Carry on Cahoning (bag Part 2)

So, if you have a cahon that needs carrying and have prepped your fabric, next you need a plan, right?


My orginal plan was quite literally back of the envelope. The zip down front, for easy cahon insertion and removal, rucksack straps and quilting all stayed. The pocket got ditched (the cahon is so bulky you really don’t want any extra sticky-outiness) as did the idea for a drawstring top and fold over flap. After much musing I decided that drawstring tops and zip down front are inherantly incompatible.


My bag consists of a squarish base piece, a front piece, a main piece that wraps around the other 3 sides and a lid. After cutting my pieces to size, I sewed the zippers onto my front piece. These are separating zippers, because that was my only option locally, later I hand stitched just above the base to make them into non separating zippers.  The wrong side where the zipper is attached to the bag is is bound with some extra wide bias binding.

Next it was time to attach the other side of the zip to the main piece. As I happened to have the salvaged fabric from an abandoned broken tent lying around (as you do), I cut off some strips (already with one edge bound in black) and used them to make a facing for my zip to help keep the rain out that handily bind my raw edges at the same time.  I sewed the zip to the right side of my main piece (teeth pointing inwards), then flipped the fabric over and sewed the facing to the back (aligning the raw edges). Then I folded the zip so the teeth were now pointing outwards and my raw seam allowance was at the back, flipped my facing over my seam alowance, covering my zip, flipped back to the front side and topstitched everything into place. (Nope, I didn’t pin either. #sewingdangerously).


Then the front and main pieces were sewn to the base. The same pale green extra wide bias binding that you can see is also used to bind all the raw edges on the inside seams. There is also a flap of tent fabric at the bottom too, for extra weather proofness.  (Sorry, I have completely failed to take a decent photo of it, you’ll have to use your imagination).

Once the main bag was assembled, onto the straps. I wanted them quilted, to add padding, so rather than sew a tube and turn it, I pressed a centre fold into my strap piece, pressed the seam allowances, quilted some batting in place, attached the webbing to the bottom, folded it up and topstitched everything in place.


Then I could baste the straps in place to try them out. At this point there is a grab handle in between them at the back, that later got moved. Oh, and I should mention that the bottom of the adjustable straps had already been sewn in place when the main piece was sewn tot he base. (And those sliders are reclaimed, all rucksacks die eventually and when mine do I salvage all those bits and put them in by Box of Useful Bag Bits. Those things are really expensive if you buy them new!).


Last up the lid, which is sewn into place on three sides and then has a flap that goes over the front. It doesn’t need to lift off, as the whole front unzips. I used more tent salvage to bind the top of the front piece and the flap of the lid before sewing the lid in place.

The lid fastens in place with a magnetic bag clasp (this I did  buy new). I managed to get one part into the facing of the flap before sewing it down, (with a little rectangle of fleece offcut for extra stability), but for the bag front I attached it to a patch of denim and sewed it in place.  I didn’t fancy trying to get the clasp through the quilted front, and if I did I was worried that the holes would fray. (The patch has some classy red nail varnish acting as fray stop, which you can just make out around the clasp. Oh well.)


The grab handle is some ribbon threaded through another reclaimed bag bit and sewn across the centre of the lid. I thought this would be more stable for lifting a bulky item like a cahon than a loop behind the straps on the back.

So now, finally, months after I started, LSH has a bag for his cahon. Woot woot. I will try and get you an action shot update once dance out season is underway.

Of course, as soon as a certain someone saw the cahon in its bag he had to put it on his back. I foolishly mentioned that it was nearly as big as him, and so he had to test it out.  He’s just slightly too big to have it zipped up.

Now this monumental project is finished I’m not sure what to do next. Something simple to clense my palate maybe.  In the meantime, I may just stare at it a little more….

I had to ask didn’t I

The Boy has a birthday coming up. Traditionally I make him some item of clothing. I was thinking of some more trousers, or a jumper (sweater), or maybe both. But I had to go and ask him if there was anything he needed (answer, nope, so well done there on the Simplicity testimony), or wanted. I should’ve known better.

A hat that looks like a helmet for when I’m being a Wilder

(No, I’m not quite sure what a Wilder is, it’s a game they play. Think some kind of Robin Hood / Lord of the Rings /LARP type thing and you won’t be far off as far as I can tell.)

Well, I didn’t think I could pull off a complicated faux metal helmet hat, but we did see a simple leather re-enactment helmet recently (cannot find photo’s of anything similar to show you), and I thought I might add some fake fur trim, Game of Thrones style, and aimed to get something that looked a bit like this.

For a pattern piece, I started with a head circumference, divided by 4, and also measured from front to back of where the “helmet” would sit (over the crown, and divided that by 2, and then used these measurements to freehanded a pattern piece (I added seam allowances afterwards).


I cut four out these out of some scrap fleece, but used the wrong side.  This is the inside, with the tops trimmed and the seam allowances sewn open with a faux flatlock stitch.


Looking promising right?


Next up a loop of faux fur, 3 inches wide, the circumference of my hat, was sewn on, right sides together (I cut this “cross grain”, as I was using scraps. I should’ve made it a big bigger really as it doesn’t have the stretch in the right direction, still I can squeeze it on and my head is humungeous).

I folded it in half round to the inside and then stitched it down from the rightside. I couldn’t stitch in the ditch as the faux fur wasn’t playing ball (the whole thing was sooo thick it barely fit on my machine and I broke a needle at one point), so my stitching line is about a cm above the fur.

So far, I have tried it on Little Sister. (The glower is to show she’s only trying it on under duress). It’s not perfect, but I think it will do for now. I may end up making another one (this one might be rejected or more likely lost), in which case I will try and improve my design (less height maybe, more width for the fur).

But so far, not a bad half hour make from scraps. (Yeah, I’ll probably do summat else too).

Slow Camels

Apparently camels have a gestation period of 13-14 months. Who knew? Maybe that’s why my new camel jumper took so long to make, about 12 months from buying the fabric to having something to wear.


I ordered this fabric before going on a screenprinting course last year. The inks used on the course would only work on paler fabrics, so I planned to print on some  of this grey marl fleece backed sweatshirting, but when I found that was sold out I decided upon some green instead, however worrying it would be too dark, I chose the latte as well. Turned out the green was fine to work with, so I decided to use the latte for a test garment.

People Tree Peter Jensen Bear Print Women's Jumper Burgundy Melange ...

Small problem, I don’t wear this colour, at all. I was wondering what I could do with it, and musing on the fact that it was more camel coloured than latte coloured when inspiration struck. Camels! I wanted to make an all over camel print jumper, inspired by the all over bear print people tree jumper that my friend has.


Turns out camels are surprisingly difficult to draw (go ahead, have a go, I’ll wait….., see, told you).  Luckily my niece is an arts student and she kindly rustled me up a quick sketch and emailed it over, which I traced over and shrank and then ordered it made into a custom screen from thermofax screens with some birthday present money.

More delays whilst I played around with screen printing and then in January I decided the time was now and made a pattern from an old beloved worn out sweatshirt, cut out my pieces and got printing. Which is when I realised that the camel was never going to work quite the same way as the original bear inspiration as a) it’s directional and b) I only had one sized screen (the bears come in a variety of sizes). LSH persuaded me that less was more and I ended up with a mainly camel coloured jumper with a few camels on (more on the back as he wasn’t looking when I printed that).

I was pretty pleased at how my self drafted pattern came out. Patch pocket: good. Ribbing at sides as per original: worked perfectly. Adding extra ease into the sleeves to account for this fabric being thicker than the original: spot on. Nice long cuffs that when folded down reach my thumb: check. And then I added the collar. Arrgh (see evidence above). Horrible, wrong, not what I intended. Despite this being my second attempt at the collar (having tried a collar first and redrafting the pattern pieces as it wasn’t right). I think partly my neckline is too wide (not much I can do about that) and this fabric is thicker than the original hoodie and behaves differently.


It sat, nearly done, in the naughtly corner through all the cold weather. Finally I redid the collar, taking length out the back and height out and reapplying the eyelets with interfacing added to the back now so they stay in. It’s not perfect, but I’m happier with it and the fabric is so snuggly and cosy I just know I’ll be wearing it anyway. Once I find something it goes with.

So, I now have a camel jumper, that came out nothing like I planned but is very snuggly and comfy to wear. Maybe now I can start on the “real deal” green version (with a few tweaks to the too wide neckline and probably a rib finish).

Oh and this is the twin of the Hobbit Hoodie, we were both wearing them today!



Hoodie 2.0

(or Yay, I finally sewed something)


First there was Hoodie 1.0, AKA the Hobbit Hoodie (short and fat).


Then there was the beta (aka test) version of the What-No-Decent-Mens-Hoodie-Patterns?-Surely-Even-My-Drafting -Has-to-Fit-Better-Than-the-First-One Hoodie (known as the bike hoodie for short).

Now meet, Hoodie 2.0, the Vaguely Steampunk Cogs Hoodie (in teal).

This is basically the same pattern as the Bike Hoodie (i.e. self drafted raglan with hood and pockets from a free Lekala pattern) with a few very technical and highly skilled fitting tweaks. (Bear with me here while I describe these for fellow pro’s and don’t worry too much if you find my description too indecipherable, you probably just don’t have my amazing fitting skills, so just nod in awe instead.) I took a thumbs length out of the underarm sleeve, tapering it down to the nothing at the cuff seam and I took half a thumb out of the middle of the raglan seam tapering to nothing at either end of the seam. Oh and I redrew the side seam so it was actually straight and perpendicular to the hem. I know, I know, technical stuff.

My other change was to line the hood. Which I did by underlining, as I wanted to keep the main fabric folded over to the inside and I wasn’t sure how else to achieve this didn’t want to show anyone up any more by redrafting the pieces to make that happen.  Basically I cut out and sewed 2 hood pieces, one in my main fabric and one in leftover fabric from my stash (my initial thought was to buy something, quite pleased I double checked I really needed to, not least as this stuff feels very soft and warm). Then I tacked (basted) them together. Then I folded the front edge over and pressed in place. Oh and I wanted to use twill tape to thread through the channel but as last time I had trouble getting safety pins through my eyelets I tacked this into the crease of the foldover before sewing my edges down (so it wouldn’t shift and get caught in the stitching), crossed my fingers and by jove it worked, when I unpicked my tacking I had succesfully sewn my drawstring into the casing but left it free to move. Less haste more speed and all that.  Oh and I used the same twill tape to cover the hood/hoodie seam and to make a hanging loop (always useful).

Finished last night, roadtested on a family day out today, thumbs up, made me smile lots and hubby seemed to like it too. The fit is definitely better again (although as always there is room for improvement) and I wish I’d cut the inerfacing tape I used to stabilise the front with in half as due to my narrow seam allowance it shows. But as Points To Improve On go, that’s pretty minor.

Gosh all this Science is hard work (especially after a late night sewing finish). I hope you had a great Easter Weekend too.

Beta Bicycle Hoodie


After the so close and yet so far Hobbit Hoodie, I knew I wanted to make Long Suffering Husband another hoodie for his upcoming birthday. Things were discussed. Very complicated things. I also had a look around for a better pattern and didn’t get very far, I was beginning to think I’d have to draft one myself. Eek.  And then I spied this grey (terry?) knit in my local fabric shop. It’s not much thicker than a t shirt weight and not great quality, but it was cheap so I snapped up 2 metres and got drafting, making a raglan pattern using an existing top of his as a guide and pinching the pockets and the hood from the Lekala pattern that I used last time.


Turns out 2m wasn’t quite enough but I decided to use some nice thickish black t shirt knit for the pockets and hood (with a pieced bicycle central stripe as directed) and with the black ribbing I think that looks pretty good.


If I’m being critical the fit isn’t perfect, there’s a lot of excess fabric pooling along the raglan seams at the front and it has a bit of a bat wing thing going on, but it’s sooo much better than the Lekala/hobbit version so it’s definitely a step in the right direction. In particular it’s long enough to stop drafts getting to his lower back and also reaches the end of his wrists which he’s quite pleased about.


I didn’t bother with holes for cord in the end as I’m not sure he’ll actually wear the hood up. Which made me wonder why I’d made the hood, but then you can’t really have a hoodie without a hood. The hood looks quite odd up, so in hindsight I probably should’ve bothered, but I’m not worried enough to change it unless I get complaints!