Back To School: Sugar Skull Tote


Well it’s coming upon that time of the year and to ‘celebrate’ back to school (?!), I made this fun loving tote! I created this bag to use as a teaching sample for an adult summer sewing workshop that focused on making bags with pockets and zippers. Last week, I decided to finish it up in time for my own back to school experience, which starts today! As an assistant teacher at our beloved local nursery school, we will begin home visits this morning to introduce ourselves to our Terrific 2’s and their families and then at night I start the first of four college night courses for a state teaching certification. I am both teacher and student, something I love to be!

Now about this highly functional tote! To help determine the size of my tote, I had a paper shopping bag from Anthropologic that had just about the perfect dimensions and worked well as a guide. The Sugar Skull themed fabrics were purchased a couple years ago from The City Quilter, NYC. The golden yellow batik is from my stash. Even though the “Skull” fabrics were a fairly good weight for a quilting fabric, I did fuse a mid weight interfacing to every piece to give the bag more stability. Those batiks are quite finely woven but on the thin side, and the one I used definitely needed the extra interfacing support. In the pic above, you can see an nice roomy outside pocket, trimmed with vintage pom pom fringe, to hold my keys (which will now not fall to the bottom of my bag!)


On the other side of the bag, there’s a lined zippered pocket for my mobile phone.

IMG_4654.jpgInside there’s a lined side pocket and a centered, zippered compartment that can hold a textbook or laptop.

IMG_4659.jpg A sports utility zipper was a good choice as a closure: durable enough to take the constant opening and closing. There’s a 2″ gusset on the bottom. For over the shoulder straps, I used a sturdy, braided sand and navy striped trim purchased at a millinery clearance sale this summer in NYC.

Wishing all an exciting and enlightening Summer into Fall!

Photographed by Tessa Duke.


Back To School Clothes!


Up here in New England we have had one heat wave after another this summer. So this week, to beat the scorching heat and increasing humidity, I hunkered down in my studio and went on a bit of a sewing binge! My focus was to whip up a few things to wear for back to school, which is is only a couple weeks away! This fall I will be both teacher and student! I will continue teaching afternoons and weekends with private sewing lessons and group workshops in my home studio and offsite to kids of all ages. I am also so excited to return to my positions (assistant and support) mornings at beloved St Pauls Nursery School. And I will begin the first of four college courses in Early Childhood Development for state certification. With this packed schedule, I decided to make a few things to take me through those hot, sticky first days of school!.

Pictured above is a box pleated skirt made from an indigo cotton batik fabric with elastic casing at the waist and inseam pockets, Simplicity 1970. Easy and cool to wear all day into night!


I picked up this gorgeous printed, double knit fabric from Mood NYC to make a shift dress for our daughter’s college graduation. My layout for the dress left me a nice sized remnant, enough for this simple pull on skirt. I modified New Look 6384, by giving the shape a bit more of a flare and adding pockets.IMG_4587.jpgThis last look is a split skirt that I modified from New Look S0871 by eliminating the overskirt and tie and adding pockets. The fabric, from Joann’s, is a stretch knit. It features a high waist that will look and feel cool with a loose tee shirt type top.

This should round my back to school transition wardrobe. Next will be some pieces for cool, crisp days and nights of autumn!