sewing

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!

The Honest Truth of a Handmade Wardrobe

If you’ve been following me on Instagram at all this month, you’ve probably noticed a trend. Along with many other sewing friends, I embraced the challenge of Me Made May: wear handmade clothes every day of May. And then take a slew of awkward selfies and let the world see just how dirty your mirrors really are.Me Made May collageNot too long ago, I prioritized sewing for myself. Instead of waiting for the perfect circumstances to sew for myself, I just did it. But since I spread out my sewing time between the boys and myself, I hadn’t realized how much I had actually sewn for me! I didn’t take pics of everything I wore in May, because let’s be honest… everyday selfies are really not my style and you can only stare at yourself in the mirror so many times before you realize yes, that really is the face you make when you take a selfie and no, you can’t do anything about it.

Here’s what I learned from #memademay:

  • I need to clean my mirrors more. Seriously, that’s the first thing I learned.
  • I don’t make enough everyday garments. The few days that I didn’t wear handmade, it’s because I just wanted to wear a T-shirt and I didn’t have one. T-shirts have already been added to the to-sew list.
  • I wore my yoga pants to bed or to work out, so I didn’t feel guilty on the days I didn’t choose handmade during the day. I like to be a rule follower.
  • I have a few handmades that I just never reach for. I liked them when I made them, but I just don’t anymore. I need to pass them along to someone else who will enjoy them.
  • I totally enjoyed hearing “You MADE that??!” more often. It really never gets old!
  • I should sew more cardigans. I wear a lot of cardigans.
  • I don’t wear as many dresses as I’ve made. So either I have to stop making dresses or I need to actually wear them. Stopping is silly… wearing is not.
  • I wear my hair up way too much. I’m working on that.
  • I. Can. Make. Jeans. I wear jeans nearly everyday, so I need to perfect these and make some more.
  • I have way too many clothes. Compared to a lot of women, it probably isn’t a lot, but I really only wear a tiny fraction of the ones I have.
  • Handmade clothes fit well. Duh, right? When you make garments specifically for your body, they should fit you and flatter your body (after you get those first-time-make kinks out, of course). I have a lot of ready-to-wear clothing that doesn’t fit will or doesn’t flatter me, so I’m not sure why I’m letting them take up space in my closet.
  • Wearing handmade is empowering! Maybe that sounds cheesy, but it really is true. I don’t feel like I have to rely on stores to have what I want to wear in my price range. I can make what I want when I want it. Being able to take a piece of fabric and create a wearable garment really is an accomplishment. And I feel good in what I’m wearing!

me made may collage 2It was super fun to see that I really can wear handmade everyday if I choose too – and to see the holes in my wardrobe that are keeping me from doing it all the time. But I think I’ve made such progress in my handmade wardrobe! And it really gets me excited to keep sewing and really fulfill the handmade wardrobe dream!

So… Jess Generated June? Does that work?? ;)

Greenwood Tank: a wardrobe staple

I’ve been thinking to myself lately how much I needed a good knit tank pattern. Luckily for me, Straight Stitch Designs is releasing the Greenwood Tank today!
Greenwood TankWarning: if you sew one Greenwood Tank, you will be unable to stop and will need to sew more. As part of the testing team, I’ve already sewn three! It’s such a fast sew, pretty soon I’m going to have one for every day of the week.

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The Greenwood Tank comes with options for a regular high back or a low back that mirrors the front of the tank. I chose the low back option (even though I failed to actually take a picture of the back!).

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I shortened the straps a bit, but this is something I have to do quite often with ready-to-wear clothing and PDF patterns. Once I did that, the fit was fantastic. Also fantastic? This knit from JoAnn’s. I’m in loooove with this floral!

DSC_6510I had a little bit of this luscious Anna Maria Horner knit left from this dress, and it was perfect for this tank! This will definitely be an everyday wear this summer.

DSC_6559This tank really is a wardrobe staple. Depending on your fabric, you can dress it up or down. The knit binding on this tank is one of my favorite ways to do binding. Kimberly has a great video to walk you through this if you’ve never done it before.

DSC_6497I loved the Capitol Hill and the Ballard, so I knew right away I would love the Greenwood. Kimberly’s pattern instructions were easy to follow, as always, and it came out with a superb garment!DSC_6352So what are you waiting for?! Hop on over and check out the newly released Greenwood Tank! It’s 30% off through Sunday, and if you’re anything like me, once you start sewing them, you won’t be able to stop :)

Happy sewing, friends!

Disclosure: I received this pattern as part of the pattern testing group, in exchange for my feedback.

Super Skinny Pants over at Melly Sews

My post for the Blank Slate Sewing Team is up, so head on over to Melly Sews and check out the Super Skinny Pants I made for my little man!

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Unlocking a New Sewing Level [a pattern review]

With each baby I’ve carried, my body has changed a little bit. My hips have grown wider, my belly softer – marked with stripes that are the evidence of these little loves. But this ever-changing body has also produced an ever-changing wardrobe. Under my bed I have clothing for every stage: pre-baby, post-baby, post-post baby. Because rarely do I find the perfect fit – the shirts that hide the belly that once carried my boys or the jeans that are the perfect balance of respectable mom-of-four-kids jeans, without venturing into “mom jeans” territory.

Real Deal Jeans and Pier 7 Top
Last year, I made a promise to myself that I would sew more for me. I’m making more brave choices and not settling for ill-fitting clothes anymore. And with the help of the Women’s Bundle Up sale from Pattern Revolution, I’ve added two more lovely pieces to my wardrobe. In fact, I think I’ve unlocked a new sewing level!

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I chose to sew two patterns from the Bundle: Terra’s Treasures Pier 7 Top and Winter Wear Designs Real Deal Jeans. (Both are currently available only through the bundle sale… they will be available later this month at their respective shops)

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I’ve been holding onto this fabric (a peach skin from Girl Charlee that isn’t currently in stock) for awhile, but I just hadn’t found the right project for it. As soon as I saw this pattern, I knew it would be a perfect match! First of all, this print. THIS PRINT! So fabulous. The drape is phenomenal, and it feels so good when you’re wearing it! Dreamy, actually.

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One of the things I adore about sewing is taking a pattern and modifying it so that it fits you perfectly – your body and your style. I love the pleats in the front – a great detail in the pattern that will likely make you crazy when using a fabric like this that’s slippery as all get out, but will be so worth it in the end.

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I altered a few simple things about the Pier 7. I left off the sleeves and finished the armholes with bias tape. The pattern has two options for the waist: shirring or elastic. I chose the elastic, but finished the waistband with a method not offered in the pattern, giving it a slightly different look.

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The pattern is really easy to follow, and I am definitely going to try it in a knit fabric soon. I know that this top will be really easy to dress up or to wear with…

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My new skinny jeans! What??! I made jeans. JEANS!DSC_5902

Sewing jeans for myself has been on my sewing bucket list for awhile now. The pattern makes more of a straight leg jeans, and I wanted some skinnies, so I did a lot of alterations in the calves to get the perfect skinny fit. But now they’re exactly what I wanted! I constructed the pants a little differently than the instructions in the pattern. To be honest, I didn’t really look at them closely – I’ve made a lot of little-people pants, so I did my own thing once I had the pattern pieces in hand.

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Now repeat after me: a muslin is your best friend. Definitely muslin before you cut into your good fabric. You’ll be able to check the fit and see what kind of alterations you need to make right off the bat, especially if you need to blend between sizes. I snagged this (freaking adorable) denim from JoAnn’s. I thought it was a great denim for my first pair, since it’s not super expensive. It’s certainly not the highest quality fabric, but they’re super comfy, and I think they’ll wear well.

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Here I go, putting my booty on the internet again… but seriously, I love the way my butt looks in these pants! I always struggle with store-bought jeans, because well, I don’t really have much of a butt. This seems like it would be a good problem, but not when it comes to picking out jeans. Jeans are made for people with a booty! But after some minor alterations, they fit perfectly, and I’m pretty sure I may never go back to store-bought jeans again.DSC_5823

Let’s take control of our wardrobes! Let’s embrace our bodies and sew clothes that make us feel good about ourselves! Because as I said before:

Life is too short to wear clothes I don't like

You can find these patterns and more on sale at the Bundle Up Sale now through May 8th, and individually later this month.

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And be sure to head over to Pattern Revolution and check out all the other Bundle Up tour stops, as well as reviews on each of the individual patterns.

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 Disclaimer: I was given these patterns in exchange for this post. I receive no compensation from this sale. All opinions are my own.

Quilted Camera Bag (that’s actually a diaper bag!)

A couple months ago, I shared this Quilted Camera Bag (affiliate link) that I posted over at Melly Sews as part of the Blank Slate Sewing Team. My mom-purse was starting to fall apart, and I needed a new diaper bag. Then I realized that if I left out the camera padding, this pattern would be perfect!

Quilted Camera Bag that's actually a diaper bagI can’t even tell you how much I love this pattern. Well, maybe I can… it’s amazing. In the few months I’ve been using it, I’ve gotten more compliments on it than anything I’ve ever made.

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In true Melissa form, the pattern is incredibly well done. The instructions are very clear. The pattern is a bit complicated (it’s rated intermediate to advanced, and I’d say that’s accurate), but if you’re a fairly experienced or even adventurous seamstress, I think you could tackle it. Just give yourself a lot of time, as there are a lot of pieces and steps. I also recommend using these Wonder Clips (affiliate link) to keep the many layers in place.

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The finishes on the bag are incredibly professional. Melissa guides you through everything, so even if you haven’t made bag this complicated before (which I haven’t!) you shouldn’t have a problem.

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The pattern comes with two zipper pockets – one larger outside and one smaller inside. I ended up putting both of them inside the bag, because I decided I’d use it much more that way.

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The strap in the pattern is designed to be adjustable, but I prefer them to be a fixed length, so I took about eight inches off and left off the slider.

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The length is absolutely perfect – it hits me at the right spot, and I can still wear it across my body (great for those times when you need to hold three hands at a time across a busy street).

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The pattern includes padding to surround your camera pieces and laptop, so if you’d like to use this pattern as a diaper bag or purse, just skip those steps (including all the velcro). The bag is nice and roomy, so there’s plenty of room for diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, or whatever else you might need.

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The front pockets are perfect for my sunglasses and my phone wallet. Though if I had to re-do it, I’d use magnetic snaps for these pockets as well, just so I can access the pockets faster while wrangling the kids.

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I used one of my decorative stitches for the first time to quilt the top flap, and I LOVE how it turned out. It adds a super fun detail to the bag!

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The lining fabric is Cotton + Steel (which I adore) and the outer fabric is a fabulous table cloth that I found on clearance at Target that ended up not fitting our table.

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I’m so happy with my bag. And the bright fabric added some sunshine to our gloomy winter days and feels so springy now that warm weather has arrived!

DIY Diaper Bag

You can find the Quilted Camera Bag HERE in the Blank Slates Pattern shop.

Make your own diaper bag