Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blog Hop is here

Thank you for joining Our Craft Forum’s blog hop.  So what is “Our Craft Forum” a craft forum for like minded people who love crafts. Mostly patchwork, stitching, quilting and the like. It’s a safe place to make new friends who share a love of craft & to have some fun and a little bit of laughter along the way & to join in on swaps of all types.

This week end is designed to tell our blogging friends about our wonderful forum and to invite you to be a part of our forum.

Several of our members will be offering tutorials, giveaways and some tips of the trade.

The blog hop starts at miss~nances blog so if you want to join us on the whole journey please go to and follow the links at the bottom of each post to find the next blog along the way.

Each person who joins our forum from this blog hop will go in the draw for a craft pack. So to join our forum, please go to and register.  Entries close at MIDNIGHT EDST (Sydney time) Sunday 27 February.

So join in on the fun and maybe find a new forum, new blog and new friends along the way.  You never know you may even learn something new or win a great prize.

For my contribution to this blog hop I wanted to add a tutorial, well my favourite things to make at the moment are tote bags. They are so simple, practical and you can always find a use for them. I’m not about re-inventing the wheel though so instead of re-writing a pattern for you, head over HERE (really quick, skim through the pics and then come back because I’m not done) where this lovely lady has a very simple how-to.

Once you know ‘how-to’ you can then implement any or all of the following tips I have for you. They are a mix of cost savers and creative ideas to snazzy up a simple tote. Plus there are pictures which of course makes everything better. Stick around to the end and check out the piccies nice and close and I'll tell you about my giveaway.

*One point to note first, that tute calls the bag reversible. That is because the lining is made with pretty fabric. If you want to use something basic and not as pretty, don’t call reversible, call it lined instead. I say this because you may make a FANTASTIC pattern for the front of you bag and you just can’t bear to hide it, if this is the case use something boring on the inside. Too easy.
**Check out how she does the corners. I never end up with my corners the same size when I do it that way. Instead I prefer to cut mine before I sew anything. Its really easy. When you measure/cut your rectangles, measure a SQUARE (it has to be square for the edges to match up) in each of the bottom corners. The same size for each. You then get to choose the size of your base that way too. For my FQ bag I usually do a 1.5” square which gives you a base 2.5” wide. Check out the above pic and pretend my corners are actually even and I didn't just do them in paint a minute ago. The idea is the black part is (carefully) measured and the white is the bag.

Pic 1
Pic 2

Pic 3

1.Use what you have. If you are a fat quarter collector why not make a bag out of your fave print. The way I do it is fold it in half, cut a 5 inch strip from the piece while folded, cut my squares in the corners, cut a charm square from the strip and then the strip in half. Those are your pieces. From a FQ you get a bag and a charm square to add to your collection. Just add some lining and you're good to go.  - the brown from pic 2

2. If you are into up-cycling, why not a vintage pillowcase. They are already sewn most of the way. Be careful though, some cases are not sewn straight which means your side seams may not match up. - the orange print in pic 3

3. Instead of using your beautiful/expensive fabric for the lining, if you don’t want/need it to be reversible use cheaper fabric, or old bedsheets or quiltcovers you have lying around not being used. Or you can do as I and buy one or two from a 2nd hand store for projects like these. For $5 you can end up with a queen bed sheet (equiv. Around  3 metres of fabric) - the green in pic 2

4. ALWAYS follow the handle method on that tut. The double fold. I have tried it before only folding once and it is less sturdy and does not look as good. Also make sure you sew down both sides of the handle, even the folded edge, it may seem like a waste but in the end looks far more professional.  - compare the handles in pic 1 - the black is done properly

5. Add a pocket. Just because you can. On the inside with the outside fabric so it all matches. Make sure though to do this before you sew your bags inside each other otherwise you will be sewing through the lining too. - pic 2

6.Use a block you need to find a home for or make a block you’ve been dying to try that you don’t think you could make too many times over for a finished quilt. Remember to add fabric on each edge though to account for the sides, base and folded hem where the handles are. - the sudoku bag in pic 1 

7.Make an accent. Your bag does not have to be the same on both sides. Think of a feature wall. You can have one side plain the other bursting with colour. - sudoku is plain black on the back

8.Piece a front together. Any way you like. You can use scraps, charm squares or even jelly strips. - the stripy bag in pic 1 is made from jelly strips

9. Applique is your friend. If you want to personalise you bag, why not make it from a plain colour and then stitch all kinds of designs onto it. You can embroider, do a stitchery or appliqué pieces from your collection. - the pale pink LOVE bag in pic 3

10.Don’t be scared to make adjustments to suit yourself. If you want a really large beach bag, go ahead. Re-design. You can use this pattern small gift bags, wine bags or even put a really wide base on it, make it with sturdier fabric and use it for a picnic bag. - the small purple bags in the top of pic 3

11.Use a panel. - the japanese panel on the top right of pic 3

12. Try a stitchery. - Love bag in pic 3

13.When cutting your handles, fold your fabric to roughly the right width to see how long you want the handles to be. Remember that wider the fabric the shorter it looks. Depending on how you intend to use the bag you can adapt the handles to suit. i.e. if is a grocery bag you may want wide straps to make it easier to carry. You may like longer straps on a tote to carry it on your shoulder or short ones for a clutch. - check out the width of the orange print bag in pic 3

14. Why not use bias binding for straps. If you have a spare piece in a complimentary colour that is the width you want, go for it. Sew it up the same way but as long as you make it double fold it should be just as strong. (havent tried this yet but I fold my pieces the same way they're just not stretchy)

15. Add a hidden pocket on the inside. Sew yourself a little pouch, find an appropriate spot on the inside of your bag and cut a slit the same size and stitch away. Make sure you do this before you put your 2 bags together. ( the pic I have of this didnt turn out. but I have done it, it does work)

Most of all remember to have fun. And ALWAYS allow for your base and sides in your measurements.

Now for the giveaway. The cute little Japanese panel bag (top right in pic 3. The back is a dark pink with a different little lady) is what I am giving away. I think it is my favourite so far. To enter all you need to do is post. Simple as that. You post, I pick a number and contact you if you win via your blog or email addy, whichever you leave.

If you are an Australian resident you I will send you the bag, for international posters I have a two page pattern and direction for a ‘pick point' card. This is a form of embroidery on cardboard. ( the above pic is one I made recently)

The next link in this hop is Dawn’s lovely blog at:


  1. I'm not an Aussie resident, but I'm truly enjoying this bloghop. :) I'm not very talented at embroidery, but I do like doing it. Thanks for sharing such a lovely giveaway and extras on making the bag. :)

  2. Thanks for the tutorial. This blog hopping is such fun. Hugs

  3. Very interesting tutorial. I am sure it will come in handy.

  4. Thanks for the tutorial. I just love the Japanese panel!

  5. It's so cute right? I bought the panel fabric a few months ago and haven't used it yet and thought it would be perfect for a bag or two.

  6. Great tutorial, it's just a shame I can't sew ... that's what my sis miss nance is for
    Loving this blog hop, really enjoying seeing what others make, I love ur bags :)

  7. Great tutorial, and lovely Giveaway, Rai. :) Hopping off to visit Dawn now.

  8. Great tutorial and its great getting to know you in the forum too Rai. Hasnt this blog hop been fun? I have enjoyed visiting your blog and you have got it looking real pretty :) Hugs Vicki

  9. Fun bag and great instructions. I love the hidden pocket idea. I've made many travel jackets and vests with these little pockets inside. They have also become my favorite quilt show garments too, as I can keep that credit card right at hand in my hidden pocket and not lug myself down with a purse. :-) You know how we are at those darn quilt show! hahaha

  10. Thanks for the great tutorial love your blog and having so much fun on the blog hop!

  11. Great tutorial!
    I love making bags

  12. Thanks for the tote bag tips, I love a good tote! I'm trying to visit all of you lovely ladies on the hop so I'm bookmarking you and will be back for a nosy round soon

  13. thanks for all the tips for the bags. I learned some new ones. I love to make the totes and like to do something a little different each time.

  14. I absolutely love your bags from easy peasy pattern. I do this too and always amazed at how different each one looks! Thanks for the tips and pattern referral :) I have been a member of the forum for over a month and love it!
    Carmen in AK

  15. Great tips on the tote! I am a fan of totes and get requests from my nieces all the time. I joined the forum and am now a follower of your blog. thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Are you sure Spokane, Washington isn't in Australia? Darn :-/ That bag is so cute! I'm having lots of fun checking out all the blogs in this hop :)

  17. Ah, love recycling/reusing tips :D! Love bags too!

  18. Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Thanks for the great tips Rai, I haven't made a bag in ages, but there is a long weekend coming up soon, so might be a good project for it.

  20. I have joined the forum and have enjoyed checking out your blog. Off to the next one. Tina Abert

  21. Thank you for the great tutorial. I've joined the forum and am off hopping to the next blog!

  22. Wow Rai... I'm exhasuted and all I had to do was read the tutorial. You're going to make a great teacher..... this is fun hopping....I'm off to the lovely Dawn

  23. Thank you very much for your great tutorial. This blog hop is really fun.I've joined the forum.

  24. I am loving the blog hop and your tips are great. So helpful. Thanks.

  25. Gr8 TuTe Rai.. Your lil bag is cute.



  26. Great tutorials! Enjoying the hop and joined the forum. Have a fun day!

  27. Great tutorial, I loved the idea of using an antique pillow case. Lovely giveaway,lovely interests

  28. Hi Rai,
    Thankyou so much for the tutorial! I really like your ideas - great thinking!

  29. I am getting exhausted with all this blog hopping and new knowledge I'm gaining. I love the 'pick point' card especially since embroidery is one of my favourite things to do :)

  30. I love bags too. I recycle jeans. Off to my next blog, happy hopping.

  31. Thankyou for the tutorial and a lovely giveaway ,I have added you to my favourites and will visit again.

  32. I love making bags of all sorts! Favorite is recycled denim - with pockets! (many pockets inside and out :) I tried prairie points on the front of one and gave that one away as "wrapping paper" for a birthday gift.

  33. I SO agree with you on the handle stitching hint!!!! It takes a bit longer but is soooo much more professional looking! I've made three of Dawns baseco bags and am learning new things with each of them....great to see your tips!! Thanks
    Sugary hugs
    Wendy :O)