Handmade Gifts for Boys Day 1: Trading Card Carrier Tutorial

Today fellow boy mama Stacey and I are back for our fourth annual Handmade Gifts for Boys series! We love this series so much!! We have some awesome tutorials and inspiration for you, plus a HUGE giveaway at the end of the week. So fire up your sewing machines and bust out your craft supplies, and get ready to make some gifts for the boys in your life! (And yes, of course, we know that many girls would love these gifts too! We have seven boys between us, so we like to help out other boy moms and boy gift-givers.)

Handmade Gifts for Boys Tutorials and Inspiration

My oldest recently got into sports. Like really into sports. He loves to play sports, but even more so, he loves to know all the facts and stats about the games, players, and teams. So I made him a trading card carrier for his football cards.

Trading Card Carrier Tutorial

And yes, he’s a Packer fan. ;)


  • Two pieces of not stretchy fabric (mine were 16×18)
  • Clear vinyl
  • Heavier interfacing, quilting batting, or felt — if you’re using quilting cotton, you’ll want something to give the carrier more stability. You can get away with not using this if you are using a sturdier fabric like a canvas, home dec fabric, etc.
  • Snap or velcro closure – I prefer Kam snaps (affiliate link)
  • Sewing machine/thread

1.Cut the vinyl slightly larger than the cards. My vinyl pieces were about 4in x 3in. This gave the cards plenty of room and would accommodate larger cards as well. More than one card can be held in the pockets. For this size fabric, I cut 12 vinyl pocket pieces.

2. Space the vinyl pieces evenly along the fabric in rows.  Don’t pin the vinyl. Either mark with chalk where they should go or use scotch tape to keep them in place.

3. Use a zig-zag stitch to attach the pockets to one piece of fabric. Make sure you back stitch at the beginning and end of your stitching (at the top of your pockets), or the stitching will come out as your kids put cards in and out of the pockets.

card carrier step 1

4. Continue until all pockets are attached to one piece of fabric. 12 pockets should fit four across, three down. I spaced them so there was a little bit extra space in the center for folding. I didn’t measure when I placed my pockets, I just tried to keep about the same distance between each pocket.card carrier step 2

5. If you need to use interfacing, iron it to the wrong side of the other piece of fabric now.

6. Take the two pieces of fabric (one with the pockets, one without) and place them right sides together. *If you are using felt or quilting batting, this should go next to the wrong side of one fabric piece. It will end up sandwiched in between your fabrics.* Sew along three sides, leaving one short side open – this should be the side where you want your closure tab to go.

7. Cut two small rectangles of fabric for a closure tab.

card carrier step 3

8. Put right sides together and sew three sides. Turn right side out, press, and topstitch.

card carrier step 4

9. Turn the main fabric pieces right side out and press the raw edges of the open side under. Place the closure tab in between the fabrics and pin. Pin/clip the opening closed.card carrier step 5

10. Topstitch that side closed and continue topstitching around the three other sides, all around the carrier.

card carrier step 6

11. Add a snap or velcro closure – one piece on the closure tab and one on the other side of the carrier. I put one of my snap pieces on backwards – your closure should go on top of the carrier, not inside. (But Kam snaps are awful to remove once you’ve put them on, and for a project like this, I wasn’t going to go through the effort. ;)card carrier step 7

Then grab a pack of sports cards, Pokemon cards, whatever kind of cards your kiddo is into, and you have a great gift!

Trading Card Carrier

It’s such a fun way for the cards to be displayed, but also tucked away and kept safe. They can look through them, but they’re also a bit more protected.

DIY trading card carrier

You can fold it in half…

card carrier

Or you can fold the bottom up and the top down before folding it in half to make a really easy to carry around! I love how small it gets, because then it really tucks the cards inside, and they aren’t likely to fall out.

Folded Up Card Carrier tutorial

An easy way to keep things organized and displayed or safely taken on a road trip or to a friend’s house!
card carrier for sports cards, game cards, trading cards

Now make sure you head over to Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts to see what Stacey made for her boys! And don’t forget, more handmade boy gift ideas tomorrow!

Wooden Scrap Tank Teaser

If you didn’t follow along with our previous Handmade Gifts for Boys years, you can find all the tutorials here.

33+ Handmade Gifts for Boys - Patterns, Tutorials, and More!

Remember, there’s a BIG giveaway coming later this week, so be sure to check back! Happy sewing!

Handmade Holidays Garland Tutorial and BIG GIVEAWAY!

Today I’m over at Skip to My Lou as part of the Bake Craft Sew & Decorate series. I am sharing a Vintage Christmas Light Garland Tutorial

vintage christmas light garland tutorial

These are quick to whip up for holiday decorating and gift giving. In fact, you won’t want to miss all the handmade gift ideas! I have joined over 100 bloggers to share some amazing homemade gift ideas, plus I get to be part of an amazing sewing giveaway too! Keep reading to enter!


This machine is sew AMAZING! She is a gem and her name is Rachel.


One lucky winner will receive this beautiful Baby Lock Sewing Machine ($799 Value) and $100 Worth of Fabric from Riley Blake Designs.
Ready to take your sewing to the next level? The Baby Lock Rachel is the star of any sewing class, and she’s here to help you. This computerized sewing machine is equipped with 50 stitches and push-button features to make every project easier. The value is $799. Click here for more details.
Riley Blake Designs amazing fabrics include cottons, flannels, sparkle cottons, organic cotton, knits, and laminates in a range of designer and basic prints. I love their fabric and fantastic customer service!

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Preschool Color Wheel Matching Game

If you have little ones at home, you probably find yourself looking for things to keep them busy while you’re doing something else, like making dinner, folding laundry or helping other kids. It’s a bonus when those activities are educational and don’t involve a screen! I made this Color Wheel Matching Game for my preschooler and toddler, and I use it to occupy my littlest boys while I’m homeschooling the older ones. You can use it any time including in the car!Color Wheel Matching Game Tutorial


  • 8 clothespins
  • small pieces of cotton fabric in 8 different colors
  • double fold bias tape (about 37 inches)
  • cotton quilt batting
  • paint in 8 different colors
  • permanent marker
  • scissors
  • sewing machine and thread

**For a no-sew option, glue or mod podge the fabric pieces onto a paper plate or any other flat surface**

1. Cut out 8 triangles – the short sides should be 6 3/4in. long, then cut them at a 45 degree angle (which is also known as “on the bias”) to make the triangle.

DSC_09492. Sew pairs of triangles into squares unsung a 3/8in. seam allowance. Press the seam allowance to one side and trim off the “tails” that are leftover at the corners.

DSC_09553. Sew two sets of squares together – make sure the points come together. Then repeat by sewing the two rectangles together to form one large square, pressing the seam allowances on each piece as you sew.

DSC_09564. Cut a square of fabric and a square of quilting batting the same size as the square you just made. Sandwich the batting in between, with the wrong sides of the fabric against the batting. Pin or clip these pieces together.

DSC_09635. Sew lines to quilt the batting in place. I sewed on either side of the seams, but you can do this in whatever design you choose.

PicMonkey Collage6. Cut the square into a circle.

DSC_09687. Now you’re going to add the bias tape. Open up and lay the bias tape onto the back side of the circle. Begin sewing along the first crease — but make sure you leave the first 1/4in. of the bias tape NOT sewn down. DSC_0971

8. When you get almost to the point you began on the circle, pause your sewing to fold the ends of the bias tape back (toward the underside of the bias tape). Do this with both ends of the bias tape. This makes sure that the raw edge of the bias tape is enclosed. Trim off any extra bias tape you may have. Finish sewing the bias tape onto the circle, over your folded ends.

 9. Trim the seam allowance to be about 1/4in. Do not cut through your stitching!

DSC_097810. Fold the other side of the bias tape over (the raw edge will be tucked inside) and topstitch it down from the top of the circle. The ends of your bias tape will be enclosed, as seen in the photo below.

DSC_098511.Take your clothespins and label one side with the color names. Then paint the corresponding colors on the opposite side.

Clothespins for Color Wheel Matching GameThen hand it off to your kiddos for color matching fun!  The color names are great for slightly older preschoolers or kindergarteners.

DSC_1009They can learn to recognize the color words, and they can use the painted side to check if they are correct.

DSC_1006The clothespins can be tricky for young toddlers – use your own judgement to know if your child is old enough to use these correctly, and carefully supervise them of course. If your child is too little for the clothespins, use it without them until they are. They can still have fun pointing out the different colors!

DSC_1078The painted side is great for toddlers and preschoolers who are learning their colors, and it can be played independently while you take care of other things around the house or even while you’re driving. If you’re in the car, have your child point at things out the windows that are the same colors!

DSC_1073 I love learning games that are fun, low-tech, build fine motor skills, and help share my love of fabric with my littles. :)

Happy sewing, friends!

Color Wheel Matching Game


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!


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.

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

lunch tote
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.

7. Reusable Lunch Bag from CraftbudsDSC_0027-685x1024

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

9. Free Lunch Bag pattern from The Long Thread

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

11. Monster Snack Bags from HaftaCrafta – so adorable!

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?

Happy back-to-school!

Painted Planter Tutorial and FREE teacher appreciation printable!

You can smell it in the air… summer is coming! If your little ones are still finishing out their school year, chances are you’ll need a teacher gift or two. As a former elementary school teacher, I can tell you how wonderful it is to feel so appreciated at the end of a long school year! This easy DIY is something that teachers can enjoy year-round, and if you don’t have a teacher to buy for, make one for yourself!



  • succulent planter (I found these fabulous ceramic hanging planters at Target. Here is a similar one and a glass one.)
  • paint {or a Sharpie marker!}
  • paintbrush
  • Free Thank You Printable

1. Choose the color and find a paint that is appropriate for the material of your planter.


2. Begin to paint your design! I began with polka dots:DSC_5999

3. Continue to paint all around the planter until you’ve covered it as much or as little as you want. Experiment with fun designs, like these plus signs:

DSC_60244. Fill with succulents and the appropriate dirt/rocks.

DSC_60585. Then, if you’re giving these to a teacher, print off these easy thank you cards that say “Thank You for helping me grow” – I love a good punny thank you note!

Download the Free Teacher Appreciation Printable Thank You for Helping me Grow cards now

Each page has four cards, so you can print them out on card stock and have ready made cards for each teacher in your child’s life or print them onto regular paper and glue to the front of a card that your child colors. I found that they print perfectly on these postcards, which are perforated to it super easy if you have multiple teachers!DSC_6073

And if you aren’t in need of a teacher gift, just hang them up and enjoy them yourself!DSC_6098

Or maybe do both? Because let’s be honest, you just can’t have too many succulents around! So fresh and bright – great for a gift or great for your own home.DSC_6093

This is really one of my absolute favorite non-sewing crafts I’ve made lately, and I just couldn’t part with these two. So I had to make a different one to send with my oldest for his last day of his homeschool group. And hopefully my black thumb will be able to keep these lovelies alive. :)

Painted Planter

Simple Table Runner Tutorial

When it comes to home decor, nothing makes me happier than simple changes that quickly spruce up a room. As seasons change, I like to shake things up a bit – especially after the looooooong winter. This simple patchwork table runner is easy to make, even for a beginning sewer!

Simple Spring Table Runner Tutorial

I love easy decor that can be used over and over again. Use it to display a beautiful bridal shower buffet or host a bouquet of spring flowers. Or simply use it to cover up the marker stains on your kitchen table (ahem..) However you use it, your table will be happier for it!


make a simple spring table runnerSupplies:

  • non-stretchy woven fabric {I used 100% cotton}
  • sewing machine/thread
  • iron
  • scissors

table runner top
How to Make a Patchwork Table Runner Tutorial

Cut your fabric:

The size of your spring table runner will depend on how big your table is and how long/wide you want it. My table runner has four panels (15.25in x 20.50in), but yours can have as few or as many as you’d like. Just make sure you cut them all the same size. Also cut one long piece of fabric for the back of the table runner. I used a table cloth that wasn’t the right size for my table, but any woven fabric would work. This fabric should be the same length as your four panels once they are put together (mine was 81.25in). Alter the measurements to fit your table.table runner step 1


1. Sew two panels together, right sides together using 3/8 seam allowance. Sew the next panel to other side of panel two. Continue until all the panels are sewn together in one long row.DSC_4880


2. Press all the seam allowances open.spring table runner step 3


3. Press the outside edges of the panels under 3/8in. Repeat this with the long fabric that you’re using as the back side of the table runner.spring table runner step 4


4. Pin or clip the panels and the backing fabric wrong sides together. This is a good time to check that the front and the back are the same size. Then sew the two pieces together along the edges using a straight stitch.make a table runner


I put this on my table while my boys were playing outside, and one of them literally gasped and said “Wow!” when he came inside and saw it. So I call that a win! It really does bring a brightness to the room that winter definitely lacked. With a different fabric, it would be perfect for any season!

Spring Table Runner Tutorial from If Only They Would NapHappy sewing, friends!

Hack a Full Zip Pattern into a Half Zip

Today I have an easy tutorial for hacking a full zip sweatshirt pattern into a half zip. I used the Zippy Jacket (affiliate link) from Blank Slate Patterns, as this post was originally posted for the Blank Slate Sewing Team, but you can do this to any zip-up pattern.

Hack a full zip pattern into a half zip

I originally had no plans to modify this pattern, but I really wanted to use a red zipper. I counted four 7inch red zippers non-separating zippers in my stash (why??) but nothing long enough to make the jacket. But perfect for a half zip!


I made the size 7/8 for my tall seven year old. The fit is just perfect, and he says it’s really comfortable. It must be, because he wears it all the time.


The pockets are my favorite feature of this pattern. You don’t find a lot of sweatshirts with these rounded pockets, and they give you a great chance to give a little peek of an accent fabric.

If you too have a stash of way-too-short zippers (or a little one who does better with a pullover), turning the Zippy Jacket into a half zip is really easy.

1. Instead of cutting two separate pieces for the front, cut one on the fold.

DSC_07502. After sewing your pockets, begin your zipper install. Draw a line from the neckline about five inches. (You may have to adjust the length if you are making a very small size – this one was size 7/8)

DSC_07783. Cut down your five inch line. Fuse a small square of interfacing to the back, allowing your interfacing to go over your cut. Then make a slit thorough your interfacing, like in the above photo.


4. Fold the front piece in half, right sides together. Sew a basting stitch from the neckline down to the bottom of your cut. Lay it right side down and press your seam open.

DSC_00315. Lay your zipper down on the seam. You want the bottom metal part of your zipper to be just below the end of your seam. Your zipper will be sticking out over the neckline, and that’s good. You can tape or pin your zipper in place. I like to put a couple of pieces of scotch tape on the back and then pin a couple times on the front.

DSC_07966. Turn the front piece over and stitch around the zipper with your zipper foot. Make sure you leave about an inch at the top (as you can see in the photo) to attach the collar. Then use your seam ripper to open up your basting stitch and remove the stitches.

*Truth be told, I like to remove my basting stitch first, before I stitch around the zipper. I like when the zipper is a little bit more exposed, when I’m using a colored zipper like I did here. If you do that, just make sure you pin around your zipper to keep it securely in place. So my picture above shows more zipper than yours would if you did yours the way I originally described. But I’m a sewing rebel like that..


Then, complete the rest of the pattern according to the instructions, except for the waistband. Attach the waistband as you did the sleeve cuffs (I did not alter the waistband’s size), since there is no longer a zipper going to the bottom.DSC_0860

This is really a must-have pattern! I may or may not have have squealed with joy and sent pictures to a sewing friend after I finished it.

DSC_0922The main portion of the jacket was upcycled from an XXL sweatshirt I picked up at a thrift store. With the zipper and pockets in the front, I used the original front of the sweatshirt and made it into the back. We gotta show our Wisconsin pride!


I’ve already dreamed up three other Zippy Jackets (affiliate link). Good thing I have three other boys who also enjoy a good mama made garment!

Happy sewing, friends!

Reversible Mouse Pad for Craftaholics Anonymous

Today I’m over at Craftaholics Anonymous with my first post as part of the 2015 Creative Team! Head on over for an easy tutorial to make your own reversible mouse pad!

Happy sewing!


DIY: Turn a blanket into a wearable sleeping bag for baby

In late September, my family decided we were going to take a camping trip. The weather forecast was predicting amazing fall weather – in the 70s – but being that we live in Wisconsin, it was still going to fall into the 50s at night. Since we were tent camping, I started thinking about how to keep the kids warm at night. This was pretty easy for the big kids – fleece jammies and sleeping bags, maybe an extra layer underneath. But the baby? That wasn’t going to work. He doesn’t use a blanket in his bed, and the sleep sack he had been using (affiliate link – seriously my favorite not handmade sleep sack ever) was definitely not warm enough. Then I remembered this blanket that we had that would be perfect to turn into a wearable sleeping bag!

Turn a blanket into a wearable sleeping bag

The blanket I used is not super fluffy. It has a layer of batting inside, so it’s warm, but doesn’t have a lot of fluff or feathers or anything that would make it too difficult to sew.

DSC_0341I also made it reversible, because I like options. ;)

It’s really simple to make your own – all you need is:

  • a blanket (fabric/batting that you quilt yourself)
  • thread/sewing machine/etc.
  • double fold bias tape
  • KAM snaps (affiliate link)

DSC_05321. Trace and cut out the shape of your sleep sack. I used the bodice piece of the Kudzu Coveralls to start, since the back straps are longer than the front ones. I traced a sleep sack I had on hand to get the approximate shape. I added a little width and length, since I want it to last all winter. If you don’t have a sleep sack on hand, use a pair of pajamas to help you determine the length. You will want the back straps to be slightly longer than the front.

sew edges together

2. Place the two pieces wrong sides together – or whichever fabric you’d like to be on the inside should be facing each other. Sew the two pieces together, starting at one armpit to the other. You can do this with a serger, zig-zag stitch or even a straight stitch, as these seams will be hidden.


3. Now take your bias tape and pin it over the seam you just sewed. Open the bias tape and pin one side along the first fold line. Sew along that fold line.


4. Now fold the bias tape over to the other side. Pin and sew it down. The top of your bias tape (at the armpit) will be hidden, so don’t worry about finishing it.


5. Repeat step three along the armhole and the neckline – open the bias tape, pin, and sew down along the first fold line.


6. I used the edge of the blanket for the top of the straps. If you didn’t, you will also need to enclose that in bias tape. Fold the end of the bias tape under.


7. Fold over the bias tape edge over to enclose the seam (making sure the end of the bias tape is tucked under), pin, and sew it down. Remember to do this for both the armhole and the neckline.

8. Add snaps to both sides of the straps. I added two sets of snaps on the back strap, so that if he grows I can adjust to a longer length.


Now your baby will be warm and cozy all through the winter!


This wearable sleeping bag worked perfectly for camping, and now that the weather has turned cold, we’re using it at home too. I don’t have to worry about having blankets in the crib, and I know that he’s super toasty warm.


And we can flip it over when we feel the need to change it up.


And flip it back again. Because that’s how we roll.

Happy (warm!) sewing, friends!

DIY Boxy Zipper Pouch Tutorial

Zipper pouches are perfect for basically everything… and a boxy pouch that can stand up? Better than perfect. It’s easily a naptime sew (you know how I love those), so let’s get making!


  • outer fabric
  • lining fabric
  • zipper


1. Cut two outer fabrics and two linings. I made mine 8in x 8in x 8in x 10in. to make a trapezoid – but you can adjust the size as needed.


2. Sandwich your zipper (mine is 7in) between one of the outer and lining, right sides together, and sew using your zipper foot. The outer fabric should be on the top of the zipper.


3. Flip the fabrics back, press carefully (without melting your zipper!) and topstitch.


4. Now repeat with the other set of fabric.


5. Open the zipper (don’t skip this step!)


6. Lay the lining and outer fabrics right sides together. Carefully pin together. Sew along the edges, leaving an opening at the bottom of the lining.


7. Flatten the bottom of the lining and the outer fabrics. Sew across the corners and cut off the leftover triangle.


The bottom should look like this when you’re done.


8. Turn the pouch right side out, using the hole in the bottom of the lining. Then sew the lining shut. I like to hand sew this with a blind stitch, because I think it looks cleaner, but you can also straight stitch along the entire bottom seam with your machine.


Then rejoice in your beautiful standing zipper pouch!


Fill it with make up or hand sewing projects or throw it in your purse to hold all that random junk that doesn’t have a place.


Happy sewing, friends!