Pattern Review: Insulated Wine Tote

I found this adorable wine tote pattern made by Kathryn Goodman on the Bernina site a few years ago when I was just learning to sew.  It made for a quick homemade project that was spot on with my skill level.

So that Christmas, it was ‘Wine Totes for Everyone!’

Even after making over a dozen of these totes, I still love the pattern.  So when I was searching around for a gift idea for a volunteer board that I head, I immediately thought of this project.  Who doesn’t like a little wine as a thank you for all the hard work you do?  Don’t they look cute all sewn up? 

Just a few tips on this project.  Be generous with the pins in step two when you are basting the exterior fabric to the Insul-Brite.  Otherwise the exterior fabric has a tendency to shift a bit. 

Also plan to be generous with the pins when you attach the interior and exterior. The only issue I have with the pattern is on the handle – and it’s not a deal breaker of an issue.  The pattern calls for a 3″ wide cut on the tote handle.  After sewing the long edges together and pressing opposite edges in 1/2″ the picture in the step shows that the long edges of the fabric are touching but they should be an inch apart if you cut the piece 3″ wide.  I think it’s just a type-o and that you should cut the handle 2″ wide, but if you prefer a wider handle, then keep it at 3″

Happy Sewing!



Frilly Apron

Chalk up another one to the “I pinned it, I made it” board!  I have been obsessing over this apron on Pinterest forever:

I think I’ve pinned it to my sewing board at least three times.

I went into Jo-Ann’s this weekend to pick up a zipper…..I’m not exactly certain how I found myself at the cutting table with ten bolts of fabric.

Sometimes these things just happen.

What really set the whole ball rolling down the hill was the Japanese inspired Koto fabric.  I just knew I had to have it.  And the frilly apron was the first project that came to mind.  So I pulled in four coordinating fabrics and set off all excited to get started on my project.

My first problem was that this pattern is from Australia so all the measurements are in centimeters.  I had to do some fast, fun math in the Jo-Anns to get the fabric cut.

Now, as everyone knows, Jo-Ann’s is the Bermuda Triangle of math.

It is simply impossible to do math in there.  I don’t care how smart you or your iPhone is –  math just doesn’t work there.  I think it’s because they operation in fractions.  In reality, no one remembers fractions from the fourth grade.

No.  One.

Don’t be such a liar, I’m talking to you too.  You know you can’t do fraction math either….especially when you’re converting from the metric system.

So here are my best guesses on the fabric required for this project:

  • Fabric 1 (Koto Print): 3/4 Yard
  • Fabric 2 (Orange Scrolls): 7/8 Yard
  • Fabric 3 (Green Doily Flower): 1/3 Yard
  • Fabric 4 (Pink Lace): 1/3 Yard
  • Fabric 5 (Chinoiserie Floral Medallions): 1/3 Yard

Note: I actually did pretty good, but I probably could have gotten away with 1/4 yard for fabrics 3 and 4.

On to home to print the instructions and do a little bit of quiet time thinking.  

I had to do a bit of conversion and make a few cutting pattern drawings.  I did make some minor adjustments to the pattern.  First off, I increased the size of the bib.  The size the pattern called for was way too small.  Just like those adorable Williams Sonoma aprons that cover only one boob.  You might as well only have on a skirt apron.  (or worse, you end up with all these oil spots on one half of your shirt one a nice clean shirt on the other side.  It’s really hard for your dinner guests not to point and laugh).  I wanted two boob coverage.  Second, I like to wrap ties around my waist and knot them in the front.  So I increased the tie length by about 15″.  Third, I decreased the length of the strap by about 6″ because, again, I want the apron to sit up higher.

Here’s what I came up with for cutting instructions:

From Fabric 1 Cut:

  • Cut two trapezoid bibs.  Top length 10.5″ and bottom length 17.5″, 11″ tall.
  • Cut one strap 22.5″ by 2.5″
  • Cut one frill 6″ by 44″

From Fabric 2 Cut:

  • Cut one apron skirt 25.5″ by 10″
  • Cut one waist 25.5″ by 5″
  • Cut one frill 6″ by 44″
  • Cut two ties 4.75″ by 44″

From Fabric 3 and 4 Cut:

  • Cut one frill 6″ by 44″

From Fabric 5 Cut:

  • Cut one frill 9.5″ by 44″

OK, simple so far right?  Let’s cut it all out: 

And on to assembly!  I used 1/4″ seams for this project.  The first step is to make the frills.  They recommend serging or zigzagging the tops of all frills and I agree (you know, after I finished the project).  I also think a rolled hem would be best on the apron skirt and frills.

Step two has you marking lines for frills – I marked mine at 3.25″ from the top and 6.5″ from the top.  Then you move on to attaching fabric 2 and fabric 5.  It took me a few read throughs to get this right so I’ll just show you a few pictures which will really make the instructions clear.  First pin fabric 2 to the skirt bottom with right sides together.  Sandwich over the fabric 5 frill and sew.

Flip both frills down and press. Oh and apologies about the lighting here.  I’m still trying to figure out all the settings on my new camera and white balancing orange under lights is practically impossible.

On to more frills!

Now attach frills 3 and 4 on your markings.  I did attach my frills differently than they recommended – I pinned right sides together lining up the raw edge along the marking.  Then sewed and flipped down.  (Oh except for the top frill which I lined up raw edges to raw edges).

‘Cause that’s how I like it.

With all the frills attached, it looks fab. 

And, hey!  You’re already on step 7 of 10.

And here comes another confusing part – the waistband.  I pressed in one long side of the waistband 1/4″ and sewed the other long side to the top of the skirt. Seems straightforward enough so I’m moving on.  I quickly sewed the ties and turned them.  Don’t forget to back stitch at the turning opening so you won’t rip out too many stitches in the process.

I pinned the ties to the front of the waistband. 

Then you fold the waistband over, sandwiching the ties inside the waistband.  Stitch along the raw edges and turn the waistband.

Press and the ties are complete.

And now we’re on step 10.  Excellent, do the easy part first and make the bib with strap. I finished it off with a bit of top stitching myself.

Now I’m supposed to “Neaten lower edges of the bib”  Hmmm.  OK, let’s just say I’ve done that.  I cannot for the life of my figure out what they are trying to tell me to do next.  But somehow you’re supposed to attach the bib to the waistband so that’s what I’ve done.

I decided to match the centers and raw edges of the bib and waistband and sew.

I pressed the raw edges under and folded the waistband in half.  Then I pinned the waistband with bib to the apron skirt. I top stitched all the way around the ties and waistband, catching the bib and turned under raw edges of the waistband.  Got it?  Here’s what the back looked like when I was done.  And here’s what it looks like from the front.   Pretty dang cute if I do say so myself!  I don’t have a dress form, but I sport it pretty well. 

Now, how close is that to the original?!  I love it.  I’ve already made it messy by wearing it while I made dinner.


UPDATE: I love this apron so much I just had to make a mini version – check it out here: Mini Frilly Apron

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Top Posts of the Year

Happy Blog-iversary!  It’s hard to believe we’ve been up to it for a year already.  We’ve loved sharing our projects and culinary adventures with you.  But which ones have been the most interesting?  Well, as voted by you, with the most number of hits, here’s our top ten parade:

10. Fabric Flower Hair Clip

7. Little Girl’s Tank Dress

6. Amy Butler Cosmo Bag

And last, but not least, running away with the top prize is………….

1. Gold Dusted Mini Chocolate Oscar Statues 

 What will the next year on the blog bring?  Who knows?  But I can’t wait to find out!

— Martta & Heather