qayg gift pouch

qayg = quilt as you go. Started with a 9.5″ x 6.5″ rectangle of batting and slowly added scraps to it. I really like this technique; very quick, easy and fun. Sometimes it’s nice not to think about all the math and precision required by quilting and just create randomly. I made this bag to hold a midori notebook and cat stickers that I was giving someone as a gift. Hopefully they have use for the pouch too!

scrappy indigo pouch

I recently reorganized my room, including my scrap bins. I’m trying out a new system now: sorting my scraps into separate bins by material (denim, linen, knits, etc). As I was going through my old scrap pile, I kept finding these small indigo patchwork scraps from another pouch I made years ago. I’ve been going through a bit of a motivation rut, and felt like making a pretty scrappy pouch would be the perfect project to jumpstart my creativity again. It did the trick. I had a lot of fun piecing together these gorgeous scraps. The patch is from some bedding that my mom recently bought; she was going to throw away the tag that came with it, but I saved it instead. I used fusible fleece for additional structure and I love the feel of it. I’ll definitely be using fusible fleece in all my future pouches. Lined with leftover scrubs. I tried a new technique this time, only topstitching the outer layer near the zipper. I like it; it makes the lining lie neater.

mini orange cross body bag

I wanted to experiment with a new bag construction, featuring a welt zipper installation and boxy shape. I’ve been playing around with the concept in my mind for a while, and decided to make a mini prototype before scaling up. I used a 4″ (tiny!) zipper, and bound the inner seams with bias tape. The outer material is a nice tangerine suede sample that my friend’s mom who works in real estate gave me years ago. I used some leather scraps for the side tabs as well and added one of my tags for some extra interest. Next steps are to make a bigger version and hopefully develop a pattern for that!

mtl pencil case pattern

A very simple pencil case pattern that’s perfect for using up scraps. I debated whether or not I should share this pattern because it’s so simple and there are already many great free pencil case patterns out on the internet. But in the end, I decided I might as well share mine because it’s good practice and fun for me to write and illustrate the instructions that go with the pattern. To slightly elevate the pattern, I also included pattern pieces and instructions for a waves version of the pencil case. The waves make for a great chance to experiment with bold colors and sew some curves (curves are really fun!). As always, if you find any mistakes or problems with the pattern, please let me know! And if you have any questions, reach out to me! I’ve been the only tester of these patterns so far, so it’s very possible I’ve missed something.

Here are some pictures of my versions of this pencil case. The simple pencil case is made using old Lululemon bag scraps and lined with quilting cotton. Though the fabric is lightweight, it has decent structure to it, so I didn’t use any interfacing. The waves pencil case is made from quilting cotton and my dad’s old hospital scrubs, and is lined with muslin. I used fusible fleece to add structure, and it turned out really nicely.

This pencil case is sleek and compact, but can hold a surprisingly large amount of stuff, not limited to stationery. I think it makes a great travel bag as well. I recently brought it on a backpacking trip with me, and used it to hold spare batteries and a portable charger. It was the perfect size and shape to stick in my sleeping bag with me at night so that the cold wouldn’t drain the batteries.

sewing for backpacking

I went backpacking for the first time last week and it was incredible. I tagged along with J and her dad on their Sierra High Route adventure. This was definitely an ambitious route for a beginner backpacker like me, but I improved so much, gained a lot of confidence over those seven days, and had the best time. It was a great reminder of how much I enjoy living simply and camping and being away from my phone and all the little problems in my normal life. I also loved the challenge of walking all day and making it over passes! The Sierra landscape is absolutely amazing and inspiring– I feel so lucky to have been able to go on this trip.

I did some last minute sewing before the trip, making a stuff sack and a small pouch to hold my driver’s license, medical info, and other little things. The stuff sack was really helpful for organizing my gear in my backpack, and really easy to make too. Hoping to turn that one into a pattern. I think my version is much easier to make than other ones because it doesn’t have a circular bottom and only three seams need to be sewn to create it. Proud of that one. Also featured is a cosmetics bag (recognize the Lululemon fabric?) that I made a few years ago before my horsepacking trip. I’ve gotten great use out of that bag too. The small pouch was great. I’m a bit unhappy with how the zipper turned out; it’s a bit sloppy on the ends, and I would add zipper tabs next time for a cleaner finish. But that’s if I’m being picky. Function-wise, the pouch was great. Small enough to fit in the top pocket of my backpack, bright colors to make it easy to spot, and water-resistant fabric for ease of mind. And isn’t that view from Dusy Basin gorgeous? Got to love Sierra granite!

new pencil case

I spilled peanut butter on my old pencil case (the indigo dyed one) in college and the stickiness finally convinced me to make myself a new one. I’m discovered how useful Adobe Illustrator is for drafting patterns – no more paper scraps and taping and drawing lines with pencil; I can do it much faster, with less waste, on the computer! I whipped up this quick pencil case pattern and luckily the shape worked perfectly the first time. I might upload this as a free pattern, but it’s so simple that I wonder if others would actually use it. Maybe I’ll add a fun modification to make it more worthwhile?

I used scrap fabric from all the bags I’ve taken apart and chose a fun bright pink zipper. I normally don’t use colors this bright in my project but I think I’m going through a phase because my last few projects have also been very colorful. I’m vibing with it.

leather bottom boxed pouch

my grandpa’s 80th birthday was today, and it’s father’s day, so it was a day for multiple celebrations! i wanted to sew my grandpa a gift, something that he will actually use. he loves to travel (though covid-19 has shut down any of his plans) and he loves the look of leather, so i made him a boxed pouch with a leather bottom. i actually really enjoy this pouch and want to make another for my dad too. i think the leather bottom complements the natural canvas really well, and the lining looks very clean and professional. here’s the details:

after making my first fennel fanny pack, i was dissatisfied with the clunky bias binding on the insides. not only was it time consuming to hand-stitch down, i also didn’t like the look. while searching through the fennel fanny pack hashtag on instagram, i came across some examples of a drop-in lining and thought it was the perfect alternative to bias binding. i became very eager to try this new style. sometimes, when i have an idea in my head of how i can improve on a design, my mind doesn’t stop scheming until i try and execute the idea in real life. this happens with backpack designs, clothing, and here, with the drop-in lining.

my family was driving down to where my grandparents and cousins live that week, so there was a slight time constraint. i had initially considered making another fanny pack for him, but the buckles i needed to complete the fanny pack wouldn’t arrive in time. i felt a travel bag/boxed pouch would be equally useful, and used the fennel fanny pack pattern sans waist belt attachment.

the other small modification i made was eliminating the front zippered pocket and adding a snap instead, mostly because i just really wanted to install a snap.


sewing with leather. always kind of a struggle. well, it turns out that my leather needle was already dull, which was the reason it couldn’t sew through thick pieces of leather and caused a whole bunch of problems. once i switched to a normal heavy duty needle, assembling the outer layer went really smoothly. so much so that i’m excited to add more leather bottoms to my bags; i may even get ambitious and try one on a backpack.

the drop in lining was easy to assemble as well, though hand-stitching it to the zipper was another story. for some reason, the fabric on each side of the zipper wasn’t long enough, so the lining didn’t quite fit the bag. this is probably a result of me ironing too large of a seam allowance, but by the time i realized this, it would have been a pain to fix. i went with it though and the bag turned out all right, just in the future, i’d leave myself more fabric to work with. as always, the hand-stitching was a little tedious. luckily, a little netflix really helps pass the time, and i feel like the extra effort is always worth it in the end. it looks SO good!

ombré heart pouches

i was inspired by a card i made two years ago featuring a line of hearts stitched to the paper and i wanted to try to create a similar look on fabric. i love the dimension on the card, as the edges of the hearts are free to pop up and add interest. though this is not quite as easy to do with fabric, i thought the hearts would still look cute lined up in ombré colors.

i used snippets of some suede upholstery samples L gave me a few years ago that i’ve been “saving.” about time i used it! i created my own heart template and got to work.

i also took some photos of the process because i like seeing the pouch come together. for stability, i added some batting and quilted the opposite side of the pouch. i debated using white as the background fabric because it soils easily, but i wanted to go for the full effect so i went with it. besides, it’s washable!

i’m super pleased with how these pouches turned out and i can’t decide which one i like better – the blue or the red. i’m also in love with the fun quilting cottons i used for the linings and just the whole pouch in general! this was a great project to get my sewing mojo back after a few weeks break, and i’m feeling more confident and ready to tackle the phillipa pants this weekend.

fabric doodles + pouches

painted some fun designs on canvas using a watered down mixture of screen printing ink. the whole process was super therapeutic – prepping and painting the fabric one day and slowly using it in the coming week.

here’s what i made using my painted fabric: