Thursday, May 6, 2021

ASHFORD HANDBAG (new pdf pattern)


Hello friends, welcome!

I'm beyond excited to introduce my newest bag pattern to you today 😁😁.

What do you guys think? Isn't she quite something?

Finished size of this bag is 11 1/2'' tall x 13'' wide on bottom x 4'' deep which makes it a fabulously roomy everyday handbag. 

It features an easy to install, super handy zipper pocket in the lining as well as the main zipper closure to keep one's items safely inside.

And check out those zipper tabs! I think they add so much to an overall professional finish.

As you probably noticed, I'm quite a fan of adding leather handles to my bags. I do understand though that's it's not for everyone, so I included instructions on how to make your own fabric handles instead.

What do you say? Would you like to make an Ashford Handbag of your own?


FABRIC A (main exterior) – 1/4 yard

FABRIC B (contrasting exterior bottom) – 1/4 yard

FABRIC C (lining) – 3/4 yard

FUSIBLE FLEECE (Pellon TP971 or Vlieseline H640) – 1/2 yard

INTERFACING (Pellon SF101 or Vlieseline G700) – 3/4 yard

one (1) – 10'' long or longer standard #3 NYLON ZIPPER

one (1) - 18'' long or longer bagmaking #4.5 or #5 NYLON ZIPPER

two (2) – 3/4'' wide x 29'' leather strips for handles

eight (8) – 8mm x 6mm RIVETS

two (2) – zipper pulls (optional)


EXTERIOR (FABRIC A, FABRIC B) – designer cotton canvas, Essex linen, cotton/linen blend fabric, or medium weight quilting cotton are recommended. Waxed canvas could also be used (no need to add fusible fleece in that case).

LINING (FABRIC C) – quilting cotton

+  +  +  +  +

You can purchase an Ashford Handbag pattern by clicking here.

And, now through Saturday May 8th (midnight, Amsterdam time), you can get this pattern at a 25% OFF Introductory Price. No coupon needed, the price is already adjusted.

Buy This Pattern

Oh, and in case you're interested in an additional resource, Crafty Monkies is offering a video recording of my Ashford Handbag workshop (approx. 3 hours of instructions) at a discounted price as well. Click here to it check out.

Happy sewing all! Svetlana

Monday, April 12, 2021

How to Sew an Exposed Zipper Pocket


Hello friends, happy Monday to you all!

I love making my own bags but what I love even more is the ability to customize them to meet my needs. So, I add pockets to my bags all the time, I love adding them both to the exterior as well as the lining 😁.

One of my most favorite pockets is an exposed (or welt) zipper pocket.

I like how easy it is to add this pocket to pretty much any bag or pouch panel without having to adjust any of the panel's measurements at all.


And, in case you'd like to learn how to install these pockets in your projects, I have a free video tutorial for you today.

In my tutorial I added a welt zipper pocket to the exterior panel of my Juniper Basket, but you can easily adjust the provided instructions to work with a different size of the zipper/ pocket.

And, in case you'd like to give this lovely basket a try, click here for the pattern.

Happy sewing, lovely makers!

Talk soon. Svetlana

Friday, February 26, 2021

Quick and Easy French Seams Tote Bag


Hello lovely makers, happy Friday to you all!

I think it's quite obvious by now that tote bags are one of my favorite things to sew. And today I'm going to share with you one of the easiest totes ever 😊.

All you need to make this unlined bag is just a 1/2 yard of medium to heavy weight fabric (canvas, denim, home decor, or even waxed canvas) and some webbing for the handles and you're good to go.

I love that the French Seams make for neat, finished edges and the bag is super light but sturdy at the same time. 

I keep one of these totes in my purse in case I need to pop in the shop real quick. They also make great library bags, or just simple everyday tote bags.

These bags finish at approximately 14'' wide X 16'' tall but the nice thing is you can use the instructions I provide in my YouTube tutorial to make bags of many different sizes.

Here's the link to the tutorial if you want to check it out:

Happy sewing, friends!


Monday, February 15, 2021

Chubby Tote Bag (free video tutorial)


Hello lovely makers, I hope your week is off to a good start.

A little while ago I designed this wonderfully roomy, easy to sew Chubby Tote Bag for my YouTube channel and ever since then I've loved using these cuties as my shopping bags. They are just the right size to put your groceries in but not so large that you struggle to carry them πŸ˜‚. 

FINISHED SIZE: 11'' wide on bottom X 11'' tall X 6'' deep

When I first designed these totes I used leather handles as I really love the classy look they add to pretty much any bag. But, I like options, so I tried to make some Chubby Totes with fabric handles and I love this all washable version equally as much.

I used canvas and cotton/linen prints for both the exterior and the lining of this bag and I added a layer of Pellon SF101 interfacing to my exterior panels which makes for a soft, but sturdy bag.

I think I'm going to make a few in Merchant and Mills dry oilskin next. Or maybe in waxed canvas? Oh, the possibilities πŸ˜€πŸ˜€. I have to raid my stash to see what I have on hand.

I hope you'll enjoy making (and using) these cuties as much as I do.

Click here for a link to a free Chubby Tote Bag tutorial.

And here for a tutorial on how to make your own Fabric Handles.

Happy sewing, friends!


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Portland Tote (tester versions)


Hello everyone!

As promised, I'm back to share the beautiful Portland Totes my super talented pattern testers created. I love how different these bags are, and how well they represent each of the maker's style.

Let's get to it, shall we?

Dorothy @casoncreativedesigns on IG created this beautiful Portland Tote. I love the fabric Dorothy chose as well as the fabulous details she added to her adjustable strap. 

I love this travel inspired bag sewn by the lovely Fani @faninoulika on IG. So sweet, and would definitely make a lovely handbag to be taken on trips.

Next we have this stylish bag sewn by the incredibly talented Priscilla @cottonstitchcollective on IG. 

And here is a lighter version of the bag. I love them both so much, isn't Priscilla just so very clever with her fabric choices? Love, love, love.

This pretty Portland Tote sewn by Vicki @vpquilter on IG makes me smile every time I look at it. Such a happy bag, and I love that Vicki quilted the main body of the bag to give it some extra stability. 

Last, but definitely not least, we have this beautiful low volume bag sewn by my lovely friend Ingrid @inghelhoe. Such a classic little number. Just beautiful!

*  *  *  *  *

What do you think, friends? Are you as impressed as I was when I saw all these beautiful creations?

I'm grateful to each and every one of these amazing ladies for testing my pattern and making such gorgeous bags along the way. 

You can purchase my Portland Tote pattern here . And don't forget, you can still get the pattern at a 25% off introductory price (sale ends at midnight, tonight Feb. 4th).

Wishing you all a happy and creative day. 


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Portland Tote (new pdf pattern)


Hello lovelies,

I have a brand new bag pattern to share with you today! I hope you will like this Portland Tote as much as I do.

This bag design has been on my mind for a very, very long time so a few months ago I finally sewed it up and made a bag for myself (using Merchant and Mills dry oilskin for the exterior) . I've been using this bag every since and I couldn't be happier with it.

With its large front exterior pocket, zipper and slip pockets on the inside, as well as a main zipper closure to keep everything safely inside, it's absolutely perfect to be used on a daily basis. I think 😊.

Finished size of this bag is: 11'' tall x 12'' wide on bottom x 4'' deep.

I used canvas and cotton/linen prints for my bags and I just love how easy it is to customize this bag. I like how it looks sewn up using just one fabric, but I also really like the contrasting pocket version.

*  *  *  *  *

 This is a measure and cut pattern meaning there's no need for templates as all the pieces are cut using a rotary cutter, a self healing cutting mat, and an acrylic ruler for added accuracy.

This bag is suitable for an intermediate (or maybe an adventurous advanced beginner) level sewist and here's the list of materials needed to make a Portland Tote: 

(fabric requirements are based on 42'' wide fabric)
*FABRIC A (main exterior) – 3/4 yard
**FABRIC B (lining) – 3/4 yard
one (1) - 14'' long METAL OR NYLON ZIPPER
one (1) - 9'' long METAL OR NYLON ZIPPER
two (2) – 3/4'' wide x 13'' long strips of LEATHER or WEBBING for handles
one (1) – 1'' wide x 46'' long COTTON OR NYLON WEBBING for the strap
two (2) – 1'' wide D-RINGS
two (2) – 1'' wide SWIVEL HOOKS
one (1) - 1'' wide rectangular STRAP SLIDER
one (1) – HEAVY DUTY SNAP CLOSURE or KAM SNAP (optional)
ten (10) – 6-8 mm RIVETS (optional)

*FABRIC A – Essex linen, canvas, linen/cotton blend prints, denim, home dΓ©cor fabric
- waxed canvas or oilskin could also be used, skip adding interfacing if using either of these
**FABRIC B – quilting cotton or canvas
***INTERFACING – my favorite is Pellon SF101 or Vlieseline G700
- Pellon Fusible Fleece could be used for the exterior panels instead if you prefer a squishier, more sturdy bag

What do you say? Would you like to make your very own  Portland Tote ? You can purchase the pattern by clicking here.

And, now through Thursday, Feb. 4th., you can get the pattern and an introductory price of EUR 6.00 (25% discount).

Happy sewing, friends! 

I'll be back later this week to share photos of some absolutely gorgeous Portland Totes created by my lovely pattern testers.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Twenty Patch Scrappy Quilt


You guys, I made a quilt!

I used to make many, many quilts when I first started sewing 9 years ago, but lately I haven't been in any kind of quilting mood at all. So, having this quilt all finished feels like a huge accomplishment. Especially since it was over 1 year in the making :).

I started making this quilt in October 2019 as a way of using up some of my ever growing mountain of scraps. I cut my fabric to 2.5'' squares and just started piecing them together into these lovely, scrappy 20-patch blocks. I wasn't too particular about fabric placement but I tried not to put too many fabrics of the same value together. 

Also, before I started cutting my scraps, I decided on a color scheme for a more cohesive final look.

I used 1/4'' seam allowance to piece my scrappy blocks and they each finished at 8.5'' x 10.5''. 

I decided to add Kona Snow and alternate scrappy and white blocks. I love how the addition of solid blocks makes the scrappy ones shine a bit more without the finished quilt feeling too overwhelming.

I used Warm and Natural batting and a flat sheet I had on hand for my backing and since I was in no rush to have this quilt finished, plus I wanted it to have a lovely sort of vintage feel, I decided to hand quilt it.

I won't lie. It was demanding and quite a commitment. I actually put the quilt aside for months at a time because I needed a break for all this stitching :).

But, I'm totally smitten with the finished look and I think it was worth all the effort!

I marked my lines before I started quilting and I used cotton thread I found at my local haberdashery shop (similar to sashiko thread) for my quilting. I think Perle Cotton or Embroidery Thread would work equally well.

At first I thought I'd do a scrappy binding but I'm glad I decided to go with a striped one in the end. I think it frames all the scrappy goodness well without making the quilt too busy.

The quilt finished at 60'' x 80'' and I'm super excited I got to share it with you at last.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week. Svetlana

Monday, January 18, 2021

Devon Pouch (a fabulously handy zipper pouch)

 Hello lovelies, happy Monday to you all!

If you've been following me for a while you would have noticed how much I enjoy sewing up zipper pouches :). It's one of my favorite projects to work on and today I wanted to talk a bit about one of my most favorite pouch ever, the Devon Pouch.

Here's just a little sampling of the Devon Pouches I made over the last year or so :).

I love putting these sweet fabric combinations together, matching them up with metal zippers, and whipping up these super useful pouches. I especially love having the extra zipper pocket on the front as it helps me keep things a bit more organized in my purse.

As you can see, I'm quite a fan of combining floral prints with Essex linen (yarn dyed linen in black is my favorite). And, because I know many of you will ask, I buy my zippers from Zipit or Needled Boutique on Etsy. 

You can purchase the pattern for this pouch here if you'd like to give it a go.

And, in case you're not sure about the whole working with zippers thing, I put together a time lapse video on how I sew this pouch for you to see.

Happy sewing, friends. Svetlana

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Boxed Zipper Pouch (how to)

Hello everyone, happy Saturday to you all!

I'm super excited to bring you a new video tutorial πŸ˜€. 

I'm a huge fan of boxed zipper pouches as they make such useful pencil or make up bags, or they can even be used as small project bags.

These pouches are fully lined with no exposed raw edges. I think you'll like how stylish and beautiful they look not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. And, to top it off, the pouch is given its shape by folding the edges of the pouch instead of needing to cut and then sew all the corners, definitely a time saver.

DIMENSIONS: 3'' wide x 7'' long x 2'' tall

*  *  *  *  *

I made my pouches using quilting cotton for both the exterior and the lining of the pouch, but you could use canvas or some other slightly heavier weight fabric for the outside of the pouch if you wish.

I also used Pellon SF101 interfacing for both the exterior and the lining of the pouch, but Pellon Fusible Fleece could be used for the exterior panels instead if you wish your finished pouch to have a bit more structure.


Main Exterior: (2) - 5 1/2'' tall x 10'' wide panels
Lining: (2) - 6'' tall x 10'' wide panels
Inner Binding: (2) - 1 3/4'' x 5'' strips
(2) - 1'' tall x 10'' wide strip
Contrasting Exterior Strip: (2) - 1'' tall x 10'' wide strip
Interfacing Cut: (2) - 5.5'' tall x 10'' wide panels
(2) - 6'' tall x 10'' wide panels
(2) - 1'' tall x 10'' wide strip

(1) - 9'' long metal or nylon zipper
(2) - 2'' long ribbons

Let's get sewing, shall we? 

Here's the video tutorial for you, enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Long Time No See

 Hello lovely makers, Happy New Year!!

It's been way too long since I was last here but I miss this place so I thought I'd pop in real quick to say hello to you all.

How have you been? What have you been up to?

I've been sewing up a storm, working on some new patterns as well as free video tutorials over the last few months and I can't wait to share then with you all. Did you know I started my very own YouTube channel where I share free video tutorials as well as teach different sewing techniques? I hope you'll check it out, here's the link for you :). 

Sotak Handmade YouTube Channel

Happy Monday, friends! I'll be back soon to show you my new finished quilt. Yay!


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