Tag Archives: business idea

basic tote with a zip

Basic Tote – Adding a Zip

Following on from the basic tote pattern the other day, I’m going to show you how to line the bag and add a zip to the front pocket. Adding a contrast pocket could be a great way to use up precious scraps or more expensive fabrics.

To fit neatly, the zip should measure no more than 25cm. You can use continuous zipping like I did, or if you’re using a ready made zip you might need to trim some of the excess tape from the ends.bag with zip 1

  1. 1 pair of lining pieces  – use the main bag pattern piece and trim 2.5cm from the top edges
  2. 1 x back bag – I’ve added some iron on woven interfacing since its a light weight quilting cotton
  3. 1 x bag front – interfaced the same way
  4. 1 pair of straps
  5. 3cm x 27cm – used to cover zip inside pocket
  6. cut 2 squares to cover the ends of your zip 2.5cm x 2.5cm
  7. front pocket – with fusing as main bag pieces

Once you’ve got your pieces fused and ready we need to work with the zip. bind the ends of your zip so it is no more than 25cm in length. binding a zip end

Sew the zip to the pocket piece and use piece 5 as a facing to cover the zip tape.bag with zip 2

Mark where the zip needs to sit on the front bag piece and flip the pocket over. Line the zip up with the pins and sew the second side of the zip onto the main bag. bag with zip 3

Sew the back bag to the front. You need to get close to the zip ends, but don’t stitch over them.

Sew the lining and leave an opening in the bottom edge. Pin the straps at the notches (as per the basic tote pattern) and tack or stitch to the bag. Fit the bag inside the lining as shown. Match the side seams and sew the bag to the lining. bag with zip 4

Pull the bag through the opening in the lining and arrange the lining back inside the bag. Sew around the top – just on the lining edge – to form a hem. Sew the opening closed on the lining. bag with zip 5

And you’re done – how does it lookbasic tote with a zip collage?

Share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #toteallypimpinproject and be sure to check out what Linden and Rachael have made too.

And remember to pin this into your business ideas folder.

image 8

Tote-ally Pimpin’ Project

Welcome to the Tote-ally Pimpin’ Project. It’s the first project I’m helping to host in the Facebook group The Sew Quilty Workshop, with the help of Linden (Vine Lines Quilting) and Rachael (Sew Today, Clean Tomorrow), and we’d love to have you there. Follow the link and request to join.

The bag we’re starting with is perfect for customization and would be great to make for a market stall or to sell online (YES you have my permission to use the pattern – go for it!)   The bag is a good size for a library bag, a lunch bag to take to work or as a gift bag instead of paper. First lets start with the basic tutorial.

Download the pattern here – it’s only 4 pages. The dimensions are written on the pieces if you’d rather draft it yourself.

Cutting instructions
1. Take notice of any pattern repeat on the fabric or any one way designs.
2. cut 1 pair main bag pieces 27cm x 34cm
3. cut 1 pocket piece 27cm x 16cm
4. cut 1 pair strap pieces 8cm x 50cm  OR
cut 2 x 50cm lengths of cotton webbing.

Fold and stitch a double 1cm hem on top edge of pocket piece.image one (image 1)
Position pocket on the main bag and stitch a row down the centre. (Image 2 and 3) image 2
With right sides together sew sides and bottom of main bag pieces together, catching the pocket on the three sides. image 3 (Image 4)
Neaten. (Image 5)
Fold the fabric strap pieces in half lengthways and finger press. Open and fold the two raw edges in to meet at the centre fold.image 4 (Image 6 and 7)
Fold in half lengthways again and sew down both edges.image 5 (Image 8, 9 and 10)
Locate the notches for the straps, and tack (either by machine or hand) to the top edge of the bag ON THE OUTSIDE. image 6(Image 11)
Fold a double 2cm hem on the top edge of the bag and stitch – catching the straps ends as you go. image 7 (Image 12)
Fold the straps out and pin.
Topstitch the top edge and catch the straps as you go. (Image 13)

And that’s it for the basic bag – now for the fun part – remodeling!

You could try quilting

or stitching























or even appliqued.

















Join Rachael, Linden and myself over in the Facebook group – The Sew Quilty Workshop – as we roll out our own versions of the bag and see what everyone else has been making. I’d love to see yours.

babushka collage

Challenge Results – Creative Challenge

Last month Clare from Clares Craftroom put out a call on Facebook for people interested in taking part in a creative challenge.  Without thinking about how much work I already had lined up for the month I accepted, and emailed her for more details. Another project wouldn’t take up that much time could it?

Here’s what I was sent – an image of matryoshka dolls and a paint swatch named Dulux WaratahClare's Craftroom challenge inspiration

I ummed and ahhed for a few days and let the ideas simmer – you know – till you’ve only got a few days left to get something made. The idea of doing something traditional with the dolls was in the back of my mind so I Googled the meaning behind matryoshka dolls and discovered that they were traditionally considered a symbol of fertility, representing future generations.  Dating back to 1890 Russia, each set contains 8 pieces and carved from soft  linden wood. You can read more about them here.

From this I knew I needed to hand stitch, and since I’ve been wanting to do an embroidery project, this was going to be the one. I checked Pinterest for a few images and came across this pattern on Etsy.Lova embroidery pattern EtsySo I started with some variegated embroidery thread and set to work. I can see a few things I’d do differently next time – like using two layers of fabric so the darker thread doesn’t show through. And making sure I had enough thread to finish the whole thing (her facial features and chin are a different shade – not variegated)  But I’m ok with how it turned out and now she’s going to hang in my workroom and smile at me while I work.babushka 1

I quite enjoyed the embroidery and am keen to pick up some more coloured threads next time I’m out.

Have your tried embroidery? Do you think this might be something you’d like to trial at your next market?

DIY fabric design with spoonflower

Designing your own fabric with Spoonflower

Have you ever wanted to have your own fabric printed? Spoonflower can help you with that.

Spoonflower prints fabric on demand which means you choose from hundreds of designs already on the site, or upload your own. You then choose your base cloth and meterage and add to cart! They also offer wallpaper, decals and gift wrap so the possibilities are endless – you could decorate your whole house and have it matching perfectly. Here are a few examples –


Watercolor Plus in Blue Pink and Gold

Sherbet and Ash

Or how about some cut and sew designs? Save time by ordering one of these designs and you won’t need to worry about a pattern as the fabric has the outline included. Could be a great gift idea for a beginner sewist.

Business idea – design your own pattern and selling it as a kit with instructions, notions and extra trims? You could offer some suggestions on how to personalise as well.

So Sew Easy - 3 cosmetics bags templates

Check out Deby’s tutorial to make these zippered cosmetic pouches here – http://so-sew-easy.com/pleated-cosmetics-bag-spoonflower/

the $11 world traveler - updated Dec 2012

Or how about a stuffed globe in bright pastels?

So many options, so many great designs to choose from. Is your creative brain buzzing with ideas?  Mine is and I’ll definitely be ordering some soon!

See this post at the And Sew We Craft Together Linky Party