How To Make This Gorgeous Book Bag That your Daughter Will Love….

On Sunday I finally started the bag I promised my teenage daughter 2 years ago …




and completed it on the same day & this is the result!!!! I have one very happy customer ūüôā

I used the instructions on one of my most favourite blogs; sewmamsew, by the lovely contributor  Mo Bedell

The link to this fabulous tutorial is:

Mine is slightly different in that I added a lining and made a longer strap in the lining fabric ( you can find the lining fabric  & plenty of others in my ebay shop :

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Free Shabby Chic Girl’s Skirt Tutorial

I will be finally posting the tutorial for the Shabby Chic Girl’s Skirt¬†that I mentioned back in March 2011. I should hopefully have it posted within the next few days, providing i do not have too many interruptions…



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December Sewing Workshop

An exciting couple of days….

Firstly I would like to apologise for the very long delay in creating instructions for the swirly skirt .

I will try to complete it as soon as possible.

Back in December last year I had run a fun workshop  for a group of ladies with their children.

I say ‘ a workshop’ loosely but it was infact several workshops rolled into one!!

The ladies were taught how to make their own tote bags and aprons and the children had a whole load of projects to indulge in: making dinosaurs, aliens, spoon dollies, purses, cushions or their created their own designs with the materials available.

My daughters came along to help and one of them was assigned the job of taking pics with my phone unfortuately  most of them were deleted by a pair of small restless hands!

Taking a break from all that dinosaur and rocket making!!!

A pair of gorgeous spoon dollies made by a 5 year old and a 9 year old !!!

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Lucky Winner of the Giveaway Stash

Firstly, I would like to thank you all for the massive response to my Giveaway Day. I was left some lovely comments & requests.

I will indeed be posting a pattern for the shabby chic skirt & I will do my best to give mummies the opportunity to make one to match their little girl’s:)

Ok! The lucky winner is ( using is 142

Congratulations Mom C !!!!

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Give Away Day

The lovely folks at Sewmamasew have initiated a Give Away Day and I jumped at the chance to take part.

All you need to do to take part in my give away is to tell me what you think of the shabby chic skirt I designed for my little girl below as I was thinking of making a pattern for it to be posted here


The winner will receive a lovely stash that will allow you to make the tote in my free Tote Bag Tutorial.  You will receive 1/2m each of the lining and exterior fabric plus buttons, thread and ric rac (the buttons & ric rac can be added to the bag for decoration if so desired).

The competition will run until 25th May and is open to anybody ūüôā

Good luck!

This competition is now closed. The winner will be announced shortly.

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Free Tote Bag Tutorial

A little while back I had the pleasure of teaching a couple of lovely ladies on how to make a tote bag. Please see pictures below:

¬†Here’s Kristin hard at work on the lining


Gaby’s doing a pretty good job of it too!

 They both managed to make lovely bags to take home and they seemed to have enjoyed the class. I thought it would be nice to share my tutorial with you!

So without further ado please find the tutorial below:

How To Make A Tote Bag


By Birdie & Boo Designs

NB: Please feel free to use my tutorial but note that it is for personal use only and is not to be copied and/or distributed without my consent.

Please respect the fact that I put this tutorial together through a lot of hard graft so do not pass this off as your own.



How To Make A Tote Bag

You will need:
  • Ruler
  • Ripper
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric (outer fabric & lining fabric)- 1/2metre each
  • Thread
  • Machine needles
  • Dressmaking¬† scissors
  • Chalk/erasable pen
  • Sewing pins
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Fat knitting needle or the like for poking out corners
Sewing Basics
  • Make sure that you are using the correct machine needle size. For this project you will need to use a size 80/12 .
  • The fabric must not be creased before cutting. Iron if necessary.
  • If using printed fabric, make sure that the front and the back are there same way up before pinning together.
  • Seam allowance for the bag is 1cm.
  • Pin fabric together carefully before sewing pieces together, remembering to remove the pin or you may sew over them damaging your needle.
  • Remember to backstitch initially and at the end of your work- this means you start stitching 4 or 5 stitches and then reverse over these stitches and then forward again. This will prevent the stitches from undoing.


  • To turn corners, leave the machine needle in the down position placed in the fabric. Lift the foot up and move the fabric appropriately before putting the foot down. Carry on sewing. See picture below.

Bag Making Instructions

  1. Make a paper pattern 45cm x 42cm

3.  Fold the outer fabric so that you can cut out 2 pieces using pattern A. Pin pattern A to the outer fabric. Cut out carefully. Do the same with the lining fabric.

 4. Cut out 2 fabric handles with pattern B as you did above. You can use either the outer fabric or the lining fabric.

5. Lay one fabric strap in front of you with wrong side facing upwards. Fold the short edges in 1cm and then iron the crease.

6.  Fold the long edges together and the iron to create a crease.

7. Open the fabric again with the wrong side facing upwards, fold the long edges to the inner crease to create 2 more folds and iron (do not open). The image below shows the strap fabric open just to illustrate the folds.

8. Finally fold the strap in half. Pin in place and then stitch along the outer edge (approximately 3mm from the edge).

 Repeat the same for the other strap. Iron both straps.

9. Place the exterior fabrics with right sides together. Pin together around the edges. Sew around the two sides and bottom edge. Open seams and iron flat.

10. Repeat the same for the lining fabrics but this time remember to leave a gap in the bottom of about 15cm.

11. Turn the exterior bag with the right side facing outwards.

12. Place the lining bag over the exterior bag so that the right side of the bag and lining are touching.

13. Pin the top edges of both bags together and then sew all the way around the top edge of the bag.

14. The next bit may seem a little tricky but is actually quite easy. You will need to pull the exterior through the gap in the bottom of the lining.


Poke the corners of the exterior and lining with a knitting needles (or something similar) through the gap in the bottom of the lining.

15. Then sew the hole in the bottom of the lining closed and then iron the entire bag.

16.  Push the lining into the exterior.


17. Now to neaten and re-enforce the top edge of the bag, topstitch* 5mm from the edge. See pictures below. Iron the top edge of the bag.

 *Topstitching- stitches that run parallel to the edge. These stitches are fairly close to the edge in this project approximately 5mm.

18. On one side of the bag, mark the position of the end of the handle straps 13cm from the seams and the base of the strap 5cm from the top edge of the strap. Fix the strap ends with pins and then sew a box and cross formation on each end to make a strong handle.



Box & Cross Formation

    1. Repeat this on the other side of the bag.
    2. Iron the bag and voila one completed tote bag!

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A Formal Introduction…


Well after a good nights sleep, and with blog mania starting to kick in I thought it best to let you know a little bit more about myself.

My name is Claudette Fernandes and I am a very busy mum of 7; 5 gorgeous girls and 2 handsome boys. They range in age from 16 to 4.

I have a very full life.  I am trying very hard to establish my craft business ( see images of some of the things I make below),  catering business which is due to begin in the middle of April on Northcote Road market, I volunteer at my local hospital, occasionally teach  adult sewing classes, recently started private sewing tuition classes at home for children & am due to start a few after school sewing & crochet clubs in May.

ÔĽŅ¬†ÔĽŅÔĽŅ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Sweet & whimsical bag made with new & reclaimed materials

                               Cute bibs for a gorgeous baby

To boot, I also have a jewellery shop, allthatglistens on eBay and am in the process of setting up shop on Etsy & Folksy as well as designing¬†my website Birdie And Boo . I am not quite sure when¬†I fit in eating & sleeping besides of course seeing the husband & kids ūüôā

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