Zippered Tote Bag WITH Pockets

I LOVE when a project turns out exactly as planned! Shortly after my last zipper tote bag tutorial I was inspired to design another zippered tote bag in a completely different style AND WITH POCKETS! A couple of weeks ago some fabrics in my stash motivated me to finally give this design a try and it turned out EXACTLY how I wanted! So today I’m sharing the step-by-step tutorial for a zippered tote bag with pockets.

This bag includes a fully finished pocket on the front and back, a unique strap design and of course the zipper on top.

As you can imagine, a bag like this does require quite a lot of pieces in all different sizes.  So I made a separate 6 page PDF with everything from the yardage requirements to cutting details and much more.  You can pick up your copy over on my shop page or on Patreon if you are a second tier or higher Patron.

You will need three fabrics for the tote along with some stabilizer and a zipper. For my main body fabric I used a medium weight denim. I actually bought an entire bolt of denim last Summer because I wanted to make myself some 40s inspired jeans and a few other projects. I actually wore those jeans this past Sunday! Can’t wait to wear them more now that the weather is finally cooling off again.

Anyway, the leftover denim was perfect for this project and looks great with the two cotton prints I picked out. Click HERE to watch the step by step sewing tutorial!

I would love to see pics of the bags (and other projects you make) so make sure to share them on the Whitney Sews Facebook page or tag me on Instagram @Whitney_Sews

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

How to Make a Memory Bear from Clothing

Whitney Sews

A few days ago I finished making a very special memory bear.  I used two of my Grandma’s shirts to make a bear for my dad.  It got me to thinking about all the bears I’ve made throughout the last two years.  Last year I made a series of videos all about making memory bears, but after making 50+ bears I definitely have even more tips and info to share.  Today I’m focusing on answering as many of the questions I’ve received about using clothing for memory bears.

 

In Fall 2017 I made a huge rag quilt for a friend using their loved one’s clothing.  I had some leftover pieces left over, so as a surprise I made a memory bear.  I wanted to try out the pattern and thought it was the perfect opportunity.  If the bear turned out I would gift it to my friend.  If it failed no one would ever know about it.  Well, as you can assume, the bear was amazing!  My friend was completely surprised and loved it.

Memory bears made from clothing

Word got out and orders started rolling in and I made many, many, many bears.  But no matter how many bears I make, I can not make one for everyone who wants one so I taught you all how to make them to.  I posted several videos last year showing everything from selecting a good pattern to sewing the final stitches.  I had no idea how many people would watch the videos and make their own bears!

I have LOVED seeing the bears you all create and hearing the stories about who they are for and the clothing used!  It makes my heart happy to know the tutorials I make have such a positive impact on people’s lives!  Some people reached out to me and said the VERY FIRST thing they ever sewed was a memory bear using my step by step tutorial.  How amazing is that?!?

I do still get messages, most of them pertaining to the clothing aspect of making bears.  How to get started. What kinds of clothing can be used and more.  So today I’m sharing everything you need to know to transform clothing into memory bears

Click HERE to learn how to make a memory bear!

I would LOVE to see pics of your bears!  Please tag me on Facebook or Instagram.  Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

 

 

The August Dress Sew Along with Whitney Sews

Whitney Sews
Isn’t she the cutest?!?!  My daughter calls this her Star Wars Princess dress and she loves wearing it!  It is The August Dress pattern from Happy Together by Jess.  I don’t usually share tutorials for other designers’ projects, but this week is special because it’s part of the #Sewtember2019 collab!

It was such an honor to be invited to participate with so many creative ladies!  During the entire month of September (National Sewing Month) we are sharing sew alongs for FREE PDFs we found online.  We want to get you excited about sewing, stir up a little sewing mojo, AND give away some fun prizes (more on that later).

Whitney Sews

I hunted all over the internet looking for the pattern I wanted to share.  It had to be free and I wanted to pick something pretty different from the projects I design myself.  I get a lot of requests for kids clothing (and my daughter LOVES dresses) so when I saw this one I knew it was my pick.

I knew this project would be great for using stash fabrics.  I chose 3 fabrics, but you can use as many as 4 or 5 to make use of those leftover bits we all have stashed away.  Oh and the buttons are decorative so no worries about those perky buttonholes!  I really need to start using more buttons because I have pounds and pounds of them (I share a peek of about half of my button collection in the video).

You can watch the entire sew along tutorial and my review of The August Dress pattern HERE!

As I mentioned earlier, there is a giveaway going on!  To entire watch the #Sewtember2019 videos and make one of the projects along with us.  Then share your project with us on Instagram between now and October 13th.  Be sure to tag @AkramsIdeas and use #Sewtember2019 (and of course tag me @Whitney_Sews too so I see your pic!).

Let me know if you want to see more videos like this where I sew along with SOMEONE ELSE’S project.  It was a lot of fun for me.   Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

Taking in Clothing and Repairing Rips – Mending

Whitney Sews
I don’t know about you, but mending is not one of my favorite things to do.  I would much rather be making some new, amazing project from scratch.  But sometimes mending just has to be done.  This week my husband asked me to fix a few things for him on a pair of shorts.  He loves the shorts because they are nice and comfortable and fit well in the legs, BUT because they fit so comfortably in the legs they are too large in the waist.  So he asked me to take them in and to repair a small rip in the side.  I wanted to film making these small fixes, because I have some tips and tricks to share.

Whitney Sews

The first thing I did was take the shorts in by about an inch and a half using two darts in the back.  I took extra steps to make sure the darts looked nice and blended into the overall design and top stitching as much as possible.

The second step was putting a patch on a rip on the side of the shorts.  I wanted it to hold up well and keep the hole from getting any larger, but not be too noticeable to anyone else.  It turned out exactly how I wanted!

You can see both quick fixes in the tutorial HERE!

I hope this video is helpful and if you have your own mending tips I would love to hear them!  Please leave them in a comment down below this post on WhitneySews.com.   Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

DIY Jedi Costume – Custom Tabards and Obi

Pattern Walk through with Whitney Sews

It’s time for part two of my Jedi costume series!  Today I’m sharing how to make your own custom tabards and obi with hidden snaps to make sure everything stays perfectly in place!

As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post with the tunic pattern walk-through I have made three jedi costumes thus far.  The first was for Jeremiah using super cheap cotton fabric we had on hand.  We brainstormed together and figured out the design we wanted for the tabards and obi (because the option that comes with Simplicity 5840 is terrible).  We took measurements, looked at various photos, wrapped scraps of fabric around Jeremiah until we decided we had some numbers that seemed right.

Over the years when Jeremiah wore the costume I would notice the tabards slipping off the shoulders – more and more the longer it was worn.  So when I made my own costume I knew I needed to have a solution for the tabards.  I didn’t want to spend my entire time in costume adjusting the layers.  I decided snaps were the solution, but I did NOT want them to be visible!  They worked out perfectly and I’ll be sharing all my tips and info in the tutorial.

Of course before starting anything you will need to figure out your measurements.  Not your actual waist, hip, etc size, but the sizes you want your tabards and obi to be.  It’s easiest to use some string (because a tape measure won’t be long enough) and a friend.  While looking in a mirror, drape the string over your shoulder and decide how long you want the tabards to be.  Jeremiah likes his to be mid-thigh, but I prefer mine approximately the length of my tunic.  Mark that length on the string and measure it (you may need to fold it in half so it’s easier to measure).  Then add 1 inch for seam allowance.

The width can be done with a tape measure of if you need a better visual try folding an extra piece of fabric until you like how much of your should it covers.  Measure the width, multiply it by two so you have enough for the front and back, then add one inch for seam allowances.

And finally, onto the obi.

Wrap the same fabric, scarf, or whatever you have on hand around your waist (this can be your natural waist like mine or a little lower – whichever you prefer to wear yours at) until you like the width.  If you have a more curvy shape like mine you should consider going with a more narrow width for a better fit since there isn’t any darts or shaping.  Jeremiah can go with a much wider width because his waist and hips are fairly close in size.  After you decide on a width multiply it by two to account for the lining and add one inch for seam allowance.  The length is your waist measurement (where you will wear it) plus 4-5 inches for overlap and one inch for seam allowances.

The finial thing to cut is the fusible fleece.  Cut one piece (or two if one isn’t long enough) the width you want your obi to finish and the length of your obi minus half an inch.

Watch my step by step tutorial HERE to learn how to make your tabards and obi.  I cover everything from cutting them out with the least fabric waste, adding hidden snaps, and nicely finishing everything.

I also wanted to mention an awesome event our Star Wars group, JediOKC, has coming up soon.  Each year we raise $15,000 to buy a new coat and a new pair of shoes for all the kids in the local mental health hospital.  This year to help raise some of the funds we are hosting a 5K Masquerade 5K!  It is going to be a TON of fun!  You can read more about it in the image below.  There is even a virtual run option for those who want to participate but can’t be there in person!  I hope you will check out the website and consider signing up!

Check out the site HERE!

Whew!  Not going to lie, this week has been crazy!  Putting out two huge videos like this has left me up late editing every single night this week, but I hope the tutorials are helpful for at least one person.  I’ll have another new video up on Wednesday, until then, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

DIY Jedi Costume – Simplicity 5840 Walk-Through

Pattern Walk through with Whitney Sews

This week I’m very excited to finally be sharing another step-by-step sewing pattern walk-through!  These videos take soooo long to film and edit (at least double the time my regular tutorials take), but I hope it is helpful to anyone wanting to make a Jedi costume.  Today we’ll be working through Simplicity 5840 for the tunic and dickey and Saturday I’ll be sharing another video for the tabards and obi.

This is actually my third time working through this pattern!  The first time Jeremiah made the pattern (with me walking him through the process) and we came across the misprint on the tunic band piece giving the incorrect number to cut out.  That costume was not perfect, but was great for learning the ins and outs of the pattern.

The second time using the pattern I made my own costume that I LOVE!  I used a homespun fabric that is very lightweight and flowy.  While making that one I figured out exactly how to include snaps to hold the tabards in in place on the tunic and to close up the obi.  The best part is all the snaps are completely hidden from the outside so no one else would even know they are there!

A few months ago Jeremiah asked if I would make him a new Jedi costume. The main reason being he’s lost almost 50 lbs since the first one was made and it no longer fits!  Plus now that we know more about the pattern this version is much nicer.  You can see the new version and original very side by side below. 

So you all get to benefit from our previous experiences and get the best of everything!

If you haven’t been around long you’re probably wondering “why in the world do you need so many Star Wars costumes??”  Well, I’m glad you asked! 😉  We are part of a group called JediOKC  that dresses up in Star Wars costumes for all sorts of events.  We do a lot of work with charities and I’ll be sharing a little more about that on Saturday.

For now let’s get into that step by step sewing tutorial!

As I said earlier, in part 2 of this series I’m sharing all my tips and info for making the tabards and obi to finish off your Jedi costume.  I LOVE using snaps on this costume (and some of my others!) to make sure the different pieces stay nicely in place.  This way I’m not having to worry about how I look and can instead focus on enjoying the experience.  You can find that tutorial HERE!

I have made several Star Wars themed costumes and projects over the years so I put them all together in a playlist you can find HERE!

Until Saturday, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

How to Sew a Clear Vinyl Tote Bag with Zipper

Whitney Sews
A couple of weeks ago I attended an event where only clear bags were allowed inside (for security purposes).  I don’t go ANYWHERE without a bag and enough supplies to take care of ANY situation.  Since I’m a super crafty person I took a few measurements and whipped up a clear  zippered tote bag.

I have a large wallet (plus sunglasses, keys, pullups for my youngest, wipes, and soooo much more) to fit inside, so I wanted my bag to end up measuring about 9 inches wide, 11 inches tall, and 3 inches deep.   This meant I needed to start with 2 body pieces measuring 13.5 x 13.5 inches and 2 strap pieces measuring 2.5 x 17 inches.  The fun part about this bag is since it’s clear you can spice it up with a contrasting zipper and thread.

Click HERE to watch the step by step tutorial!

As I mentioned in the video there is one thing I would change about this bag and that is to lengthen the straps.  The length I used was not long enough to actually wear the bag on my shoulder like a tote bag, making it a little inconvenient a few hours into use.  So next time I would add 5 or so inches to each strap for easier carrying.

But feel free to make your own version of the bag in any size/shape you like.  The best part of DIY is you can learn the techniques and adapt them to fit your own needs and ideas.

Speaking of DIYs I’m excited to announce that I’m part of a #sewtember collab with some other awesome creative ladies!

We will be posting tutorials to go along with FREE PDF sewing patterns throughout the month of September.  We would love for you to follow along with one (or more!) of them and share a pic of what you make.  Check out the video HERE for more info!

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

HUGE Life Update and Tips for Motivation

Whitney Sews

This week I wanted to share some life updates.  We had a crazy busy summer and I thought I would take a few minutes to let you all in on everything.

I’ve been wanting to do this update for a few weeks and had planned on posting it on a weekend as a bonus video…but to be honest I felt a little burned out this week.  I wanted to talk about this because I know as a sewing youTuber it can appear that I am always full of creativity and have an endless amount of ideas and sewing energy.  It is true that having people expecting weekly content and wanting to put out great quality tutorials can be a fantastic motivator at times.  But I am human and there are times when my energy hits a wall…and that happened this week.  I actually have a few tutorials already filmed and ready to be edited, but editing was the last thing I wanted to do.

So instead I bumped my schedule around and am sharing my summer/life update today.  Chit chat videos are the quickest things to edit (so very little time actually spent at my computer) and that quick success will (hopefully) motivate me to start working on next week’s tutorial a little early.  This time around it was editing, but most of the time when I lose my motivation it has to do with sewing.

I think as sewers we all eventually come to a point where we run out of steam and don’t want to sew. Sometimes it’s because we have run out of ideas that interest us; other times it’s because of project failures making us feel like everything keeps going wrong.  So here’s a few tips for regaining that sewing motivation.

The first thing I try is simply taking a break.  If I’m not feeling like sewing I do something else – maybe lay in bed and watch a movie, read a book in one sitting, or cook something new.  If that doesn’t work I look through my unfinished projects and see if one of them inspires me to pick it back up.  If I’m still not inspired I’ll try to think of a very easy and quick project.  Something I can whip up really fast and keep running on that energy into another project (the exact same concept as editing the quick chit chat video to motivate me to edit the next).  And finally if none of those worked I will power through it!  I sometimes end up having to make myself work on a project, even if I’m not into it at all.  Most people don’t really have to do that last one, but I look at it like the old adage of getting back on a horse after a fall.  I can’t let my failures or lack of motivation keep me from something I love as much as sewing.  Motivation will come and go, but my love for sewing is here to stay!  Plus since I do need to create content on a weekly basis I can’t let myself stay in a sewing funk very long.

Enough chit chat – HERE is my video about all the things my family and I were up to this summer!

I hope you enjoy the video and found at least one of my tips motivating.  Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

8 Tips and Tricks Every Sewer Needs to Know

Whitney Sews SURPRISE! This week I’m sharing a bonus video full of sewing tips and hacks everyone who sews NEEDS to know!

I have been sewing for almost TWENTY YEARS (can you believe it’s been that long!) and I’ve definitely learned a lot over the years.  There are a lot of things I do that I feel are common knowledge.  But occasionally I stop myself and remember there were times when I didn’t know that “common knowledge” so obviously it’s not known by everyone.

So I put together 8 tips and tricks to share today and hope you learn at least one new thing.  Check them out HERE!

Do you have other tips you want to share??  I would love to hear them, so please leave them in a comment on my website or on youTube.  Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

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Diamond Panes Block | Sampler Sew Along

Sampler Sew Along - Block of the Month Quilt Series
It’s time for the tenth block tutorial in the Whitney Sews Sampler Sew Along!  Haven’t heard about it yet?!?  Each month I’ll be sharing a step by step tutorial to make a traditional quilt block as well as how to sew the blocks together to create a sampler style quilt that finishes in a great lap quilt/baby quilt size. This week I’m sharing a tutorial for the Diamond Panes quilt block.

Whitney Sews Sampler Sew Along

I share the step-by-step instructions for sewing the Flying Geese Block HERE!

Don’t forget to share a pic of your finished block with #SamplerSewAlong so we all see it!

I hope you are enjoying the quilt-a-long as much as I am!  Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-