Tag Archives: way back craft

Smiling Santa Gift Bag

Smiling Santa Gift Bag Tutorial

I’ve been making these Santa bags for a lot of years now, but this is the first time I’ve ever shared a how-to for it.

Other similar bags I’ve made include Rudolph, Christmas kitties and Christmas trees.  Change the basic bag to any color and add polka dots or stars for an easy birthday bag!

Smiling Santa is reusable, giftable, and darn cute.  He’s fast to make with simple embroidered stitches and a button nose.    If hand stitching isn’t your thing, fabric paint will work in a pinch!

You’ll need:

  • Smiling Santa reference
  • 9″ x 12″ acrylic felt – 2 white, 1 red, 1 flesh
  • scissors
  • large needle
  • embroidery floss:  white, red, blue & green
  • red button
  • ruler
  • optional:  sewing machine
  • optional:  rotary cutter


I use eco-friendly acrylic felt.  It’s easy to find, cheap (20 cents a sheet) and sturdy.

Find the bottom of your bag and cut 1″ squares out of the opposite corners for each white sheet. This will create a faux gusset and allow your gift bag to stand up.

Cut the flesh-colored felt sheet down to 8″ x 5 1/2″.  Fold in half and cut a gentle curve.

Smiling Santa Gift Bag Tutorial

Open flesh-colored felt.  Align 1″ from top of bag, centering so that each side has approximately 1/2″ of white felt showing.

Using the white embroidery floss, hand stitch a running stitch around the two sides and bottom of the face.

Add eye details with a straight stitch (eyebrows) and chain stitch (eyes).

Add button nose with red embroidery floss.  Add mouth, also with red embroidery floss, using the chain stitch.

Pin two pieces of white felt together, face inside.  Machine stitch 1/4″ seam on two sides and across the bottom.

Optional:  hand stitch on the inside OR hand stitch on the outside using red embroidery floss.

Fold the open corners on the bottom together, matching outside seams.  Fold seams in opposite directions to reduce bulk.  Pin in place.

Machine stitch bag corners.

Turn bag right side out.

Fold 1″ down on top of bag, overlapping face.  Pin, then straight stitch around.  Stitch under side seam.

Finished stitching on the top of bag.

Cut two 12″ x 2″ strips from red felt.

Fold straps lengthwise.  Straight stitch along the length with green embroidery floss.

Pin handle to outside of bag 2″ in from the sides.

Straight stitch snowflake or asterisk to hold handles in place.  Repeat for the back of bag.

Stuff with goodies and gift it!

Christmas tree gift bag

Feeling creative? Try your hand at a Christmas Tree!

fun variations, Dec. 2000

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This is part of my “Way Back Craft” series; patterns, crafts, tutorials and general crafty memories before the days of this craft blog.

Crochet Granny Handbag

crochet bag

add this pattern to your ravelry queue

Printable Pattern

From the Way Back Vault today, I have one of my old fabvorites.

The Crochet Granny Handbag dates back to September 29, 2003.

I don’t remember who received the original, but I’ve made several as gifts since then.  It’s a quick and easy pattern and makes a sturdy little bag, especially when it includes the optional lining.


You’ll need

  • Small amount of 2 Worsted colors (listed as A & B). Shown are Red Heart Country Blue (A) and Windsor Blue (B).
  • I Hook
  • for optional lining:  fabric, needle, thread, zipper
  • scissors
  • tapestry/yarn needle

(Note – all stitches after the first round are in the back loops except on the corners, when you crochet over the chain.)

Front/Back (make 2)

Round 1 – With Color A, ch 4, join with sl st. Ch 3 2 dc, ch 2 in ring. (3 dc, ch 2) 3 times, sl st into starting ch 3. Do not turn.

Round 2 – Ch 3, dc in BACK LOOPS to corner ch 2 sp (2 dc, ch 2 2dc in corner sp, dc in back loops across), rep to beg ch 3, join with sl st. Break off Color A. Do not turn.

Round 3 – Join Color B in any ch 2 sp. Ch 3, dc, ch 2, 2 dc, (dc in back loops across, 2 dc, ch 2 2 dc in corner sp) around, join with sl st in beg ch 3.

Round 4 – Join Color A, rep pattern of round 3.

crochet bag

A close up of the strap side, using single crochet to join.


Ch 120, hdc in 3rd ch from hook, hdc in each chain to end, finish off. Starting in the center stitch on one front/back square, join strap by sc through the back loops only of the strap and the square. Sc in first 25 st to join strap, continue sc st in back loop of front/back square across top of bag. Sc in last 25 st of strap from the 2nd ch in the corner of the square back to where you joined. Join with sl st. Sl st ends of strap then around to back loop on opposite side of strap, crochet around same as for opposite side.

Lining (optional)

For a sturdier bag, line with a scrap of coordinating (shown) or contrasting fabric of the same size. Hand-stitch inside the bag below the sc round (round 4).

To add a zipper, sew it to the lining before you stitch the lining in the bag, then stitch whip-stitch on the lining seam to inside of round 4.

Other Options

For a longer strap, or bigger bag, simply add stitches or rounds to suit your needs, taking into account how many stitches you will need to get the strap all the way around the bag. For more depth, make the strap two or even three rows wide before attaching to the granny squares.

As always, if you make any pattern or craft from sewhooked,  I’d love to see a photo. Email me or add it to the Friends of sewhooked flickr group.

Happy crafting

This is part of my “Way Back Craft” series; patterns, crafts, tutorials and general crafty memories before the days of this craft blog.

Easy Big Foot Slippers

Easy Big Feet Slippers

add this pattern to your Ravelry queue

Printable Pattern

My hubby is tall…very tall, almost six and a half feet tall.  I adoringly refer to him as The Big Guy.  I’m 5’5″, so I guess you can see what I’d call him that.

He has big feet, too.

He loves slippers and I spent years making slippers from traditional patterns for him, but they blew out on him like no one’s business.  You just can’t put a big man in a pair of slippers made with one strand of yarn.  They don’t last.

According to my original pattern, I designed the Big Foot Slippers back in 2000.  I’ve since made a dozen or so pairs, altering here and there for smaller feet.  These are easy to make and work up quickly because they’re made with three strands of yarn.  I use acrylic worsted because it’s easy to wash and holds up well to the wear and tear of a big man wearing slippers!

  • 3 colors of worsted weight acrylic yarn
  • “N” hook
  • yarn needle

Three yarns are held together throughout.

Round 1 – ch 6, join with sl st into ring, ch 3, 14 dc in ring

Round 2 – ch 3, 1 dc in join (1 dc, 2 dc around), join with sl st

Round 3 to 8 – ch 3, dc around, join with sl st

Round 9 to 14 – ch 3, dc around, don’t join, ch 3 turn (except last round). Note – You can add more or less rows here, depending on the size of the foot you’re crocheting for. To finish, whip stitch up the back using the outside loops only. Finish off.

Optional: Evenly sc around the slipper opening, join with a sl st, finish off.

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Elena’s Cookies

Many, many years ago, my then four-year-old and I came up with a cookie recipe by using ingredients we had on hand. I say “many” because that child is now almost 14!  At the time, I was home with two small children during the day.  My hubby and I shared a car, so I was often transportation-less and many recipes and crafts were improvised using whatever we had on hand.

After making up this batch of cookies a couple of times, I posted the recipe on the relatively new allrecipes.com. I still go back from time to time and am always amused to see it still there after all these years!  I’m happy to report that, for the most part, the reviews have been good.

I won’t post a photo because I don’t have one and it’s been many years since either of my children ate infant cereal, which is one of the ingredients.    My memory of these cookies is a mild flavored, moist and scrummy cookie!

see the allrecipe version

* 2/3 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup applesauce
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup dry infant cereal
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup wheat germ


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease or line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium sized bowl mix the shortening, applesauce, white sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
3. In another bowl combine the infant cereal, flour, baking soda, salt and wheat germ. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
4. Spoon tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8 to 10 minutes or until just set. Let cool on wire racks before storing.

Happy baking!


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This is part of my “Way Back Craft” series’; patterns, crafts, tutorials and general crafty memories before the days of this craft blog.

Way Back Craft: Paper Piecing Evolution

Livejournal user lady_whitehaven turned on the Way Back Machine for me today when I found this post over at the Livejournal community quilting.

The dragon is an old design that I came up with way back in 2006 for a project that never quite made it to fruition.  That was probably a year after I started designing.  When I look at the original pattern, I can really see how much my design skill has evolved.

Sometime in 2007, when I had finally tested the dragon and realized how complicated it was, I pulled it off of sewhooked to be redesigned and then (apparently!) forgot about it.  I have since tried to be more careful about what patterns I post untested.  If I’m even a little unsure of the pattern design, I’ll hold onto it until I’ve had the chance to test it myself.

New, cleaned up and simplified version:

“Green Dragon” Pattern

The original version looks okay, but the pattern is scary, messy & has too many pieces!

First scary dragon pattern

When I woke up this morning, I had no intention of redrawing or reworking a pattern. I had kids to get to school (done!), a hubby to drop off at the airport (done!) and groceries to buy (um…not so done!).  Thank you, lady_whitehaven, for inspiring me to have a second look and give the “Green Dragon” a second life.

“Green Dragon” is now housed on the Paper Pieced Pattern page at sewhooked. If you give it a try, or any of my other patterns or projects a try, I’d love to see a photo. Email me or add it to the Friends of Sewhooked flickr group.

Have a happy weekend!

coming soon – Guest Designer profiles!

This is part of my “Way Back Craft” series’; patterns, crafts, tutorials and general crafty memories before the days of this craft blog.

Cauldron Pin Cushion

Pin Cushion Cauldron

Halloween is almost here and I’m in the mood for pumpkins, bats & cauldrons!  With my Harry Potter love, I’m usually in the mood for those things, but it’s always a bit heightened this time of year.

The Cauldron Pin Cushion came out of a discussion over at Harry Potter Crafts some years ago about making useful items that had HP flair.  I had a stockpile of little cauldrons left over from Halloween that just struck me as needing to be pin cushions.  I’ve since made about a dozen of these useful little beauties for friends.  They’re easy, fast and cheap to make!

  • Plastic Cauldron Party Favor (available during Halloween & St. Patrick’s Day at party stores)
  • marbles or pony beads for weight
  • polyfil
  • fabric
  • needle
  • thread
  • scissors
  • glue gun

cauldron pin cushion

Gather your supplies (weights not shown)

cauldron pin cushion

Cut a circle about twice the size of the cauldron out of the fabric. Stitch a straight running stitch around the outside.

Cauldron Pin Cushion
Pull the running stitch up about half way to gather the fabric circle.

Cauldron Pin Cushion

Add weights to the bottom of the cauldron, top with polyfil. Add polyfil to the fabric circle, pull thread tight.

Cauldron Pin Cushion
Squeeze hot melt glue under the lip of the cauldron. Push fabric into the cauldron, making sure it catches under the lip.

While we’re talking cauldrons, how about a paper pieced one as well?  This is one of my earliest designs created for the Harry Potter quilt completed in 2007, My Magical Lens.

Harry Potter Quilt

Get the Cauldron pattern here!

Harry Potter Quilt

This is part of my “Way Back Craft” series’; patterns, crafts, tutorials and general crafty memories before the days of this craft blog.

Happy Crafting

This tutorial is also available on cut out + keep

Halloween Bats Tutorial

Easy Felt Bats

Every year, my family and I break out our big orange and black box full of Halloween decorations, cauldrons and punched aluminum candle holders. Folded and tucked into the side of the box are these sweet bats we made years and years ago. They’ve adorned several front doors, including our current home of almost ten years.

Halloween Bat Door Decoration

Super easy and adorable to boot, these anything-but-scary Halloween bats take about five minutes to whip up.


  • Felt Bat Template
  • 1 piece of black acrylic felt for each bat
  • scissors
  • pin
  • hot melt glue gun & glue
  • google eyes
  • round magnets

Gather your supplies

Fold the acrylic felt lengthwise in half. Pin the Bat pattern on the fold.

Cut around the bat shaped pattern, leaving the fold intact. Fold fabric out.

Use hot melt glue to attach google eyes, being careful to use only a dot of glue. Use pattern placement as a guide.

Use the same method to add the magnets to the back of the bat, using the placement shown on the pattern.

Two sizes of eyes.


Looking great!

Once the glue has dried, your batty friends are ready to display!

This is part of my “Way Back Craft” series’; patterns, crafts, tutorials and general crafty memories before the days of this craft blog.

Happy Crafting!


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this tutorial also available on cut out + keep