Knitsy Magazine Feature

Find The Chilly Dog's "Boho Crochet Backpack" pattern in Issue 23 of Knitsy Magazine!

A few months ago I was contacted by the editor of Knitsy magazine about the opportunity to have one of my patterns featured in an issue. Would I like to be featured? Heck, yeah!

You'll find my crochet backpack pattern in Issue 23 on page 19. It's available for free in the App Store or you can view it on your computer at the My Craft Academy Website.

In addition to my pattern, the "Back to School" issue is filled with other fun knit and crochet patterns, interesting interviews, tips and information about exciting fiber arts products.

Happy reading!

Sewing Pattern: Casual Reversible Tote

Free Sewing Pattern and Tutorial: How to create a casual, reversible everyday purse that can also be used as a tote bag.As I was perfecting my Japanese knot bag pattern, I came up with a bag shape that didn't quite work as a knot bag, but can be made into a pretty, simple tote.

You can even vary the length of the strap between about 15-25 inches if you want to carry the bag over one shoulder or 35-40 inches to carry it cross-body style.

This bag is also fun because it's reversible giving you even more flexibility as you coordinate it with your wardrobe or your mood.

Materials


Directions

Before you begin, wash, dry and press your fabrics and print the pattern PDF.

To begin you'll need to enlarge the pattern 200%. On my printer/copier, I had to cut the pattern into three pieces and enlarge each page separately, then tape them together.

If you want to double check that your pattern is the right size, the grid on the PDF is 1/4 inch. When you enlarge it, each square in the grid should be 1/2 inch.

Fold your fabric in half lengthwise and then in half again. Align the dotted line of the pattern piece with the second fold of the fabric.

Pin and cut out two pieces of the bag bottom from each color of fabric. Also cut two, 2 1/2-inch wide rectangular pieces from each color for the straps.

I made my straps 20 inches long, but you can choose a different length as described in the intro.


Us a water soluble pen/pencil to mark the arrows on the wrong side of all the bag pieces. (Don't forget to mark them on both sides of the fold.)

As you get ready to start sewing, please note that you should use a 1/2 inch seam allowance for all the stitching.
Select one bag piece of each color. Pin them right sides together and stitch around the "U".

Repeat for the second set of contrasting fabrics.
Select one strap piece of each color. Pin them right sides together and stitch across one of the long edges.

Repeat for the second set of contrasting fabrics.
Turn all of the pieces right side out. You may trim the seam allowances around the curves to 1/4 inch for easier turning. Press the seams.

You should have two sets of pieces that look like this with a main color on one side and the contrasting color on the other.
Next, you will join the straps to the bag.
Gently open up the bag and strap seams. Position the short edges of the straps with the bag, right sides together, making sure that the seams are aligned, and same color fabrics are against each other.

Pin and stitch.
Turn the straps right side out and press the connecting seams.

If you'd like to add a little decorative stitching around the inner part of the straps, now is the time. This also adds a little stability to the straps.
Since my fabrics have a very strong pattern, I chose to straight stitch about 1/4 inch from the seam.

Next, you'll join the bag bottoms.
Pin two same color bag bottoms, right sides together.

Stitch around between the marked arrows.
Pin the other set of same color bag bottoms right sides together.

Stitch around between the marked arrows being careful so that you don't catch the straps in your seam. Turn the bag right side out.
The only raw edges remaining are along the outside of the straps. Pin and press the raw edges under 1/2 inch.

Use either a decorative stitch or a straight stitch with a 1/4 inch allowance around the outer edges of the straps.
That's it!
I like this design because it's so casual and fairly easy to create.

Free Sewing Pattern and Tutorial: How to create a casual, reversible everyday purse that can also be used as a tote bag.

Just pick a color that suits your mood, throw it over your shoulder and you are ready to go!

Free Sewing Pattern and Tutorial: How to create a casual, reversible everyday purse that can also be used as a tote bag.


Crafter Thoughts: The Design Process

When you read a blog post about one of my projects, you may not realize what happens behind the scenes before every tutorial and pattern is published. It's a process that can take hours or even days to complete.

Before I begin photographing the steps or writing the directions I have to design the finished product and it usually takes a few tries to get it right. My Japanese knot bag is a perfect example.

A friend gave me the idea for the bag style, but it was up to me to create the pattern. I got out my big roll of white paper, drawing and measuring tools, and a few circle templates (yes, sometimes I use my plates and bowls to draw circles).

Behind the scenes: The process of designing a sewing pattern


As I was sketching, I realized that even if my pattern turned out perfectly, I wouldn't be able to share it electronically at it's original size, so I had to figure out how to create a printable pattern that readers could easily enlarge.
Then, I got out the sewing machine to see if my design was actually feasible. I ended up making six, less than perfect prototypes. I like to think of them as learning experiences.
After each bag was finished, I  analyzed what features I liked, and which ones needed to be modified. Here are just a few of my pattern drafts.
After finalizing my Japanese knot bag pattern, I was able to get out the pretty fabric and photograph all of the steps in the sewing process, as well as the finished bag.

Behind the scenes: The process of designing a Japanese knot bag sewing pattern

Do you prefer to design your own sewing patterns, purchase paper patterns at a store or find printable patterns on the internet?