Welcome to the Handmade Holidays on Buttons Galore! For the next 3 days, we’ll be joining in by sharing ideas for handmade Christmas gifts using – of course – buttons!
Our handmade gift project today is a handy little zippered notions bag that is perfect for the sewing enthusiast or frequent traveler in your life! It’s made from a pattern called Everyday Zips by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Company that is available online or at a local quilt store (which is where I got mine).
- Everyday Zips pattern
- 4 fabrics (fat quarters of each are sufficient)
- body of bag
- prairie points
- 9″ minimum zipper for bag top
- 6″ minimum zipper for side pocket
- Buttons Galore Button Basics in Red Hot
One of the most underestimated tasks in the success of a sewing project may be the selection of fabric. Just choose colors you like, right? Not exactly. Color, pattern, and other choices can make the difference between a project you are happy with and one that just isn’t satisfying.
On this project, the pattern called for the body of the bag to be a neutral colored lightweight canvas. But I had found this neutral background vintage sewing themed quilt fabric that I was in love with at my local quilt store. This project seemed like a great excuse to use it! Plus, since this is a “notions tote”, the fabric would reinforce the theme.
I also chose a light color for the interior (not seen here) – an ivory tone on tone chevron design.
For the contrast panel, I chose the black rulers to pull the black out of the background and reinforce the sewing notions theme. That left me the prairie points to decide on. Red, white and black is a classic vintage color scheme, and so it seemed the natural answer here.
But as you can see above during construction, the red is incredibly stark against all that neutral. To me, it made the design look off balance. That’s where the buttons come in! By putting a row of red buttons above the zipper, it balances out the red prairie points and mutes their visual aggressiveness somewhat. And, as a bonus, the buttons add to the sewing theme!
Sometimes color choices make practical sense too. The pattern called for the strap to be the same color as the prairie points but I thought that would be too bold. The best alternative was to use the black ruler fabric, as it is the least likely of the fabrics that I was using to show dirt from while I was handling it.
Even the zipper color choices can make a night and day difference. I really could have used black or natural for either of the zippers. I could have positioned them so the zipper contrasted with the surrounding background, or so that the zipper blended with the background. But I’m well aware that sewing zippers isn’t my most proficient sewing skill. By choosing zipper colors that blend with the fabric around the zipper, I provided a bit of camouflage for any wonky sewing of the zippers. Choosing a contrasting color for the zippers would have the opposite effect: highlighting any errors on the zipper.
One thing that I made sure to avoid on a project like this that had tons of straight seams? Fabric that had stripes or other straight lines in the pattern (such as dots arranged in neat lines) was a no-no. Straight lines in the fabric would only highlight any errors in getting my pieces cut square or sewn straight. The ruler fabric does have straight lines but they are somewhat rough and not continuous so the pattern was workable.
Since the project is mostly just straight seams, sewing the zippers are the most challenging parts of making this tote. While I admit that zippers aren’t my best talent, I do have one secret weapon:
This is the zipper foot on my sewing machine. While it is possible to sew zippers without them, the zipper foot makes it infinitely easier. Having the right tools is often half the battle in producing a quality result. If you are going to sew a zipper, I highly recommend that you invest a few dollars in a zipper foot for your machine. You won’t regret it!
Now, to the blog hop…
Did I mention there are fabulous prizes?
We are having a giveaway of over $600 in craft supplies to help you make this holiday handmade! Enter to win using the widget below:
Many thanks to all of the sponsors of the hop and giveaway!
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