sewing handmade gifts

Leather Bottom Tote Bag Tutorial

I recently realized I was in need of another tote. I mean, can a girl ever really have too many tote bags?? I needed something that would fit my computer easily, plus a few other essentials for heading out to a coffee shop or on a road trip. But I wanted something sturdy enough (and cute enough!) that I could even carry it with me on everyday outings. I found a scrap of leather large enough that I could make a leather bottom tote bag, and I love how it turned out!

I designed this tote with a few specific features in mind, but you can easily customize it to your needs. Here’s what I wanted: sturdy fabric, wide straps, lined inside with one small and one large inner pocket, leather tabs on the straps, and long enough that it would fit my computer comfortably.
The bag came together quickly and easily (I cut the fabric out one afternoon and sporadically sewed it over the next two afternoons, because #momlife). I can already see this becoming one of my favorite tote bags!

Here’s what you need:

  • denim or other sturdy fabric (I recommend that your denim not be very heavy)
  • lining fabric (I used quilting cotton)
  • leather scraps (you could also use fake leather or suede)
  • sewing machine (serger optional), scissors, etc.
  • I highly recommend a leather needle

Cut your fabric pieces:

pockets: 17in x 18in (1), 13in x 5.5in (1)
inner lining: 19in x 14in (2)
outer fabric: 19in x 14in (2)
leather for bottom: 6in x 14in (2)
leather for tabs: 2in x 3.5in (4)
straps: 26in x 7.5in

1. Sew the pockets: you can choose the size that fits your needs (I made my smaller pocket so that it would easily fit my phone and maybe a few other small items). Fold them in half, right sides together. Sew the two sides and the bottom, leaving an opening at the bottom to turn them.

2. Turn the pockets right side out. Press the seams and press the opening closed. Pin the pockets in your desired location on the lining – the folded edge should be on the top. Topstitch the three edges, attaching the pocket to the lining. (Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of your sewing!) Repeat with the second pocket on the second lining piece.

3. Cut the straps – If you want narrower straps, cut them smaller than 7.5in wide. Fold the straps in half, right sides together (you should have a long narrow strip). Sew the raw edges of only the long side together.

4. Turn the strap right side out. The seam should be in the center of the back of the strap – press this seam open so that it lays flat. Press the whole strap down and topstitch the long ends together. This is an optional step, but will help keep your straps from twisting, especially if they are wider straps like mine.

5. Take the two lining pieces and sew them right sides together. Sew three sides together, leaving the top open.

6. Pin and clip the straps and leather tabs in place on the outer lining (note that ONE strap goes on ONE side of the bag – be sure your strap doesn’t get twisted as you lay it in place). Pin the strap in place. DO NOT pin the leather (this will leave permanent holes in your leather). Clip them to the strap. I like these clips (affiliate link), but if you don’t have them, you could use binder clips. My strap ended about halfway down the leather tab.

I recommend pressing the top edge of the denim down 1/2in at this point. You will open it back up later, but this helps you with you strap placement. **You should test out the length of your strap at this point to see if it’s in the most comfortable spot.**

7. Carefully topstitch the leather tabs on top of the strap. I recommend using a leather needle and lengthening your stitch a little. Go slowly so that your leather tabs don’t shift out of place. Repeat for all four tabs.

**If you prefer not to have leather tabs, you could attach your straps like I did in this tote tutorial.

8. Clip the larger leather pieces to the bottom of the tote (the bottom of my tote fabric lined up with the bottom of the leather).  Carefully topstitch the leather to the denim. Repeat for the second piece.

9. Place both denim pieces right sides together (make sure you unfold the top before you sew!) – make sure the straps are carefully tucked inside, out of the way of where you will be sewing. Sew the two sides and the bottom together – leave the top open. I used my serger, but my serger does not like leather, so I went back over all that with a tight zig zag stitch.

10. Fold down and press the top of both the lining and the denim 1/2in.

11. Turn the denim layer right side out. Use a chopstick or something similar to poke the corners out as much as you can.

12. Keep the lining fabric inside out. Put the lining inside the denim. Pin together.

13. Topstitch all around the top of the bag. You can also sew the straps down as you topstitch. I didn’t do this at first, but I went back and added it, because I found that when I put my computer inside the bag, the top edge flopped down. I didn’t like how that looked, so this was a good fix.

Now you have a brand new, sturdy tote to take around with you!

I really love how this turned out, and it is the perfect size for exactly what I needed!

 

Isn’t this the perfect tote bag for taking to the coffee shop on a Saturday morning to read?? Hmm, I think I need to make that happen soon…

I really love the combo of leather/denim/graphic print lining! There are so many fabric combination possibilities, too! What fabrics would you use to make this tote??

Happy sewing, friends!

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Free Newborn Baby Hat Pattern

If you’ve been around the blog lately or following me on Instagram, you know that we’re just weeks (days??) away from welcoming baby boy number five. So I’ve been cooking easy meals and making last minute baby items. Baby pants are among my absolute favorite things to sew for babies, and I decided baby also needs some matching hats! I have a free hat pattern to share with you, so all the babies in your life can be covered from head to toe. :)free-newborn-baby-hat-pattern

Baby hats are a necessity for a fall or winter baby, and knit hats are just so cute and cozy.

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This pattern is super quick and easy to sew! It takes less than 1/4 yard of knit fabric, so you can use up some scraps.

Supplies:

  • less than 1/4yd knit fabric
  • thread
  • serger or sewing machine that can zig-zag
  • scissors or rotary cutter

Download your FREE Newborn Baby Hat Pattern

1. After you’ve taped the pattern together, cut out your fabric. This is how the fabric looks opened up:

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2. Fold the fabric right sides together and sew along the long curved side, leaving about 3 inches open on each end.

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3. Fold the fabric in half, wrong sides together – this will put your seam on the inside. Fold the hat as shown in the photo below, matching up the points. You will have four layers of fabric together. Sew all four layers together from one point to the side, using either a serger or a zig-zag stitch. If you are using a serger, leave the tails long. If you are using a zig-zag stitch, be sure to back-stitch at the ends.

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4. Turn the hat and sew together the next four layers of fabric. Again, leave the tails long if you’re using a serger.

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5. Continue to turn the hat, matching up the four layers of fabric, and sewing them together. All the seams should be coming together at a point at the top.

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7. When you’re finished with all the seams, it should look like the photo below. If you used a serger, tie all the tails so they don’t unravel before cutting them.

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Now turn your hat right side out and cuff!

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Since I don’t have a baby to model this hat yet, this old baby doll of mine will have to do. ;)

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It’s obviously a little big for the doll, but will be perfect for baby!

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This baby hat pattern goes perfectly with my free newborn baby pants pattern!

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I mean seriously… how cute is this??!! I think baby might be coming in home in one of these outfits!

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The brown striped pants were upcycled (which is also why they’re longer… since my babies tend to grow longer instead of chubbier, I didn’t bother to cut the pattern shorter to account for re-using the hem). The arrows came from Raspberry Creek Fabrics, and the plaid from Girl Charlee.dsc_8291-copy

Don’t forget to download your FREE Newborn Baby Hat Pattern!

free-newborn-hat-pattern

Happy baby sewing!

15 Minute Pencil or Make-Up Pouch Tutorial

With school starting again, your kiddos are probably in need of a place to keep all their school supplies. Even homeschoolers like us need a spot to stash our pencils and markers. Don’t have kids in school? This zipper pouch is perfect for make-up, your secret chocolate stash, or even carrying a couple diapers and wipes! And the best thing is that it only takes about 15 minutes to make!15 Minute Pencil or Make up Pouch

This project is so simple, all you need is a small scrap of fabric and a zipper. What size zipper? This depends on what you want to put in your pouch! If you want to put school supplies in it, make sure it’s long enough to fit your pencils. Just make-up? Use a shorter zipper!

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While you can make this with regular quilting cotton, I recommend a heavier weight fabric to give the pouch some stability. I used a home dec weight fabric (I’ve had both of these in my stash for awhile, so I’m not exactly sure what they are).

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The longer (blue/green) pouch: 12 x 14in. fabric, 11in. zipper (cut from a longer zipper)

The shorter (grey/white) pouch: 9 x 14in. fabric, 7in. zipper

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Ready to get started?

1. Cut the fabric to your desired size. Serge or zig-zag the edges to prevent fraying.

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2. If needed, cut your zipper to fit your pouch. Zig-zag a short stitch where you’d like the zipper to end.

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3. Press the short ends of the fabric over (wrong sides together).

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4. Pin one folded edge to one side of the zipper. Using your zipper foot, stitch the two together.

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5. Open the zipper and repeat with the other side.

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6. Turn the pouch inside out and fold it so the zipper is in the center.

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7. Push the zipper down a small amount. Beginning at the folded edge, zig-zag across the entire end of the pouch (making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end). Be sure to keep to the right of the metal zipper stop.

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8. Reinforce the zipper by sewing back and forth several times across the zipper.

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9. Open the zipper halfway and repeat step eight to sew the other end of the pouch closed.

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Turn the pouch right side out and fill with your favorite pens (affiliate link… because seriously, these are my favorite pens!)

Simple Pencil Bag Tutorial

How much would your kiddo love to take his or her school supplies in a custom made pencil bag? Plus, you can make this faster than you can drive to the store to buy one. ;)

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The possibilities for these pouches are endless! These would be perfect for a teacher gift, don’t you think?

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I’m going to fill one with our art supplies for when the kiddos and I go on nature walks. We can keep it with our art journals for a quick grab-and-go! And that grey one has already been claimed as my new make-up bag. ;)

DIY Pencil or Make up Pouch

What will you fill your pouches with??

Happy sewing!!

Easy Vintage-style Christmas Light Garland Tutorial

Christmas is only a couple days away, but if you’re feeling like your house isn’t Christmassy enough, or you need an easy gift idea, this idea will really help you out! This adorable vintage-style Christmas light garland is simple to make, but adds a great pop to your decor. I love those big vintage bulbs, and with this garland, you can bring them into your house and put them just about anywhere – no electricity required!
Make a vintage Christmas light garland with this easy tutorial

Supplies:

  • fabric that doesn’t fray (fleece or felt are great choices)
  • rope, ribbon, or twine
  • embroidery thread
  • hand sewing needle
  • scissors
  • polyfill
  • a chopstick (or something similar to stuff the bulbs)
  • sewing machine (though you can get away with just hand sewing if you prefer!)

1.Cut out your Christmas light shapes. You will need two for every bulb. The number you need will depend how long you want your garland to be. I only made six, because I knew I wanted to hang it on the piano.

christmas light garland step 1

2. Place two bulbs together, wrong sides together. Stitch around the bulbs with a blanket stitch.

christmas garland step 2

3. After you’ve gotten all around the bulb (except for the top part), stuff a small amount of polyfill into your bulb. You don’t want to use too much! Use the chopstick to get the stuffing all the way to the bottom of the bulb.

christmas light garland step 3

4. Now sew the bulb onto your rope, twine, or ribbon. I used a thick jute rope, but make sure you use something that your sewing machine can handle! You can also hand sew the bulbs on, making this a completely hand sewn project – perfect for car trips or sewing by the Christmas tree!

christmas light garland step 4

Now repeat these steps until all your bulbs are on your garland!christmas light garland

The thick jute I used gives this garland a little bit of a rustic feel, but you can change that up by choosing a different material. A shimmery ribbon would have a completely different look!

christmas light garland tutorial

This is such a simple decoration, but it brings such a festive look to your holiday decor. It’s easy enough that you could get your kiddos involved in making it too!

vintage christmas light garland tutorial

Happy holiday sewing!

Need some other last minute gift ideas?

make-your-own-boxy-zipper-pouch

boxy zipper pouch

15 minute infinity scarf

infinity scarf

lego-minifig-carrier-tutorial1

lego minifig carrier

DIYLeatherNotebookCoverIfOnlyTheyWouldNap_zpsb01abb93

leather notebook cover

This post was originally posted at Skip to My Lou on 11/29/15.

15 Minute Infinity Scarf Tutorial

The weather around here has been ridiculously warm for Wisconsin winter, but I know it’s just a matter of time before the other shoe drops and it gets COLD. Cozy clothes to the rescue!  This super quick and easy infinity scarf tutorial is perfect for flannel fabric. Stay warm and add a stylish accessory to your fall/winter wardrobe! These are great to make for yourself or as a last minute gift.

15 minute infinity scarf

Supplies:

  • woven fabric of choice 74in x 22in — you can alter this size as you wish, you just want it to be long enough to loop twice around your neck
  • sewing machine/thread
  • hand sewing needle

1. Lay your fabric right sides together and sew along the long side with a zig-zag stitch or using a serger.

flannel scarf 112. Take the two ends and pin the right sides together. Continue to pin together as much as you can – you will NOT be able to pin all around.flannel scarf 9

3. Sew the ends together, as far as you can go before it gets too difficult. It will end up looking like the picture below.

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4. Turn the seam into the inside of the scarf and hand sew the opening closed.flannel scarf 8

Then rock your new cozy scarf!flannel scarf 2

I love how it adds a pop of color to an otherwise kind of boring outfit, but it also keeps you warm on those chilly days.

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These are perfect for that person on your gift list who’s hard to buy for – just about anyone would love one of these scarves!
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Change this up for any season simply by using a different fabric, and they’re such a quick sew that you can have one for every day of the week!

flannel scarf 1

Happy sewing, friends!

Handmade Gifts for Boys 2015 Giveaway and Wrap-up!

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The fourth annual Handmade Gifts for Boys series has come to a close! Stacey and I always have so much fun bringing you new ideas for gifts to make your kiddos. Hopefully you’ve found an idea or two and have been inspired to make your boys (or girls!) some gifts this year. Keep reading through the end of the post for two FANTASTIC giveaways with multiple winners!

Handmade Gifts For Boys 2015

1. Trading Card Carrier
2. DIY Wooden Scrap Tank
3. DIY Indoor Hopscotch Mat
4. Mini-me Apron and Tutorial
5. Snake Softie FREE pattern and Tutorial
6. 15+ Softie pattern round-up
7. Floor Cushion (with hidden storage) Tutorial
8. Lego Minifig Doll
9. Alex and Anna – Sweet Dreams Jammies
10. Happy Feet Pajamas

To find the tutorials from the previous years, click these images:

Handmade Gifts For Boys 2014

2014

handmadegiftscollage 2

2013

handmade-boy-gift-wrap-up

2012

Now for the GIVEAWAY! We have two big giveaways, with three winners each!! Every year we’ve been blessed with some incredible sponsors who have been so generous, and this year is no exception. We have some awesome patterns and shop credit for you to win!

Here on my blog, three winners will receive one of three prizes:

  1. $20 from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop and 1 Bottoms Up Pants PDF Pattern from If Only Designs
  2. 2 PDF patterns of choice from Swoodson Says and 1 Bottoms Up Pants PDF pattern from If Only Designs
  3. 2 PDF patterns of choice from Swoodson Says and 1 Bottoms Up Pants PDF pattern from If Only Designs

handmade gifts for boys giveaway

Click here to enter the giveaway

Then head over to Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts where Stacey is giving away patterns and shop credit from these awesome sponsors:

handmadegiftsforboysgiveawayThanks so much for joining us for Handmade Gifts for Boys again this year! It was so much fun! Happy making :)

Handmade Gifts for Boys Tutorials and Inspiration

Handmade Gifts for Boys Day 5: Peekaboo Pajamas

To wrap up our Handmade Gifts for Boys series, both Stacey and I decided to sew up some pajamas from Peekaboo Pattern Shop. I’ve sewn many, many patterns from Peekaboo, including countless jammies. Today I combined the Alex and Anna winter pajamas with the Sweet Dreams PJs for a pair of everyday jammies with a hint of Christmas.

Peekaboo Pajamas

Peekaboo Patterns has basically every type of pajama pattern you could want… footie pajamas, zip-up, baby gowns, summer, long johns… everything! Whatever you want your kiddos to wear on Christmas morning, you can find it there.

Peekaboo PJs

I’ve had this red and white houndstooth flannel since last year’s black Friday sale at JoAnn’s, and it feels Christmasy without being too out of season to wear the rest of the winter.

Christmas PJs from Peekaboo Patterns

I made the Sweet Dream pants, without the cuff. The pants are nice and loose for lounging, which is just the type of PJ pants my little guy prefers.

Pajamas from PeekabooThe shirt from the Alex and Anna pajamas is one of those fabulous comfy shirts that my kids never want to take off.

Darth Vader applique on PJs

My little man is a little Star Wars obsessed these days, so a simple Darth Vader appliqué got him so excited to put it on! And hey, anything to make bedtime just a little bit easier, right? ;)

Darth Vader appliqueI found a silhouette of Darth Vader, traced it onto some black fabric, zig zagged it on, and then zig zagged with white thread for the details.

Peekaboo PJs for Christmas

Stacey is sharing the sweet Happy Feet jammies from Peekaboo that she made for her little guy!

Happy Feet Pajamas-37

I can’t believe this year’s Handmade Gifts for Boys week is already over! Tomorrow we’ll wrap up the series with a BIG giveaway, so don’t forget to pop in and enter.

Happy sewing!

Handmade Gifts for Boys day 4: Floor Cushion Tutorial with hidden storage!

I don’t know about your house, but my boys’ toys need constant corralling. And what’s better than storage that doubles as a place to cozy up and read! This floor cushion has a hidden zipper so that you can fill it with stuffed animals, blankets, or the sweatshirts you can’t fit in the dresser. ;)
floor cushion tutorial with hidden storage

Supplies:

  • 1 yard of fabric – I used a thicker double sided knit, but it doesn’t have much stretch
  • 1 package piping
  • 1 zipper around 22in. (if you make your cushion smaller, you can use a smaller zipper, but you want to make sure you have enough space to open it and put stuff in!)

1. Cut two circles (or ovals… I cut mine as ovals that were 25.5 x 22.5)

2. Measure around your circles and cut your rectangle of fabric to go around the outside (remember to allow for seam allowance!)

3. Sandwich your piping in between one of the circles and the middle rectangle (the raw edge of the piping should be facing the outside). Pin all around the circle and fold the ends of the piping in toward the seam allowance. Then sew all around close to the piping, using a zipper foot.

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4. Repeat with the other circle and other side of the middle rectangle. This side you’ll be adding in the zipper, so pin that in place first. You want the zipper to be open halfway. At the ends of the zipper, you’re going to pin in the piping. This is a little tricky, so do it carefully. Fold the ends of the zipper and the piping toward the seam allowance. (I used a separating zipper, because this is what I had. But if you have a non-separating zipper, this part would be a little bit easier)

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5. Around the zipper, you’ll be sewing one line of stitching on each side of the zipper. Where there’s piping, you’re just sewing all three layers together, as before.

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6. When sewing the open end of the zipper, you may have to go over it several times. If you used a separating zipper like I did, make sure your ends line up and that your piping meets up with the end of the zipper and sew the end above the zipper stop together.

floor cushion step 4Then use the zipper opening to turn it right side out!

floor cushion with zipper

Then fill it with something soft – pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, even a large pillow form – and you have a great new place to sit!

comfy floor cushion tutorial

And then tell your kiddos that there’s a fun surprise…

Hidden storage floor cushion

…which could quite possibly blow their minds ;)

Floor cushion tutorial

Tame the stuffed animal madness and create a cozy place to snuggle up with a great book!
floor cushion

Now you’ve got to go check out Stacey’s awesome Lego Minifig doll!

Mini-figure Teaser

Happy sewing!

Handmade Gifts for Boys Day 3: Snake Stuffie Free Pattern and Tutorial

Welcome back to day three of the Handmade Gifts for Boys series! Awhile back, my six-year-old saw a stuffed snake toy at the zoo, and he cannot stop talking about it. He has been begging me to make one for him. So today I have a free pattern so you can make one too!
Snake softie free pattern and tutorial

Supplies:

  • fleece
  • knit fabric
  • polyfill
  • embroidery thread

1. Embroider eyes onto the snake’s face.

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2. If you want to, embroider a design on the snake’s back.

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3. Put the top and bottom pieces right sides together and sew. Repeat with the snake’s belly

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4. Put the tongue on top of the snake’s face, right side facing the eyes.

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5. Put the top and the belly right sides together.snake stuffie step 4

6. Sew along the outsides, leaving an opening in the center of the snake.

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7. Stuff with polyfill and use a blind stitch to close the opening.

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I can’t handle how adorable this snake is! My little guy is going to love it! The fleece makes it so snuggly.
snake stuffie

Download your free pattern here:

Snake Softie pattern from If Only Designs

Make sure you download it to your computer, don’t print from your browser. Then join the If Only Designs Patterns Facebook group to share your cuddly creation!

Snake Stuffie tutorial

Looking for more softies to sew? Stacey has an awesome roundup of softie patterns, so pop over there to check it out!

softiesewingpatterns

DIY Indoor Hopscotch Mat

It’s day two of Handmade Gifts for Boys, and today I have a fun tutorial to keep your littles busy and active inside this winter. It’s about to get so ridiculously cold in Wisconsin, and I’m always trying to find ways for my boys to exercise inside – preferably in a way that doesn’t involve destroying my furniture. ;) This indoor hopscotch mat is a perfect solution!
DIY Indoor Hopscotch Mat

Supplies:

  • approx. 2.5 yards of fabric for the mat (I used the entire width of the fabric from selvage to selvage)
  • 10 squares of fabric (mine were cut 11in x 11in)
  • scraps of fabric for numbers
  • scraps of non-fraying fabric for beanbag
  • dried beans or rice
  • sewing machine/thread

1.Cut your fabric squares.

2. Cut your numbers (I just drew them freehand, but you can always trace a large number from your computer/tablet screen)

3. Put each number in the center of the squares and zig zag stitch around the edges. Repeat with all ten numbers.

applique the numbers

2. Pin the squares in place on the large piece of fabric in hopscotch formation. Zig zag all around each square.

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3. Fold over the raw edges of the four sides of the big fabric piece and topstitch it in place to prevent the raw edges from fraying.

4. Cut two small squares for the beanbag.

bean bag pieces

5. Put the two pieces right sides together and zig zag stitch around all four sides, leaving a small opening. Pour in some dried beans or rice. Then close up the opening.

fill the bean bag

Then enjoy your indoor hopscotch game! I do recommend using this only on carpet, as this could get a little bit slippery while they’re jumping if you lay it on hard floor.

Indoor Hopscotch Mat Tutorial

Or if you’re two years old, enjoy throwing the beanbag as hard as you can and jumping wherever you want. ;)

hopscotch mat tutorial

Hooray for indoor winter exercise!

Make an indoor hopscotch mat

Now head over to Stacey’s blog to see her super adorable mini-me apron pattern!

Mini-me Apron Teaser

Happy sewing!

Handmade Gifts for Boys Tutorials and Inspiration