How To: Make a Ruffle Pillow Tote Bag – Part 2

When we last left off on Part 1, the ruffle for the edge of our Pillow Tote Bag was ready to be secured in place. So lets pick up things from there.

adding the ruffle and trims before putting in the lining

In a Tokyo  ¥100 store (like our dollar stores) I found a ton of really cute patches and lace trims. So for my tote bag I choose to personalize it with a cream monogram I picked up.  That didn’t seem substantial enough so also added a simple pink ribbon. The color of the ribbon will be picked up in the color of the lining.

super easy how to sew and turn fabric staps right side out

This is one of my all time favorite tricks. While yes you can use a safety pin to turn the strap right side out, this is just so much easier. And you can reuse the ribbon for your next strap or for another project. I used to be so annoyed with having to turn narrow straps but never again with this tip.

how to attach straps to the tote bag

If you are like me, you get really annoyed at tote bags that have chintzy straps. When the fabric is too soft they roll and twist and look a mess. And if they are made of a delicate fabric they stand the chance of ripping at any time as they can’t take the weight of all the goodies a gal needs in her bag these days. So I am a huge fan of using strapping. Like I said above, its very similar to seat belt material. But you can find it in a ton of widths and colors. I use it on its own for bag straps, but for this project wanted the clean continuity of the cherry fabric. The pattern I drafted allows for a 1″ material to be used inside the fabric straps.

At this stage the bag has taken shape. All that is left is to make and insert the lining. I have another nice trick for linings. So next post we will start there. I hope you are enjoying this tutorial on how to make a ruffle pillow tote bag.

How To: Make a Ruffle Pillow Tote Bag – Part 1

sewing pattern to make your own ruffle tote bag

Spring is magical. In addition to loving all the new fashion trends, I remembered how much I love coming home after work each night and it still being light out. Its amazing how motivating sunlight is. Decided to put all that extra energy to good use and have been trying to sew for 1 hour at least 3 nights a week. Have a few projects to catch everyone up on. The first is my DIY version of a pillow tote bag.

After exploring so many options from Japan in my recent ruffle bag mood board, I knew I wanted to play up the pillow aspect. What this meant was designing the pattern landscape versus portrait, if that makes sense. The way a big fluffy pillow would be at the head of a bed. Himitsu by Syrup’s bag influenced me the most. But for this version I edited out the top ruffle and rounded here and there to get the pillow look.

sewing instructions to make the ruffle edge

If you were wondering why I chose to make the ruffle out of 3 pieces of fabric, it was all about making life easy. By sewing the side, bottom and then side ruffle pieces together the seams give you a nice sharp line.  You can use that line to match up with the corners of the tote bag.  This is a little trick to make sure when the fabric is gathered you wont end up with too much fabric bunched to one side or the other.

Oh, is that the time! Gotta dash for work. Look for the rest of the steps in my next post.

Japanese Yukata & Jinbei Pattern Book

cover and title page japanese yukata book

There was a turning point some where between 10 to 15 years ago.  Thanks to eBay and improved eCommerce tools from the likes of Amazon, goods from Japan started to become more readily accessible in the US.  I remember vividly buying my first 2 bolts of yukata fabric from Ichiroya.  Back then I ran a small eBay store selling craft fabrics.  Yukata was always a big hit.  Alas, while the store was profitable I just didn’t like the “always on” customer service that eBay auctions required.  For me personally the value of the time I had to invest in responses to inquires exceeded the financial return on investment.

So where was I going with this. Oh yeah.  Yukata.  For my summer festival coordinate I am taking a departure from the traditional yukata and spinning it Harajuku style.  But if you are interested in making your own traditional yukata a great book just came out in May.  It is simply titled Yukata & Jinbei to Wear (着るゆかたとじんべい).

japanese yukata pattern instructions

Instructions do abound on the web for making yukata and kimono.  After all most of the pattern pieces are simple rectangles and it is primarily a math equation more than a pattern challenge.  But having a physical pattern with multiple size options, especially for a jinbei, is so much easier in my opinion.  I would rather spend my time thinking about trims and details instead of measuring out centimeters and what not.

different shapes for womens kimono sleeves

Like so many Japanese instructional books, the illustration based instructions are super easy to follow.  I am fond of page 43 where they give you the 3 variations of curvature for women’s sleeves based on age.

japanese jinbei pattern instructions

The book has a good balance of illustrations and actual photos.  I think this is fantastic.  While the illustrations make it easy to follow along, seeing the real deal in photos grounds the projects in reality.  Photos are just much clearer to know exactly how it should look when you finish.

how to tie yukata obi

There is a section dedicated to how to wear your yukata.  It includes several pages of different options for tying an obi.  The book includes patterns and examples for both women and men, girls and boys.  So basically if you are ambitious enough you can make matching yukata for your whole family!!

fold out pattern in back of book

Back to what I was saying about access to Japanese goods being easier to come by these days.  This book is ideal for those who really want to personalize their summer robe.  You can very easily purchase yukata and yukata sets (with obi and geta) online these days.  So this book is for those who are very particular and want to make a yukata out of that just right fabric and with that just right fit.