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The last gift I made for our cousin’s children was a small tote bag for their daughter.  I used the same tutorial that I used for my tote bag, except I added a pocket to the inside and changed the dimensions so it was smaller.

Child's Tote Bag

I cut two 10 1/2 x 10 1/2 pieces from the outer fabric, lining, and interfacing for the main bag.  For the handles, I cut out 4 x 22 pieces from the lining and interfacing (you could also do two 4 x 11 pieces).  The pocket is a 5 x 10 piece of the outer fabric.

Child's Tote Bag

For this bag, I used Pellon 910 which is a nonwoven, sew-in interfacing for featherweight to mid weight fabrics.  I would have used Pellon 911FF like I did in my tote bag, but when I was buying the supplies they were out of it.  Luckily, I did have enough for the handle because I don’t think I would want to mess with a sew-in interfacing for a handle.

Child's Tote Bag

First, I made the handle and pocket.  For a pocket, all you need to do is fold it in half the long way with right sides facing.  Then, sew along the three open sides, but leave an opening in the bottom so you can turn it right side out.  Clip the corners, turn, iron, and topstitch the top (folded side).

Child's Tote Bag

To attach the pocket to the lining, all you need to do is pin it where you want the pocket to be and sew close to the edge on the sides and bottom.  Don’t forget to lock your stitch at the beginning and end so the pocket is secure.

Child's Tote Bag

I attached the interfacing to the outer fabric when sewing the two pieces together.  Instead of basting (a long stitch that holds multiple pieces together and is normally removed after permanently sewing them together) I just pinned the four layers together.

Child's Tote Bag

Since I used sew-in interfacing, I was able to trim the excess out of the seam allowance.  That way, when I turned it right side out there would be less bulk in the seams.

Child's Tote Bag

This project went well and I still really like these tote bags.  I still prefer the fusible interfacing, not only because it’s easier but because I did like the stiffness that it added to my other tote bag.

Child's Tote Bag

I also like the idea of having a pocket but I might line the pocket next time just so that there is a little extra support.  Also, this bag was more difficult to iron once finished since it was smaller.

Child's Tote Bag

Overall, I think the size of this bag is perfect for a young child and would make it again.

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Another thing I made for our cousin’s six month old son was a ribbon blanket.  I essentially followed this tutorial from Moda Bake Shop but looked at many other ones as well.

Ribbon Blanket

Due to the fabric that I was using, I ended up with odd sizes.  I cut each square 9 5/8” with 1/4” seam allowances, except for attaching the ribbons which I did at 1/8”.

I made both sides of the blanket with all four fabrics instead of a minky fabric on one side.

Ribbon Blanket

As you can see, I did not do the best job at matching up my fabrics, which caused issues when I stitched in the ditch at the end.  The reason I decided to stitch in the ditch is because I didn’t want to take the chance that the warm & natural (the batting that I used) would come loose and ball up after being washed.

Ribbon Blanket

I chose three different ribbons and cut them in three different sizes.  When attaching them, I just made sure to not have any of the same pattern next to each other, but the same size was fine.  And actually, I used one of each size and pattern on each half of a side.

Ribbon Blanket

I decided to pin each ribbon in place and then I sewed them on with about 1/8” seam allowance.  This may have caused more work for myself, but I felt that there would be less chance of having the ribbons shift this way.  I would do it this way again even if it is more work.

Ribbon Blanket

Here is one side of the blanket after attaching all of the ribbons.  I placed the ribbon fairly even (just eyed it) because well, that is how I am.  haha  Many other people can easily randomly attach ribbons, but I just don’t have it in me.  As often as I try to make things random I always end up with some sort of organization.

In other words, attach the ribbons however you are feeling at that time.  I think it can look fantastic either way!

Ribbon Blanket

I may not have needed to use safety pins to keep everything in place, but I thought I would give it a try.  Plus, I then wouldn’t have to worry about being poked by pins.

For the most part the ribbon went toward the inside, but there were a few that wanted to sneak out, so I just had to make sure to tuck them back in.  Otherwise, they would be on the inside of the blanket once it was completed.

Ribbon Blanket

After sewing everything together, I trimmed the warm & natural so there was less bulk.  Turned the blanket inside out, ironed, and topped stitched all the way around.

Ribbon Blanket

After topstitching, I decided that it would probably be best to quilt it in some way.  I didn’t feel like actual quilting would look the best, so that is why I decided to stitch in the ditch.  I am not 100% happy with how it turned out, but it has to do.  I wish that you weren’t able to see the stitching, but you are.

Ribbon Blanket

Overall, it’s an adorable ribbon blanket, but it could have turned out better if I had made sure my blocks were completely lined up.  Live and learn, right?

Ribbon Blanket

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Our cousin has a daughter a little over a year older than Lillian and they have been nice enough to give us a lot of clothes for Lillian.  I decided that I wanted to do something for them other than just a thank you card.  So I decided to make a few things for the kids.

My first project was a soft baby block for their six month old son.  It was kind of fun to finally pick out boy fabric.  I used the cloth blocks tutorial from Make It and Love It.

Soft Cube

This was a super fast project to make. I guess it did take a little while to cut out six squares but once that was done it took no time.  For me it seems to be easier to cut larger pieces of fabric than a bunch of smaller pieces.

Soft Cube

I used quilter’s cotton for four of the sides and then the other two are flannel. I wanted a slight texture difference but wasn’t sure if attaching different fabrics would be an issue.  The flannel was not an issue, at least not while sewing (hopefully not while playing either).

Soft Cube

There are other ways to make a cube but this way seemed to be the easiest.  I haven’t tried other ways so I can’t say that for sure.  For example, you could sew all six pieces together in a “T” shape like in this tutorial.

Soft Cube

Cutting out the notches helps the pieces to lay better when sewing them to the main part of the cube.  The two pieces below are my flannel pieces.

Soft Cube

I did have to learn how to do a ladder stitch before I could finish the block.  Here is a great PDF tutorial but it was a little easier for me to learn from a video so I recommend watching this one.

Soft Cube

The hardest part of the project was probably the ladder stitch.  I didn’t sew close enough together at first so I actually had to go over it again.  It’s still not perfect but it wasn’t too bad.

Overall, I think this would be a great beginner project.  Especially to learn how to ladder stitch and just to practice sewing in a straight line with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

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I wanted to make Lillian’s Easter basket and decided on this style from Pink Penguin.  I did change it a little so that it would have one strap instead of two, since I think of an Easter basket as a basket with one long handle.

Easter Basket

I decided on three different fabrics for the body, plus one other fabric for the handle, bottom, and lining.  You could really do any combination that you wanted, going as crazy or plain as your heart desires.  You could also make the outside one fabric and the lining another.  So many possibilities!

The basket is smaller than you would think but is perfect for an almost 2 year old.  The finished basket is about 6 by 4.5 inches.  But again, you could easily change the size of the squares to make it larger.  Just remember that you will also have to change the size of the lining and the bottom of the basket.

I started out by cutting my fabric and then laying the squares out on the floor in the pattern that I thought would be the best.  If it didn’t look right, then I could change them at this point instead of having to rip out seams later.

Easter Basket

I then sewed the first two squares in each row together, next two, and so on.  Keeping everything in order so that I had less of a chance of sewing the wrong pieces together.  Again, I didn’t want to have to rip out any seams!

Easter Basket

After that, I ironed the seams in opposite directions before sewing the pieces together to form the two block by six block rectangle.

Easter Basket

I was so excited to see the blocks go together.  It was actually easier to keep everything lined up than I expected.  Mine isn’t perfect but decent.  I just made sure to line the seams up before sewing.  The blocks are so small that I didn’t even pin them together before sewing.  I have found that sometimes it’s actually easier to not pin everything.

Easter Basket

Here is the back showing the middle seams ironed every other way, and then the other seams not ironed yet.

Easter Basket

I followed the tutorial and pressed the rest of the seams open.

Easter Basket

I did not use linen for the bottom but instead used quilters cotton.  I also used TP971F Fusible Thermolam Plus as the batting because that is what I had here at home.  I can’t complain about how it worked and the finished basket stands up well so I would use it again.  I am guessing it’s about the same as using a fusible fleece batting.

Easter Basket

Since it was a fusible batting, I did not cut it bigger than the fabric because I didn’t want to fuse it to my ironing board or my iron.  At first I wasn’t going to “stitch in the ditch” but my walking foot came in so I had to try it out.  Especially since I got the new edge plate with it…more on the walking foot in another post.

Easter Basket

“Stitching in the ditch” is where you stitch along a seam.  It should not be seen and in this case is used to attach the batting to the fabric, except since I used fusible I didn’t really need to “stitch in the ditch.”

Easter Basket

I used one type of fabric for the handle instead of two.  I cut the piece 4” x 17” instead of cutting out 2 – 2” x 17”and sewing them together.  It’s a little long, so I would probably do 15” if I make this again.

I decided to try using Pellon 809 Décor-Bond again and it fused much better this time.  I don’t know if you remember my comment about it in this post but I had trouble getting it to fuse to the fabric.  I have found that handles/straps (whatever you want to call them) are much sturdier if an interfacing is used.  A fusible interfacing is probably the easiest and what I would recommend.

Easter Basket

I attached the handle the same as the tutorial describes except I only had to attach one on each side.  I just had to make sure that it wasn’t twisted.

Once turning everything right side out it looks like a mess.

Easter Basket

Nothing a little ironing and top stitching doesn’t help!  Now Lillian is set for her first Easter egg hunt this weekend!

Easter Basket

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Changing a rotary cutter blade is a pretty basic thing to do but I thought a post about it couldn’t hurt, right?

This is what it looks like from the front (well, what I consider the front).

Changing rotary cutter blade

There is a a black nut on the back that you loosen to get the orange screw off.  It comes off with the normal rule of “righty tighty, lefty loosey.”  So to get it off you will need to turn it to the left to loosen it.

Changing rotary cutter blade

Here you can see the case of new blades along with the orange screw and black nut.  This one has five blades and at first I couldn’t get them apart.  I was trying to pull them apart when actually sliding them works better.

Changing rotary cutter blade

To prevent the blades from rusting they put some sort of oil on them.  I wiped this off with a paper towel so that it wouldn’t rub off onto my fabric while I was cutting it.

Once you have the new blade ready, you just lay it on the front of the cutter.  Either way is fine, there is not a difference between the two sides of the blade.

Changing rotary cutter blade

Reattach the orange screw and put the black nut back on and you have a nice new sharp rotary cutter.

My rotary cutter is Fiskars brand but I am guessing most are assembled in about the same way.  Really, all that you need to do is pay attention to how you took it apart and then reverse the steps.

Happy cutting!