Tote Bag with HUGE Pockets

sewing tutorial by Whitney Sews

Pockets. POCKETS. POCKETS!! They are definitely the most requested part of any tote bag tutorial I create. This week I am fulfilling that request with a big tote bag, complete with two LARGE, ROOMY pockets and two regular size pockets inside.

I call this my All Day Tote because it’s large enough to hold all the supplies and activities I might want to take for a whole day out of the house with my kids (and it may or may not take a whole day to make too).

There is a PDF to accompany this tutorial and it is currently FREE! Actually all my PDFs are FREE right now! I was having trouble with PayPal and decided to bypass PayPal by not charging for my patterns until further notice. So head over to my shop and pick up any PDFs you’ve been wanting to try. To help me out please keep sharing my videos, pinning my posts, and leaving comments on youTube. Those things really are a huge help in getting my tutorials in front of more people.

You can find the PDF for this tote HERE.

And the video tutorial right HERE!

I hope you will make your own version of the All Day Tote and share a pic with my on Instagram or Facebook! Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Whitney

Women’s Land Army Inspired Style

Women's Land Army Inspired Outfit

Ever since I started dabbling in vintage style I have been trying to put together a Women’s Land Army inspired outfit.  The second world war is my favorite time period to read and study about so of course I want recreate the fashion!

I have been on the hunt for the perfect green sweater for a few years…this means I’ve ended up with  a LOT of thrifted, not quite right, green sweaters in my closet.  Good thing I like green…  I finally found a couple that really fit the look.  During all that time I never thought much about what I would be wearing WITH the green sweater.  

Today I was looking through my closet and noticed a pair of pants I made a couple of years ago.  They were a practice pair to test a pattern to make sure the fit was right.  (I later used the same pattern to make THESE dungarees).   I used this horrible orange-y brown fabric that I had picked up SUPER cheap at a thrift store.  I didn’t plan on finishing the mock up pants so I didn’t want to use anything nice.  Well, the pants ended up looking pretty good, but were still made from that horrible orange-y fabric.  

Handmade Vintage Style Pants Simplicity 8447

I decided to give the pants one last chance…and apparently the one color they look ok with is dark green.  The same dark green as my Women’s Land Army inspired sweater!  I added my vintage inspired lace up boots (which also hids the fact that I never hemmed the pants) and the outfit was complete.  I absolutely love the entire look!  

I will definitely be wearing these pants again now that I know what to pair them with.  Glad I didn’t get rid of them awhile back like I had considered.   Hope you enjoyed!  Happy Sewing!

Whitney

Tablecloth to Skirt Transformation

sustainable style

Last week our weather in Oklahoma dropped 30 degrees and now I’m dreaming of all the cute outfits I can finally wear! I grabbed this skirt out of my closet on a whim. I made it two years ago from a vintage tablecloth. I have always loved the skirt, but wondered if it was a bit much for a non-costume outfit.

I now know why the skirt never seemed to look just right…I was trying to style it for Spring when it is really a Fall skirt! It needs a sweater and boots to balance it out. Now that I’ve figured out how to style the skirt I know I’ll be wearing it often!

You can see how I made my skirt (and make your own along with me) HERE!

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse at my Fall inspired outfit! If you want more daily DIY ideas and inspiration make sure you’re following me on Instagram. Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

Rotary Cutting Tips – Cutting Large Pieces Without Patterns

On occasion I’ll be working on a video and realize a portion of it needs its own dedicated tutorial. This week I’m explaining how I use two rulers to accurately measure and cut fabric when I don’t have physical patterns to use. I had a couple of questions recently about the process and had plenty of footage from my upcoming tutorial so it made sense to make a video detailing everything. Get all my tips and a sneak peek of my next tutorial HERE.

I hope you find the video helpful and until next time, Happy Sewing!

Whitney

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Making a Puff Quilt from Scraps

Whitney Sews

Back in March I started making masks from my fabric stash. I ended up making over 650 masks and was left with a HUGE pile of scraps! I wanted to make a project with the scraps to remember these crazy times in a positive way (and to keep the scraps from hanging around forever). I kicked around a few ideas, but none of them seemed right. Then one day I was scrolling through Instagram (you can find me HERE) and THIS PHOTO was recommended to me. I instantly fell in love with it!

Thankfully the lovely lady who shared it (you should follow her BTW) had also shared a tutorial showing EXACTLY how to make it! This meant for once I didn’t have to design the project, calculate measurements, etc all on my own! I skimmed through the tutorial and set to work making my own version of an ombre puff quilt.

whitney sews

I will be 100% honest with you; this project is NOT HARD. BUUUUUT it did take a lot longer to make than expected. It took me two months from start to finish.

Anyway, check out the video HERE to see how I made the quilt!

I hope it inspires you to take a look at your scraps in a new light! Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Whitney

Sew Your Stash Update

Summer 2020 Sewing

A few years ago I set a challenge for myself where I would first shop my stash when starting a project before purchasing anything new. I invited my awesome viewers to join in on the Sew Your Stash Challenge. Every quarter (or so) I share progress updates on sewing through my stash.

Due to some failure on my part it has actually been 9 months since my last update, so I have a LOT to share! I managed to use about 50 yards of cotton fabric and every last bit of several apparel fabrics.

Check out all my sewing wins and stash busting HERE!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the many projects I have been working on.

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Whitney

Recreating a 1950s Book Illustration…With Curtains

Last year I was looking through the children’s books at the thrift store and came across a cute book from the 1950s called Rackety -Boom.

I have a weakness for vintage illustrations, so I bought the book, even though it wasn’t in great shape (it was only 28 cents!). After I got home I flipped through the book some more and noticed the cute outfit the mom wears. She is only shown on two pages of the book (both shown above) but I instantly fell in love with her outfit!

Last Fall I made two different pairs of dungarees from a 1940s reproduction pattern (you can see more about that project HERE).

The top of the dress in the illustration reminded me so much of the dungaree top, so I immediately started making plans. I wanted to “Frankenstein” the dungaree pattern with a skirt pattern, along with self drafted pockets, to recreate the outfit from the book. I already love recreating costumes to wear to cosplay events, so why not recreate vintage clothing too?!?

You may be wondering why I made all my big plans for this project last Fall, but am just now sharing the project. The fabric. I was waiting and waiting to find the perfect fabric. I wanted a nice brown fabric in a medium weight that had a bit of a texture to it…and at a great price!

I never found that “perfect” fabric. But last week I did find two Pottery Barn curtains at the thrift store in a medium weight with a bit of texture…and at a great price! The only thing missing was the prefect brown color. I made the decision that the material was close enough (and at $2.50 it was DEFINITELY the right price!). So I finally got to start my dream project recreating a 1950s book illustration!

I vlogged the entire process so you can come along with me while I make my project. See how I altered the patterns to closer represent the original inspiration and how I drafted and sewed the pockets (my first time making this style).

Click HERE to watch the video! Make sure to stay to the end to hear what parts I love and what I didn’t like as much about the final dress.

I would love to know if you also find style inspiration from unlikely sources. If you enjoyed this style of video please let me know! It is very different from other videos I’ve made, but I really enjoyed making it. Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney

*Amazon links are affiliate*

Dress Resize

Anyone remember the thrift haul video I did with my mom last Winter??  In that video I showed a Son de Flor dress I found but it was too big and needed to be taken in about 4 inches.  You can see that haul HERE (in the try on portion of the video I had a clip on the back of the dress making it look like it fit).  

Now eight months later I finally got around to resizing the dress and I love it!  I wanted to do it right (which is why I put it off so long).  I started by seam ripping the skirt portion from the bodice then unstitching the sides of the bodice to the underarm.  There is twill tape around the arm opening so I carefully unstitched that as well for a couple of inches on either side of the seam.  I put the bodice on inside out and got an idea for how much I needed to take it in.  Took it off and pinned where the stitching lines would be and tried it back on.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t take it in too much where I wouldn’t be able to get it on and off since there are no closures on the dress.

When I was happy with the fit I sewed the new side seams and tried it on again.  Then I trimmed down the seam allowance, opened it up, and resewed the twill tape in place.  I serged the bottom edge of the bodice and top edge of the skirt (it was serged together before and I had to remove that stitching the separate the dress).  All that was left was to gather the skirt to fit the smaller bodice size and sew them back together.  

For some reason I had expected the resize to be harder than it was (mostly getting the twill tape to look nice again).  

I finished the resize last night and wore it today with a thrifted shirt underneath to add a cute collar detail.  I love how effortless this dress is to wear because it’s still a little loose fitting and comfy, but can easily be dressed up with a couple of accessories.  


I’m so bad at making plans to alter an article of clothing then never actually doing it.  For some reason I find working on existing items intimidating and would rather make something else from scratch.  But since this went so well maybe it will motivate me to tackle some of my other alterations!  

 Well, I hope you enjoyed hearing about my dress resize! Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-

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How to Make a Stuffed Bear – McCalls 7849 Sew Along

I was contacted by McCalls a few weeks ago and asked to make a video tutorial for them.  They know a lot of people have pulled out their sewing machines to make masks during the past couple of months and want to inspire them to continue to sew.  They came across my bear tutorials on youTube and reached out to me.  

I am so honored to be asked and have a chance to partner with such a well known brand!

This bear is quite a bit different than the other bears I’ve made.  It is 12 inches instead of 18, does not have a separate sole on the foot, and the arms/legs are connected to the body differently.  Plus it has a tail!  But there are some finicky parts that do make it a little trickier to make, but I’m showing every step of the process in the video below.

The pattern I usually use (Simplicity A2115) has fairly large pieces that don’t lend themselves well to making memory bears from baby clothing.  

This bear, being smaller, has smaller pieces that would make using baby/kids clothing easier.  

Oh and the best part is the pattern is available in print AND digital form from McCalls!  This makes getting your hands on the pattern so much easier.  

You can find my step by step tutorial HERE!

I hope you enjoy watching this tutorial and learned something useful from it. Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Whitney

**I was not paid to create this video, however the pattern and fabric were provided to me for free**

EASY Lined Tote Bag

Whew! It has been so long since I shared one of my regular sewing tutorials! Last week I was feeling sort restless and realized it had been several weeks since I had worked on a project. So I decided it was about time that I filmed a new tutorial. Some of the most popular videos I’ve shared over the years were bag tutorials – specifically tote bag tutorials. So I thought that would be a good place to start.

The bag I’m showing how to make today is easy – GREAT FOR BEGINNERS – and only takes a few supplies! The bag finishes about 12.5 x 11 x 4 inches, but once you know how to make one you can customize the bag to be any size you want/need.

You will need:

  • 4 body pieces (2 for outer and 2 for lining) – 16 x 16 inches
  • 2 strap pieces – 28 x 4 inches
  • 2 stabilizer pieces – 28 x 3 inches

Notes –

  • The fabric I chose was a lightweight upholstery fabric, a little thicker than regular cotton.
  • I really like using fusible fleece for this. It is easy to work with and gives the straps just a bit of thickness and structure, without being hard to sew through. You can find fusible fleece HERE.
  • I cut all my materials with a rotary cutter, acrylic rulers, a rotary safe glove, and cutting mat. This insures nice straight edges making the entire project easier to sew. You can find all my favorites HERE. *Shopping through my Amazon links helps support my sewing tutorials**

You can watch the step-by-step sewing tutorial HERE! Below is the written directions to go along with the video.

Sewing Instructions –

  • Start by laying two bag body pieces right sides together matching up all the raw edges.
  • Add craft clips to hold the layers together then sew around the sides and bottom with a half inch seam allowance.
  • Repeat for the lining matching the pieces up right sides together and clipping.
  • This time sew the sides and bottom, but remember to leave a 5 or 6 inch opening in one side for turning the bag through later.
  • Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and ending of each seam you sew. This keeps the stitching from coming undone.
  • Put your hand inside and flatten the corner so it forms a V shape with the seam going down toward the center.
  • The seam allowance on the top side and the under side need to go in opposite directions so they can nest together and lay flat.
  • Once everything is lined up add a couple of craft clips near the corner.Line an acrylic ruler up with the seam line and adjust until the corner of the bag takes up 4 inches along the side of the ruler.
  • Use a pencil or other marking tool to draw a line along the ruler edge. Add a couple more clips and repeat this process for each corner on the bag outer and lining.
  • Sew directly on the marked line on each corner. Then trim off the corners leaving a half inch of seam allowance next to the sewn line.
  • Boxing the corners is what gives the bag depth in addition to height and width.
  • Now onto the straps. Find the textured side of the stabilizer and lay it against the back side of the strap fabric.
  • The stabilizer needs to be centered as nicely as possible with a half inch of fabric uncovered along each long side.
  • Set your iron according to the stabilizer instructions and use it to fuse the two together.
  • When using the iron I’m setting it in one spot, giving it several seconds, picking it up and setting down in the next spot. I’m not sliding it around because that can stretch things out of shape.
  • Once both straps have been fused begin to fold over the edges toward the inside. Use the edge of the stabilizer as a guide and as long as you cut it straight and centered it fairly well you’ll get nice, even edges.
  • This is a quick and easy way to make straps that doesn’t involve having to turn a tube of fabric right sides out.
  • After both sides are folded over and pressed fold the entire thing in half, lining up the folded edges and press again. Add craft clips along the open side if needed to keep it all lined up.
  • Sew down both long sides to close up the open side and give the strap a nice look.
  • Turn the bag outer right sides out and we’ll get the straps attached.
  • Lay the strap on so the short ends are sticking up just above the top edge of the bag and the strap isn’t twisted.
  • Measure so each end is the same distance away from the side seam. I like mine 3 inches from the side.
  • Clip or pin in place. After the first strap is in place flip the bag over and repeat on the other side.
  • Take it to your sewing machine and sew across the strap ends to attach about a quarter inch away from the top edge of the bag.
  • Your bag lining should still be inside out.
  • You want to place the outer in the lining so they are right sides together.
  • Match up the side seams and top edges and clip them together.
  • Sew all the way around the top with a half inch seam allowance.
  • Remember the hole that was left in the side of the lining? Time to reach in and pull the entire bag right sides out through it.
  • Then tuck the seam allowance in at the opening, line up the edges and sew a top stitch near the edge to close it up or you can hand sew a ladder stitch if you don’t want any visible stitching there.
  • Grab the lining and push it down inside the bag body. Make sure the corners of the lining are sitting correctly in the corners of the outer.
  • Then adjust the top edges so they look nice. I actually took it over to my iron and pressed it so the outer fabric actually wrapped around to the inside just a small amount giving it a really nice look.
  • Then sew a top stitch all the way around about a quarter inch away from the edge.

And you’re done! I love that this bag is beginner friendly and perfect for everything from groceries to library books. I hope you give it a try, share a pic, and make sure to tag me so I see it.

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

-Whitney-