Tag Archives: McCalls 5659

The Coolest Tote Bag You’ll Ever See

Happy Independence Day Weekend! Today is Monday, July 5th and I am proud to say that I have not left my house today. I got some major sewing done this weekend, so I’m really not complaining. Plus it’s super humid out and my knee hurts, so I didn’t get to run over the holiday (the only bonus to injuries is more time in front of the sewing machine).

First up, a second dress from McCalls 5659.

This one is a little different than first one (see previous post). I skipped the visual pockets and put side pockets in. Also a band at the bottom. I love this! The fabric is a little out there for me – there are Hawaiian looking flowers in pink and teal – I just don’t know about them. But overall it’s great. And my husband really likes it!

A few months ago I mentioned that I bought the book Generation T Beyond Fashion by Megan Nicolay. I’m a long time Tote Bag fanatic. And now this reusable grocery bag trend – I’m in love. So I’m always looking for new tote bags. Why use the same one twice? Kidding (Sorta). So, let me introduce you to the Tote Bag T-shirt! Easy and genius. I made three today. Here are two of them:

Tote, artwork on the front

Manne modeling


 The blue one is from a long-sleeved t-shirt my brother gave me about 13 years ago. It’s stretched and worn, and totally soft now. I haven’t worn it in years, and didn’t have any plans to add it to my rotation. But now it’s back.

However, the next one trumps the old favorite t-shirt because its a flipping HYPERCOLOR T-SHIRT TOTE BAG. Seriously. I went from being cool, to ultra cool. And I’m using this as my new purse. 

Up close and personal. See, it's the real thing.

You can see in this photo that there is no stitching around the handles. Awesome. Knits don’t ravel. I love them. 

Manne modeling. This is the coolest tote bag/purse in the whole world.

Go. Make your t-shirt tote bag now, you don’t even have to buy the book – instructions are here! Also, this project takes like 20 minutes!

Look Mom, no hands!

I was too tired and swollen during my pregnancy to get some good sewing in – so as soon as I got Kenny home, I went on a sewing binge (ok, a few weeks later). Here’s what went down (so far):

Simplicity 2449

This skirt belongs to my friend Michelle. It’s pretty kick ass. It’s Simplicity 2449, just a basic elastic skirt, six panels. Went together fast, and looks great! I think it looks so fantastic because of the fabric, she did a great job picking it out!

McCalls 5659

Ok, I’m starting with the pattern on this one. I shouldn’t admit this (Mom, please don’t be upset!!!) but… I fell in love with this pattern because of the black and white dress. Ahhhh! I know better than to pick a pattern because of the fabric they chose, mainly because they pick ugly ones. If I could have found that exact fabric, I would have an identical dress – minus the things on the yellow band. 

The title of my blog, “Look Mom, no hands!” is based on this dress. Here’s why:

1. I am borrowing my mom’s serger. That means I brought it to my house and used it without her supervision. She has always changed the thread for me. I’ve used it while she was in another room, but it was a big deal for me to bring the machine 20 minutes away. I insisted on watching her change threads before I left with it. Thank goodness I did. She also mentioned that once I got it threaded, to pull up on the thread to make sure the tension was tight.

Now, in all of the times I’ve used it, I have NEVER had thread break, I have NEVER had to have her rethread anything. So, of course as soon as I get it set up and about 3 inches in, I realize that one of the threads isn’t moving because it’s tangled with another. Rethread. Thread ran out. Had to go buy new. Thread broke, rethread. Machine is threaded, but threads are not tight on fabric… pull on tension, thread breaks, rethread. I was determined NOT to have to call my mom and make her drive 20 minutes to help me, or to pack ALL of my stuff and head back to her house. I’m so glad I listened to all of her advice. Eventually, I got the serger working, and all of my projects done. 

2. The top band of the dress is tricky – sew here, here and here, turn right-side out, pin to dress, turn inside out, clap three times. Tricky for me anyways, these collar things always confuse me. However, I took my time – read the directions, sewed, seam ripped, and sewed again. I ironed too (I never iron). It worked, I should take my time more often. 

So here you go mom, I did it! All by myself! I troubleshot the serger, and read a pattern. It was like riding a bike no handed – you don’t really have to learn, but you should, and when you do, you’re pretty proud 🙂

McCalls 5659


McCalls 5659 - belted

I was soooo proud when I finished the dress, I rushed upstairs and put it on to show my husband, who proceeded to tell me it looks like a mu-mu. Well, his initial reaction was much nicer, he knew I was excited about it. He doesn’t like many of my big dresses. I said that I could belt it, he really liked that idea. So now I wear it with a belt 🙂 I think I like it better too – except the pockets AND belt make it look funky. I bought fabric to make another, so I think I will omit the pockets but add the border at the bottom of the dress (see the pattern photo).