Crafts

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag

Remember my tote bag upgrade series from a couple of years ago? Today I have a new tote bag tutorial to share with you! This one is an indigo dyed tote with an embroidered butterfly patch.

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag | Butterfly Pattern from I Heart Stitch Art | Radiant Home Studio(This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my business in this way!)

A few weeks ago, we spent the day indigo dying several yards of fabric as a family project. I also dyed a couple of plain tote bags at that time. They came out okay for a first try, but I would have greatly benefitted from the Shibori & Natural Dyeing Course that is included in the bundle. It’s basically a whole book about dyeing with indigo and natural dyes and includes 10 DIY dyeing projects. It’s normally $26, but the whole bundle with dozens of other patterns is only a couple dollars more!

I highly recommend finding some type of book, or class, or friend to help you with your first indigo dyeing experience. It isn’t hard, but experienced friends will have some helpful tips. I’ll list some other resources (including links to the plain tote bags and indigo dye kit I used) at the end of this post.

My indigo dyed tote bags ended up being a little bit plain. I decided to add an embroidered patch using the butterfly embroidery pattern from I Heart Stitch Art. I honestly how long it would take to stitch this, but it went much more quickly than I anticipated!

I always find that embroidery is easy to work on if I just get it started. I picked it up while I was nursing the baby, while I kept an eye on dinner, and other moments during the day when I tend to pick up my phone and mindlessly scroll. Stitching during those moments was much more relaxing and productive, and I finished it in only two days.

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag | Butterfly Pattern from I Heart Stitch Art | Radiant Home Studio

I used the pearl cotton thread that was recommended in the pattern and I LOVE how it turned out. I’ve always stitched with regular embroidery floss, but I have to say the pearl cotton was much easier to work with and I think the finished piece looks much more polished. The pattern has lots of other great tips for transferring and stitching the details, so I’m happy to recommend it without reservation.

So…this is sort of an open-ended tote bag tutorial. Plain tote bags are cheap and perfect for experimenting with different craft ideas. You can try dyeing your bag with indigo or with some of the fruits and vegetables mentioned in the Shibori & Natural Dyeing Course. You can add traditional shibori patterns, experiment with your own shapes, or dye the bag a solid color. You can add a butterfly or any other embroidery pattern you like. (This grizzly bear would look so cool for a boy’s tote bag!) Or you can use one you already have.

Make an Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag:

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag | Butterfly Pattern from I Heart Stitch Art | Radiant Home Studio

Materials:

Tote Bag
Natural Dye and Supplies
8″ square natural canvas or linen fabric
Medium embroidery hoop
1 skein of pearl cotton thread
Embroidery pattern of your choice

1. Plan a few days to finish your project! You can make several at a time more efficiently.

2. Plan one session for dyeing your tote bag. Follow the instructions on your indigo dye box, the online dyeing course, or dyeing book. Let your bag dry overnight. Wash if recommended.

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

3. Transfer the embroidery pattern on to your fabric square. I prefer to hold my pattern and fabric up to the window and trace it with a pencil. Put the fabric in the embroidery hoop and stitch as directed in your pattern.

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag | Butterfly Pattern from I Heart Stitch Art | Radiant Home Studio

4. Trim the edges of your embroidered fabric to the desired size, centering your embroidery design. Use some small strips of fusible tape on the back edges of the embroidered fabric to hold it in place on the tote bag. Hand stitch or machine stitch around the embroidered fabric to finish. Pull the loose threads around the edges to create a frayed border.

Indigo Embroidered Tote Bag | Butterfly Pattern from I Heart Stitch Art | Radiant Home Studio

Recommended Resources for this project:

Tote Bags
Indigo Dye Kit
Pearl Cotton Thread
Embroidery Needles
Embroidery Hoops

More tote bag upgrade tutorials

 

Fabric Design, Sewing, Spoonflower

Botanical Baby Blanket with Spoonflower Swaddle Gauze

With a new baby in the house, I’m back to trying all of the new baby patterns and fabrics. I can’t believe how many new things there are in 5 years! It was the same with maternity patterns…the sewing industry just keeps expanding and new independent designers and shops are popping up every day.

Those of you that have been following for a while know that I enjoy designing fabric for some of my sewing projects. Spoonflower allows designers to upload custom fabric designs and then prints the design on fabric. There are over a dozen different types of fabric now, plus wallpaper and gift wrap.

Recently, Spoonflower added Organic Sweet Pea Gauze to their fabric offerings. This is the same type of gauze (or muslin) your boutique baby blankets are made from. I ordered some printed with my Botanical Leaf Shadows design.

Botanical Baby Blanket with Spoonflower Swaddle Gauze | Radiant Home Studio

I didn’t get a chance to make blankets before our baby was born, so I bought a few swaddle blankets from Margaux & May (affiliate link). They are high-quality, beautiful blankets. I really did not expect the Spoonflower gauze to live up to that quality.

When I first opened my fabric, I was disappointed. My boutique blankets are double gauze (meaning there are two thin layers tacked together) and the Sweet Pea Gauze seemed flat and stiff. I knew I needed to wash it before I made a final judgment though. Washing made all the difference! The gauze wrinkled up and I could see the soft layers of the double gauze. It’s very similar, if not identical, to the boutique blankets.

Botanical Baby Blanket with Spoonflower Swaddle Gauze | Radiant Home Studio

Spoonflower does recommend keeping a white background for the softest results. My light pink background is slightly stiffer than the white blankets I have, but it’s still very soft and useable.

I used 1 1/2 yds. of fabric for one blanket. Since Spoonflower only sells in 1 yd. increments, it’s best to buy 3 yds. at a time. To cut the fabric, just fold a corner over to the opposite selvage to mark out your square. The fabric has a small grid running through it, with lines about 3/4″ apart. I used these lines as a cutting guide to make sure my fabric was square and on grain. This works well even after you wash the fabric and have a bunch of wrinkles to work around.

I used the grid squares to measure my hem around the edges as well. Just make a 3/4″ double fold toward the wrong side on each edge and stitch around. It took less than 15 minutes! If you are looking for an easy custom baby gift, this is a great option.

Botanical Baby Blanket with Spoonflower Swaddle Gauze | Radiant Home Studio

My only complaint is the cost. It ends up being about $30 to make one blanket. My boutique blankets were about $30 for 2 blankets. Since the quality is similar, I would only use the Spoonflower fabric again for custom/personalized projects. With so many beautiful designs in the shop, ready-made and for less money, I can’t justify making many swaddle blankets as gifts. But as I said above, for something personalized, this is a lovely fabric and I’d use it again.

P.S. Spoonflower is running a 2-for-1 fat quarter sale until Nov. 9th! All of my fat quarter tea towel designs have been recently updated and make beautiful handmade gifts!

Crafts, Home Decor

Shibori Indigo Dyed Napkins

Last week, I shared a zipper pouch that I made using the shibori indigo fabric I dyed. We also dyed a bunch of other things, including some cloth napkins and fabric yardage. Once the dye is mixed, you can use it for several yards of fabric, so we tried to get as much use out of it as possible.

Since we made the indigo dyeing a family project, I wanted to let the kids experiment with folding small pieces of fabric into different patterns. I found some packages of white cotton dinner napkins, perfect for dyeing. I ordered 2 packages, so we had 24 napkins to dye. They absorbed the dye well and were perfect for experimenting!

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

You can see we had a variety of patterns. I like how the napkins are all unique, but work together as a set. We gave some as gifts but kept most of them to replace the worn out cloth napkins I made several years ago.

Overall, the cloth napkins were perfect for indigo dyeing as a family. They are inexpensive, practical, and perfect for experimenting with shibori folding techniques.

We used and recommend this Indigo dye kit! I have a few more details about it in the Shibori Indigo Zipper Pouch post.

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Tutorials

How to Sew a Sling for a Broken Arm

Earlier this week, my 7-year-old daughter fell on the driveway while playing and broke her wrist. A couple of years ago, my other daughter broke her wrist falling off a swing. Thankfully, broken arms heal…so why not have some fun with the sling while it’s healing?

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

The hospital issued slings aren’t the best. After watching two little girls with broken arms using the slings, I have made a couple of improvements to the standard issue hospital sling. Both have complained about the scratchy strap cutting into their neck, so I padded the neck strap. On the current sling, the strap slide is too high and also cuts into the shoulder/neck area. I moved it down to fix that problem. Finally, the new sling is reversible—plain navy on one side and a fun pattern on the other!

I made a sling for an elementary-aged child, but you can easily adjust the size for a smaller or larger person. My kids asked if it would work for either arm, and the answer is yes!

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | 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!)

How to Sew a Sling for a Broken Arm:

Materials:

2 fat quarters of quilting cotton
2 d-rings (1″)
1/4 yd. fabric for a strap (OR 1 yd. of 1″ webbing)
1/4 yd. fusible fleece (to pad the strap)
1 yd. of 1/2″ double fold bias binding (make your own with this tutorial!)

(If making a larger size, you will need more webbing and more bias binding. You might also consider making a wider strap and using stronger o-rings in place of d-rings.)

Cut the Following:

(4) 14″ x 6″ rectangles, 2 from each fat quarter
(1) 36″ x 4″ rectangle from 1/4 yd. fabric
(1) 36″ x 2″ rectangle from fusible fleece (you can piece this together from scraps)

(For a larger size, measure from the elbow to the fingertips, add 1″, and replace the 14″ measurement on the first cut. Change the depth of the sling by changing the 6″ measurement on the first cut. For example, a sling for myself would be 18″ x 8″. Remember that you might also need a longer strap and more bias binding.)

Sewing Instructions:

1. Place one matching set of the large rectangles right sides together. Use a bowl (or another rounded object) mark rounded edges on the top right & bottom left corners. Trim the corners. Repeat for the second set of large rectangles.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

2. With the rounded rectangles still right sides together, stitch along the left and bottom edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

3. Turn one piece right side out. Place the two sling pieces wrong sides together and set aside.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

4. To make the strap, fold the 36″ long fabric in half lengthwise and press. Fold each long, raw edge into the center seam, wrong sides together, and press again.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

5. Place the fusible fleece on the wrong side of the strap, centered between the fold lines. Fuse, refold, and press.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

6. Stitch along the long, folded edges of the strap with a 1/8″ seam allowance.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

7. Cut a 6″ length from the strap. On the right (open) end of the sling, baste one end of the strap, just at the edge of the curve on the front of the sling, as shown. Place the d-rings on the 6′ length of the strap. Baste the other end of the strap on the back of the sling. (Ignore the strap slide…I ended up switching hardware after finding that the strap slide was too slippery.)

8. Baste the remaining strap piece to the left side of the sling, centered over the seam.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

9. Next, open and place your bias binding right sides down on the raw edge of the sling. (It doesn’t really matter which side of the sling since it will be reversible.) Fold the end of the bias binding down about 1/2″ and begin sewing. Continue around the whole sling, stitching on the first fold line, and catching the strap ends in the stitching. Overlap the end by about 1/2″. Backstitch and trim excess binding.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

10. Clip the curves and press the binding toward the other side. Pin in place and stitch around the binding again, 1/8″ from the folded edge.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

11. Flip the straps to the right side and tack them onto the binding by stitching a couple of lines across them.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

12. Shorten the shoulder strap if needed and finish the end with a wide zig-zag stitch.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

While this is not a sewing tutorial I had planned on writing, I hope a handmade sling makes healing from a broken arm a little bit more comfortable and fun!

Also sharing this tutorial at: Sew Can She, Craftastic Monday, Made By You Monday, Modest Monday

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Pattern Review, Sewing

Waxed Canvas Gentleman’s Travel Case

My oldest boy turned 12 this month! Twelve is a big year around here. The boys count down the years until they are invited to attend the church men’s retreat and be counted among the men. To celebrate, we bought him a few special manly gifts, but I also wanted to make him something. I waited until the last minute, but I was still able to make this in an afternoon.

Waxed Canvas Geltemen's Tavel Case | Betz White Present Perfect | Radiant Home Studio

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my business in this way!)

All men need a bag for their toiletries, right? I looked at a few free box pouch patterns but didn’t really find what I was looking for. Then I remembered the Gentlemen’s Travel Case pattern in Betz White’s Present Perfect and went to work making it. It’s very roomy, probably bigger than a 12-year-old needs, but it will grow with him. I love the extra pocket details and zipper tabs. Both make it a very practical and useable bag.

I love sewing with waxed canvas, especially for men. It looks rugged and stays nice for many years. Since this will be stored in the bathroom and most likely get wet, the wax will protect the canvas and keep it clean. I had plenty of canvas in my fabric stash, along with some denim scraps and a masculine cotton print for the lining.

Waxed Canvas Geltemen's Tavel Case | Betz White Present Perfect | Radiant Home Studio

I made my husband a waxed canvas messenger bag about 3 years ago. He carries it to work daily. Though the inside is showing signs of wear, the waxed canvas still looks as good as new! I make my own waxed canvas using Otter Wax. Here’s a tutorial I posted, showing how you can make your own waxed canvas.

I waxed this bag after it was completed (and after the gift was opened….told you it was last minute!), but in hindsight, I would have added the wax as I sewed.

Waxed Canvas Geltemen's Tavel Case | Betz White Present Perfect | Radiant Home Studio

I followed the directions in the book but omitted one of the outside pockets. I also added a metal snap instead of the hook-and-loop tape suggested in the pattern. The exterior and lining are constructed completely and then the lining is dropped in and finished with hand sewing. I was a little bit worried about hand stitching all the way around the zipper, but it didn’t take long and it looks great. Overall, I’m really happy that I used this pattern. It makes a great gift for both the young and older men in your life.

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