Monthly Archives: April 2016

Sporty Strap Pack Sew Along – Post #1: Supplies, Cutting & Interfacing

On the Go Bags Sew Along 5

Today is the first post of the Sporty Strap Pack sew along! This is the one-shoulder backpack pattern featured on the cover of our book On the Go Bags, co-written by Janelle MacKay of Emmaline Bags.

Janelle kicked off our sew along with several helpful posts for those of you sewing the Airport Sling Bag, (another one from the book!) which you’ll find here:

Airport Sling:

Sporty Strap Pack:

  • Post #1: You are here!

You may have already joined the On the Go Bags Facebook group, but in case you haven’t, check it out for all of the sew along info.You can share your bag progress, ask questions, and even enter to win prizes just for sewing along! We’ll do about 2 weeks of instruction for each bag, and then you’ll have 4 weeks to finish for a chance to enter your bag for giveaways.

Sporty Strap Pack shoulder backpack

Let’s Get Started!

The Sporty Strap Pack is a practical one-shoulder backpack pattern that you can sew in one fabric or coordinating prints for a little pizzazz! I took this version with me to Chicago for a girls’ getaway with my mom, and it was just the right size to carry my DSLR camera, a light sweatshirt, and my wallet. I love wearing this bag!

I was inspired to design a one-shoulder backpack for my friend who needed a small bag to take her dog out to go on walks, to carry a treat, plastic baggie, a sweater, and a bottle of water. I soon realized that this would be a great smaller backpack to replace my big diaper bag as my son grew into toddlerhood and didn’t require so many things to leave the house.

Sporty Strap Pack Riley Blake

The fabric featured on this bag is the fun Keep on Groovin’ from Riley Blake Designs. Yeah!

The bag front features a magnetic snap pocket and the inside features an elastic pocket. Each time I make this bag, I change up the pockets just a little, with a contrasting flap or something to spice it up. The back of the bag has a zipper and a covered zipper flap, which I’ll show you here….

Back of Sporty Strap Pack

See the zipper? It’s hidden underneath the zipper flap!

The straps are kind of neat to sew, too. Each top and bottom strap has a piece of nylon strapping coming from it, and is topstitched for detail and strength. Finally, you can add a plastic buckle with an adjustable slider to customize the pack to fit you.

Supplies & Fabric:

  1. I used a quilting cotton, but you can also sew this bag with a canvas fabric. Both are plenty sturdy with the proper interfacing. I’ve used Pellon SF 101 Shape Flex as my interfacing and Pellon Fusible Thermolam as my stabilizer. If you are using canvas, I’d still recommend interfacing and stabilizer.
  2. As for the type of fabric print that works well for this bag, I’m going to suggest going with a small to medium-scale print, or something like the solid Essex linen featured on the cover. I’ve found that large-scale prints (huge florals) and such don’t work as well with the kidney shape of the bag. If you’re determined to use a larger-scale print, why not tone it down with solid front pocket and flap? I’ve shared some other examples of the #sportystrappack on Instragram in case you need some inspiration!

What fabric and hardware am I using?

Sporty Strap Pack materials list

Here is the complete fabric and supplies list from the book! Please note that I’m going to suggest an 18″ zipper instead of the 16″ zipper listed. This was an error in the editing of the book, and has been changed in all digital and reprint editions. If you’ve already purchased a smaller zipper, you can make your zipper tabs a bit longer to compensate.

Other than the zipper, the only real hardware you will need is a magnetic snap!


Cutting Fabric:

Are you nervous to make that first cut? Don’t be! I completely messed it up, but realized my error and was able to fix it, no problem! Hopefully these cutting tips will help you all breeze through the cutting of the Sporty Strap Pack!


Trying to save time, I folded my blue dot print and orange car print in half from top to bottom. This worked fine for the blue, since it’s not a directional print, but not so well for the cars…


Oops! On the left lining piece, you can see that the cars are right side up. On the right lining piece, they are upside down. Luckily, I had enough fabric that I could cut a new right lining panel, and you should, too! But to save yourself the time and effort, just cut any directional fabrics one at a time! Do not cut through two layers, or you might make a mistake like I did.


Here I am cutting out that lining piece the right way… one at a time. Always a smart move with directional fabrics!


Once you’ve cut your body pieces from the outer fabric, go ahead and trim off that curved to give yourself a clean edge. Then cut a long strip 3.5″ wide through both layers for your straps.


Cut that long strip into your short strap and long strap. See how easy!


Next, I’m going to show you a tip for centering a print.

Here, I’m cutting out my front pocket. Because I know I want it to be 7″ wide and I also want at least some of the car circles to be centered, I’m going to fold my fabric right sides together and fold it carefully so the circles are centered. Then, I place my ruler at the 3.5″ mark.


When I unfold my cut pockets, the van circles are perfectly centered!


Next, just trim that long pocket piece into two pockets of the correct height.


I used the same centering trick for the pocket flap… Just divide the width of the pocket flap by two, and that will be  your measurement for cutting along the folded fabric. Cut along the fold to get a pocket flap of the correct width, then cut two pieces to the correct height.

If you aren’t using a directional fabric, it’s your lucky day! You can skip all of these tricks and just cut normally through two layers of a folded piece of fabric to get your matching pieces.


Here’s my elastic pocket piece. Because my print is only slightly directional, I just cut through two layers to get my pieces.


Don’t forget to cut out your interfacing and stabilizer (pictured above). You might notice here that in the center column, my long top strap piece isn’t long enough (just a few inches short). It’s okay to piece stabilizers together if needed to get a long enough strap piece. Just fuse one to the fabric, then fuse the next piece beside it.

Here are all of the interfaced and stabilized pieces!

Sporty Strap Pack pieces

From left to right: These pieces get interfacing (the lightweight stuff)…

  • 2 lining body pieces (facing opposite ways)
  • 1 short bottom strap
  • 1 long top strap
  • 1 elastic pocket (I chose blue to contrast with my orange lining fabric)
  • 1 pocket flap
  • 1 flat pocket
  • 1 strap facing (I chose blue to match my outer bag)
  • 1 zipper flap (I chose orange to contrast with my blue outer fabric)

Sporty Strap Pack pieces

From left to right: These pieces get stabilizer (the heavyweight stuff)…

  • 2 outer body pieces (facing opposite ways)
  • 1 flat pocket (I chose orange to contrast)
  • 1 pocket flap (orange to contrast)
  • 1 long top strap
  • 1 short bottom strap
  • 1 elastic pocket (I chose blue to contrast with my orange lining fabric)

That’s a wrap for today! If you have any questions about the Sporty Strap Pack Sew Along, feel free to ask them in the On the Go Bags Facebook group! I can’t wait to see what fabrics you choose for your bags. For some inspiration, check out these others…

On the Go Bags Sew Along Sponsors

Aurifil * Blend Fabrics * ByAnnie * C&T Publishing * Craftsy * Pellon * Riley Blake Designs

Portable Sensory Play! Toddler Sensory Wagon with Dirt + Rocks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #allEssentials #CollectiveBias

Dirt and Rocks Portable Sensory Bin - Craft Buds


My toddler son LOVES to play in the dirt. I have the feeling that I could get him a truck full of backyard toys, and he’d still prefer a few plastic shovels and the big sand pit in our backyard. The only problem with this is that we live in the south, and summers can get very hot! So, I wanted to create a portable dirt and rocks toddler sensory play station that would allow my son to get down and dirty and just be kid. The goal was creating something that could easily roll from the sun to the shade, depending on the temperature.

Toddler Sensory Play Dirt

Step 1: Gather materials

I was considering using a huge plastic, under-bed storage tub for our toddler sensory play tub. But then when I saw the wagon, I had an “a-ha” moment! I picked up a bag of dirt ($1.37) and a bag of pea pebble rocks ($3.47).

Dirt and Rocks Sensory Play for Toddlers

Step 2: Dump out the bags

To get your child involved in making a “dirty” sensory play wagon, get a couple of plastic containers an pour dirt and rocks inside. I’ve found that allows the kids to be a bit more interactive than just scooping it from the bag. Plus, those bags are HEAVY. Give an example by taking a plastic shovel and scooping from the little container into the big wagon or another bigger container, whatever you choose. Then let the kids follow your lead.

Toddler Sensory Play Bin

Step 3: Have fun!

Toss in some construction trucks, monster trucks, little cars, trains or whatever your kid most enjoys to get dirty! Since we already had the wagon, this entire project cost less than $10, and that included a couple of new trucks to play with. If you already have dirt and rocks in your backyard or gravel driveway, even better!

Laundry pile

Step 4: Clean up

I plan to roll this wagon straight into my garage and keep the rocks and dirt inside for lots more toddler sensory fun. Of course, when all the dirty play is done, clothes go straight to the laundry, which is adjacent to the garage!

I recently tried some all® fresh clean Essentials™ Fragrance Free from Amazon (we love saving money on diapers, wipes, pet food, and lots of other household essentials on Amazon). As I mentioned earlier, my family is on a quest to rid our home of harmful chemicals. A brand new laundry detergent, all® fresh clean Essentials™ is sulfate free and gets clothes very clean without harshness. I’ve read that sulfates can cause respiratory issues or allergic reactions, and my husband has allergies to lots of household products. Make sure to use as directed on the packaging. The result? Kids can be kids… and parents don’t have to worry about their clothes fading or getting beat up in the washer. Check it out!


Have your kids enjoyed sensory play when they were toddlers? What other kinds of toddler sensory bins have been popular with your kids?


‘On the Go Bags’ Sew Along + Prizes!

On the Go Bags Sew Along 5

Today I’m excited to share a fun sew along event for my book On the Go Bags, co-written with Janelle MacKay of Emmaline Bags!

You may have already joined the On the Go Bags Facebook group, but in case you haven’t, check it out for all the sew along info. I’ll share some details here below, as well as the prizes you can win just for sewing along. :)

Janelle​ and I hope you will join us for a leisurely sew along! We’ll do about 2 weeks of instruction for each bag, and then you’ll have 4 weeks to finish for a chance to enter your bag for giveaways!

April 15 to May 30: Airport Sling


Airport Sling Prizes 2

Sew along with us to make Janelle’s “Airport Sling” from the book for your chance to win one of these prizes. All prizes will be randomly selected from participants who submit their finished bag photo to the Facebook group by May 30th. Winners chosen on June 1st!

1 winner: 1 package of Pellon Flex-Foam®
3 winners: 1 package of ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable, 36″ x 58″ white
1 winner: Aurifil thread collection curated by Annabel Wrigley, Maribel for Windham Fabrics
1 winner: 1 ebook of the winner’s choice from C&T Publishing
1 winner: 1 Craftsy class of the winner’s choice

May 1 to June 15: Sporty Strap Pack

Sporty Strap Pack Prizes

Sew along with us to make Lindsay’s “Sporty Strap Pack” from the book for your chance to win one of these prizes. All prizes will be randomly selected from participants who submit their finished bag photo to the Facebook group by June 15th. Winners chosen on June 16th!

2 winners: Two coordinating 1-yard cuts from Riley Blake Fabrics
1 winner: Two coordinating 1-yard cuts of Dreamcatcher fabric from Blend Fabrics
1 winner: 1 ebook of the winner’s choice from C&T Publishing
1 winner: 1 Craftsy class of the winner’s choice

Please Like on sponsors on Facebook!

On the Go Bags Sew Along Sponsors

Aurifil * Blend Fabrics * ByAnnie * C&T Publishing * Craftsy * Pellon * Riley Blake Designs


Ready to Join the Sew Along?

  1. Pick up a copy of the book On the Go Bags and…
  2. Round up your materials (listed in the Facebook group if you don’t have the book yet)…
  3. Join the Facebook Group here for more info, which will be posted so you can follow along at your own pace!

$35 Custom Fabric Giveaway with My Fabric Designs!


Earlier today I posted a tutorial for my Easy Tote using a half yard of my custom designed fabric from My Fabric Designs. While my other post focused more on the tote bag tutorial, I wanted to give more of my impressions of My Fabric Designs in this post.I chose to design my own fabrics.


Before I got started designing, I ordered the Color Matrix, Color Guide, and Swatch Book so I could see and feel the different fabrics and see the how each color prints. Those tools were all well produced and helpful to have.

MFD Tools


I found the whole website easy to use and navigate. For my designs I began by creating a repeating pattern that I transferred to a wood block. I carved the pattern, printed it, then scanned that image into Adobe Illustrator. I used Illustrator to digitized the pattern and change the colors. Then I created a jpg file for each of the 2 fabric designs.



Once I had my two jpgs ready to go I uploaded them to the My Fabric Designs website. These two patterns use the same woodcut shows above but I chose different repeat options when I set up the pattern in the My Fabric Designs website so they look much different. You can also adjust the scale of your design within My Fabric Designs.The preview feature was great and it showed exactly what a swatch or several yards of fabric would look like. There are 26 fabric types to choose from cotton, jersey knit, crepe de chine, canvas, french terry and more!



Once I had my designs ready to go, I hit order and waited for my fabric to arrive. The fabric itself feels beautiful and came out exactly as I had hoped. The color and scale were both just as I had previewed. In my final fabrics the colors look saturated and the image is crisp and clear. Because I started with a bit of a distressed design it was hard to tell if the fabric faded with washing at all, so I’ll have to test that again with a darker fabric in the future. Below you can see both of my fabrics after washing along with a small preview of what it looked like on screen before ordering.

Here’s the taupe fabric with the “mirror” repeat option:


And the orange fabric with the “default” repeat option:



Now you have the chance to win some fabric for yourself! Just comment below with your favorite fabric color and I’ll use to pick a winner for a $35 credit to My Fabric Designs. Contest closes Saturday, April 16th at 11:59pm, EST.

Giveaway closed. Congrats to the winner, #90, Joy M!

I was provided with this fabric for free from My Fabric Designs, but as always, all opinions are honest and are my own.


Easy Tote Tutorial with Custom Fabric


Supplies + Giveaway Info

One of my favorite gifts to sew is tote bags. It’s an easy project that doesn’t require much time or supplies! To get started all you’ll need is:

  1. Half yard of fabric
  2. 1 1/2 yards of 1″ polyester webbing

I’m using a custom fabric I designed with My Fabric Designs. I’m using their premium cotton because I plan on just carrying a folder and notebook in my tote. For a sturdier bag use canvas. To learn more about My Fabric Designs and for a chance to win a $35 credit, visit this post! You could create a custom design or even design fabric with your logo or photo to make a personalized tote bag.


To begin, cut your fabric to an 18″ wide by 42″ long rectangle. Fold it in half lengthwise. Make yourself a paper template 3 1/4″ wide by 2 3/4″ tall (the bright green paper in the photo below). Place the 3 1/4″ side on the bottom corner along the fold. Cut out both corners.


When you open your rectangle it will look like this.


Now fold it in half, right sides together and sew both side seams with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Finish the edges with pinking shears. (You can also use an overcast stitch, a zigzag stitch near the edge, or use a serger.)


Now pull up on one of the bottom corners so the side matches up with the bottom.


Pin the bottom and side edges together in both corners.


Sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance, then add a second row of stitching right next to the first. Trim away the excess with pinking shears making sure not to cut the side seam.


Fold the top of the bag under toward the inside by 1 1/4″ and iron flat. Fold under 1 1/4″ again and iron.


Cut the 1 1/2 yards of polyester webbing in half so you have two 27″ straps. Use a lighter to melt the edges so they don’t fray. Line up the straps on the inside of the bag 5″ away from each side seam. Line up the bottom of the strap with the bottom of the fold you created in the step above and pin in place.


Flip the bag right side out. Sew all around the top 1/8″ away from the edge and again 1″ away from the edge.


To make the straps stronger, sew an X around the end of each strap. You can click the photo below to make it larger to see how I sewed the X.


And that’s all! I used this same method to teach a group of women who had various levels of sewing experience at my home and we were all able to successfully finish a tote in an evening. It makes for a fun and functional beginner project. Don’t forget to check out the giveaway for My Fabric Designs to get your own fabric!

The fabric was designed by me and provided by My Fabric Designs. As always, all opinions are honest and are my own.

Join the Sew Along for ‘On the Go Bags’

On the Go Bags Sew Along

Hello Craft Buds! This is Lindsay Conner and Janelle MacKay, co-authors of the book On the Go Bags. We wanted to personally invite you to a fun event happening this spring, which you can take part in from your very own sewing room.

Janelle and I will each be teaching the key steps of two popular patterns from our book, the “Airport Sling” (perfect for taking with you on summer travels) and the “Sporty Strap Pack” (featured on the book’s cover). We’ll start with cutting out interfacing and preparing the pattern pieces, and then will help you with any key steps along the way, like installing hardware and assembling the bags. If you have questions, you can ask them in our interactive Facebook group!

April 15 to May 1: Airport Sling
May 1 to June 15: Sporty Strap Pack

After we’ve gone through the assembly for each bag, it’s your turn to sew along and add your own spin on the pattern for your chance to win one of several giveaways during the event!

Join our On the Go Bags Facebook group for more info.

There’s no need to sign up for the sew along, as details will be posted for you in the group. You can sew along for the whole event, just make one of the bags, or simply follow along for lots of inspiration and tips! We hope you will join us.

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