cause it’s a good idea to sew 10 bags in one night


At least that’s how the project seems at 8pm.
And then Casey walks by my sewing machine to say goodnight, and I’m still finishing the last 4 bags…

But hey if you’re gonna sew one, you might as well sew many!  Right?
And then tie them up with business cards inside?
YES.

This was my game plan for the fantastic Alt Design Summit that I attended last week.
This was my third year as a speaker, and as I’ve posted in the past here and here, Alt never disappoints.  It’s a blast!  And the networking, learning, phototaking, and conversations are top notch.

But I’ll share all that in another post.
Today let’s talk business cards.


Each year I leave them to the last minute.
Which means, I keep the design simple.
They’re 5×7 postcards, designed in Illustrator, and printed to heavy cardstock.
And they’re nothing compared to letterpressed, 3-D, goodies-attached kind of business cards that many Alt attendees hand out.  But I’m fine with that.


And for a few key contacts, I bumped the presentation up by adding a tote bag.  Hey, maybe if I’m on top of it next year, I should have MADE Everyday bags printed!  Wouldn’t that be fun?

I used my Basic Pocket Tote tutorial, with fabrics from Ikea and Joann Fabrics.  But the beauty of bags is that there are so many options!  Click a tutorial button below for all the info:

I can never decide if this green fabric looks better cut vertically as the grainline recommends, or if I like it off-the-grain….and whether I should sew the straps to the inside of the bag or the outside.   Guess I like them both!


With the bags finished,  I grabbed my stack of cards and started wrapping.
(you know that moment when you say the same word over and over again and it starts to sound weird?…..)

I folded the front of the bag up, to create a faux pocket, and tucked a business card inside.  Then I flipped the bag over to the back and folded both sides in.  I taped the straps down in the back and then tied it up.

Then I wrapped up 9 more in the hotel room in Salt Lake City.  Because hotel bedding makes the perfect photo backdrop.  I’m gonna remember that.

And there you go—-Business Card Bag.

…..which oddly enough totally matches the clothes that I threw in my suitcase for the weekend.
Funny how the brain works.


Have a great day!

  1. Absolutely love this idea. I am new to the whole sewing thing and I have managed to be able to make 1 pillow. Yeah I know pathetic right? Oddly enough I woke up this morning wanting to make tote bags. I swear I can never have enough. I want to make one similar to a 31 bag. Not sure how or where to find the materials but I will figure it out. I want to make the bottom reinforced with some sort of plastic or something to hold the shape.

    As for your colors…LOVE THEM!!!!! They both look good in regards to the green no matter what way you turn the fabric.

  2. I love reading your blog, it is always full of inspiration! I just started my blog and am having a hard time getting people to view it…not sure how I go about that. I love your tote/business card idea…they are very cute!

    • Make sure you share your blog on all your social media sites, and link back to it when you comment on great blogs like Dana’s!

  3. 4) Alie

    Dana! The SHOES!!! Where are they from?

    • 5) Dana

      They’re from H&M! I bought them at Christmas time…..so not sure they’re still there 🙁

  4. so cute! a great idea! and the colors. love them. where do you do most of your shopping? if i may ask.

    • 7) Dana

      I pretty much shop at 4 stores:
      Target, Old Navy, H&M, and Forever 21.
      Truly, that’s about it!

      • Well that is perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  5. 9) Christina M

    I agree – THE SHOES!! I’d love to know where they’re from! I love this bag/card idea too, you’re so clever 🙂

    • 10) Dana

      They’re from H&M!

  6. you’re officially the coolest person ever. 🙂 LOVE the bags with the cards, and your outfits are the best! yay color all around, woohoo!

  7. 13) bdaiss

    I am impressed! Both with your last minute bag making skilz AND all the fabulous color in your suitcase! 🙂 I admit, when I travel I pack a lot of black and grey…they all go together and don’t show dirt. lol

  8. 14) Kristie

    Please add the shoe info. Those shoes are awesome!

    • 15) Dana

      H&M! But at Christmas….not sure they’re still there 🙁

  9. 16) Kristi Andres

    Agreed please add the info for the pink and yellow shoes. My 9 year old (who wears a women’s size) and I are drooling! 🙂 Thanks!

  10. I totally wanted to make a few of these in a couple diff sizes before we leave for India, to have as shopper bags! Ha! Why was I thinking I would have time for this? Oh well, I’m sure there will be bags to buy when we get there:) Oh – and WHERE did you get those pink and yellow flats? LOVE!

    • 18) Dana

      Those are from Old Navy! I bought them last year….but just noticed that they’re currently BACK in the store, but in coral color, which sounds like a FANTASTIC idea 🙂
      I’m so excited for you guys and your new adventure! I hope you’re able to keep up you IG so I can see all the interesting things you’re doing. Virtual hug to you guys. I love the Blairs 🙂

  11. Completely darling. For real! And yes: last-minute brain storms are the funnest. Right?? 🙂

  12. Of course you’d sew a ton of bags in one night! 🙂 Looks SO fresh and fun, I’m sure every recipient really loved them!

  13. 21) Tara

    Everything you do is a delight!! Keep on sharing 🙂 And those green shoes are adorbs

  14. I love these! It’s such a great idea and I’m sure the sponsors were blow away by them!

  15. 23) Cari

    I once made assembly-line tote bags for teacher gifts. It was a lot, but I swear if you have all the materials out already, it’s way faster than doing one or two at a time. What’s ten tote bags, right? (dang straps and ironing…)

  16. What a great packaging idea! I love the colors, the bags and your clothes! So fresh and vibrant! I love working in assembly line fashion, I made a bunch of pants for the kids over the holidays this way, it always seems to get done faster 🙂

  17. 25) Tina C.

    I’d love to know where you shopped, too! I love your basics.

    Those shoes are amazing. I think I saw them at old navy a while ago…wishing I’d bought them now. :O)

    • 26) Dana

      I pretty much shop at 4 stores:
      Target, Old Navy, H&M, and Forever 21.
      Truly, that’s about it!
      I’m just cheap :)….

  18. 27) Jennifer Miller

    So cute! I love your bag tutorials and use them all of the time! I would love to know where you print locally on such heavy cardstock. I live in the Austin are as well and have only found 80lb which is just not that heavy.

  19. 28) Catherine

    Also love the shoes, but even more – green dress and stripey blazer! Where did you find them?!

    • 29) Dana

      Thanks! The shoes are H&M, green dress is Target (currently still available at the store), and the stripey blazer is Forever 21 (but it was on sale at Christmas time. Not sure if it’s still there 🙁 )

  20. I love the reusable tote instead of throw-away packaging, I’m sure those key contacts were impressed!

  21. 31) Lynne Tilley

    You are adorable. I love to see all the fresh ideas you young people are putting out there. It’s so lovely and different, and keeps me up to date on what I can give as gifts to my kids who are in their 20’s and 30’s so I know I’m not being “fuddy ruddy”. Thanks for the inspiration. Love your cute little bags and your cards. I always enjoy your blog.
    (from the 55+ crowd)

    • 32) Dana

      haha. I loved this comment 🙂 Made my day.
      Thanks for stopping by Lynne!

  22. 33) Jess

    Great job, they look great. I saw you said your postcards were designed in Illustrator? For layout stuff like that I find Indesign easier to use (it’s made for layouts really). Although, Illustrator does the job and it’s not exactly cheap to buy the Adobe Design Suite products for Mac (I just finished my graphic design diploma and need to purchase the whole suite, ouch).

  23. amazing Dana! And your outfits, so so adorable!! Kinda wish I had more colors like that in my wardrobe!

  24. What I want to know is how do you decide who gets these great bags? You must give out a zillion more business cards than the no of bags you have, surely? So effective though.

  25. 36) Jill

    You are great!

  26. 37) Susan

    You are toooo cute! I don’t sew except to hem my pants, but reading your blog and watching your awesome videos make me really want to try more. I also have to say that i LOVED seeing the clothes you packed – i love all the colors and would love to see pics of you in the different outfits, i have no good vision when it comes to that. You’re adorable!

  27. 38) Penny

    You are and remain TOTE-ally cool! I agree with all the above comments!
    When you said tape the straps, I’m thinking clear tape – but, no, hello – you used that awesome black with white polka-dots – so cool! Also love the striped twine-ish stuff for tying – where do you buy that??? If Joanns, I have no clue where in the store.
    It’s all in the presentation and you ROCK! Can’t wait to hear about the summit.
    Have a great day.

  28. I’m so impressed, Dana! I’d say your business cards *more* than held their own! It was such a pleasure to meet you, albeit briefly, at Alt’s Investing in Your Blog workshop. I will look forward to following along virtually … unfortunately not literally as I cannot sew to save my life! I do, however, have some fabulous fabric, so let me know if you need some for a fun project! 🙂

  29. CUTE!!!! I bet the recipients were thrilled! I am going to go look for that fabric asap.

  30. 41) melissa

    I see I’m not the only one who came here to ask about your shoes!

    • 42) Dana

      Sorry! I’ve been meaning to answer everyone 🙂
      They’re from H&M! I bought them at Christmas time…..so not sure they’re still there. But I love that store.

  31. 43) Becky Thompson

    Conferences are great because I love getting some swag (Stuff We All Get) from attendees and vendors. Don’t even think they aren’t fancy enough…THEY ARE MADE BY HAND!! Now how many others there could claim that? Me? I’d be completely honored to receive a MADE bag and it would be the highlight I’d giggle about with hubs in that high-pitched voice I get when I got home, “Lookie what I got!!!”. 🙂

    Great job Dana! Well done!

  32. 44) Denice

    I’m giggling at what you packed. I can tell you live in a forever summer state. In utah we are a state of season and right now we are wearing boots, socks, pants, shirts and sweaters. Not to mention the scarves and hats. Those open toed heels are cracking me up. You are going to look great teaching your class, but I hope you don’t plan on walking outside! Haha

  33. Or instead of having someone else make MADE tote bags, you could use your mad Illustrator skills to design MADE fabric and have it printed at Spoonflower.com. Then you can sew them yourself. Because really who doesn’t need one more project? 🙂

  34. 47) Gail

    What is H & M ? If I don’t recognize the name then I’m sure we don’t have one around here where I live. Gail

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