Triplets

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Production line sewing, three bags, made from three canvas remnants from my “bag stash” that were bought from my local fabric shop.  Two to be gifted this week and one spare.

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The broad stripes lead nicely to a little playing (and you gotta have a pocket, right?).

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These totes are pretty roomy and have nice thick straps to help spread the load.

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Plus the ubiquitous mitred corner. Oh and solid colour base, cos white would not be practical!

Hopefully they will all gets lots of use.

The Next Generation

This young lady associates my house with sewing for some reason! Usually it’s monsters, but today hand bags for teddy bears. One to keep and one as a present for her cousin (she’s getting ready for Christmas already). I was looking after her for the morning but she asked to stay for the afternoon too so that she had time to sew!

Of course, The Girl had to do some sewing too. She designed a handbag for herself, complete with star on a ribbon hanging down, you saw this new trend here first! The star was cut from the reflective band on an old cycling vest and she drew around a pastry cutter for the shape. The pocket, I confess, was my idea, but she embraced it, and my mitred corner suggestion.

I even managed to knock up a quick bag myself, a little too quickly perhaps (the pocket isn’t quite centred and the ribbon, while very cool and matching, is probably too thin for straps).

All in all, quite a productive afternoon.

Arrrghhh

Today is the last day of term, then we have one day to pack and sort out and then we’re going away. I do not feel organised at all. On the sewing front I have a pair of trousers cut out to make and take and a half made t shirt. On the campervaning front I’m a feeling in quite a bit of trepidation about the whole traveling thing. My friend has just started a blog prior to journeying around Europe with  her 4 kids, which has made me feel in equal parts inspired and completely disorganised in comparison, so now I’m busy printing out car bingo and downloading podcasts from the BBC before we go.

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I did however run up this bag last night for The Girl’s teacher, the fabric just screamed “tote” to me when I was in the shop. It has a denim bottom, mitred to add depth and is lined in red polycotton with a patch pocket inside. I really rushed it and it’s not quite as good as I imagined (I didn’t have enough webbing for my plans for a start), but I’m still pretty chuffed as it looks pretty professional.

 

 

Anya The 3rd

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Scraps to Bags

Last week we looked at clothes making from scrap fabric, this week it’s the turn of bags, purses, totes, pouches and all things you can stuff things into!

(I have to be completely upfront here: Rosemary has done all the heavy lifting on this post. My bag-making resume is sadder than sparse…it’s practically barren.)

I love making bags, lots of straight lines and no fitting! I mean, the pieces have to fit together, but if it comes out an inch longer than you intended, it’s no big deal. There are no scary FBA’s to do or anything.  And here in the UK, with the recently introduced tax on plastic bags, handmade ones are bang on trend (err, did I really just type that?). Someone’s been spending too much time with the kiddos–busting out slang now…

There are a couple of approaches you can take to bag making. One is to start with with the fabric you have and go from there. “If I fold this piece in half, it’s about the right size to put X in”, or “I need something co-ordinating for the back”. Or, “this pieces is wide enough but too short, what could I piece it with?”. “Oh look, a jeans pocket, I could sew that on here.” And more power to you creative as-it-come types, but this approach terrifies me!

If this approach seams a little scary for you, (hand raised here…anyone else?), then the morsbag tutorial is a great place to start and they have loads of inspiring images and good motivation for getting going. (That website is fascinating, there are groups all over the world making and giving away these bags!) Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start playing around with sizes,  adding depth to your bag with mitred corners, playing with pockets, decorating with trims, applique, fabric paint, screenprinting, the sky’s the limit. It really does seem like a basic bag is the best blank slate for using up all kinds of tiny bits as embellishments…

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For instance, check out this bag entirely made from selvages, how cool is that (Sorry, I don’t know whose pic this is to credit them or link up). WOW, that bag is cool!

The other approach is to use a pattern. (Now you are talking my language!) There are loads of patterns out there, just search.  Here are some of our (lets face it) my favourites.

At the end of last year Sue over at Fadanista released a free Japanese knot bag pattern and over at the sew-a-long group we had great fun knocking these out, they’re a quick sophisticated make and ripe for embelishment and using up left over bits of precious fabric. (I’m embarrassed to say I still haven’t made one. But Rosemary has made them to use as gift bags. It’s a great colorblocking pattern.)

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 Melissa shared this wristlet pattern and tutorialwhich has a cool twisted tuck detail and is perfect for using up scraps.


 

Another favourite pattern of mine is Seamstress Erin’s Presido Purse pattern, which is just so large and useful – I call it my Mary Poppins bag. I have made this an embarassing number of times (2ce to keep, the rest as presents) and I’m quite the fan girl! It introduced curves to my bag sewing, upped my zipper game and has great tutorials. And all of the bags above are made from remnants, left over fabric, and in one case a cut up pair of trousers! It works well with thicker fabrics on the outer, such as home decorating fabric.

If you only have smaller pieces, check out this scrappy quilt panel tutorial I used this technique to make the tablet cover above and just used fleece scraps instead of batting as I don’t quilt. It worked fine.

Looking for something a little smaller? I upcycled a pair of old trousers into a zippered pouch incorporating the back pocket.  Here’s a tutorial for some even more  gorgeous zippered pouches from scraps to get you started.

I have leftovers of boning, ribbon, velcro and some tent-red rubber-backed raincoating. Plus, I have lots of car trash. I need to make this car trash bag. http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2009/04/trash-bag.html

Drawstring bags make great presents for kids about to start school (or much bigger nieces who can’t find something large enough for their trainers!).

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And, in a fit of madness, I sat up until midnight making personalised bags out of scraps as a more eco friendly alternative to the all pervasive party bag.

Oh, and on the not actually bags  but still containers front, how about a purse/wallet?

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Or storage baskets? (You could even use them to keep the rest of your scraps in).

But like I said before, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bag/tote/purse patterns, I’m sure you can find your own favourite and get busting.

We’ll be back next week with the last of our set of ideas, if you have any scraps left by then!

In the mean time, happy sewing!

Take one old pair of trousers…

… no longer fitting so well, but also ragged and threadbare at the cuffs, so no one else is likely to want them. The fabric however, a thick herringbone weave, that looks good in places, so get out the scissors…

A little rootling around the stash and some fairly basic sewing later and instead there is one zippered pouch, a makeup bag perhaps, or storage for small items, or useful when packing, who knows. With a large welt pocket on one side that was the back pocket of the trousers, adorned with a skull on the other (I remembered to interface my fabric before applique for once, doesn’t it make a difference!) and a pale yet interestin lining, so that things can be seen inside.

But wait, there’s more…

A shopping bag/tote, with ammonites screen printed on. Hopefully another “manly” bag. The palest grey ammonites are actually just white ink, that’s how it showed up. The black ink doesn’t show well on it’s own, but looks effective over the “white” or the mixed grey.

I was worried that I didn’t have enough fabric for a usefully wide bag, so of course I ended up with a bag a little on the wide side (with a side seam from the trousers preserved running down the middle of each side, just a little off centre). I mitred the bag corners, a current favourite trick that also takes out a little width, then topstitched a pin tuck (?) to make edges of the “sides” like  last time (sorry, no photo’s it would seem).

This bag is unlined and has petersham handles, how decadent (the handles, not the lack of lining, but it’s strong enough).

Both are now in foreign lands, bound with ribbon, filled with gifts, waiting for Christmas day.  Part of my reusable “wrapping paper” crusade I have unleashed on much of my family this Christmas.

So, I seem to be organised for once. But that is so alien of late that instead of feeling relaxed I am more slightly wary, waiting to find out what the gaping hole in my plans is.

Are you a natural airtight planner?