Featured · Holidays · Projects · Tutorials

Easy Snowman Tote: 12 Days of Christmas Blogger Challenge

Snowman-Tote

Way back when it was still warm out and the sun didn’t set at 4:30, I was invited to participate in Sew McCool’s 12-Days of Christmas Blogger Challenge. I had big plans to finally finish the advent calendar I have been “going to make this year” for the past three Christmas seasons. This post is not about the advent calendar I made. Yet again, I didn’t get it made. Instead I did a cute craft with my kids. This was crazy easy, relatively inexpensive and turned out adorable. These would be so cute as teacher gifts, grandparents or even to use as gift bags.

For this project you will need:

  • Plain White tote bag. (I bought a blank one at a craft store but you can find about a bajillion tutorials on Pinterest if you would like to make your own.)
  • Scrap of Orange Felt or Fleece
  • Random Assortment of Black Buttons
  • Some sort of super strong adhesive. (or a sewing machine or needle and thread if you’d rather stitch the face on.)
  • Two Scraps of holiday fabric, cut about 2 inches x the width of the bag. Fleece would work well, I used woven cotton and pinking shears on the edges.
  • Small helpers (Optional.)

DSC_0113

I am not a kids-crafting blogger. Or a kids-crafting expert. Or even a regular kids-crafting participant. I tend to lock myself away for my crafting and sewing projects, it is my time away from my kids. Lately, though, they have been begging to help, keep picking out fabric they want made into various things, and are becoming more curious about my sewing projects. This project is definitely one that requires close supervision due to the glue. You could use a regular child-safe glue stick and then stitch the items where the kids placed them, but I just let them arrange things then made them sit back and did the gluing myself. If your kids are older they might be OK but I definitely advise adult supervision with this project.

The first step was arranging the face. I let them try different arrangements, and they actually worked together to decide where the buttons should go and what direction the nose should point. There was some discussion that the snowman should have a mad face, but I convinced them that he should be happy.

 

Once they had the buttons and nose placed, I glued them down. The adhesive I bought said industrial strength, and should hold well without additional stitching, but if I were going to make several of these I might just stitch the buttons and nose on. The “scarf” was the last part and we just glued the ends of each side of the bag. Once it was dry I tied it in a knot in the middle.

 

And that’s it. Simple and cute. My total cost was under $6, and that included the glue, which you could easily do several bags with one tube. The kids loved making the face and asked if they could make another one.

 

Thank you to Deanna at SewMcCool for inviting me to participate and definitely check out all the other projects in the challenge.

12 Days of Christmas Holiday Blogger Challenge with sewmccool.com large

Don’t forget to visit all of the bloggers who are creating tutorials for the Sew McCool 12 Days of Christmas challenge! Voting will begin on www.sewmccool.com on December 13 and go through 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern time on December 20. The blogger with the most votes will win $100 – just in time for Christmas!

December 1

Ren @ The Inspired Wren * Stephanie @ Swoodson Says * Alicia @ Felt With Love Designs

December 2

Natalie @ Sew Outnumbered *Deby @ So-Sew-Easy * Ajaire @ Call Ajaire

December 3

Amy @ Friends Stitched Together * Maris @ Sew Maris * Gemia @ Phat Quarters

December 4

Amy @ How I Make Stuff * Michelle @ Falafel and the Bee

December 5

Beth @ Beth Jarrett * Jen @ Just Joshin

December 6

Lauren @ Molly and Mama * Krista @ Bee Quilted Beauties

December 7

Vicky @ Vicky Myers Creations * Deb @ Sprouting Jube Jube

December 8

Addie @ Addie K * Michelle @ Not My Tree

December 9

Ula @ Lulu & Celeste * Sara @ Made By Sara * Chelsea @ GYCT Designs

December 10

Nichole @ Bluebird & the Boy * Darcy @ Ginger House Designs * Shelly @ Coral & Co.

December 11

Amy @ Britches ‘n Bloomers * Kelly @ Kelly J Designs

December 12

Maegen @ Mae and K * Jess @ Gracious Threads * Jone @ Knot Sew Normal

Tutorials

Adding an Adjustable Waistband to Easy Fit Shorts

Add an Adjustable Waistband - just-joshin.com

I love adding custom shorts to complement an embroidered t-shirt. My go-to pattern for shorts (and lounge pants!) is The Scientific Seamstress Easy Fit Pants. They are so, well, easy! Like her other patterns, The Easy Fits pattern is almost like a sewing lesson, so if you haven’t made pants, no worries, it will walk you through. I have used flannel to make PJ pants for my boys and nephew for Christmas, lightweight summer PJ pants, and lots of shorts. They are super quick and always look cute. 

This time around I made a little modification, I added buttonhole elastic and made the waistband adjustable. I have two boys who share clothing, one who has a bigger waist. Their commercial pants that have adjustable waistbands are a huge help in keeping pants up!

This same method can be used on other patterns for anything that has elastic in a casing, including pants, shorts and skirts.  (If you have the pattern, this step inserts before step 4 in the construction, before forming the casing.)

To add an adjustable waistband you will need:

  • Two Small buttons (about 1/4” size, they won’t show so they don’t have to go with the outfit. I used grey.)
  • Buttonhole Elastic 
  • Ruler or Tape Measure (I use a Centering Ruler which is super handy!) 
  • Sew-in or fusible interfacing (A small scrap is plenty)
  • Disappearing Ink Pen or Chalk
  • The ability to make buttonholes
Once you have your shorts (or pants or skirt) assembled, it might look sort of like this. The bottom hems and the top elastic casing are the remaining steps. With the garment inside-out, place the front side up, since that is where the adjustable elastic will be placed.  The Easy Fit pants pattern has you press the casing fold before sewing the legs together, you can see the creases. 

IMG_1593

Fold the casing over as it will sit when stitched, and measure for your buttonholes. I used the centering ruler from the front-center seam and measured 2.5” inches to each side and marked where the button holes should go. These shorts are size 3T, leaving about 5 inches between the buttonholes seemed about right. I estimated, larger sizes should be placed a little further apart. (I aimed for the holes to hit about the hip bones in the front.) The important part is to make sure they are equal distance from the center so they gather evenly,

IMG_1595

My marking pen is purple and disappears quickly, you can see the purple mark on Nemo’s face.

IMG_1596

Once marked, open the fold again, you will need to add interfacing to stabilize the buttonholes. Cut small scraps of interfacing and apply to the back of where the buttonholes will be. This will reinforce the buttonholes and the buttons. I cut mine about 1” x1.5. They should be less than the width of the casing.

IMG_1597

With the casing folded open, stitch the buttonholes where you marked. By stitching open, when you fold it over, the buttonholes will not show on the front of the shorts. After your buttonholes are stitched, add a button about 1 inch to the side of the buttonhole, on the side toward the center seam.

IMG_1598

Once you have your buttonholes and buttons attached, fold the casing over again, and stitch in place. You  do not need to leave a space to insert elastic like it instructs in the pattern, you will insert it through the buttonholes. You can use a zipper foot to stitch around the buttons, if you want. I just used my standard foot and went slowly near the buttons to stitch the casing.

IMG_1599

Once you have the casing stitched, insert the buttonhole elastic. Since it will be exposed on the ends, you should melt the ends with a candle or lighter to seal and keep it from fraying. I buttoned one side and fed through the other with a safety pin. Once they are attached on both sides, stretch evenly to spread out the waistband gather. To loosen, just move the button further down the elastic, that simple.

IMG_1600

The front will have a flatter look than it would normally since there is no elastic gathering. 

IMG_1602

And you’re done!

IMG_1601

(Link to the ruler is an Amazon Affiliate link. If you buy it I will get a few cents. Thanks! The other links are not affiliates, though I could not recommend the Scientific Seamstress Patterns more highly, I love them!)