Noodlehead Trail Totes

As I started making bags this spring, I have learned so much from Anna Graham’s patterns. My first bag was her 2-4-1 tote, and next, I discovered the trail tote pattern! Following these patterns taught me a lot about bag- making, and it has allowed me to try some of my own patterns, like the origami bento bags 1, 2, and 3, and panel tote.

I made the small size of this pattern, and I omitted the exterior zipper pocket, partly because I wanted to really feature the fabric, and partly because I am intimidated by zippers – but I have a feeling, I will learn somewhere along this bag-making adventure! This pattern did inspire me to make my own piping for the first time, so I am not a total wimp!

This is a free pattern available on the Robert Kaufman Fabrics website. I made it in two versions – from a gorgeous turquoise vintage kimono and a bespoke version for my friend Stephanie, who loves cartoon birds – a perfect fit for this cute fabric I had collected years ago!

Happy trails!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Crossbody Origami Bento Bag

As you may have noticed, my Shelter-in-Place theme is sewing bags. Up next is my first version of an origami bento tote. I found these fabrics in my mother’s stash, and I thought the origami cranes were perfect for an origami bag!

I’ve researched a ton of variations on these origami bento bags and look forward to experimenting with my own versions. There are two main techniques for these origami bento bags. One uses two overlapping triangles and the other uses a long folded rectangle. They look very similar when finished. This bag pattern was made with triangles, which results in a heavier bag, because the pieces are overlapping. I’ll try to put up a general post about the construction of these bags. I found it really helpful to make models of the pattern pieces with scrap paper, to see how they fit together and what direction the pattern would run.

The finished size of this bag is 11″ wide and 10″ high (but only about 5-6″ of the height is usable for storage. It’s a cute and compact bag, with just enough space for your phone, wallet, keys and chapstick.

Here what you will need:

  • For the body of the bag, two squares of fabric 17″x17″
    • *The pattern of your fabric will run in opposite directions on the front and back of the bag, so pick a pattern than works in both directions*
    • single fabric for a simple, clean look
    • two different squares of fabric to create a two-color exterior and lining
    • create each of the squares from two fabrics – one for the outside, and the other for the lining (this is the version you see below)
  • For the straps – 5″x50″ strap of fabric
  • magnetic snap
  • 1.25″ strap slider and ring
  • Fusible interfacing, basic sewing supplies

Prepare the pattern pieces:

  • Cut the fabric for the body of the bag and the strap. You will likely need to join two strips to create the 50″ strap. I joined the strips on an angle, to reduce bulk
  • If you want to have a different fabric for the lining, join fabric to make your squares, as shown below

fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the large squares. There are many layers in the finished bag, so one option is to leave interfacing off two of the corners of each square, to reduce bulk. In this case, it would be the two solid (not pieced) corners

  • Fuse interfacing to all except the last 3.5″ of the strap, on the wrong side of the fabric

Make the strap:

  • On the end with interfacing, fold a 1/2″ hem, wrong sides together
  • Iron the strap in half lengthwise, wrong sides together
  • Fold each side toward the center, wrong sides together and iron again
  • Fold the strap along the center lengthwise, creating four layers of thickness
  • Top stitch around the strap, including the hemmed end
  • Cut off the 3.5″ section without interfacing
  • Loop the 3.5″ section around the ring and pin (see picture)

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Make the body of the bag:

  • Fold each square in half to form a triangle. If you are using a different fabric for the lining, like I did, fold it so that the lining fabric is on one side and the exterior fabric is on the other. If you left interfacing off two corners of your squares, the bare corners should be at the top of the triangle, not along the fold
  • Pin the short strap to the right side of one corner of one piece, next to the fold, as shown (see picture)

  • Pin the unfinished end of the long strap to a corner of the other piece, with the strap facing into the fabric
  • Pin and sew around the edge of the triangles, leaving a 4″ opening along one side, for turning. The two corners along the fold should be squared off, as shown below. On one end, you are using the seam to attach the strap. The opposite corner is finished to match

  • clip the corners and turn the triangles right side out
  • Fold each triangle in half again, matching the squared off corners
  • Place one triangle inside the other, as shown

  • On the triangle that is on the inside, topstitch to close the 4″ opening you left for turning the piece. The opening on the other piece will get closed in a later step
  • On the inside triangle, mark spots just under the the spot where the triangles overlap, and install the magnetic snap, as shown

  • Place the two triangles together again, and pin in place (see picture)
  • Topstitch along the edge of the outer triangle, to join the two pieces and also close the 4″ opening you had used to turn the outer triangle

  • Now fold, pin, and topstitch along the the two sides of the bag and the base of the straps. You could choose to leave your bag flat like this (see picture), or add box corners

  • To add box corners, turn the bag inside out, fold the corner, so that the side seam is aligned with the bottom seam, and sew across the white line. The fabric is very bulky at this point, which is when I realized that it would help to leave interfacing off of these corners

  • Finish the strap by looping the long end of the strap through the slider, around the ring, and back up around the inner piece of the slider. Fold the finished end of the strap back on itself and stitch in place

And here’s the finished bag! So I can wear it around the house!

Stay safe, and happy sewing!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Noodlehead 2-4-1 Tote

While we’re staying home to “Shelter in Place” and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, I’m trying out sewing bags!

This is the lovely 2-4-1 tote by Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I made it with some leftover fabric from my favorite baby sling and a from my mother’s stash. I’m looking forward to trying it out with more variations!

The pocket and magnetic snap make me happy!

It feels a bit funny to be sewing purses while we’re barely leaving the house, but it’s making me happy!

More purses to come!

Julie aka “Jewels”

DIY Camping Accessories – Made From a Shower Curtain!

I can’t quite believe that I’m sending my first baby off to overnight camp. It’s only been a few nights, and I do feel a little ache when I think of him being gone, but I know he is having an amazing time, full of new experiences, skills, and friends. It is also a special week to give some extra TLC to our younger ones and for them to spend more time together.

We’re not big into camping (at least not yet!), so a lot of the things on the packing list for camp had to be purchased, and after spending so much money on just one week, I was looking to see if there were at least a few things I could improvise or make.

I ended up making a stuff sack for a sleeping bag we already had, as well as a pouch to hold his meal kit – plate, cup, and utensils. The stuff sack was easy and turned out very well. I think the design of the meal kit has room for improvement, but I’ll note what I did, so I can improve on it next time… can you imagine that some day we might send all three away to camp?! It will be the most expensive staycation ever for mom and dad, but it would be a milestone. I LOVE my kids, but I have to say that I’ve been craving some alone time with hubby, too, as that is terribly scarce these days. Anyway, I digress…

I’m really happy with the material choice for this project. I bought a 100% polyester shower curtain from a discount store for $5.99. The material was perfect for this purpose, some of the edges were already finished, the grommets at the top were perfect for making a drawstring bag, and I still have about half the fabric left. $3 for both both the stuff sack and the meal kit!

Drawstring Stuff Sack for Sleeping Bag

I used:

  • 1oo% polyester shower curtain
  • nylon cord with toggle. The toggle is optional, but I’m a pack rat and happened to have a drawstring with toggle leftover from something else.

I cut two pieces from the shower curtain:

  • The bag is a large 28″x45″ rectangle, with the long side cut from the top of the shower curtain, so the grommets are used (shown below, folded in half).
  • The strap is a small 12″x22″ rectangle.

Stuff sack for sleeping bag cut from an inexpensive shower curtain

Stuff sack for sleeping bag cut from an inexpensive shower curtain

First, finish the strap by folding it in half length-wise and sewing along the open side and end. I used a straight stitch and also finished the edge with a zig-zag stitch, as this polyester frays very easily. You can see how I finished the strap below.

Sew the strap with a straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch to finish the edges.

Sew the strap with a straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch to finish the edges.

Next turn the strap right side out. What I didn’t do here but would recommend is top-stitching all around the outside of the strap, about 1/4″ from the edge to make it lie flatter. When the strap is finished, pin it onto the bag as shown below, leaving about three inches at the top of bottom, and putting some slack in the strap. I sewed it down with multiple rows of stitching to make it secure.

Securely sew the strap to the bag, leaving some slack

Securely sew the strap to the bag, leaving some slack

Not shown, I then stitched around the side and bottom of the sack, again using a straight stitch and finishing with a zig-zag. To give the sack a more three-dimensional form, I folded the bottom corners so that the side seam lay against the bottom seam and stitched a triangle on the inside bottom of each bottom corner, as shown below.

Sew a triangle at the bottom corners to give the bag a more three-dimensional shape.

Sew a triangle at the bottom corners to give the bag a more three-dimensional shape.

Finally, I wove the the cord through the grommets and secured it with the toggle. That wasn’t so hard!

DIY sleeping bag stuff sack from an inexpensive shower curtain by Jewels at Home

Finished DIY sleeping bag stuff sack from an inexpensive shower curtain.

Pouch to Hold Meal Kit

This pouch was made to hold a 10″ plate, a cup, and utensils. It turned out a bit big, so you could definitely shrink the size of the main bag by at least an inch in both dimensions.

I used:

  • 1oo% polyester shower curtain
  • Velcro, about 5.5″ total length

I cut two pieces from the shower curtain:

  • The main pouch is a large 16″x32″ rectangle (not shown, because you know what a rectangle looks like!)
  • The cutlery is a small 6″x11.5″ rectangle, with the corners cut on one of the short ends (shown below).

Cutlery pouch for meal kit

Cutlery pouch for meal kit

To finish the cutlery pouch,

  • Finish one short end of cutlery pouch buy folding down twice and stitching a hem
  • Sew 1.5″ strip of Velcro to the inside of the finished end of cutlery pouch on the inside
  • Clip corners to reduce bulk, if you didn’t do this already

To finish the bag,

  • Hem all sides of the rectangle for the main bag by folding over the edges twice and sewing them down to make a hem.
  • Sew 1.5″ strip of Velcro to bag at center about 2″ from top on right side, to match up with the cutlery pouch (first picture below)
  • Sew the cutlery pouch to the front of the bag by folding under the edges on three sides (second picture below)
  • Sew two 2″ strips of Velcro to the top of the bag opening, as shown in the third picture (outside of front and inside of flap)
  • With right sides facing, sew bag together at sides, with a 2″ flap at top (fourth picture below)

Sew velcro to the main bag, and lay down the cutlery pouch, matching up the velcro.

Sew velcro to the main bag, and lay down the cutlery pouch, matching up the velcro.

With the velcro matched up, sew the cutlery pouch to the main bag.

With the velcro matched up, sew the cutlery pouch to the main bag.

Sew strips of velcro to the main bag on the inside of the flap and the outside of the front, as shown.

Sew strips of velcro to the main bag on the inside of the flap and the outside of the front, as shown.

Pouch for holding camping plate, cup, and utensils, made from an inexpensive shower curtain by Jewels at Home.

Pouch for holding camping plate, cup, and utensils, made from an inexpensive shower curtain.

Ready to pack by big kiddo off to camp with these accessories made from a shower curtain for about $3!

Sleeping bag stuffsack and camping meal kit made from an inexpensive shower curtain! by Jewels at Home

Sleeping bag stuffsack and camping meal kit made from an inexpensive shower curtain!

Please let me know if you are trying these projects and want clarification on anything.  I really winged it as I went along, and I’ve been struggling to figure out how to explain what I did in a logical way, but I figured I should just spit it out and post this… Kiddo will be home in just a couple of days!  Yay!

“Jewels”