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Glenda Convertible Clutch (+ I’m hooked)

2018 February 28

You know when you want to start doing something – ie: sewing your own purses… but you are concerned that you will love it too much, and then it will become an obsession?

And you won’t be able to stop… and then you will need all the patterns. And all the materials. And then your stash (which is already significant) will grow and grow… and take over your whole house?

That’s me… and I want to make all the bags! And, oh wait… sewing has already taken over the house anyhow…

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

I started sewing bags when I created the Forest Glen Satchel – my first “real” pattern. I made a Chobe (from Elle Puls) in 2016 and created the first purse of my dreams – perfectly slouchy with lots of room.

Fast forward a year and Swoon patterns kept coming up in my Instagram feed. I needed to make another bag! How could I justify buying another pattern when my Chobe was still going strong? How about for a gift?! Surely my mom could use a new cross body bag? So the justification (and new obsession) continues! (*lol, I think?!*)

All that aside, I do love making bags and have quite a few more that I have to photograph to show you. The process ticks all the boxes in my goal to sew as neatly and professionally as possible. I think my girls will be needing new purses soon so I can justify a few more?! (Their Sweet Talk Phone Bags are still great, but I should have used a bit of Scotch Guard on them – kids are hard on their purses!)

Find the Glenda Convertible Clutch Pattern review below…

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

handmade purse, swoon pattern, glenda clutch

Glenda Convertible Clutch Review

Things I Liked

  • This bag is so cute! It has a timeless design and you can’t go wrong with that.
  • I learned a lot of fun tricks in the instructions.
  • It has great structure – this is probably helped by my using vegan leather for the exterior.
  • I was super impressed that the Skyline S7 I had on loan sewed through all of the vinyl layers without any issue.
  • It was fun to add a tiny piece of sewing fabric as the interior pocket lining – yay for moms that sew!

Things I Didn’t Like

  • Honestly, nothing! The instructions were great and it turned out well.

Things I Changed

  • I wanted a smaller bag – it’s actually quite long, despite how it looks in the pattern photos – so I removed 2″ from the width. Instead of 11″ wide, mine is 9″ wide.
  • I also lengthened the strap to 50″ for a cross-body length.

Things for Next Time

  • I think I would keep the smaller width next time as well. The wide width looks nice for a clutch, but seems very wide to use as a purse with a strap. (Plus, my pattern pieces are already taped in place at the new size!)

Frozen Hoodies from Canada

2018 January 11

I was thrilled a few years ago to find a fantastic sketchy knit with drawings of Disney Frozen’s Anna and Elsa in my local Canadian online fabric shop, Funky Monkey Fabrics. ”Frozen Fever” is still going strong in our house and the youngest, very blond child, has claimed to be Elsa. Our newly pronounced tween, while interest is slightly waning, is still very OK with being Anna.

Canadian online fabric shop Funky Monkey Fabrics sponsored this post and provided the Anna and Elsa Disney Frozen Sketch knit fabric for these hoodies.

handmade, zipper hoodie, frozen, anna, elsa

Anna and Elsa Frozen Knit Fabric

Finding the Fabric

I love the way this Springs Creative knit is designed and drawn. I get a cool-looking product, and my kids get to wear their favorite licensed character. It has been very difficult to find good quality knits at my local box stores, and the smaller shops don’t seem to carry many either. Enter a Canadian Online Shop to fix the problem!

I’ve known about Funky Monkey Fabrics for quite a while. (Check out my 2015 interview with Melissa.) Recently I’ve started looking for better quality garment fabrics than I can get at my local shops and I’ve begun ordering more from them. Each fabric I’ve received has been delivered quickly and accurately. As a bonus to living very close by to their location, my fabrics sometimes arrive even as soon as the next day!

A quick look through their online shop shows that they sell everything you’ll ever need to create your projects. I’ve personally ordered lots of knits, but also included Pellon interfacing for bag-making and Minky and Licensed Character woven fabric for the Mitered Corner Nap-time Blankets I made a few years ago. Honestly, they really stock it all – needles, cork, batting… I could go on.

Exciting News!

Funky Monkey is currently working with a new solids supplier that will allow them to always have stock readily available. So good! Look for that coming up in the next couple of months. They also have a weekly sale, so you can save on the fun stuff you need!

Since I know some of you are like me (blergh!) and will need a reminder to check out their of their sale info, go ahead and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. For all of you with amazing memories *so jealous*, you can also check the Funky Monkey online shop regularly so you don’t miss their stocking announcement.

P.S. They are planning a big expansion for later this year as well! Can’t wait to see what they have in store for us. Pun intented!

Making the Hoodies

I’ve wanted to try the Kitschy Coo Reversible Zippy Hoodie for a while now. While I was scrap-busting it turned out that the Anna and Elsa Sketch knit was just long enough for two raglan sleeves and a hood. I happened to have enough cozy blue and purple knit to offset it and some shiny knit in silver and gold to use as an accent.

The pattern was easy to change to a non-reversible hoodie. The Zippy Hoodie includes a regular sleeve, and I wanted to feature the Sketch knit with a raglan sleeve. Altering the top of the sleeve with the Hey June Greenpoint Cardigan pattern was really simple and I was thrilled when it all worked out. Whew!

I added the gold and silver to the hood and pocket edges – silver for Elsa and gold for Anna – of course! My daughter’s also love the trendy armband thumb hole, and it was fun to sort out how add that as well.

The not-so-bad fallout of writing a blog and working with online Canadian shops?

While we were planning this post last month, I happened to fall in love with a few knits from their shop – of course! I posted these gorgeous Art Gallery knits and pink French Terry on Instagram and they are now pre-washed and waiting not-so-patiently in my stash. Yay!

Honest Conclusion…

In my personal experience and opinion, Funky Monkey’s online shop really is amazing. As sewists, we put a lot of work and effort into our projects and I am regularly dismayed by the state of fabric quality and pricing in most of our local Canadian box stores.

We need a great go-to shop and Funky Monkey Fabrics really fills that void.

Their fabric stock is huge and includes thread, zippers and notions, plus they have unique fabrics I can’t find anywhere else in Canada. The fabric quality is good, their service is fast and their pricing is competitive. This makes them a great stop on the perfect supply search for your next project, I’d highly recommend them.

A Black and White bundle for Winter

2018 January 8

Good 2018 to you!

This new year brings in some extra-frigid weather and a curated black and white bundle for my sponsor Fabric Spark‘s Monthly Sparks fabric subscription. Combining some favorite white and cream backgrounds with great black accents was so rewarding. I feel like it screams at you to get creative!

Why did I choose a black and white bundle when the weather outside is causing enough grayness of it’s own? (There is a reason for my madness!)

I think a good black and white bundle is (as said above) a fun base for a creative sewing experience. And I really hope that everyone subscribing to this bundle thinks so too. There are so many directions you can go with it! I wholeheartedly agree with Fabric Spark’s written note – the bundle says:

It’s a great mix that you can use as is, or add a single colour to. Wouldn’t it be fun with yellow, or lime green. You can add a number of clear bright solids too, even the whole rainbow.

I’ve recently seen white a few quilts with low volume or gray-tone backgrounds and I’d love to do the same thing with a black and white bundle. Separating out the mostly-blacks and mostly-whites and creating blocks with bits of colours in the corners. (Like this one - except with the blocks of colour turned toward each other to create a square.)

I also love this plus quilt. Found while perusing #plusquilt (so addictive!) for ideas to use on one I recently made.  And this quilt by Johanna Masko is absolutely gorgeous! The dresden plates are set off perfectly in her low volume background.

I must admit I do have a bit selfish reason for the bundle as well. I’ve been saving up quite a few grays, black and whites and rainbow bundles from Fabric Spark to make some kind of rainbow quilt. I put them together this morning and *POUF* (See below!) perfect quilt. You know, for when I finish the other 5 quilts I’ve got half made… (problem? what problem?!)

You can get more bundles like this from Fabric Spark every month by signing up for one of their 4 fabric subscriptions. Check them (and a lovely set of curated fabric) out on the Fabric Spark website, or visit them in person at their shop in Toronto.

Red and Green Undercover Maker Mat

2017 December 18

I have a huge thanks to give out to my mom today. She loves to sew and that’s how I got hooked – hooray! It also gives me a good excuse to make anything that happens to relate to sewing – since I can’t possibly use them all myself, lol!

Sewing Machine Mat, Sewing Machine Cover, Thread Catcher, Batiks

Sewing Machine Mat, Sewing Machine Cover, Thread Catcher, Batiks

Sewing Machine Mat, Sewing Machine Cover, Thread Catcher, Batiks

Sewing Machine Mat, Sewing Machine Cover, Thread Catcher, Batiks

This sewing machine mat is so cute. It’s the free Undercover Maker Mat tutorial from lillyella. Good looking and (hopefully) useful all in one! I say hopefully because I haven’t used one myself – it was a gift for my mom a couple of years ago. I also say hopefully, because it seems a bit tricky to take the mat out from under your machine – with potentially full pockets – and tie it on as a machine cover.

That said – I had a lot of fun making it and using some fun stitches and my paper piecing skills to make it special. The batik fabric was chosen by my mom a few years before, and it matches the wonky star table runner I made her that year. I added a cardinal button for the removable thread catcher, since she and my dad love to bird-watch.

Sewing Machine Mat, Sewing Machine Cover, Thread Catcher, Batiks

Sewing Machine Mat, Sewing Machine Cover, Thread Catcher, Batiks

One thing I had not done before was use a fancy stitch as a quilting stitch. The decorative flower stitch on the natural background fabric is number 28 on my Janome Skyline S9. And the stars look so cute as an embellishment to sew down the binding that hides your raw edges. I also used a shiny machine embroidery thread that I picked up on sale for some of the decorative stitches. It makes them look special!

Sewing Machine Mat, Sewing Machine Cover, Thread Catcher, Batiks

Sewing Machine Mat, Sewing Machine Cover, Thread Catcher, Batiks

I’ve been knee deep in Christmas sewing, jury duty and regular life for the past month. But I’m excited that the sewn gifts are looking almost finished, early even! Amazing!

I hope you have a lovely holiday, and thank you so much for continuing to come back and read my thoughts. We’ll be meeting up with family and enjoying the season, slower than usual I hope! Taking time out for the “little things” has become a lot more important this year. See you again soon!

Sewing Machine Mat, Sewing Machine Cover, Thread Catcher, Batiks

Matching Shweshwe Wrap Skirts for the win!

2017 November 16

I swore I would never create matching clothing for our family, but then I had an opportunity to do it – and the idea was too good to pass up. So, my oldest and I can now be twinsies with matching wrap skirts. And I love them! (And so does she.) Of course, you can make it as a longer skirt for yourself as well. The panel choices are lovely!

This post is sponsored by Meerkat Shweshwe. They also provided the Yinyang Indigo Makoti Skirt kit.

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

My oldest is turning 10 tomorrow ~ double digits! ~ and when Céleste (from Meerkat Shweshwe) and I were talking about this post I thought a wrap skirt is a great tween option for her. It’s a little bit more grown up than an elastic waist and still fun enough that she can hang off of walls and such! Case and point…

mommy and me, wrap skirt, shweshwe, tutorial

Plus, I know the South African shweshwe fabric will hold up to any wear and tear she gives it. My youngest’s reversible pinafore (free tutorial) gets lots of wear. It’s been washed countless times and still looks like it’s brand new. Plus, this fabric is so soft that she loves wearing it! I wish you could touch it – the weave looks a bit like linen – but tighter – with the thickness of quilting cotton and beautiful drape! (Apparently my cat really likes it too!)

Anyhow – back to the Makoti Skirt Kit. Makoti means “New Bride” and a traditional custom in South Africa is that new brides wear specific clothing, including a makoti skirt, to show that they are married. The skirt kits are easy to make – honestly, I thought it would be harder to match the border print and it’s not at all. Plus it’s comfortable, drapes well and is easy to fit to any body type. Side note – you should totally snag this red one for Christmas.

Find a mini tutorial so you can make the child’s skirt after a bit of exciting news from Meerkat Shweshwe…

Meerkat Shweshwe 2 Year Discount and Giveaway!

Meerkat Shweshwe stocks more than just skirt kits. They sell precuts and yardage of authentic 3 Cats shweshwe imported directly from South Africa. Plus, you can find quilt patterns and kits as well.

They are offering a 10% discount on everything in the shop from November 17-19 using the code “2yearsold” to celebrate their 2 year anniversary!

PLUS – follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss the giveaway in December. You could win a Double Irish Chain Mini Quilt Kit in Holiday colours! (Or sign up for the newsletter through the link at the bottom of their website to be reminded!)

How to Sew Two Skirts from one Makoti Skirt Kit

mommy and me, skirt, tutorial, shweshwe

  1. Choose your skirt kit based on the length and height of the border pattern. You will need enough length above the border’s center point for an adult-sized skirt, and below it for your child-size skirt.
  2. Use the instructions to sew the adult skirt almost to completion. Before hemming it, mark the center of the border print, then cut the skirt apart and hem the adult skirt as indicated.
  3. For the child’s skirt – wrap the remaining bottom panels around your child to measure how many panels you will need in their final skirt. My daughter is a skinny size 8 and we used 5 panels. Unpick the seam to leave the 5 panels together and set the excess panels aside.
  4. Cutting the remaining waistband fabric into 2 or 3 evenly sized widths. (I used two 3″ wide lengths.)
  5. Follow the same instructions as the adult sized skirt to finish your child-size skirt. Insert elastic into the back panel if necessary for a closer fit. (See photos for steps.)shweshwe wrap skirtshweshwe wrap skirtshweshwe wrap skirtshweshwe wrap skirt tutorial
  6. Tada! Hope you love this as much as I do.

Please share your projects, I’d love to see them! #alongforthreadride

Teal and Red Annabelle Maxi Dress

2017 November 9

Never in a million years would I have matched these fabrics. Teal and red were not on my radar, but I’m glad it happened, because every time I see this dress it makes me happy.

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

My youngest chose the teal fabric from my sponsor Fabric Spark at the spring Creativ Festival in 2016. I was a bit at a loss of what to match it with when she decided to use it for her Easter dress this year. I had been saving the red and navy (Elizabeth Olwen print from Joann’s) to match with a royal blue, but it had the same teal – maybe they’d match? Turns out it’s a fun mix, perfect for my fun-loving little one.

The Annabelle maxi dress pattern is one of my favorites. I love the maxi length, and the chevron skirt allows for a fun mix and match of fabrics. It is a bit tedious sewing the skirt panels together, and you must be VERY careful when cutting and sewing them or the lines won’t match up. Trust me, I learned the hard way! This skirt got taken apart and re-sewn several times… That said, it’s so lovely when it’s finished!

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

Annabelle Maxi Dress

I’ve made this dress three times in the last few years. A teal in chambray, and two in embroidered white. The bodice is so forgiving, the back can be made to fit very easily by changing the elastic length. I also love that it is easy on and off – no buttons or zippers to install!

Since I’m usually procrastinating until the last minute, I keep using patterns that have been made before. It’s simpler and they are already sized to fit. Plus I know the girls will like them, and wear them, which is super important!

Do you have a go-to pattern I should check out? Would you be interested in a post with links to my go-to patterns?

A Violette dress for Easter, the easy way – no tulle!

2017 November 6

Today is the day – I’m finally posting my oldest’s Easter dress! Hooray!

The Violette dress pattern has a classic shape. The low back and wider boatneck front neckline have looked amazing in every fabric I’ve used so far. The first versions I made were full tulle versions, and (as referenced in the title) this fabric version is so much simpler!

This dress is sewn from two florals we purchased from Canadian online fabric shop Country Clothesline. My oldest picked them herself at Creativ Festival last spring and I was happy to get it off of my to-sew list only a year later! The exposed Lacie Zipper was from Border Creek Station, another lovely Canadian shop.

Since I rarely make the same thing the same way twice, I did change a few features on the dress.

  • Lace ruffle underskirt
  • Exposed Zipper – the original is made with a button back

And there’s usually an Ooops… Having the original (already-fitting) pattern pieces traced from the first round of these dresses seemed like a good place to start – but once it was cut the back was way too small. Not sure if I drafted the zipper incorrectly – but I had to add in two side back pieces, similar to the curves on the front – to make it fit. After a small heart-attack, it wasn’t too terrible a fix!

The ruffled lace underskirt (I’m sure there’s a proper name for that…) was made by piecing together some sample fabric pieces. They were squares ranging from 8-12 inches across or so, and the piecing is pretty much invisible unless you know it is there. They came from the same sample box my friend gave me to make these Annabelle dresses.

Speaking of Annabelle dresses – my youngest’s is coming up soon! Maybe even this week…  You can get a peek in our Easter-day photo.

Fall Potato Chip Skirt – it’s reversible!

2017 November 2

You ready for some super-old photos of my youngest? These are from fall of 2015 – and she was so tiny then! Crazy how much they grow up in two years…

I have lots of project photos in the vault, and figured this fall is a good time to start digging some out – so I’m hoping to start posting them leading up to this Christmas. Always a good time to dig out old projects, since I’m usually making new ones as gifts and can’t post those until January!

This skirt is the Potato Chip Skirt pattern and I’ve made it twice before. This popular Very Hungry Caterpillar skirt and a My Little Pony/Avengers mash-up in a post about sewing with licenced fabrics. Funny thing, in that post I wrote ~ Quote: “One day soon I will post about the other two skirts.” ~ end Quote. Hmmm…. soon, eh?! At least I’m posting the last one now!

I will spare you the review, since it is in this post already, but I will take time to say (again) – definitely this is a great pattern! It turns out very professional every time and looks so cute. I have in mind to make a jean skirt for my oldest with it, since it has a tween vibe and the pattern runs up to size 13/14.

The kitten and gold fabrics are from my local shop and the first-generation Cotton and Steel is from my sponsor Fabric Spark.

Truth be told about this particular skirt – despite the very ADORABLE KITTENS – she didn’t wear it that much… I made it a bit on the small side and wasn’t very practical for my very active 5 year old. She loves her comfy track pants!

Just out of curiosity – do you think someone would buy this if I put it in a de-stash? I’ve got a lot of lightly worn handmade dresses that the girls have outgrown and I’d love for them to see a happy home again!

Cookies and Milk Halloween Costume

2017 October 26

My youngest is hilarious. I have no idea how or where she saw this costume – but she has been wanting to be a cookie since September. Which is super-fun and requires me to make a “working” milk carton treat bag – of course!

This costume is surprisingly simple to make, thankfully – because I had a lot of doubts before getting started!


  • Felt outer, appliqued with felt chocolate chips.
  • Brown Broadcloth inner, 1″ smaller all around than the outer felt cookie.
  • The felt outer was hand-pleated and pinned to fit the smaller broadcloth. Then sewn around, leaving an opening. When it is turned right side out the felt bunches out at the pleats, giving it depth.
  • I added a bit of stuffing, and then “quilted” it between the chocolate chips to help the stuffing to stay in place.
  • The straps are double-thickness felt, sewn only to the broadcloth.
  • The sides are about 4″ wide and sewn to the edges of the felt and broadcloth.
  • She wanted a bite out of the cookie, so I cut that out of the original circles before sewing. Top-stitching it afterwards helped it to stand out.

Milk Carton:

I contemplated taking tutorial photos – but since my time was limited, here are a few quick details.

  • The whole thing is white felt on the outer, with white broadcloth as a lining, to prevent the felt from stretching once it gets filled up.
  • I started with a flat rectangle and appliqued the blue and red ribbon onto it.
  • The sides were sewn together by flattening the fabric and sewing up the edge.
  • The bottom is a square, each side is sewn on separately.
  • The top is folded like a carton of milk – I used one from our fridge to get it right. The fold lines are top-stitched and I added Velcro around the top as needed for it to fold properly. Surprisingly this worked really well! The felt was stiff enough to hold the shape.

Cup and Straw Headband:

  • The cup was glued to the headband, with a piece of felt underneath to hold it on.
  • A round piece of cardboard, covered in felt “milk” was glued in. Before gluing, we added a hole for the straw and hot-glued it in as well.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of photos of the headband (being top-heavy) falling off. So we’ll need to augment our strategy before next week. Even if we don’t find a fix, the Milk Carton makes a great place to hold the headband!

On our early trick-or-treat trip to Niagara Falls, we went to the Hershey Store – it’s our family favorite MUST STOP for the kids - and they were so pleased with her cookie costume that the manager gave us a free personalized extra-large chocolate bar! It pays to dress up early, I think!

Over the Rainbow – a Dorothy Halloween costume

2017 October 24

“There’s no place like home… *click, click* There’s no place like home…” *click, click* Unless, of course, you can trick-or-treat at other people’s homes and get free candy!

This year, we watched The Wizard of Oz with our girls, probably in the spring or early summer. They LOVED it, and my oldest declared she should be Dorothy for Halloween. Of course, I LOVED that! (lol)

This  costume is so fun to make, and like most years, I used a simple elastic-back bodice (as in Anna and the Pirate Princess) since it will fit more easily. This costume was pretty simple – and I have a good base of knowledge (read: lots of practice!) for making these now, so I could concentrate on making the fun details.

A few things we took from the original costume:

  • Bias-cut bodice details and hem detail
  • Rounded bodice top
  • Straps and buttons on both front and back
  • Puffed sleeves! (though we chose to make them long for our chilly Canadian weather)
  • Bias-cut neckline detail
  • Red ruby slippers
  • Toto (flat, more details below)
Notes on the sewing/glittering:
  • Dress and Shirt:
    • Dress: Annabelle pattern – bodice sized-up a bit for a longer fit, simple gathered skirt
    • Shirt: Vintage V-Neck pattern with puffed sleeve variation, self-drafted the length for the sleeves
    • The buttons are sewn-on without working buttonholes.
  • Ruby Red Slippers:
    • We glittered some old ballet flats with regular glitter. (It will stick well enough for Halloween, but not much longer!)
  • Toto:
    • I made a “Flat Toto” (similar to Flat Stanley) with a fabric printout on the front and felt on the back.
      • To print on fabric: Cut a piece of freezer paper to letter size. Adhere it to a same-sized sheet of (in my case) broadcloth. This will allow it to go through your printer. Print the image.
      • It will be a bit light in colour, and won’t withstand washing – but it is a quick alternative to buying a stuffie.
    • We sewed a metal loop to one side and attached a toy leash, so it could be attached to the basket.
  • I found actual Wizard of Oz fabric on sale at my local shop and bought enough to hide a border of it underneath as the dress lining. It’s fun that she has the actual characters in her costume!

We went to Niagara Falls (very near to us!) and did an early trick-or-treat run last weekend. My Dorothy had so much fun being recognized and the photo-shoot was impromptu at a cute picnic area we found to eat our lunch.

As my “little” girl gets older it’s fun to note what things she’s excited about. This year, it was thrilling to get to wear real pink lipstick as part of dressing up, and important that the costume was as perfect and “real” as possible. I am imagining that soon I will be hovered over as I sew – just to ensure each part of it is exactly right!

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