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!!

Preparing for Baby: Portable Diaper Changing Mat Tutorial

We’re preparing for baby number five over here, and while we have most of the big things, there are a few things I’ve had on my to-make list. Somewhere along the line, I lost our portable diaper changing mat, and I really missed it with my fourth baby! And since you spend about thirty trillion hours changing a baby’s diapers, I had to make a new one.
Portable Changing Mat Tutorial


I just hit my third trimester, and I’m in full baby prep. I still have a ways to go before baby arrives, but you just never know when he will arrive! So I’m stocking up on everything we might need: clean onesies, pacifiers, nursing pads, and of course, DIAPERS! Walmart Neighborhood Market has everything we need for baby and more.

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When it comes to a portable changing pad, I wanted to have something that I could grab from my diaper bag and have everything I need. I don’t always like to take the diaper bag everywhere, so having a pocket for diapers and wipes was very important to me.

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One side of the changing mat is waterproof PUL (I also used that when making this wet bag), the other is cotton, with a layer of fleece in between.


  • 1 piece of cotton, fleece, and PUL fabric, each cut about 29x12in. (You can change this to suit your needs, of course)
  • 1/2in wide double fold bias tape, approx. 66in.
  • 1 small lingerie bag
  • KAM snaps
  • 1 button
  • 1 small piece of 1/8in. elastic
  • pins or Wonder Clips

1. Cut your three pieces of fabric to about 29x12in. My PUL was not long enough, so I pieced it together to get my desired length.

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2. Stack all three layers together. The fleece should be sandwiched between the cotton and PUL. The wrong sides of the PUL and cotton should be facing the fleece. Fold the fabrics in thirds as shown:

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3. Decide where you want your snaps to go – these will hold your mat closed. Unfold one third and mark where you’ll place your snaps.

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4. Apply your snaps. The snap in the PUL layer should ONLY go through the PUL. The snap on the cotton should ONLY go through cotton and fleece.

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5. Round out the four corners of ALL layers.

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6. Clip or pin the layers together.

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7. Take your lingerie bag and cut a few inches off the bottom (this will depend on how long your bag is and how large you’d like your pocket – you want it to be no bigger than 1/3 of your changing mat)

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8. Lay the lingerie bag down on top of the cotton side of your mat – the end WITHOUT the snap. Cut around the edges to round it to the same shape. You will cut off a small bit of the zipper on each side, so make sure your zipper is open slightly.

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9. Sew a small loop of elastic to the center of your lingerie bag (don’t sew onto your changing mat fabric, though!!)

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10. Hand sew one button onto the cotton/fleece fabrics. Do NOT sew through to the PUL.

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11. Now begin sewing on the bias tape around the edges. The bias tape and the mat should be right sides together. Fold 1/4in of your bias tape back as shown, and begin stitching it down along the first fold.

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12. Sew all the way around, taking care to sew the edges of the lingerie bag too, until the ends of the bias tape overlap 1/4-1/2in.

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13. Now fold the bias tape over the raw edge of the mat, clipping or pinning it together. Stitch it down carefully.

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Now you have a changing mat with two pockets, ready to be stuffed!

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Here it is, folded up and stuffed to the max with Huggies diapers, Huggies wipes, and anything else we might need.

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Over the years, we’ve used just about every type of Huggies diaper there is – we currently have kids wearing Good Nites to bed and one nearly-completely-but-not-entirely potty trained kiddo using the occasional Pull-Ups. And in a few months, we’ll be adding a newborn to the mix. Goodness…. so. many. diapers. I’m so thankful for diaper coupons!!

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Your Walmart Neighborhood Market has coupons for Huggies Diapers and Wipes, because with as many diapers as these babies use, we could all use a few coupons! But Walmart Neighborhood Markets have great prices to begin with, so the coupons are a bonus.

Huggies diapers and wipes

I forgot how teeny baby diapers are! Eek!!

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Is it weird to be excited about changing diapers again?? Probably. ;)

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I’m so glad I have a portable changing mat again! It will be perfect for throwing in the diaper bag or stroller and giving me a nice clean, soft surface to change baby wherever we are.

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I love that I can stock up on all our baby diapering needs at Walmart Neighborhood Market, grab GoodNites for our bigger boys, and find whatever else we might need for all the kiddos – all at the same spot. One stop shopping is a busy mama’s dream!

Portable Diaper Changing Mat Tutorial

Before I know it, there will be a real baby lying on that mat!

Racerback Maxi Dress FREE pattern and tutorial

Today I’m so excited to be a part of 30 Days of Sundresses series at Melly Sews! I participated last year, and this year I’m bringing you a free pattern and tutorial for a racerback maxi dress that is super comfy and early maternity friendly! But if you aren’t pregnant, don’t worry – baby bellies are not required. ;)Free Racerback Maxi Dress Pattern

Knit dresses are easy to wear at this stage in pregnancy, because a maternity dress isn’t always necessary. I certainly won’t be able to wear this into my third trimester, but I’ll be able to wear it next summer when I’m not pregnant anymore!

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The racerback is so fun for summer!

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Notes on Size: This dress pattern comes in one size, and it is comparable to a ready-to-wear medium. The bust is between a 36-37in. But keep in mind that it’s a knit dress, so you may be able to fudge it a little with the right kind of fabric. I am 5’3 (and a half ;) and I made the dress an inch longer than is good for me, with a 1in. hem. So keep this in mind in case you are taller and want to lengthen your dress.

You will need to use knit fabric that has at least 30% stretch. This is super important. (If you’re a little smaller than a medium, though, you could probably get away with a knit with less stretch) I made one with about 10% stretch and it was a stretch (ha! pun intended!) to fit into it. This dress -without a baby belly- is intended to have a looser fit and not be skin tight, which is why you want more stretch.

Now let’s sew!

1.Download your FREE If Only Designs Racerback Maxi Dress pattern. Cut out your fabric. The pattern includes a 1/4in. seam allowance unless otherwise noted. *Make sure you download or export this pattern to your desktop so that you can print it from Adobe Reader*

2. Place your front and back pieces right sides together. Sew both the shoulders together.DSC_6927 copy

3. Sew down one side of the dress from armpit to bottom with a zig-zag stitch or using a serger. Then sew down the other side, stopping at around 26in. from the armpit. (This is where you are going to create the side slit – I put mine on the left side of my dress, but you can choose whichever you prefer – or both sides!) I used a serger, so I serged off the edge of my dress.

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4. Sew a straight stitch about three to four inches with a 3/8in. seam allowance.

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5. Serge or zig-zag the edges of the fabric from where you left off with your serging/zig-zag until slightly past your straight stitch. (If you choose not to do this, it will be fine, because knit does not fray. But it will look much nicer, especially with a serger) Press this open, all the way down to the hem.

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6. There are two ways you can finish this side slit. You can use a coverstitch (affiliate link – this is what I use and SO highly recommend!! :) Or you can use a double needle. If you don’t use a coverstitch, you may wish to serge the raw edge of the fabric all the way to the bottom.
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7. Fold the bottom up to your desired length and hem with a coverstitch or double needle. I use a 1in hem.

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8. Make your arm and neck bindings. Measure your neckline and armscyes – your bindings should be 85% of these lengths. The stretch of the fabric should go lengthwise. The width of these bindings can be between 1 and 1 1/4in. (I’ll explain which I prefer and why in step 11). Sew the short ends right sides together.

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9. With right sides together, pin the binding to the armscye/neckline. You will slightly stretch the binding.

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10. Serge or zig-zag the fabrics together.

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11. If you are not using a coverstitch, I recommend cutting your binding 1 1/4in. wide. You will bring the binding to the wrong side of the dress, folding the raw edge under. Use a double needle to stitch it in place.

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If you are using a coverstitch, I prefer to use a 1in. wide binding, because it’s not necessary to fold the raw edge under.

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Now you have a lovely racerback maxi to wear all summer long!

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I really think that I could wear knit maxis everyday, because it kind of feels like wearing your jammies all day in this dress! Quick note: I lowered the armscye slightly after taking these pictures.

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This dress is super quick to sew, but watch out – it’s addicting! I already made another and have a third partially sewn. I also included a cut line for making your racerback a shirt instead of a dress. I’ll share a tank top version hopefully later this week!

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Don’t forget to download your free If Only Designs Racerback Maxi Dress pattern, whether or not you’re sporting a baby belly. ;)

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Happy sewing! Make sure you check out the other lovely sundresses as part of the 30 Days of Sundresses series!


Essential Oil Travel Case Tutorial

I’m an essential oil girl. I love having a natural alternative for taking charge of my family’s health. But when I leave the house, I throw them in my purse, and they just end up rolling around at the bottom. I needed a way to safely carry them – and find them – when I’m on the go. So I sewed up this Essential Oil Travel Case, and they’re super easy to make!Essential Oil Travel Case Tutorial

This post contains some affiliate links. Purchases made won’t cost you any more, but make me a small commission to run this site and help my family. Thanks for your support!


  • Fat quarter of woven fabric
  • Scrap of quilt batting
  • KAM snaps
  • Sewing machine, thread, scissors, etc.

**This makes a travel case that perfectly fits 5ml bottles. If you want to make one for 15 ml bottles, you will need to alter the size by lengthening the short side of the fabric.

1.Cut two pieces of woven fabric 10in x 5 in. Also cut one piece of quilt batting the same size.

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2. Place the fabric right sides together, with the quilt batting against one wrong side. Zig-zag around all sides, leaving a small opening on one side. Clip the corners.

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3. Turn the fabric right side out. Press and topstitch around all four sides, closing the opening you left for turning.

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4. Fold the bottom of the fabric up about 3/4 of the way. This will create your pockets. Using your essential oil bottles as your guide, pin between the bottles and pin/clip the fabric together at each end. *You want to leave extra fabric at each end, as shown in the picture, for your snaps.

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5. Stitch down where you pinned, to make your pockets. Also stitch down the fabric ends.

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*You will have an extra “pocket” at each end that is too small for an oil bottle. This is important!

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6. Attach your snaps, one at each end, in that extra space. I use a KAM snap pliers to attach my snaps.

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Now slide your oils in, and you’re ready to go!

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Roll it up, snap it, and toss it in your purse.

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This case is a really fast sew (I think I made it in 30 minutes, including the time to take pictures), and so practical! The quilt batting gives your oils a little cushion, and the pockets keep them snugly in place.

Essential Oil Travel Case

No more digging around in the bottom of your purse (amongst the raisin boxes, old receipts, and baby wipes) to find the one you need!

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This really is the perfect travel accessory!

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At least there will be one aspect of my purse that’s organized. ;)

DIY Essential Oil Travel Case

purse: Better Than Basic Bag by Sew Fearless
wallet: Cozy Cameras
sunglasses: Target

*I use Young Living essential oils. If you’d like more information or are interested in purchasing, click here or email me at*

Handmade Gifts for Boys 2015 Giveaway and Wrap-up!

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


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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

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


  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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


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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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…

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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!

Sewing or Craft Room Wall Art

Whether you have your own studio or a corner of your bedroom for your crafting, decor is an easy way to personalize your creative space. This wall art is perfect for seamstresses, and you can change up the words to fit the kind of sewing or crafting that you love to do.

Craft Room Wall Art


  • burlap
  • wooden frame/staples or glue
  • jute twine
  • hot glue gun
  • embroidery floss/needle
  • paint
    *This post contains affiliate links*

DSC_51191. Stretch your burlap over a wooden frame and staple or glue it to the back. You can also purchase pre-stretched burlap frames like this one. I’ve also seen them in local craft stores.

DSC_51212. Using chalk, sketch out the shape of a thread spool.

DSC_51283. Paint the top and the bottom of the spool. Since this is wall art and won’t be washed, fabric paint isn’t necessary.

DSC_51364. Cut pieces of jute twine the width of the spool. Use your glue gun to adhere them to the burlap. I recommend doing this one or two pieces at a time, starting with a small portion of each strip, so the glue doesn’t harden before you put the twine down.

DSC_51525. Sketch out with chalk the words you want on your art. Mine reads “cut/pin/sew/wear” but yours can say anything! Stitch over the words with embroidery floss – I doubled mine up to make the letters stand out more. To create a slightly different look, use fabric paint or vinyl transfers in place of the embroidery floss.


Use a damp cloth to wipe away the chalk, and you’re ready to hang your art.DSC_5181

Then add it to your little corner of crafting paradise! I just love how this turned out, and it really makes me smile every time I see it.

Wall art is such a fun and easy way to add flair and style to your crafting or sewing space!

Make Your Own Craft Room Wall Art

DIY Painted Planter + Free Teacher Appreciation Printable

Today I’m over at Craftaholics Anonymous with a perfect end-of-the-year teacher gift! A DIY painted planter (that I’m super in love with) and a free thank you printable. So hop on over and check it out!


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!