Wish I had…Jane's mad sewing skillz

You’ve already seen examples of Jane’s sewing prowess here on the blog, but I’m going to show you another. Early last December I was bemoaning on Twitter that I needed a new passport holder. I travel to Canada once a month and though I do have a passport holder, I wanted a wallet, because Canada doesn’t use dollar bills, they use $1 and $2 coins and I didn’t have anywhere to put all of those.So I went shopping (on the ‘net) for a passport wallet, something fun, with a coin purse. I didn’t have a lot of luck until I hit Etsy and even then, my choices weren’t quite what I wanted, and holy expensive.

Enter Jane stage left. I found an example of something very close to what I wanted on Etsy, and showed it to Jane on Twitter, asking her opinion of it. Just the picture. That very same night she whipped out a prototype, based on the picture. A few weeks later, I had this totally, amazingly awesome final product in my hands. I love it. It has the coin purse, places for business cards, credit cards, my passport, airline tickets, receipts (for tracking expenses) on one side and cash on the other. Plus, it’s very pretty fabric and it has a snap closure. I used it for my recent trips to Canada and New York (that one sans passport, of course) and it was seriously perfect. Now I’m almost afraid to use it and wear it out! I wish I had Jane’s mad sewing skillz because I need step by step instructions and would angst over every stitch. Not her, she confidently whipped this out from looking at just a picture. Doesn’t she rock?

I wish I…had the pattern for these

It’s been cold here lately. On top of that, I’ve been on the computer a lot and the combination of the two makes my wrists hurt a little more from a small amount of tendinitis. I love wrist warmers/fingerless gloves, though all I have is a cheap acrylic pair and they annoy me because the thumb hole on one is too small. I’m afraid to snip it open though, because I’m convinced the whole glove will fall apart then. Plus, they’re kind of scratchy. I want something softer.

I found some cool patterns for wrist warmers/fingerless gloves on my RSS feed a few weeks ago. But I don’t knit and I can barely crochet a straight line (oh woe is me!). In fact, I think I’ve only ever finished two scarves. I have a blanket that’s been uncompleted for years. So I went in search of a sewing pattern for wrist warmers. I found one that uses fleece, but I’m not convinced I’d be happy with fleece warmers. Of course, I turned to my good friend Etsy and did a search. And that’s when I saw these. I love them. I want to buy them. But a (large) part of me balks at the idea of spending $20 plus shipping on wrist warmers. So now I wish I had the pattern for making them. Repurposed knit sweaters? That’s so cool! And I love the design, with the extra layer that makes them look fun and funky.

Sadly, I’m not like Jane, I don’t do well without a pattern, though I’ve managed to suss out a few patterns in the past, I really like to have a pattern and instructions. Or at least instructions. I look at these and think I might be able to figure it out, but at that point it would be so much easier to plunk down my $20 (and I’ll bet the Etsy seller would like it better too!) Anyway, you should check out Etsy seller jill2day’s shop. She’s got some very creative and cute repurposed sweaters, scarves and gloves for sale. I love repurposing!

Tutorial: American Girl Dog Bed

This tutorial was written by Jane of Dear Author.

Tot received an American Girl dog (Honey, if you were wondering) for Christmas. She really wanted the dog bed.

At $18, though, it wasn’t happening. I did think I could replicate it, or even improve upon it. What do you think?

Materials List:

  • Two ovals of fabric (one will be your lining)
  • Two ovals of heavyweight interfacing (I cut four but needed only two in the end).
  • One oval of batting
  • Two strips of fabric that is the diameter of your oval + 1″ for length SA and 1″ height SA
  • One strip of heavyweight interfacing that is the same length as the fabric strip
  • One strip of Peltex or Timtex that is the diameter of your oval and the height of the side of the dog bed (this will be 1/2″ smaller all the way around your fabric strip).


Step 1: Cut out the entry for the dog bed from the Peltex:

Step 2: Iron on the interfacing.

Step 3: Sew the top side of the dog bed following the edge of the Peltex and trim.

Step 4: Open out the strip and sew the side seams so it forms a loop:

Step 5: Sew down the batting on the bottom of the dog bed.

Step 6: Mark the side of the dog bed in quarters and mark the ovals in quarters. Match up the quarters.

Step 7: Sew one of the ovals to the side of the dog bed. It helps to fit the oval bottom if you sew a long gathering stitch around the edge.

Step 8: Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the interior of the dog bed. I will note that the lining was extra big so I would suggest to sew the interior of the dog bed with a slighter larger SA like 3/4″. IMPORTANT! Remember to leave a space of 3-4″ to turn the dog bed right side out.

Step 9: Turn right side out and sew your interior lining closed.

Step 10: Admire your work!

Tutorial: Boxy Pouch as Cord Carrier

This post was written by Jane of Dear Author


When I first saw the boxy pouch tutorial, I thought it would be a delight to make but I wanted it to be lined and have the handle like the one I saw at Burda Style. Further, I needed my boxy pouch to be larger. I didn’t know how a pouch 4.5 inches long, 3 inches high and 2 inches deep would have much application.

Figuring out the measurements:

I believe I have the right formula for dimensions. Here is my formula:

1. Figure out the three finished dimensions: length, width and depth.

2. Length of the fabric is FL (finished length) + FD (finished depth) + 1″ (SA)

3. Width of fabric is FW (finished width) + FD (finished depth) + .75″ (SA)

Cut List:

Once you have the dimensions for your boxy pouch, cut out as follows:

  • 2 pieces of face fabric
  • 2 pieces for lining
  • 2 pieces of heavyweight interfacing

You’ll need three additional pieces for the zipper tabs and the handle.

  • Zipper tabs: 3×4″, cut 2 of fabric
  • Handle: cut 1 8 x 1 3/8″ Peltex or Timtex (or two heavyweight interfacing) and enough fabric to cover the handle.

Sewing Instructions:

Step 1. top stitch the handle and the zipper tabs. I like to use the triple stitch.

Step 2. Attach zipper to the face fabric.

Step 3. IMPORTANT! Mark 1/2″ on each end of the face fabric zipper stitching.

Step 4. Pin lining to zipper. Attach lining to zipper by sewing over face fabric zipper stitching.

OPTIONAL but helpful: Sew an edgestitch along the lining to the zipper SA. This ensures that the lining doesn’t get caught in the zipper. If you don’t, you might have to handsew the lining away which is a pain, trust me.

Step 5. Sew the bottom of the face fabric all the way across.

Step 6. IMPORTANT! Sew the bottom of the lining fabric leaving a 4″ or so opening for turning the project inside out.

Step 7. Sew the side seams of the lining, pulling away the face fabric, zipper and zipper tabs. You may want to use a height compensation tool. Otherwise, leave a gap and come back to sew the gap closed with a zipper foot. It’s easier to do this step before you sew up the side seams of the face fabric.

Step 8. Baste the zipper tabs to the zipper ends on the face fabric.

Step 9. Sew the side seams of the face fabric, making sure the lining is out of the way.

Step 10. Pinch out the corners and mark the finished depth of your project. (See part about dimensions above. In this example, my corner seam is 2″).

Step 11. IMPORTANT but optional. If you are adding a handle, mark 1/2″ from the original pencil line on the side of the box where the zipper starts. Cut at the 1/2″ mark. Feed your handle through and hold closed with a binder clip, fusible web or glue.

Step 12. Sew the depth seams together. Trim.

Step 13. Pinch out the corners of the lining fabric and mark and sew similar to what you did with the face fabric. This isn’t the easiest and I don’t have a good solution for this other than trial and error.

Step 14. Iron your seams, trim your threads and turn inside out.

Step 15. Admire your finished project. Sew the lining closed either by hand or by machine.



Tips for the boxy pouch:

  • To reduce sewing time, I eliminated the bottom seam. Cutting out my face fabric to be FW+ FD + .5 (SA) but if you have a distinct design, you’ll need to have a bottom seam or one side of the box will have an upside down pattern repeat.
  • Other helpful tutorials: Boxy Pouch with French Seams tutorial and Boxy Pouch with corners exposed

Teacher Gifts

This post was written by Jane of Dear Author.

This year, I made teacher’s gifts using some cute craft tutorials. First up is the journal cover.

I used this tutorial from Bloom. While the tutorial doesn’t say this explicitly, there is no lining inside the pocket panels. You can add a lining, but it makes it terribly difficult to turn inside out. I don’t recommend it. I added a magnetic clasp for closure.

Edited to add a picture of the interior for Angie:

Next up is the boxy pouch. I followed this tutorial but added a lining, zipper tabs, and a handle. I’m going to post a tutorial next week on how to make these boxy pouches along with the formula for making a boxy pouch of any dimension. The larger pouch is 9″ long x 3.5″ W x 3″ D. It fits computer cords perfectly. The smaller pouch is about 5″ x 2.5″ x 2″. It’s better suited to makeup (like a compact, lipstick and a couple of other items). I love these pouches!

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