Author: Jess

I sew, I mom, I wife, I drink coffee.

Wet Bag with Pocket Tutorial and tips for potty training

We’re about to enter a stage of life that I have to admit, is not my favorite. The potty training stage. Potty training seems to go one of two ways in my house: complete and total disaster or epic triumph. I have yet to have an in between experience. Having been through this three times already, I have a few tips, as well a tutorial for my number one must-have for potty training: a wet bag!Wet Bag with Pocket Tutorial

Tips for Potty Training

  1. Follow your child’s leading. If he or she is not ready, you can’t force them to potty train. If they are showing signs that they are interested or ready (telling you when they go in their diaper, asking to use the potty, etc.) give it a try!
  2. Relax. Seriously, don’t freak out. Barring a medical issue, your child will not go to high school in diapers. You will get through this.
  3. Set a timer. Put your child on the potty every thirty minutes during the first few days of potty training. Even if they have accidents, you’ll probably get lucky and some of those times he or she will have to go, and they’ll start to get the hang of it.
  4. Be consistent. Come up with a mantra, potty routine, reward, a song you sing, whatever works for your family. Say it often and be consistent about it. Kids love routine!
  5. Remember that accidents happen. Your child could be one of those kiddos that gets it from the first try, but more than likely, accidents will happen. Keep calm and positive, and remind your child what to do next time.
  6. Use Pull-Ups when you’re out-and-about and for naptime. Since they pull up and down, they give your kiddo the independence of underwear, but they’ll help prevent a major disaster in aisle five. (see below for a coupon!)
  7. Carry a Wet Bag. Once you’ve started potty training, and for awhile after you think your little one has it down, you’ll want to carry a wet bag. This will give you a waterproof bag to carry soiled clothing, so that your diaper bag or purse stay dry. Much nicer than carrying plastic grocery bags everywhere. Wet bags have saved the day on numerous occasions!

Wet Bag with Pocket Tutorial

Supplies:

  • 4 pieces of your chosen non-stretchy fabric 10×13 inches (for the outside of the bag)
  • 2 pieces of PUL 10×13
  • Ribbon or twill tape (optional)
  • 7in. zipper for pocket (or longer – you will shorten it)
  • 9in. zipper for top (or longer – you will shorten it)

1. Take two of the main fabric pieces and put them right side together. Draw a narrow rectangle approximately 6 3/4in. long by 3/8in. high on the wrong side of one piece. I did this about 4.5 inches down from the top.

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2. Stitch around the rectangle (through both pieces of fabric). Then cut down the center of the rectangle, making two small cuts toward the corners on both ends, as you can see in the photo. Make sure you don’t cut your stitches.
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3. Flip the top piece to the other side and press. You will now have an opening for your zipper pocket.

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4. Pin the zipper behind the opening and sew it to the fabric. Stitch close to the ends of the fabric.

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5. Now place another fabric piece down right side up. Place the zippered piece on top (zipper pull on top). Then stay stitch these two pieces together all around. (In my photo, I accidentally put my bottom piece wrong side up. If you do this, you will see the wrong side of your fabric when you open the zipper.)

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6. Sandwich your zipper in between your PUL and your outside fabric. The right sides of the fabric should be facing each other, and the outer fabric should be against the zipper pull. The right side of the PUL is the waterproof side – it’s shinier. Sew along this side, next to the zipper.

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7. Flip those fabrics back and top-stitch them onto the zipper. (The picture below isn’t the best and it shows both sides sewn on, but it shows you the final product after top-stitching)

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8. Now repeat with the second piece of PUL and the last piece of outer fabric. Again you will sandwich the zipper between your outer fabric and PUL with the right sides against the zipper (and the outer fabric against the zipper pull). The fabrics you just sewed will also be in between.

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9. Now repeat the top-stitching on the zipper as you did in step 7. Now it really will look like this picture.

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10. If you would like a handle, choose a ribbon or a piece of twill tape and fold in half. Place it in between the two zippers, with the raw (not folded) edge toward the outside. Pin the ribbon in place.

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11. Open the zipper 3/4 of the way. Now lay the fabrics flat, right sides together. You will have your PUL on one side and the outer fabrics on the other. Pin/clip the sides together.

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11. Sew around all four edges, leaving an opening to turn the bag right side out. Clip the corners and extra seam allowance.

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Then turn it right side out, hand stitch the PUL lining closed, and you’re officially prepared for potty training accidents on-the-go! Or anything else you might need a wet bag for: swimming, road trips, canoe rides, etc.DSC_0788

Pull-Ups and Family Dollar have teamed up to ease the pain of potty training a little bit by giving you a deal on Pull-Ups. I do love a good deal. ;)

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This being the fourth time we’ve potty trained, this really is a product we use at our house. And diapers are expensive, so I take a good deal whenever I can find one!

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The wet bag is nice and roomy, and you can easily alter the dimensions to make a larger wet bag for traveling or even at-home use, especially if you’re a full-time or part-time cloth diapering family.

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You can use the inside PUL-lined pocket for wet items, and then use the outer pocket for extra diapers, wipes, underwear, etc.

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And you can carry this bag around without everyone knowing you’re hauling diapers and wet undies around with you. And then when your kids are out of diapers, use the bag to carry your phone and keys to the pool!
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You can click here to locate a Family Dollar store near you.DSC_0810

 

Happy sewing, friends!Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 6.11.57 PM

12 DIY Lunchbag patterns and tutorials (sew and no-sew!)

I’ve been sharing a few tutorials lately for DIY lunchbags, but I wanted to put together a roundup of a few more different types. So whether you want to sew or not, make something complicated or simple, insulated or not, you can make exactly what you need!

DIY Lunch Bags 12 sew and no-sew patterns and tutorials
1.  Cloth Lunch Sacks from If Only They Would Nap – tutorial includes a lined or unlined versionDSC_0697

2.  Reusable snack bags from Girl.Inspiredreusable-lunch-bags16
3.  Star Student Lunch Box pattern from Peek-a-boo Patterns (affiliate link) – these look just like store-bought lunch boxes!

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4. No-sew Leather {Paper} Lunch Bag from All the Good Girls Go to Heaven – this is perfect if you can’t or don’t want to sew.

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5. Insulated Lunch Tote from Zaaberry – this one has a zippered top and will keep those lunches cold

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6. Simple DIY Snack Bags and free lunch box notes printable! My tutorial over at Craftaholics Anonymous. A no-sew alternative to plastic bags, plus you can let them know how much you love them with a little note.

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7. Reusable Lunch Bag from CraftbudsDSC_0027-685x1024

8. Peas and Corn Lunch Box pattern by Sew Sweetness – this version sewn by Hawthorn Threads

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9. Free Lunch Bag pattern from The Long Thread

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10. Another cloth lunch sack from A Lemon Squeezy HomeDSCF0904_thumb[7]

11. Monster Snack Bags from HaftaCrafta – so adorable!

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12. And completely no-sew, Lego Lunchboxes from If Only They Would Nap – we use them for traveling, but how fun would this be to include in your kiddo’s lunch with a small bag of Legos?

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Happy back-to-school!

DIY Lunch Bags and free printable!

Today I’m over at Craftaholics Anonymous sharing an easy DIY that will go perfectly with the lunch sacks I shared earlier this week. Lunch bags for sandwiches and snacks, plus a free printable for notes to tuck into your kiddos’ lunches! Head on over and check them out :)

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And if you haven’t already, make sure you enter the For the Love giveaway!

Pretty pictures don’t tell the whole story

A few weeks ago, I was having a day. You know the kind, when your two-year-old has smeared poop all over himself and the crib, your house is an epic disaster, the dishwasher isn’t working, the kids are acting like bedtime is a newly invented phenomenon, and your husband is out of town. A long, exhausting kind of day.

And on that same day, an acquaintance posted a picture of her kids, smiling and adorable, in their perfectly decorated living room, on their sofa that has no rips or stains, holding their adorable handmade crafts that they just whipped up on the spur of the moment. Bless.

That’s when it happens… the comparison. Clearly, she has it all together. She obviously didn’t spend an hour cleaning up poop. I’m sure her kitchen is sparkling and her kids were all in bed by 8pm. She’s a modern day homemaking miracle, and for the love of bedtime, I’m just wondering when it’s too early to pour myself some wine.

We don’t want to put our mistakes and shortcomings on the Internet for everyone to see. It’s easier to let people believe that we’ve got this handled. So we post the pretty, the bright and shiny, the status-worthy, the everyone-will-want-to-pin-this stuff. Because it’s what we’re proud of. It’s how we want people to see us – as people who have it all together and aren’t failing at life.

But pretty pictures don’t tell the whole story. We all know it, but we somehow believe that they do. We see the blogger with the perfectly decorated living room, nothing out of place. But we don’t see how she carefully budgets for a weekly cleaning service. We notice a friend who looks like she belongs on the cover of a magazine, despite having given birth to a house full of children. But we don’t notice that her marriage is falling apart. We scroll through Pinterest, pinning beautiful pictures, pin-worthy projects, and delicious recipes. But we don’t see the late hours, countless fails, and cropped out messes that went into each post. Because who’s pinning that?

I don’t think it’s being dishonest, to put your best face forward, because you don’t need to air your mess to the world. But newsflash: no one has it all together. I don’t. You don’t. Your favorite Pinterest-guru blogger doesn’t.

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There’s a lot of freedom in letting go. Letting go of the expectations we put on ourselves and the people around us to be and do every.single.thing. And to do it all perfectly.

I had the (amazing) opportunity to pre-read Jen Hatmaker’s new book For the Love that just released. This book is like sitting on the front porch with your bestie. The one who pops by your house, sees you in your ratty pajamas with your three day old hair and your toddler who is coloring on the wall, and she still tells you what an amazing mom you are. Jen reminds us that not only is living a perfect life impossible, we don’t even have to try.

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Jen helps you to put aside your unrealistic expectations for yourself and live in the freedom found in a grace-filled Father who loves us in our imperfection and calls us to love others in theirs. Plus, she’s pee your pants funny. Seriously, you might pee just a little bit.

So I’m going to sew my kids clothes, but they won’t always (ever?) be perfect. I’m probably going to let my dishes pile up a little too long. I’m going to let my kids play outside in the backyard instead of signing them up for soccer and zoo classes and gymnastics. I’m not going to care if my couches are ripped. Okay, maybe I’m going to care a little about that. But I’ll try not to. You might always have a clean sink, but you are perfectly happy buying all your clothes at Target. My thing isn’t your thing, and that’s okay.

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As Jen says in For the Love, “We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.” If sewing, cooking, scrapbooking, running, (insert chosen hobby here) fills you up and makes you feel like a better person, daughter, sister, friend, wife, mom… then do that.  And let’s remember the people behind the pictures. Their pictures might be pretty, but they don’t have it all together, and neither do we. Let’s just live in the mess together and do our thing.

I wish I could give every one of you a copy of this book, but I can’t, so one lucky reader will win a copy of For the Love by Jen Hatmaker!

Click here to enter to win!

Open internationally, but winners outside the United States will receive a digital copy.

Easy to sew Lunch Sacks for Back to School

If your kids are headed back to school soon, you probably need to pack at least a few lunches this year. Rather than use paper lunch bags (especially on those days when your kiddo left the insulated lunch bag at school the day before), make your own cloth lunch sack that won’t get confused with anyone else’s!Cloth Lunch Sack Tutorial

You can make this lunch bag lined or unlined. If you have a sturdy home dec fabric, laminated cotton, etc. you can make this without lining. If you want to use quilter’s cotton, you will want to make it lined and interfaced.

Supplies:

  • 14in. x 27.5in. fabric (another for lining)
  • 14in. x 27.5in. interfacing if lining
  • snaps or velcro

Note: if you are not lining the lunch sack, make sure that you finish all edges with either a serger or a zig-zag/faux overlock stitch.

1. Fold fabric nearly in half, stopping 4.5in. from the top.

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2. Mark four lines on the fabric: 3 inches from the bottom, make a 2.5 inch line (this green line is faint in the picture); mark two lines 2.5 inches in from the sides, 4.5 inches long.

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3. Cut down the top two lines and then across to the sides, removing two small rectangles.

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4. Cut along the 2.5inch line near the bottom of the fabric – cut through both layers.

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5. Pull the bottom section of fabric away.

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6. Sew along the sides.

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7. Flatten the bottom. It may not lay completely flat just yet.

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8. Cut off the small rectangle of fabric (you won’t need this piece)

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9. Sew along this edge to form the bottom of the lunch sack. Repeat on the other side. If you are using a serger, leave the tails long and tie them off – don’t just cut them off! If you are using a sewing machine, make sure you backstitch at the beginning and the end.

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10. If you are using one layer of fabric, finish all around the top edge. You can serge, zig-zag, or do a rolled hem on either your sewing machine or serger. If you are lining your lunch sack, skip this step.

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11. If you are lining your lunch sack, apply interfacing to one of the pieces of fabric. Repeat steps 1-9 with your second fabric. Turn your lining inside out and the outer piece right side out. Put them together as seen in the photo.

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12. Sew the raw edges together, leaving an opening on the front flap.

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13. Turn the lunch sack right side out through the opening.

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14. Press and topstitch all around the top.

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15. Fold in the center of the sides.

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Then attach either velcro or snaps inside the sides.

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16. Attach snaps or velcro onto the front flap to finish

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Then send your kiddo to school in style! (I shortened the red lunch sack about 3/4in.)

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You can stop buying paper lunch sacks (win for the environment!) and personalize your kiddo’s lunch bag to fit their style – use fabric with their favorite character or embroider their name onto it.

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The lunch sack opens up nice and wide when unsnapped, giving you plenty of room for all the yummy foods that will fuel your little one through their school day.

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Happy back-to-school sewing, friends!

Cloth Lunch Sack Tutorial from If Only They Would Nap

I Sew Love This

I adore when other bloggers share things they find and love; things they’ve found interesting or noteworthy. New tutorials, free patterns, great article, fun inspiration. So I’m starting a new tradition here, called I Sew Love This, where I’ll be sharing things I love from around the internet. I imagine they will be mostly sewing related, but I reserve the right to share anything I find that I love. ;)

i sew love this - on if only they would napCrafterhours shares a coupon code for a pattern every Friday, giving you a chance to buy it for only $5! Today’s Friday Fiver is the Soleil Dress from Baste + Gather. It’s super adorable, and only $5! Who doesn’t love that?

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If you’re going to make pants, you want to make them as professional looking as you can. These tips for sewing professional looking pants from Handmade Boy for Peekaboo Pattern Shop are fantastic, and a must-read, especially if you’re new to sewing pants.

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This is a great round-up of $10 DIY Gifts from Andrea’s Notebook. Handmade gifts can still be meaningful and look great, without breaking the bank. (Also, you may see one of my tutorials in here!)10-dollar-gifts

My girl Melissa from Sew Like My Mom has this fabulous free pattern for Ginger Shorties in sizes 12m-8. Perfect for sewing up for under all those play dresses for back-to-school.

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Speaking of back-to-school, Stacey at Boy, Oh Boy has a fantastic collection of Free Back-t0-School Patterns and Tutorials. So if you’ve spent all your money on school supplies and fabric, no fear! You can still sew the clothes your kiddos need.

Back-to-School Sewing Patterns

And for some inspiration, I love this Alice Dress sewn by Mie at Sewing Like Mad! Such a beautiful fabric, and it could easily transition from summer to fall.Alice--2

What are you loving?? Share a link in the comments!

Happy sewing, friends!

Snapdragon Dress + Giveaway!

Since I have a house full of boys, I jump at the chance to make dresses for my nieces. My lovely friend Melissa from Sew Like My Mom sent me her new Snapdragon Dress pattern, and if I had girls, I’m pretty sure this is all I would make them.
Snapdragon Dress pattern by Sew Like My Mom sewn by If Only They Would Nap

If you’re a regular reader, you know how much I love Melissa’s patterns, and oh my goodness, I am in looooove with this one.

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This dress is super versatile – there’s the tank version that I sewed, but you can also choose from three different sleeve options. This pattern is so perfect for every season!

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I love all the gathers … even though I hate the actual gathering process. ;)

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I used a fabulous double knit from JoAnn’s that I’ve seen in a few different colorways. The polka dots are on one side and the stripes are on the other, so I mixed and matched throughout the dress. If I hadn’t started making this dress (ahem) the night before we left to visit, I would have hacked the pattern a bit to make this dress reversible. But I guess now I just have to make another one!

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The knit is so soft and the design of the pattern is made for girls who love to run and play, my niece actually wore it for 48 hours! I’m all about making clothes that kids can play in, and this dress perfect for it.

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Even when playing means waiting for your cousins to move out of the way, so you can bike through.

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This might be my go-to dress pattern for the little girls in my life!

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And Melissa is so amazing, that she is giving away a copy of this PDF pattern to one lucky winner!! Click below to enter to win your own PDF copy of the Snapdragon Dress pattern – giveaway closes Tuesday night.snapdragon-listing-main1

 Click Here to Enter to Win!

Striped Birthday Tank

Boy number three turned four yesterday. To celebrate, I made him a striped tank.

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The tank is self-drafted and upcycled from an XL men’s tank top.

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The stripes on this tank are so rad. I love finding t-shirts on clearance to use as fabric, because sometimes you can find some fabulous prints that you can’t find elsewhere.

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Tanks are quick and easy; I made this one in less than 20 minutes – including a serger re-thread!

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He loves this tank so much, he insisted on sleeping in it as well. Point one for mama-made!

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I used ribbing for the neckline and coverstitched the armholes. You can get this same effect with a double needle.striped tank 8
I love four. When they’re really out of toddler-hood, but not quite a kid. You can reason with them, but they still curl in your lap and need you to kiss their owies. So perfect. :)

Happy sewing, friends!

 

Safari Kudzu Coveralls

It’s no surprise how much I love the Kudzu Coveralls pattern, from Sew Like My Mom. I’ve made them as both pants and a dress, and there’s pretty much no end to my Kudzu love.Kudzu Coveralls pattern by Sew Like My Mom
These pants were supposed to be for Easter. You know, in April. But then the kids got hit by some illnesses, and handmade outfits got put on the back burner.

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These are a quick sew and have endless possibilities. I just adore little boys in overalls. I mean, is there anything cuter??

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Since this little guy is my baby, I wanted to keep the coveralls young. Because I’m going to keep him looking the part of the baby as long as possible. ;) But I also really love this seersucker version from Stacey at Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts for an older boy.

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I made the 2T size for my two-year-old. He and his cloth diaper fit perfectly.

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I cut and partially sewed them so long ago, that I can’t remember if I made any modifications. Probably I didn’t measure the cuffs and just eyeballed it.

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Babies in overalls. There’s nothing else I need in life.

Happy sewing, friends!

Sewing in a small, shared space [Sewing room tour!]

We live in a pretty small house. Not tiny house movement small, but still small, especially when it’s shared by six people. As our family has grown, my sewing room has moved around – the basement, the office… currently, I’m sewing in part of our bedroom. Sewing in a small space can be a challenge, but it’s still possible to have an inspiring place to create. Sit back and take a little tour of my sewing room!

Sewing in a small, shared space

When you sew in a shared space, you probably don’t have a lot of room to spread out. You need to be efficient with your storage and your usable space. It also means keeping your space a lot cleaner than you would if you could just close the door at the end of the night. But when you sew right next to your bed, you’ve got to keep things at least a little bit organized!

*This post contains affiliate links*

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I have enough room for two tables. I have a low table where I keep my serger, coverstitch, and sewing machine. I also have a counter-height cutting table.

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Since I’m not a quilter, I find that I usually have plenty of space on the table, even with all three machines. I can easily shift one over a bit if I need to. I can also quickly switch from serger to coverstitch when sewing with knits, which I find super convenient.

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I keep my thread spools close by, but I will fully admit they are NOT rainbow-tized. Seriously, I do not have time for that, friends! I’m just happy they make it back on their little rack. ;)

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Small spaces don’t have to lack personality. Since this one little corner of the house is just mine, I wanted to feel good every time I’m here. These sweet hoops are from my friend Alyson, and the print is from Mandy England (whose shop appears to be closed now).

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On the table, I keep things I don’t like to get up to find when I’m sewing: seam ripper, bobbins, scissors, tweezers, button-hole foot, tube turner, etc.

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I recently found these divided containers in the Target Dollar Spot, and they’re perfect for organizing my needles. I keep them in the basket, too.

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I picked up a handmade, magnetic pin holder at a local quilt museum, and it’s become one of my absolute favorite tools. I keep my zipper foot on here too, so that I can grab it easily.

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Behind the table is my big fabric shelf. I keep my knits in the baskets. This is new since reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and so far I really like this system! I can’t see all the fabric at once – I have to pull the baskets off the shelf to see everything inside – but it has definitely kept me from throwing everything on the floor in search of the perfect fabric. ;) I keep vintage sheets and bottom weights on the bottom shelf, and the bin underneath has clothing to upcycle. (I also have a bin with some jeans and sweatshirts in the closet… since I’m telling all!)

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When it comes to why I organize the way I do in this space, many decisions are kid-driven. For example, when you have a two-year-old who loves to turn on and off the printer all the time, moving it to the top shelf just makes sense. I try to keep most of my sharp things up high, as well as markers and paint. Because toddlers.

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I also have a small cabinet where I keep the rest of my woven fabrics. I recently went through all my fabric and took out a lot of things that I just didn’t love anymore. It gave me a lot more space for the fabric that I do love, and I can find what I need much more easily now. I also keep some more not-kid-friendly craft or office supplies in this cabinet. Like fabric markers. Because seriously… toddlers.

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On top I have a basket of knit scraps. I got rid of a ridiculous amount of scraps, because they just kept piling up. These are all good sized scraps, and most of them could make a toddler tee or baby pants.

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On the wall across from the bed, we have these built-ins. I keep most of my other supplies here. Bias tape, piping, hardware, extra scissors, cone thread spools, elastic, zippers, snaps, etc.

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I’ve been storing things in these Clementine boxes for years, and I have found a way to incorporate them in every sewing space I’ve had. The contents of the boxes change occasionally, but I’m not sure I’ll ever give them up.

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Across from my sewing machines, I have my cutting table. This is a recent purchase, and I l.o.v.e. it. My three-year-old pretty much built it on his own (seriously), so it’s incredibly easy to put together. It’s sturdy and has all these great cubbies. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I really do love this table!!

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Usually this table is pretty well covered with a project of some sort. Or something I’m hiding from the kids. Just out of the picture are the tools I use: rotary cutters, Gingher shears, rulers, pens, tape, etc.

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Because of the limited space in our house, we don’t have an office. So the computer sits on the end of the cutting table. It actually works really well, because if I need to look at pattern instructions or if I just want to watch something on Netflix, I can pull it right up. But it’s also easy enough to move, should I need the extra space. You can find a tutorial for the wall art here.

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Behind the table is where I keep my patterns and blogging/pattern shop papers. I also keep a lot of homeschool papers and books in this corner, because… I have no where else to put them. :)

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My sweet sister-in-law gave me these hoops that were used as decorations at her wedding. I love them just as they are, so they were an easy addition to my space! The fabulous prints are from Mercy Ink (top right) and Pen and Paint.

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Having my sewing space in the bedroom can sometimes be a challenge – if I relaxing in our room, I do have moments where I get distracted by all the projects I could be working on. It also makes late night sewing tricky, if my husband wants to go to sleep. No, it’s not perfect, and while I certainly would love to have my own sewing room again, I’m so happy with the space I’ve created!

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It’s easy to assume that everyone else has a gorgeous sewing studio, or to see beautiful sewing rooms on Pinterest and get frustrated with your limited space. But wherever you sew – on your kitchen table, in a corner of the basement, or anywhere in between – that space becomes yours once you sit down at that machine.

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In this season of my life, in my house that often feels too small, I’m choosing to be grateful for the space that I do have. For a husband who doesn’t mind that I set up shop in our bedroom. For kids who are thankful and excited for handmade clothes. For a fabric stash that certainly isn’t wanting.

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What do you love about your sewing space? Share a picture of it on my Facebook page! I would love to see it :)

Happy sewing, friends!