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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Sewing, Tutorials

How to Make a Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch

It’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts. It always feels too early to start before Thanksgiving, but when you plan to make several handmade gifts, it’s best not to wait until the last minute. I know some of you stay up half the night trying to finish Christmas pajamas at the last minute, right?!

This is a quick and easy project—waxed canvas gift pouches. They are just the right size to wrap gift cards or jewelry. I recommend making 2 or 3 at a time. If you already have everything out, you’ll save a lot of time making them in batches. You can make them in even bigger batches for holiday craft fairs.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

I used waxed canvas on the flap as an accent fabric, but you could also use faux leather, denim, or another layer of quilting cotton in a contrasting color. The fabric requirements are flexible on this project, so use what you have in your scrap bin.

How to Make a Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | 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!)

Materials:

2-3 fat quarters of quilting cotton (this will be enough for 6-10 pouches)
1/4 yd. canvas (or faux leather, denim, etc.)
Medium-weight interfacing or fusible fleece (I used Pellon 987F. You could also use 808/809, 931, SF101…this a good way to use up scraps.)
Size 16 metal snaps – 1 set per pouch (I used Snap Source snaps. You could also use KAM Snaps or small pieces of hook-and-loop tape.)
Otter Wax
Coordinating thread

Printable pattern (make sure you set it to print at 100%)

Sewing Instructions:

1. Print and cut out the pattern pieces. For each pouch, cut 2 pouch pieces, 1 flap piece, and 1 interfacing piece.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

2. Fold the straight edge of the flap 1/4″ toward the back, with wrong sides together. Press. Align the flap piece on the exterior pouch piece so that the rounded edges match, both with right sides up. With the 1/4″ section folded under, topstitch along the straight edge of the flap piece through both layers.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

3. Align the fusible interfacing with the stitched line on the wrong side of the exterior pouch piece. Fuse the interfacing using the manufacturers’ instructions.

4. Align the exterior and interior pouch pieces, right sides together. Stitch around the entire pouch using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 2″ opening on one side. Trim the seam allowances and corners to 1/8″.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

5. Turn the pouch right side out, push out the corners, and press. Make sure to tuck the raw edges in at the opening.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

6. Take the straight edge of the pouch and fold it up toward the flap, about 1/4″ below the straight edge of the flap piece. Press. (If you plan to use hook-and-loop tape, add it now.)

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

7. Place the folded pouch, with the flap facing up on the sewing machine. Begin sewing, with a 1/8″ seam allowance, at one folded edge and continue around until you get the folded edge again. Backstitch at each end.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

8. If you would like to apply wax to your canvas flap, do that now. The short version of the instructions—rub on some Otter Wax and then rub it in with your fingers. You can use it on denim too, but avoid using it on light colors because it will turn the fabric yellow. If you need more specific instructions, see my directions for making your own waxed canvas.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

9. Add a snap. I like the Snap Source snap setter for metal snaps. You can use the instructions on the package, or look at Anna’s helpful tutorial if you need a visual aid. I’ve also used plastic KAM Snaps with great success.  You could even add a button hole and button. Totally up to you.

waxed-canvas-gift-pouch-23

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

That’s it. Make a lot, load them with gifts,  and give them to your friends…

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

Happy sewing!

I’ve linked this post with: Sew Can She, Sew Can Do, Stocking Stuffer Ideas, Women with Intention, Raising Homemakers

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Tutorials

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder for Your Kitchen

I hope you have been enjoying your summer! We’ve been camping and visiting family, but we are back and getting organized at home again. I have several projects around the house that I’m working on, including some decorating in my bedroom and kitchen.

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

One small thing I noticed in the kitchen is that many of my towels and potholders, which were wedding gifts 13 years ago, are pretty worn out. I bought some new towels, but I’ve been planning to sew some new potholders. It’s a really quick project and great for using up scraps!

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

I know there are lots of other cute potholder tutorials out there, but I figured I would take some process photos and share my method with you anyway. I chose to sew a simple potholder with a basic square shape and a pocket. I made some more elaborate potholders a few months ago, but I haven’t used them because I didn’t want to ruin them! That’s no good, right? For something that is going to get dirty and needs to be washed regularly, you need to stick with easy construction and durable fabrics.

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | 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!)

Gather Your Materials:

• Scraps of cotton or linen fabric
• Lightweight cotton quilt batting
• Thermal batting (like Insul-bright)
Bias tape maker  & Wonder Clips (optional, but easier!)
• Coordinating thread

Let’s talk about fabrics. You need to use fabric that is 100% cotton or linen. Synthetic fabrics, like polyester, can’t handle the heat. Polyester will melt (which you may have learned the hard way if you have used a too hot iron on your poly fabric…). So, choose some lightweight canvas, denim, or linen and mix in a little quilting cotton for color. Most of you probably have plenty of scraps that you can use for these!

You also need to make your own bias tape. The bias tape that is most readily available at the craft store is a poly/cotton blend. It does not work for potholders! Bias tape is easy to make. If you need more detailed directions, you can look at my step-by-step bias tape post.

Thermal batting is also an essential part of a safe potholder. It includes a layer of mylar to protect your hands from the heat. Please do not try to use quilt batting alone without the thermal layer!

Ok, I think those are all of the most important things you need to know before you start!

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Simple Potholder:

1. Cut out the following pieces from your fabric. You can decide which fabric designs to use on each part.

  • cut two 9″ squares from fabric
  • cut two 9″ x 6 1/2″ rectangles from fabric
  • cut one 9″ square from thermal batting
  • cut one 9″ square and one 9″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle from quilt batting
  • cut and make 1/2″ double-fold bias binding about 45″ long (2″ wide when unfolded)

2. Place the squares of fabric wrong sides together. Sandwich the squares of thermal batting and quilt batting between the layers. Quilt through all layers by sewing horizontal lines, spaced about 1 1/2″ apart, across the width of the potholder.

potholder-4

3. Place the smaller rectangles of fabric wrong sides together. Sandwich the rectangle of quilt batting between the layers. Quilt through all layers by sewing horizontal lines, spaced about 1 1/2″ apart, across the width of the potholder. This will be the pocket piece.

4. Trim the uneven edges of the quilted pieces using a rotary cutter. It’s more important to have straight, even edges than to have perfect 9″ squares. If you need to make them a little smaller to even up the edges, don’t worry about it.

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

5. Add bias binding to one long edge of the pocket piece. Place one raw edge of the bias binding right sides together with the pocket edge. Stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance, in the first fold of the bias binding. Press the binding up.

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

6. Fold the binding over and line up the folded edge on the back of the pocket so that it covers the stitching line from the front and extends about 1/8″ beyond it. Clip it or pin it in place. On the front side of the pocket, stitch in the ditch (where the seams meet), catching the back side of the binding in the stitching. This can be tricky if you don’t get the back side lined up correctly. I actually prefer to hand-stitch the back side of the binding. If you can’t get a straight line on the binding, try hand-stitching.

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

7. Place the pocket on the square potholder piece and pin it in place. Begin sewing the binding to the top left corner of the potholder, right sides together as you did on the pocket. At each corner, stop and fold the fabric 90° and tuck it under the presser foot. Slowly make a couple of stitches catching the folded corner. Leave the needle down and pivot the potholder. Move the binding so that you don’t catch any extra layers as you round the corner. (Yup. I had to pick out the stitches in a couple of the corners because I wasn’t paying attention!) Continue sewing the binding until you reach the first corner. Stop and backstitch right at the edge of the first line of binding.

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

8. Trim the corners. Press and fold the binding to the back, lining up the edge about 1/8″ past the first line of binding stitching, as you did with the pocket. I prefer using sewing clips for binding, but you can pin if that’s what you have. Trim the beginning of the binding to meet the edge of the potholder. Trim the end, leaving a 6″ tail. Tuck the beginning edge into the tail binding. Fold the end of the binding tail around and tuck it in the corner to form a loop.

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

9. As I said above, I prefer to hand-stitch the back of the binding. It takes less than 15 minutes. Usually, that saves me time. If I miss a spot while machine sewing and have to pick out stitches…that easily takes the 15 minutes. It’s up to you though. If you machine stitch, topstitch along the folded edges of the tail and tuck it back in. Machine stitch on the front of the potholder, in the ditch, all the way around. Try to stop and make nice tucks in the corners as you go. OR Hand-stitch the back of the binding using a ladder stitch. I have a few photos to help you see how it looks. You can also tack down the corners with little hand stitches too. When you get to the loop, hand-stitch all of the loose edges, including the inside of the loop.

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

That’s it! You should be able to make one in less than an hour, using scraps…so don’t feel bad about using them to handle hot food! As quick as they are, they would also make lovely wedding shower or housewarming gifts 🙂

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

Learn How to Sew a Simple Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

I’m linking up my tutorial at some of my favorite crafty link-ups!…Raising Homemakers, Tuesday Talk, DIYCrush, SewCanShe, Craftastic Monday

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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.

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?