Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Summer Sewing!

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Since I've been getting lots of use this summer out of my handmade beach tote, I decided it was time to check in with another sewing class and try something new.

This month's project was designed by sewing instructor Becky Hansen, by special request of Martha. When Becky ran into Martha at a recent sewing machine conference, Martha showed her a bag that she had purchased in the Bahamas. Becky recreated Martha's tote, and added her own special touch of the Martha Stewart logo!

As I delve deeper into the world of sewing, I'm starting to experiment with more tools of the trade. Here, we have a sewing mat with gridlines, different types of scissors, various size pins, seam gauges, extra fabric, a seam ripper, and a hammer. Wait, a hammer for sewing?


Since the fabric we were using was heavy burlap, Becky showed Jill Earyes (a Martha Stewart employee) how a simple hammer can help pound out the material to make it easier to sew through. It worked like a charm!


Another tool that I just learned to use is the seam ripper. Even the best sewers make mistakes! Just be sure to use the seam ripper to remove one stitch at a time so that you don't cut through the fabric.


Make sure you have enough pins before you start your project. I love this magnetic tray instead of an ordinary pincushion.


There's a wide range of sewing machines available, so pick one that that suits your needs. Courtney Quinn is trying out this machine by attaching the bag's shoulder straps.


Always have an iron on hand to keep the edges pressed. Rachel Cohen is pressing the edges of the bag's base.


Ta-da! Here's my finished bag!


I love the details in the logo! Becky embroidered these for us before the class.


We all stand proudly under the Martha Stewart logo, showing off our bags to match: Kirsten Santiago, Jill Earyes, Courtney Quinn, Becky Hansen, and me.


If you want to put your own crafting skills to the test this summer, you can try a new craft every day!

What are some sewing or crafting tools that you love to use?

Comments (4)

  • I think it's great that staff at Martha Stewart are learning to and enjoying sewing. I grew up with my mom sewing and back then thought it would become a lost art, but as a 31 year old, I'm seeing a resurrgence in interest in sewing. I teach a quilting class and have lots of young women take it. It's so exciting to see what we can all create! I look forward to seeing more of your blog entries about sewing.

  • I started sewing at the age of 3 - making handmade buttonholes. My mother had little in the way of resources to keep me occupied and found a willing student in her daughter. It's great to see that Martha's staff is willing to learn in spite of their busy lives. Sewing can be a great stress reliever if you learn properly how to do things. For 55 years I've been using my imagination and skills to create things for friends and family and have found no project is beyond our reach if we only try.

  • I WOULD would like to join. Thank You

  • Dear Naomi:
    I REALLY like the burlap bag based on the one that Martha found in the Bahamas. If I go to "handmade beach tote", it provides me with a pattern for a different bag and not the same burlap bag that you reproduced in your sewing class. Do you have the instructions for making the burlap bag?
    Or, is there a way that I can join in a sewing class online so that I can make the same bag? Unfortunately, I live in California and I also take care of my mom who has Alzheimer's disease so I can't really head to NY for the weekend. However, it would be fun to be able to sew the bag via an online sewing class. I know how to sew small craft projects but don't really know a lot about sewing. Looking forward to your response.
    Carol Gruetter

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