mtl simple tote pattern

The inspiration: ever since I was a kid, I have loved making bags. This tote design holds a special place in my heart because it was inspired by one of the first bags I ever sewed. I took an after school embroidery class throughout elementary school, which I loved, and the same teacher offered machine sewing classes during the summer. The teacher let us design our own projects and would then help us make the projects (which was so cool! she could’ve just walked us through set projects like a normal sewing class would, but took the time and effort to help 10 year olds make something from scratch instead). I became obsessed with sewing tote bags and spent most of my time in class working on that. Tote bags were a great project to become obsessed with, because I was introduced to many techniques as I started getting more ambitious with the various features added to the bag: zippers, invisible zippers, pockets, flaps, straps, etc. Given, my teacher had to walk me through those additions and I never felt comfortable doing it on my own until I was much older, but I had so much fun making and using my tote bags that my bag making obsession has only grown over the years. This tote bag pattern is based off one of those original tote bags, one that I’ve used immensely for the past 10 years. I made the dimensions slightly larger and added better pockets, but the overall shape is the same.

A note about the shape: though I’ve seen many bag patterns out on the internet, I haven’t seen much of this rectangular bottom construction; I’ve noticed that most tote bag patterns use boxed corners instead. Boxed corners are great, but I like the rectangular bottom better because it makes it easier to add pockets to the bag. Side pockets are possible, and you don’t have to worry about weird slanted side proportions when deciding where to place a patch pocket. Because I want everyone to get the chance to experience the thrill of designing a bag and choosing where and what pockets to add, I kept the main tote pattern very simple and have written up a pocket guide to use as a building block for a customized result.

The overall tote bag is zero waste (made up entirely of rectangles) and reversible. There are so so many possibilities and I can’t wait to see what people make of it. I’ve already had so much fun making more tote bags for myself, friends, and family. This size is perfect; big enough to hold quite a lot of stuff and small enough that it can be made from fabric scraps or upcycled material. Please enjoy this pattern as much as I do!!

Here are some of the tote bags that I’ve made. I normally don’t make this many samples of a pattern, but this design is really quick and enjoyable to make. The variations on this design are truly infinite; you can see that none of my tote bags are exactly the same. I love that depending on the fabric and handles you choose, the tote bag can either be sophisticated or a great way to use up fabric scraps. I got many compliments on my natural canvas/quilted pocket tote bag in my first year of college and it was a great conversation starter when I told people I made it myself 🙂

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.

mtl fanny pack pattern

Just a useful pattern to have & perfect for adventures! I’m using mine on hot hikes to carry my phone, some snacks, and extra doggo poop bags. If you find any problems/mistakes with the pattern, please let me know! I’m still learning the pattern-making process so any feedback would be much appreciated.

** Update: Realized I didn’t include the dimensions anywhere. The finished dimensions are 7.5″L x 4″H x 2″W. Another consideration is that the pattern is not fully lined, but you can easily add the full lining by cutting out two more main body pieces and basting them WST to the exterior main body pieces before assembling (step 7). Thank you all so much for your interest in this pattern!!

This is an especially great pattern for using up old fabric scraps. I made my versions using nylon bits leftover from other projects and reusable bags that I took apart and I’m really loving the color blocked look.

mtl chalk bag pattern

Now that it’s summer and I’ve got more time, I’ve decided to turn my scrap paper patterns into digital patterns with written instructions. Up first is my chalk bag pattern. I’ve been using this pattern a lot to make gifts for climbing friends. It’s simple and quick, but also easily customizable. Would love to see if anyone makes it – tag me @mtlmakes or use #mtlchalkbag. Hope you find it useful!

For my version, I hand-painted the fabric with some poppy motifs. I used yellow canvas for the bottom and also added a yellow triangle near the cord opening for contrast. I painted some grey grossgrain ribbon I had saved from a package in the past (save everything! you never know when it might be useful!) because I was feeling artsy and wanted something other than boring black for the binding. This particular chalk bag uses simple ribbon loops to attach the belt to the bag. In the instructions, I explain how to use a webbing system instead. Both should work well; it’s just based on personal preference and what’s available. If you’ve got a grommet, I recommend using that for the cord opening too, just to make things more sturdy and professional. If you don’t, like me, then follow the instructions to leave an opening in the seams instead. Play around, have fun with it!

Other versions:

coastal coin pouch pattern

welcome to my first official sewing pattern! i love quick projects that are very gratifying to make, and i think this little coin pouch fits that perfectly – sew a few lines, add a snap, and it’s finished! i also love that this pouch looks more complicated than it actually is, so it is perfect for anyone new to sewing. for those of us who have been sewing for a little longer – the small size is perfect for using up all our scraps.

i credit the idea for this pattern to a picture i found on pinterest, although the sizing, pattern pieces, and instructions are my own. i had to experiment a little, and my first prototype was definitely less than ideal, but i’ve finally found the dimensions and shape i’m happy with.

here’s what you need to make this simple, versatile coin pouch:


  • exterior fabric (a fat quarter is more than enough)
  • lining fabric (same as above)
  • *optional interfacing (recommended if using thinner fabric for the exterior and interior, or for a sturdier feel)
  • metal snaps and a snap setting tool (size 20-24)
  • hand-sewing needle and thread
  • water soluble pen/other marking tool
  • sewing machine, iron, fabric scissors, etc.

pattern information:

  • 1/4″ seam allowance throughout
  • topstitch 1/8″ from edges or seams
  • always backstitch!
  • print pattern pieces from PDF attached at bottom at 100%, box at top should measure 1″ x 1″
  • seam allowances are included in pattern pieces

for each coin pouch cut:

  • from exterior fabric: 1 main piece, 1 pocket
  • from lining fabric: 1 main piece, 1 pocket
  • from interfacing: 1 main piece


  1. print out pattern pieces, and cut fabric according to the instructions on the pattern pieces and above.
  2. trim each side of the interfacing main piece by 1/4″ to make the seams less bulky.
  3. fuse interfacing to wrong side of exterior main piece. there should be a 1/4″ border between the exterior main piece and the interfacing.
  4. with right sides together, sew the exterior main piece to the lining piece, leaving a 1.5″ opening on one of the long sides of the main pieces.
  5. clip corners and turn so right sides are facing out. use a chopstick or other turning tool to poke out corners. press.
  6. using a needle and thread, hand sew the opening closed with a ladder stitch so that it is invisible.
  7. with right sides together, sew the exterior pocket to the lining pocket, leaving a 1.5″ opening on one of the long sides of the pocket pieces.
  8. clip corners and turn. press. do not hand sew this opening closed, this will be done in a later step.
  9. position pocket piece on main piece, lining side down, and touching the lining side of the main piece. line up the bottom of the pocket with the bottom of the main piece.
  10. using a water soluble pen, mark a line of the centre of the pocket piece and sew through all layers, securing the pocket to the main piece.
  11. fold the main piece out of the way, and fold the pocket pieces right sides together. sew a line halfway down the pocket pieces. this is the bottom of the finished pouch, and one place where the pouch will fold.
  12. fold the lining sides of the pocket down to touch the lining of the main piece. topstitch the pocket pieces to the main piece. (see pictures below)
  13. fold down the top of the pouch and mark the placement of the snap. i am using a size 24 metal snap from noodlehead. it is a little big, and i would recommend a size 20 for a neater look.
  14. attach the snap according to your snap directions.
  15. enjoy! you just made a coastal coin pouch!

pattern pieces (download both! still figuring out how to combine the scanned papers into one doc):

fabric covered boxes

years ago, my friend L gave me a ton of empty tissue boxes to use as organizers for pens and other notions. these special boxes were perfect – they were sturdy, round, slim – but they were way too tall. these boxes/containers/organizers have been sitting in my room ever since, collecting dust and taking up space, and somehow they have survived my biannual room cleanings. i was going to paint a different box today when i realized that the empty (rectangular) tissue box that was originally holding my brushes was breaking. inspiration suddenly came, so i shifted gears to repurposing L’s old containers!

honestly, i wasn’t quite sure what i was doing. i had a vague idea in my mind on how this design would work, so i do what i always do when drafting my own patterns, and i got to work making a prototype. i first cut down the height of the box using a craft knife and some force. i had drawn a random line and it turned out to be exactly 4.5″, which was an extremely nice number. i made my two pattern pieces, found some fabric i’ve had in my stash forever that i’ve been trying to get rid of, and started cutting.

my first prototype was too tight to fit around the edge of the container, so i had to start again. the second time went much more smoothly, and i finished my first fabric covered container very quickly. there was some puckering as my measurements didn’t quite line up, but it’s difficult to tell because it’s on the bottom of the box and it adds to the whole cloth aesthetic, so i just went with the imperfections.

all in all, i am very pleased with the outcome. i made covered another container in about 10 minutes, and now i’ve got some cute organizers to hold my brushes! it’s definitely much better than the old giant kleenex box i was using before. here’s to trying new things!

in the future, i think i will experiment with the design a little more to hide the lining base seam (currently it is surged), because that would make it a little neater and more professional. however, since this was more of a function rather than style project, i didn’t care that much to spend the extra time playing around with it. mainly because my ap chem review book is waiting on me. ah well, this was a nice break from studying.

also, i keep a notebook of all my self-drafted projects with instructions so i can make them again in the future. i wrote a little entry for this one, and if you are interested, you can read and follow the pictures below to make your own! the container doesn’t have to be a round kleenex box, as the design is very customizable, so any shape should work.


·     pattern: self-drafted
·     fabric: old stash fabric from joann's

diy scrunchies

it shocks me so much when i see something very simple to make for sale at stores like urban outfitters for ridiculous prices. for example, tube tops, which are literally just two pieces of knit fabric sewed together, no straps, no fitting, no darts, just fabric and three lines of stitching. and these are selling for $18! not to call a store out, but that’s crazy. another item that i think is way overpriced are scrunchies. they are making a comeback right now, and i see so many people with them. i checked, and a pack of 5 scrunchies from urban is $12, meaning that each scrunchie is $2.40. for a piece of fabric folded in half sewn around a rubber band or elastic, this is kind of insane. and i know there are places out there that are selling scrunchies for much more!

so maybe the high price is supporting the factory workers who are making these scrunchies, but because it’s urban outfitters (i haven’t done a lot of research on this, but i know that urban outfitters isn’t usually a brand i see on ethical company lists) i’m a little skeptical about that. i honestly think that makers should start a collaborative shop to make and sell scrunchies for the same price and then donate the money made. that would be pretty cool, and it would be a way for people to start digging into some of their scrap collections and help out thrift stores. and i’m pretty sure there is a market for it – quite a few people at my school have seen my handmade scrunchies and have offered to buy one from me.

well, that was a bit of a rant and some thoughts, and here is a mini tutorial on how to make scrunchies, including measurements:


  1. fabric
  2. sewing machine
  3. scissors
  4. ruler
  5. elastic
  6. safety pin
  7. fabric turning thing
  8. hand-sewing needle and thread
  9. (fabric glue if you don’t have a machine)

start by cutting a strip of fabric 3.5 inches wide by 19 inches long. the length depends on the thickness of the fabric you are using. 19 inches is perfect for thinner, slippery fabric, but for cotton t-shirt fabric, 15 inches works better.

fold the fabric in half, or in this case, match up raw edges right sides together, and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance. fold back the raw edges of the shorter side of the fabric to make it easier later on to sew the scrunchie together. turn the fabric using the fabric turning thing that i forget the name of.

cut a piece of elastic the size of your wrist plus 1″ seam allowance. mine was 7.25″ long. using a safety pin, insert the elastic, holding it at one end to make sure it doesn’t slip through. sew the ends of the elastic together, overlapping the ends by 1/2″.

the edges should already be folded, and you can slip them into one another and stitch with a machine, or for a cleaner finish, slip-stitch the opening closed. honestly, fabric glue would be the best option to make sure that no stitching shows through, but when you’re wearing the scrunchie, you can’t tell.

and…enjoy this scrunchie that cost $0 and took 10 minutes to make! it’s great for gifts 🙂

my font making process

introducing… shoreline font! (for the fiftieth time haha) but seriously, i’m so excited about this font! i taught myself how to make this font from youtube videos, online articles, forums, and good old trial by error. it took many many hours of staring at the computer screen trying to make every connection between each letter work, and it’s a huge relief to finally finish! i would say that creating a script font for my second ever font making attempt was not the smartest idea because i had to worry about the spacing between each letter and alternatives if something didn’t look right, but i definitely learned a lot.

i’ve been using this font for so many things now – from craft projects to the headers on my notes. it’s very satisfying and easy to just type a header and print it onto a page of notes. if you’d like shoreline font for your own purposes, whether it’s to jazz up your notes or create the perfect flyer, you can purchase this font here at my etsy, shopMik. i wasn’t sure about selling it at first and i know most of us are broke students, but when i considered the time and effort i spent making this font, and the fact that once you purchase this font, you get it forever (!), this font is a really good deal!! and you are supporting me, an artist who is trying to save up enough money to buy a monthly adobe subscription so i can keep experimenting with all the programs, which is an even better cause lol and may lead to some more freebies in the future. any extra money will be donated to my local organization that helps people with disabilities ride horses through a therapeutic riding program that i also volunteer at.

but i get it, if you aren’t interested, keep reading to learn how you can make your own font to wow your friends (free of monetary charges)!

i just want to be clear – i am not an expert on font making. i’m just someone who had a passion and persevered. but i was a complete beginner who managed to make a really cool font, and i gathered a list of helpful resources that i want to share with you in case if you’re interested, which i will link below.

to make a font, you’ll need some computer applications that i believe are only available for mac at the moment. i used Adobe Illustrator, Astropad, and Glyphs to make my font, and i was able to use these for free by starting a free trial for each application. this meant i had to work quickly, but i also didn’t have to pay for these apps – though now, once i save up enough money, i will purchase. i’ve compiled a great list of articles and resources that i used to guide me through the process, and hopefully having everything in one place can help you too. if you have no idea how to use any of these programs, don’t worry, because i didn’t either!

the basics of font making are:

  1. write it out – all the letters, numbers, symbols, and accents you want to be able to use in your font
  2. scan it if it’s on paper, or save as a .png if on an iPad which was what i did, and bring it into Adobe Illustrator
  3. make every letter a vector
  4. use Astropad and an iPad to clean up every letter
  5. import each letter into Glyphs
  6. code in alternatives and ligatures
  7. adjust kerning and every letter combination possible
  8. export!

you can download this list of resources that i used for each step here:

good luck with your font making, and i hope this was helpful!