Patterns, Sewing

Penfield Pocket Tote Testers

Monday, I released the Penfield Pocket Tote pattern. I’m grateful to the many testers who provided feedback on this pattern. It’s a volunteer job, and I so appreciate the time and effort these ladies put in to helping make this pattern the best it can be!

I have a few to share with you today. Each tote has a distinct personality. Hopefully their bags will inspire you to make your own Penfield Pocket Tote that reflects your personality.

The first tote was made by Carrie. She used waxed canvas for the exterior and leather for the straps. I really like that this bag is mostly neutral, with a pop of fun fabric on the pocket. The waxed canvas and leather will be extremely durable!

Penfield Pocket Tote | by Carrie | Radiant Home Studio

Margareth made this fun, but classic bag with faux leather and a vintage style fabric. The front pocket is a great place to display some of your favorite fabrics like Margareth did!

Penfield Pocket Tote | by Margareth | Radiant Home Studio

Chiaki made her tote with soft colors and linen. It’s not only beautiful, but the stitching on the straps and topstitching is perfect!

Penfield Pocket Tote | by Chiaki | Radiant Home Studio

Tammy used some bright, fun fabric paired with solid black. The vinyl accents on this tote are very classy. Tammy also tested the pattern using foam interfacing. Though it isn’t listed on the pattern instructions, foam will work well if you prefer a very structured tote.

Penfield Pocket Tote | by Tammy | Radiant Home Studio

Becki made her tote in coordinating canvas. She tested the bag without stabilizer for a more casual, slouchy look. This looks like it would be perfect for hauling groceries or library books!

Penfield Pocket Tote Testers | by Becki | Radiant Home Studio

And this floral and gingham tote was made by Colleen. I love the subtle exterior with the bright lining. The contrasting fabrics in Colleen’s lining really help to showcase the pockets.

Penfield Pocket Tote | by Colleen | Radiant Home Studio

As I said before, I’m thankful for all of their hard work! I hope their different bag styles get you thinking about what fabrics you would use and inspire you to make a Penfield Pocket Tote of your own!


Introducing the Penfield Pocket Tote

Happy Monday! I’ve been working on a new pattern, and today it is finally ready! Introducing the Penfield Pocket Tote

Penfield Pocket Tote | Radiant Home Studio

It’s an extra-large everyday tote, with lots of pockets, making it a versatile bag with room whatever you haul around.

I designed the Penfield Pocket Tote with clean, classic lines. It works for moms hauling baby gear, college-students hauling books, or even working women hauling their gear. This bag looks great in a variety of styles, whether casual or business.

Penfield Pocket Tote | Radiant Home Studio

Practical interior and exterior pockets provide plenty of space to organize your things. The snap closures and rivets add stylish, modern detail. I used waxed canvas (or you could try leather accents) for a upscale and durable tote.

The Penfield Pocket Tote pattern includes step-by-step illustrations and detailed instructions, along with supplemental photos. I’ve also included extra tips to help you achieve a professional looking finish. Each pattern piece is labeled with a letter and includes specific cutting instructions. Pattern pages are numbered and easy to assemble.

The Penfield Pocket Tote pattern contains actual pattern pieces, not just a list of rectangular measurements. The bag interior includes a divided elastic pocket, a small zipper pocket, a divided slip pocket with spaces for pens, and a magnetic snap closure. The bag exterior has two large pockets, one on the front and one on the back. The front also includes a small exterior pocket. Finished Dimensions are approx. 14.5″ x 16″ x 3.5″.

To see more details and purchase the pattern, check out the Penfield Pocket Tote in my shop!


Personalizing the North Pond Notebook Cover

One of the things I love about the North Pond Notebook Cover pattern is that it can be personalized for almost anyone! For Christmas, I made 2 North Pond Notebook Covers, each with slight modifications and personalized fabric choices. My 14 year old sister and my 4 year old nephew each received their own notebook cover. Few gifts are versatile enough to give to both a teen girl and a preschool boy, but both of them enjoyed their gifts.

For the 4 year old, I chose fabric with cars on it. He loves Hot Wheels and playing with cars. I looked at some other car fabrics that were brighter and more juvenile, but I chose this one because it will grow with him. My 11 year old would still be willing to carry this around without embarrassment.

I used denim for the accent pieces and canvas on the interior (just trying to use what was in my stash) but with heavier weight fabrics throughout, it was a bit bulky to sew. You can see around the edges where the thickness made it difficult to sew straight.

Personalizing the North Pond Notebook Cover sewing pattern | Radiant Home Studio

Since the metal snaps can be hard for little hands, I decided to use hook-and-loop tape for the closure.

Personalizing the North Pond Notebook Cover sewing pattern | Radiant Home Studio

Personalizing the North Pond Notebook Cover with velcro | Radiant Home Studio

I made a second notebook cover for my teen sister, who loves pink, feminine, sparkles, etc. That made it really easy to find fabric she would like. I chose a home decor fabric with fashion scenes from Paris for her cover.

North Pond Notebook Cover | Pink & Feminine | Radiant Home Studio

I left the binding piece off of this cover to showcase the scenes on the fabric. Adding it would have covered up most of the pink and pretty parts.

Personalizing handmade gifts for the recipient makes gift-giving fun! Though neither of these are fabrics I would have chosen for myself, they made the kids happy. I used scraps from my stash for the contrast and lining pieces, and I substituted hardware and closures to make use of what I had. The North Pond Notebook Cover is great for using small pieces of fabric and leftover hardware!

Have you made any modifications or personalized your North Pond Notebook Covers in some way? Share them on FB, Twitter, or IG and tag me! #northpondnotebookcover


Double Zip Wallet From Handmade Style

I’m a huge fan of Anna Graham and her Noodlehead patterns and projects. Last year, she wrote a book called Handmade Style, which I bought and have used several times. I made a few Christmas presents for my family this year. One was the Double Zip Wallet from Handmade Style.

Double Zip Wallet From Handmade Style | Tokyo Train Ride Fabric | Radiant Home Studio

My 17 year old sister claimed it was her favorite gift this year and has been excited to show it to all of her friends. So, if you are looking for handmade gift ideas for teens, this one is a winner!

The wallet is an intermediate project. The instructions are detailed, with helpful illustrations. Though there are some tricky parts, you can get through them by doing the next step, one line at a time. Reading too far ahead can be confusing until you see what you have in your hand.

Double Zip Wallet From Handmade Style | Tokyo Train Ride Fabric | Radiant Home Studio

I definitely underestimated the time this would take. I planned to make it in a couple of hours, but it took closer to 4 hours. I’m sure the 2nd time around would be faster, but don’t underestimate it as a “quick and easy” project. I also had some measurement problems with the card slot piece. I’m sure I must have made a mistake somewhere, and ended up cutting out a second piece with different measurements. When I compared what I had with the finished photos, they didn’t match up. I ended up improvising to get it the “right” size. It still doesn’t look quite like the photos, so maybe I folded the card slots the wrong way?

Double Zip Wallet From Handmade Style | Tokyo Train Ride Fabric | Radiant Home Studio

I used Cotton & Steel Tokyo Train Ride Canvas for the main part of the wallet and accented it with brown canvas. The weight of the two canvases together felt a little bit thick for this project, especially in the zipper corners. Anna recommended canvas for the lining, but used quilting cotton for the exterior.

The Tokyo Train Ride fabric is very pretty for a wallet, but it’s also a one way design. I knew the fabric would be “upside-down” on the back of the wallet, but decided to use it anyway. If you care about that sort of thing, choose a fabric without a one way design.

Double Zip Wallet From Handmade Style | Tokyo Train Ride Fabric | Radiant Home Studio

Overall, it was a fun and successful gift! Now that I’ve put one together, I may try another one with some lighter weight fabric to see how it goes.

And I highly recommend the Handmade Style book for all of its other projects. I rarely buy craft books, but Anna’s patterns are really usable and well-organized–well worth the investment.

For more double zip Wallet inspiration, check out these three made by the staff at Fancy Tiger Crafts, and these two made by Anna!

What were your most successful handmade Christmas gifts this year?

Sharing this one over at Sew Can She!

Pattern Review, Sewing

Little Photographer Camera Pattern: Gifts for Preschoolers

I love making handmade gifts for my family. Some years I have overestimated my ability to get things done in time (which seems like a common problem for those of us that sew! Hah!). This year I only did a few select gifts for the kids, including these Little Photographer Cameras from Swoodson Says.

Little Photographer Camera Pattern by Swoodson Says | Handmade Gift for Preschooler | Radiant Home Studio

(Some links may be affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my business in this way!)

Originally, my daughter had planned to help me with these little cameras as gifts for her cousins. Unfortunately, the tiny pieces were too difficult for little hands. She helped pick out the fabrics and I did all of the sewing. I think I underestimated the level of detail that this pattern requires.

While it’s not a pattern for beginners, the Little Photographer Camera pattern is really fun to make and to play with! I made one each for my niece and nephew and one for my 3 year old. All of them were excited to have their own and immediately began “taking pictures” with them. I love that this toy is open-ended and encourages imaginative play. It was also a great way to use up some scraps.

Little Photographer Camera Pattern by Swoodson Says | Handmade Gift for Preschooler | Radiant Home Studio

The pattern comes with 2 different strap options, a wrist strap and a neck strap. I decided to make the neck strap for all 3 of mine. The neck strap is secured with hook-and-loop tape at the back, so it can easily be pulled apart. This eliminates any safety concerns that you might have with a strap getting tangled around a neck.

The pattern directions use photos. While I prefer illustrations most of the time, the photos were clear and helpful. The pattern directions do not give specifics about how to appliqué, but there is a link to a blog post that explains the appliqué process in more detail if needed. Overall, it is well-organized, with good photos, and clear instructions with a conversational tone.

Little Photographer Camera Pattern by Swoodson Says | Handmade Gift for Preschooler | Radiant Home Studio

I had a couple of small issues I wanted to mention. Adding the tiny binding around the vinyl squares was picky, so I might consider adding using a different method for that on future cameras. I also expected markings on the pattern to show the placement for the appliqué pieces, but you have to eyeball the placement from the photos. It would be nice to have dotted lines on the main pattern piece to get the exact placement.

I would also highly recommend using interfacing. Maybe this comes from making bags, but interfacing made the camera a lot sturdier and helped it to keep it’s shape. It also helps to keep the outside looking smooth, even if the stuffing gets lumpy. I used a piece of fusible fleece, cut 1/4″ smaller, for the back and front of each camera. I also used a 2″ wide strip of Pellon 808/809 down the center of the strap pieces. The canvas for the gusset seemed sturdy enough, but if you use quilting cotton, I would recommend interfacing that piece too.

Little Photographer Camera Pattern by Swoodson Says | Handmade Gift for Preschooler | Radiant Home Studio

If you are looking for a cute gift for preschoolers, this is a fun pattern!

Linked with: Raising Homemakers, Sew Can She

Did you make any gifts for your kids this Christmas?