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!

Sewing, Tutorials

Denim Pocket With Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade}

Here’s another tote bag upgrade tutorial! This one features a denim pocket with grommets and a sliding shoulder strap. With all of the Birkin Flares and Ginger Jeans everyone is making, I figured a lot of people have denim scraps that need to be used. If you aren’t into making your own jeans, you can probably cut up an old pair of jeans to use for this tutorial. You might have to piece together the strap, but it would be a fun way to use up those hole-in-the-knee jeans you’ve been hoarding in your sewing closet “just in case” you want to make something with them.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio
(This post includes affiliate links. Thanks for helping to support my business!)

Both the pocket and the strap are really simple additions that only require straight stitching. You can also use the strap and pocket tutorials separately, or mix and match them with other upgrade ideas I have shared. I used topstitching thread (practice for the jeans I’m planning to make next week…) but you can use whatever you have on hand. The grommet detail on the pocket is just for fun. If you’ve been scared to try grommets, this is low-risk way to experiment with them.

Materials:

• canvas tote bag
• 1/3 yd or scraps of denim
• 3 grommets size 7/16″ or 3/8″ (I like to buy the starter set that includes the tools. You’ll also need a hammer.)
• 1 d-ring size 1″
• 1 strap slide size 1″
• scrap of medium or heavy-weight fusible interfacing
• topstitching thread (optional)

Cutting & Preparation:

Cut from denim:

• (2) 8″ squares (I used a printed fabric for the inside of my pocket. Feel free to use any fabric you like.)
• (2) rectangles 3″ x the width of your bag plus 1″ (for example, my bag was 15″ wide, so my rectangles were 3″ x 16″)
• (1) rectangle 60″ x 4″ (If you have 56″ wide fabric, that’s probably plenty. For 44″ wide fabric, you can piece together 2 strips.)

Cut from interfacing:

• 2″ x 6″ rectangle

Sew a Denim Pocket With Grommets:

1. Place the 8″ square pocket pieces right sides together. Stitch around the outside using a 1/4″ seam allowance, pivoting at the corners, and leaving a 3″ opening in one side. Fuse the strip of interfacing to the wrong side of the denim, centering it over the area where the grommets will be positioned, 1 1/2″ from the top edge. Trim the corners and turn right side out through the opening. Use a blunt pointed object ( I like to use a knitting needle) to push out the corners. Press all of the seams and corners, tucking in the extra seam allowance at the opening to make the edge straight.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

2. Mark the grommet holes using chalk or water-soluble marker. Fold the pocket in half to find the center. Mark the first hole at the center point and 1 1/2″ from the top edge. Mark the side grommets by folding each side to the center point and marking the hole halfway between the center grommet and the side at 1 1/2″ from the top edge.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

3. Cut out a 3/8″ circle at each marking. I find that it is easiest to cut a plus sign and then work around, cutting out the excess. The circles do not have to be exact.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

4. Apply the grommets to each hole. Place the stud through the front of the pocket, and place the flat side down on the anvil. Place the washer over the stud, put the setter in place, and tap with a hammer several times. It’s best to do this step outside on a hard surface like concrete. If you need more detailed directions, see my beach tote tutorial post.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

5. Topstitch along the top edge of the pocket at 1/8″ and 3/8″.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

6. Place the pocket onto the tote bag about 4″ from the top edge and centered across the width of the bag. Secure it with pins. Topstitch around the side and bottom of the pocket edges, pivoting at the corners, and backstitching at the top. You’ll have to maneuver the fabric around under the presser foot which can be kind of tricky. Just sew slowly and smooth out the part of the bag you are sewing as you go.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

The pocket is finished! You can leave the bag as it is, or move on to the shoulder strap.

Add a Sliding Shoulder Strap to Your Tote Bag:

7. Cut off the original tote bag straps. Use a 3″ piece of strap to create a loop around the d-ring.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

8. Now create the strap. (If you are using a material that is lighter weight than denim, you’ll need to add some interfacing to the strap piece at this point.) For the strap piece (60″ x 4″) in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and press. Fold the lengthwise raw edges in toward the center to meet the crease. Press again. You should have 4 even sections.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

9. With the raw edges folded in to the center crease, fold the center crease so that the right side of the fabric are facing. Stitch across one short end with 1/4″ seam allowance. Trim and turn right side out. Press.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

10. Finish the strap by topstitching the long edges.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

11. Place the 3″ strips right sides together. Stitch on each short end with a 1/2″ seam allowance, creating a loop. Press under 1/2″ on one of the raw edges.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

12. Turn the tote bag inside out. Place the 3″ loop around the tote bag with the right side of the strip to the wrong side of the bag. It’s best to sew under the pre-made hem, which is usually about an inch wide. Line up the unfolded edge of the loop about 1/2″ below the top edge of the bag. At one side seam, insert the raw edge strap end. At the other side seam, insert the strap with the d-ring attached. Stitch around the top of the bag, just below the original hem stitch (usually about 1″ from the top of the bag).

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

13. With the raw edge of the denim band folded under, topstitch both edges of the denim band all the way around the bag.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

14. Thread the finished end of the strap through the strap slide and then through the d-ring (outside to inside). Thread the end back through the strap slide, under the first strap. Fold the finished end back on itself (about 1″) and stitch it down.

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

And you are finished!

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Denim Pocket with Grommets and Denim Shoulder Strap| Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

If you make a bag, I’d love to see it. Tag it with #totebagupgrade on Instagram!

This post is also linked at Craftastic Monday, Sew Can She, and Made by You Monday.

News

2nd Birthday Celebration & Blog Tour {Day 6}

It’s the final day of my 2nd Birthday Celebration & Blog Tour! My patterns are still on sale—all 20% off—through next week. Today I have 2 new friends sharing the bags they made from my patterns. Both bags are quick and easy—perfect for gift giving!

Radiant Home Studio Birthday Celebration | Radiant Home Studio

Courtney blogs at The Wholesome Mama. Courtney and I are part of the same creative blogging group. She sews clothes for her children and for herself, among other things. Her recent outfit posts are my favorite! She perfectly combines practicality and style, putting together outfits that are great for moms of littles.

Courtney sewed a Fairport Pouch with a zipper closure to use as a make-up bag. It’s just the right size to toss into a bigger tote bag to keep the small things organized. Check out her post and her lovely photos!

Fairport Pouch with Zipper | The Wholesome Mama | Radiant Home Studio Blog Tour

Melissa, from Rebel & Malice, has an eclectic modern style. She’s a mom to 5, full of creative ideas, and a regular participant in blog tours. She has a great collection of kids clothing ideas and pattern reviews in her archives. You’ll find some neat kid project ideas on her tutorials page.

Melissa made a fun Fold Over Tote Bag from one of my Tote Bag upgrade tutorials. She used an old promotional tote bag to make this cute bag that she can actually use. Check out her post for more details and her review of the tutorial!

Rebel & Malice | Fold Over Tote Bag | Radiant Home Studio Blog Tour

Thank you to all of my blogging friends that joined in my celebration! And to my readers for supporting and encouraging the creative work I share here. I do appreciate all of you!

Radiant Home Studio 2nd Birthday Celebration:

Monday, Nov. 30th Radiant Home Studio || Skirt Fixation || Felt With Love Designs

Tuesday, Dec. 1st A Happy Stitch || Sew Happily Ever After

Wednesday, Dec. 2nd Sew Very || Swoodson Says || Vicky Myers Creations || Call Ajaire

Thursday, Dec. 3rd Happy Okapi || House of Estrela || Molly and Mama

Friday, Dec. 4th Hugs Are Fun || Sew DIY || Made By Sara

Saturday, Dec. 5th Rebel and Malice || The Wholesome Mama

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for On the Go Bags (through 12/15) and watch for another giveaway beginning next Wed! Patterns are still on sale through Friday 12/11.

Tutorials

Hand Stamped {Tote Bag Upgrade}

I remember the first time I carved a lino block in 5th grade art class. It was one of my favorite school art projects, and I think it was my first introduction to the concept of tiling and repeating patterns. (Thank you, Mrs. S! I wish I could tell you how helpful that lesson has been!)

Basic block printing is easy and fun. The supplies are relatively inexpensive, and even if you don’t have the “proper” supplies you can use items that you probably already have in your craft closet. For this hand stamped tote bag, I used 2 simple geometric shapes to create a pattern on my plain tote bag.

Hand Stamped Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links to some of the materials I recommend. Thanks for helping to support my blog!)

I used a Speedball Speedball Speedy Carve block and linoleum cutter for my stamps. The speedy carve block is more pliable and easier to carve than a traditional lino block. Though I prefer using those, there are plenty of other options for making stamps. If you have some extra pencil erasers, you can also carve small stamps from those. You can also use store-bought stamps or objects from around the house (think blocks or containers from the recycle bin).

The best fabric ink I’ve tried is also from Speedball. It’s water soluble and non-toxic, so it washes off your hands easily. But it also stays permanently on fabric. I have some tea towels that have been washed dozens of times and the ink still looks great. Another option is acrylic paint. It’s not quite as thick and will fade with multiple washings, but for the cost, you can’t beat it. It’s perfect for practice and printing with kids.

Fold Over Tote Tutorial | Radiant Home Studio

Materials:

• canvas tote bag
• geometric stamps
• fabric ink (I mixed red with a little bit of yellow and black to get this deep red-orange.)
• stamp carving block and linoleum cutter (optional)
• brayer and flat surface (optional)

Hand Stamped Tote Bag Tutorial:

To carve your stamp, draw some shapes onto your block with a pencil. To begin carving, hold the carving tool in your hand like a pencil with the end resting between your thumb and forefinger. I like to use the smallest attachment to outline my shape first. Once you have an outline, you can systematically carve away the excess. Carve toward the outer edge in lines. You can always go back and take out more, so it’s best to remove small sections at a time.

Hand Stamped Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Hand Stamped Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

When you finish carving your stamps (or if you have opted to use store-bought stamps), you can practice your pattern on paper. I like to use washable marker. It’s quicker and easier than ink, especially if you want to carve any more sections out of the stamp after trying it.

Hand Stamped Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Hand Stamped Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Once you have a good pattern and have perfected your stamping technique, you can move on to your bag. With screen printing ink, you’ll need a brayer and glass or plastic surface. Acrylic paint can be applied with a sponge.

Hand Stamped Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Just keep stamping until you finish your pattern! Don’t worry too much about getting everything perfect. You’ll have some stray ink blots and crooked shapes, but that’s what makes your bag look unique.

Hand Stamped Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Hand Stamped Tote Bag Upgrade | Radiant Home Studio

Would you like to add a lining to your hand stamped tote bag? How about a cargo pocket or an interior zipper pocket?

Sewing, Tutorials

Autumn Running Stitch {Tote Bag Upgrade}

I love how a simple embroidery stitch can make a plain tote bag feel like a special gift. This tote bag upgrade is quick and easy, yet your friends will feel appreciated and loved when they see the care you put into to making a hand-stitched gift. (It makes a great gift, but you can definitely make one for yourself too!)

running stitch tote bag-4

I chose autumn-colored embroidery floss, but any colors will look nice. I can imagine rainbow-colored stripes would be fun, or for a more subtle look, you could try an ombre effect.

Autumn Running Stitch Tote Bag | Radiant Home Studio

Materials (includes materials needed for pocket and straps):

• canvas tote bag
• 6 skeins of embroidery floss & embroidery needle

Autumn Running Stitch Tote Bag Tutorial:

Mark your bag using a water soluble fabric marker or chalk pencil. Starting at about 2″ from the side, make 6 vertical lines about 1/4″ apart. About 2″ from the top, make 6 horizontal lines about 1/4″ apart.

Autumn Running Stitch Tote Bag | Radiant Home Studio

Organize your threads in the order desired and begin stitching across the lines.

Autumn Running Stitch Tote Bag | Radiant Home Studio

You can make several stitches at a time if you use a long needle, as you can see in the photo below. (I used a sashiko needle, which is longer than a traditional embroidery needle.) Make the stitches about 1/4″ long with equal length spaces. You can eyeball the length or try Mollie’s method for neat, even stitches.

Autumn Running Stitch Tote Bag | Radiant Home Studio

To get the stitches at the overlapping section to look interwoven, stitch under the first intersection, over the next, under the next, and so on, as though you are weaving. Start the second row of stitching so that is opposite the first. Push the needle down through the fabric where you went up on the first row. and start weaving under and over the intersections opposite the first row. It sounds complicated, but you’ll catch on easily if you study the photos closely!

When you stitch the perpendicular rows, just weave in and out of the open spaces.

Autumn Running Stitch Tote Bag | Radiant Home Studio

I was able to stitch this in less than an hour. It’s very easy. If you are one of those people that like to keep your hands busy during a movie or in the car, this is a great project for idle hands. It could also be a fun project for kids that are learning to embroider. Wonky looking stitches will just add character. (See my comments regarding crooked stitches on the Kantha tote bag pocket post!)

Autumn Running Stitch Tote Bag | Radiant Home Studio

I’m hoping to add some leather straps to this bag, so watch for another tote bag upgrade tutorial for adding leather straps with rivets! And if you would like to add a lining, check out this post.

Autumn Running Stitch Tote Bag | Radiant Home Studio