Toddler-sized tote bag

patchwork toddler tote bag

I know a little miss who is really into bags and purses. With Valentine’s Day coming up I started sewing this little heart-themed tote, the perfect size for a library book or two.

The bag is adapted from two different patterns.

The first is by Kristin from Grandma’s Chalkboard, via Make It & Love It. I used almost the exact same method of assembly, but changed the dimensions so that the bag is longer and more rectangular vertically, and folded each yellow piece in half, right-sides facing, before sewing side seams.

The second pattern is by Allison Harris at Cluck Cluck Sew. She’s designed a very sweet heart patchwork block and very helpfully provided cutting instructions for several different sizes. I made one that is 4 inches square in size (finished) and added 1.5 inch borders on all sides.

The diagram below shows the size of each piece you’ll need. Instead of using a single piece of fabric for the “outside” (the bag is actually reversible), I worked in the heart block 2 inches from the top of that side. If you’re using a directional fabric, be sure to make sure the print is oriented the right way as you cut the pieces that will be sewn to the top, sides, and bottom of the heart patch. These measurements are just to give you an idea of how to piece this bag in an alternate way – if you’re comfortable with this kind of project you can probably wing it and make a bag of any size you like, the original instructions are that simple/adaptable.

mini tote bag piecing

Fabrics used

outside: Far Far Away Frogs (in yellow) by Heather Ross
inside: Pearl Bracelet (in yellow) by Lizzy House

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How to choose fabrics for a baby quilt

I feel a real reluctance to share photos of any of the baby quilts I’ve made. I think I imagine the recipients grown and stumbling across a photo of their own baby blanket on the Internet … somehow it takes away from the specialness? But I thought it might be fun to share how I choose fabrics for these projects, with a few sample pulls using fabric collections that are available today.

For each of the last three baby quilts I made, I started with a Heather Ross print as a jumping off point. Their themes are pretty irresistible and their colours are often be a mix of pastels and ‘off’ solids (think baby blue + olive, or pink + mustard), which is a great recipe for making a quilt that’s harmonious without being too matchy-matchy.

You might have a different favourite. Maybe Alyssa Thomas, or Michéle Brummer Everett or Monica Solorio-Snow? They all make very sweet kid-friendly prints.

I’ll use this inspiration print as the backing, and sometimes work it into the front as well. From there it’s a matter of choosing a mix of complementary stripes, dots, checks, and all-over prints.

Here are couple of examples of how this might go (fabric credits below each collage – in both cases I used prints by Birch Fabrics as a starting point):

baby quilt color scheme 1

Scheme 1

Starting point fabric

Litte Lamb Fog from Homestead by Emily Isabella, Birch Fabrics


Meadow fabric from Alice’s Fabric Shop


(clockwise from top left)

baby quilt color scheme 2

Scheme 2

Starting point fabric

Wild Horses from Wildland by Miriam Bos (coming from Birch Fabrics in 2015)


Ella and Libby, Liberty Tana Lawn


(clockwise from top left)

  • Crosshatch Floral from Yuwa of Japan (available from several sellers on Etsy)
  • Countryside Natural from Tokyo Train Ride by Sarah Watts for Cotton and Steel
  • True Colors Woodgrain in Straw by Joel Dewberry
  • Leaves in Tangerine from Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman
  • Voltage Dot in Black from Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt for FreeSpirit
  • Poppy Field from Just Dandy by Josephine Kimberling

arrow tail quilt

I consider this a “finish” for 2014 even though it’s just the top. I just squeaked it in on New Years Eve. The pattern is The Arrow Tail Quilt by Sing All You Want. Laurel provides a complete free tutorial and printable template on her blog. The instructions were easy to follow, I would say for the the cutting you do need to pay attention (but I think that’s true of any quilt!) and once the pieces were cut the top came together really quickly. I’m really happy with the way it turned out (will post an update once it’s quilted and bound but since some other projects are going to push this onto the back burner for a while I thought I’d post this quick preview).

Arrow Tail Quilt, pattern by Sing All You Want

Fabrics in use:

I wish I could remember the names of all of the fabrics pictured, but the two large florals are from Sarah Watson‘s Luxe in Bloom from Art Gallery Fabrics, as are “Crystalline Reef” (the pink) and “Flumes Indigo” (the lavender).

Arrow Tail Quilt, pattern by Sing All You Want