Friday, March 15, 2024

Wholecloth Fairmount Bag Sewalong Videos

The Fairmount Bag sewalong is now available on the Wholecloth Patterns Youtube channel. These video sewing instructions will cover every step of the Fairmount Bag sewing pattern. I've broken the sewing tutorial into two manageable sections. In Part 1 we'll cut out the pattern pieces, go over the supplies you'll need for your bag, and cut out the fabric. We'll attach the piping to the View A sides and quilt the View B sides. Then we'll prepare all the parts and pieces needed to sew the bag in Part 2. In Part 2 of the Fairmount Bag sewalong we assemble the bag. I'm demonstrating with a View A bag, but the instructions are the same for both views. 

I'm calling the Fairmount an intermediate sewing pattern because it requires a few points of precision sewing on bulky seams, but a confident beginner could tackle this bag using the sewalong. My goal was to compliment the writing and illustrations in the pattern instructions with a few tips for avoiding mistakes, and clearing the way to a successfully sewn bag. 

The video instructions are available to everyone, but you'll need a copy of the sewing pattern to make the Fairmount Bag

Basic sewing skill tutorials for the making the Fairmount Bag.

You can kick-start your Fairmount Bag sewing by prepping a few of the supplies ahead of the sewalong. You can make the perfect piping and bias tape to match your bag using the How-to Make Your Own Piping, and How-to Make Bias Tape tutorials.  If you're using a metal zipper for your bag, you'll want to shorten it to the perfect 13" using the How-to Shorten a Metal Zipper tutorial. All three are core sewing skills to add to your sewing arsenal, and the perfect place to start if you're a beginner. 

Fabrics used in the Fairmount Bags in the sewalong.

Main fabric for View A: 8.5 oz canvas in Walnut from Blackbird Fabrics
Main fabric for View B and lining of View A: Merchant and Mills Elora Indian Cotton
Lining of View B: Merchant and Mills Cara Indian Block Print
View A piping and View B pocket: Merchant & Mills Everyday Denim Chambray
All Merchant & Mills fabrics are from Oaks Fabrics

Watch the Fairmount Bag sewalong videos.

These videos are a skosh longer than my usual Youtube tutorial. You can hop around the video using the time stamps in the text below the video. Use them to rewatch the parts you need, and skip the parts you don't. Watch Part 1 Watch Part 2

Sunday, February 25, 2024

How-to Make Your Own Piping Video Tutorial

Follow this video tutorial to make your own custom piping to match any sewing project. Piping is a crisp, classic way to add structure and define the edges of a handmade bag. The Wholecloth Patterns Fairmount Bag uses piping to define the bottom curve of view A, that might otherwise be easily crushed out of shape. It's also used on the Logan Bag to strengthen the circular bottom seam, and help hold its bucket shape. You could buy piping, but it's easy to make and gives you complete control over the look and quality of your finished bag. 

Tools for Making Piping

The only semi-specialty tool you need to make piping is the zipper foot for your sewing machine. The zipper foot allows you to sew right up against the edge of the piping cord when you're sewing the piping and when assembling your bag. The foot I use in the video is the Bernina #4. You'll want to find the foot that works with your sewing machine.  A zipper foot is essential for sewing bags, and is included with most sewing machines. 

In addition to the zipper foot you'll need a few very basic sewing tools. We'll use scissors, a marking tool, and a ruler. 

Supplies for Making Piping

Piping is basically a string wrapped in fabric. From light weight cotton lawn to upholstery fabric, any woven fabric can be used to make piping. Keep in mind that heavy fabrics will work best with thicker piping cord, and lighter fabrics will give the best coverage to thinner piping cords. In the video I'm demonstrating with light weight denim from Joann. I've also made bags piped with corduroy, or canvas. 

Of course, the filler in piping isn't actually string (although I've used yarn in a pinch). For the most predictable results use the specialty product called piping cord. My favorite is a cotton filler cord surrounded by polyester braid. The cotton is sturdy but easy to work with, and the surrounding braid allows the cord to move smoothly inside the finished fabric cover. The piping cord in the tutorial is from Great Lakes Cordage on Amazon. You can buy small quantities of many sizes of cord, and variety packs of multiple sizes. This variety pack has all 3 sizes discussed in the tutorial. It's a great way to experiment with the scale of your piping to the fabric and project. Once you try piping cord you'll never improvise with yarn or string again. 

DIY Piping is used on the Wholecloth Patterns 
sewing patterns. 


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

How- to Make Double Fold Bias Tape Video Tutorial

Follow this video tutorial to make your own double fold bias tape for a perfect handmade seam finish. Learn what fabric to use for bias tape, how-to find the bias of your fabric, and how to make your own 1/2" double fold bias tape with common sewing tools, no gadgets needed. This technique is perfect for making the short lengths of bias tape required for bag sewing, and is used in the Wholecloth Patterns Fairmount Bag

Why make your own bias tape?

Bias bound seams are a durable and professional looking finish for bag sewing. They are also a great way to add character to your bag and continue the exterior color scheme on the interior of the bag. 

What is the best fabric for making bias tape?

Light weight woven cotton such as shirting, lawn, batiste or quilting cotton is best fabric for making bias tape. Finished bias tape has 4 layers of fabric, these light weight fabrics maintain a low profile when applied to a finished seam. Avoid heavy or bulky fabrics that will result in a bulky finished seam. Use a fabric like cotton that holds a crisp crease when ironed. You'll want your bias tape to hold its shape when you work with it, and a crisp fold will make 

In the video I use this light weight cotton hand block printed fabric from Indian Stores on Etsy. It coordinates nicely with this hand block print from the same shop. 

Tools for making bias tape.

To make your own double fold bias tape you'll need a ruler, scissors, a fabric marker and in iron. These are all basic tools you probably already have in your sewing kit. There are bias tape making gadgets, that you may want to try if you're making yards of bias tape for quilt or garment sewing, but for this tutorial we'll focus on the low tech way to make it yourself. It's perfect for the small quantities of bais tape used for bag making. 

The bias bound seam finish is used on the
 Wholecloth Patterns Fairmount Bag. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

Bag Making: New Wholecloth Patterns Fairmount Bag Sewing Pattern

The new
sewing pattern is available in the shop!

The Fairmount Bag sewing pattern provides complete print at home PDF pattern pieces and full illustrated instructions for sewing your own crescent shaped bag. The adjustable strap allows it to be worn cross body as a sling bag, or on one shoulder as a hobo bag. It has a full length top zipper for easy access to the large interior. The arched sides follow the curve of the body. The pleated bottom panel creates a subtle wedge shape to minimize bulk, and maximize cargo. View A has piping along the bottom curve to define the shape, and a fully lined interior with a zip pocket. View B features quilted side panels to define the shape, and a quilted interior with a split open pocket. Both views have bias bound interior seams for a complete finish and a wide adjustable strap. 

The sewing pattern includes:
- clear step by step illustrated instructions
- PDF pattern to print and assemble at home using your home printer 
- instruction to sew 2 views of Wholecloth Fairmount Bag
- instructions to make coordinating bias binding, piping, and strap, or you can substitute ready-made
- instructions in inches and centimeters

Finished Bag Dimensions: 13 x 6 1/2 x 3 1/2 in (33 x 16.5 x 9 cm)

Get the pattern:

The exterior of View A (left) has piping around the curved edge to define the crescent shape. View B (right) uses a quilted body to maintain that curve. Both views have a full top zipper, 1 1/2" self made strap (substitute webbing), a pleated bottom panel, an optional key ring loop.

View A (left) has a full lining and an interior zipper pocket. View B (right) has an open pocket. You can easily use both pocket styles on either bag. Both views have bias bound edges so your bag looks good inside and out. 

The Fairmount Bag top zipper measures 13". You can either shorten a longer zipper or use 14" (13 inches of zipper plus the seam allowance) of zipper tape. You'll find a full video tutorial for shortening a metal zipper on the Wholecloth Patterns Youtube channel. The pattern includes instructions of making your own custom piping, bias binding, strap, and ring loop. You can easily substitute similar quantities of ready made. 

The Fairmount Bag is a good fit for intermediate sewists. It involves 2 ways to insert a zipper, applying bias binding along a curve, precision stitching where the straps meet the bag, and sewing through many layers of fabric at the (optional) key ring loop. That said, a determined sewist with a few patterns under their belt could take it one step at a time. 

I'm planning a full video sewalong making the Fairmount bag from start to finish. The tutorial will make this pattern more accessible to less experienced sewists. Sign up for the newsletter to be notified of the final dates for the sewalong. 
The Fairmount Bag sewing pattern is 20% off until Friday, February 23, 2024. No code necessary.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Sewing Tutorial : How-to Shorten a Metal Zipper

In the Wholecloth Patterns How-to Shorten a Metal Zipper video tutorial we'll cover the parts of a zipper, widths of zippers, lengths of zippers, and finally how to pull out some teeth, replace the top zipper stops and shorten that zipper in a way that looks as good as new. You can find the full youtube tutorial for shortening a metal zipper here. Below I'll give you the run down of the tools and supplies I used in the video. 

Where to Buy Metal Zippers for Bag Making.

Etsy has a great selection of shops selling zippers of every type. It's an easy place to shop for a specific length or color from many different stores. 

Zip It on Etsy. - Zip It has a large inventory of sizes, lengths, tape colors and metal finishes to choose from. Their shop is well organized so it's easy to sort for the zipper you're looking for. Good price for the quality, fast shipping and prompt customer service. 

Zipper Stop  - More great metal zipper options. The 14 inch #5 zippers I use in the tutorial video are from Zipper Stop. They also have prompt customer service and put together a custom color combo for me.  Zipper Stop is also on Etsy.

Wawak - Wawak has a good selection of metal zippers and (in my experience) fast shipping. 

Where to Buy Loose Zipper Stops

The little nubs above the teeth on the open end of a zipper are called the top zipper stops (see the video for full zipper anatomy). They prevent the slider  from coming off the zipper when it's fully closed. Replacing the stops on a shortened zipper makes it look brand new, and maintains its durability. The Etsy store Zipper Stop also sells zipper stops. I bought mine on Amazon for the free shipping. Be sure to buy the same size stops (see video for zipper sizing) as your zipper.  

Where to Buy Needle Nose Pliers

You can find needle nosed pliers at almost any big, or small, box hardware store. After borrowing the pliers from my husband's tool box for years, I finally upgraded to my own mini pair of needle nosed pliers. I've removed zipper teeth with regular pliers before, but it's much easier to precisely remove one tiny metal tooth at a time with pliers with a very narrow tip. I got mine as a set from Amazon. I'm pretty sure these are the pair I was borrowing from my husband. Mine are 5" in total length, very similar to these, these and these

Why Shorten a Zipper

Shorten zippers makes your sewing more efficient. The Wholecloth Patterns Tether Pouch requires 9 zippers to make a full set. It can be hard to find one shop with 3 different lengths of matching zippers in stock, or they aren't sold in sets of 3. It creates a lot of flexibility to buy longer zippers and cut them to the size needed for the pouches. The Wholecloth Patterns Fairmount Bag (coming soon!) uses a 13" top zipper. One way to achieve that size is to buy a 14" (or longer) zipper and shorten it to 13". 

Saturday, December 9, 2023

How-to Add a Lining to the Wholecloth Project Bag

Today we're going to hack the Wholecloth Project Bag sewing pattern by learning how-to add a lining to the bag. I love the simplicity of making a bento bag from a single piece for fabric, but it does take a little extra time to finish the hem, and seam allowances to perfection. Giving the Project Bag a full lining creates a fully reversible bag. It also makes finishing the bag even easier. If you're a new sewist, this is a great place to start with Wholecloth Patterns. 

The video tutorial of this pattern variation is a bonus track to the Wholecloth Project Bag sewalong. After learning how to sew a thoughtfully finished bag, we use the pattern as a base to mix up the finishing.

Get the sewing pattern:

Join the mailing list:

Watch the Sewalong Playlist:

Share what you've made!


Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Learn to Sew a Wholecloth Project Bag with the Sewalong Video Sewing Tutorial

Are you sewing a Wholecloth Project Bag? You've come to the right place. Below you'll find video tutorials for the Wholecloth Project Bag Sewalong, were I'll teach you how to sew a bento bag with clear video instructions. The sewalong is broken up into 3 easy to follow sections. The first is a short overview to familiarize yourself with the design and plan your bag. The second tackles the pdf sewing pattern pieces. I'll walk you through the process of turning the digital pdf file into a physical pattern, and cutting out the fabric. The third is sewing the actual bag. Each video section includes a list of related links to any noteworthy tools or fabrics. This is a quick sew, and beginner friendly project. The videos will make it accessible to even more sewists. You'll have a set of all 4 sizes by sun down (or sun up depending on what kind of sewist you are!).

Thanks to everyone who followed along with the Wholecloth Project Bag sewalong through the newsletter. I appreciate your attention at this bonkers time of year! If you're sewing a Wholecloth Project bag please use the hashtags to share your work. I would love to see what you make! If you'd like first notice of future Wholecloth Patterns sewalongs and new pattern releases join the email list.  

Get the sewing pattern:

Join the mailing list:

Watch the Sewalong Playlist:

Share what you've made!


Day 1:  pattern overview, size comparison and fabric recommendations

Notes on Fabric:
You can use just about any woven fabric to make a Wholecloth Project Bag. I go over a few of my favorites in the video, but don't limit yourself to my picks. This quick project is great for experimentation. A crisp new yard and a half (1.5 meters) of 43in/109cm wide fabric will make a whole set of bags. Don't prewash it, you'll need the full width for the extra large bag, and won't want to loose any to shrinkage. A few of the fabrics I said were Essex Linen in the video are cotton/linen Andover Fabrics. This is a very similar fabric and great for bags. 

Day 1 Video Links:


Day 2: print and assemble the pdf, trace the size we'll make, draft our own pattern and cut the fabric
Notes of Tools:
You'll need a few basic household tools to assemble the pdf. I like to cut the margins from the pdf with plain old scissors and assemble it with plain old tape. I always trace the size I'm going to make (rather than cut the print out) onto architectural tracing paper. It's durable, easy to pin, and inexpensive. The only down side is that you can't iron it. I also used it to draft the pattern in the video. A see-thru ruler is handy when tracing or drafting the pattern. 

Notes on Drafting Instructions:
Most versions of the pattern include a chart and diagram with the dimensions to draft your own pattern on page 2. If your pattern does not have them I would be happy to send you an updated version. Please send an email to and include the Etsy username you used to purchase the pattern. All other information is the same. The drafted sizes are the same as the printed pattern pieces. 

Day 2 Video Links:


Day 3: We'll sew a Wholecloth Project Bag from start to finish!

Day 3 Video Links: