Transparent gift bags

Use what you have for quick make bags…

I have a roll of book covering plastic doing nothing in my stash, so cut rectangles from it and headed to the sewing machine

I folded copy paper (yes I also have a lot of coloured copy paper to use up) over the short ends and stitched it in place with a long zig zag.

The covered ends were folded together and the open sides zig zagged together to make a bag. I even boxed the bottom of the bigger one shown but am not sure it was worth the effort.

Two tips: use an old blunt needle as the plastic will ruin a new needle and long stitch lengths will minimise problems with the plastic slipping.

Snap bags


‘Snap’ was a local word for packed lunch in Nottingham/ Derbyshire when I was living there many, many years ago. So these lunch bags fastened with Kam snaps had an obvious snappy name.

I used remnants of vinyl from an Amazon job lot which meant cutting front and back panels to use the fabric best. If you have a plasticised tablecloth or even a heavy duty shower curtain to upcycle that would work well.

Because the remnants weren’t squared, one of the sunflower bags has an angled flap which needs three snaps to keep it closed well. But because the colour of the snaps is a positive (there were about 20 sachets of different colour snaps in the beginner set I bought) it makes the end result better in a quirky way.

While the snaps were out I made a small lined bag (angled flap and 3 snaps again) and turned the cuff end of a shirt sleeve (left over from last week’s laundry bag make) into a phone holder to avoid scratches when it is in my bag.

to make: cut vinyl into required shape (back bigger so the flap folds over)

with right sides facing sew round the sides and bottom – use a long stitch length to make as few puncture holes in the vinyl as possible and don’t do too many back stitches at beginning and end or the vinyl will be too holey and might tear when in use.

trim seam allowance and clip the seam really close to the stitches at the corners before turning right sides out – the clipping helps neaten the corners as vinyl is quite bulky.

fold the edges of the flap over and seam these in place, on one of the bags I used zig zag for this to hide a blooper I had made.

position the snaps or you could use Velcro to finish the bag

Upcycle shirt into laundry bag



Thanks to Edward for finally clearing out his aging shirts. The less lovely patterns will be used to line projects but this shirt is worth using on the outside

I decided to keep the placket (learnt that word from Sewing Bee) so just chopped off the collar and sleeves leaving equal rectangles. (I unpicked a dart on the back but this really wasn’t necessary).

I then cut two matching rectangles from lining material (I am finally making headway into the old duvet cover that is flattering up my fabric stash/jumble).

To make a drawstring tube, I cut two strips of fabric from the remnant about 10 inches by 4, hemmed the short ends and ironed under about an inch on the long sides before stitching the long ends a couple of inches down from the top of the outside of front and then back of the shirt

With right sides facing I hemmed the sides and bottom of both shirt and lining (leaving a gap for turning in the bottom of the lining. I boxed the corners with a 2 inch box cut out but this isn’t necessary.

I then turned the lining right sides out and sat it inside the shirt bag. I pinned the tops of the bags together, matching the seams and smoothing out any wrinkly bits before hemming all the way round.

I pulled the shirt through the gap in the lining, stitched the gap shut and then pushed the lining back inside the bag.  I ironed and top stitched around the top hem before threading cord loops through the drawstring.

This is an easy project as the shirt front does all the style work needed. I didn’t even stitch the two sides of the front together, just left them buttoned up. This means the user could tuck things between front and lining if desired. And that’s in addition to the original shirt pocket on the front. I did put fabric tabs over the cord ends to use up some of the little remnants but it’s really not required.

Perhaps this is too good for a laundry bag!

On another version I tried using the sleeves to shape the bag by cutting just inside the shoulder seam. It made the bag slightly wider but a bit more fiddly and saggy when finished.



Felt piggy bank

A57E860C-C238-41E6-8612-288C37168DF0While  the felt and googly eyes were on the table, I remembered this Pinterest inspired ‘to do’.

In practical terms, bigger is better – this one wouldn’t hold many coins, but I was pleased at how easy it was to make from some of my Ali Express little felt squares.

I sketched the outline in pencil direct on the felt then cut it out on two matching pieces of cheap, stiff, nylon felt before zig zag stitching around the coin slot and edges. The googly eyes were stuck on with collage medium.

It might be fun to make a suitcase or flag shaped one for someone saving for a holiday; car shaped or Christmas tree shaped or …

Key Ring Pocket – ideal for Mother’s Day

These little pockets fit on your key ring and usefully hold a lip balm or some pooh bags or emergency fiver. I made a bunch of them with co-ordinating tissue pockets (see post from 2015 A-tishoo! A tissue …) for a sweet little handbag accessory gift. The original idea came from Lorrie Nunemaker but I simplified her project a bit.

All you need is a piece of fabric that is 5″ x 9″ plus a 2″ square for a tab that will slide on your key ring. If your fabric is lightweight cotton interface the main piece then fold it in half  (right sides facing and iron it so you have a piece that is 2.5″ x 9″.

Sew around the open edges with a 1/4″ seam leaving a turning gap between 2″ and 3″ from the top.  Clip the corners and turn right sides out then iron flat again.

Now make your tab by ironing the 2″ square in half opening it out and ironing two sides towards the centre fold and then folding in half again so you have a strip that is 1/2″ x 2″. Sew around the four sides of the strip with a narrow seam.

fold the tap in half and push it inside the turning gap  left in your main piece as shown

Now fold the top down to about 1 1/2″ from the bottom to form the pocket

In this picture I have now rotated the fabric 180 degrees – I didn’t poke out that corner very well did I?

Now sew around the sides and top with a tiny seam allowance to finish the pocket and fix the tab in. Take it slow over the tab as it is quite bulky.

If you have KAM snaps this is the time to use them, if not some old fashioned poppers or velcro tabs would work as alternative  fasteners.

Bonus for middle aged users: the brighter the fabric the easier it is to find your keys at the bottom of your handbag!

quick and simple hot water bottle cover

So quick yet makes such a difference…

I laid the bottle on the fabric, traced round it leaving a half inch seam allowance then cut out a matching pair of fabric pieces.

With wrong sides facing, I sewed the sides from neck to bottom before flipping fabric right sides out and sliding in the bottle.

On one version I hand stitched the bottle in permanently, on the pictured version I used kam snaps to close up the bottom. With IKEA fleece I don’t have to worry about hemming the exposed edges.

This is a huge success as it keeps the bottle water hot for longer and is nice and cuddly too. Great return on the time spent on this one.

Jeans to bottle bags…


A worn out pair of jeans is repurposed so the bottoms of both legs have become bottle carriers.

This is a quick job suitable for heavy weight fabric, such as denim. Lighter weight material will need lining. With straight leg adult jeans the resulting bag is big enough for champagne or magnums if you are feeling generous.


Cut the bottom of the jeans leg off.  I took 15 inches off. Cut up one of the seams so you have a rectangle 15 inches tall and the width is the circumference of your jeans leg. Mine were straight leg jeans so plenty big enough for the next step. (If your jeans are skinny, cut a further 3 inch strip from the remaining jeans leg to make your handle)

Cut a strip about three inches wide from the side of the rectangle. Turn in the raw edges , fold this strip in half and then sew down both sides to make a 15 inch long handle. Set aside.

Turn the remaining fabric so the hem is at the top then fold it right sides facing  and seam down the side and across the bottom of the rectangle. This leaves the hemmed edge open so it becomes the neat, finished top of your bag. I boxed the corners of my bag, but it isn’t essential.

Sew the ends of the handle inside opposite edges of the top of the bag. I took care to double stitch the handles in to avoid breakages.

As a finishing touch I added a heat transfer vinyl ‘cheers’.


Magnetic wristband

6439824B-416C-4B62-B868-C3C6504B21BFGreat for sewing or diy. No more dangerous pins between the teeth or dropped screws with this quick stitch wristband.


fabric about 11 by 2.5 inches for a woman’s wrist – light denim ok, cotton better

velcro, 7 mini magnets, 6x 0.5 inch strip of magnetic sheet from craft shop, glue, needle and thread


Fix Velcro towards opposite corners of the fabric i.e. top right and bottom left so that when the fabric is folded the strip will fasten comfortably around the wrist, stitch Velcro in place

Fold the fabric in half, with right sides facing, to form a thin strip and stitch round the three open sides, leaving a turning gap about half way along the long side. Turn fabric right side out.

Stick mini magnets along the magnetic sheet, spacing them evenly. I used multi medium glue. When dry, slide the strip in to the fabric through the turning gap – make sure the magnets are facing up to what will be the top of your wrist band

Top stitch all around the edge and you are done.12A02BF1-0859-481A-9AF6-8A0D0859AA31

Luggage tags

imageEasy peezy lemon squeezy tags that take minutes to make if you keep it simple…

1. fuse a piece of firm interfacing ( I used Pellon fuse-n-shape) between two scraps of material that are just bigger than the interfacing.

My interfacing was 3.5 inches by 4 – a scrap that I wanted to experiment on, my next versions will be a bit bigger if I decide to cut into my carefully hoarded interfacing.

2. Trim the fabric sandwich to a tag shape, rotary cutter works well but my favourite was  using pinking shears

3. Punch a hole and set an eyelet, I used my cropodile and was grateful to make a tiny dent in the eyelet stash (how did that get so big?)

4. Cut a piece of plastic packaging – the firmer the better- to a rectangle bigger than your tag and fold over a small ‘hem’. With a long straight stitch sew the hem down 44B7F43C-280A-4762-ACB5-76146994A8D9.jpeg

5. Position the plastic over the tag with the hem across the ‘shoulders’ of the tag and then sew the other three sides to the tag

6. Trim the plastic, I angled my scissors so I could trim it just smaller than the fabric

7. Insert card or paper with your details on

What a great little project. Inspired by Riley Blake designs.

If you embroidered or monogrammed or vinyled a design onto the fabric first,  these would make fab personalised tags