Hi I'm Tessa! I am from Sydney. ~DIY~Travel~Fashion~Lifestyle~ ENJOY!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Since i made this tote, a couple of weeks ago now,  it has become a very permanent addition to my bag collection! It is a great size, especially for carrying things like a laptop or books. Although, it is totally up to you how big or small you make this bag. Its plastic covering would also make it a great beach bag as you can simple wash the sand straight out of it when you are done!
To complete this project you need:
-tissue paper or newspaper to make template
- 1.1m of transparent plastic sheeting
-1.1m of fabric of your choice ( i have used gold Japanese tissue fabric)
- thread
-sewing machine
Step 1
Of course you can easily draft a template for this bag in any size you wish, however I find that the project will have the best chance of being successful if you use a bag you already own to get the correct dimensions. I had been using this tote a fair bit lately, so I decided that another one in gold sparkly fabric would be perfect!
Once you have your measurements draw them up on either tissue paper or newspaper remembering to add a seam allowance of 1.5 cm. You should end up with three templates:
-base of the bag
-side of the bag
-handle of the bag
Step 2
Cut out the pieces you will need to make the tote in both the plastic and fabric
- 4 x side of bag in plastic
- 4 x side of bag in fabric
-2 x bottom of bag in plastic
-2 x bottom of bag in fabric
-4 x handle of bag in plastic
-2 x handle of bag in fabric
tip: it is best to hold the template in place on the plastic using bluetac or something similar.
Step 3
To make the tote, you essentially make the 'outside layer' and the 'inside layer' then join the two together before finally attaching the handles. The construction of the outside and inside layer follow the exact same process so this step will need to be completed twice.
First you create the sides of the bag. This is done by creating a stack of four in the following order:
1. side of bag fabric piece
2. side of bag plastic piece
3. side of bag plastic piece
4. side of bag fabric piece
Then sew down the correct edge on both sides (for me it was the shorter sides) with a 1.5 cm seam allowance. This will create the side seams of the bag.
Once you have sewn down both sides, the next step is to create the bottom of the bag. This is done by placing one of the plastic bottom pieces of the bag on top of one of the fabric bottom pieces. Then with the fabric side facing out, pin both layers of the bottom to the base of the bag (the sides of the bag should also have the fabric sides facing out), ensuring the side seams are located in the middle of the shorter side of the rectangle. Then sew around the entire base. I know this sounds a bit confusing so see the picture below!
 Step 4
This step involves creating the body of the bag. Do this by placing the 'inside' layer of the bag within the 'outside' layer of the bag, i.e. so the fabric sides of each layer are touching.
Then, fold over and sew the top of the bag twice, approximately 2cm each time to create the top edge of the bag.
Step 5
To create the two handles of the bag, make a stack in the following order using the handle pieces:
1. plastic
2. plastic
3. fabric
Once these stacks are created for both handles, sew down one side of each as seen in the picture below.
Then, fold over the plastic so there is a layer of plastic on either side of the fabric and top stitch the folded edge to keep it down.
To complete the handle, carefully fold in the other side, which has not yet been sewn, a few millimetres and top stitch that side as well to secure it.
Step 6
On the inside of the bag, mark the position where the handle should be attached. This can be done using a small dot with a permanent marker. 
Then attach each end of the handle to the bag by sewing a rectangle and a cross as seen below. This will ensure that your bag handles are strong enough to carry heavy loads.
The tote bag is now complete! I must admit this project was slightly more time consuming than I first imagined it to be. However, I still managed to complete it in an afternoon making it a great last minute Christmas gift idea!
Here is a photo of the final product. Enjoy!
The Bridge Crosser x

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Soon I will be heading overseas for the first time (YAY!!) so I have decided to pay my passport a bit more attention. Although my passport already has a plastic wallet which it was issued with when I received it, I though why not make something much more fun and unique?

The following post will show you how to make a simple passport wallet using about a 40x40cm piece of transparent plastic and 30x30cm piece of fabric of your own choice. I am using the Japanese Tissue Fabric I mentioned in a earlier post.

Step 1
Create the template for the passport wallet. I did this by tracing the original passport wallet and then adding a seam allowance. (Note: originally i only added a seam allowance of 2 cm on the two exposed edges, however, after some testing i found that the bottom edge had to be made deeper, thus changing the seam allowance to 4 cm along that edge. Therefore, do not take note of the measurements seen in the pictures of this post.)

The 'internal slip' refers to the two flaps the will hold the passport in place in the wallet by providing a slip for the front and back cover- think of covering books. The 'external cover' is what is seen from the outside of the wallet.

Step 2
Cut out the pieces for the fabric and plastic. You will need:
- 2 x external covers
- 2 x internal slips
- 2 x external covers

I found it was easiest to bluetac the templates to the plastic.

Step 3
Now it is time to place all the pieces together. This project is so simple as they all sewn together at the same time. The order is as follows:
- one of the fabric external covers
- one of the plastic external covers
- both the internal slips situated on either side of the plastic external cover (see picture below)
- the second plastic external cover
- the second fabric external cover
You should end up with a pile like this.
Step 4
Sew around the edge with a 1 cm seam. Leave at least a 5cm gap, however after some experimentation I would recommend leaving a whole side open as the plastic can make it quiet hard to turn the wallet the right way out.
 Step 5
Trim the seams so they are about 3mm wide then turn the wallet the right way out. Make sure to push out the corners the best you can.
Step 6
Fold in the open edge and topstitch around the entire wallet. I did it about 5 mm in from the edge, however it could be less than this.
This project took me approximately an hour to make. So quick and simple! I can't wait to put it to action in 2013! However I did find this project challenging in regards to sewing the plastic. I pretty much had to manually pull it through the sewing machine and even then the stitch length varied greatly and it was hard to keep a straight line. If anyone has any tips they would be much appreciated!
The Bridge Crosser x

Monday, 26 November 2012

Shimmer and Shine Three Ways...

I went to Spotlight (fabric/craft/home wares etc. store) the other day having some DIY projects in mind however not totally sure of what fabric/materials I was looking for. I knew I wanted to purchase some plastic sheeting, but it wasn't until after some prolonged browsing that this 'Japanese Tissue fabric' caught my eye. So sparkly! And so many colours to chose from... I narrowed it down to three colours- pink, blue and gold.
My next three DIYs will feature these materials!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


As I have recently completed my final exams I felt that it was time to break free from the constraints of syllabuses and textbooks and undertake something more on the creative side. Throughout my exams I managed to maintain my sanity through creating an extensive list of all the things I wanted to DIY once I was done. So first up: a lace mini skirt!

I have had this fabric stashed away for quiet a while now not knowing what to do with it.  Although the leafy pattern strongly suggests autumn dressing, I have decided to use it anyway despite it almost being summer in Australia.

The pattern I have used to create the skirt is one I picked up second hand. I love vintage/retro patterns for the cute illustrations they have on the front! Used the pencil skirt which can be seen on the blond girl for my project.
So, onto the creation of the skirt. I wanted to make a feature of the pretty scalloped edges of the lace so i adjust the length of the pattern by folding it to the length I wanted, remembering i didn't have to leave additional fabric for the hem. As it is a fabric with a repetitive pattern, i made sure to line the pattern pieces up with the bias of the fabric which in this case was the scalloped edge. I then cut out the same pieces in a black lining.

The next step was then to create the darts on both the front and back of the skirt to help it fit. Remember the larger darts go at the back and the smaller darts go at the front.
After all the darts were sewn, it was time to sew up all the side seams and up to the notch of the middle back seam to create the channel for the zip.

Next, attach the two skirts together by placing the lace skirt inside the lining, right sides together.
Finally, insert the zip in the back and hem the lining so it is just slightly higher than the lace and you are done!

Hopefully soon I will style this skirt but it might have to wait until the weather gets a bit cooler. I can't wait to wear it with tights, boots and a mid-thigh trench coat!
The Bridge Crosser x