Anya The 3rd


What do you do when someone returns some fabric you offloaded gave to them with extra’s?  I gave a friend the two fabrics top left last summer as potential pockets for a skirt and then all of this little lot turned up in a parcel (whilst I was trying to have a sort out no less).


Merchant and Mills Union dress.  It started off life as a skirt.  Then I decided it had to be a dress, but made a mess of the button holes.  The button panel fabric is courtesy of prolificprojectstarter - used with many thanks!  Finished today, but started in 2015 :-):

I’m pretty sure that this placket (no sniggering at the back there) is all she used it for too so I must’ve got back nearly all the stuff I gave her.


Well I can’t stand for that sort of nonsense. How’s a woman supposed to reduce her stash with that kind of thing going on? (She’s even just joined the stashbusting group at my suggestion, this was not what I had in mind).  So I did the only logical thing I could in this situation, I made her a bag with the fabric she sent. I reckon it’ll nicely match her Merchant and Mills dress don’t you think?


Another Anya bag no less. All from stash, mainly the left overs of my skirt that she’d returned, but also some bits of my old jeans for contrast, one of LSH’s old shirts for a lining and some snazzy bronze piping that I think I might have actually properly installed. Oh and some bias binding to help me eek straps out, finding a big enough piece of fabric to make the straps as directed always seems to be my biggest headache when using this pattern to scrapbust. It was a straightforward make, apart from having to unpick things as I’d sewn a strap on twisted.


Oh and I made sure I filled it with a little something extra before returning the fabric to her. That’ll learn her.



A brace of Anya’s


So, all that thinking about making bags reminded me that I hadn’t made the Anya Bag pattern up yet that I won before Christmas. It was a condition of winning that I blog a bag within 4 months, but, you know the drill, all opinions are most definitely my own.


I had a plan to use this to make something for my friend (as I’m not really into handbags), but that idea wasn’t with scraps. Now Zoe herself says this bag is a great scrap buster and as I know that she is into reducing the impact of her sewing and as I had just posted all about sewing bags from scraps, I thought I really should have a rootle in my scrap bin for something appropriate to try the pattern with. What I found there was some left over cerise boiled wool from making a Princess Anna inspired cape   – perfect.

There were two little problems I found when cutting out. The first was that it was, err, oh so very very pink. Extremely pink. I felt it needed breaking up a little. So I had another rootle and found some more boiled wool scraps, green this time (from a waistcoat for LSH) and improvised a little leafy design. It came out rather well if I do say so myself. As the boiled wool won’t fray I didn’t have to worry about finishing edges or even sewing them down. I just cut the leaves out, tried some arrangement, pinned when I was happy and then sewed them freehand on my normal sewing machine.


The second problem was that I didn’t have a big enough piece of fabric left to cut the straps and by this stage the bag was looking quite smart so I didn’t want to piece some together. Instead I bought some from my local fabric shop. There was a limited range of colours, so I chose navy, which matched the print on the lining.

The lining wasn’t techincally scrap, but it did come in a bargain bundle of fabrics and I’ve never been quite sure what to do with it. It’s perfect for a lining though, pale yet interesting, and the tree’s inside match the leaves outside.


Next up, bag number 2, for my friend, who is not really a pink kind of person. I was quite happy to make 2 in a row as this is a fun, quick pattern and I also wanted to see how it looked in different fabrics. This is my Zombie Apocalypse version with a blood splatter velvet pattern on a soft drapey denim. This time, the outer is new fabric, and the inner uses scraps, red for the yoke and white waterproof lining fabric for the inside (which was hell to work with).

So, pattern review then.

PDF: short and sweet (4 pages), taped together easily, full marks.

Instructions: very comprehensive, lots of photo’s, in fact, I was finding them a bit too detailed, then I found the condensed 1 page version at the end which was just what I wanted. So something for everyone. Full marks again.

Difficulty: Fairly easy, there are pleats, curves and an optional buttonhole (but you could use a secret snap/popper) and all well explained so I think a beginner would be fine with this but maybe not as a first project.

Pattern drafting: Good, everything matched up tickity boo.

Trickiest bit: The button tab, surprisingly. My first attempt ended up a little wonky and unsymmetrical and it was really noticable. So then I traced the stiching line onto my interfacing before ironing it on and used that for a guide which worked much better. Oh and the buttonhole, but me and my machine aren’t seeing eye to eye with buttonholes at the moment, on a different machine that would be fine (and you can leave the tab off).

Overall: I got two very professional looking bags that don’t particularly look home made, especially the boiled wool one. What I didn’t get to do is add a pocket (I’m a bit of pocket addict), the pattern doesn’t have one and I couldn’t think where to put one what with all those pleats.  This pattern is great for using up leftover fabric and there’s lots of scope for playing with contrast fabric and decoration (piping along the yoke seam? or maybe ric rac bumps sticking out?).

Make again? Maybe, as I said, I don’t really do handbags, but if I wanted to give one as another gift this is a quick make.


Nearly forgot to tell you

Hey guys, I won a thing. I never win anything. In fact I stopped entering competitions due to the lack of point.

But then Zoe had a competition to win her new  Anya Shoulder bag pattern and I had to enter, cos, you know, its a bag pattern (and I have a not so secret addition to making bags).

I was gobsmacked when I got the email saying I’d won. So now, I need to make one and blog it within the next 4 months (condition of entry). No problem. In fact the problem will be waiting until after Christmas, but I  must get my priorities straight!

I quite like the solid colour one with a patterned yoke. And the bold stripey one. And the denim. And the corduroy. Ok, ok, I like them all…. What would you make it in?


Wonderful Dilemmas*

While we were galavanting about far flung corners of Great Britain this summer, our lovely cat sitter took in a parcel for me. So on one of my brief trips back home, I got to open a present from Sewing Fairy Godmother as part of the Challenge Anya.

approx 30"/76cm deep by 48"/123cm wide horizontal striped silk suiting and 16"/42cm x 49"/125cm grey cotton sateen

approx 30″/76cm deep by 48″/123cm wide horizontal striped silk suiting and 16″/42cm x 49″/125cm grey cotton sateen

I had been sent some pink/grey stripey (blended stripes?) raw silk suiting and some toning grey stretchy cotton sateen, both kindly prewashed three times (I only managed once with the parcel I sent, sorry H!). Wow. Lovely. And, err, what next. Raw Silk Suiting! What does one do with that?

I must admit my first thought on seeing the fabric was a bag, as they’re not normally colours I wear. But surely that would be a waste. My next thought was a moss mini skirt, in the stripey stuff, with a grey yoke at the back, grey showing inside the pocket and grey waistband. And possibly something cunning with back pockets. I think I might have enough, but I haven’t checked yet.

Then I found out about the Sew-A-Longs-and-Sewing-Contest (facebook) group September sew a long, which is to make a skirt, a blouse/top, a pair of trousers and an accessory. This could be the skirt part, but what on earth could I make to go with it, my stash doesn’t have any of these tones. Would black go ok?

75"/190cm x 38"/98cm border print silk

75″/190cm x 38″/98cm border print Thai silk

Then I remembered some lovely border print silk that I got as a gift when I attended my brother in law’s wedding in Thailand. At the time I sewed it into a tube and attached straps to make a very simple tie skirt of the sort I’d seen in Thailand, as I daren’t cut into it. But it doesn’t stay up well and I’ve only worn it once.

all mixed together

all mixed together, the colours are a bit washed out here and not quite true to life, but you can at least see that they tone

It sort of goes with the other silk but not as much in reality as it did in my head. So now I have absolutley no idea what to make out of two pieces of silk. Silk. Me. Arrgh.

What would you do? Answers on a postcard please, or if that’s too much effort, just leave a comment below…

*with superfluous bicosse deleted (luckily for me my brother is staying who pointed out my shocking spelling of the word dilema’s)

The Challenge – Part 4 (Over to you?)

I had such fun with this challenge (from inception through the idea stage through to a finished garment), used up lots of stash and ended up with something I would never have come up with on my own. It made me think it would make a great sewing swap idea. So I wondered, would anyone else like to play? If so, leave a comment (including how I can contact you) by the 22nd July (first day of my kids summer holidays) and if 2 or more people are up for it I’ll organise a swap. How it will work… First of find a little something from your stash that has definite potential but you haven’t found the right project for yet. It could be a fat quarter of amazing quilting cotton, or a set of buttons, some lace trim, a fancy zip, a remnant of amazing fabric from a previous make. No duds here, the aim is to inspire creativity and free a little something lovely but unused from your stash so it can make its own way in the world. This will be what you swap. When you receive your parcel, make your gift the star ingredient in something new for yourself, using only things already in your stash to augment it. (It’s up to you how strictly you interpret that rule, no one will judge if someone feels the need to buy matching thread or invest in a new pattern). So it’s a double win on the stashbusting front (you give something away and then use something up), plus you get a pressie in the post and a dose of unexpected inspiration. Anyone up for it? If so, leave a comment below including a method of contacting you (email address or blog page) and then I can work out how to organise the who swaps with who bit. Oh and I thought I’d call it Challenge Anya, if that’s ok with you guys. Partly in honour of the woman who came up with the idea when she gave me my gift, but mainly because it reminds me of that programme from my youth…


UPDATE: We’re on. So if you want in, let me know your details, either in comments below or via the new Facebook group.

Let me know by 22nd July, then I will send out swap partners and contact details so that people can exchange items by the beginning of August. There won’t be a deadline as such, but I’ll do a round up at the end of August (or maybe the beginning of September, cos, bank holidays and festivals!).

Challenge Anneka - There was an old woman who lived in a shoe ...

need I say more?