Tag Archive | sewing

Purse Pocket Shirt Tutorial

I find a great deal of inspiration for my sewing projects from searching through clothing sites online. I’ve noticed that I can make an article of clothing myself for cheaper than you can find it online most of the time. This is the case in this tutorial for a Purse Pocket Shirt. I found a shirt with an appliqué that looked like a purse from Kettle of Fish Clothing.  I thought that was really cute but that I could make it easily and for cheaper than $74.  If you find it equally as cute, here is my shirt and how I did it.

my lady bug in her purse pocket shirt

NOTE: I will be hand-sewing some of this because, to me, it’s easier.  If someone has a tip on how to machine sew some of these things, let me know.  I’m always looking for shortcuts!


  • Shirt (if you buy short sleeves, I’ve also added how to add sleeves to look like it’s a layered shirt)
  • 1/4 yard of fabric (you could use only 1/8 yard if you aren’t doing sleeves)
  • Ribbon/Rick Rack in matching color
  • Thread in matching color (I actually did it in a contrasting color, though)
  • 1 button

I included a pattern for the purse because it was much easier than explaining. If you need the purse bigger or smaller, it’d be simple to enlarge the pattern slightly. This purse is for a size 2T shirt.


**If you are doing sleeves do this step, otherwise go to next step.  Measure the length of a sleeve for your child.  Make sure you start from the corner of the shoulder (usually if you take a long sleeved shirt that your child already has, just start from the seam of the shoulder and sleeve) and measure to the wrist.  Subtract the length of the short sleeve that you will be attaching the layered sleeve to get your finished length.  I got 6 inches.  I did not use elastic to keep the sleeve tight at the wrist because I like to pull up my kid’s sleeves when she plays with dirty things and then I don’t leave little marks on her chubby arms when I roll them down.  Therefore I only added 1/2″ for seam allowance, equaling 6.5″.  Then I took the diameter of the hole in the arm of the shirt (in my case 4 inches).  I added 1/2″ for seam allowance-4.5″.  **

Fold fabric in half, selvage to selvage. Pin and cut the two pattern pieces A & B on the fabric so that when you are done cutting you have two pieces of each part.  These will be your purse pocket.

patterns pinned on folded fabric

cut out pocket pieces

Measure your sleeves also at this time.  I measured a rectangle of 6.5″ by 4.5″.  I did this twice on the folded fabric (therefore having 4 rectangles total).


Purse Pockets

  1. Face the 2 matching pieces together and pin for both parts A & B with nice sides facing each other.

    pinned with nice sides facing in

  2. Sew, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.  Leave one side open (smallest side to make it easier on yourself) so that you can turn it inside out.

    sewn pocket pieces with an opening

  3. I like to cut notches in the corners so that it makes a cleaner edge when it is turned around.

    cut notches in corners

  4. Turn parts inside out so now you see the nice sides.
  5. Thread a needle with the thread you used for your pocket.  You will be hand-sewing these closed.  In order to “blind stitch” this closed (where you don’t see the stitches), I start on the inside in order to hide the knot I made at the end of the thread.  I then fold the cut edges in so that it matches the look of the other seams in the piece.  I usually use my fingernails to press the folded edges.  I then use a running stitch and go from side to side, alternating, stitching just below the folded edge on each side.  Pull the thread as you go and you will either not see the stitches or BARELY see them.  That’s good!  Just don’t pull the thread too tightly or it will bunch the fabric.
  6. Finish it when you get to the end by grabbing a little part of the inside of the seam, as you are pulling the thread through, weave the needle through the loop your thread has made in order to form a knot.  I usually do this twice as a double loop to give it a little extra stability.  Cut off extra thread.
  7. Place parts A & B on your shirt close to the bottom side of the shirt (I placed in a diagonal).  Pin in place.
  8. I added a button on part B and a loop on Part A.  To see how to do a loop, look at this tutorial on sewn button loops.  Just make sure you line up where you want your pockets before putting on the button and loop (which is why I had you pin it on the shirt first), because otherwise it might not be perfectly aligned and unable to close.

    pin purse on shirt

Purse Straps

Start from the top corner of the top flap that is pinned to your shirt.  Pin the corner of the ribbon.  Then drape the ribbon across the shirt, over the shoulder, around the back, and then back to the other corner of the top flap.  This should look like the straps of a purse.  I play around with the ribbon to make sure it is lying the way I want it to and then pin it to the shirt.  I use a lot of pins so it stays where I want it.

pin ribbon on shirt to look like straps of purse

back of shirt – ribbon pinned to look like purse strap

Keep the purse pinned to the shirt still.  Now sew the strap on the shirt.  I go slowly so that the ribbon stays in place and I don’t bunch the shirt up as I sew.

Sewing Purse

I sew the top flap of the purse first.  I double check that the ribbon strap ends will be sewn into the top flap.  In order to cleanly finish the ribbon off would be to fold in the ends so that when it is sewn in place, you will not get any frayed edges.  Then I only sew the top side of the flap in order for it to open and close.  I straight stitch it with the sewing machine as close to the edge as possible (1/8″ to 1/4″ depending on how confident you feel about staying straight and on the fabric).  When you are done sewing, the ends of the ribbon should be under the flap.

straps sewn – top flap of purse pinned

keeping top flap aligned while sewing it on shirt

Now make sure that the bottom is still lined up with the top flap.  This time you will sew 3 sides, leaving the top side open so you can put your hand in like a pocket.

sewn bottom with top left open for pocket

You are done with the purse!


I thought this shirt might be cuter if I added sleeves.  This way it gives it a more store bought look.  I didn’t exactly do it the way that I am telling you how to, but after messing with this sleeve, I realized a more simple way.

  1. Take all four pieces and zigzag stitch all four sides on each.  I say this so you don’t have to worry about doing a rolled hem at the ends of the sleeves.
  2. Pin 2 rectangles together on the long sides with nice sides facing in.  If you have a pattern like I have, make sure the patterns are aligned.  I made sure my owls were all facing the same direction.  Now stitch along the sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This will create the sleeves.

    pinned along sides

  3. Repeat with the other pieces to form 2 sleeves.
  4. Fold 3/8″ on the bottom of each sleeve and finger nail press it so you create a hem.
  5. Pin the hem in place.
  6. Sew 1/4″ hem on each sleeve.

    finished sleeves before put on shirt

  7. Pin top of sleeve to the sleeve of the tshirt.  To do this I turned both sleeve and shirt inside out.  I evenly pinned the top of the sleeve to the bottom of the tshirt sleeve starting with the seams on both, going around the sleeve.  Turn it back around to make sure it is even with the pattern.

    pinned sleeve to shirt

  8. I take a needle and thread (preferable the same color thread as your shirt) and hand sew in a straight stitch all around the sleeve.  I did my best to hide the stitch underneath the hem of the shirt.  Knot it at the end just like you did above with the blind stitch sewing above.

    sew under hem of shirt to hide stitches

  9. Repeat on the other sleeve.

    finished sleeve

All done!

finished shirt

I put it on my little lady bug and got SO many compliments!  She had fun with it, too!  I found little toys in it when I took it off of her in the evening.

As with all of my tutorials, if you are intimidated by this or don’t have as much time as you’d like to make it, I will make it for you!  Just visit my site Bobbin’ Along on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/bobbinalonggifts.

Happy sewing!


Shirred Pocket Skirt

I’m VERY excited to bring a new series of posts called “3 yards, 3 outfits” involving some awesome fabric that I found at JoAnn Fabrics.  This whole idea started when I was browsing through the store, trying to find an adult patterned fabric to make myself an outfit.  I don’t often buy myself clothes.  I overly obsess about my children’s wardrobe and all the cute things they get to wear.  Meanwhile, I still have shirts from my high school days.  I love looking on pinterest at the outfits people pin, and I know my wardrobe contains almost nothing in comparison.  I don’t have matching bracelets that go with my shoes or that cute pair of jeans with that slimming top that can go from office to party with just an added accessory or two.  I’m happy when I get out of the house with my hair brushed some days.

Anyways, I bought 3 yards of this very cute fabric, and I’m going to attempt to make 3 outfits (although, I am still a mom…so of course 2 of the outfits are for my girls).

I wanted to start this sewing series with something for me.  I promise for anyone who wants to make something for their child…it’s coming.  But today, momma wants a new skirt.  I love the clothing from Anthropologie.  They always seem to have flowy clothes that are really comfortable but at the same time beautiful.  I saw this skirt that has pockets and fell in love with the ease of it (although not a huge fan of the pattern or the prices from this place as most of their skirts are over $100.)  I’m a huge fan of pockets because I always carry my phone with me, but my littlest is in her “always wants to be held” phase, leaving me without a hand to do anything else.  It also has shirring at the waistband, which 1)makes it super comfortable and 2)I’ve always wanted to try on my sewing machine.  So this is my first uncharted territory project!  So let’s start!

me in my shirred skirt

This is what I used for this project:

– 1 1/2 yard of the fabric of your choice

-matching thread

-shirring thread

-elastic (either 3/8″ or 1/2″…I used 1/2″ because I have a ton of it)

*OPTIONAL* bias tape (double fold) in either matching or contrasting color (I personally LOVE this skirt with bias tape so I recommend it)


To get the width of your skirt you have to do a little math, but I promise it won’t be hard:

Measure around your hip (mine was 28 inches) x 1.75 = the width of the skirt before it is shirred (I got 49 inches)

Now divide that number by two because you are going to cut out two pieces 49 / 2 = 24.5 inches

I’m going to make a skirt that’s approximately 19 inches finished, so I’m going to cut the length of the fabric to 21 inches.

Also, if I haven’t said this enough, I don’t like to buy patterns.  If it’s an easy outfit, I find it simple to eyeball a lot of it with a little extra fabric to play with if I didn’t quite get it right the first time, so here is what you do for the pockets (I’ll just label this Pattern Part A):

  • Get 2 pieces of paper and tape them together so that it’s longer not wider
  • put your hand on the paper up to almost your elbow with your thumb out (unless you are going for a much shorter skirt, in which you would measure to the middle of your arm)
  • trace around your hand  allowing a good inch or so for what will be a seam allowance – once you get to your thumb, just go across and don’t trace around your wrist (you really only need a half inch because you are using the thumb part in your side seam, but it’s okay if it’s more).

    Pattern Part A


  • Cut 2 rectangles 21″ (height of skirt) by 24.5″ (width of skirt)

    my awesome fabric cut in 2 pieces 22″ by 24.5″

  • 4 pocket pieces (I just folded my fabric in half and cut twice – this will give you both pocket sides)

So you have all the fabric you will need.  Now it’s time to get this skirt started!

Once I’ve cut my pockets, I take the same pocket “pattern” and do a little altering to it to give me a pattern for the holes of the pockets.  Take you hand on the corner of the pocket and trace your hand in a curved line.  You want to make sure your hand fits in your pocket, so this is why I don’t use a set pattern.  I called this Pattern Part B.  Cut out that piece of your pattern.

Cut out pocket opening pattern

Now make two cuts on one side of your rectangles (this will be the front of your skirt).

front fabric piece with pocket holes cut out

Next, cut the pocket holes out of two of the pocket pieces.  I make sure I have the pockets semi assembled (making sure the patterns are facing each other)  so I don’t cut the wrong pieces.

Pockets with Pattern Part B cut out of front for pocket hole

Cutting is done!


  1. Pin then sew the pockets together first.  Make sure that the patterns are facing each other.  Sew along the edge like shown in the picture.  Finish with a zigzag stitch to make the pockets reinforced.
  2. Now pin and sew the pockets to the front of the dress.  I’m using bias tape, so I’m not worrying about the edge.  If you aren’t using bias tape, you need to flip the pockets and front of dress.  Here are pictures of both ways:

    pinned for bias tape

    pinned for without bias tape

  3. Then I pinned the bias tape and sewed the double fold bias tape around the pocket seams.

    finished pocket edge with bias tape

  4. Baste the pockets so that it lays flat and doesn’t come apart when you are doing next steps.
  5. I hemmed my dress on the bottom with bias tape for a little “decoration.”  I really like how this looks, and then I don’t have to deal with a rolled hem.  I did this before putting the two rectangles together.  It makes it a lot easier, believe me.
  6. Put the two rectangles together (nice sides facing in) and sew side seams with a 1/2″ seam allowance and then zigzag stitch for reinforcement.
  7. Sew top of skirt for your elastic.  Do this by creating a rolled hem (I’ve explained it in a previous tutorial for a pillowcase dress I made) large enough to fit your elastic band (mine is 1/2″ elastic so I created a 3/4″ space and then hem 1/4″ from the edge to create a 5/8″ hole for my elastic.  Make sure to leave a 1 to 2″ hole to thread the elastic through.
  8. Shirred waistband (I’m excited to try this part so I’m going to go into this more in depth)


I was very interested in learning how to sew a shirred waistband (or just shirr in general).  I looked up a ton of tutorials, and it seems super easy.  So here are the steps:

  1. ELASTIC THREAD! This is the main “ingredient” in shirring.  You can find it in the notions section in a little package.

    elastic thread

  2. Wind the bobbin.  You have to do this by hand because…well, you do.  I am not sure why, but everyone said to do it.  I can assume one of two things.  Either your machine can’t do it because the thread is much thicker than normal thread or if your machine can wind it for you, it will be too stretched out and not work when you are sewing it.  So unfortunately, we do it by hand.  You want to wind it without stretching it a lot because when you are sewing, it will naturally stretch.
  3. Keep the normal thread on the top and use the elastic on the bottom (so you will only see the elastic on one side).  Make sure you sew with the the elastic on the back, though!

    elastic thread wound on bobbin in machine

    shirring fabric (note: elastic thread on underside of fabric with regular thread on top)

  4. Do not change the tension on your machine!  Step away from the tension!  It will be fine.
  5. I increased my stitch length up a bit.  I think it’d be a little easier to sew when it’s around a 3.0 or so.
  6. Shirr in a spiral for waistbands.  The nice thing about it being a skirt already is that you can keep going around and around without stopping and starting over and over again!  Start at the top, just below the elastic casing.  Use that edge as a guideline and keep each row about 1/4″ apart (I like to use the edge on my presser foot as my guide).
  7. Sew approximately 8-10 rows
  8. Finish sewing like normal (at a side seam preferably)

    nice side of shirred fabric with 8 rows 1/4″ apart

    wrong side of fabric with shirring (you can see elastic thread on this side)

Insert the elastic.  Measure elastic to what your waist measurement was from above (mine was 28).  Give yourself an extra inch for sewing them together.  So I cut my elastic to 29″.  I used a safety pin to thread my elastic through the whole in the top, above the shirred waistband, making sure that I held on to the end of the elastic so it didn’t get lost in the hole.  Once you’ve gotten through the hold and are holding both ends of the elastic, sew them together.  Now sew the hole shut.

elastic fed through hole with safety pin

DONE!  It seemed like a lot of instructions, but it didn’t take very long to make.  I have a feeling I will be making a lot of these.  If not for me, than for friends or family (or my little kiddos).  I had fun shirring as well!  I have a feeling there will be some more shirring tutorials in my future!  I hope you all found my instructions easy to understand because not only is this able to give you the freedom to pick a patterned fabric that you love, I saved about $90 making this myself!

Charitable Crafting

I love to craft to save money on things that I find online or in the stores that I know I could do just as well for less money.  I’ve crafted so many things from Halloween costumes to Christmas Stockings to Birthday Cakes and lots of things in between.  I do this because I’m not a millionaire, but I don’t want to live like a pauper.  I am even known to have my moments of “extreme couponing.”

One of the things that I always feel I could do more is giving to charity.  If I had the money, I would like to help so many causes.  I do donate used things to Goodwill throughout the year, but I’m always looking for new ways to give.

Then I found A Heart to Holdfrom ahearttohold.comA Heart to Hold is an amazing 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to “offer comfort to families who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss by creating and sharing the gift of a weighted handmade heart.”  Losing a child is something that a parent should never have to experience.  The heart is to help those families find a little peace in such a difficult time.

I know many people who have been affected by pregnancy and infant loss.  Their Hearts from Afar program not only offers people like me the opportunity to give something meaningful without taking a huge chunk out of our bank accounts, but it also helps people heal from their loss.

Abi Crouch, founder of A Heart to Hold, says, “I believe that there is healing in helping, and our Hearts from Afar program and our local workshops were created to provide the opportunity for people who have been affected by pregnancy or infant loss to be a part of another family’s healing by sewing or filling a heart for them.  One of the things that allows A Heart to Hold to fulfill our mission is the help of our Hearts from Afar sewers.  Having the hearts that they have sewn allows us to fill and ship hearts to waiting families faster.  We are so grateful for their support and love getting packages of hearts made with fun fabrics from them.”

That being said, I’d like to share my experience in the simple tutorial of making a heart to show others that crafting can be charitable!

I received the pattern for various sized hearts to create from emailing heartsfromafar@ahearttohold.com

Abi stated that they have a large request for their extra small-sized hearts, so I decided to make that.  The instructions on specific fabric choices are well explained, and I went to the fabric store and decided on a neutral pattern in fleece to meet the need of any gender child. Note: They ask for specific washing instructions of the fabric prior to sewing of unscented detergent and dry without a dryer sheet.

I downloaded the PDF pattern, printed it out on regular printer paper, cut and taped it together.

Printed extra small heart template on 2 pieces of printer paper

heart pattern cut and taped together

When the fabric came out of the dryer, I pressed it and folded it in half, selvage to selvage (not the cut side). I folded it so the “nice side” faced in (a tip to finding the “nice” side is looking at the selvage.  If there are printed words on the selvage, you can read it on the “nice” side).

fabric folded, selvage to selvage

I then pinned the pattern to my fabric and cut, giving me 2 hearts.

heart pinned to fabric and cutting started

Keeping the nice sides facing each other, I sewed the two hearts together using a 1/4″ seam allowance, making sure to leave the part of the pattern that says “open” unstitched so that they are able to fill it later.

unstitched opening in heart

They ask to not flip the pillow so the nice sides face out to make it easier for them to store and fill.

Sewn heart

Now I’m done and ready to mail!  I made a couple of hearts since I had my sewing machine all set up and could quickly make many of them.  I feel so great about using my crafting for something bigger than myself.  I hope to do many of these to give to those dealing with the loss of their children.  I think this charity is a great example of a support system to help those in need that isn’t about how much money you give but rather how much heart.

I have also decided to donate one heart for every order that I receive in the month of June from my shop Bobbin’ Along.  This way, if crafting isn’t your skill, you can still give.  I urge you all to use your own skills to help others in need.  As you can see from my experience, just a little time and effort goes a long way to make a difference in a person’s life.

To find a workshop or request patterns to help this charity, go to http://www.aHearttoHold.com or find them on Facebook.