Pillowcases, Zipper Pouches and Totes! Oh My!

Well, I have been bad at documenting my most recent projects as they happened, but I have been busy!

I wanted to try a pillowcase, so I made a John Deere one for my son. I followed this tutorial from Make It & Love It. This is a great tutorial! There are lots of pictures and the instructions are very easy to follow. I did the Tri-Colour Cuff version. It looks very fancy but is actually super easy! And Hunter loooooves it, which is a bonus! When I told him I was making him a pillowcase with John Deere tractors on it, he looked at me and very earnestly thanked me. I was expecting a blank stare and his usual “Oh”, but no… he was very excited and asked about it daily until it was done. He now has a very extensive list of pillows he wants. And, really, how can I resist that?!

My big takeaway from my first pillowcase was to make sure to line up the seams of the cuff and trim before sewing the sides together. Mine were a little off! I did much better on my next attempt! More on that later!

Next up was another Spice Market Tote for one of my co-workers. She loves these bags, and I don’t blame her! They are the perfect carry-all tote!

I was quite impressed with the pocket I made on this bag. I did a bit of patchwork, and it turned out great, if I do say so myself!

Today was a big sewing day for me. I started Hunter’s next pillowcase this morning and then went to my zipper pouch class at Patch Halifax, taught by Linnet. She’s taught all the classes I’ve done so far, and I really can’t recommend her enough. She has a great teaching style, and she’s very patient and helpful. I’m excited to have tackled the zipper! I have a ton of tutorials saved to Pinterest for different pouches, as well as the pattern for Amy Butler’s Origami bags to try out!

After class, I finished up Hunter’s Nemo pillowcase. This was fabric he picked out himself at Avonport Discount Fabric Centre. Can I just say how much I love stores with kids’ play areas? They have a little tent with toys in it, and Hunter had a blast. I shopped for as long as I wanted with no fuss from him. That’s saying a lot for a 3 year old boy! We went to the store before he went to Nanny’s house for the weekend so he could pick out material for a new pillowcase that I promised him would be done when he got home. Tearing him away from the play tent to look at fabric was a bit of a struggle, which is funny since he was so excited to pick out his next pillowcase, but he did spy this fabric and decided that was what he wanted.

Now to decide what I want to tackle this week… hmmm…


Spice Market Tote

I finished up this Spice Market Tote for my Mama this weekend! Love the metallic silver damask print we used! The lining is the Bouquet Pink print from Riley Blake’s Anne of Green Gables Collection. My Mama loves her some pink and florals, so when I saw it, I knew it was perfect! The straps are a solid pink to match.

Man, these bags take a long time to make, although it may just feel that way since I was running to work on it during a baby and 3 year old’s naps. Between the fabrics and interfacing, there’s a lot of cutting and prep work before the sewing machine even gets turned on. They are fun, though! And the multi-step process gives lots of opportunity to correct mistakes as you go, which is helpful for a beginner like me!

On this project, I attempted piecing some fabric scraps together to make the pocket, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out! My sister-in-law is a master at this, so I used some of her work as an example. I measured and cut out a piece of paper the size of the pocket panel and then just cut my fabric to fill it in. 

There were a few mistakes made. I’m not sure if the yardage I bought of the lining wasn’t quite enough or if I cut it the wrong way, but I didn’t have quite enough for the lining to be the size the pattern called for, so I then had to trim my exterior panels down to match. I thought I’d save time by cutting 2″ off one side instead of 1″ off two sides, but doing that flipped the pattern so that the damask runs horizontally rather than vertically. With the straps on, I don’t think it’s a big deal, but note to self for next time to think those things through…

I also need to work on cutting  straight lines over longer pieces. The straps are each 65″ strips of fabric that are supposed to be 6″ wide. After cutting the first one, it was 6″ at one end and closer to 5″ at the other end. Oops! So I trimmed that down, and they are now slightly thinner than the pattern calls for. 

Thankfully, none of my mistakes turned out to be a huge deal, and I still ended up with a lovely and functional tote! I have another one of these to make for a co-worker of mine, and it should get easier each time I make it! I also have a few other tote patterns to try out. I do love bags. 🙂 

Here are a few more pictures of the finished project.

An Introduction

Hello! Welcome to my blog! I’m Amarea. I’m a wife, a mother, a manager at a local University, and most recently, am becoming a bit of a domestic soul. 

I’ve always liked being creative, in theory, but I didn’t have the patience to be very good with it until more recently. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was quite young, and it’s a hobby I’ve picked up and put down since then. It’s probably only been since I was pregnant with my son, Hunter, who’s now 3, that knitting has become a more regular part of my life, and I’d now say I’m an advanced intermediate knitter.

After having my daughter, Abigail, who’s now 8 months old, I wanted to do something for myself, so I signed up for a beginner sewing class at my local fabric store Patch Halifax. My sister-in-law, Suzanne, is an incredibly talented sewer (sewist? seamstress? what does one call someone who sews these days?), and I’ve always wished I could learn to do what she does. Plus, I love beautiful fabric, and if I could learn to sew myself, I’d have an excuse to buy some! After nearly failing Home Ec in junior high, I was terrified. I have very distinct memories of jamming the sewing machine, breaking needles, and making projects that bore very little resemblance to the teacher’s examples. God bless my mother, who still proudly displays my gingerbread man and rocking horse felt ornaments each Christmas! 

The class I took, however, was amazing. The instructor, Linnet, was wonderful, and I think explained the basics I was missing in Grade 7 within the first 15 minutes of the class. By the end of the class, I had produced an infinity scarf that looked pretty darn good, if I do say so myself, and felt confident that I could repeat the process myself (which I did 6 more times for Christmas gifts)! I signed up for a second class to make a flag bunting, and that went pretty well, too. If you’re local to Halifax and at all interested in sewing, I can’t recommend the classes at Patch Halifax highly enough!

My husband could tell I was really enjoying sewing and decided buying me a machine for Christmas would be more economical than paying by the hour to sew in Patch Halifax’s workshop, although that was a great option and is always lots of fun! Suzanne helped me get my new machine up and running, and she taught me how to make Amy Butler’s Market Tote pattern over the holidays. 

Needless to say, I definitely now have a new addiction! Between my knitting and sewing and other random craft projects I come up with, I want to have a place to track what I’m working on and display my finished projects. So, here we are! A place to write about and post pictures of my forays into domesticity. You’ll definitely see posts about my knitting and sewing. I am not much in the kitchen, but I did rather enjoy the Christmas baking I did this year, so you never know – there may be some posts about that too. And, I will likely also post about my kids and my experiences with parenting some. I hope you enjoy sharing my journey with me!