The Life of Jennifer Dawn: Slumber Party Bundle: Sew a Tote and Pillowcase

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Slumber Party Bundle: Sew a Tote and Pillowcase

Have you seen the Baby Bundle or the Naptime Bundle I made using flannel bundles from Raspberry Creek Fabrics? After having made a bundle of items perfect for babies and a bundle of naptime items ideal for toddlers/preschoolers, I decided it was time to make something for my BIG girl who will start kindergarten in the fall. That's when I came up with the Slumber Party Bundle! I love sewing things with the flannel bundles from Raspberry Creek, but for this handmade collection of sleepover essentials, I felt like cotton fabric would work best. Here's the cotton fabric bundle I used...
It's Riley Blake Designs "Madhuri" by the Quilted Fish. Isn't it gorgeous?! I love all of the collections that Raspberry Creek Fabrics carries. The pre-bundled fabrics are especially great for projects like these where coordinating fabrics are needed. The bundles really take the guesswork out of having to piece together different fabric designs yourself. Ready to complete the Slumber Party Bundle? Grab some fabric and let's get started...

Tote Bag
coordinating fabrics (like in the bundles from Raspberry Creek Fabrics)
sewing essentials (scissors, thread, pins, pinking shears, sewing machine...)
iron (always important when you sew)

A few helpful hints...
*Remember to backstitch at the start and finish of each seam. (Backstitch: Sew forward a few stitches, use the reverse feature on the machine to sew backwards a few stitches, and then come forward again.
*Pins and an iron are your best friends when sewing. And sometimes even a seam ripper.
*Always use a quality fabric. Your project will only turn out as good as the fabric you use to make it.
*Don't take shortcuts. Things like top stitching can give your project a polished look.

Cutting Out the Fabric:
One of my favorite things about sewing is watching simple shapes of fabric turn into something fabulous! Make sure you have washed, dried, and ironed your fabric before beginning. Follow the picture above to cut or tear the 7 rectangles you'll need to sew this tote bag. I chose to make my strap, bottom, and pocket pieces from the same material. The sky is the limit though. Use as many or as few fabrics as you'd like. Each top piece will be sewn to a bottom piece to create the front and back panels of your tote. Here's how...

Main Part of the Tote:
1. Lay one of the bottom pieces onto a top piece with their right sides facing. Make sure to match the edges up and pin the fabric in place. Straight stitch along the pinned edge where the bottom and top pieces are matched up. I like to trim the excess fabric along this seam with pinking shears. (Optional: You can also zig zag stitch along this edge to finish it off.) Open the pieces up and top stitch along the top of the bottom piece so it will lay neatly. Repeat this step with the other two top and bottom piece
to create the front and back panels for your tote. If you are wanting to add a pocket, this would be the time to do it. (See the pocket instructions below.) If not, you can continue on with the next step.
2. Lay the front and back bag pieces on top of each other with their rights sides facing. Match up all of the edges and use pins to temporarily secure the fabrics together. Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew along the sides and bottom of the tote. Again, you can use the pinking shears to trim off the excess fabric beyond the seams and then a zig zag stitch to finish them off.
3. With the bag still inside out, turn it to where the side seams match up. Fold it like a house by forming triangles with the bottom corners of the bag. Measure a few inches down from each corner and sew straight across. This will create the boxed look at the bottom. You can skip this step if you would like to tote to be flat rather than boxed.
4. Now it's time to sew a double hem along the top of the bag. Fold the top edge over 1/4 inch and then another 1/2 inch. Use pins to secure your folds as you work around the top edge. This is very similar to a waistband for a skirt. Straight stitch along the bottom and top of the hem forming two parallel rows of stitches. Turn your bag right side out and add the straps. (See the strap instructions below.)

Optional Pocket:
1. Fold each side of the pocket piece over 1/4 inch. Use a iron to help the folds lay flat.
2. Fold, iron, and pin the top of the pocket over another inch. Sew along the bottom of the hem.
3. Position and pin the pocket in place on the front panel of your tote. (Variation: You could also sew it to the wrong side of a panel if you'd prefer the pocket to be inside.)
4. Sew along the sides and the bottom of the pocket. I even sewed down the middle to create two sections for the pocket.

1. Fold and iron each strap piece in half lengthwise.
2. Open each one up and fold and iron the sides in to meet at their middle.
3. Fold each strap in half again with the sides tucked inside. Place pins in as your fold. Tuck the raw edges at the ends inside the fold too.
4. Straight stitch along the perimeters of your straps.
5. Measure 3 inches over from the side seams. This is where you'll pin the ends of your straps.
6. Following the hemlines, sew the straps in place. I started a little out from where the strap was and sewed across until I got a little past the strap. Sew along both the top and bottom hemlines. You'll hardly notice the stitches if you follow the lines already there.
7. Press your tote bag one final time to get out any remaining wrinkles. That's it! You are finished! Ready to sew a coordinating pillowcase?

coordinating fabrics (like in the bundles from Raspberry Creek Fabrics)
sewing essentials (scissors, thread, pins, pinking shears, sewing machine...)
iron (always important when you sew)

1. Cut or tear two rectangles that are 25 inches by 20 inches (main pieces) and two more rectangles that are 5 inches by 20 inches (borders). With right sides facing, match up the 20 inch edge of a main piece with the 20 inch edge of a border piece. Pin the fabrics together. Repeat this for the other two pieces.
2. Straight stitch along the matched up edge. Finish it off with your pinking shears. Repeat this step with the other pieces.
3. Open the fold and use a top stitch to create a flat seam. Repeat this for the other panel.
4. Lay the front and back panels on top of each other with their right sides facing. Stitch along three sides leaving the border side open. Finish the edges off with pinking shears and then a zig zag stitch.
5. Now it is time to hem the open border of the pillowcase. Fold the edge over 1/4 inch and then another 1/2 inch--pinning as you go.
6. Sew along the bottom of the hem. You can pull the pins out as you sew.
7. Press the pillowcase one final time. Insert a pillow inside. DONE!

Happy sewing!
Image Map


  1. Oh my, what BEAUTIFUL fabrics!!

  2. Beautiful! Can I pack you up and you come teach me how to do this?

    1. Anytime. :) I've thought about doing a series of tutorials that teach all of the basics. Maybe that would help in the meantime. Thanks for stopping by, friend!

  3. This turned out so cute! Such a great idea.

    1. Awww...thanks! I'm working on getting Part 2 posted. Be sure to come check that out too once it is up.


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