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This was written by Leslie for the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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Tote bags have been on my sewing list for awhile now. And when I saw these lovely Ellen Luckett Baker fabrics in Miss Matatabi’s shop I knew they were a perfect starting point. These fabrics are a nice medium weight cotton linen blend fabric – just what I love! I lined the bags with some pretty Japanese arrows fabric.

turquoise grey

My little one and I are off on our summer annual road trip tomorrow and this is why I needed new tote bags. One for Anika to fill up with her favourite things to bring along and one really big one that could fit everything needed for beach days. I used a couple of patterns from my collection of Japanese bag books. I ironed on a heavy weight interfacing to the outer fabrics and the combo is the perfect weight for tote bags.

two bags

One of my all time favourite tote bags had these neat hook closure things (I am sure there is a better word for it) that would help prevent things from falling out of your bag. So I added these to the pattern I was making – and am so happy I did.

top view

The beach tote bag is huge. I used one metre of each of the outer fabric and lining fabric -and a bit of denim on the bottom. For the smaller bag I was able to just use half a metre of each of the two fabrics.

ani in bag

The Ellen Luckett Baker collection of fabric is super lovely. And I think all of it is that perfect medium weight cotton linen blend. My favourite patterns are these crossed leaves but there are a lot of other great designs to choose from too. I might just have to make some grocery tote bags next – and you should join in on the fun too!!

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Thank you, Leslie! Connect with Leslie on instagram, pinterest, and flickr.

I’m joiningツToni’s Make It Perfect Pattern Parade today and I’m excited! I love Toni’s sewing patterns so I was thrilled when invited me to take part and told me I could choose any pattern to sew for the parade. A thrill that led to days of indecision until I finally chose the wonderful Zip It dress.

Make it Perfect Zip It : miss matatabi

Make It Perfect Zip It : miss matatabi

Zip It is a lovely little dress featuring a front zipper, pockets, and options to use contrast fabric for the yoke and bias binding.

Make It Perfect Zip It : miss matatabi

After the typical amount of hand wringing over which fabric to use, I made the dress in some corduroy from my store. How great is this print? It’s reversible and has stripes on the back which are hiding on the inside of this dress. You can see this and the other reversible corduroy I have in the store here.

Make It Perfect Zip It : miss matatabi

I wanted a minimal look for this version of the dress so I omitted the pockets and did not use a contrast bias binding. I sewed the side seams with French seams and turned the armhole bias binding to the inside of the garment instead of having it show on the outside, so my construction steps were a little different than the pattern called for. Zip It is a really straightforward, quick sew though and if you’ve ever been afraid of sewing a zipper into a garment then worry no more. Toni walks you through an incredibly easy method of inserting the zipper that is stress-free and fun.

Make It Perfect Zip It : miss matatabi

Make It Perfect Zip It : miss matatabi

I made a size 4 for my daughter but I should have gone a size up as it fits her perfectly right now and I was hoping it would fit in winter too. No worries though, I can make another! I think Zip It is a great summer dress but would also look lovely layered in the cooler months with boots and a cardigan.

Make It Perfect Zip It : miss matatabi

I had a lot of fun making this dress and my daughter loves it too! Have you seen the other Make It Perfect patterns in action? There’s a great line-up of sewers making some gorgeous things. Thank you so much for inviting me on the Pattern Parade, Toni!

MIP Pattern Parade

The Make It Perfect Pattern Parade Virtual Catwalk introduces…

*I received the Zip It dress pattern from Toni but all opinions, as always, are my own.

Fabric bread basket

This was written by An from StraightGrain for the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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Hi everyone! This is An from StraightGrain with already my fifth post here at Miss Matatabi. Over the past months, I’ve increasingly been growing ashamed about the fact that so far, I have only been creating dresses for this series. Talk about a one trick pony! So for this month’s edition, I promised myself to make something else.

When I went out for breakfast with my family a few weeks ago here in Anwerp, bread was served in an original basket. It was bag made from a white, wrinkly, highly synthetic fabric. It immediately inspired me to make something similar, but in an even nicer fabric. And where else to find really nice fabrics than chez Miss Matatabi?

fabric basket : straightgrain

The fabric is a cotton dobby / barkcloth. It has a lot of structure to it, but to my surprise, it is not stiff at all. I had expected a canvas-like thickness, but this fabric is a lot thinner and more flexible. It would be perfect for a little dress, for instance (yes, I was tempted :-))

fabric basket : straightgrain

Making the bread basket is super simple. The bottom is a square with rounded corners, and the sides are rectangles. Main and lining are made from the same pattern pieces. I reinforced the bottom main and lining with a heavy interfacing. Of the sides, however, I only reinforced the main with a thin interfacing, because I really wanted the basked to have a bit of a ‘slouchy’ look.

In the coming weeks, I hope to have the pattern and instructions available. The next basket will be a bit smaller, though, as I completely overestimated how much space buns take up. I estimate that this first version is big enough for some 25 buns – not quite the quantities we digest at a regular breakfast at Casa StraightGrain.

fabric basket : straightgrain

For a next version, I’m thinking of going for a canvas from Cotton + Steel’s gorgeous debut collection.

So that’s it for this month! I hope your Summer has been fun so far, and I really look forward to next month!

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Thank you so much An! Connect with An on her blog, instagram, facebook, and pinterest.

Meg’s nani IRO bags

It may be July but nani IRO month isn’t quite over yet! Meg from Elsie Marley made two bags to see her through the summer and they are both gorgeous.

I don’t quite remember when I first came across Meg’s blog but I’m pretty sure the first time I heard of Elsie Marley was when I saw this patchwork digger she made. I thought it was brilliant and still do. She recently made another one for Stylo magazine and there may even be a pattern coming soon. Yes! As well as turning fabric into awesome stuff, Meg is really good at bringing people together and creating community. She started Kid’s Clothes Week as a challenge to herself to sew for one hour every night for a week, until it grew and grew and is now a thriving community of like-minded makers. She also recently launched sew-along CENTRAL which is a helpful monthly newsletter with info about upcoming sew-alongs. If you want to see what sewing events are going on before they’re over this is for you.

Ok, do you want to see the bags Meg made? Sure you do! Here they are.

nani IRO month : elsie marley

See you again soon!

Wow, we are almost at the end of nani IRO month. It has flown by so fast! Today is pretty special as we have a guest appearance by my favourite Belgian baby, Miss Ava!

You all know Ava’s wonderful mum, of course! An from Straightgrain is someone I have admired since I first came across her blog post a couple of years ago featuring this coat. I fell in love with it, immediately bought the pattern, and made one for my own daughter. An is not only a maker of garments and beautiful children ;) she also designs awesome patterns for kids and babies. She has some great tutorials on her blog too. Favourites are the Faux Peter Pan collar with piping and the Piece of Cake Bibs. So cute! Over the years An and I have gotten to know each other a little better and I’m grateful to her for her warmth and humour. She’s a pretty great lady!

Visit An’s blog to see more baby leggings sweetness here.

nani IRO month : Straightgrain
nani IRO month continues tomorrow! If you would like to join in on instagram don窶冲 forget to use the hashtags #ilovenaniiro and #naniiromonth to share your love for nani IRO with everyone. See you soon!

For nani IRO month Trine, from Groovy Baby and Mama, introduced Naomi Ito to Christine Haynes and the most wonderful nani IRO Emery dress was born!

I don’t know Trine well but I am a huge fan of her sewing and styling and I’ve come to think of her as the Queen of Effortless Minimal Chic. That’s her official title, in case you didn’t know. She sews for her kids and herself and every sewing project she posts elicits a gasp from me. Some of my favourite garments she has made are this dress, this sweatshirt and pants, and this dress and cardi. Those stripes!

Another favourite is, of course, her latest dress. I love the silver mountain view print as an Emery dress! Visit Trine to see more beautiful photos of her gorgeous dress plus a bonus project here!

Groovy Baby and Mama : nani IRO month

nani IRO month continues tomorrow! If you would like to join in on instagram don窶冲 forget to use the hashtags #ilovenaniiro and #naniiromonth to share your love for nani IRO with everyone. See you soon!

This was written by Cherie from you & mie for nani IRO month the Miss Matatabi Makers series.

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Ahhhh, nani IRO month. I actually tend to think of nani IRO as a way of life, but I won’t bore you with another proclamation of my love for nani IRO – you can read all about it here along with a round up of my previous nani IRO projects. And today I’ve got another one to share with you.

Shine Many Ways Bianca Top // you & mie

I’m a sucker for Naomi Ito’s dots and florals, but this time around I thought I’d try something different. And not just a different type of print, but a type of fabric I’ve never worked with before! This is Shine Many Ways – A in sateen.

Shine Many Ways Bianca Top // you & mie

I love this print. It’s available in several different colorways (my favorite is pink diamonds on double gauze, but is currently out of stock). I love the brushstrokes, the varying shades of blue (it’s my favorite color) and how unique it looks – you know that this print wasn’t designed at a computer. I just love how much all her fabric designs are real artwork.

Shine Many Ways Bianca Top // you & mie

The sateen is very lightweight and has a nice drape. Before I had the fabric in my hands, I somehow imagined it would be thicker and heavier, so I thought I might make some shorts or something. But it is definitely more of a top/dress material, in my opinion. Or it would make an awesome slip, pajamas or lingerie. It has a slight shine to it, which makes the material seem a little fancy or dressy, but it is super easy to sew – no slipping or excessive fraying or anything.

Shine Many Ways Bianca Top // you & mie

The pattern for this top is the Bianca Dress & Top by Rae Hoekstra. It’s a very simple design and comes together very quickly. This pattern, like all of Rae’s patterns, is really well designed and the directions and diagrams are super clear and easy to understand. The main modification that I made was playing around with the shape of the neckline. I also used the front interfacing pattern for the front facing, so it is not attached along the waistline as directed.

Shine Many Ways Bianca Top // you & mie

I don’t really think the shape of this top is the most flattering for my body type, but I still like the top and will definitely wear it to work. I’m definitely happy to be adding more unique, but wearable items to my wardrobe (I’m actually wearing my Freedom Garden tank top as I type this)!

Shine Many Ways Bianca Top // you & mie

Now excuse me as I stare off into the sunset and ponder what nani IRO project I will tackle next. I just can’t get enough!

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Thank you, Cherie! Connect with Cherie on her blog, instagram, facebook, and pinterest.

Sophie from Ada Spragg (formerly Cirque du Bebe) joins nani IRO month today with a dress in one of my favourite nani IRO prints – water window. I say that about a lot of the prints I know but can you blame me?! If you weren’t fond of this print before you may change your mind after seeing Sophie’s dress!

I love everything Sophie makes. She has an incredible skill at pairing fabric with sewing patterns and her finished garments are always gorgeous and look impeccably made. Have you visited her new blog yet? It’s absolutely swoon-worthy and her about page is so, so good. Her photos are awesome and she always looks amazing in the clothes she makes and models. It’s kinda hard not to gush. I hope textile designers and manufacturers who are thinking to expand their apparel textile collections will keep an eye on sewing bloggers like Sophie as I think her style is the bright and modern future of home sewing.

Alright, want to read about the dress she made? Here is it!

nani iro month : ada spragg

nani IRO month continues tomorrow! If you would like to join in on instagram don窶冲 forget to use the hashtags #ilovenaniiro and #naniiromonth to share your love for nani IRO with everyone. See you soon!

Laura’s nani IRO skirt

I’m excited to have Laura from Craftstorming sharing a nani IRO project with us today!

Laura is a very lovely sewist (and baker!) who lives in the UK. She has her own children’s sewing pattern brand, Titchy Threads, and also designs for willow & co pattern collective. You might remember I joined Laura’s Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern tour this March. I was thrilled that she asked me to take part and sewing the skinny pants for my daughter was really rewarding. In fact it is one of my favourite sewing projects so far! Laura’s patterns are very well-written and her attention to detail is excellent. You can be confident that if you buy one of her patterns you are purchasing a quality product, and you will no doubt make something awesome with it!

Although Laura most often sews for her sons, for nani IRO month she made a skirt for herself with the Freedom Garden print. A gorgeous, self-drafted skirt! I hope this means she is going to start designing patterns for women. My fingers are crossed, Laura! Visit her blog to read her post, see more of her pretty skirt, and a bonus guest appearance by some cute ponies!

nani iro month : craftstorming

Photo courtesy of Laura

nani IRO month continues tomorrow! If you would like to join in on instagram don窶冲 forget to use the hashtags #ilovenaniiro and #naniiromonth to share your love for nani IRO with everyone. See you soon!

It’s a classic nani IRO pocho day today with Rachael from Imagine Gnats!

I’ve professed my love for Rachael a few times before here on the blog and heaps of times in emails to her ;) She is the most productive person I know and has an energy that is motivating and very inspiring! She is also generous, sweet, and incredibly supportive of fellow crafters.

Rachael designs awesome sewing patterns, many of which I have sewn, loved, and recommend! She has a fabric shop with a great selection of chambray and double gauze, including nani IRO prints, and a blog full of tutorials! She also runs several fun sewing events every year. This is one busy girl!

For nani IRO month Rachael made a super cute double gauze dress. She often works with double gauze and has a very helpful all-about-double-gauze post here. Visit her to read all about her metallic pocho Ruby dress!

nani iro month : imagine gnats

Photo courtesy of imagine gnats

nani IRO month continues tomorrow! If you would like to join in on instagram don窶冲 forget to use the hashtags #ilovenaniiro and #naniiromonth to share your love for nani IRO with everyone. See you soon!