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14 Ideas for Sewing Projects Using Chalk Cloth


We were deep in discussion about what you can make with Chalk Cloth at our fabric pop up shop in Witney on Saturday and I resolved to bring the best ideas to everyone via a blog post, so here it is!

Table Mats

There are lots of free tutorials for table mats on the internet, here are a couple of our favourites….

This one has a border pulled over from the front rather than separate binding around the edges, plus that all important pocket for the chalk.

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This version has ‘proper’ bound edges…


Reusable, Personalisable, Wrapping Paper!

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Add Wipe Clean Labels To Fabric Baskets

You could sew these into place, or use heat n bond ultra to add adhesive to the back of the chalk cloth and iron them into place.

Set of 4 - Linen with Chalk Cloth Fabric - Fabric Basket Organizer Storage Bin Containers on Etsy, $75.00

Chalk Cloth Embroidery Hoops

This is such a simple but clever idea!  Hang around the house and garden, adding your own personal messages, or use as signage at a craft fair.

DIY Chalkboard Embroidery Hoop Signs

Make a Fun Table Runner

As chalk cloth does not fray, you can simply cut to size and use straight away!

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Reminder or Reward Chart

Easy School Hacks

Chalk Cloth Sew and No-Sew Versions of Bunting

Whole punch in the top corners of the bunting triangles and thread piping cord or string through the holes!

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Simply cut your triangles and then sew into our bunting tape – the fabric won’t fray and has some weight to it, so no need to add a backing 🙂


Why not try a different shape for your flags?

Chalk Cloth Bunting 1

Chalk Cloth Labels

writing on the chalk labels

Table Centre Piece For Weddings or Planter with Space for Your House Number!

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Noughts and Crosses Playmat!

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Large Play Mat

Why not put a car mat or dolls house layout on the other side?

Follow the link to this tutorial for lots of great tips for sewing with chalk cloth!

10 Sewing Tips for Using Chalkboard Fabric by Nancy Zieman

Lunch Bag

Blackboard/Chalk Cloth Lunchbag

Applique Cushion Covers

freebie win giveaway

Feeling inspired?  Click here to buy your chalk cloth today!

 

 

Great Free Sewing Tutorials for Fathers Day Gifts


With just a few weeks until the big day we thought we would bring you a round up of our favourite free sewing tutorials for dads!

Mens Pajama Shorts

This project includes a free pattern download to make Bermuda length shorts with proper pockets!

http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/mans-wallet-project/ Man's Wallet Tutorial - perfect for Father's Day:

A great way to make use of the smaller pieces of fabric in your stash!  Don’t forget to check out our range of interfacing for this project, and if you don’t have your fabric yet, why not check out our roll ends.

Business Card Wallet Scrap Buster Project

Another great stash buster!  Dig out prints you know your man will like and get sewing.


Cut up all those jeans he won’t throw away but should, and turn them into a really robust picnic blanket!


For all those long journey’s and nights up with the kids why not make a neck pillow.


Whether its medication for a trip away or a mini first aid kit for the car, one of these funky zipper pouches is sure to come in handy.

Father’s Day Tie | Purl Soho

The classic Fathers Day gift – a tie!


Whether your man is a dab hand in the kitchen or strictly a bbq king – an apron will always come in handy!

Dad's Travel Bag, a free tutorial on polkadotchair.com

This travel bag has a distinctly manly feel – perfect for the traveller or gym bunny.


What about a tablet or phone stand?

How To Make Denim Jeans Smart Phone Charging Station

This is a really cute upcycling project for those old jeans!  Get rid of all those wires draped over your kitchen worktop or bedroom floor!


And finally a versatile duffle bag – perfect for weekend’s away or the gym!

And you thought it was difficult to find things to sew for men!

 

 

 

Pressing Board Make Over Time

We have been busy recovering our Sewing School pressing boards this morning and they look lovely!

The fabric on the top board is Riley Blake’s Sweet Orchard in Pink, the next one is Dashwood’s double border print from the Birdsong range and the last one, the most practical being a dark colour, is Dashwood Studio’s Cotton Candy Floral on Blue fabric – all available in store.

If you are asking what a pressing board is, or want to know how to make one, click here for our tutorial – you will wonder how you ever managed without one!



Dashwood Studio’s Birdsong Fabric Collection Has Arrived!


Dashwood Studio’s Bird Song fabric collection has arrived and is everything we hoped for!

A muted and calming collection of birds, trees, mountains, and raindrops!

100% cotton and 110cm (44″) wide.  Perfect for dressmaking, quilting, home decor projects, bags and general crafts.

The collection includes a fab double border, the landscape runs along the selvedge with the sky in the middle of the fabric.  Because the print runs in opposite directions on each half of the fabric you need to think carefully about your project and the amount of fabric you will need, as use the fabric in one whole piece, 110cm (44″) wide, and half your fabric will be upside down!

That said we love the versatility of double border prints here at Prints to Polka Dots and they often end up saving you money – you can often get the print for the back and front of your skirt, or both sides for you cushion cover or bag out of the same width!

We are already planning beach bags, aline skirts, floor cushions and lampshades for this print.


 



We have also be playing with the rest of the collection, testing a pattern for sewing pattern brand Tried and True for a Clutch Bag – pics to follow shortly of the finished bag!

Click on any of the images to view the collection in store and don’t forget to tag us in on pictures you make with this collection, or share your makes with others on our Facebook page, we love to share and your pics are always so inspiring!


Luxury Lined Tote Sewing School Tutorial

We had great fun at our luxury tote sewing class here in Witney last week.

These lovely bags were all made in an evening and look great!  Emma (top left bag) has only been sewing for a week and half!

luxury tote bags sewing lesson feb 2017

The pattern for the bag can be downloaded for free from here our blog if you fancy making your own:
http://blog.printstopolkadots.co.uk/?p=135270

The fabrics used include: Riley Blake’s Ardently Austin, Dashwood Studio’s Secret Garden and Riley Blake’s Owl and Co .  We also used alot of interfacing to get that crisp yet cuddly look and keep the bags structured even when not in use, you can buy the interfacing as a kit at printstopolkadots.co.uk – click here!

You can find out more about our sewing school here.

Personalised Placemats Free Sewing Tutorial

Welcome to our easy-peasy personalised quilted placemat tutorial.  What makes it easy peasy?  We use Pellon Quilters Grid and iron on applique letters to take the stress out and make piecing together quick and accurate.

easy-peasy-quilted-placemat-sewing-tutorial-1

Finished size: Approx 44cm x 36cm

Requirements

14 x 10cm squares of fabric (we used Riley Blake’s Princess Dreams collection)

1x 20cm x 30cm rectangle of fabric for the centre of the placemat

1x 38cm x 47cm of fabric for the back of the placemat

1 x MAX 10cm x 25cm of fabric for your applique (name in the centre)

2 x 6.5cm x full width of the fabric for binding

1x 38cm x 47cm of H630 fusible fleece (Use H640 for a more padded feel)

1x 38cm x 47cm of H650 double sided fusible fleece

1 x MAX 10cm x 25cm of Heat n Bond Adhesive for your applique (use Heat n Bond Ultra for a no-sew option, Heat n Bond Lite if you want to sew your applique onto your placemat).

1 x 45cm x 55cm Pellon 820 Quilters Grid

 

Instructions

Place your rectangle of Pellon 820 in front of you, adhesive side up (the grid will look fainter on this side).

Arrange your fabric squares on the Pellon, using the grid to help line up the pieces.  Aim to get the raw edges butting up against each other but don’t worry about gaps of the odd mm here and there.

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When you are happy with the design, iron the two layers together.  Trim away any excess Pellon, turn over and press again, making sure all the squares are stuck down.

Fold the right edge of the mat in towards the left.  The resulting fold should run between the first two columns of squares (see image below).  Pin the two layers together and then sew together, with your sewing machine foot running along the edge of the fold.

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Fold the mat over again towards the left, with the new crease running down between the next columns of squares (and through the main rectangle in the centre) and sew again.  Repeat this process working across your placemat until all the columns have been sewn.  Then iron the placemat flat.

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You now need to repeat this process working from the top to the bottom. Start by folding the top row down, along the gap between the first two rows of squares.  Sew with your sewing machine foot in line with the fold as before.

Keep repeating this process, folding down a row, and sewing until you run out of rows.

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BEFORE ironing your mat, trim the seam allowance on the rows you have just sewn, back by approx. half (this will reduce the bulk).  Then turn over your mat and iron flat.

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Put your placemat to one side and take your applique fabric, heat n bond adhesive and letter templates.

The letter templates are printed in mirror image, they will face the right way when you have finished!  Place your heat n bond adhesive over the top of the templates, and trace the letters you need for your name (you will be writing on the smooth side of the paper).

Iron the adhesive (bumpy side facing the back of your fabric) onto the back of your applique fabric and then cut your applique shapes out.

quilted-placemat-sewing-tutorial-applique-making

Peel the backing paper off each of your letters and arrange them in the centre of your placemat.  When you are happy with their position, iron into place.  If you have used Heat n Bond Ultra, skip onto the next step.  If you have used Heat n Bond Lite, top stitch your applique shapes.

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The next step is to add the backing and wadding.  Start by ironing your H630 or H640 onto the back of your placemat- REMEMBER – you cannot iron directly on top of the interfacing, you will need to iron on the placemat, with the interfacing behind, or place a cloth between your iron and the interfacing (the bumpy side of the interfacing should be facing the back of the placemat).

Now place your backing fabric in front of you, back of the fabric facing you, and then place your piece of H650 on top, followed by your placemat.  Iron the three layers together until firmly fused.

Trim back your placemat to get rid of excess interfacing and ensure the mat is squared off.

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Almost finished!  The next step is to make the binding tape for the edges and then sew it into place.

Take your two pieces of binding fabric and place them together, so that the right sides are facing each other, and they form a right angle, with approx. 1cm (1/2”) of fabric sticking out on each side (see image below).  Pin the two pieces of fabric together and then sew across the square where they overlap, from the top left corner to the bottom right (imagine you are cutting off the outside corner).

Open the binding out and iron the seam out flat, trim away any excess fabric from the top and bottom edges.

Finish your tape by folding in half so that the long raw edges lines up, and iron.

placemat-binding

Pin your binding into place on one side on the back of your placemat (I pinned it on the wrong side in the first image!).  You are looking to get the tape to start about 1/3rd of the way down the side, and you will actually start sewing about 12-15cm below the start of the fabric.

Sew down your tape STOPPING approx. 12mm (1/4”) from the edge of the placemat.  Move away from your sewing machine and fold the tape back into a triangle as shown in the image below.  Then fold the tape back into position along the next side of the mat and pin into place.

Sew from the corner until you get approx. 12mm (1/4”) from the next corner and repeat these steps.

Continue until you are approx. 12-15cm from the start of the tape.

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You now need to join the two ends of the tape and sew the binding into place on the back of the placemat.   I have copied the instruction written for our Little Ark quilt below to help you with this.

Lay the tape into position, overlapping the ends.  Trim the end of the top tape, so that it ends 6.5cm over the start of the bottom tape.

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Unpin the start of the tape and then open out both ends of the tape.  Place the two ends together, right sides facing and at a right angle to each other (see image above) and sew together along the yellow line in the image above.  Turn the fabric over and check that the binding tape falls flat on the quilt, adjust if necessary, when you are happy with the finish, trim the excess fabric away and iron the seam flat.

Fold the binding tape back in half and pin into place along the edge of your placemat and sew together.

Turn your placemat over and hand sew the binding onto the reverse (you make find the corners are easier to sew if you cut the tip of the placemat’s corners away first – TAKE CARE NOT TO cut through the binding).

Instructions Taken From our Little Ark Quilt Tutorial

Start half way down one side.  Put a knot in your cotton and sew it into the edge of the quilt, don’t go through to the front of the quilt, just down and back up through the quilt back and batting.

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Take your needle up through the binding on the crease (fold) line.

Push the needle back down as close to the point where you just came through as possible (making an almost invisible stitch) pass the needle down through the backing fabric and batting (do not go through to the front, just the back and batting) and back up into the middle of the binding, stopping inside the crease.   Then push the needle along the INSIDE of the crease, before coming back up out of the top of the binding (see image below).  Repeat these steps to the corner.

binding-little ark - part 2

When you reach the corner, finish with the needle pointing up out of the backing fabric, ready to go back into the binding tape.  Fold the next side of the binding tape over to make a mitred corner (the fabric should be folded into a triangle as in the first image below, before folding over).  Take the needle up through the point of the triangle (if you are using very wide binding you might want to add a few stitches along the mitred edge).  Then turn the quilt and work the next side. Continue sewing sides and corners until you get back to the start.

binding-little ark - part 3

Finished!

Admire your handy work and don’t forget to send us a picture – on Facebook (Printstopolkadots) or by tagging us in on Instagram #printstopolkadots – we love seeing your makes.

For a printer friendly version click here (you will also need our applique letter templates – available here).
To buy the fabrics used above (Riley Blake’s Princess Dreams) click here
To buy this project as a kit click here

Reverse Applique Tutorial

We are currently working on our comprehensive guide to making and sewing applique and can’t wait to share our hints and tips with you.

We have had lots of fun making the samples used in the tutorials and wanted to share this excerpt from our guide with your, focusing on sewing reverse applique.

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  1. Cut your applique fabric slightly larger than your applique shape.
  2. Spray your fabrics with starch – available at the supermarket (no need to buy anything special).  This will add just enough stiffness to help maintain your shape and the drape of your main fabric, preventing stretching and bunching up when you sew your shape into place.
  3. Trace your applique shape onto the back of the applique fabric facing the wrong way (so that when you flip the fabric over the shape is facing the right way).
  4. Pin your applique fabric over your main fabric, right side of the applique fabric facing the wrong side of the main fabric.
  5. Sew the two pieces of fabric together using a straight stitch and your usual stitch length, sewing along the line you have drawn on your applique fabric – DO NOT BACK STITCH.
  6. Pull the threads through to the back of your shape, tie off and trim.
  7. Trim the excess fabric away from the outside edges of your shape on the back of your main fabric.
  8. Turn your fabric over, so you are looking at the right side of your main fabric.  Pull the two layers of fabric apart and snip into the main fabric layer, in the middle of your applique shape.
  9. Continue to cut through the top layer of fabric, removing the top layer of fabric from INSIDE, your applique shape, a few mms in from the edge.

Washing the fabric will make the raw edges inside the sew line fluff up, giving an aged look.

Share your applique pics with us on Facebook or Instagram (#printstopolkadots).

15 FREE Mini Christmas Sewing Makes Tutorials

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It’s that time of year again!  Whether you are sewing for family, friends or craft fairs, we thought we would offer a helping hand with this round up of our favourite free sewing tutorials, perfect for the season!

Circle Zip Pouch – for earphones or small change 🙂

earbudpouchtutorialcover-500x500

Double Sided Tissue Pouch

double-sided-tissue-pouch-tutorial

Ipad-Stand

tablet-stand-tutorial

Pencil Case – This one is one of ours!

pencil-case-zipper-pouch-square-front-image

Funky Door Stop Shaped Like a Slouchy Bag (Another one of ours!)

funky handbag door stop free tutorial sewing pattern

Knitting Needle Wrap

knitting needle wrap free sewing pattern tutorial

Fold Fabric Star Christmas Ornament

foldedstarornament

Drawstring Storage Bag with Viewing Window!

storage-bag-tutorial

Make Up Brush Roll 

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Heart Shaped Oven Mitt

heartshapedovenmittpattern

Tooth Fairy Pillow

tooth fairy pillow sewing tutorial free pattern

Collapsible Bowl

main-fabric-box-copy

Caravan Pin Cushion

caravan_patchwork_pincushion_and_card_set_505_765_80_int_c1

Mini Tote Gift Bag

mini-tote-tutorial-squared-off-sewing-prints-to-polka-dots

Christmas Tree Bunting

christmas-mini-bunting-sewing-tutorial-quick-and-easy-prints-to-polka-dots-with-title

Free Lined Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial

We make this bag at our popular Lined Tote Sewing Class, held here in Witney in Oxfordshire.

The secret to a great finish to use lots of interfacing to give your bag shape.  Its a great make for beginners as it is all straight lines and these bags make great gifts.

If you can make it to Witney we would love to see you at one of our lessons – click here to find out more.

lined-tote-sewing-tutorial-prints-to-polka-dots

Finished size: approx 42cm at the widest point x 36cm long plus handles!

Requirements:

45cm wide x 47cm long x2 pieces for the lining.

45cm wide x 31.5cm long x 2 pieces for the top section of the bag.

45cm wide x 16.7cm long x 2 pieces for the bottom section of the bag.

13cm wide x 78cm long x2 pieces for the straps.

25cm x 26cm long piece of fabric for the pocket (optional – if your strap fabric is 110cm wide, cut this first, and you will have enough left for the straps too).

45cm x 47cm x 2 pieces of low loft fusible fleece and the same of woven fusible interfacing.

13cm x 78cm x2 pieces of woven fusible interfacing for straps.

25cm x 26cm x1 piece of woven fusible interfacing for the pocket (optional).

14cm x 26cm x1 piece of low loft fusible fleece + the same of flexi-firm (S520) for the base (optional).

You can purchase all the interfacing you need for one bag in a kit at Prints to Polka Dots – Click here.

Step 1 – Make Your Straps

Iron your fusible woven interfacing onto the back of each of your straps.

Fold each of your strap pieces in half lengthways and iron the crease into place.  Open out your straps and fold the raw edges along the long sides, into the crease you have just made in the middle of each strap, and iron once more.  Finally fold your straps in half long ways, using your first crease line, and iron.

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Top stitch the long sides of each strap.  We used the edge of our sewing machine foot as a guide for the seam allowance, but switched our needle position to place it closer to the edge of the fabric – START with the open side.

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Step 2 – Making Up Your External Fabric Pieces

Sew your lower bag pieces to your upper bag pieces using a 6mm/1/4” seam allowance.  Iron the seam allowance out flat.

lined-tote-sewing-tutorial-front-pieces-sewn-together-stages-shown

Each piece should measure 45cm wide x 47cm long.  If your pieces are too big, trim back, if your pieces are too small, trim your internal fabric pieces to be the same size as your external pieces – the important thing is to get all four pieces measuring the same size.

Iron your fusible fleece onto the back of each of the external pieces.  This is also a good time to fuse your woven interfacing onto the back of your lining pieces.

lined-tote-adding-interfacing-to-exterior-pieces

You now need to cut 7.5cm squares out of each of the bottom corners of your external pieces.

lined-tote-sewing-tutorial-cutting-corners-out-external-fabric-pieces

Step 3 – Attaching the Handles

Place one of your main exterior bag fabric pieces in front of you and pin one of the straps to the top edge.  Pin each end 13cm in from the nearest side, with the raw edges of the strap lined up with the top raw edges of the main bag fabric piece and the bulk of the strap resting on the fabric piece.  Sew into place using a 6mm/1/4” seam allowance.

lined-tote-tutorial-sewing-handles-in-place
Repeat with the second exterior bag fabric piece and strap.

Step 4 – Making the Bag Part 1

Place your exterior pieces on top of each other, right sides facing each other, taking care to line up on all sides.

Sew the two pieces together along the bottom of the bag using a 1.2cm (½”) seam allowance and then press the seam allowance over in one direction.

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Turn your fabric over and top stitch a row of stitches 6mm (1/4”) in from the existing seam, on the side you have ironed the seam allowance on to.

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Fold your bag up, right sides facing each other, pin together and sew down the left and right edges, using a 12mm (1/2”) seam allowance – DO NOT SEW ROUND THE CUT OUT CORNERS.

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Now you need to sew the corners.  Open the left corner out so that you can see inside the bag.  Bring the two sides of the opening with seams on together, lining up the seam lines (from the bottom and left sides) the raw edges should form a straight line.  Pin and sew a 12mm (1/2”) seam allowance across the opening.  Repeat on the right hand side and then turn your bag out the right way.

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Step 5 – Optional Pocket

Iron on your fusible interfacing onto the back of your fabric and then fold your pocket fabric in half, right sides facing each other, from the top down to the bottom.

Iron and pin the layers together, then sew around all the open sides using a 6mm/1/4” seam allowance LEAVING a turning gap of 5cm along the bottom edge.  Turn the pocket out the right way and press, folding the raw edges into the turning gap as appropriate.

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Now top stitch along the top edge of the pocket using a 6mm (1/4”) seam allowance or less (we use the edge of the sewing machine foot as our guide but move the needle position to get the stitches closer to the edge).

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Fold your pocket in half (left to right) and finger press the fold to create a light crease.  Repeat this with one of your lining pieces (which should already have interfacing ironed onto the back).  Pin your pocket into place, approx. 10cm (4”) down from the top of the lining fabric pieces, lining up the creases to get the pocket in the centre.

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Sew the pocket into place around the left, right and bottom edges, as close to the edge of the fabric as you dare! (we used the edge of the sewing machine foot as our guide and moved the needle position to get the stitches closer to the edge).

If you would like to divide the pocket to make space for your phone, or pens etc.. add vertical lines to your pocket at this stage.

lined-tote-sewing-tutorial-attaching-pocket-to-lining-dividing

Step 6 – Making Your Lining Bag

You are now ready to make a second bag out of your lining pieces.

Start by cutting 7.5cm squares out the bottom corners of your two lining pieces.  Then pin the two pieces together, right sides facing each other, making sure the pieces are lined up on all sides.  Sew down the left and right sides and along the bottom using a 12mm (1/2”) seam allowance – DO NOT sew the cut out corner sections.

lined-tote-tutorial-lining-corners-sewing-sides-together

Make up the box corners in the same manner as you did with the exterior bag, pulling open the cut out section on one side and lining up the seams from the bottom and side, pinning the two layers together and then sewing a 12mm (1/2”) seam across the opening – repeat on the other side.

lined-tote-sewing-tutorial-corners-on-lining-sewing-box

Step 7 – Putting the Bag Together

Turn the exterior fabric bag out, so you are looking at the right side of the fabric.  Insert the exterior bag inside the lining, with the right side of the lining bag facing the right side of the external bag.  You will see all the seam on the bag, inside and outside – make sure the straps are poked down between the two layers.

Take a minute to make sure the two bags are properly lined up at the seams, at the raw edges and at the bottom of the bag.  Pin the two bags together and then sew together around the top, leaving a gap of approx. 8-10cm between one of the straps and side seam, on each side (you will be pinning 2 pieces of fabric together at a time, not 4!).  Use a 12mm (1/2”) seam allowance.

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Step 8 – Finishing Your Bag

Pull the bag out through the gap you left earlier and then push the lining inside the main bag, all your seams should now be hidden inside the bag.

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If You Are Using a Base

Iron your fusible fleece on top of your flexi-firm, fuse it onto the side of the flexi-firm without adhesive.

Then insert your base into your bag by pushing it through the gap you pulled the bag through and line the base up in the bottom of your bag.  Iron through the base to fuse the base to the bottom of the bag or tack the three layers together with a few hand stitches.

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With or Without a Base

Iron around the opening of the bag, taking care to get the seam line on the crease, folding the fabric at the turning gap inside the bag.  Top stitch around the top of the bag using a 6mm (¼”) seam allowance.

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Ta dah!

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Fabrics used:

Main bag – Riley Blake’s Fresh Market for the top and straps, Flutterberry for the bottom section and Kona Pink for inside.

Sail boats bag – Riley Blake’s Offshore collection for external pieces and Kona seafoam for the lining.

Printer-Friendly Instructions

Click here to download a printer-friendly copy of this tutorial.

We love seeing what you make with our fabrics or using our tutorials – please share pics with us on Facebook or Instagram (#printsotpolkadots).