Halloween Trick-or-Treating Tote Bag Tutorial with Spooky Hollow Fabric

It has been far too long since I have shared a tutorial in this space and I will be remedying that today! As soon as I saw this fun Halloween fabric line, Spooky Hollow by Melissa Mortensen, I knew I wanted to make something to show off the amazing trick-or-treaters. They are just so fun! I settled on some Halloween trick-or-treating tote bags.

For each bag you will need:

1/2 yard for exterior

1/2 yard for lining

2.5″ x width of fabric for bag handle

1/2 yard interfacing (like shape flex 101 fusible interfacing)

Prep and Construction:

Cut (2) 12 1/2″ x 15 1/2″ of the exterior and lining fabrics. Cut (2) 12″ x 15″ pieces of the interfacing.

Follow the manufacturer instructions and fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the exterior fabric panels.

Fold the handle piece in half, with wrong sides together. Press down the entire length of the piece. Open it up, and then press each side to the center line you just made. Press.

Topstitch 1/8″ away from the edge of both sides of the handle piece you just made, then cut the handle in half so you have 2 pieces that are roughly 20″ long.

Place the exterior panels with right sides together. You will then sew along the sides and bottom of the pieces, using a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Next, sew together the lining pieces. You will need to leave a 3-4″ hole on the bottom of the lining so you can use it to flip the bag right side out at the end of construction. Sew the sides and bottom, minus the 3-4″ hole, using a 3/8″ seam allowance.

In order to achieve a tote bag shape, you will next need to box the corners of the lining and the exterior of the bag. Simply gather the bottom corners of the bag and pin them as shown below. Mark a line that is 1″ from the corner. This will become your sewing line.

Do this for the lining and exterior of the bag, trim off the corners, then turn the exterior bag piece right side out.

Pin the handle piece onto the exterior bag piece 3″ away from each side seam. Repeat for the other handle.

Shimmy the lining bag piece (with the WRONG SIDE facing out) onto the lining. The right sides of the fabrics will be touching. Pin like crazy to hold things in place.

Sew using a 1/2″ seam allowance around the top seam of the bag, then flip it right side out through the hole you left in the bottom of the lining.

Press the top so it is nice and crisp. Topstitch 1/8″ away from the top edge and sew the lining hole closed.

These tote bags are a fast, simple way to use a great focal print from a collection. My kids are looking forward to using these on Halloween, especially since we missed out on trick-or-treating last year!

Spooky Hollow will be hitting your favorite local quilt shop or online shop very soon and I cannot wait to see what you make with it!

Ahoy! Mermaids Pillowcases

One of my very favorite quick and fun things to do with fabric is to make pillowcases for beds. It is one of the highlights of my sons lives to pick out a new pillowcase for their bed every Saturday. Sometimes it’s a mom-made pillowcase, sometimes it’s one that came with a sheet set. We like options 🙂

My daughter is now 18 months old and as she is inching ever closer to a big girl bed, I knew I wanted to make her some cute pillowcases. My favorite tutorial for the “burrito method” pillowcase is in School of Sewing. I always reference it when I am making pillowcases.

If you don’t own School of Sewing, you can find a good burrito method pillowcase tutorial here.

Ahoy! Mermaids is in quilt shops now and can be purchased from your favorite local quilt shop or online shop. I can’t wait for my little miss to get older and hope she’ll want to use her mermaid pillow cases!

Why I Sold My Juki and Bought a Bernina

This post is one I’ve been working on in my head for a year and a half. I have had reservations of how to word things, how to post about it, how to not make it seem like you need to sell your sewing machine if you like it, etc etc etc.

I jumped on the Juki bandwagon after being ready to upgrade from my beginner-level Husqvarna Viking sewing machine. I couldn’t get a decent 1/4″ seam, things pulled to the left when I sewed long seams, I didn’t have a walking foot. These were all growing concerns as I participated in bees and things that required a consistent seam. I like to quilt a lot of my quilts on my home machine and it was not possible without a walking foot.

At that point in time, I believe 2016, Juki was all the rage among home sewists. They were relatively inexpensive, seemingly indestructible, and fast. They were rumored to be a workhorse with very little issues beyond needing to maintain them by oiling frequently.

I purchased one and I remember it arrived on Easter Sunday. I got it out of the box and worked on figuring out how to thread it. It was a doozie. Eventually I mastered that and was on my way sewing.

A few months later was when I had my first issue with tension. It was always a guessing game. I’d go through the same checklist and sometimes the problem fixed itself, sometimes it didn’t. I could never understand why the issue righted itself and why sometimes it persisted. New needle, new bobbin, re-threaded, cleaned and oiled it, turned it off and on again. It grew to be incredibly frustrating.

I took my Juki in to be serviced at a Juki dealer and 1 day after their 30-day guarantee, it broke. I spent a few hours on the phone with Juki headquarters and they told me to mail it to them and their guy would fix it. He did and it worked well for a few months. Then the tension issues creeped back in.

Sensing my ever-growing frustration, my husband suggested that I look into a new sewing machine. His grandma had a Bernina that his sister still used. Was it too good to be true? I went in to my local Bernina dealer and tested out the Bernina B 475QE. It felt smooth like buttah. I compare sewing on the Juki like a pick-up truck. It has its job and it does its job well, until it doesnt. A Bernina is like a luxury car. It is a JOY to sew with and a really amazing machine.

I have now had my Bernina for almost 2 years and I have never had even 1 tension issue. My stitches are perfect every single time I turn it on. I do miss the large throat space that I had on the Juki, but I miss literally nothing else. I gladly trade that for a machine that does exactly what I ask it to do every. single. time.

I love that I can purchase feet for a specific job (like making piping for my vintage chair reupholstery). I love that I can buy a straight stitch plate to help me not need leaders/enders. I love that I can use a blanket stitch around applique on the rare occasion I applique. I love the beautiful stitches I get even without the Bernina Stitch Regulator upgrade. I love that I have a built-in zigzag stitch for making frankenbatting. I love everything about my Bernina and I know that will continue as I use it more.