Go ahead and tell all your friends about the free pattern, but please don't redistribute; just have them come here for pattern. Thanks!
When I first started sewing, I was so intrigued with Kam Snaps - they looked so enticing, with their rainbows of colours. Most of the people I saw using them were making diapers though, so I wanted to find a use that would suit me. I came up with this insulated cup cozy. I had seen cup cozies before, but they were usually closed with buttons or hooks, or made out of something else entirely. My design allows the cozy, or sleeve, to be completely reversible, so you get 2 for 1!
A friend introduced me to the reusable Starbucks cups a few years back, and I use mine daily. I designed my pattern to fit these cups; if you are wanting to fit different cups, you may need to adjust the pattern. I get a lot of requests for my pattern, so I finally got around to making it in a shareable version for everyone. I'm offering it here on my site to you for free!
It's a perfect project for beginners and experienced makers alike. It's a fun, quick project and makes a great little gift.
To make the cup cozy, you'll need less than a fat quarter of 2 prints each. I like to use quilting cotton, but a linen blend could work too. You'll also need some insulated batting; I use Insult-Bright, available at Funky Monkey Fabrics, and Connecting Threads. You also need 2 complete sets of Kam-snaps and the pliers or press, and awl to install them (4 caps, 2 studs and 2 sockets). You can find Kam-snaps at Stay-Home Fabrics. You might find a point turner helpful too.
Start by downloading and printing the pattern. Make sure to print at 100%. You can check the test square to see if it measures 1" square to make sure the pattern printed at the right size. Cut out the pattern and tape together at the dotted lines to get the full piece.
Cut out a mirror image set of your exterior fabrics. You can do this by either placing fabrics right side together and cutting out the pattern piece once, or just cut out one fabric from the pattern piece, then flip over to cut the mirror image. Then cut one Insult-Bright piece.
Place fabrics right sides together and the Insult-Bright wrong side against one of the fabrics, matching the shape of the pattern, then pin or clip around the edges. Starting at the bottom of the cozy (where indicated on pattern piece with turning gap) sew around the perimeter, leaving a small turning hole, with a 3/8" seam allowance, making sure to backstitch at start and stop. Trim corners and seam allowance, except leave seam allowance intact over turning gap. Trim away Insult-Bright over turning gap.
Turn right side out, making corners nice and sharp. Tuck in seam allowance and press all over. Topstitch around cozy 1/8" away from edges, closing up turning gap.
To add the snaps, you can use the pattern placements (4 circles on the pattern piece) as a guide, but I suggest trying it out on the cup you're going to be using it with before piercing holes with your awl. I do this by wrapping the cozy around the cup, nice and snug. One end should overlap the other, it doesn't matter which one since the cozy is reversible. Once I have a placement I'm happy with, I hold the cozy where the ends overlap and quickly slip the cup out. If you aren't confident with doing this, you can pin or clip the cozy in place before you remove the cup; a bobby pin or paper clip would work well here too. Now while still holding the overlapped ends, I take my awl and pierce the top and bottom, through both ends of the cozy. Note: For this step, you need to make sure the hole you're piercing is well within topstitching on both layers, otherwise your snap may miss a layer.
Once your holes are pierced, you can let go of the overlapped ends and install the snaps. You'll want one set of caps showing on the left end of the cozy and one set of sockets on the right end for side A, and when you flip the cozy over to side B, it should have caps (the other side of the sockets from side A) on the left and studs on the right (the other side of the caps from side A).
You're done! Rinse and repeat for all those teacher/neighbour/coworker gifts. It's great for scrap busting too! I would really love to see your cup cozies! Please tag me @reecemontgomery and use #HappyOkapiCupCozy on Instagram, or share on my Facebook wall.
If you aren't a coffee drinker, they double as power cuffs!
Want to make a cozy, but don't have snaps? My friend Rachelle used Velcro on hers; check out the changes she made for it.
The hardest part about testing bags is that sometimes we need to keep it a secret until release date. I made this bag back in April, I think and I'm bursting at the seams to finally share it. The Tortoise Bag from Sara at Sew Sweetness is finally here! This bag comes in three different sizes and goes together in a very clever way. Here's my version in the size large.
Installing that zipper is way easier than it looks. You can use either 2 zippers and connect them in the middle, as explained in the pattern, or if you have zipper tape by the yard, you can just create a double pull zipper yourself. If you need a refresher on how to do that, check out my video tutorial here.
There are handles, and also a removable cross-body strap. The inside also includes a zippered pocket and a removable false bottom for added firmness to the bottom - and who doesn't want a firm bottom, am I right?
We dubbed my bag "Elizabeth-in-the-box" because Tula Pink's Elizabeth fit so perfectly inside that flap and I couldn't resist using it there. Actually fussy cutting was really easy with this pattern so you could line up a print from the exterior flap and continue it on with the main body if you like too.
I used one of my very favourite prints, Astraea from Tula Pink's Elizabeth collection as the main exterior print. The rich jewel tones make it work as a year-round colour palette. I had some fun on the inside with coordinates from the collection and the selfie as the inside flap.
Head on over to the Sew Sweetness shop and grab a copy to get started on yours today!
I made a fanny pack! No, we haven't traveled back in time to the 80's. This isn't the same fanny pack you remember; it's modern and cool. Or maybe I've reached the age where fanny packs are cool? I was planning a day trip with the kids and wanted to be hands-free for the day. I love purses but I really didn't want to have to worry about my purse on my shoulder or cross-body all day, so I whipped this one up. I received this pattern as part of my prize pack from the Bag of the Month last year. It's the Sew Sweetness Beatnik Waist Bag.
The pattern is for a small bag to be worn around the waist. It has 2 front pockets with flaps, a divided interior pocket, and a zippered pocket at the bag. The main compartment is secured with a zipper.
I didn't veer too much from the pattern. I omitted the back zipper to save a bit of time (I decided very last minute to make the bag.) I also used magnetic snaps instead of regular snaps, because I wanted to display some images from the prints I used.
After using it all day, I wholeheartedly recommend this pattern. I really loved having my hands and shoulders free and still having my essentials with me. Next time, I might add some card slots inside, but they fit perfectly in the front pockets, so the slots really aren't necessary.
Thankfully I had everything I needed on hand. You just need a side release buckle and a slide. Because I did mine last-minute, I just used a black buckle, but next time I think I'll use a coloured buckle, like the kind Sara sells. In a pinch, you could also use a D ring and a swivel clip with a slide.
I used Libs Elliott's True Love fabric for this bag. I thought the splatter print was a bit of a throwback to this 80's inspired style. The entire line was available at Sitka Fabrics, but some prints are starting to sell out, so don't wait too long to grab some for yourself.
This year has been off to a busy start! I'm busy behind the scenes working on lots of exciting content to bring you all! When I did my Happy New Year post, I realized there were several projects I hadn't blogged about, so I figured I'd share them now.
First up is this gorgeous Swoon Evelyn Market Tote I made as a diaper bag for my friend. If you've been here a while, you may remember my first Evelyn, which looks very different than this one. That's one thing I really love about making bags: you can use the same pattern and come up with a completely different look!
This bag was so special for me. I've been friends with the recipient since Kindergarten! I thought about what I liked and disliked about my own diaper bag, and came up with Evelyn. I only made 2 small additions; one was to add a large elastic pocket inside. The other was adding a loop with a swivel clasp to keep keys handy and easy to find. I know a lot of diaper bags have cross-body straps, but in all my "diapering" years, I can't ever remember carrying my loaded diaper bag cross-body. I love the recessed zipper because I found I was always wanting quick easy access into a diaper bag, but also appreciated the security of a zipper when I wanted it.
I made sure to have a vinyl bottom and feet, because, let's face it: diaper bags get put down in a lot of yucky places! Plus, it looks pretty awesome with black vinyl and silver feet against the gloriously bright colours of the fabric collection.
Of course, this isn't as big as some diaper bags, and that's just how I liked it, and how I envisioned my friend would like hers. I found that I never really carried too much in my bag, and I would have appreciated a stylish large purse, big enough for my wallet, phone, keys, and the baby essentials.
This stunning fabric is from Alison Glass' Ex Libris collection (from Fabricspark.com) plus a few prints from her Sun Prints collection. The Art Theory panel is the main focus of the bag and I think the stark contrast of the black vinyl and silver hardware is a perfect combo.
For this bag, I used a foam interfacing instead of craft fuse and fleece, like the last one, and I really love the structure the foam provides. All the fancy bag bling, aka hardware, came from Emmaline Bags, don't you just love it all?!
I also made a matching teether blanket and keychain, plus a Swoon Coraline in coordinating prints from the same collection.
It looks like this post is long enough, so I'll save some other projects for another time! Until then...
I've been just about bursting at the seams to share this project here! Sara of Sew Sweetness has come up with another winner of a pattern: the Filigree Double Zip Pouch.
I jumped at the opportunity to test this one because I saw that Sara offered instructions for how to add ribbon to the bag. I've had some Renaissance Ribbon in my stash for a while, but wasn't really sure of a nice way to add it to my projects. Not to mention the functionality of a pouch with 2 separate zippered compartments.
Here's what you can expect from the pattern:
I think this pattern is suitable for a confident beginner.
I had so much fun making this bag! There were a few firsts for me. I've never quilted vinyl before, and actually the pattern doesn't call for vinyl, but I found this silver vinyl remnant and wanted to give it a try. I decided lime green thread would be really out there: crazy enough to tie in the Tula Pink fabric and ribbon to the silver vinyl. I'm pretty pleased with the result! As I mentioned earlier, digging in to my Renaissance Ribbon stash was also a first, and I'm so happy to have found the perfect project for the rest of my stash. The pattern walked me through both techniques quite nicely.
Word to the wise: if you're going to use vinyl like I did, be smarter than me and make the zipper tabs out of cotton. They weren't impossible in vinyl, but would have been nicer in cotton.
I need to talk about this bag! I made the large, and look at all the stuff that fits in there! Those are all full size products, and there was room for more. I could just about fit my iPad in there, but not quite. You could easily use the large as a toiletry bag, with your hair products in one side, and makeup in the other. Sara is also genius enough to suggest using 2 different zipper colors in order to differentiate each side of the pouch. The pouch uses a foam stabilizer, so your items have a bit of padding, plus the bag maintains its shape and adds a lovely quilting effect.
I also love that you can use a few different fabrics for this pouch, and it really doesn't require a whole lot. I got both these Tula Pink prints from Fabric Spark, and the Sea Debris in Seaweed (left) is actually one of my all time favourites, but it's out of print, so I don't want to use up a big chunk of it all at once.
The bag has a side/bottom panel, which allows it to stand up on its own and makes the pouch a bit roomier as well.
I can't wait to make more of these, in the other sizes too! The small is going to be perfect in my purse, and I think the medium makes a really nice craft pouch. Any of the three sizes would make amazing gifts.
Quilting and adding the ribbons took a fair amount of time, but those are optional features, so I feel this bag can be a really quick sew, if you make it without the quilting and ribbons. I'm going to try a few in cotton next, and maybe some more adventurous quilting.
The pattern is now available, so head on over to Sew Sweetness and pick up a copy.
What will you put in yours?
Since my last free pattern roundup, I've come across many more excellent ones, so I decided it was time for another roundup! Here is an assortment of free patterns I've found. I haven't made all of them, but many of the designers featured here are my favourites. Free patterns are a great way to try out a designer before you purchase one of their patterns. Many designers have their own style of instructions, pattern layout and techniques, so try some out and see what your preferences are. Free patterns are also great for when you're starting out; they give you a chance to get your feet wet before you invest a lot in the PDF world. Also, if you haven't already, make sure to go grab a copy of Blue Calla's free Gerbera Wristlet PDF pattern, right here on Happy Okapi!
It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Swoon Sewing Patterns. Whether you're new to making bags, or you're experienced, this pattern will delight you! It's a great way to try out different interfacing, and if hardware intimidates you, then you can skip the magnetic snap. You're even welcome to sell bags made with this pattern!
I love that this pattern gives you so many options! You can make it very beginner friendly, by omitting the piping, and using cottons and a magnetic snap, or you can challenge yourself by using vinyl, adding piping and using a turn lock. How about a quilted flap to mix things up? I think this would be a great quick gift to make for a friend's birthday, or just as a pick-me-up when you're looking for something fun to sew.
Noodlehead - Trail Tote
Anna at Noodlehead always has such elegant, designs, and this Trail Tote is no exception. It comes in 2 different sizes and has an adjustable strap and exterior zippered pocket. You can whip one of these up on a whim! Make your own piping for an extra special touch.
Thread Riding Hood is a Canadian blogger with lots of great patterns and tutorials. The Time Warp Tote is a pattern she worked on for Cloud 9 Fabrics, and really looks like a fun sew. The pattern format is not her typical style, and actually doesn't include any pattern pieces to print out, so if you're out of ink, but desperate to sew up a bag (don't tell me you've never been there, lol!) this project can still work for you. I also like that it uses a different weight of fabric than quilting cotton, so we can try out some other fabrics in our stash that have been feeling neglected.
What cute little bag! It's packed with features too! You get to try out installing a turn lock, adding piping to a bag, elastic pockets, overlays, and darts. I like the idea of pairing the main print with a solid like Sara did with her sample bag. I bet it would look great with Essex Linen and a fun floral.
Sewing Patterns by Mrs H - The Sling Bag
This is a simple versatile pattern that can be made exactly as described in the pattern, or easily changed to suit your style or needs. I personally love large casual bags like this, especially with tons of pockets inside so I have some semblance of organization inside the bag. Check out the tester photos for some ideas on how you can customize your own. This would also make a great bag for a print you just can't get enough of and are looking for a project to show it off.
Do you have some bamboo handles you've been itching to put to use? Here is a super quick and easy tutorial from Janelle at Emmaline for just that! I really love the simple construction method in the tutorial. My thrift store has a craft section and I always see handles like this there. You can really change the look of this bag depending on the fabric you use - dress it up or down. I think it would make an adorable bag for a girls' night out!
Now the only question is: which one to make first? I hope you've enjoyed this roundup. Follow me on Pinterest, for more tutorials, patterns and techniques.
Introducing the Primrose Satchel, the newest pattern from Blue Calla. I had a chance to test out this pattern and I'm thrilled with it! Make sure to read through to the bottom for discount details!
There are so many features packed into this bag! It has an adjustable strap, making it able to be worn cross body or carried on the shoulder. The back has an exterior zippered pocket.
The pattern calls for a slip pocket inside the main compartment.
I love bags with flaps, because we can use a feature fabric and really showcase it. I used a directional fabric, and used the same focus for my interior and exterior fabric, so I just flipped my pattern piece to make sure my print went in the right direction on the inside. Like many of the Blue Calla patterns, this bag also features pleats, and I think they add such a nice touch to the bag.
The pattern calls for a turn lock, and you can even get a hardware kit for the Primrose Satchel from my favourite Hardware supplier: Emmaline Bags! I had a chance to use the new Half Moon Magnetic Edge Clasp from Emmaline, and I'm in love! It's simple to install, but has a big impact beyond a simple magnetic snap.
This pattern is a PDF that you print yourself. I love PDF patterns because I don't have to worry about messing up the original pattern because I can always print it again. I like to read instructions on my tablet while I'm sewing, so I only print the pattern pieces. The instructions consist of ample full colour photos; with a layout of 2 columns per page. This is one of the easiest bags I've made in a while, and I think it would be great for a confident beginner. I love the versatility with the flap and the closure options, and you can add piping too, depending on which closure method you choose. The hardest part of this pattern is placing the zippered pocket at the back of the bag, pay careful attention not to place it too high, or you will have a difficult time topstitching at your final step. If zippers scare you, leave it off, the bag will still be really nice without it, and you can try on your next one. I really like the method of closing this bag, leaving no seam to hand stitch (my sewing pet peeve). I recommend this pattern for anyone looking for a quick, easy sew with satisfying results.
More Tester photos
This beautiful Primrose featuring Anna Maria Horner's Loominous collection is made by Kristy of Rock Baby Scissors
This stunner, using Alison Glass' Ex Libris, was made by Sheri of Lil' Munkee Designs
Discount and Where to Purchase the Pattern
You can get the pattern at the Blue Calla site. As always, you can use promo code OKAPI10 to save 10% on any Blue Calla pattern, even sale priced patterns!
UPDATE: Unfortunately, the Primrose Satchel pattern has been retired. The Lilac Mini Messenger will achieve a similar look (minus the pleating) and it's free! Click here to download the pattern.
I had an opportunity to test another pattern for Sara at Sew Sweetness, and this time, it's not a bag! It's called the Creative Maker Supply Case, and, as the name implies, it's a case to hold supplies. The pattern comes in 3 sizes. This one is the large and it's about the size of a binder, large enough to hold a full sized notebook. I'm also working on a couple small cases, and they're great for crayons and a small colouring pad, plus a few craft supplies.
The pattern comes with directions for elastic slots on one half, to hold markers or pencils. The other half has a mesh pocket and a fabric pocket. The whole thing zips up to keep all your contents safe inside. You can really do whatever you want inside though, which is what makes this such a great pattern. If you want one side to be half pens and half thicker markers, then you can adjust the elastic slots. Or maybe you want pockets on both sides. The possibilities are endless really.
I've had this Jungle Ave. fabric by Sara Lawson for Art Gallery from Satin Moon Quilted Garden for a while now, and I wanted to save it for one of Sara's patterns. I thought this was the perfect project to showcase it. I also used her Big City Aurifil Thread Collection to match the fabric perfectly. Does anyone else think it's super cool to use a designer's fabric for their patterns, or am I just a sewing nerd? Nevermind, I already know the answer to that question ;)
I made the zipper with double pulls following the method I explained in my zipper post, here. I followed the interfacing suggestions in the pattern and used all Pellon interfacing.
It's a nice and quick project. I found the elastics a bit tedious, but certainly not difficult. I'll admit the zipper was a bit tricky at the spine of the case, and for that reason, I'd consider this to be an intermediate sewing level project. Don't let that scare you though! It's definitely worth it!
I see so many uses for this pattern: kids colouring case for trips, sewing project case, teacher's supplies, you name it! I saw someone suggest it would be good for diabetic supplies or other medical equipment, and I think that's certainly a possibility with some easy personalization inside the case.
Here's a sneak peek at my next ones:
The pattern is now available from Sew Sweetness, you can find it here.
I'd love to hear what you think. What will you do with yours? Let me know in the comments.
I'm thrilled to be able to offer this free bag pattern from an amazing Canadian bag designer, Celine from Blue Calla Sewing Patterns. She made this Gerbera as a companion to the Daisy Crossbody bag. Free patterns are a really great way to get familiar with a designer's writing and instruction style before buying a pattern from them. I hope you'll try this one out and get hooked on Blue Calla patterns like I have! I also got a chance to test the pattern before its release here today. This pattern certainly doesn't disappoint! It has a detachable wristlet, an interior zippered pocket, pleats and a gusset, for an overall unique and elegant design.
I used the patchwork option on the front and the optional full panel on the back of the bag. My fabrics are all from Fabric Spark. The Butterflies and leaves are part of Sarah Watson's Biology collection, the navy overlay is part of Cotton + Steel's Basics collection, and the lining is from Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill collection.
Celine likes to allow us makers to come up with interfacing combinations to suit our tastes. I used fusible fleece on the lining and craft fuse on my exterior, and I really like the results. I think Craft Fuse on the lining and Shapeflex for the exterior would be a nice combo too.
Here are some pictures of the testers' bags: Kristy at RockBabyScissors.com made this stunning rainbow Alison Glass patchwork, paired beautifully with Carolyn Friedlander's low volume Doe.
Crystal at Cloth Albatross made an awesome companion to her Daisy, both in Cotton + Steel. The picture shows the size comparison of the Gerbera and Daisy.
Download the file and get started today! You can join the Blue Calla Patterns Facebook group for inspiration and support too!
I love taking usable pieces and parts of older items and turning them into something new and functional again. Here is a picture of my recent thrift store purchase. I bought these bags and belt for $5. My local thrift store has rotating sales and I can often get a really good deal. This latest score was to harvest the hardware. Just look at the antique brass clips, rings and slider on that bag! The buckles and rings from the small white bag are specialty items I don't have the easiest time finding new, so it felt like a bonus finding them for such a great price.
I know other people have great success buying old leather jackets and skirts and using that material as well. Sometimes it takes a bit of looking around, but there's a sense of satisfaction in a great find. I also like that many thrift stores support good causes, so my purchase often goes back into my community.
Just make sure to inspect the hardware, and give it a good clean before using it on your bags. See below for how I used the belt.
Liliane Buckled Hobo in Retro Geek
Recognize that buckle? This is my second Liliane Buckled Hobo bag from Delinda Boutique, and I think I like the pattern more this time around. As I mentioned in my initial review of the pattern, the instructions were a bit too detailed for me. Since I was more familiar with the construction of the bag this time around, I was able to just refer to the pattern instructions quickly for reference and not follow each individual step. The pattern really does create a great bag. So many great features! The roomy exterior pocket is so unique, and a defining style feature on this purse; a great place to stash quick-grab items like hair ties, lipstick, or pens.
I added piping on the front exterior pocket. I think it adds an extra pop to the fun prints chosen for this bag. It only needed a small amount of piping and was an easy place to add it. If you're looking for an opportunity to try piping for the first time, I recommend it here. This Timeless Treasures print was originally at Funky Monkey Fabrics, and is out of stock now, but Melissa from Funky Monkey is expecting more in stock soon, so keep checking; it's such a fun print and works well with many bright colours. I was brave and tried white contrasting thread for my stitching; the effect was exactly the result I was aiming for.
For interfacing, I used Pellon Shapeflex 101 on my exterior fabrics and Pellon Craft Fuse 808 on my lining, resulting in a bag with body, but now quite stiff enough to stand up on its own: just right for a hobo bag.
I found the handle on my first bag was a nice size, but I prefer to have the option of adjustable straps, so I added some O-rings and a slider, and changed the strap to create an adjustable length.
The pleats on the exterior of this bag allow it to be a fancy purse with the right fabrics, but I think fun prints work too!
Have you done any upcycling in your sewing? I'd love to hear about it!
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Hi! I'm Reece and I love to sew! I'm also a mom and a wife. I love being crafty and sharing tips.
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