Saturday, December 31, 2011

How to make a simple tote bag.

Here's a tutorial to make a really simple tote bag. It  has pockets inside and a magnetic closure.
All you need
From exterior fabric
1 piece 26x16 inches (bag)
1 piece 26 x 8 inches (pocket)
2 pieces 26 x 4 inches (straps)

For Lining
1 piece 26x16 inches
2 pieces 6x2.5 inches (tab for magnetic closure)

I made my bag from home decor fabric and used a 1/2 inch seam allowance throughout.

I started by pressing in a 1/2 inch fold along the ends on both of the straps.

Next press in a 1/2 inch fold along the long edges of the pocket piece. Then press to make a double fold along the top edge of the pocket.

Interface the 2 tab pieced and then press then both in half.

Mark the position of the magnetic clasps. I place mine 3cms up from the folded edge.Then mark the place you need to cut to push the clasp through the fabric.
I use a seam ripper to slit
the position for the clasp.

Fold the tab in half, right sides tog and sew
along the long sides. Turn the tabs right
sides out and press.

Fold the straps in half and sew along both long edges.

Sew along the edge of the double hem on the pocket.
Place the pocket centrally on the lining. I marked a vertical line along the centre of the pocket and also some vertical positions to make smaller sections on the long pocket. You could have a section for your phone and maybe a pen pocket. Its your choice.
Sew along the lines you've just marked and also along the bottom of the pocket.
Next I pinned the straps and tabs in place along the top of the bag.Mark your can see I have used my marker to show the centre. From this mark I placed the straps 2 inches away. From the sides of the bag I placed the straps 2.5 inches in from the edge. (1/2 inch extra for the seam allowance).
Then centre up the tabs. Place them clasp faced down.

Place the lining piece on top of the bag piece, right sides together. Use plenty of pins to hold all together.

Sew along this edge.

This is what your bag should look like now!

Fold your bag in half, in and sew along the bottom and sides of the bag. Don't sew along the bottom of the lining.

Turn the bag rightsides out.

Press under a 1/2 inch fold along the bottom of the lining. Pin the edges together and sew close to the edge to seal up the lining .

Push the lining into the bag and sew 1/2 inch down from the top edge. This strengthens the straps and defines the top of the bag.

You could leave out the magnetic closure if you like. This tutorial forms the basis of a simple tote bag. Another idea would be to make a patchwork for the outside section.
I hope you enjoy making this bag.If any of the steps are confusing please let me know.
Funny though....I can make a bag in probably half an hour and it's taking me pretty much all day to do this tutorial!!!....

Friday, August 12, 2011


Giving you a peek at my new blog Header to go alongside all the changes I am making to my shop.......

All comments and ideas greatly welcomed.

As you know if you follow my blog rantings....I have an interiors shop called Dream Interiors in Ballinasloe in Co.Galway.......Business has been quieter than normal (sadly) for the past 2 years....I've adapted and diversified with sewing and craft classes this year.......lovin all this....I've met and taught the most fabulous people.....

So I've made the rather huge decision of late that I either have to close the business or give it a major re-jig........not being a person who gives up easily ,I've decided on the re-jig option!!!!!

For the past 5 weeks I have had the great opportunity to manage Duane Bridal Couture in Ballinasloe while the owner Angela was on maternity leave. It was the chance I needed to look at my shop from an outsiders perspective and make plans for the re-launch.It was also my FIRST time in employment ever.....believe it or not but I've never actually worked for anyone before, I've always been self-employed!!

Where is the Roma & Mary name from I hear you ask????

Well, my dad's mother's name was Roma.....she was a sewing extraordinaire....she taught me loads....she lived for craft and sewing....loved learning new things.....embroidery,dress-making,lace-making,knitting,crochet....she even did a teachers course in millinery.....a true inspiration to me......I have tonnes more to tell you about her!

My lovely mother Mary is my other inspiration.....(tears are coming now thinking of her)....died suddenly in 2002......what a loss to us all.My mom (as we called her) always made our clothes as children.When we needed a new outfit we headed for the fabric shop instead of a clothes shop.I can remember vividly some of the dresses I had made for me as a child.There are only 2 and a bit years between myself and my sister. Mom always made us matching dresses....same dress but different sister always got the nicer colour!!!......I would have blue or grey...she would have pink or red.....probably why I love colour so much now!!!!

                                                           New Plans for the shop..... 

We will still the fantastic selection of curtain fabrics to choose from for tailor made Curtains and Roman Blinds....we just won't be dedicating as much of the shop to the of new collections to follow in another blog post .Clarke & Clarke , Harlequin , tipp textiles , and more.

Craft classes galore are planned....craft materials.....tutorials...kits...patterns.....and a craft cafe session (more about this later too)!!!!!

Keep an eye on facebook to track the progress.....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Crazy Shortcut Quilts Tutorial

I have had a certain curiosity about the whole patchwork and quilting phenomenon. I have seen fantastic intricate patchworks and wonder where do you start, how do you keep it all so neat and perfectly matched.I have tried a little patchwork,you can see my attempts here, here and here.

Anyway I stumbled upon this book recently and having tried out the method....I am now a huge fan!!

Here's a little tutorial.This is what the finished crazy blocks look like.

As always it took me ages to pick my fabrics.I chose 6 fat quarters in colours I love.

First cut 23cms squares, 4 from each fat quarter.You don't have to be too exact with this cut because the finished block will be trimmed square at he end of the process.

Make a stack of 6 (1 each of the fabrics).Make a random cut through the stack.

Lay out the fabrics and match them up in any way that you like.

Sew each set together.

Press the seams flat and stack them with the seams going in the same direction.

Make another random cut through all 6 again.

Match them up .

Sew,press,stack and cut again.

And again... or what???

I trimmed each stack to 19cms square.

I repeated the method and now have 24 blocks ready for a project....Any suggestions for what I could do with them....not sure if I have the patience to make more for a quilt......Has anyone made a patchwork skirt.....I have an idea to join tem all together and cut a skirt from the piece.I could put a co-ordinating panel at the hem to tone it down....What do you think???

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hello I am back.....with a lush linky party...

Hello bloggers ,I am back...very ashamed, to say the least.Its been about a month and a half since my last post.So many little time!!!!

Back with a brand new linky party....its open from today until April 17th to give us all time to make something FABULUSH!!!

If you want to link in your show and tell click HERE!!!.....Welcome I am off to make...mmm...where to start??!!!

Meanwhile here's a peek at what I am working on at the moment...
I will post pictures as soon as I finish....

Monday, January 31, 2011

Simple Bias Binding Tutorial

I have been promising myself for ages to do this Bias binding tutorial. My good friend Adair had been shown this ingenious method by her sister and I was lucky enough to be shown by now it's my turn to pass it on.That's what I truely love about crafting.....if you know a little trick or a tip....isn't it just fantastic to let others know too.
I cut a rectangle 12inches by 21inches.

Fold back a piece and cut on the 45 degree line.

Cut at 45 degrees

Pin the Straight end of the triangle to the opposite side.Run down through the next pictures if this sounds confusing.Its'll see!!


And press open.

Now then....Pin the long ends together,keeping the end of one side 1.5inches down from the other end.(I want 1.5inch wide binding)

Sew and press open and this is what you should have.

Cut around and around....and around the tube...I cut by eye but you can mark if you like.

From my rectangle I got 4 yard of binding....Brilliant isn't it....


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