Use a needle and thread to close the casing on the pin side.

Step Four

Fold in the beginning of the cord making a small circle and using your zigzag sew in between the cords.  Start sewing counter-clockwise, not like me, I found after the mat reached 10″, I had to flip it over and sew in the other direction.

 Sew slowly so you do not miss any spots. With one yard sewn so far, this is the size of the corded table mat.  The following pictures will show you the mat in different size and the amount used so you can choose how much fabric and cord you need to make a set of plate mats. The size of the table mat is big enough for a coaster at two yards.  It looks like a mug rug at three yards. At four yards.At five yards. This is perfect for a plate using six yards.

At seven yards it’s still good for a plate if you wanted to show the mat around the edges.  Here is where I had to flip my mat upside down because I ran out of space on the right side of the machine.  The good news is no one will be able to tell I am sewing on the other side of the mat. I think at this point is big enough for a plate, but I am going further and make a centerpiece.  Using a total of 14 yards of bias tape I made a 16″ mat and I love it.  I will make a few coasters to go with it and maybe a bowl which I’ll show you next week.

table mat

Step Five

At the end of the mat, make sure you end with the same color of fabric and not like mine. I am well aware I have to refine this ending, but perhaps you guys can suggest a better way of doing it. I simply sewed the end shut and zigzag the two sides together as close as I could.

table mat

Now I’m off to make a few coasters to go along with this project. Thanks for reading! Just in case you didn’t see it before, we recently finished the Easy Pleated Skirt sew-along, check it out if you’re interested!

Next week, I’ll show you how to use this same technique to make a bowl like this:

table mat

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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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