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Have you ever heard of a Bodkin?  No?  Well, then keep reading because I’m going to explain what it is and how to use it.  I’m also going to explain a little about a new page I added to the site.

I first learned about the Bodkin from my mother-in-law. Then she gave me a gift certificate to Amazon for my birthday and it was one of the first things that I purchased.


To start out, a Bodkin is a little tool that is used to help thread elastic and/or ribbon.  You would use a Bodkin instead of a safety pin.  It’s kind of hard to see in the above picture, but it’s kind of like mini tongues.

The one I bought also came with a slightly different looking one that is for thinner ribbon or elastic.  You can see it here.  I have yet to use this other one, but you just tie the ribbon to the end and then feed it through the casing.


In order to use a Bodkin, you want to attach it to the end of the elastic.  So put the open end over the elastic, and then pull down the tiny ring to tighten the Bodkin.


Next, place the rounded end of the Bodkin into the opening of your elastic casing.  Push it all the way through the casing, just like you would if you were using a safety pin.  Just be sure that you don’t pull the tiny ring loose or the Bodkin will let go of the elastic.  If you have attached it tight enough, this should not be a problem.


Once the elastic is all the way through, just loosen the tiny ring and take the Bodkin off of the elastic.  Yes, it’s that easy to use!

I found this tool much easier to use than a safety pin and it seems safer as well.  It’s under $10 for both types so it won’t break the bank.  Oh, and did you know that September is National Sewing Month?  I’m guessing that most sewing stores have a few specials going on this month, so maybe you can find a great deal on these.

On a side note, I added a new page to the blog.  It’s called “Getting Started” and it’s a page for those that are getting started with sewing.  I have included a list of necessary tools, useful items that I use often, items that I like, projects that I suggest for beginners for their first projects, and a few suggestions that I have.  I will continue to add to it as I feel necessary and/or helpful.

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Well, it’s finally ready!  The crayon and notebook holder tutorial that some of you have been waiting for.  I first posted about this, oh, about a year ago!  Gasp!  I can’t believe it was that long ago that I first attempted this.  My goal with this was to make it so that the fat crayons (I think they are technically called large crayons) would fit in the pockets  At that time, Lillian was a little over two and still needed the fat crayons.


I was finally successful and want to share with you how I did it so that you can make a few for the little ones in your life.  With the bigger crayon pockets you can either use 8 fat crayons or 16 regular crayons.  It fits a Jr. Legal Pad, which I thought was a perfect size for the little ones.  So continue reading for the tutorial if you would like to see how I made it.

Crayon and Notebook Holder Tutorial


  • (2) 12 x 9 pieces each of fabric and fusible interfacing (I used SF101) for the inside and outside pieces (striped fabric)
  • (1) 12 1/2 x 6 piece each of fabric and fusible interfacing (I used SF101) for the crayon pocket (polka dot fabric)
  • (1) 6 x 10 piece each of fabric and fusible interfacing (I used SF101) for the book fabric (polka dot fabric)
  • (1) 2 x 3 piece of fabric for the strap
  • (1) 11 1/4 x 8 1/4 piece of Peltex (I suggest fusible on one side, but I used non-fusible)
  • 3/4” x 3/4” Hook and Loop Tape (aka Velcro)
  • Fabric marker or pencil
  • Crayons
  • Jr. Legal Pad


  • Don’t iron on any interfacing to the outside fabric until instructed, but you can go ahead and iron it on to the inside piece and the pocket pieces.
  • 1/4” seam allowance unless otherwise noted

Attach Notebook Pocket


Fold and press one long edge of the paper pocket piece 1/4 of an inch.


Fold in half with short sides together and wrong sides facing.  Top stitch along the top fold (the one you just created).


Attach to the bottom right corner of the inside piece by sewing around the three open edges.  Be sure to have the raw edges along the edge of the inside piece.  Make sure you lock your stitch at the beginning and end.


Your notebook pocket is now complete.

Make and Attach Strap


Fold strap piece in half with short sides touching and right sides facing.  Sew along the now long edge (it was the short edge before).


Turn right side out and iron with the seam down the middle.


Fold in one raw edge about a 1/4 of an inch and sew with a very small seam allowance.


This step makes it so that the strap doesn’t have a raw edge. The other edge will be within the seam allowance so there is no need to fold it into the middle of the strap.


Attach the soft hook and loop piece to the strap a 1/4” from the folded/sewn edge and center on the strap.  It should be attached to the side with the seam showing.


Attach the strap to the middle of the inside piece.  A majority of the strap will be on top of the notebook pocket and the hook and loop should be facing the book pocket.

Make and Attach the Crayon Pocket


Fold crayon pocket in half with right sides facing and long edges touching.


Top stitch on the fold.


On the inside piece, measure and mark every 1 1/8″, on the pocket piece, measure and mark every 1 1/2″ but start 1/4″ from the edge.  You may also want to mark the same spots on the top stitched edge of the crayon pocket.  These will be your guidelines to form the actual crayon pockets.

Attach to the inside piece on the opposite side of the notebook pocket.  Start by sewing the two short raw edges to the top and bottom of the inside piece using about a 1/8″ or less seam allowance.


From there, start making your pockets.  I started in the middle, then the middle of that and so on.  Make sure to match your lines so each pocket is the same size.

To make the pockets, I started from the raw edge and sewed straight up the pocket piece.  Be sure to lock your stitch at the top of the pocket or it won’t hold when the crayons are being taken out and put back in.


Next, sew along the bottom of the crayon pocket.  In order to get the pockets fairly even, I pushed the middle of each pocket down and kind of forced it to form two pleats.  This way, the pocket is more centered and they don’t each bunch on one side.


Hopefully between the two pictures you can sort of see what I did.

Prepare Outside Piece


Attach the other piece of hook and loop tape to the outside piece centered on the short edge and 1/2″ over.  Be sure it’s on the right side of the fabric if it’s facing right side up.


Iron on the Peltex and interfacing to the outer piece.  If you only have regular Peltex, be sure that the interfacing holds it in place.  To do this, center both pieces on the wrong side of the outside piece, then iron so that the glue from the interfacing traps the Peltex in place.

Again, to make this easier, I suggest using Peltex that is fusible on one side, and if so, then be sure the fusible side is facing the outside piece.  In this case, you wouldn’t necessarily also need the interfacing, but it won’t hurt.

Finish the Crayon and Notebook Holder


With right sides together, sew the outer piece and the inside piece together making sure the hook and loop tape are on opposite ends.  Leave an opening about 4″ long so you can turn.  This is somewhat difficult to turn because of the Peltex, so that is why I suggest such a large opening.

Clip the corners, turn right side out, and then iron the seams flat.12-08-24_CrayonNotebookHolder10.jpg

Top stitch about an 1/8″ from the edge being sure to close the hole that was left open for turning.  My machine had a little bit of trouble sewing over the crayon pockets so make sure you start out with a new needle.


Now let the kids play with their new Crayon and Notebook Holder.  This has been perfect for Lillian to take on long car rides, except for the fact that she decided to color the striped fabric and her car seat.  Thank goodness for washable crayons!

Linked to We Did It Wednesday, Weekend Bloggy Reading, Sundae Scoop

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For awhile now I have been eyeing Jeni’s Lined Drawstring Bag.  She has a free tutorial and also sells a pattern.  I used the tutorial for this bag, but I also purchased the pattern.  The advantage to buying the pattern is that you get multiple sizes, as well as calculations to make whatever size bag you want.


I made this bag thinking that I could use it as a travel bag for toiletries, but Lillian decided that it was hers, so now it holds markers most of the time.  Other times it has blankets, dolls, puzzle pieces, you name it and it’s probably made it into this bag.  She also thought it was a backpack and wore it as if she were going on a hike.


The tutorial was super easy to follow and the bag has so many options.  I used three different fabrics and then ribbon for the strings, but you could just as easily use four fabrics or even less if you don’t like the look of so many different patterns/colors.

The pattern does not require interfacing which is nice, but I think you could use a lightweight interfacing if you want it to be a little more substantial.  It’s also a pretty quick project, especially if you use ribbon for the strings.

I definitely plan on making more of these.  At least one so that I can use it!  At least Lillian loves the things I make.  I’m thinking a few as Christmas gifts because who can’t use a cute bag like this?

Be sure to check out In Color Order and Jeni’s pattern shop as well.

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For Christmas, I received the book Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins.  The first project that I made was the plastic bag holder.  It’s actually in the home dec fabrics section, but I used quilter’s cotton because that is all that I had (actually, that is all that I have….I should probably work on that).


This was an easy, quick project and perfect for a beginner.  The hardest part was attaching the loop and that was only because you attach it after the elastic is in the casing.  The elastic wrinkles the fabric and makes it hard to sew the loop on.  If you aren’t planning on hanging the plastic bag holder then you could skip adding the loop.

This is also a great project to practice an elastic casing.  It doesn’t have to be as perfect as elastic in a skirt would and it gives you two chances to get it perfect.  Not that it’s hard, but it can be intimidating for a beginner.


I mentioned earlier that I used quilter’s weight cotton instead of home dec fabric.  In my opinion, it worked out just fine, but without bags in it, it doesn’t keep it’s shape.  I don’t have a problem with this, but I wanted to mention it just in case someone else does.

Do you have this book and if so, what projects have you made?

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I wanted to let everyone know that Michelle is having a great sale this labor day weekend.  She is offering 20% off of any purchase from her site.

Michelle Patterns 2012 Labor Day Sale

All you need to do is head on over to her shop and when checking out use the discount code laborday.

What is everyone doing this Labor Day weekend?  We are visiting with family and friends, so not much sewing (actually, no sewing) will be getting done this weekend.  But no worries, I do have some finished projects to show you soon and even a few tutorials!  Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Michelle Patterns so I get compensated for any orders placed through the links in this post.