Tutorial: Using tiny scraps for zipper tabs

Here’s my method for using tiny scraps for zipper tabs (without needing a piece big enough to fold over. Shown via a zip pouch project.

  1. Pindscn0009.jpg
  2. SewDSCN0010
  3. Trimdscn0014.jpgDSCN0017dscn0016.jpgDSCN0017
  4. Pressdscn0018.jpg
  5. Top-stitch (whoops! forgot this step). It should now look like this (plus top-stitching at ends of zipper tabs):DSCN0019
  6. Pin right sides of lining together & right sides of exterior together.DSCN0020
  7. This is how the zipper tabs should be folded when pinning.  DSCN0021
  8. And sew, starting at one of the orange pins, working your way all the way around. Leaving bottom open as usual. Don’t forget your tab with your swivel clip if you want to include one:DSCN0023
  9. Then I just trim and sew corners, turn right side out, sew up the bottom of the bag lining.DSCN0026DSCN0025

Quilted Tote-torial: Part 3.

Part 3: Sewing bag body & finishing

Sew interior.

Read carefully before sewing.

Trace and cut 2.5″ squares from the two bottom corners of each lining and exterior panel.

Center pocket layers across bottom edge of one lining panel, right sides together. Place second lining panel on top, right side facing in and pin all layers. Sew across bottom using 1/2″ seam, starting and stopping 1/2″ in from edges.

This will allow you to fold back the edge to sew the sides as follows:

Fold down side of square cutout to line up with the bottom edge of the bag lining & finger press. Line up top of square cutout to line up with the side of the cutout and the bottom edge of the bag lining & finger press. Pin. Repeat with second corner. Flip over and repeat on the other side.

Pin sides as shown below. Green pins indicate pinned corners. Sew using 1/2″ seam, stopping 1/2″ in from bottom edge.


Pin & sew corners using 1/2″ seam.

Turn right side out as shown below.


Sew exterior.

Pin as shown below. This is where you will add your #10 key loops as well. Pin your key loops between the orange and white pins interior loops or between the green and orange pins for exterior loops. Shown below is one key loop pinned for an exterior loop.

Note: Now is also the time to add any optional clips or key rings to your key loop.


I made a mistake and pinned both of mine for the exterior instead of the interior and am debating taking apart the bag to fix it.

Use a different color pin to mark the center 5-6″ of the bottom edge, as you will not be sewing this portion. Sew sides and approximately 3.5″ on each end of the bottom edge using 1/2″ seam.File_002(3)


Pin & sew corners using 1/2″ seam.

Sew interior & exterior together.

There are 2 ways to do this. I found it most comfortable to have the exterior right side out and the interior inside out with the exterior in one side of the divider like this:


I pinned one side, and sewed it using 1/2″ seam, then put the exterior into the other side of the divider and repeated the process.

You can also have the interior right side out with the exterior inside out around it like this:


Either way, pin & sew using 1/2″ seam making sure both straps are inside the bag and not caught in the seam.

This is what you’ll have when you are done.



Turn bag right side out through the bottom of the exterior.

Pin and sew bottom opening shut using 1/8″ seam.


Grab bag by handles and straighten so that exterior and interior are fully seated together. Press and topstitch 1/4″ seam around top edge of bag. Trim or weave in any remaining threads.


And you are finished!


Quilted Tote-torial: Part 2.

Part 2: Quilting panels, sewing straps and zipper.

Quilt Main Exterior Panels.

Because you are quilting without a backing, it is not essential to use a walking foot unless you prefer that. Personally, I use a 1/4″ piecing foot for my straight line quilting on bags, and I maybe pull out the FMQ foot if I decide to do a more interesting design.

It is VERY important that you use a cotton batting if you are machine quilting here. I have found that poly batting without a backing will get snagged on the sewing machine quite frequently. At best, you’ll need to unscrew the panel and clean out your machine after each panel. At worst, you could damage your machine or your fabric.

For my panels I used straight line quilting for the entire thing. I simply drew diagonal lines with a washable fabric chalk pencil & fabric ruler before I began and buried and knotted any extra ends when I was done.

After quilting, trim any excess batting and thread from edges.


Sew straps.

Sew fabric loops #10 closed along pressed edges 1/8″ seam. Repeat with #9 for regular straps.

regular strap sewn

Wide straps: Sew along pinned edge 1/4″ seam. Press seam open. Turn right side out and press so that seam runs down center back of each strap. If using longer straps for knot detail, tie a single knot centered on strap.

For both types of strap, take one #4 piece and one strap and pin strap 3.5″ in from each edge as shown. Take another #4 piece and place face down, removing pins one at a time and using them to pin through entire fabric sandwich. Repeat with second strap. Sew using 1/2″ seam.

sew strap1

sew strap2

sew strap 3Sew straps to quilted panels as shown below using 1/4″ seam.

strap outer pinned


Repeat for second quilted piece and strap.

Install Pocket Zipper.

Unzip zipper halfway, then trim to 12″ (make sure your zip toggle is inside of the margins before cutting). Line up two #11 pieces covering 3/4″ on each end of the zipper wrong sides together as pictured below. Pin and sew using 1/8″ seam.

Take one pocket lining and lay it face up. Place zipper face up, lined up with the top edge. Cover with one pocket exterior and pin. Repeat for other side.




Sew using a 1/4″ seam. You can hand sew, use a zipper foot, or use a 1/4″ piecing foot. (For the last option simply unzip the zipper, sew to the halfway mark, zip the zipper all the way, and resume sewing.)

Repeat on other side of zipper for second pocket lining and exterior.

Press open, trim edges & topstitch using 1/8″ seam.


…to be continued…


Quilted Tote-torial: Part 1.

Part 1: Supplies, Cutting, & Prepping. Minimal Sewing.



  • Fabric Option 1 (3 color tote):
    • Fabric A (main exterior) – 1/2 yard quilting cotton (allows for directional print).
    • Fabric B (base exterior, contrast accent interior & straps) – 1/2 yard quilting cotton.
    • Fabric C (contrast accent exterior & lining) – 1 yard quilting cotton.
  • Fabric Option 2 (4 color tote):
    • Fabric A (main exterior) – 1/2 yard quilting cotton (allows for directional print).
    • Fabric B (base exterior) – 1/4 yard or 1 fat quarter quilting cotton (allows for directional print).
    • Fabric C (contrast accent) – 1/4 yard or 1 fat quarter quilting cotton (allows for directional print).
    • Fabric D (lining & straps) – 1 yard quilting cotton.
  • Pellon SF101 fusible interfacing – 3 yards (20″ width).
  • The Warm Company Warm And Natural Cotton Needled Batting 34″x45″ (NOTE: this is enough for two quilted totes). Or 2 large cotton batting scraps that can be cut down to 17″x17″. NOTE: Do not use polyester batting for this project. This will be discussed more in depth in Part 2 of the tutorial.
  • A YKK® 12 inch (or longer) #3 nylon coil closed bottom zipper – or other brand. Coats & Clark makes a comparable zipper.
  • Optional: any purse tack you wish to add to your key loops such as the 16x30mm swivel lobster clasp that I added on my second bag.
  • Coordinating thread.
  • Tools – Every sewist has tools that they prefer, but these are the tools (besides my sewing machine & iron) that I used during this project:


Start by pressing all of your fabrics.


NOTE: Fabrics listed are for Option 1. For Option 2 fabrics cut (#1, #5, #10) from Fabric A, (#3) from Fabric B, (#2, #4) from Fabric C, (#6, #7, #8, #9, #11) from Fabric D. After cutting, pieces will be referred to by their numbers so that the instructions are interchangeable for either Option 1 or 2.

  1. (2) 17″ x 10″ (Fabric A)
  2. (2) 17″ x 2″ (Fabric C)
  3. (2) 17″ x 6″ (Fabric B)
  4. (4) 17″ x 2″ (Fabric B)
  5. (2) 12″ x 8″ (Fabric A)
  6. (2) 12″ x 6.5″ (Fabric B)
  7. (2) 12″ x 14″ (Fabric C)
  8. (2) 17″ x 17″ (Fabric C)
  9. (2) 5″ x 34″ (Fabric C) add 2″ on length for knot detail on wide straps
  10. (2) 2″ x 5″ (Fabric A)
  11. (4) 2″ x 1.5″ (Fabric A)

From your interfacing cut the following pieces. Instructions given are to ensure maximum usage from yardage. If you cut pieces in a different order, you may run out/need more.

  1. Make (4) 17″ cuts. Set aside remaining yardage. Trim these cuts to (4) 17″ x 17″ squares.
  2. Trim leftover 17″ x 3″ strips to (4) 17″ x 2″ rectangles.
  3. Make a 34″ cut. Cut (2) 5″ x 34″ strips from this.
  4. Cut 10″ strip into (2) 10″ x 14″ rectangles. From remaining 20″ x 6″ cut (2) 2″ x 14″ strips

From batting: cut (2) 17″ x 17″ squares.

And this is what you should have when you are finished:

Piecing exterior panels & exterior pocket panels.

Main Panel: Using 1/4″ seam, line up #1 and #2 with right sides together and sew. If using a directional print for main fabric, be sure that #2 is lined up along the bottom of the print. Do the same for #2 and #3. Repeat for second panel.

Pocket Panel: Using 1/4″ seam, piece #5 to #6 in the same manner. Repeat for second panel.

Press seams open on all panels.


Fusing interfacing.

For this step you will need an ironing board, an iron, and a pressing cloth.

Fuse interfacing to the following pieces according to the instructions that come with your interfacing: Main panel, Pocket panel, #4, #8, and #9. For the pocket panel use the 10″x 14″ interfacing rectangles alongside the 2″ x 14″ strips.


After fusing your interfacing, trim any little bits of interfacing along the edges and corners that stick out past your fabric. Flip your fabric back to right side up and press with very light steam from the center out to the edges to get rid of any wrinkles or bubbles.



Finishing prep.

Straps, key loops, zipper ends, and pin basting.

Pin baste exterior bag panels to cotton batting.


Regular straps: Press each strap #9 in half the long way, then press in sides to meet the line created by original pressing. Press in half again (pictured: straps from draft 1 of this design).


Wide straps: Pin each strap #9 inside out along the long edge.


Repeat method for Regular straps with key loops #10.

Press edges on zipper ends #11 in 1/2″ along one 1 1/2″ edge.

pressed 1

…to be continued…


Super Simple Sinar Tichel

This is a very basic pattern for a really simple sinar (or apron) tichel (headscarf) using quilting cotton because sometimes you just come across a print that is meant to be a headscarf.

You can easily use the measurements to work with classier fabrics with more drape to them (and with fabrics with more drape, the width of the ties can be more variable as well). Fabric amounts are affected by your individual measurements and are calculated in Step 2.

I would like to add that I don’t use any products that give me a bigger bump under my tichel. So, if you use a bump, you may need to make the tichel wider. In this case I might recommend not subtracting from your HC# for your first try.

Step 1. Measuring.

First you’ll need to take a couple measurements with your measuring tape (round each number up to nearest half inch mark).

  1. Put on a tichel how you would normally wear it. Line the tape measure up with the edge of your tichel all the way around. This number is your head circumference (HC) ___.
  2. Line up the 0 on the tape measure with the front, center of the edge of your tichel. Gently drape the measure across the center of your head and bring it up under the bump to where your tichel is tied. It is very important that you drape gently and do not pull tight. This number is your head length (HL) ___.

Step 2. Calculating Fabric Amounts.

Now you’re going to take your HC# & HL# and determine the width & length of the pieces you will need to cut.

  1. The main piece will be your HC – 2″ x HL + 3.5″. My numbers are HC = 21″ & HL = 16.5″. This means my main piece will be 19″ x 20″.
  2. Your wider tie will be HC + 11″ (for me 32″) x 3″ to 4″. Absolutely do not go wider than 4″.
  3. Your narrower tie will be HC +10″ (for me 31″) x 2.5″ to 3″. This should be narrower than your wide tie.

Buy your fabric, pre-wash your fabric (if you’re into that and not using precuts), press your fabric, and cut 1 each of #1, #2, #3 after you calculate your measurements.

Some of the numbers on this graph are incorrect since I drew it for my first draft.


Step 3. Pressing hems.

Press in by 1/2″ the single straight edge on your main piece and the long edges on each tie. Press in one long edge a second time 1/4″, creating a 1/4 hem.


Step 4. Sewing ties.

Line up one tie with your main piece, right sides together with 1/2″ fold on both pieces lined up. Pin and sew using a 1/2″ seam. Repeat on other side with second tie.


Step 5. Finishing pressing.

Press seams open and press in 1/2″ all the way around the edge of the main piece. Press in all edges (except top edge) again using 1/4″ to create a 1/4″ hem. Pin.

Press top edge in 1/2″ a second time, creating a 1/2″ hem. Pin.


Step 6. Sewing hem.

Sew around all edges using 1/8″ seam. Treat each fabric as a separate unit. This allows you to match thread to each fabric. Here I used white for the main piece and cream for the ties.File_003

Weave in and trim threads.