Monday, May 6, 2013

Mix It Up Monday: May Day Pockets

 Happy Monday everyone. I know...most people don't like Mondays, but I love them. Mondays are the only day that the hubs and I have off together (well...and Sunday, but there's church and we both teach classes at church so it doesn't feel like a "day off" oddly enough). We spent all evening yesterday making guacamole, salsa, freshly squeezed strawberry lemonade, and black bean lime chicken to take on a picnic with us today (everything but the chicken and black beans in that list of food came from my Bountiful Baskets food...I love it). As soon as I finish this post we're packing up and heading off on an adventure and picnic. So I'm excited that today is Monday? Why else do I like Mondays? Because that means it's Mix It Up Monday! The day where we share some Pin Wins, tutorials, random funny pictures, etc. 

So today I have a Pin Win/Pin Spin and a tutorial for you. This past Wednesday was May Day. Last year in June I saw this pin:

What is it? It's a May Day Pocket! I thought that was so cute and I loved the idea of leaving fun May Day bags on people's doors. I read up a little on the tradition and I couldn't wait for May Day to roll around so that I could do this. So the end of April hit and my 11 month wait was finally over! I was so excited to make these. I even have a big bag of burlap I could use. I went to go pull it out and realized that it is at the bottom of a pile in this room: that room is only half that full now. We had our carpets cleaned and that is our only room with linoleum (minus the kitchen, but we wanted access to the fridge), so our entire house (minus the bed, table, and couch) got stuffed into that room. We have all the essentials put away, but there are still 4 or 5 book shelves, all the crafting supplies, photography supplies, costumes, and our TV still piled in there. 
So anyway...the burlap was not accessible and I didn't want to buy more I decided I'd buy me some new fat quarters (because my fabric stash is also buried and for some reason buying more fabric is better than buying more burlap). So I got looking for cute little bags I could make out of fabric and I found this one:
I loved the look of those...but they were way bigger than I wanted. So I got looking for mini tote bag patterns and found this little gem:
This still was bigger than I wanted and it didn't have the fun little cuff at the top that I liked, so I decided to be adventurous and see if I could Pin Spin the project, shrinking the design and changing it to get the cuff I wanted. I based my design off the diary of a quilter bag, using the same method to assemble, I just had to make some tweaks to get the size and cuff I wanted.'s what I ended up with:

Once I got the method figured out and streamlined, these came together super fast and easy. I could get 3 5.5" x 6.5" mini totes from 2 fat quarters in about 30-45 minutes (I made 9 bags total). 

Alright, now for the tutorial. 

Supplies you'll need for 1 bag:
2 coordinating fabrics, one for the cuff and lining (Fabric A), and one for the outside and straps (Fabric B)
A cutting mat and rotary cutter come in super handy
Iron and ironing board
All your basic sewing supplies
A pencil or fabric marking pen

Cutting Instructions:
From Fabric A, cut one 18" by 6" rectangle. This will be your cuff and lining. 
From Fabric B, cut one 10" by 6" rectangle. This will be the outside body of your bag. 
From Fabric B, cut two 11" by 2" rectangles (I goofed on one and ended up having to sew two 6" by 2" pieces together and trimming to size and it worked just fine). These will be your two straps. 

Sewing Instructions:
I'll just say it here really quick before we start...all seams are 1/4". 

1. Take one strap strip and iron it in half.

2. Open the strip back up and make sure the wrong side of the fabric (the side without the print) is facing up. 

3. Fold the top and bottom edges to meet the crease line in the middle that you made in step 1. Press in place. 

4. Fold the strap in half so all the raw edges are in the middle. Press in place. 

5. Sew a seam down both ends of the strap.
Fold and sew the other strap the same way. 

6. Grab the fabric you cut for the outside body of the bag. On the two short ends, make a mark 1 1/2" from the edges. These lines mark where you will place your straps. 

7. Line up your straps on the inside of each line and pin in place... so:

8. Take your cuff/lining piece and your body piece and stack them right sides together, matching the two short ends. Pin in place and sew just the short ends. The cuff/lining piece will be bigger than the body piece, don't freak out, this is good.  

When the two ends are sewn together, this is what it will look like (the pink is my cuff/lining, the turquoise is my outside fabric). 

9. Fold your bag in half, so that the two seams you just sewed match up and your fabrics are "separated" on either side. Like this:

See how the two seams are matched up with the pink on the left and the turquoise on the right? That's what you want. 

10. Sew down both long sides, making sure not to catch the straps in either seam. Leave a 3" opening on one side to turn your bag right-side-out. 

11. Turn the bag right-side-out through the opening you just left (just reach in and flip it right side out like you would a sock). Sew the 3" opening closed. This is going to be inside your bag and no one will ever see it, so it doesn't have to be beautiful. Press the bag, especially the edges, to get it nice and crisp.

12. Pull the two layers apart from each other...

...and tuck the lining down inside the bag (think of folding socks). Press your edges really well.  

13. From here you can either leave the cuff as it is, or fold it down once to make it smaller. I did both and can't decide which I like better. 

If you want a smaller cuff, fold the top edge of the cuff down towards the seam where the cuff and the body of the bag meet. If you want to add prairie points or any other embellishment under the cuff, pin those in at this point. 

14. If you folded down the cuff, sew the bottom edge down, like you see here:
Make sure to flip your straps up so that the seam runs over them as well. 
Sew another seam along the top of the cuff to fasten down the straps and to give the top a more finished look. 
Bag with Prairie Points and folded cuff

Bag with folded cuff

Bat with full size cuff.  This one I goofed on and had to sew the edges...just ignore that unless you like the look..then sew a seam down the edges. 
Like a dummy, I didn't get pictures of the other bags I made, but I did 3 different color combos (black/white/yellow bags, red/lime green/white bags, and these coral/turquoise bags). It was fun to stuff them, find coordinating flowers, and sneak up to people's doors to leave them. 

I think I'll make a bunch more of these in various sizes to have on hand as gift bags. They're so cute, easy, and can be reused over and over as a gift bag. 

Anyone else have any great May Day bags they put together? We'd love to see them. 


  1. Those are so cute and a great idea! I wish my sewing machine didn't intimidate me but it does.

  2. Those are adorable! It's not a tradition I am familiar with (I associate May Day with protest marches for workers' rights) but I like it!

  3. My sisters & I made May day pocket bags once. We used actual blue jean pockets, cut from jeans we purchased at Goodwill. They were cute!

  4. So CUTE! My sewing machine and I are on uneasy terms (I can make a basic pillow case, and a basic knit-no-pattern a-line, fairly comfortably)...but your tute is so clear, I bet I can make these! I love cute and little...even if I don't have a use for it yet. ;) Thanks so much for sharing this tute.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.