Something Old Something New – Festival Bag Upcycle

I’m a fan of fashion.  But as a mom (and as a work-at-home one,) there isn’t much motivation to step past the yoga pants and a clean (smelling) tee most days.  I do admit, when I can get my act together, it does make me feel good to step out of my slip-on Vans.  Now that both my kids are in school,  I’ve been making a conscientious effort to bring my fashion game back – nothing crazy, but pulled together looks using cues from today’s trends.  Like Boho.

I love the relaxed (aka loose fitting) style of Bohemian fashion.  I grew up near the Philadelphia Folk Festival so I saw a lot of 70’s hippie clothes and I love the laid back vibe.  Pair that with my urban life in the city for 10+ years and the result is this “Festival Bag.”  It’s an edgier take on Boho with the dark floral, leather and antique brass hardware.

When RJR Fabrics asked me to work with some of their new fabrics, this Reverie line pretty much blew my mind.  I tend to work with more graphic prints, but the photo-realistic imagery in these Digiprints are amazing.  The best part, is that these fabrics feel JUST like their other high quality quilt cottons so you know you are working with the good stuff.

This Floral Fantasy print with the the dark background is just gorgeous. I love the style contrast of soft flowers with the intense black (which is how I like to mix up my own closet.)  I like combining hard elements with something very soft and feminine. I also like a mix of textures. So this soft quilt cotton HAD to be paired with some leather and lots of hardware, right?

My mom knew I was upcycling old leather coats and gave me this great long duster about a year ago. I’m happy to finally use it.  This coat is such a great upcycle coat because of its size and the design. Too bad the shape…errr…lack of….just doesn’t work now. There are so many large pieces of leather to use in any project.  I used about 70% of this coat and I might use the rest on a future clutch…

The larger pieces were all cut into 1/4″ fringe and double-layered all around the bag. Fringe is one of my favorite things in a bag.  It’s so much fun to walk and feel the swing of the leather. The pieces add movement and life to everyday running around.

More leather was added to the top flap and I saved all the scraps. They are great to use in zipper pulls and bag charms. You can see I made some tassels and added lots of rivets. I also used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out my intials. Long skinny scraps can be turned into beautiful braids like this one as well.

On the inside of the bag, there is more Reverie with the Mirage in Bloom print. It is the perfect complement to this style bag. It is a mottled floral which gives a very contemporary feel with the more muted tones.

With spring music festivals in the news, I decided to make the bag strap differently than I usually would. Taking inspiration from the bands themselves, I modeled the strap after guitar ones. The leather strap is about 1 1/2″ wide with Floral Fantasy on top and another layer of leather all stitched in place with added rivet accents.

I am so in love with how this strap and bag turned out. I can’t wait to “rock” it all summer long.

Project Details:



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Trompe le Monde Bag in AGF Mad Plaid Fabrics

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you know about my friend, @MisterDomestic, also known to the layperson as Mathew Boudreaux.  He is a crazy talented sewing powerhouse with amazing project finishes which you can find here.  (You welcome.) So when he asked me to join the #MisterDomesticsSewingParty, I had to say yes.  There was no question.  It would be sew-cial suicide otherwise, right?!? ;D

Like a great host, Mathew has the best party spread around.  He has these amazing Capsules which are mini collections of trending designs by the wizards working over at Art Gallery Fabrics (AGF.)  The Mad Plaids Capsule immediately spoke to me with it’s mix of masculine and feminine colors in such classic patterns.

Plaids are always in season with their preppy polished feel, so I thought a smart looking “work bag” was in order.  This quilt  cotton pull (from top to bottom) of Classic Mademoiselle, Secret Ways, and Electric Watermelon Plaid plays amazingly well with AGF Denim.  The Solid Textured Denim (heavy 10 oz) in Evergreen Slate takes on a tweed-like form when paired with these plaids…kinda magical don’t you think?

Back in the day, I was a regular commuter on the El (short for Elevated train for all you suburanites) and had to haul everything…lunch, flip phone, reading book, heels, you name it.  Thinking of those days inspired me to make the Trompe le Monde pattern by Sara Lawson (Sew Sweetness.)  This bag can be found in her book, Windy City Bags.  The Trompe le Monde would have been the perfect bag to haul all my stuff back then.  Plus, it’s design really can showcase a fabric properly…like these Mad Plaids.

What makes this a great work bag, is the size…it’s big and would make a great carry-on for those business trips.  But the real golden feature is the large middle zippered compartment.  It is just perfect to tuck away a small laptop…er…maybe a happy hour outfit for later…

I love the contrasting slip pockets against this gray and white Classic Mademoiselle print.  It makes it easy to find your phone and/or any writing instruments.

But…I always like a bit of fun with my bags. We can’t be serious all the time, right? The lining of Electric Watermelon adds a great unexpected pop and I love the unorthodox pairing with the other plaids.

The AGF denim was easy to sew and it gives a nice textural contrast.  The nickel hardware adds a real sophisticated touch and turns this bag up a notch.  You know how I looove rivets…

How cute is this extra accent piece on the side panel?  The plaid was cut on the bias to change things up a bit and the Secret Ways Plaid still looks amazing.

Although I’m no longer a city commuter,  I can still see myself using this bag everyday for client meetings and even to sneak new fabric purchases into the house.  My huge sketchbook fits perfectly inside with tons of room to spare.  What would you do with these Mad Plaid Fabrics?

Project Details:

  • Fabric:
    • Mad Plaids in quilt cotton (Classic Mademoiselle, Secret Ways, and Electric Watermelon) by Art Gallery Fabrics
    • Solid Textured Denim (10oz) in Evergreen Slate by Art Gallery Fabrics
  • Bag Pattern: Trompe le Monde found in Windy City Bags by Sara Lawson (Sew Sweetness)
  • Hardware:  Emmaline Bags
  • Piping: JoAnn’s Fabrics
  • Interfacing: SF101 & Annie’s Soft & Stable

#MisterDomesticsSewingParty #MadPlaidsFabric #ArtGalleryFabrics #WeAreFabrics

Don’t forget to keep the party going and visit all these talented makers and their projects.  I heard there maybe some giveaways….

Mon 4/17: Cristy Stuhldreher (@loveyousew_) (You are here!)
Tue 4/18: Kitty Wilkin (@nightquilter)
Wed April 19: Sharon McConnell (@colorgirlquilts)
Thur April 20: Stephanie Palmer (@latenightquilter)
Fri April 21: Nicole Young (@lillyellasworld)

Mon 4/24: Nicole Daksiewicz (@modernhandcraft)
Tue 4/25: Tara Curtis (@t_jaye, @WEFTYneedle)
Wed 4/26: Melissa LeRay (@ohhowsweetco)
Thur 4/27: Sarah Thomas (@sariditty)
Fri 4/28: Jennifer Rossotti (@jennrossotti)

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Quilted Envelope Clutch :: Free Tutorial


Envelope Clutches are everywhere right now and I was inspired by it simple and timeless shape.  This Quilted Envelope Clutch design is over-sized to give you ample room for all of your essentials, but still is nice  enough to go from day to night.  It’s a sleek bag when paired with the right faux (or real) leather.  Coincidentally, this clutch design also fits a MacBook Pro perfectly, so its versatile and you can change up the fabrics to make it as laptop holders.

As I wrote in last week’s post from the Observer blog tour here, I like to show how hip and modern quilting can be.  I love how the piecing of a half log-cabin accentuates the envelope shape and the monotone palette keeps it chic.  Simple quilting adds enough texture and detail without being over-the-top…or over-worked.

This tutorial is for the faux leather version and finishes at approximately 14 3/4″ x 10 1/2″.  As with all patterns, don’t jump the gun…please ready through the instructions in their entirety.  Shoot me an email and/or leave me a comment if you have any questions.  Enjoy!

Materials Required:

  • Faux leather/ Vegan leather / Vinyl (1/2 yd)
  • Lining & Pocket Fabric (1 yd)
  • Pieced Panel scraps (1/4 yd)
  • Pieced Panel Lining Fabric (1/4 yd)
  • Woven Fusible Interfacing [Pellon SF101] (2 1/2 yds)
  • Ultra-firm Sew-In Interfacing [Pellon 70 Peltex] (1 yd)
  • 9″ Zipper
  • Magnetic Snap
  • Coordinating Thread(s)
  • Poster Board (optional for cutting pattern templates)
  • Spray Baste or Fabric Glue Pen (optional)
  • Clover Clips

 Cutting Instructions: 

  1. Create the body and center panel cutting templates following the black numbers.  Make markings for the numbers and lines in purple.
    • Cut the angles by finding the mid-point of the short-sides of each template.  cutting-template
    • Round out each of the “envelope points” using a large spool of threadimg_7001
  2. Use your larger template to cut:
    • (1) Body with faux leather
    • (1) Lining
    • (2) Woven Fusible Interfacingsp1060660
  3. With the Firm Sew-In Interfacing, cut:
    • (2) 14 3/4″ x 9 3/4″ rectangles
    • (1) Triangle per the following photo:img_7014a
  4. For pieced Center Panel (as a half log-cabin), cut:
    • (1) 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ square
    • (34) 5″ x 1 1/2″ strips
    • Use smaller template to cut (1) Center Panel liningp1060674
  5. For Lining Pockets, cut:
    • (1) 16″ x 11″ rectangle with the lining fabric
    • (1) 16″ x 11″ rectangle with fusible woven interfacing
    • (1) 9″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle with faux leather


(1/4″ seam allowance unless otherwise noted)

  1. Interface the body.  *Please check and test the heat settings beforehand.  Not all vinyl/faux leather is created equal.

    • Place the Peltex pieces per the following photo.  Leave 3/8″ allowance all around the edge of the vinyl.  Keep 3/4″ in between the (2) 14 3/4″ x 9 3/4″ pieces.  Make sure you align the Peltex triangle long edge with the top corners of the vinyl.  You can can secure them in place with a little spray baste or with Sewline glue pen.  *It’s important to have the Peltex split into 3 pieces to give the ease and flexibility where the clutch will fold.  It will also alleviate some of the “cracking” appearance that can happen with interfacings that are forced to moved a lot.p1060663
    • Use one of the fusible woven interfacing pieces and fuse on top of the firm sew-in interfacing.  You may need to work the edges of the SF101 around the Peltex with your iron. Set aside.interface-vinyl
  2. Fuse the 2nd piece of fusible woven interfacing to your lining.  Set aside
  3. Fuse the pocket fusible woven interfacing to the pocket lining fabric.  Set aside
  4. Prepare Center Panelp1060670
    • Piece as desired.  I used a traditional half log-cabin design, but you can use anything that you like as long as it can be trimmed to the Center Panel template you created earlier.
      • Line up the short-end of the first strip (gray-blue speck) with the edge of the square (eagle) and sew with 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press open
      • Line up the short end of another strip (navy dashes) with the opposite edge of the square (eagle) and sew.  Alternate sides until you have used all 34 strips.
      • Use Center Panel template and trim to fit.
    • Assemble the Center Panel by placing the right-sides of the center piecing with the center panel lining.p1060675
    • Sew all around leaving an opening at the TOP to turn.p1060676
    • Notch out the BOTTOM and all cornersp1060678
    • Pull right-side out and press
  5. Line up the center panel on top of the right-side of the faux leather.  Make sure it’s even on both sides of the panel.  You can secure it into place using pins since you don’t see the faux leather.p1060680
  6. Topstitch into place.  It may seem easier to have sewn this panel onto the vinyl before all of the interfacing, but this is how you will secure all of the Peltex into place and prevent any shifting with use.p1060683TIPS:
    • Use upholstery thread or any other nylon/polyester thread.  I like the upholstery for the heavier weight, the sheen, and it glides well through all of the layers.
    • Increase your stitch-length to at least 3.0 for a nice look
    • Use a walking foot for even stitches
    • You may need to increase your needle size if the thread is not pulling through and/or you are getting skipped stitches
    • Keep matching all-purpose polyester thread in the bobbin.  It helps with skipped stitches.
  7. At this point, you can quilt the vinyl, if desired.  Set the body aside.IMG_6780 IMG_6880
    • TIP:  Use washi tape for your guidelines. Chalk and pen will easily smear off the faux leather.IMG_6772
  8. Attach pockets onto lining
    • With the flat edge of the lining on top and right side facing you, measure 3″ down from the straight edge and 3 1/4″ in on either side.  Pin (where you will sew) the faux leather into place 1/8″ from the edges (marked in yellow.)  You can leave this as a large slip pocket or you can divide it for your cell phone.  I marked mine 3 1/2″ in from the edge to hold an iPhone 6. Sew the three edges into place and then the dividing seam (marked by yellow.)img_7026
  9. Turn the lining 180 degrees.  With the right-side facing you, mark 10 1/2″ down from the top of the lining and pin the short-side of the  pocket lining fabric there.  Mark a rectangle 1″ down from the top and sides of the pocket that is 9″ x 3/8″ (blue pen.)  p1060690
  10. Sew all-around the 9″ x 3/8″ rectangle on the marks you made.  Cut through the rectangle as shown, stopping about 1/4″ from the end (red pen lines.) [Image a]. Make small cuts from the middle out to each corner, getting close to the stitches, but not cutting directly through.  Push pocket through the hole [images b & c] and press [image d].lining-pocket-collage
  11. With the right side of the lining facing you, line up the zipper in the opening just created.  Either pin in place or use Sewline glue pen.  Sew 1/8″ all around the opening.img_7024
  12. With the wrong-side of the lining facing you, fold up the pocket so the short-sides match.  Press on the fold.  Pin all around the pocket, but not including the lining. Sew pocket shut (following blue dashed lines in pictures.)  Make sure you move the lining out-of-the-way as you sew.img_7025


  1. Now match the right-sides of the lining and body together.  Clip in place and sew all around the edge (marked in blue) with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Back-stitch when you start and end leaving a 5″ opening to turn. Notch out corners and the top of the clutch.  Be very careful not to cut through any stitches.img_7032
    • TIP:  Use a compensating foot or a zipper foot since the Peltex give you can uneven surface. img_7034
  2. With wrong sides together, make markings for your magnetic snap and install per manufacturer’s instructions.  With the point being so narrow at the top of the clutch, you may need to move your snap up or down to make sure there is enough clearance for all parts of the clasp.  For the male part, I marked mine 1 1/4″ down from the top edge of the lining and marked the female where it hit the body (approx. 7″ from straight short side.)
    • TIP: Before you install, reinforce where you will cut with a scrap piece of interfacing.p1060602
  3. Turn the body right-side out and press with the lining facing up.  Be careful not to press the faux leather directly with your iron.
    • TIP:  Use Clover Clips on the edges to help them stay flat and/or hammer them as well.  Hammering helps to flatten the edges so top-stitching will be easier in the next step.  Test the hammer method on scrap to make sure the hammer doesn’t leave marks.
  4. img_7036Time to {finally} make the envelope!
    • Top-stitch along the straight short-end of the body (red dashed line)
    • Fold the front of the clutch up 10″ to create the main pocket and secure the sides into place with Clover Clips
    • Top-stitch all along the clutch (following the yellow dashed line)
      • TIPS:
        • Use a large 16 or 18 needle to get through all the layers
        • Increase stitch-length to 3.5-4.0 and use your walking foot to achieve even stitches
        • GO SLOW so that you do not skip stitches
        • Hammer the edges again, if needed
        • Leave long thread tails so you can pull them through the lining and hide for a cleaner finish
    • Hide thread tails by pulling them toward the lining, knot, then bury.
    • Press the lining


If you want to get extra fancy, you can add some additional finishes.  Some examples are:

  • Sew a wristlet handle with hardware (as shown)
  • Just add the D-ring so you can attach some fun tassels.
  • Include a key fob on the inside
  • Attach rivets and grommets



CONGRATS!!!  You have made a #LYSquiltedenvelopeclutch!  Please, please share your creations.  I would love to see them all!

As long as you credit Love You Sew with the pattern (because it took me a long time to write this all up,) you are free to sell the finished clutch.

Product Details (Sources in Links):

 Observer Fabric Tour >> Quilted Envelope Clutches


It’s here!  It’s here!  The Observer collection by April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabrics has finally made it way to shops and I’m so happy to show you my projects on the #OBSERVERfabrictour.  In true fashion, April does not disappoint.  These designs come from her own eyes and what she has seen both physically and mentally.  My favorite print is Aerial View…mainly because it was inspired by Columbus, OH (where we both live) and just shows how little we are in such a big world…


I was very fortunate to play with the early strike-offs for this line, and you can view my other projects in this previous post.


I’m kicking the tour off with these fabulous oversized Envelope Clutches.  Ever since I had swatches of these fabrics in my studio, I was trying to think of what I wanted to make as a personal project.  These curry and sulfur colors mixed with sand and copper play SO well with the indigos, grey-blues and navy.  I fell head-over-heels with this palette and have plans for a dress in Overshot Gold.  With that in mind, I thought a trendy Envelope Clutch would be perfect in the Shard colorway.


As a modern quilter, I continually try to show the rest of the world that patchwork and sewing are still “cool.”  Sound familiar, friends???  I thought combining the sophistication of (faux) leather with a simple block would be the perfect marriage of current Boho-Gypsy love and traditional quilting.


This was initially going to be a one-off creation just for myself, but the sneak peeks on Instagram created such positive feedback, that I knew I HAD to write a pattern for all of you. EDIT:  Tutorial can now be found HERE. 


Working with the envelope design, I used a simple half log-cabin pattern to work with the flap’s 90 degree angle.  I used a 2.5″ fussy-cut square from the Homespun Praxis and used various 5″ (or longer) x 1.5″ strips to make a 28″ panel.  The panel was then trimmed to 5.5″ wide.


The pieced panel was then sewn onto a coordinating AGF Solid Smooth Denim with right sides together. They were turned out and pressed.  The results are clean even edges which are then top-stitched down onto the (faux) leather.  I used Gütermann upholstery thread which provides a nice raised look and slides well through the leather.  Washi tape was used as the quilting guidelines since pen and chalk can smear.  I followed the lines of the piecing  to create additional texture and add more design detail onto the clutch.


This Envelope Clutch, although oversized to carry a lot of stuff, still needs the basic features of any bag.  The lining is made out of Treadle Tradition with a generous sized pocket using a 9″ metal zipper from Zip It Zippers.  Metal zippers add that extra professional look I just love.


On the opposite side of the lining, I added simple slip pockets.  These are unlined, using leftover leather so there is no fraying.  They were sewn down with unfinished edges.  I just made sure one pocket was the proper size for my cell-phone…priorities, right? ;)


Metal snaps were added and now I’m ready to hit the town with my chic boho clutch!


Sewing through faux leather can be a challenge on many domestic machines.  So I wanted to come up with a similar style Envelope Clutch which is MUCH easier to sew.  This design is shown in Speck Stardust and utilizes some fusible fleece with just a single panel of raw-edge faux leather.  I love how this print color reminds me of a perfectly worn pair of jeans and the leather match my favorite fall booties.


I wasn’t able to find upholstery thread to match this vinyl, so I used Gütermann Sew-All polyester.  This slides through the faux leather really well and still provides a great look and quilting texture.  I changed up this quilting design to make some fun cross-hatching.  ‘Slow and steady with the walking foot kept the lines straight and even.


With this version, I added a wrist strap using hardware from Emmaline Bags and scraps of both the (faux) leather and Speck Stardust.  Using half fabric and half leather is easier to work with rather than trying to sew through multiple layers of leather.


The D-ring was added to the front of the clutch rather than sewn into the side.  This provides the option to be hidden.  It also doubles as a spot to hook your keys.  The lining was made from Indigo Shadow Solid Smooth denim and I created the same zipper pocket one side and two slip pockets on the other.


Ironically, this design also fits my laptop.  So with the fusible fleece, this Envelope Clutch can be used as a laptop cover.  The pockets are great for cords and small headphones.


I know I’ll be rocking this clutch out on the town with the girls though….

What’s on your project list with Observer?


Make sure to stop by April’s blog to get the up-to-date schedule with 6 weeks full of dreamy inspiration.  The line-up of bloggers is quite impressive ;)  If you need even more ideas, head to Art Gallery Fabric’s Observer Lookbook….you might even recognize someone’s name in there ;)

#ObserverFabrics #ObserverFabricTour #ArtGalleryFabrics #WeAreFabrics


Sew On,


Tiny Explorer Backpack Review


Its’s back-to-school season and that was enough motivation to [finally] get me to blog about the Tiny Explorer Backpack I made all the way back in June for my niece.  I wanted to make something special for her first birthday which she could grow into and use for awhile.

This toddler-size pattern by the fabulous Erin Morris of  Diedel*Bug Handmade, was exactly what I wanted.  If you’ve been sleeping under a rock and don’t know her work, you’ll have to check out her Facebook and Instagram pages.  She makes the most amazing bags and because of this, I knew her own pattern was going to be well written with lots of pictures.  There was no disappointment here!


From the get-go, I decided to use Soft & Stable instead of the recommended fusible fleece.  I was inspired by some store bought backpacks to quilt the back for a nice feature but to also cushion the back.  Plus, how can I ever pass up the opportunity to do a little quilting, right?!?

TIP: Cut the back pattern pieces a little larger and quilt.  Then use the pattern template to cut to size since you’ll lose some area depending on how much quilting you do.


Red pandas are my niece’s favorite animal and I could not resist snatching up this MinShan fabric by Lewis & Irene.  The woodgrain is Gentle Forest by Tea and Sympathy for Studio E Fabrics.

TIP: To keep the fabric nice and tight on the Soft & Stable, baste with 1/4″ seam allowance.  Gently tug on the fabric as you sew to keep it smooth.


Aren’t these little guys, the cutest?  All hardware was from Emmaline Bags and the webbing was from Joann’s Fabrics.

TIP: Heat seal the ends of the webbing with a lighter before sewing.  My webbing had unraveled at the edges and pulled out after being sewn.  Sealing will prevent this from happening.


I also used Soft and Stable for the side panels of the bag to keep it’s shape.  As a little toddler, I figure it would be easier to find toys that way.  I added this key fob to the interior in case mom and dad ever need it ;)

TIP:  Add zipper pulls to help little fingers open and close pockets.  I use some leftover suede to complement the fabrics.


As I assembled the exterior, it was difficult to stitch close enough to the piping through all the layers.  I had to hand-stitch these bottoms corners a little bit to clean them up and make them match.  It might have been a little OCD, but since this was a gift, I just had too!


With this directional print, you do have to account for a little extra fabric, especially fussy-cutting the shoulder straps and side panels like I did.

TIP: The entire lining is drop-in.  I used lots of clips to keep it centered and secure before top-stitching it into place.


With kids, there are always spills, so I used some vegan leather on the bottom to help with easy clean up and for better wear and tear.

TIP: Pull the lining up to just barely cover the zipper stitches.  This way you’re guaranteed to catch it as you top-stitch.


There were three additions made to the front of the bag —  Two D-rings were sewn on with leftover webbing so toys could be clipped on.  I also added a snap to the main exterior pockets to keep little treasures safe.  The most noticeable are my niece’s initials.  I used my Silhouette  Cameo machine to cut the gold heat transfer vinyl.

TIP:  If you would like to add a snap, place it centered 1″ down from the top of the pocket and secure into place before sewing in the lining

TE Sideview

Since I used a long-pull double zipper, I decided to to exclude the zipper tabs.  I also omitted the side pocket binding just to streamline the look a little bit.  Don’t leave the pockets off entirely though…they are great for holding drinks and snacks!


Voila!  A fun toddler backpack for my little niece!


Here is my little munchkin with her bag.  Look at her rolls on rolls! <3  Doesn’t she look like she’s ready to catch some Pokemon :D


Happy Sewing,



This was not a sponsored post.  I purchased the pattern and all opinions are my own.