No Stowe

Part of my #makenine2017 was to make a bag similar to the Stowe Bag by Grainline Studio. If you’re not aware of this little tote, you have to check out all the different versions.  It’s too adorable!

I do have a tendency to make my own pattern for any bags that I make. I studied the Stowe bag and I liked the size. I started there with my measurements. The bottom should measure about 5″ x 9.5″. That’s a nice sized handbag. I couldn’t decide how I would incorporate the handles and the fabric that I wanted. And this is where any resemblance to the Stowe bag disappeared.

What I ended up with is an alternating fabric using my suede-like fabric along with Daleks fabric. This is super similar to the makeup bag that I made the bestie for xmas. I loved that little bag so it’s not really surprising that I’m making this so similar. The construction is even about the same.  Did that statement just take out all of the air of this blog post.  Well I don’t care! I’m excited about my own ‘little can of hate’ bag!

I did add a little bit of Dalek on the inside of the bag.  It’s cute and happy yellow gingham but I stitched in “exterminate” around on the bottom.  It was almost 2 am and it sounded like a good idea.  It did not strike me that I will only see this when I’m desperately digging through my bag hunting down something that I swear is in there. It might not amuse me as much as it did stitching it during my late night sewing session.

The measurements came out to what I was intending for the base.  I put this bag together thinking of not closing the top completely. I only wanted a flap I could secure to keep things from falling out or other people digging in.  Not connecting the flap on the sides of the bag kept it from keeping the boxy shape that I liked.  I did some quick stitching and attached a few points on the flap to the bag’s body to help pull in the wandering sides.
After using the bag for a week or so, I realized the handles could be about an inch or so longer. I could have also dropped the flap down about an inch into the bag instead of putting it right at the top like I did. It’s a little flimsy even though I used interfacing on the gingham. A stronger interfacing would have fixed this.

Super short little post for an angry little bag. 🙂

3 items left on my list! Sewaholic Thurlows, Burda Flares and rainbow belt. A little over 5 months left and I have everything I need to make them. If I can’t complete this, I have a serious case of the “lazies”.



Everything but the Kitchen Sink

If you follow my Instagram (@Jamie_L_Mac), you’ve known I’ve been up to something that includes a lot of denim.  Well two weeks in the making, you finally get to see the results of the painstaking hours I put into my newest bag.

First, let me share my inspiration, from Pinterest of course.


This beauty caught my eye.  I was looking for what to do with old jeans.  I had a ton.  I love the idea of creating a pattern and covering a chair.  A chair I do not have or need.  So I saved this and figured it would never be more than something for me to ogle.

I don’t know about you but my brain likes to let things roll around in there for a while.  I take in a lot of info but nothing becomes apparent right away until…

Inspiration two:


Now this guy has a “pattern“.  Meaning it kind of gives you the proper dimensions and what not to make it but you’re still kind of on your own.  But that’s okay because that’s usually how my bags go.

I really needed a larger tote for all my crap for work. My purse, lunch bag, extra pair of shoes (when I wear heels),  sweater (because its always freezing) laptop, charger, and other random things you can find in the bottom of my bag, all needed some breathing room.  Usually I come to work with a bag that is overflowing with my necessities.  None of these items can stay at work so hence the to and fro truckage.

Needless to say this bag is HUGE and I was excited!  I could fit all of my cats in there and still have room for a unicorn. Mary Poppins ain’t got shit on me! I can’t really give a lot of instruction on how I put the whole thing together because it was, “well this looks right” and then SEW!


I wanted that nice flat bottom you see in the inspo pic. I found a really heavy interfacing. I even reinforced that interfacing with more of the super heavy interfacing.


I cut all the denim in long lengths but all 2 1/2″ wide strips. I was using a 1/4″ seam allowance so this would leave me with 2″ wide strips when sewn.  I didn’t top stitch any of them.  I toyed with the idea for only a second and realized how much more time that would be. I ended up ironing the crap out of each vertical set before sewing them to the neighboring strips and ironing again.


Added the pocket to the front.  I debated if I wanted a plain pocket or if it should match the rest.  Obviously from the previous pic, I went with matching. If I was really crazy, I would have cut the strips to match what was going to be underneath and the pocket would have blended. I did however cut a pink lining and added a magnetic snap.


On the struts, I added the same pleather that was on the bottom of the bag.  It seemed weird to not include it other places.  I even went a little wild and added a decorative stitch on them…and then to the bottom… and lastly on the top… I can’t help myself sometimes.


Speaking of the top. This bag was supposed to be about 3″ taller.  There was no way I needed it to be so big.  I hacked off the top but kept it just in case. Lucky that I did because I decided it would be great way to finish on the zipper area.  Granted it wasn’t wide enough because the bag is 8″ deep.  I added some plain strips on the sides to make it work. I did add more pleather at this point too to cover the raw edges of the pieces matching up.  My sewing machine was working overtime and there were some spots that needed some hand cranking to get through. Bought that long zip for $.75. Such a deal!


Since I went with the pink lining on the pocket, I decided the whole thing needs a pink lining. Check out my helpers doing their thing.


I didn’t do anything fancy on the inside.  Just replicated the outside of the bag.  No extra pockets or fun.  I didn’t have enough fabric after I cut what I needed for any extras. 😦 I wanted to have a separate compartment for my laptop but oh well.


The handles are a mix of denim and pleather.  I made the pleather pieces wider than the “pattern” called for.  I think I actually doubled the width.  I did omit the long shoulder strap.  There was no need for that.  I can’t fathom trying to swing this big boy across my body.


Here’s the big beast in all his glory.  I’m pretty tickled with how it turned out.  It took so much time and I really had to push through.  Being so time consuming really, put me off but I’m so happy I prevailed. Final dimensions: 16″ height, 17.5″ width, and 8″ deep.


The back is just as awesome as the front. I didn’t mean to spend my Me-Made-May on such a large project but inspiration hit and I couldn’t say no.  How did you spend your Me-Made-May? Any special projects? Completed? In the works?

Little Can of Hate

This is my last holiday post guys. I’ve been on a roll of unselfish sewing! I am the most amazed by all this. A Hubby shirt, a clutch and now a makeup bag. I always make something for my bestie for the holiday. I originally was going to make her a clutch bag but the more I thought about it the more I realized that she wouldn’t use it. It’s just not her style at all. I had to brain storm and quickly. Again, I went to Pinterest and went through all the bags I had pinned. I found a box style makeup bag. I can work with that. I happened to pick up some Doctor Who fabric from the remnant bin at Jo-Ann’s. I’ve been scoring big time lately!

A lot of my non-pattern makes come with a lot of sketching. The pin I found had dimensions for quite a large box bag and I didn’t really understand how it was put together. I even made it out of paper and it still didn’t come together right. I spent way more time than I’d like to admit on trying to figure out the proper dimensions so if you want to make one I’ll save you some frustration, here’s a tutorial.

Finished Dimensions: 7 1/2″ x 3″ x 3″

All seam allowances are 1/2″

You’ll need:

  • 11 1/2″ x 13″ lining fabric
  • 11 1/2″ x 13″ outer fabric
  • 11 1/2″ x 13″ interfacing
  • zipper

First cut out all your pieces.

This is my lining. You’ll notice in other pics I made the outer piece two different fabrics. Pretty much, if you want to do that, you’ll cut the sides where they join a 1/2″ too wide. This way the fabrics will overlap 1/2″ so you can join them. Ta-da!

Putting the lining together is pretty quick. Iron your interfacing to the wrong side of your lining, like ya do. Then start sewing!

The outer short piece comes to the inner piece right sides together. Make sure to fold the edge of the short piece towards the interfacing side along the length before sewing. This will make a nice edge for the inside near the zip.

Do this for both short pieces.

This part is hard to photograph. Next push the seam you just made to the center of the neighboring hole. Line up the edges and stitch. Do this on both sides.

You’ll see that this makes a box on this finished side. Repeat on the other end. Your lining is complete.

Completely did not take pictures of me sewing in the zip but trust me, you do not want me to teach you to sew in a zip. Mine are pretty questionable sometimes. Let’s move to the outer fabric. Start by pressing the long edges of the short pieces in 1/4″. Pin your zipper to the pressed edges. My zipper wasn’t long enough so if yours isn’t either, that’s okay. I added fabric the same width as the zipper to the end of the zip. (You can see it in the pic above)  The length of your zip or zip + extender should be 11 1/2″, which is the full length of the pressed edge.


Stitch the zip into place. I did this one well. 🙂

Complete the outer piece just like the lining.  Make sure to leave your zip partway open before completing all your sewing, otherwise you can’t turn it! If you want to add a pull tab, make sure to add it before stitching the first edges down. Mine was about 1″ long after I folded it in half. It should be place in between the right sides of the fabric towards the bag.


At this point you should have two bags; inner and outer. To attach the lining to the outer bit, I hand stiched the two together at the zip.  I left the outer bag unturned and worked my lining over the outer. The interfacing should be against the wrong side of your outer fabric. I found it easier to sew this way. I did a blanket style stitch all around the zip. It was nice because I used the yellow squares or every other column, as my guide for each stitch. It made it so uniform all the way around.


Once completed, I turned the whole bag around the right way. I pressed the box edges to make them nice and crisp. It gave it a less bloated look.


You can see even with the shortie zipper, you can still get the bag open really wide.


Just to really personalize the bag, I added her name in gold and a teeny tiny heart on the bottom.

What would I change? I would put a pull tab at each end and make the width on the short pieces a 1/4″ wider on the outer fabric. I think the fabric could stand to be a bit closer to the zip. I’m really happy with the bag. It turned out the size I hoped for and I really wanted to keep it so I know I did a good job. If it was just okay, there would be no reservations in letting it go.

If you don’t know why I called this post Little Can of Hate, please enjoy the comic below. (Sing to the tune of Soft Kitty)

It’s a Bag Not a Pedal

Last year I made Boss a crocheted snow man. He was adorable but super last minute. I was so busy at work that the thought of a Xmas pressie for Boss just hadn’t crossed my mind. So this year I was planning ahead damn it! I wanted something easy to make but looked like it wasn’t. Isn’t that what we strive for? Anyways, I decided I would make a fold over clutch bag for her. Every once in a while she ditches her little ones and has date night with her hubby. Perfect gift I think.

I scoured Pinterest (because that’s what you do when you craft-brainstorm). There are so many different ways, sizes and extras that you can put into making a simple clutch. Holy moly! I decided a cute chevron fold over with faux leather accents, secret zip on the body for chapstick/lipstick/what-have-you and a magnetic snap would be easy to complete. I tend to be ambitious and overzealous at times i.e. all the time. After completing the kitten shirt and my wirly twirly dress, I realized I’m already in December and I need to calm down and simplify.

Here’s what I came up with: fold over clutch with a zip top and leather accents. Sorry secret pocket and magnetic snap. Ain’t nobody got time for you! I picked up teal and natural colored chevron fabric from JoAnn’s remnant pile. Not only half off regular price but an extra percentage off. Oh yeah! The faux leather I picked is from the home interior section and my lining is sturdy pink cotton from my remnant pile. Luckily there was quite a bit of the chevron fabric that I decided to go ahead and make two clutches. Ya know a “practice” one that I can keep and use on a regular basis. I’m selfish… lol.

How did I create my masterpiece? I cut two rectangles (1 lining, 1 outer fabric) at 9″ x 21 1/2″ with a 1/4″ seam allowance. I’ve seen plenty where they do two pieces and join at the bottom but screw you extra line of sewing. I did add interfacing on the lining portion to give the bag a bit of rigidity.

I followed these instructions to cover my zip ends in “leather”. You’ll notice that I used a white zip. Oops! I bought the zip at a different time than my fabric and I thought the fabric was white. I sewed both short ends of the fabric, sandwich style (how-to on this in link above too) to the zip and top stitched the lines down. Looking pretty!

Decision time. What do I want my accents to look like on the corners? Some I see are triangles, some remind me of pie wedges (Mmm…pie) and what did I want mine to be. Plain triangles seemed boring so I picked the pie route. I cut a full circle and cut it in half.  It made perfect “D” shapes that when folded over they are yummy slices of pie. The faux stuff frays along the edges so I used fray check first then stitched it down alternating the stitch between the chevron and “leather” that way no threads escaped. Plus it gave me an excuse to use a decorative stitch.

Last thing to do was stitch up the sides. Yay! Okay at this point I realized my decision making was not the best. I believe I either need to cut my zip shorter or not use a 1/4″ seam allowance on the sides because it got so tight around the zip that I added a bit of hand stitching to secure that area. (please do not fall apart. you are a gift and will embarrass me!) Plus you’ll see in the next pic that tightness on the sides of the bag pulled the corners down a smidgen instead of the zip being straight across the top of the bag. I turned the bag at the lower bottom corner of the lining and then edge stitched to close the hole. The only ones that will know it’s there are me and you. *wink*

There ya go. My quick and easy clutch bag. Anybody else have an ambitious project they’ve had to dial back in a pinch?

It’s a Cinch!

Some things are super easy for me to make. It happens fast, smoothly and before I know it, project completed. That’s how my new corduroy bag went. I mentioned previously that I have a love for corduroy. This is the third bag I made but in total I have 5 and a change purse. They all have a patchwork look to them. Unfortunately, the ones I make don’t have the incense smell the others do when you buy them from the hippy, trippy store. I love that smell…

I decided I needed (wanted) this bag because I use those little drawstring/cinch bags on my lunch every day. I’m a wanderer during my hour lunch and those bags are really easy for me to toss my stuff in and go. The problem with the bags I use, is that they’re cheap so they fall apart and are a bit too small for all my roaming essentials.

The typical size for a drawstring bag is around 14″ X 18″. I cut my corduroy into 3″ X 3″ squares. With 6 columns and 8 rows, mine should equate to 15″ X 20″ with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Everyone following? I had to use my calculator to calculate. 🙂

The process is simple: make all the rows, connect them together and have 1 front and 1 back. I knew I wanted to add in a pocket for my cell in the seam. I made a pocket (sorry no photo) similar to a pocket for pants. Once that was stitched in, I sewed the front and back together leaving the top open.

I made a lining with two cotton rectangles sewn together on three sides. There needs to be a tube at the top for the drawstring to go through. I made one more row of blocks and then chopped it in half length wise. I sewed this to the top of the bag. Before completing the tube, there needs to be a couple holes for the string to come out of because not only does it cinch the bag but it’s also the arm straps. I made large button holes, two on each side of the main bag.

The “string” is made of 1″ corduroy strips. The strips are sewn together on one side then pressed in half and 1/4″ of the raw edges turned in and pressed again. I topped stitched the turned edges and original stitched side. The finished “string” is 1/2″ wide. To figure out the length of each “string” you take the 2x height + 2x width. So that makes each 70″.

I fed the “string” through the proper holes and decided to connect them to the bottom of the bag through the seam. Trusty seam ripper to the rescue! I ripped out just enough to push both ends through side by side.  I stitched the holes shut with two rows of stitching for security.

At this point, I added my name to the top of the bag. Ya know, just because. Then turned down the top half row and stitched the edge creating the tube. I made sure to push the bag lining up high enough to catch in the downturn. The thing is you have to be uber careful not to catch the drawstring. Slow and steady!

That’s it! She’s done and she’s glorious. I love it when things turn out that quick and exactly how I hoped. I mean look at how even those rows are. Thank you 1/4″ foot!