Creating Lovely For Less

DIY Summer Dress⎮plus Stylish handbag


Fitting fabrics Together

I made this summer dress for my daughter with remnants from earlier projects. It came together as an afterthought. I cut the bodice from pieces of fabric left over from a cardigan I made for her using Simplicity 2560–view C on pattern envelope pictured below. The lower portion of the dress came from remnants of a skirt I made for myself. And the off white floral trim I used to cover the underbust seam was sitting around the scrap notions pile for eons.


Sealed with a Summer Tote

This fabric tote above proved to be perfect accessory icing


One-piece/two-piece Shoulder tote

I stole a piece of fabric from a pending project and sewed this bag–before I touched the drapes the material was purchased for. It’s a simple one-strap tote that requires beginner sewing skills. Depending on the size of fabric you are working with, it can be cut in a one or two-piece pattern.

The front, back and side panels are cut in two pieces stitched together at the bottom and fused with medium weight interfacing. I wanted to add body to but I didn’t want it to be rigid. The fusible interfacing provided just enough support to encourage a mild slouch without creating soft deep drapes. To keep the bottom of the bag sturdy, I added a base made with fabric and heavyweight interfacing. A tube of twisted organza threaded through metal rings at both ends created the strap; while another piece of organza was given the same treatment to form the trim at the front.

Note: The bag is fully lined with a zippered gusset closure at the top. It also has multiple pockets on the inside that may be excluded to save time or simplify design.


Materials and Tools Used for handbag

Less than half yard of 60” wide decorator fabric

Fabric for lining; less than amount used for bag body

Notions: Zipper, thread 90/14 machine needle

Interfacing: medium weight and heavy weight

Strip of organza for handles and trim

Temporary fabric adhesive for attaching heavyweight interfacing

Sewing machine

Iron, ironing board

Press cloth to protect fabrics from scorching or forming shine


Above: The scrap fabric creations principle continues; I used the scraps left over from the tote to create the handbag below.

The black and gold flap at the front became the central design element. That too was a scrap; but you knew that.


Picture below: The pattern I used; the cardigan I made and the original skirt I made for myself.

Now, it’s fabric scraps spotlight time; and your turn to shine.