Sparkly tote with piping


Look, a fun tote! This is what I take with me every time I leave the house lately. The outside is Ruby Star Sparkle canvas by Melody Miller; I believe this was the last line she designed for Kokka before founding Cotton and Steel, and just in case you can’t see from the photos, it does have metallic ink across the top band so it’s ever-so-slightly-sparkly. 


Melody gave me a few fabric samples from that line at Camp Stitchalot two whole years ago and I’m embarrassed it took me this long to make something with this. Once I actually started it, it was really easy. I didn’t use a pattern; it’s just a bunch of rectangles sewn together. 


It ended up quite long and narrow, so I always end up fishing around in the bottom of it for my keys and wallet. I guess I wanted to finish it more than I wanted to add pockets, but at least I had the good sense to add a magnetic snap (here’s my magnetic snap tutorial, if you’re interested). It’s also the perfect size for my laptop, which was a happy accident. 


To make it a little more exciting than a plain tote bag, I added some pink piping, because piping makes anything look 100% better, in my opinion.  I have a piping tutorial, if you’re interested. The lovely gold lining is a linen I found at Bolt in Portland when I was there for Quilt Market a few springs ago.


Posted in bags

Sleeping Beauty Super Tote

Hey look I made a Super Tote! This ultra-popular pattern is from Anna of Noodlehead and turns out it’s the perfect size for a me-bag-slash-diaper-bag. When I saw this version that Gail made I knew I wanted to try a version with the piping and bust out some Heather Ross Far Far Away sleeping beauty canvas I’ve been hoarding forever. Well, since 2009, which in Blog Years is forever. You know it’s only a matter of time until they reprint this line, and I still have a huge pile of it sitting around begging to be made into something. So: Super Tote! And: it matches my rain boots! That was a happy coincidence, since I’m not usually a huge purple fan. But for some reason when I was pregnant last year I went through a purple phase.

Super Tote Far Far Away canvas by madebyrae

My only regret with this project was I wish I had added the (recommended) stiffer interfacing. I used quilt batting for all of the layers but I wasn’t sure I wanted to use fusible interfacing on my precious Far Far Away canvas so I skipped it. Looking back I think it would have made the bag stand up and look a little sharper, but that’s OK. Next time.

Super Tote Far Far Away canvas by madebyrae

It took me a long long time to make this only because I kept setting it aside for higher-priority projects. That’s one drawback of being a pattern designer is that I end up with next to no time to make anyone else’s patterns. Wah-wah. On the other hand, I kind of suck at making other people’s stuff anyway because I usually end up hacking it or “improving” on it because I always try to change something (that is more a testament to my personality than the quality of the pattern in question, by the way). The fact that I did NOT change anything about the Super Tote pattern is a testament to it’s fineness. Especially fine: this nice zipper closure at the top:

Super Tote Far Far Away canvas by madebyrae

I’ll be taking this tote with me to Austin next week; our whole family is headed to Texas to visit my new niece in Waco and then head over to Austin so I can make a stop at QuiltCon on Saturday (you can find me at the Stitch Lab booth on Saturday afternoon around 3pm if you want to stop by and say hi!) and teach a Buttercup Bag workshop at Stitch Lab on Friday that is SOLD OUT, wooot I am super excited! (But: there are spots open in a couple of Stitch Lab fabric printing and screen printing workshops yet next weekend, so check those out if you’re going to be in the area).

Super Tote Far Far Away canvas by madebyrae

So, since it’s our first time in Austin and we have three kids in tow, I would really love some suggestions for places to go and eat while we’re there. Mr Rae will be on the town with all three kids for a couple of days while I’m at QuiltCon so he ESPECIALLY appreciates any advice you can give!!

Posted in bags

On the Fifth Day of Christmas [NOW CLOSED]

Thanks for entering! This giveaway is now closed, but you can come back tomorrow morning for another lovely giveaway!

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….five golden rings, four colly birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree!

….and Rae gave to me a Showoff Bag sewing pattern!


I love all of the fantastic fabric combinations here:


1. pears, 2. zigzag, 3. aqua with washi

(See more in the Showoff Bag Photo Pool on Flickr).

For today’s giveaway we are giving away one copy of the Showoff Bag Sewing Pattern PDF. This versatile bag is nice and roomy, features inside pockets, and comes in two different lengths! To enter to win, just leave a comment by 9 PM tonight (EST). One comment per person; void where prohibited by law. I’ll pick a winner using the random number generator and notify the winner by email; we’ll also post a list of all of the winners at the end of the series to make sure we don’t miss anyone. This prize will be emailed to the winner as a PDF.

Twelve Days of ChristmasThere’s still plenty of Christmas pattern giveaways left — seven more, to be exact — so come back tomorrow for another one!

The Showoff Bag

Here’s a new project just finished. In my head I’ve been calling it “The Showoff Bag” because it takes a pretty big piece of fabric and shows it off nicely with only a few pleated adulterations.

I love this fabric (Anna Maria Horner, wheeee!) and I think I like the overall shape of the bag, but already I have plans to make the next one will be a bit different. You know, because if there’s one thing I need, it’s more purses. Hah.

This design has been in my head for awhile and it’s been fun to mess around with it and see if I can make it look the way I want it to. I like that this bag is huge. It’s got a similar capacity to the Lickety Split Bag which you can fit a crazy lot of stuff in. What do you think?

Oceana Tote for Craft Hope

If you want a chance to own the Oceana Tote (blogged here and pictured below), it’s headed over to the Craft Hope shop (virtually that is) to help Doctors without Borders in Haiti.  According to the Craft Hope website, it takes about 24 hours for them to post each item, so if you’re interested you’ll have to watch and pounce.  And maybe this is overly ambitious, but I’m pricing it at $80.  I figure it can’t hurt to aim high since the entire purchase = a donation. 

If you think you would like to donate something to Craft Hope, the instructions are here.
Related: Some of you have emailed asking if you may use my patterns for Craft Hope donations, and the answer is yes.  Please feel free to use my patterns for the Haitian relief efforts, and honestly any other humanitarian cause.  No need to ask there, I say!
Posted in bags

Lickety Split Bag

Yesterday I decided it was high time to cut into my Anna Maria Horner Good Folks before another year goes by and we’re all still looking at the Good Folks projects. Case in point: have you noticed alot of Mendocino around here lately? Yeah, I acquired that last August. I didn’t want to think too hard about what to make so I pulled out my favorite quickie pattern, formerly known as the “stroller bag,” now known as Lickety Split, due to the fact that I can literally make one in 15 minutes (without the pockets) to 30 minutes (with pockets).

Like the Oceana Tote, this one is reversible although it’s bigger and not interfaced so it’s super lightweight and folds up to almost nothing. I added some blue and red ric-rac to the pockets, for a little extra cute.

: : which side should go out? : :

I made it up after studying a student’s book bag back when I was teaching a few years ago; although now that I look online at the pattern she used I see it’s smaller, doesn’t have the seam in the middle or the round ties. There’s a lot of this style bag floating around but the patterns for sale are either too small for what I want or don’t have the adjustable ties on the top. And as I write that I’m realizing just how much I complain about how not-quite-right every other pattern out there is. I don’t mean to be a whiner. I just don’t always find exactly what I’m looking for…

: : ties onto the stroller : :

: : or hangs : :

I’m hesitant to say this but I think this is my Perfect Bag. It works for library books, farmers market, grocery store, just over the shoulder, and because it’s adjustable I can hang it on any stroller. It’s big enough for baby and toddler gear but my little sister Kricket carries hers around so I know it’s not too mommish (that or she just switches to it every time she comes over…sneaky). And it’s wide enough at the bottom for a carton of eggs. Eggs!!!

: : Here are a couple others I’ve made recently (but with one pocket inside instead of four) : :

I’d be happy to scan and sell this if anyone’s interested (no commitment of course). I think I want to try out some automatic download software for PDFs so that if someone bought it they could download it right away. This might be the one to start with, but if you guys think it’s a bad idea I’ll save myself the time. I’m able to turn around most pattern orders on Etsy within a few hours, but that’s still a wait, and for a PDF it would be nice to get it right away.

Side note on wall color: A few of you asked about the paint color on my wall from last post; I have to admit the first picture here isn’t quite an accurate portrayal of my bathroom wall (which happens to be one of the only well-lit blank walls in my house with a hook); I played around with the tint/temp of the picture because I wanted it to be beachy. The real color is probably closer to the one you see directly above. The paint color is from Martha Stewart at Kmart, but I got it about four years ago so I don’t even know if they sell it anymore. But if you want that warm aqua look, rip out a Tiffany ad from Vogue and bring it in to your local paint shop; I’m sure you’d get the same look. And maybe if I get the energy I’ll waddle downstairs and see if I can find the name of that paint chip…

Posted in bags

Oceana Reversible Shoulder Tote

Just popping in between school project deadlines to show off another FO. Remember this? Well that little pleated pocket turned into this:

It’s a reversible tote which started as an attempt to make the Taxi Tote from Seams to Me. But I didn’t have enough of the fuschia Mendocino for the outside, so I had to change the pattern around a bit (I maintained the overall look but I had to heavily modify the pattern piece to get two sides cut from the fabric I had). Then on the other side (made with Legacy Studio cotton from JoAnn), I decided to go for a seam in the middle to add interest, basically the same design as this bag, but quite alot smaller (this bag is about 15″ wide and 24″ tall).

Then I decided it would be reversible, so I added ties and sewed the two right sides together with a gap at the top which got top-stitched shut later. And there are some little pleats thrown in there that gives it a really poofy look.

The pockets are pleated pockets which are SO EASY and a tutorial is on My List so stay tuned (but don’t hold your breath. That List is long.) I also put those pockets on this top and this one last summer. Since I put the pockets on both the inside and outside and lined the whole thing with flannel, it practically stands up on its own. Here’s the full view:

I honestly have no idea who this purse is headed to; I just have fun trying new shapes and techniques so for now it will hang in the sewing room reminding me that beach weather is just around the corner. Meanwhile I am ignoring the sound of rain on the roof…

Look what I did this weekend

I would like to mention how comforting it was to hear from all you “rippers” out there after my last post. In fact, no one who commented placed themselves in the “organized-perfectionistic sewing” category. Everyone who weighed in was of the sew-a-little/rip-a-little disorganized sort. Not sure what that says about you guys…perhaps the “do-it-right-the-first-timers” can’t even stand to read my blog? Heh.

This is the “I’ll have one of everything bag” from Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner. I just got this book for Christmas and this was my favorite project in there so I spent the weekend working on it.

: : back side: :

It’s appealing because you get to use up scraps. My scraps were mainly Amy Butler, but there’s a little Heather Ross in there on the back side because I ran out of the pink coriander from the front. Amy Butler fans will also note that there’s a scrap from Gypsy Caravan and Temple Flowers in there too. *looking pleased with self*

Here’s the book. I love Anna Maria Horner’s color choices. They’re so perfectly warm and bright.

This was the inspiration picture. I love this color combination too — it’s nice and mellow so the bag stands out but it’s not too much. That’s actually my only worry with mine…is it a little too crazy bright? I was just such a fan of the bright pink and turqoise combo that I just went ahead with it anyway.

The only change I made to the pattern was using cotton flannel instead of interfacing. The only other thing I’d change next time is I think I would make the opening a little bigger. For a bag this size, it’s nice to be able to carry large stuff in it (books, knitting projects, rutabaga) so I think the opening needs to be a tad bigger. I’d go back and change this one, but that would mean ripping more seams…

Posted in bags

Fall Fabric

Here’s a few new fall fabrics I picked up at JoAnn’s last week. The right two are lightweight cotton; the patchworky one on the left is a mid-weight cotton; almost a lightweight canvas. The green cotton in the back was a thrift store find. Score!

I whipped up a stroller bag with the middle print — which is just perfect for walking downtown to the bakery or thowing over my shoulder at the farmer’s market. However, little seester Kricket decided she really liked it when she was over the other day, and since it IS her birthday on Saturday, I will just have to make another one for me!