Gathered Clutch

I’ve been obsessing over a number of cute bag patterns recently, and one of my favorites is Noodlehead’s gathered clutch.

I decided to make one last weekend in natural linen. When I went in search for a contrasting fabric at my local CityCraft store, I came across this print and fell in love:

Isn’t it so happy?! I just love that green. After a couple of hours of cutting and sewing (and possibly the occasional curse word while installing the zipper), my fabric pile turned into this:

What a fun and addictive pattern! I modified it a bit by using thicker fleece interfacing to give the bag some body. I also realized on my next one, I’ll want to shorten the side D-ring holder a bit.

Inside the clutch, I added pockets using a red vintage print I’d picked up at a recent estate sale. It just happened to match the Echino perfectly. Love those coincidences!

I see many more gathered clutches in my sewing machine’s near future (they’d make great bday and Christmas gifts, right?!). Thanks again to Noodlehead for the great pattern.

Free chemo hat PDF pattern

Some of you know that I am the founder of a local charity called Brimming with Love. BWL’s mission is to provide free handmade hats to patients across the DFW area undergoing cancer therapy.

About 8 years ago, Milly Ralsky, one of our volunteers (who was 83 at the time) contacted me about a fabulous pattern she wanted to share with us. She had been making it for nearly 40 years to benefit local hospitals. In honor of Milly, we call it “Milly’s Tie Hat”. It’s a simple sewing pattern (with just two pattern pieces) that is reversible…so you get two hats in one! We receive several requests for the pattern each month from folks all around the world, so I decided it was finally time to learn how to make downloadable patterns.

I’m thrilled to share that Milly’s Tie Hat pattern is now available in PDF format on the Brimming with Love website! CLICK HERE FOR THE PATTERN. It is 100% free for non-commercial use. Interested in making one for someone you know or donating your time and talents to Brimming with Love? Check out our website for more information. It’s amazing how such a small thing like a handmade hat can make a big difference in someone’s day that is undergoing cancer therapy.

For those that decide to check out the pattern…let me know how it goes! I’d love to see pictures of your finished hats or any feedback you might have on the pattern. Now that I’ve dipped my toe in the water, you might see more downloadable patterns here in the future!

Make your own camera strap cover

Looking for a way to use of some of your fabric scraps? You might want to try out this fabulous custom camera strap cover tutorial by Priddy Creations. It’s simple for beginners and takes very little fabric to complete.

I had about 1/3 yard of Hobby Lobby fabric leftover from a baby blanket project that was just enough to spice up my boring black camera strap. With a little fusible interfacing and about 30 minutes of sewing time…my new camera strap was born. What do ya think?

Amy’s tutorial would be simple to modify and create double-sided strap covers or even patchwork ones. I plan to try out several versions as gifts for friends and family this year.

My one recommendation is to ensure you avoid too much bulk on the edges of your seams with the fusible fleece. I sadly went through three needles on my machine to make this first cover (though it was probably just user error!) *lol*

Anyone else been sewing lately? I’d love to see links to your creations!

Squeaky Doggie Bone Tutorial

My lil’ terrier Gus is a fetcher. I mean he can play fetch ALL DAY long! *lol* Squeaky toys are among his favs. Over time, though, they tend to wear out and get holes in them. Rather than buying a new toy each time, I decided to give the old squeakers a new life – recycling them inside new, handmade toys.

After creating a rough pattern, I used some old fabric scraps and my sewing machine to create this doggie bone toy. I couldn’t stop there…it turned into an addiction! I ended up making 10 squeaky toys for the neighborhood dogs this Christmas. I thought I’d share the pattern and step-by-step tutorial with all you dog-lovers out there!

Gus loves to gnaw on chew ties, so I knew I wanted to incorporate those into my pattern. They are very simple to make.

1. Start with a simple rectangle (around 1″ x 4″).
2. Fold it in half and sew an L-shape tube (with a 1/8″ seam allowance).
3. Turn the tube right-side out and then tie a knot on the closed end to finish.
4. Repeat twice so you have three finished ties for each toy. Don’t worry about the side with the raw ends…those will be hidden inside of your finished bone.

It can be helpful to use a hollow tube & rod to turn the fabric tube inside out…

5. Using the PDF pattern at the bottom of this post, cut out two bone shapes from heavy canvas or upholstery-weight fabric. In the examples shown here, I used decorative canvas fabric from my local Hobby Lobby store, but think outside of the box… do you have any old canvas bags sitting around the house waiting to be re-purposed?

6. Place the shapes right-sides together and add three chew ties to one end as shown…

7, Sandwich the ties between your pattern pieces and pin all in place before sewing.

8, Sew around the pattern piece with a 1/4″ seam allowance leaving the bone open on one side as shown. (For a smaller bone, use a larger 5/8″ seam allowance.) When you sew over the chew ties, you may want to back-tack across them to give them added strength. Make sure you don’t accidentally catch the ends of your chew ties in the seam as you sew around the bone.

9. Clip the seam allowance around the entire bone before turning right-side out.

10. Turn your bone right-side out & prepare to fill it.

11. I used Polyfil to stuff the bones. Then, I added a small squeaker. You’ll want to bury the squeaker in the middle of the stuffing.

12. Once you’ve stuffed your bone, hand-stitch the opening closed with a slip stitch using several strands of matching embroidery floss or thick thread for added strength.

Don’t have left over squeakers to use? You can buy a pack of 6 replacement squeakers for under $4 (with free shipping).

So now it’s time to test out our creation!

Click on the below image to download the PDF pattern template (free for personal, non-commercial use).

Supply list: PDF pattern, 1/4 yd heavy-weight fabric with coordinating thread, sewing machine, cotton scraps for chew ties, embroidery floss, needle


Transform an old sweater into a luxe baby gift

I love the idea of taking something old, and giving it a whole new life. Word got around that I’m collecting old wool and cashmere sweaters for crafting, and one of my neighbors dropped by with this beautiful powder-blue, cashmere beauty.

Because the sweater was a turtleneck, it meant it had lots of usable “fabric”. It was perfect for testing out a new pattern from Betz White’s book Sewing Green. I had fallen in love with the “Luxe” dog toy & hat set. What do ya think?

Instead of using wool felt like the book instructed, I picked up some chocolate brown bamboo felt from my local sewing store, Citycraft. Now let me tell ya – this stuff is S-O-F-T! Combine it with cashmere and you’re in heaven. The plaid fabric for the ears and tail also came from Citycraft.

The sewing was all fairly simple (a beginner could make these), and don’t they make fabulous custom gifts for friends or family? I mean what kid wouldn’t look darling in this get-up with the goofy tassles? *lol*

After using the simple patterns from the book, I was able to make not one… not two… but three sets from one single sweater. (Two have already made their way to new homes.)

Want to make your own? You can pick up a copy of the Sewing Green book here.

If you don’t have a generous neighbor giving away cashmere sweaters, try your local thrift stores. I’ve found a dozen or more cashmere sweaters at Goodwill for under $8 each. Just look for the largest size possible (preferably crew neck or turtleneck) so you get more usable fabric, and avoid sweaters with large stains or visible holes. Happy hunting!