Ghastly Family zippered pouch

I finally took some time to sew this zippered pouch that I wanted to offer to my friend Isabelle… For Christmas … Hum no, not the next Christmas, the one that went by 5 months ago!

I took advantage of the “calm before the storm” because in two days, Wednesday 15th I’m launching my first collection of bag sewing patterns (in French and English) under the name Sacôtin.

So here Isabelle, you see, your present has finally been sewn! Now I just have to offer it to you without crying because I want to keep it for myself!

This small flat zippered and lined pouch has a simple shape, its strange charm comes undoubtedly from the fabric… Which has a strange charm. But which fabric is that, you ask? It is “Ghastly family reunion” in mold green by Alexander Henry.

Every scenes printed representing this ghastly family is great and you’ll get to see more of the Ghastly family on my blog because I intend to sew a bag, a pillow, undies… with it and all for myself.

I’m leaving you with the pictures, I’m going back to work to polish the final details for the launch of Sacôtin (I’m stressed out but I’m happy).

Pictures !

pochette zippée

Ghastly family pouch – Front

Pochette ouverte

Ghastly family pouch opened

Pochette zippée ghastly family dos

Ghastly family pouch – Back


1950 free sewing book : how to make gloves

Many knew the wonderful website that was  Unfortunately the website has been down since 2011.

Nobody seems to really know what happened to and I thought it would be a shame if all their wonderful and hard work was lost forever. That’s why I’ve decided to republish it online under the same Creative Commons licence.

I saved pretty much all the texts and pictures from on my home computer back in 2011 and today I’m sharing one of their work unaltered.



How to Make Gloves


Eunice Close


How to make gloves

How to make gloves

Read the book

You can access the table of content and every chapter of the book from this page : How to make Gloves by Eunice Close 

More ?

I’ll be adding some more books from their work, when I get the time. As some of you know, I’m pretty busy right now launching my little bag patterns company : Sacôtin. The boutique will open next week : May the 15th to be exact (you still have time to try and win a bag pattern by the way).

The next book I’m thinking of adding is “Modern Pattern Design” by Harriet Pepin (1942). Because it’s a pretty large book and re-publishing it takes time, I’ll probably publish one chapter at the time.

Do let me know if you’d rather have me put another book online first, as written above I have pretty much all their work saved on my computer.

Easy sling bag tutorial

Here is an easy tutorial for making a sling bag like the one pictured below.

This bag is worn across the body or as a regular shoulder bag. You can see other pictures of the bag here.

This is an easy sewing project, perfect for beginners or for those who want a quick and easy bag to make.

What I like about basic simple patterns, like this one, is that you can easily customize them and make them your own. On the bag I used to make this tutorial, I simply sewed an appliqué on the front of the bag and added a small pocket inside.

I’ve posted this tutorial on my French blog 2 years ago and I though it was about time I translated it to English.

easy Sling bag tutorial

easy Sling bag tutorial

Sling bag worn

Sling bag worn by “Georgette”

 The tutorial provides instructions for a lined bag but for those who want a super fast bag to make I will also provide instructions for an unlined one. Beginners : do not be intimidated by the lined version, it isn’t difficult, just a little longer !

Here is the tutorial with step by step pictures

[box]We need[/box]

[custom_list type=”check“]

  • Main fabric : cotton, linen, canvas,…
  • Lining : cotton
  • Needle size : 90 or 100 (at least for steps 3 and 4)



Here is the pattern that needs to be traced

Seam allowance 1 cm (3/8″) is included

patron sac bandouliere

Sling bag pattern

The body of the bag is to be cut on the fabric folded in half, and the “fold” marking must be aligned on the fabric fold.

[one_half]Main fabric : Cut the body of the bag (corps du sac) twice (front and back) and the strap (bandoulière) once.

pièces sac bandoulière

You should have : 1 front, 1 back and 1 strap


[one_half_last]Lining fabric : Cut the body of the bag (corps du sac) twice.

You should have : 1 front and 1 back.



If you want to add an appliqué or a pocket do it now before assembling the bag !

The seam allowances are 1 cm (=3/8″) (unless otherwise stated).


Step 1 : body of the bag


A- Assemble


Sew along the dotted line



Lay the front on the back, right sides together, stitch the sides and bottom.




seam opened




Press the seams open.



Additional Step for a bag WITHOUT lining

Finish the seams: using a serger, a zigzag stitch or your usual method.

If you make a bag with lining you can skip this step.


B- Add volume




Dos = back – Devant = front



It’s a bit hard to explain but in fact it’s quite simple and easier with pictures.

Bag wrong side out : take one of the bottom corners of the bag to form a triangle so that the bottom seam and the side are aligned and in the center of the triangle. In picture it’s clearer.



Stitch along the white line



Sew at a right angle, along the white line on the picture, 3 cm from the tip.



Wrong side

Right side



Here is what it looks like once a corner is sewn.



Wrong side

Right side



Repeat the step for the other corner.


You can leave the triangles or cut them (you’ll have to finish the edges if you make a bag without lining).


Additional Step for a bag WITHOUT lining

Finish the opening of the bag: by folding the fabric on itself twice or by using a bias tape if you prefer.

Then go straight to step 3 : the strap

If you are making a bag with lining, ignore this additional step.


Step 2 : The lining

A- Assemble


Leave an opening at the bottom of the lining




Proceed in the same way as for the main fabric body see step 1 – A.

Beware : you will need to leave an opening of about 10 to15 cm (4″ to 6″) in order to turn the bag in step 2 – C.



B- Add volume

Proceed in the same way as for the main fabric body see step 1 – B.


C- Assemble the lining to the bag


assembler sac et doublure

Pin together the bag opening and lining opening



Insert the bag into its lining right sides together. Align the side seams of the bag and the lining and pin the openings together.



Stitch all around the opening



Stitch all around the opening.



Tirer le sac par l'ouverture de la doublure

Pull the bag through the opening left in the lining


Continue pulling until the bag is completely out



Gently pull the bag out of the lining through the opening left in Step 2 – A




Stitch the opening closed



Close the opening  by folding the seam allowances inside and stitching across.



Topstitch all around the opening of the bag



Put the lining inside the bag.

Press the opening.

Topstitch 1 cm (=3/8″) from the edge.

Sewing trick : if your main fabric and lining fabric are different colors, you can use a thread matching the fabric for the spool and a thread matching the lining for the bobbin (like I did for my bag).


Step 3 : The strap

You must wonder about my sanity, because the piece of fabric you cut for the strap is pretty large. Let me reassure you : I’m perfectly  mostly sane, in the end the strap will  be smaller and also, because of the several layers, more comfortable!


A- Fold the strip in two, right sides and long edges together.

The strip is now 9 cm wide and 105cm long.


sew, leaving a short edge open



Sew around the long opened edge and one of the small edge, leaving the other short edge open.


B- Turn the strap right side out. Press.


Turn right side out and close the opening



Fold the seam allowance on the opened edge and stitch closed. Iron the strap.


C- Fold the strap in half again.

It’s  now 4cm by 103cm.


Stitch along the lines



Topstitch the two long sides starting and stopping 15cm (=6″) from the short edges.


Step 4 : Attach the strap to the bag


Pin the strap to the bag



Pin the ends of the strap on the outside of the bag, aligning the side seams of the bag with the middle of the strap. Overlap by 2 cm (=3/4″)  (or more if the strap is a bit too long).



Stitch as shown



Attach the strap by topstitching a rectangle and two diagonals (see image)


And voilà your sling bag is done !

Sac bandoulière tête de mort

Sling bag

Now that you know how to make a basic sling bag, you can vary the size, change the shape of the opening… Happy sewing!

Ze so easy pillows

Three pillows, very easy to make, which covers have no buttons, no zipper … But are still removable!

I made these pillows for my friend Thierry… Yes he’s a guy… So it’s really not sure he’ll wash his pillow covers someday ^ ^. But if he feels the urge to do so, it’s best if there are the least possible obstacles (buttons, zips, …) between the covers and the washing machine!


These are simple wrapped covers, made ​​from just one rectangle of fabric with a few straight stitch lines : simple and quick to make !

The tutorial is already on my French blog, I’ll be translating it soon.


All 3 fabrics are from the Salt Water by Tula Pink collection, bought at Hawthrone Threads.

I loveeee them (especially the one with the octopus) and I struggled to use them to make something for someone else….  Even if I bought the fabrics especially for Thierry.

So, why did I picked these fabrics for Thierry?… Warning : this is the “I’m-a-grown-up-with-geek-teenager-hobbies” moment !

You should know that Thierry is our GM (= Game Master = the one who leads the scenario in a role playing game) for Cthulhu (= mystery game set in the 20’s, inspired by the books of HP Lovecraft, where the big bad guy is Cthulhu : kind of a giant octopus *).

Illustrations of Cthulhu on Google Images.

So when I saw the octopus print, I immediately thought of him. Plus the print is lovely (even if you’re not a 40 years old who still plays Role Playing Games).

*Well… hum… This is a shortcut and reading this, it might seem… Hum… Well… Anyway…


Easy pillow cases

Ze so easy pillows

Tissus coordonnés - Salt water

Coordinated fabrics – Salt water

Tissus coordonnés - Salt water

Coordinated farics – Salt water

Octo garden

Octo garden

Sea debris

Sea debris

Sea stripes - Envers du coussin : on voit le rabat par où insérer le coussin dans la housse.

Sea stripes – Wrong side of pillow : you can see the flap through which the pillow is inserted in the cover.


Warning do not watch the previous picture for too long ! It stings the eyes ! Hopefully it does not sting as much when you see it in person.

An infinity of infinity scarves

Well, an infinity… Maybe I’m a little bit off, let’s say more like 16 scarves.

I sewed 16 infinity scarves as Christmas gifts. Infinity scarves are also called “tube scarves” and for a very good reason : they are tubes.

This accessory is super easy to make and uses fabric leftovers from other sewing projects. I like that, it makes room on the shelves for new fabrics!

I love infinity scarves, they are worn wrapped once, twice or three times around the neck. But beware, this is a scarf for adults, It’s absolutely not recommended for children due to the risk of strangulation.


Tutorial coming soon


I used all the leftovers yardage of jersey, lycra, panne velvet, cotton, I could lay my hands on.


I had to make at least a dozen scarves … Luckily, at home we have an infinity scarves tree ! You don’t believe me ? I have proof… See pic below.

Echarpe tube

That’s how you wear an infinity scarf… If you’re a hanger.

écharpes infinies

Ahah ! Le infinity scarves tree !

Echarpes tubes

Tube scarves

Empaquetées à l'écolo, c'est à dire sans papier cadeau !

Going green with wrapping : no wrapping !

Zipper pouches

First let me wish you a wonderful new year, may it be filled with little and great joys for you and all your loved ones !

I was on vacation during the holidays and I took some time to sew… In particular small Christmas gifts. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of all of them before laying them by the tree (I must admit… I sewed most of them on the 24th !). I made mostly ​​zipper pouches and infinity scarves from free patterns or tutorials.

Today I’m showing you the flat zipper pouches (well the ones I took photos of !)

They are small, flat and lined pouches with a strap. They’re closed with a zipper.


The pattern is actually from the Craftsy website. If you don’t know it, this is a website that offers a lot of online videos classes on crafty topics (sewing, knitting, crochet, cake decorating, quilting, jewellery making, …). The video classes are taught by professionals of each domain. For example, for the sewing classes, there are some renown instructors : Kenneth D. King (I enrolled in his class and I loved it !), Sandra Betzina,…

Most classes have to be purchased but the video lesson I took to sew these pouches is free. You Just have to register for free on the website to get access to it : Bag-Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper Pouch.

The instructor for this class is Kristin Link, who is the owner of the famous blog-fabric store-forum : Sew,Mama,Sew ! I found her very pleasant and her explanations perfectly clear.

I made 5 (only have pics of 3 of them unfortunately) of these pouches in one afternoon. I would watch a segment of the lesson, pause the video and put it into practice.

I have also learned a handy trick from Kristin Link : using gluestick to hold the zipper in place before sewing it. It eliminates the need to pin which can distort the whole thing. I’ve found some gluestick especially made for sewing but Kirstin uses a regular school gluestick : as long as it can be washed away with water, it’s fine.


I used different fabrics but all from the collection “Valentina in  Celebration” by designer Valentina Ramos for Robert Kaufman. Bought online from Hawthorne Thread.

Well I’ll admit it, I was selfish on this one because I put my favorite prints from the collection aside for me… Yes this is ugly and not very Christmassy but I could not resist. Shame on me !


Collection "Valentina - Celebration"

Collection “Valentina – Celebration”

For each pouches you’ll use two fabrics: one for outside and one for the lining and strap.

In one fat quarter you can cut 2 of each of the pieces needed. Which means that with 2 fat quarters you can make 2 lined pouches !



I slightly changed the size of the pouches to accommodate the zippers that I had on hand. The pattern calls for 9″ zippers and mine were 8″ so I just cut all the pieces 1″ shorter in length.




trousses zippées tuto

Zipper pouches

trousses plates

3 flat pouches – front

3 trousses plates- Envers

3 flat pouches – back


zipper pouches

Rouge à lèvre pour référence taille

Lipstick of size reference

Intérieur trousse 1

Inside pouch 1

Intérieur trousse 2

Inside pouch 2

Intérieur trousse 3

Inside pouch 3






Long red fur vest

This red long fur vest was sewn from a free Burda pattern.

Ok, so the alibi was that the vest was suppose to be part of a costume : the Haradrim Witch  … But, once the vest finished, I decided that it wasn’t appropriate. Anyway, as I just wanted a red fur vest and was looking for a “cover up” reason, the fact that it didn’t suit the costume was no biggie.

Now that it’s finished, I’ll definitely wear it in my every day life. Probably with a dress and boots or a slim and boots.


This is a free pattern from Burda.

Free burda pattern – Long vest

It’s downloadable HERE after registering for free. I tried to find it on the BurdaStyle web site, but it doesn’t appear to be offered there. So you’ll have to go through the EU website. Instructions are in French and German, with illustrations.

The pattern is available in French sizes 34 to 44. I sewed size 42 (chosen according to my bust measurement) … It was too large … See “Adjustments”.

The long vest closes with 3 Fur Hooks & Eyes. The short version (supplied in the same pattern) uses toggle closures.

Agrafes fourreur

Fur Hooks & Eyes used for this vest

The pattern consists of a half back, a half front with collar attached and a piece of half collar.

To cut this pattern in fur (which is to say through a single layer) I advise you to print each piece twice :

Cut the front left and front right as a mirror image.

Assemble the two half backs and cut through the single layer of fur as one complete back piece.

Assemble the two half-collars and do the same as for the back.

For more details on how to sew fur, see this article: sewing fake fur.



Fur: it is the same fur used for Petite Chérie’s shepherd vest.

A faux fur with long hair is suggested by Burda to make this vest, but I fell for this shorter hair “rippled” red fur. It is 100% synthetic, super soft and was purchased from the l’Etoffe des héros.


Fausse-fourrure rouge à relief vaguelettes

Lining: It is an Indian printed cotton with a red and black paisley pattern, purchased in a “Nalli Silk Saree ” shop, in Delhi.


I shortened the bust, as in 90% of the time when I sew for myself. I had to shorten it by a good 4 cm (= 1.5 inches).

Of course, it shortened the total length of the vest by 4 cm. I decided not to add the 4 cm at the hem because I am really lazy the vest length was just fine that way.

– After sewing everything (only the hem remained to be done) it was clear that the vest was too big! So I took the side seams in, using 3 cm seam allowances instead of 1.5 cm … That way I removed 6 cm (over 2 inches) of ease. It is much better and I can still wear a sweater underneath.


patron burda gratuit

Burda vest – front, closed

patron gratuit burda

Burda vest –  Front, open

patron gilet gratuit burda

Burda vest – 3/4 open

patron couture gilet gratuit

Burda vest – side, closed


Haute Couture free patterns

Here are a few Haute-Couture free sewing patterns I came across. They are all offered through SHOWstudio.

Some are really intricate (the John Galliano jacket comes to mind) and instructions are minimal (do not expect a step-by-step with illustrations although some have instructions and other illustrations) but these patterns are really one of a kind : the designs are truly unique !

As a seamstress just seeing the flat patterns of such garments is a truly wonderful opportunity and great inspiration. But here we can also download the pattern, print it and have a go at sewing great designers’ creations.

Oh and of course… They come in only one size, so many of us will have to adjust the patterns for their own size.

A clarification : the patterns in themselves are not “haute-couture” in the French meaning of the word, most are from ready-to-wear collections. But some of the designers (Galliano, McQueen) have done Haute-Couture collections for renowned “maisons de couture” (Givenchy, Christian Dior).

Here are the beauties :

John Galliano Pirate jacket


Galliano – Pirate jacket

Galliano – pirate jacket

Autumn/Winter 2001 collection

Download the free pattern from showstudio

Alexander McQueen kimono jacket

Picture by Nick Knight – Alexander McQueen’s kimono jacket

Picture by Nick Knight’s – Alexander McQueen’s kimono jacket

From his Autumn/Winter 2003 collection

Download the free pattern from showstudio

Yohji Yamamoto mystery garment

Yohji Yamamoto “mystery garment” – Photo by Nick Knight

“mystery garment”  2002

Download the free pattern from showstudio

Junya Watanabe Dress

Photo by Nick Knight

From his Autumn/Winter 2005 collection.

Download the free pattern from showstudio

Antony Price Macaw Dress

Antony price Free sewing pattern

Macaw dress – Antony Price


Macaw dress

Macaw dress



free sewing pattern

Macaw dress


From his Spring/Summer 1989 collection.

Download the free pattern from showstudio

Stephen Jones hat

Inspired form the classic béret… Taken to a whole new level.

Download the free pattern from showstudio


Easy sewing : mittens

Here is a tutorial to sew mittens. This is a super easy sewing project and so simple that it can be fully done in less than 30 minutes.

The measurements given should suit most women’s hands. You’ll find in the tutorial how to adjust for narrower or wider hands .

Here’s what it looks like in fur (do not mind the nail polish, it was a test for a costume ^ ^):


easy fur mittens

fur mittens

mittens tutorial

Fur mittens

We need

Fabric: Boiled wool, fleece, faux fur (if the canvas is stretchable) … In short you need a stretch fabric that doesn’t fray.

You’ll need a 24 cm by 40 cm piece of fabric.

For this tutorial I chose fur.



We cut

Cut the 24 cm x 40 cm piece of fabric to get 4 rectangles of 12 cm x 20 cm.

The cut should be clean, especially since the short edges will be visible as is.


cut 4 rectangles of 12 cm x 20 cm


We sew

Seam allowances of 1.5 cm are included

1 – Place 2 rectangles right sides together and pin along one of the long edges.

2 rectangles endroit contre endroitépingler sur un côté


2 – Draw 2 markings :

  • one 2.5 cm from the top
  • the other 7.5 cm from the top

The space between these two markings will not be closed : that’s where the thumb will go through.


tuto mitaines

2 markings

3Sew with a seam allowance of 1.5 cm breaking stitching between the markings.
Reinforce stitching at markings.
Open the seam


tuto mitaines

Coudre selon les pointillés. NE PAS coudre entre les repères.

4 – Still right sides together, pin the remaining long sides together.

Stitch with a margin of 1.5 cm.

Open the seam.


Stitch the remaining side.

5Turn the mitten right side out and try it on. In 90% of cases it should fit without adjustments.

But just in case:

– It’s really too loose: redo the last seam with a larger allowance (eg 2 cm)

– It’s really too tight: redo the last seam with a smaller margin (eg 1 cm).


6 – Turn the mitten inside out and cut the four corners of the seam allowances without cutting the seam!


Cut the corners

Turn the mitten right side out : it’s done !

7 – Repeat the steps with the other two rectangles.

And voilà : a pair of mittens!


[box type=”info”] Customise : You can decorate your mittens with buttons, embroidery, appliqués, ribbons or, why not, lace along the openings (top and / or bottom), … Depending on what you want to add (embroidery, appliqués for example), I suggest you do it before Step 4: Before closing the second side because it can be easier to work with the mitten completely flat.[/box]

See, sewing mittens is really quick and easy !

tutoriel mitaines fourrure

voilà, done !

Child Shepherd vest

The shepherd vest from a free pattern !

It was about time I sewed this Shepherd Vest ! I feel like every mom who sews has made it at least once for her little ones. Well in France anyway, where it’s a pretty popular sewing project for children… Petite Chérie is growing fast, so it had to be now or never …

But the real defining moment was when Petite Chérie saw this beautiful red fur. I told her that I was going to make myself a vest for a LARP costume. She then rubbed the red fur against her cheek (This fur is sooooo soft!) And looked at me with pleading eyes “I would like one too.” Haggard eyes of the mother wondering if she has enough fabric to make two vests, quick maths, sigh of relief, joyful scream of Petite Chérie.

The pattern

This shepherd vest was sewn from a C’est dimanche free pattern. “C’est dimanche” is a small French pattern company.

If you want to use the pattern and need help with the French instructions you can use the French-English sewing dictionary and I’ll be happy to help too, just ask !

The pattern is for a Shepherd vest in faux fur or wool, fully lined (the vest can be completely reversible by the way), and it closes at the front with a little tie.

To use the pattern you need to enlarge it (200%), check the size of the square drawn on the pattern. Seam allowance is included (0,75cm = 0,29 inches).

The sizes available are : 3/4 years, 5/6 years et 8 years.

This is a fast sewing project, I finished it entirely in less than an hour (cut not included).

couture, Couper en simple épaisseur : positionner les pièces identiques en miroir

front pattern pieces (it’s the same piece, I traced it twice to cut on a single layer of fur)



A 100% synthetic high quality, red fur. It’s extremely soft and was purchased from l’Etoffe des héros. The fur as a raised “ripple” pattern.

If you need guidance on how to sew fake fur, you can see this article, brilliantly called: Sewing faux-fur !


Fausse-fourrure rouge à relief vaguelettes

For the lining: a soft cotton hand printed and bought in India.

Petit Chérie chose the fabric for the lining from a pre-selection I made… Because I’m willing to give her space for creativity but still : these are MY fabrics…  I can be bad like that ^ ^

For the tie she picked a silver ribbon.

Tissu indien coton

Lining : Indian “hand block printed” cotton


Petite Chérie is eight years old and is in between sizes 8 and 10 years in ready to wear. I quickly pinned the half paper patterns together and put it on her to check the size … A bit too tight. So I added 1 cm on all borders, thinking that it would be enough to give it a little more ease …

Now that the vest is finished, the cruel truth has revealed itself : it is enough ease for like 3 months! I feel this jacket will be offered to a friend’s daughter before spring because it won’t fit Petite Chérie anymore. Ah, the ephemerality of children’s clothing, it’s sad when they were sewn with love.


Petite Chérie was not in the mood to pose for photos the day I took them… But I still managed to get some with the phone the next day.

She loves the jacket so much that she even wore it on a sunny 26 °c (79°F) day … Note the sweatshirt around the waist but the fur vest over the tank top … No comment!


Gilet de berger rouge

Improvised pics oO

patron gratuit gilet enfant



Fourrure rouge


Patron gratuit giler berger



My own vest in the same red fur is almost done, I just need to put in the hooks and eyes and hem it, but it will be for next week because I’m LARPing this weekend.