Fabric box pattern – coming soon!

It’s been years since I wrote pattens for an insulated lunch bag and drawstring gift bag / mini towel. I had lots of fun with them and had plans to do more patterns, but had since been struggling to find the time (I know, excuses, excuses….). Finally though, I’m working on another pattern – this time fabric boxes elephant fabric box by piggledee   Why fabric boxes? Well, everyone loves them. They are not only useful, but they instantly brighten up any space in your house. The boxes are also a snap to make once you get the hang of it, and the satisfaction level when you make one is immense. Trust me. You can’t just make one. Echino fabric boxes by Piggledee Actually I have written a mini tutorial on a fabric box before, but this time I’m using a different construction method, which is quicker to cut, sew, and wastes less fabric. I’ll be offering several size options, but more importantly, I will show you how to draft your own custom-size box.  Here are some sneak peak of the pattern-making process. Aren’t these bright fruity fabrics gorgeous? They are my current favorite, by Cloud 9. They are organic cotton corduroy, and they are great for zakka sewing. I’ll write more about them in another blog post. fabric box tutorial photo by Piggledee fabric boxes for new pattern by Piggledee   Here are my kids “helping out” with a photo shoot. Can you guess what they were bribed with? kids helping out with photo shoot Piggledee kids helping out with photo shoot Candy, of course! fabric boxes by Piggledee Would you like to know when the pattern is ready for purchase? Please sign up to receive an email notification of my blog post, and/or newsletter! Both signup boxes are at my front page. With the Facebook reach rather dodgy these days, I’d really love to keep in touch with you on this blog.  cloud 9 fabric boxes for Ppiggledee pattern Stay tuned!

Pattern Preview – Drawstring gift bag and a mini towel with double gauze

I am very excited to share that my next sewing pattern is nearly finished! This one is for a lined drawstring bag and a mini towel using a type of fabric called double gauze, and I wrote it with near-total beginners in mind. I love that it has two projects in one pattern. A beginner can learn the basics of sewing by first making the super-easy (but cute and useful) mini towel, and then move on to make the drawstring bag to learn the basics of bag making. And when you are finished, you can put the mini towel inside the drawstring bag, and what a perfect handmade gift that would make a new baby! 

Lined drawstring bag pattern - page one

I chose to feature double gauze in this pattern, because it is such a beautiful fabric for babies and children. It’s a popular fabric in Japan, where you can find them in so many adorable prints.  Unfortunately though, the popularity has not yet spread to the Western world. It’s a matter of time I’m sure, but I wanted to help spread the love of this soft-as-air fabric. Of course, you can substitute other materials for double gauze if you don’t have access to it, but I really hope you’ll give it a try some day. 

The pattern has a section on how to work with double gauze, and throughout the instructions there are tips on sewing with double gauze. So even if you are a more accomplished sewer, you might find this pattern interesting just for the information on double gauze.

This pattern, like my previous lunch bag pattern, has very detailed instructions with large, clear photos. Here’s a sample page from the mini towel section.

Lined drawstring bag pattern - sample instruction page

The drawstring gift bag is slightly more challenging, but is a perfect second project for a beginner to gain confidence in sewing. The resulting bag is beautiful because it is fully lined, and the ruffle top is particularly sweet as a gift bag. Once you make the gift bag, you can use exactly the same technique to make a larger laundry bag, or shoe bag, or lots of other kinds of drawstring bags. 

The pattern is being tested by six lovely volunteer testers right now. Four of them have already finished them this week, and have kindly sent me photos of their creations.

Pattern tester's finished bag and towel 1

This is Deanne’s creation. She had only one sewing lesson prior to making these items for me, so I’m so pleased what a beautiful job she did. She was able to follow the pattern without asking me a single question about it. So proud of you, Deanne!

Pattern tester's finished bag and towel 2 - Koala print

Pattern tester's finished bag and towel 3 - pink rabbitThese are the bags Sarah (navy koala) and Kristy (pink rabbit) made. They are not exactly beginners, but am very grateful for their help with pattern testing. 

drawstring bag by Erika

 

Lastly, I LOVE this bag Erkia made. She chose her own fabric (how adorable is the goldfish fabric!), so this is not double gauze. You can see the pattern works perfectly well with other types of fabric. 

I’m still waiting to hear from two more pattern testers, but as soon as their feedback comes through, and I revise the pattern, it’ll be up on my Etsy and Craftsy stores. 

 

Insulated lunch bag pattern

Now I’d like to tell you a little about my new insulated lunch bag pattern. The pattern itself is quite simple, and I’m sure a lot of people could have come up with a design like this on their own. Originality is not a huge factor here.

There are two things I’m very happy about this pattern though – one is the computer-friendly format, and the other is the detailed instructions.

Format

I used a landscape format with one or two large photos per page, and corresponding bullet-point instructions in large, easy-to-read text.

Insulated lunch bag pattern first page

Does it look like a Powerpoint presentation? Why yes, that was the idea exactly. I used Apple Keynote for writing this pattern, and once I got over the initial learning curve (thanks to a wonderful tutorial on Lynda.com), the application was so simple and a joy to use.

I chose this format because I am terrible at following other people’s patterns. The reason for this, I thought, was that most patterns use the A4 format, with small text and tiny, infrequent photos. I am a visual person, and what I crave are large, clear photos and lots of them. Having to figure out a pattern by deciphering the meaning of text alone often makes my head spin.

So I’ve come up with a format that even a pattern-challenged person like me can follow with ease, with lots of large photos and texts in short sentences, presented as bullet points.

Another advantage of this format is that it is computer/tablet-friendly. I dislike having to print patterns, because printed patterns are easily lost, not to mention the cost of the printer cartridges and the environmental factor. My pattern fits nicely on your computer, tablet or even a smartphone screen, so you don’t have to print it out. It looks like this on an iPad.

Pink elephant with iPad

[Thanks to Su-Yin Johns for letting me use her photo.]

Of course, you might have to adjust your computer/tablet/smartphone setting so that it does not go to sleep after a couple of minutes. Having to wake it up every time you are ready for the next step can be annoying. But most of my patten testers loved this format, so I’m pretty sure you’ll love it, too. After all, this is the day and age where even my 60-something mother carries around a MacBook Air, and many of us prefer reading e-books over printed books.

Detailed Instructions

Another thing I am proud of this pattern is the detailed instructions. I wrote the pattern with beginners in mind, so they can learn new skills and techniques by making the lunch bag – kind of like a project-based sewing class. For example, inserting a zipper in the lunch bag is probably the hardest part of making the bag. So the pattern has many, many pages explaining the zipper attachment process step by step. Even if you have never made a zippered pouch before, you should be able to follow the instructions and make the bag pretty easily.

insulated lunch bag pattern zipper section

Of course, if you are more advanced in sewing, you can skip those pages and just read the sections that are new to you. That’s another beautiful part of having a tablet/computer-friendly pattern. Turning pages is effortless, and you don’t feel resentful that you had to print out 20+ pages of instructions and photos that you mostly didn’t need.

So I hope you’ll give my pattern a try. They are available on Etsy and Craftsy. If you’d also like to receive all the necessary materials to make the bag in the mail as well, you can purchase a kit as well on Etsy. And if you are not keen on making an insulated lunch bag, stay tuned for more patterns in the future.