Category Archives: charm pack tote bag

Clip on glasses case tutorial

I recently upgraded my glasses and the case they came with doesn’t fit in my small bag so I made a case for them I can take with me and clip on my bag or my iPad carry case. This is a quick project that needed a bit of creative thinking but I’m quite pleased with the results.


  • 5 x 5 in charm squares
    • 3 for the body
    • 1 for the tabs
    • 1 for the top border
  • 4 inch shrapnel purse frame
  • 2 hair clips
  • velcro
  • batting scraps: 2 pieces of 6 in x 4 1/2 in
  • fabric scraps for the lining: 2 pieces of 6 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in

Take 3 charm squares and cut them in half and in half again to obtain 4 x 2 1/2 inch squares  per square.

Cut another charm square in half. Then place all the pieces as per picture below.   Stitch.

Cut the batting and pin to the patchwork as per picture. Notice the fold on the top border. Fold in and pin.

Now quilt any way you like. Stitch along the seam on the top border.

Fold the top by 1 inch.

Stitch along the seam leaving 1/4 inch allowance.


Do the same with both sides.

Now place both pieces right sides together and sew together from one edge to the batting to the other. Clip the corners.

Now let’s make the tabs. Cut a charm square in half.

Fold in half and stitch along two sides leaving the other narrow side open to turn inside out.

Turn inside out and then fold the opening in and stitch along the seam. Do two tabs in this way.

Now attach a small piece of velcro to each end as per picture.

Place on one of the slipcase sides. Ignore how both pieces are stitched on one side. I made a mistake. We’ll stitch the bag later.

When well centred pin the tab.

Now stitch from the middle of the tab all around.

The tabs are added.

Now make a small incision to insert the hair pin. Make sure the incision is in the right location as both ends of the velcro  need to reach to form a closure.

Insert the pin.

Now fold over the tab to cover the hair pin.

Do the same for both tabs.

Place both panels with right sides facing together and stitch all around from the top border seam on one side to the other.

To add the lining, cut both pieces.

Then stitch around 3 sides and clip corners as per picture.

Turn the lining inside out and the exterior inside out as well and place the exterior inside the lining as per picture, wrong sides together.

Fold in the lining and pin.

Slip stitch around the top.

I thought of adding a bit of embroidery along the top, just for fun. But I don’t recommended. My glasses get stuck on the thread all the time.

Now insert the purse frame.

Insert the little metal tube and clip both ends of the frame.

The glasses case is finished.

Clip your case to your bag’s strap. This is how I have been wearing the glasses case.

Four free tote bag tutorials

Are you looking for a free pattern for a large bag? Here you have 4 free tutorials to choose from.

All 4 bags use 5 inch charm squares and are easy to make.

Perfect as gifts for family and friends.

Clockwise from top left:

If you have made a tote bag using my tutorial, why don’t you share your pictures on this Flickr group? or upload to Instagram and tag me with @teresadownunder

Père-Noël zigzag quilt tutorial part two: embellishing the quilt top with embroidery

This is the second part in a series of three tutorials. Part one shows you how to make a Christmas themed quilt top using charm squares.

See also:

In this tutorial I will embroider a French Christmas children song on the quilt top and do some other embroidery on the white fabric as an extension to the fabric print.

This is the song:


Un, deux, trois

Qui est-là ?



Entre vite, il fait très froid,

Bonne fête et chocolat !

Father Christmas

One, two, three

Who’s there?

Father Christmas

Father Crhistmas

Come in fast, it is very cold,

Happy Christmas and chocolate!


French Christmas song embroidery for tracing (pdf).

WARNING: The song sentences do not fit the zig zag lines exactly. You will need to move the paper to make it fit better to the zig zag path.

Print pattern and stick together.

Placing the paper underneath the top, trace the song making sure the words follow the white fabric zig zag area.

Closeups of the song

Using stranded cotton in matching colours embroider the song using stem stitch.

The song has been embroidered.

Pattern matching embroidery

To complement the poem, I decided to extend the patterned fabric into the white areas so I selected some prints and drew the rest of the flowers or graphic elements using a water soluble marker.

Just a few graphic elements here and there.

Spread out throughout the whole quilt.

And then I embroidered those.

I like the look of the pattern overflowing the white areas.

The top is ready for the backing and quilting.

Père-Noël zigzag quilt tutorial part one: quilt top

This is the first tutorial in a series of three that makes a Christmas themed lap quilt.

Part one: quilt top assembly

Part two: embroidery embellishments

Part three: improv patchwork back of quilt

Quilt top pattern

The quilt top has a zig zag or chevron pattern with a Christmas theme.

Finished size: 51 in x 53.5 in

Needs for the quilt top

  • 81 x 5 inch square charms or two charm packs (typically charm packs contain 42 x 5 in squares)
  • White fabric:
    • 162 4 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in rectangles
    • 18 x 6 1/2 in square for the large on point triangles
    • 2 x 3 3/4 squares for the corners small triangles

Important: do not throw away any of the charm squares trimmings. They will be used in the backing of the quilt.

The layout is very basic and is made of 2 rectangles of contrasting fabric stitched together.

Block construction

For each block, trim 1/2 inch off one side of the 5in charm square. You will obtain a 5in x 4.5in rectangle.

Then cut the resulting rectangle in two again so that you have 2 rectangles measuring 2.5 in x 4.5in each.

For each rectangle cut an equal rectangle 2.5in x 4.5in in white.

Stitch both rectangles together. You have one block.

Number of blocks: 162 blocks

Block placement

Place the blocks in a zig zag way as per diagram below.

The quilt is set on point. This tutorial illustrates what set on point is. Basically you sew the quilt in rows in the diagonal with each row starting with a triangle.

In this quilt, after you place all blocks as per diagram above you will end up with 2 corners where you will place 2 large triangles together to make a larger triangle (see first photo – the top corners in the photo are made of 2 large triangles). And you will have two more corners with just one small triangles ( and the bottom corners use the 2 small triangles).

The top is now completed.

In part two we will embellish the top.

Spirit tote bag free tutorial

Spirit tote bag tutorial


  • 16 x 5 inch squares
  • 1/3 yard matching fabric for the top of the bag
  • 1/4 yard of matching fabric for the gathered strip, handles and loop closure
  • 1/2 yard of matching fabric for the lining
  • scrap fabrics for the inside pockets
  • 1 button
  • batting
  • medium weight fusible interfacing for bag body and handles (optional)
  • ribbon
  • 1 key holder

Seam allowance is 1/4 inch.

The bag is 14 1/2 inches high and 15 inches wide.

This patchwork tote bag has a set of pockets and key holder sewn into the lining.

Gathered strip

Cut 2 strips of fabric measuring 2.5 in x 36 inches.

Using a basting stitch, sew along both sides of each strip.

Pull from the bottom thread while you hold the strip of fabric.

Pull from both sides and distribute the folds equally along the whole strip. Try to align the folds vertically.

When the folds have been evenly distributed, place the gathered strip on an ironing board and stretch it pinning both ends of the strip to the board. Placing both panels of the bag on the ironing board while you’re gathering the strip helps deciding when the strip has reached the right width.

Iron the folds lightly as if you were combing them. Don’t press hard.

Press the seam allowance  so that it is easier to stitch to the bag.


Cut 2 pieces of 24 in x 4 in for the handles.

If you want stronger handles, use fusible interfacing. I used medium weight. Anything heavier will make it very hard to turn handles inside out.

Cut 2 pieces of fusible interfacing slightly smaller than the handles and iron to each piece of fabric as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Fold the rectangle along the long side with the right sides of the fabric together making a tube and pin along the seam.

Stitch along the long side.

Turn tube inside out.

Press flat and top stitch along each side with a 1/4 seam allowance.

Making the ears for the handles

Cut four 5 inch squares from the handles fabric.

Fold in half wrong side of the fabric together.

Stitch around the 2 raw edges.

On the long side of the triangle make a cut as close to the edge as you can.

Turn inside out and press well.

With a strong thread gather the fabric along the triangle open side

Pull so that the two edges of the triangle will join in the center.

Tie a knot to keep edges together.

Attaching ears to handles

Fold end of handle in and press.

Then make a triangle as per picture and press.

Place handle over ears and pin.

Sew in an arrow shape.

This is the finished handle.

Make loop closure

Cut a rectangle measuring 6.5in x 4in for the loop closure.

Fold one side to the middle point.

Fold the other side in the same way.

Fold and stitch as per picture and stitch on the side.

Then fold as per pictures.

Stitch close to the edge as per picture below.

Making the bag

For each side of the bag, stitch 2 rows of 4 charm squares each and then stitch both rows together.

Iron with seams open to get a flatter look.

You will end up with 2 rectangles measuring measuring 18.5in x 9.5in.

WARNING: Measure the width of your final rectangles well after sewing and before you cut the rectangles that make the top of the bag so that the width is the same.

From the matching fabric cut two 8in x 18.5in rectangles, or the width of the stitched charm squares.

Place the pieced rectangles on top of the matching fabric to make sure the width is the same (see picture).

You are now ready to piece the bag.

Time to stitch the gathered strip you made earlier.

Pin the gathered strip of fabric to the top piece (see picture below).

Make sure the ruffled seam allowance is flat. Pay special attention when sewing in order to avoid the ruffles raw edge showing on the right side of the bag.

Pin the other side of the gathered fabric to the bottom panel and stitch in the same way.

Now you have one side completed.

Press well.

Do the same with the other side.

Stiffening the bag sides


Adding interfacing is optional. I have made other bags without using interfacing but the end result is a bit soft. I like my bags to stand up when I put them on the floor.

Cut a piece of fusible interfacing (medium to heavy) 1/2 inch smaller than the sides of the bag. Iron to the back of each side of the bag as per manufacturer’s instructions.


Cut a piece of batting slightly larger than the sides of the bag and pin.

To attach the batting to the bag, stitch across the sewing lines on each side of the gathered strip.

Then stitch along the pieced lines on the bottom of the bag.

Trim excess batting.

Assembling the bag exterior

Put both sides together with right sides facing together and stitch around 3 sides leaving the brown side up open.

The bag is done.

Squaring the bottom of the bag

Turn bag inside out.

Fold the bag as per picture below.

Trace a line at 2.5 inches from the corner.

Stitch along the line.

And then cut corner off leaving a 1/4 inch allowance

Turn inside out.

The bag has now got a bottom.

Attach the handles

Place the handles 4 1/2 inches from the side.

And 2 inches from the triangle corner up to the edge of the bag.

Stitch in a triangular shape twice around the bottom of the handle.

Attach loop

Place loop between handles as per picture. We’ll stitch it when we attach the lining.

Making the lining of the bag

The bag has a set of pockets and a key holder.

Cut two strips 2.5 x 18 inches for the top of the lining.

Cut two 16.5 x 18 inches for the bottom of the lining.

Pin strip and rectangle together (see picture below).

Stitch and iron flat.


Cut a rectangle 18 x 10.5 inches.

Fold in half right sides of the fabric together to make a tube.

Stitch tube.

Turn inside out.

Top stitch very close to the edge and then again 1/4 from the edge on the top of the pocket.

Attach the pocket and the key holder

Cut a piece of ribbon around 10 inches long and stitch to a key holder.

Place the ribbon edge at around 5.5 inches from the top of the bag on the side and pin.

Place the rectangle for the pockets over one panel of the lining with the top of the rectangle at around 5 1/4 inches from the top and pin.

Stitch along the sides and bottom of the pocket.

Hide the key holder in one of the pockets to avoid stitching other than the edge of the ribbon accidentally.

Then make several pockets by stitching vertically several times. The first pocket will hold the key so you can make it 2.5 inches wide.

You can adapt the width of the pockets to suit your needs.

Assembling the lining bag

Place both pieces of lining right side together and sew around the sides and bottom. Leave a 4 inch opening on one of the sides to turn bag inside out one we stitch the lining to it.

Then do as for the outside bag: cut across the corner 2.5 inches as per picture and stitch again.

Attaching the lining to the bag

Place the lining, inside out, over the outside bag as in the photo and pin along the top edge well. Just in case it is not clear in the photo, the right side of the fabric for bag and lining should be facing together.

The opening showing is the photo is about 4inches wide and will be used to turn the bag inside out once the lining and the outside a sewn together.

Stitch lining and bag together along the top edge.

Turn bag inside out through the opening in the lining.

Stitch the lining opening.

Stitch a button in between handles.

The bag is finished.

View of the inside

Back of the bag

I tend to make things for friends rather than buying gifts. I made this bag for my friend.

And here she is below wearing the tote bag.

Other free bag tutorials

Here is a list of bags I have made over the last couple of years:

  1. Expandable tote bag
  2. Patchwork beach bag
  3. Tote bag tutorial
  4. Laptop slipcover with straps
  5. Charm pack tote bag with inside pocket tutorial
  6. Charm squares and embroidery tote bag