Simple recycled Back- to-School Pencil cup

Back-to-School time is approaching!! I repeat: BACK-TO-SCHOOL TIME IS APPROACHING!!

We are trying to squeeze a little more Summer out of this year, at the same time, trying to prepare for the kids going back to school. Shoe shopping, and supply lists, and brand new lunch bags.

As always, I like to do at least one quick project to get the school year off on the right foot.

We had this empty square Vegan Butter container that I just rinsed out the night before that looked perfect for me to use. I quickly gathered up some materials we have on hand, and got to work making a very quick, very large pencil/pen/marker container for Falafel’s desk.


Gather Supplies


Mix water and glue in a small container. It should be slightly thinner than yogurt. Then paint it all over the container you want to cover.


I used strips of fabric to cover mine. Strips of paper also work well (magazine pages, book pages, colored paper, scrap book paper, etc). Just paint the glue mixture all over the scraps and smooth them out as you go.


Allow to dry. Insert favorite school supplies!




*Tip: If you are going to try this, and your fabric or paper is lighter weight, you may want to paint the container white first.

What are you making to help your kids go back to school?

Juice pouch tote tutorial

I am back to sewing with juice pouches. Ha!  I guess I am becoming predictable. You know you can either find me talking about that camisole pattern or juice pouches, lately.

I did get a request for a tutorial from a reader asking how to make the Juice pouch totes. I needed to sew up a few more, so I figured I would photograph as I went.

Let’s gather some materials to make a Juice Pouch Tote!


To make one of the bags you see in the photo above you will need:


23 empty, clean juice pouches.

{Read here for some helpful tips on working with this funky material}

You will also need a heavy duty sewing machine needle, a sewing machine, thread, sewing scissors, AND scissors that are NOT your sewing scissors (for trimming the juice pouches), 1 package of extra wide double folded binding, strap material (I used 2 pieces cut to 39″ each of cotton webbing), and clips (such as clover clips)


Because we collected these from a variety of sources, there are all different designs on our pouches. I think that makes it even more fun. So if you have choices, too, lay out a row of four in the order you like.


Take just two, overlap one edge on top of the other, and sew with a zig zag stitch, securing them together. I always lay the one on the left on top of the on on the right, but this is entirely up to you.


It should look like this when you are done.


Continue on until all four are sewn in a line. Then repeat with another line of 4.


Now that you have two rows of four, trim each row so that they are nice and neat, and you will sew them together with a zig zag stitch. I sew the one on the top, on top of the one on the bottom. Does that make sense? Maybe you can say “she sells sea shells by the seashore” 10 times fast. You know, just for fun.


Anyhow, repeat the above steps until you have two panels of 8.


Now grab that binding and cut a piece that will fit across the top of one of them. Clip the binding, sandwiching the top edge.


Sew it on (I used a straight stitch, but you could do any that you would like). Repeat for other panel.


Take one strap and clip on to one panel. I started at the bottom on one vertical seam and looped up and around (making sure not to twist) and down to the bottom of the other vertical seam.


Sew down the entire length of the strap on each side of the strap. I even continued my stitches on the loop of the handle. Repeat for other panel. Then place both panels aside.


Grab 7 more pouches to make the sides and bottom. Place them one on top of the other, but this time, vertically.


You will sew 5 of them going in one direction, and then flip the last two upside down and sew them on.


You will have a long line of pouches now.


Cut a small piece of bias tape for each end. Clip on, then sew in place. Trim the excess off the ends.


Grab one of your panels, and face it down. Lay the long strip on top facing up (so that wrong sides are together). Clip it along one side to start.


When you get to the bottom, curve it around and clip in place. Do this all around until you reach the other side on top. Sew it down with a zip zag stitch. Start again at the top and go the length of the side. When you get to the bottom corner, stop and clip your thread. Pivot the bag so you can sew across the bottom.

This part is a bit tricky. You will need to fold and hold it down in place to make this easier (the old fold n’ hold, eh?). Then sew to next corner, and repeat. juicetute20m

Yay! You have one side sewn on. Repeat process for the other panel. juicetute21m

You will have to learn what way to fold your bag so it is not so cumbersome and awkward going through your machine. Go slowly and stop when you need to. juicetute22m

It should look like this. Put it aside and grab the remaining piece of binding. Cut it in half. juicetute23m

Open up one side of one of the pieces. juicetute24m

Fold edge over. juicetute25m

Fold the ends back and now it looks neater. You will use this to wrap around the raw edges you just created. Start at the top.


Clip in place. When you get to the bottom corner, turn it, and it will form a little mitered corner. Keep clipping around. juicetute27m

Sew with a straight stitch around the bag. Stop at the corners, and pivot (like you did in the previous steps). When you get to the top,  before you sew all the way, tuck in the end of the bias tape to make it neater on this side. Sew it down. Repeat for the other side of the bag. juicetutebag2m

You are done!! Get more juice pouches and repeat:) juicetuetebags3m

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Please let me know if you make one using it. I would love to see your juice pouch creations, too. And as always, let me know if you have any questions!

February FREE for ALL

The fabulous ladies over at Frances Suzanne have created a new series for the month of February called:


and have graciously invited me to be a part of it!

The whole point is to tap into all the FREE patterns out there as a resource for everyone to use. Today I am sharing with you where I get a whole bunch of the free patterns I use.

{Brace yourself}


Seriously. It is a great way to try out patterns in a book before actually buying the book! All the books have their patterns in an envelope. You can trace what pattern and size you need, and then put the pattern back for someone else to use.

Brilliant, right?

The book I borrowed from my local library is Little One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins. I have actually used this pattern quite a bit in the past: like here and here and here.


I used the “Western Shirt” pattern, traced a size 6 (because that is all it goes up to in the book), and lengthened it a few inches for my girl who has grown.


**BTW: I am getting used to the vinyl backdrop my husband bought me for Christmas and playing with light. Trickier than I thought to time the position of the incredibly rare sun (around these WA state parts) for where I chose to hang the backdrop.


OK…details! I used my very special Heather Ross fabric for this one. The stuff I have been hoarding hanging on to until the perfect pattern showed up. I LOVE HER FABRIC.


I went all out on this one. I pattern matched (the best I could- check out that princess in the pocket), made french seams, and top stitched everywhere possible.


Those purple Kam snaps add a little pop of color.


This inside is as pretty as the outside. Excuse me while I do a little back patting.


And I did all this with a borrowed machine (because my right arm sewing machine is still in the shop)! Can I get an “Ooooh” and an “Ahhhhhh”?

*And a huge thank you to my dear friend Kirsten who let me borrow her workhorse of a machine.


I love this pattern and it’s simplicity. She really walks you through each step (the French seams and top stitching were just added by me, not actually part of the pattern).




Of course, I encourage everyone to support indie designers by buying their books, because they have worked hard and this is how they make their money. BUT I must say that if you are unsure about making that jump, or don’t have the money to do so, no need to fret!

Use your local library as another source of FREE patterns.

Check out the plethora of other ladies joining me in finding FREE patterns for all!!
(Click on the image below to take you over to Frances Suzanne)


12 Days of Christmas Holiday Blogger Challenge

Today I am participating in Deanna’s (from Sew McCool) 12 days of Christmas Holiday Blogger Challenge.

Each of us had to come up with a Christmas project tutorial, and at the end of the 12 days, you’ll get a chance to vote for your favorite project and THE WINNER GETS $100.00! How very cool is that?

Without further ado…..

My tutorial is:


This is a utensil holder for a place setting, but it would also make a fantastic gift card/ small gift holder too!

Let’s get started.

You will need:

The free Elf Stocking pattern (download here)

2  different fabrics approx. 8×11 each (2 pieces each)

small amount of stuffing (optional)

bells and O rings (optional)

Sewing machine (or needle and thread and more power to ya!)


OK. I made the pattern fit onto one page so there is less printing for you.

You can trace the different pieces on tracing paper, or just cut 4 of the curly toed pieces and then trim the lining to the inner line.

You need to add a seam allowance to your heel pocket pieces (I would add 3/8″ all around it).

When you have all your fabric cut, you should have this:


Now, grab those heel pieces. With right sides together, sew across the top (the part that faces the inside of the stocking).


Clip around curves (I like using pinking shears) and flip so the rights sides are facing out.


You can press it flat, and top stitch (optional).


Now pin in place on the right side  of one of the outer elf fabrics and baste or stitch in place (close to the edge).


Lay the other elf piece on top (right sides facing), and sew around the perimeter, leaving the top unsewn.


Clip curves and turn right sides out (not pictured). Make sure that toe is completely turned out. I like using a chopstick and gently push.


Grab your lining pieces, with right sides together sew around the perimeter, leaving the top unsewn along with a space on the toe.


With right sides facing, slip the outer piece inside the lining. Make sure to line up the points on the top AND make sure the toes are facing the same way.


Sew around completely. It should look like this. Make sure you clip or pink the edges to make those points nice and crisp when you turn them.


Now pull everything out through the toe of the lining. This is the time you would take a small amount of batting or stuffing and stuff your curly toe if you wanted. I didn’t for mine, but I have for others. Either way they look pretty cute. You also want to get inside and turn those top points out with that chopstick. Once everything is facing out, tuck the raw edges in on the toe, and sew the toe closed (either hand sew, or machine- no one will see it).


 Push the lining inside the Elf stocking. You can top stitch around the points (optional). Fold the top down.


That little pocket is perfect for place cards, or even a note. Maybe a sprig of evergreen? Really, put your creativity to work!


This one I did with no pocket, but added jingle bells using jewelry O rings. I just pierced the O rings through the fabric and hung a bell on each. Easy peasy. *Although, if using where small children will be, I would leave these off because they are most definitely a choking hazard.


Place some silverware and a napkin inside and lay on a plate. Your table just got whimsical!

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and will come back to vote.

12 Days of Christmas Holiday Blogger Challenge with large

Don’t forget to visit all of the bloggers who are creating tutorials for the Sew McCool 12 Days of Christmas challenge! Voting will begin on on December 13 and go through 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern time on December 20. The blogger with the most votes will win $100 – just in time for Christmas!

December 1

Ren @ The Inspired Wren * Stephanie @ Swoodson Says * Alicia @ Felt With Love Designs

December 2

Natalie @ Sew Outnumbered *Deby @ So-Sew-Easy * Ajaire @ Call Ajaire

December 3

Amy @ Friends Stitched Together * Maris @ Sew Maris * Gemia @ Phat Quarters

December 4

Amy @ How I Make Stuff * Michelle @ Falafel and the Bee

December 5

Beth @ Beth Jarrett * Jen @ Just Joshin

December 6

Lauren @ Molly and Mama * Krista @ Bee Quilted Beauties

December 7

Vicky @ Vicky Myers Creations * Deb @ Sprouting Jube Jube

December 8

Addie @ Addie K * Michelle @ Not My Tree

December 9

Ula @ Lulu & Celeste * Sara @ Made By Sara * Chelsea @ GYCT Designs

December 10

Nichole @ Bluebird & the Boy * Darcy @ Ginger House Designs * Shelly @ Coral & Co.

December 11

Amy @ Britches ‘n Bloomers * Kelly @ Kelly J Designs

December 12

Maegen @ Mae and K * Jess @ Gracious Threads * Jone @ Knot Sew Normal

oliver+s tutorial: bringing it home

::I originally wrote this tutorial for the Oliver+s blog. Today I am bringing it home for you!::

I love the Oliver + S icecream dress, but have always wanted to make one completely lined. The biggest challenge with that was the added bulk under the armpit where the yoke connects with the gathered skirt. With just a few very simple changes, I managed to keep the one piece yoke, remove the bulk, and line the entire dress!


Grab your pattern and let’s go!

You start with tracing the size you need of the yoke piece. I traced a size 6.


Then line it up on top of the curved part of the pattern piece for the gathered skirt and extend the curve and a few inches beyond it. Repeat for the three other sides. Remember to extend the same amount on all sides.


Now cut 2 out of fabric (one outer and one lining)


I decided the back closure would have two buttons with elastic loops. So I inserted the elastic loops and clipped in place.


Now, sew around the inner circle and down the back, but stop about 4 inches from the bottom, on both sides. Also sew down the flat outer edge (sleeves).


Do not sew outer curves (sides of bodice), yet.


 Turn whole yoke right side out and press flat.


Put together the curved sides by matching front outer piece to back outer piece, and lining front to lining back. Do this on both sides to put the bodice together.


Flip to the back.


Remember when we stopped sewing 4 inches from the bottom? Well, now we are going to close it up.


This can be a little tricky. Take the outer pieces and with right sides together, sew them to close up the back.

Then do the same thing for the lining.

Now you are ready to make the skirt part. I didn’t follow the pattern for these. Instead I cut out two rectangles (one outer fabric and one slightly longer lining). I like using the entire width of the fabric so it gathers up fuller. Feel free to make yours as full (or not) as you want! Also, you can choose at this point to make your lining shorter that the outer fabric. I liked the tiered effect, though.

Sew sides to form your skirt tube, and then gather top. Attach the outer skirt (right sides together) to the outer bodice.


Repeat for the lining, although to keep the seams from showing, I connect the wrong side of the bodice lining with the right side of the skirt lining.


Hem both skirt pieces. Sew on your buttons, opposite the loops.


Admire the new version of this sweet dress.


I also decided that one wasn’t enough, and sewed up a slightly different version. I made this one with the loops, but then decided I liked them as decoration and used snaps to close it up!


So many possibilities.


All very yummy.


I made this one too!

Thanks so much for having me today! I had a lot of fun with this pattern.



Skirting the Issue with Simple Simon and Co.

The wonderful ladies at Simple Simon and Co (liZ and Elizabeth) have invited me to be a part of this year’s Skirting the Issue!


Here’s a little background:

Simple Simon and Co run this month long series where they invite all of us (you too!) to sew skirts to donate to girls in your local (or you can mail them to theirs) foster care. The skirts will be made just in time for the girls to wear back to school. But that isn’t all. The awesome liZ and Elizabeth have a link party for you to show off the skirts you are donating, and when you do this, you are automatically entered to win one of a pile of prizes including a new Babylock Elizabeth Sewing Machine and gift cards to different online fabric stores. *swoon*

As part of this fantastic series, I have the honor of sharing one of my tutorials. Hopefully you can use it to add to a skirt you are making!


Since there are so many fabulous tutorials for skirts out there already, I decided on making one for a pocket (and who couldn’t use more pockets, right?)!


Let’s get started!

You are going to need two squares of fabric for the skirt. Oh- and those magnificent ladies posted a handy dandy sizing chart, if you need it.



OK, now you need to make this shape on paper so that you can cut out your pocket.


This is the pocket pattern folded in half. The long part should reach the top of the squares for your skirt, and the wide bottom should match up with the bottom of the squares. The side on the right, should line up with the side of your square.


Make sure you line the pattern up on the fold. Now you can cut 2 out from your fabric. Place them rights sides together, and sew along the curvy parts. Turn it with right sides facing out.


Topstitch along those curves. Now lay it on top of one of your skirt squares (with both right sides facing up). You can baste the top and bottom of the pocket to the skirt at this point.


Now make a sandwich by placing the other skirt square on top of those two, right side down. Sew down the sides of the skirt panels.


Fold down the top part of the skirt twice to make a casing.


Topstitch around the casing, leaving an opening (to insert the elastic into).


Insert your elastic, sew the ends together, then sew opening closed.


It should look like this.


Turn the bottom up twice, and topstitch in place.


You are done!


Give to a little girl who loves to collect things.


Or be dramatic (??!!)


Or just collect things.


You can really add this pocket to any kind of skirt you are making!


If you would like to participate, check out more info here, and more ideas over at Project Run and Play!


Adding Sleeves Tutorial

I posed the question the other day, on my FB page,

“What sewing project do you want to learn?”.

One of my lovely readers wanted to know how to add sleeves to a garment.

So I put together this little tutorial for her and for those of you who want to learn the same.

First up… I will go over some of the terms I will be using. There is a RIGHT SIDE to the fabric and a WRONG SIDE. The RIGHT SIDE is referring to the outer side of the fabric. What you will look at when the garment is done. The WRONG SIDE is the part that will be inside of the garment.

OK, now gather your materials!

I am assuming you are working with a pattern, so cut out all the pieces. You should have (at the very least):


I did not do this tutorial with a lining. There are several methods of doing one with a bodice lining, but for today, I am concentrating on making the bodice unlined. Once you have this down, you can decide how you want to add a lining in future garments.

There are two ways I will show you to insert sleeves.

First Way


Lay Bodice with the RIGHT SIDE FACING UP, and the back pieces on top, with RIGHT SIDES DOWN.

They should have right sides facing each other.


Sew the shoulder seam.


Turn it over once they are both sewn, and finger press your seams open. This helps make it neater inside your garment and it also makes everything lay flatter.


Flip it over, again.


Get your sleeve piece and lay it out.


Lay sleeve right side down, on top of the bodice piece. Find the center of each piece.


Starting with the center, pin the edges together all the way to the side. This part is a little fiddly. Just keep curving around and pinning. It will not lay flat at this point, but that is OK, as long as the edges are lined up.


Once all pinned down, sew the seam, removing pins as you go. Do this part slowly and carefully. Always making sure you have the top and bottom layers together.


It should look like this.


When you turn it over, it should look like this so far.


Now turn it right sides together (inside out) and line up the sleeves and the bodice pieces. Sew the seams. It will look like an upside down “L”.


You should have this. Finish seams the way you would like (Pinking shears, or serge, or just trim them).


And you have inserted one sleeve! Repeat for other side.

Now onto the:



You start the same as before. Lay back pieces on top of front bodice piece, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER. Sew should seam.


For this method, you will sew the side seam on the bodice, as well.

Put the whole thing aside, and grab your sleeve piece.


Right Sides together, sew the edge seam.


When you turn it right sides out, it will look like a tube.


Pick up the bodice and make sure that it is wrong side out.


Insert the sleeve inside the bodice RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER (so the sleeve is right side out and the bodice is wrong side out). I always match up the seams. The sleeve should have a seam at the armpit, and I match that where the armpit will be on the bodice. Pin along edge.


After sewing around the perimeter, you should have this. Trim or finish edges the way you want.


Turn right side out and you have your sleeves attached!

As always, if you have any questions, please let me know by leaving a comment on this post!

I hope you are all the better for reading my tutorial.


Embroidery for Beginners: Blanket Stitch for garments

Today I am bringing home a tutorial I did a while ago for Jenn over at A Jenniune Life. I hope you enjoy it!


I was so thrilled when Jenn asked me to be a part of this series!

Then the panic set in.

I am not a strong hand-sewer. Truth be told, I avoid it at all costs. But then I started to think about all the work I admire and realized what made them all special was the little extra hand-sewn goodness added by the person, usually to show how very much they care.

So, if you are like me, come and start at the beginning. We’ll do it slow and take baby steps, together.

Today I am demonstrating the “Blanket Stitch” on a fleece pullover that I made (see tutorial here).


::some embroidery thread::

::a large needle::

::a garment that needs a little detailing::

Step 1:

step1m Do not knot the thread, and pull it through from the inside out.

Step 2:

step2m Hold the garment with the right side facing you. Take the needle and insert it to the Left of the first stitch. Make sure to leave a little loop.

Step 3:

step3m Put the needle through (from the back, going away from you) the loop.

Step 4:

step4m Repeat.

step5m And Again.

Step 5:

step6m When you reach the place you started, put the needle through the first vertical stitch. Knot in the back. Cut the hanging thread, and you’re done!

Step 6:

finishm Do it to the sleeves!

Step 7:

finishsmilem Place on sassy child and admire your hard work!

I hope you enjoyed that little tutorial. I know this has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone, and try something new. And you know what?

I like it!

Thanks, Jenn, for including me in this fantastic series.


Always remember to put a bow on it

My husband and I were out gathering supplies for Falafel’s upcoming birthday (which we were grossly unprepared for), and we came across these gift ribbon hair clips in a store. They were charging $4.00 each.

Well, Jim turned to me and said “You could make those, AND Falafel would LOVE them“.

Yes and yes!

So I did. And now you can too, because this is the easiest tutorial ever. I almost feel silly breaking it down into steps for you. But I did because I love.

bowfinish2mm Gather your supplies!

bowgroupm I used mini and regular-sized gift bows. You can use any size you want.

bowsupplies2m Bows + really strong glue (I used the kind I use for jewelery) + hair clips (I had the kind you would use to set hair because they lay flat).

bowbackcuttingm I started by trimming the back of the bow (the part you peel and stick) to make it more narrow to fit on the clip. It just made the whole thing look neater.

bowbackcutm Next, while wearing gloves, I dabbed some super glue onto the clip. Make sure you follow the directions on your tube of glue. Mine needed plenty of ventilation.

bowgluem Lastly, I pressed the bow onto the clip and let it dry upside down.

bowbackm I was going to save them for her birthday in a few days, but I am just not that person. I LOVE to gift early. I couldn’t help myself wanting to make her smile.

bowheadm Of course she wanted to wear them ALL at the same time!

bowhead2m She has been having such a rough time with her stiff neck lately (that still hasn’t gone away three weeks and counting). Lots of doctor’s appointments and now we need to see a neurologist to see what is going on with our sweet bug. I was glad to make her happy.

bowhead8m Her first reaction was *gasp* “Do you have any more bows that I can use for presents??!!”. Bows are very exciting around here. I think these may be the very first ones I have actually purchased. Ever. I suppose that is the downside of the handmade home! Heh.

bowhead6m She plans on wearing these a lot. One or many. I think she looks like Christmas.

bowhead3m Let me know if you make these! I would love to see the “little gifts” in your life.

bowbigsm ****************************

I’m linking to: