Totes for Tots – and Other Small Things

Sometimes one’s fashion sewing has to take a little break to make way for other sewing projects – of the less complicated sort. Much of my sewing time the last couple of weeks has been dedicated towards getting some baby gifts ready – and making favors for the guests of a baby shower which I hosted just last weekend.

I had seen a Noodlehead blog post for a very cute “baby basket” months ago and had even purchased the pattern (a download, very reasonably priced and, even better, instantly delivered). I thought it might be a cute way to package gifts for all the very deserving moms of my acquaintance and their babies who seem to be arriving quite frequently. What I really like about this pattern is that the basket is the perfect size for storing diapers and other baby supplies, and then it becomes the perfect size for toddlers to load up with their treasures as they become mobile – as in walking!

A picture of one of the Noodlehead baskets in the pattern instructions.

A picture of one of the Noodlehead baskets in the pattern instructions.

I found myself inspired by some very cute home decorator fabric which I found on – heavy enough to give these baskets some heft, but still soft and manageable.

Totes for Tots

The pattern calls for fusible interfacing – which I never use for my fashion sewing – but which works beautifully in this application – specifically in the body of the bag and in the divider inside. The directions are quite clear, but I found that using a walking foot made the sewing much easier and more precise, especially on the handles and the top-stitching around the top of the bag.

Here are the four bags I have made – so far…

Totes for Tots


Looking inside of the totes.

Looking inside of the totes.

The front pocket is optional, but I think it adds a useful touch!

The front pocket is optional, but I think it adds a useful touch!

Of course, I made one for my daughter/granddaughter, and I gave them their choice (although I knew the yellow bag would be the one!) I made the pink one for the lovely and talented honoree of the Shower, and I made one of the gray ones for the new baby daughter of another dear young couple adding to their growing family. I am keeping the other gray one in reserve in case I need a quick gift sometime, and I know I’ll be making more of these fun and useful baskets in the months to come.

Once I had finished the baskets, I turned my attention to making favors for the guests of the Baby Shower for dear Jess. I am kind of partial to making potholders, as I know that everyone uses them, even if just for a microwave. So I designed one in the shape of a baby block, and decided to put a big question mark (?) in the field where a letter or shape would be.

One example of the question mark.

One example of the question mark.

And the finished potholders...

And the finished potholders…

Why a question mark? Easy to appliqué, for one thing, when many need to be made! But it also plays into the age-old question “What’s for dinner?” and, on a more baby-specific level, “Who is this little creature – and what do I do now?” (At least for me, I remember thinking those questions when I had new little ones…)  I needed to make over twenty of these potholders, and I wanted each one to be a little different, as shown here:

Totes for Tots

Totes for tots

Totes for tots

Truly, I can be away from fashion sewing for just so long – and I was ever so anxious to get back in my sewing room yesterday to continue work on my current linen “dress–in-process”. The biggest question mark I have facing me right now is: “How long will this one take to complete?” Oh, but how enjoyable the process is!


Filed under Sewing for children, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Totes for Tots – and Other Small Things

  1. Karen, those totes are absolutely adorable. Your fabric choices are perfect. And the potholders are inspired. You never cease to amaze me — whether it is the perfect couture Pucci dress or a potholder!

  2. So cute! I love your fabric choices! Bags are definitely a good break from fashion sewing (especially with a well designed pattern that thinks for you) but it does become a bit monotonous after a while. The question mark on the potholders is such a great idea!

    I’m a little surprised you don’t ever use fusible interfacing in clothing – I love it! Of course, finding the nice fashion kind isn’t always easy. I’ve recently found another great source for it aside from where I work – now I have lots of options! (Let me know if you’d like any samples.)

    • Maybe that’s my problem – I can’t find fusible interfacing that I would want to use on expensive fabric! I am so used to using woven interfacing, inserted with small hand stitches, that I’m not sure I could use something else!
      I think I may have seen the Noodlehead pattern first on your blog? If so, thank you for bringing it to my attention. It really is fun to make.

      • I’ll send you some interfacing samples. One of the advantages of good fusible interfacing is you can leave it out of the seam allowance completely. Unless you are using featherweight which is so thin it needs to be block-fused – but it’s so thin, it doesn’t really change the hand of the fabric!

        You’re probably remembering the Dog Under My Desk wristlet pattern. Erin’s bag patterns are so great because she prototypes like crazy and then has amazingly detailed color photograph step-by-step instructions. If you are ever looking for any other good bag patterns, definitely check hers out.

  3. Clever idea for the pot holders! But WOW you made so many!

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