Tutorial: Appliquéd Mini Tote Bag

This mini tote bag is the perfect project to showcase your favourite appliqué design.

I’ve talked a lot about appliquéing recently, so here’s a quick and easy project to showcase your favourite designs. This is a great mini tote bag for whatever your kids are into – I made one for A and each of The Cousins and popped a few goodies inside to keep them occupied on the plane for our holiday in a few weeks (I know my sister reads this blog, so for the record, I’m not taking credit for this idea – goodies on the plane is completely her idea, and has become something of a family tradition now!).

So here’s how to make a mini tote bag with an appliqué pocket – use any appliqué design of your choice (or use one of mine).

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Free appliqué template: football (soccer ball)

Free appliqué template: click through to download a free football (soccer ball) appliqué template

Here’s another free appliqué template – this time a football (soccer ball for all you misguided folk who believe that a football can possibly be anything but round!), coming on the heels of the Euro 2016 Championship.

You can use this template with my tutorial on how to appliqué with fusible web.

Download the Template

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Comparison of raw and turned-edge appliqué

A comparison of raw and turned edge applique methods for machine applique: which one is best for you?

Pressing on with my appliqué series, today I want to look at different ways of finishing the edges.

So far I’ve talked mostly about the fusible web method of appliqué but there are times when you might want or need something different.

Since I’m not an expert on some of these (mostly I stick to the fusible web method) I’m going to link to some tutorials on how to do them, and concentrate instead on comparing them. Specifically:

  • How easy they are to do?
  • How long do they take?
  • Which aspects are tricky?
  • Generally, when would they work well?

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Appliquéing round curves and corners

Appliqué is a great way to add a personal touch. Here are some tips on getting neat corners, points and curves.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an introductory tutorial on how to appliqué. I went over the basic technique, which you can find all over the internet, but I wanted to spend some time looking in a bit more detail at some of the more troublesome areas.

One thing you might run into trouble with is in sewing smoothly when appliquéing round curves and corners. So I spent some time running up some samples and exploring how best to sew round those awkward shapes.

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Left-handers: How to Cut with Right-Handed Scissors

If you’re left-handed, then left-handed scissors are the best choice. But what if you have no choice but to use right-handed scissors? Here are some tips on how to get the best from them.
Chances are, you’re right-handed in which case this post will be of no interest to you. Go ahead, click elsewhere – I won’t judge you!

But for the 10% of people who are still with me – let’s talk scissors. Specifically, that thing you’ve read not to do but do anyway – cutting with right-handed scissors. Although I’m thinking mainly of sewing scissors here, everything applies to other types of scissors too.

You’ve probably read that the best thing to do is to always use special left-handed scissors. They’re properly designed for left-handed use, they’re more comfortable and they’re easier to use.

It makes sense – if you’re left-handed, you should choose left-handed scissors. So why do us lefties spend so much of our time trying to cut things with normal right-handed scissors?!

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How to Appliqué with Fusible Web

Appliqué is a great way to customise what you sew. Follow my easy tutorial for a step by step approach.
Appliqué is a great way to add a personal touch to loads of items, transforming them from everyday into something more special. I like to use it a lot, both to adapt things I make and in my patterns – it’s a great way to add details.

This post is a tutorial for the basic method of machine appliqué using fusible web. In subsequent posts I’ll be focusing on more of the details, such as sewing round curves and using fancy fabrics. I’ll also be posting some free appliqué designs for you to play with, starting with a selection of hearts in different sizes.

There are a number of different types of appliqué; this introductory tutorial will look at raw edge appliqué with fused edges using fusible web, and sewn by machine. You can use this method to appliqué by hand as well, although you might prefer to use a method that finishes the raw edges better.

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What’s the best fabric for handwarmers? An Experiment

What's the best fabric to use when making handwarmers? Can you get away with quilting cottons? I conduct an experiment to find out the answer once and for all... click to find out the answers!

When I was writing the handwarmers tutorial, I had the basic idea and had a quick look round the internet to see what other people had done. I already had in mind to use fleece as a good material, but other tutorials differed, and I found one that categorically stated that you needed to use flannel.

Now, I’m a perverse kind of soul, and the minute I read this, my inner teenager struck a pose and asked “What happens if I don’t? Who’s going to make me?” (I had to resist the urge to slam a few doors as well.)

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