I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the support and comments on my Facebook page. There is nothing more gratifying than coming up with a new creation in the morning, sharing it on Facebook, and getting immediate feedback from my customers. Like yesterday, when I shared this photo of a mini coin purse.
I made the coin purse with Liberty of London laminated print called Mirabelle. Normally I wouldn’t use white fabric for a coin purse, because it’ll get dirty very quickly. But that’s the magic of laminated fabrics — they are super stain resistant!
The pattern is my own. I made similar coin purses a couple of years ago, and just modified that pattern. The ones I made before had separate compartments for coins and cards, and were more complicated to make.
This time, there is just one compartment for coins and folded notes. But simple is good, according to your comments. Because school children only need to carry a bit of change.
Encouraged by the positive feedback I received, I made four more of these coin purses that very afternoon.
I took their photos immediately afterwards, and by the evening, the coin purses were added to the auction album. These all feature laminated prints and nylon lining — all Liberty of London prints except the elephant one. Don’t they look so cute together?
Opening and closing a zipper can be fiddly for little ones. But with the key ring tab on one side of the zipper and my Piggledee tag on the other, it should be much easier. I attached a key ring and a swivel clip, so you can secure the coin purse to a handbag or a school bag. You can also attach it to your key chain, and that might be all you need for a quick trip to the shops.
I have five of these mini coin purses in the auction album. Please check it out if you are interested!
I’ve been a little obsessed with laminated fabric lately. Particularly those matt ones that are more subtle looking. From a distance, you won’t know that these fabrics are vinyl-coated — they look like normal cotton fabric. Even up close, it’s hard to tell sometimes. My favorite is the Liberty of London laminated fabrics.
These are the most beautiful laminated fabrics I have ever seen. In addition to the gorgeous Liberty prints to begin with, the laminated ones have great sturdiness, making it suitable for bags of all sorts. It feels amazing to touch — smooth and reassuringly solid, and it doesn’t have any icky synthetic feel. As a bonus, the material is waterproof and stain resistant.
The only drawback is that these Liberty fabrics are super pricey! This is why I had only made small things with it so far — like phone pouches with a wristlet, makeup pouches, and pencil cases.
Top left: rainy day mini wristlet pouch / top right: triangle pencil cases / bottom left: flat makeup cases / bottom right: makeup pouches with a flat bottom.
But today, I made something a little bit bigger — cross-body shoulder bags! These bags are twice as large as my pencil cases, and has a simple zipper closure at the top. It’s a nice roomy size for a small wallet, phone, keys, makeup, and a few other essentials.
Isn’t this blueberry-like print gorgeous? The strap is long enough for a small to medium-sized woman to wear cross-bodied, or hang from one shoulder.
You can remove the strap if you like, and use the bag as an organizer pouch instead.
This print called “Capel” is one of my all-time Liberty favorites. And black goes with everything.
I used waterproof nylon taffeta for the lining. Having waterproof material for the outside and inside makes these bags pretty handy for rainy days. There is also a layer of quilt wadding inside for added cushiness and softness.
Here’s another rainy day bag using laminated fabric — though not Liberty.
I love this zebra-like bag.
There is a tiny gusset at the bottom — just to give some three-dimensional shape to the bag.
These rainy bags will be available at my Facebook auction, which is going on right now. Please come over and say hello!
I’ve been having so much fun making things for the Facebook auction market. There is something about creating for a specific audience — my lovely Facebook friends and supporters — that is particularly motivating and exciting. I love coming up with products I think they’d appreciate. Like these insulated snack sleeves.
Several people in the past have suggested that I make either smaller insulated lunch bags, or insulated version of snack bags. So I made something that’s in between the two - it’s a very versatile size!
These snack sleeves are a little bigger than a typical sandwich bag, and has a flat bottom. It’s a perfect size for a tab of yoghurt and a piece of fruit, OR a smallish container of lunch or snack. I recommend using a mini-sized reusable ice pack to keep the content nice and cool.
This round container with a blue lid is from Ikea — the shallow one, not the deep one. I love these, and use them all the time for our kids’ school lunch box. The snack sleeve also fits other types of small containers. Fill it with cheese sticks, yoghurt, slices of cake, chocolate… or any other snacks that are best served cold. The ice pack and the insulation material should keep the content cool for a few hours.
I used a layer of Insul Bright inside for the insulation effect. The lining is PUL, using the non-coated side on the outside. I used PUL just because I was running out of coated nylon, but I do like the soft hand of PUL — with the non-coated side facing, it almost feels like normal cotton fabric, but with water-resistant effect. Even though the non-coated side is supposedly safer with food, as opposed to the coated side, I’d still avoid putting food directly in contact with the lining. It’s safer to use a container or a wrap around food, before storing it in the snack sleeve.
Here are some of the cute fabrics I used for children.
And for grownups, or for older children, isn’t this mushroom fabric lovely?
I hope to see you at the auction! You can visit my auction album here.
I have been wanting a new tote bag for a while. You’d think I have plenty of bags to choose from by now — but I didn’t. I have several bucket nappy bags, a backpack convertible bag, a beach tote bag… and they are all wonderful for family outings. But they are all too big for everyday use. What I needed was a bag small enough for my wallet, phone, keys, small snacks… and my beloved iPad. That’s it.
So this is the little black bag I whipped up this morning. I used a very sturdy cotton canvas fabric my mother found in Japan a couple of years ago. I love the cute-but-not-too-childish print of cats, yarn, apples, and other whimsical drawings.
I like sturdy bags, so I used black canvas for the lining, fortified with interfacing. There is a little patch pocket inside for my phone. I also installed a carabiner tab on the side for my keys. These tabs are so handy — because there is nothing more frustrating than having to fish for your keys in your bag when you are in a hurry.
The handles are heavy-duty cotton webbing in black. All this blackness means I won’t have to wash this bag for a long time! Plus black goes with everything — especially in winter. The handles are long enough for me to carry the bag from my shoulder.
The bag has a narrow flat bottom.
See, the bag is just the right size for all my needs, but there is still a little room left for extra things, just in case.
I’m very happy how the bag came out! I might make some for my shop in the future.
I am a big fan of “Echino” fabrics by Japanese designer Etsuko Furuya. Her designs for this year are particularly pretty.
Although my sewing room is overflowing with fabric, I could not resist ordering these prints. They arrived this week, and they were even prettier in person! I wanted to play with them right away. The bird prints posed a challenge though, because the birdies were bigger than I thought. They are almost life sized, ready to fly out of the fabric. So I put them aside, and played with the other prints instead.
Small fabric boxes! I thought these super bright, bold prints could be overwhelming in large sizes. But as small boxes, they exude just the right amount of impact. Put one or two on your work desk, and they’ll brighten up your space — and your mood, too — instantly. Or so I would hope.
They are large enough — or small enough — for one big orange or apple. Which is a great size for desktop organization. I use these boxes in my sewing room for organizing small sewing tools, address stamps, washi tapes, cut-up velcro strips… etc. They are very handy to have.
I used heavy-duty cotton for the bottom to give firm structure. I also padded the fabric for structure and cushiness.
To match the vividness of the Echino colors, I chose vivid Kona cotton colors for the lining.
It’s hard to choose which box is my favorite — but I love this green stripe one in particular. It’s cool because you see different patterns and colors from different angles.
Next project: what should I make with those life-sized bird fabrics?
For this week’s “Sunday Funday” sale, I made spoon + fork utensil case and mini serviettes, to go inside a chid’s lunch box for school or daycare. I used organic cotton prints from my stash. Aren’t they cute? I love the tulip fabric in particular. The cases are just little padded bags, with a small velcro closure in the middle. It fits one spoon, one fork, and one small serviette. The padding inside makes the case soft and cushy. I hope this set will make children smile at school lunch time, holding the cushy case to take out their favorite utensils. I hope they’ll feel a little more loved — even if the lunch itself might consist of dinner leftovers. I lined these cases with coordinating organic cotton prints. Yes they might get dirty if the lunch involves tomato sauce or something, but it’s easy to just toss it in the washing machine. I am a big fan of reusable serviettes or napkins. They feel so much better on your face than paper ones. We use them at home all the time, as well as for the kids’ school lunch boxes. Even though the utensil case has a simple design, I spent hours coming up with it. In my mind I thought of zippers, tabs, flaps, ribbons, and other closures, and then ruled them out one by one. I thought of using nylon lining, then I ruled it out. I thought of a tall design but decided to go with a wide design. I love this process of coming up with the perfect design — and in the end, it’s often the simplest design that works best. I hope to make these cases in grownup prints next time.
If you have followed me on Facebook, you know I have started this “Sunday Funday” thing. It’s a Sunday mini market, where I make something new and offer it for sale on Sundays, directly from my Facebook page. I love how it allows me to enjoy a couple of hours of creative freedom every week, even when I’m super busy sewing to orders. I had missed a few Sundays while getting my new online shop up and running, but I’m back on track this week.
This week, I made apple cozies. I had so much fun making these! We went for a drive to Bilpin this weekend, where they grow lots of apples. We saw apples everywhere, even though the apple season has officially finished. There were little cafes and roadside stands selling bags of Pink Lady apples, home-made apple pies, and apple cider.
While driving, I thought it’d be neat to have a shopping bag with an apple print. Mark (aka Mr. Piggledee) thought it’d be neat to have an individual apple bag — just for fun. So when we came back home, I began to make one — using my favorite Japanese apple fabric of course.
It took a couple of tries to come up with “just” the right size for one large apple. It’s a drawstring bag with a large flat bottom — kind of like a fabric box with a drawstring top. How cute is it? I can’t decide which I like better — the green apple or the red apple print?
These apple cozies may not be on everyone’s list of essentials — in fact it is slightly frivolous. But I love it. It’s a happy bag, and it makes me smile when I see it. And that’s in the perfect spirit of Sunday Fundays I think.
It’s getting cold here in Sydney. I love fall dearly, but I don’t love how quickly my tea or coffee gets cold, before I even have a chance to drink it. A constant supply of hot beverage is essential to keep me going, especially when I work my “night shift” in my sewing room.
So last night, I decided I needed a teapot cozy.
I began by playing with paper. I’m terrible with maths, so the only way I can come up with three-dimensional patterns is by trial and error. Making a pattern using paper is easy and inexpensive. You draw something to start with on paper, cut them out and put them together with sticky tape, and try it on a teapot. If it doesn’t fit, you cut off excess paper or add extra bits to the pattern, until it’s a perfect fit.
It took a few tries to get here, but the rest is easy. You copy the tattered pattern onto a clean piece of paper and smooth out the lines. Now you are ready to sew up a sample!
I love this cat fabric by Japanese designer Megumi Sakakibara. It’s 100% linen — gorgeous, isn’t it?
This is a view from the other side. And there is a surprise! The teapot cozy is reversible.
For the reverse side, I used a flannel-like fabric by another favorite Japanese designer, Mico Ogura — isn’t the small-scale winter scenery appropriate for a teapot cozy? There is a layer of Insul-Bright inside, to keep the teapot warm. I finished the bottom with a brown linen bias tape.
And the cozy also doubles as a silly baby hat!
I stayed up extra late last night to actually test out my new cozy. Did it work? Yes, it did! No more going back to the kitchen for my second cup of tea to be microwaved. Hooray!
Sandwich bags are one of those seemingly simple products that are, in fact, troublesome to make. Well, technically it’s not difficult to make of course. It’s just difficult to come up with the perfect design — at least for me it was. In the past I have made a zippered version like this…
and a simple velcro version with velcro tabs at the top of the bag (the one on the right)…
and a flap version with a single fabric like this.
But none of them was truly satisfactory to me. Why? Well, here are my “pros and cons” comparison notes.
Pros: Neat-looking design. Food bits don’t get stuck in the velcro. Easy to maintain and wash. Probably lasts longer than velcro ones. A versatile pouch, because it’s great as snack bags (muffins, crackers, etc). Also can be used as a small wet bag, for wipes, makeup, crayons, and so on.
Cons: Fiddly to get a sandwich in and out of the bag because the zipper doesn’t open to the full width of the bag. If the zipper width is wide enough, then it’s too wide inside the bag, and the sandwich swims in it. Zipper can be fiddly to use for toddlers.
Pros: Nice simple design. Easy for children to use. Sandwich fits in snugly and securely.
Cons: Food can get stuck in the velcro while putting a sandwich in and out. Fluff sticks to velcro in the wash. Stitch lines for sewing the velcro shows through — not a very elegant finish.
Velcro-on-Flap Version 1
Pros: Flaps are cute. Food doesn’t get caught in the velcro as much, because the sandwich doesn’t have to touch the velcro strips while packing and unpacking. Sandwich fits in snugly and securely. Velcro is easier for kids to use.
Cons: The one-fabric design only works with non-directional prints — meaning, fabrics that have no upside and downside. The flap section was small, and it took some force to rip the velcro open. The stitch marks around the velcro strips can be really noticeable. And then there is the issue of washing velcro, and a possibly short lifespan of velcro products.
New!! Velcro-on-Flap Version 2
So this is my latest sandwich bag. Is this the “perfect” sandwich bag I was seeking? I think it’s very close. Here’s the “pros and cons” assessment:
Pros: I love that I can slide a sandwich in and out of the bag smoothly, without worrying about food getting caught in the zipper or velcro tab. The sandwich sits in the bag snugly and securely — not as snugly as with a sandwich wrap, but close.
I also love the two-fabric design. It allows me to use rather special fabrics for the small flap section, while keeping the cost down somewhat by using plain cotton linen canvas fabric. I can also use directional prints this way, because the print is used only for the flap bit.
The flap section is larger than the first flap version, which adds to the cuteness factor. More importantly, the large flap allows an extra-wide space between the edge of the flap and the velcro strips. You can grab onto this bit of fabric to open the velcro easily — very child friendly.
If I use busy prints for the flap section, the stitch lines for the velcro are not noticeable. Pretty elegant looking overall.
Cons: The only cons here are the inherent problems associated with velcro — tricky to keep clean and wash, and the lifespan may not be terribly long. Of course, if the velcro stops sticking after a couple of years, it’s easy to replace them — so I hope people will not throw these pretty bags away!
How adorable are these Liberty Hello Kitty sandwich bags? They are so pretty, in fact, that you can use them for other things like pens and crayons (the waterproof nylon lining comes in handy here). If I attach a shoulder strap, it’ll be such a cute little girl’s bag, too, don’t you think?
These sandwich bags will be available at my upcoming Facebook market day, and will be listed on Etsy later on.
I didn’t think I needed a new nappy bag — I already have two styles of nappy bags on Etsy and madeit, and they are both very popular. But this week, while climbing this tower in a local playground, hauling my kids all the way to the top and then back down, I suddenly realized that I needed a new nappy bag.
So when we came back home, I spent the rest of the day and much of the night thinking about the design. Then the following day, I made this.
It has a wide rectangle bottom.
I also used heavy-duty cotton for the lining, to give the bag a firm structure. You can see it’s firm enough to stand well on its own, with nothing in the bag.
There is one large patch pocket inside. I used the same yellow elephant fabric here, but in retrospect it was a bit too much of the elephants. Next time I’ll make a plain white pocket.
The main bag body has two decorative white vertical stripes, to give it a sporty look. There is a “hidden” pocket in the middle of the stripes, on each side of the bag. These pockets are not huge, but are handy for things like sunglasses, wallets, and keys.
The bag comes with two adjustable, removable straps. That means you can carry the bag as a traditional tote bag with two handles, or use just one strap to carry it like a messenger bag.
It looks a little like my “daycare bag” like this. It’s great for hanging over stroller handles.
But the best feature of all, is that you can attach the two straps like this.…
and you can wear it as a backpack in case of emergency — like having to push two kids up an enormous tower, or when crossing a busy road holding their hands.
The “backpack conversion process” takes just about 5 seconds. Well, it might take a few seconds longer if you need to adjust the strap lengths. Anyway, I tried to make it as painless as possible.
The bag is not quite ready for sale yet, because I need to source better hardware. I mean, the ones I used function fine, but I know there are more elegant-looking clips out there. It should be shop ready in 3 – 4 weeks.
Overall I’m very pleased with this bag. The hardest part was to make the bag look good both as a nappy bag and as a backpack. It gave me quite a headache thinking about it, but in the end, I figured that most people would use it mainly as a regular nappy bag, and use the backpack feature only occasionally. So I prioritized the nappy bag part of the design.
So you see, it may not look very backpack-like when worn like a backpack… but I think it looks okay, and it’s surprisingly comfortable. And when you really need your hands free to look after your kids, it’ll be priceless to have that option.
By the way, don’t you just love this yellow elephant fabric? I’ve been using the elephant fabric for years, but had never thought to order the yellow variety before — because I thought it was too similar to orange. But the yellow is so much more beautiful in person — it’s such a gentle, sophisticated color. It’s similar to the grey elephant one in that sense — both are perfectly suitable for grownups to wear.