Category Archives: Bagmaking

A Cute Little Messenger Style Bag

It’s been an interesting few days, it has to be said.

Back last week, I had a nasty fall, like the decrepit old baggage I am, tearing some muscles my hip. Fortunately, X-rays showed it’s not broken, but apparently it’s likely to take a good month or two to get better. So not only am I not really at all mobile at present, relying on a wheelchair and a pair of crutches to get around, I haven’t been able to get much sewing done recently.

Well, until yesterday, that is. When for the first time in a while I had a real urge to sew.

But what to make? I didn’t fancy just doing some mindless piecing, but I didn’t want anything too complicated. I was looking for a little project to work on that wouldn’t take too long, didn’t require too much thought, and would provide me with instant gratification.

And I found it, thanks to the lovely Ms K, over at Easy Patchwork. A few days ago, she’d posted a picture on Instagram of the cutest little messenger bag she’d made, using a tutorial from mmmcrafts. Now, Mum’s been dropping some not-so-subtle hints recently about how useful such a bag would be for when she’s out walking her dogs, so I’d been on the lookout for a simple pattern to try my hand at.

And now, it seems, I’d found it! Perfect 🙂

But before sewing a bag for Mum, I decided to make a practice one for me. I thought it would be very useful to have a bag I could wear slung across my body over the next couple of months, leaving my hands free for crutches etc, until my hip gets better.

Good idea, non?!

Now, I didn’t follow the pattern exactly as given in the tutorial. For a start, I only had a half metre of the outer fabric I wanted to use (a beautiful Echino butterfly print) – so I had to scale the bag pattern down to fit what I had available. It actually measures 9 1/2″ square, rather than the 12″ square of the original. And, as luck would have it, it’s turned out to be the perfect size for a dog-walking bag. Well, I think so, anyway 😉

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As per the pattern, I added a cute back pocket to keep my phone in. Check out that pattern matching!

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But I also added a magnetic bag closure for security.

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And used some co-ordinating Echino stitched webbing I had leftover from another project for the strap.

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All in all, this little project was quite the success. Super easy to make, as well as to adapt. Pretty and practical, too. And quick to put together, thus providing that all-important instant gratification!

I’ll definitely be making one for Mum at some point, but in the meantime I think I’ll just sit back, relax, and enjoy making good use of the fruits of my labours.

A Christmas Craft Sale Beckons…

Well, there seems to have been a bit of radio silence chez LPC recently. And for a very good reason! Not only have I been travelling – visiting Mum, weekend in Bath, day trip to Lyon – I’ve also been sewing away like a crazy woman.

Mais pourquoi I hear you cry! Well, a local group I belong to – the International Women’s Club of Lausanne – is holding a Holiday Gift Fair in early December. And I’ve decided to take a table to try and sell my wares.

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This is a bit of a departure for me, as, until now, I’ve never seriously considered selling what I create. Most of it is made for the sheer pleasure of creating something beautiful, and ends up as gifts for people close to me. What’s more, I’ve never actually been convinced that anything I make is good enough to sell. But a couple of things have recently helped changed my mind.

First off, I successfully completed my Fabric Fast earlier this year, during which I committed to not buying any new fabric for 6 whole months. And so, from January to June, everything I made came my stash. This not only made me feel Deeply Virtuous, it also made me really take stock of the yards and yards of beautiful fabric I already have and which I’ve been hoarding for Some Special Project Or Other. But I’ve come to realise that such a Special Project may never materialise. Or, if it does, I’m much more likely to buy something yummy and new. And this is because of another revelation from my Fabric Fast – over the years my tastes have evolved. Fabric that I bought, say, 5 years ago, whilst still very beautiful, just doesn’t inspire me like it used to. It’s just sitting forlornly in my cupboard, waiting to be used. And that makes me a little sad. Fabric should be enjoyed, not hidden away in a cupboard!

And so I resolved to use up some of these former favourites to make beautiful and useful items – not just quilts, but things like various-sized fabric baskets, tissue holders, bookmarks, bags – and whatever else I can think of! And seeing as I can only use so many of these, and only have so many friends that would appreciate them as a gift, the logical conclusion is that I should try to sell them, so that they can be used and enjoyed as the fabric gods intended.

Secondly, I recently attended Patchwork in the Peaks – a twice yearly quilt retreat, held by the lovely Ms E in the glorious French Alps. And when I was there, I made a new friend, Ms S. Now Ms S, like me, loves modern quilting fabric, and was, like me, hugely frustrated by the lack of said modern quilting fabric available in the local area. And so she opened an Etsy store to sell fabric that she loves (she currently has some beautiful Jeni Baker Art Gallery fabric for sale…) One of the evenings we got chatting about fabric in general, and fabrics we’ve grown out of in particular, and she suggested I look into selling off some of my stash on Etsy, which, she assured me, is nowhere near as complicated or expensive as I’d previously assumed. And so a seed was planted…

Finally, I heard about the Holiday Gift Fair, and it occurred to me that this would be the ideal opportunity to maybe try and sell some of my creations, and then, if it goes well, possibly open up a little Etsy store myself as well.

And so I’ve been creating… And here is a little snapshot of some of my Works in Progress.

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Noodlehead Divided Baskets

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Handy Little Fold-Up Pouches 

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Pocket Tissue Holders

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Reversible Twisted Fabric Baskets

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And last, but by no means least, Kitty Cat Tissue Box Holders, just like this little guy  – but in waaaay cooler fabrics 🙂

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday...

Handy Little Fold-Up Pouch Tutorial

(I originally wrote this tutorial for the 2014 Q3 Finish-Along link-up, hosted by Katy over at The Littlest Thistle)

I’ve had a little fold-up sewing pouch for donkeys’ years, but I’ve rarely used it. I found it hiding away in a drawer in my sewing room a month or two ago, and when I pulled it out, it occurred to me that the reason it was languishing unloved in a drawer was because it wasn’t the right size for what I needed.

So I decided to make my own version that ticked all my boxes.

Initially I thought I’d use it as a take-along pouch for when I wanted to sew some hexies on-the-go, but I soon realised I could also use it as a little clutch for a night out, to hold travel documents and the like – well, you get the idea! I fiddled and faffed with the idea until I found something I was happy with. It fits my travel hexie kit, my iPhone and also my passport.

May I present to you a very handy little fold-up pouch!

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You will need:

  • 1 FQ main fabric for the outside of your pouch and the pockets
  • 1 FQ lining fabric for the lining and binding
  • Scrap of batting or fusible fleece 6 1/2” x 18”
  • 2 poppers (or magnetic clasps, as preferred)
  • 1 button, for decoration (optional)

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Cutting instructions

From main fabric cut:

  • 1 rectangle 6 1/2” x 18” for the outside of the pouch (if you will be quilting the exterior densely, I would cut it slightly bigger – say 7″ x 18 1/2″ –  and then trim it down to size after you’ve quilted it)
  • 3 rectangles 6 1/2” x 8” for the interior pockets
  • 1 square 6” x 6” for the interior pocket flap

From lining fabric cut:

  • 1 rectangle 6 1/2” x 18” for the pouch lining
  • 3 strips 18” x 2 1/4” for binding

Prepare the outside of your pouch.

Fuse fleece to the wrong side of your main fabric 6 1/2” x 18” rectangle, or baste the fabric to your batting. Quilt as desired – I quilted random wavy lines about 1” apart diagonally across the fabric.

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Prepare the pockets

With wrong sides together, fold each of the 6 1/2” x 8” rectangles in half along the 6 1/2” length to make 3 rectangles that each measure 6 1/2” x 4”.

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Press along the fold to form a neat, crisp edge, then top stitch along this fold, approximately 1/8” in from the edge.

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Attach the pockets to the lining fabric

Using a ruler, measure and draw 2 lines on the right side of the lining fabric, one 5” up from the bottom and the second one 9 3/4” up from the bottom. These lines will be covered by the pockets, so use a Frixion pen, regular pencil, whatever you have to hand.

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Take 2 of your prepared pockets and place them on the lining fabric, with the raw edges aligned along the lines you just drew, and the topstitched edges pointing down to the bottom of the lining.

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Pin in place and sew onto the lining fabric with a 1/4” seam allowance.

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Flip the pockets up toward the top of the lining and press towards the top of the lining.

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Take the third pocket and place it at the very bottom of the lining, aligning all 3 raw edges of the pocket with the raw edges at the bottom of the lining. Pin in place. Then align the sides of the other 2 pockets with the raw long edge of the lining and pin in place.

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Use a seam allowance of about 1/8” and a basting stitch of about 4.0 to secure the edges of all three pockets to the lining.

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Prepare and attach the pocket flap

Take the 6” square and fold it in half lengthways with right sides together. Pin the raw edges. Mark a gap about 2 1/2” wide in the middle of the long edge, which will be left unsewn for turning.

Sew both short edges and up to either side of the gap you marked, using a 1/4” seam allowance, and backstitching at each end. Trim the corners.

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Turn the pocket flap right side out through the gap you left, and push the corners out.

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Fold the fabric at the gap under 1/4”, and press the flap flat.

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Top stitch along each side and along the bottom edge of the flap; this will close the gap.

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Centre the pocket flap approximately 1/4” above the top of the pocket you want to have a flap. Pin in place and top stitch along the top of the flap to secure it to the lining. Pull the threads through to the back of the lining and tie them off.

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Add a popper (or other closure) to the pocket flap.

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Attach magnetic clasp (if using – if you’re planning on using a regular popper, skip this step)

On the outside,  measure up and mark a point 6 1/2″ from the bottom of the pouch, and  3 1/4″ in from either side.

On the lining, measure down and mark a point 1 1/4″ from the top of the lining, and 3 1/4″ in from either side.

These mark where the centre of each piece of the magnetic clasp should be placed.

Attach your magnetic clasp according to the instructions which came with it.

Assemble the Pouch

Place the batting side of the quilted outer fabric to the wrong side of the lining, and pin in place

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NB – if you are using a directional fabric, you need to line the top of the lining with the bottom of the outside of the pouch, so that when you fold it up, the fabric at the front will be the right way up. I found this out the hard way 😉

Baste around all four sides with a stitch length of around 4.0 and a seam allowance of around 1/8”, like you did with the edges of the pockets. I used a walking foot because of all the layers. It will look like a complete mess, but the edges are about to be covered up with binding, so it doesn’t matter!

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Attach the binding

Sew the 3 strips of 18” x 2 1/4” lining fabric together end to end and press to create a single fold binding.

Attach the binding to the front of the pouch using a 1/4” seam allowance, then fold the binding over and sew to the back of the pouch either by hand or by machine.

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Fold the pouch up

With pocket side up, fold the bottom pocket up to meet the middle pocket, then fold up again twice.

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Add a popper to secure the front flap to the rest of the pouch, and add a decorative button if desired.

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Fill pockets with useful things and admire your handiwork!

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As you can see, I made several!

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So why not make it your own? Use up your scraps by piecing the outside (I made this one with leftover bits of a jelly roll)…

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… or piecing the pockets (I fussy cut my scraps of this glorious Tula Pink octopus fabric to do this)

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Make one without any pocket flaps inside (like my Tula Pink one above), or with several, or change the shape of the flap.

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The sky’s the limit, so why not get creating?!

LPC

Serendipitous Surprises

Some days I find that everything just kind of comes together as if it were meant to be, and yesterday was most definitely one of those days. Unexpectedly so, I might add!

It started off like a regular day, except I went to have my nails done. At the moment I seem to have temporarily escaped from my pink-and-purple rut, and am now in a most definitely blue-aqua-green frame of mind (I’m blaming the bad influence of Ms E and Ms JJ for this!). The weather here has been somewhat miserable these past few weeks – rainy, overcast, not much sun – and so I chose a glorious bluey-green colour polish, as it made me think of the colour of the sea in the Caribbean. I think it’s gorgeous, and I came home happy, admiring my nails all the way.

Imagine my surprise when, arriving home, I found not one, but 2 parcels waiting for me in my mailbox! Since I started my quilting-fabric fast back in January, parcels in mailboxes have become a rare occurrence chez LPC… Needless to say, I was suitably excited, and scurried up to the apartment to discover what was in them. And I was not disappointed!

The first parcel contained some Linton fabric I’d ordered a few weeks back to make a new cardigan jacket. Since my couture sewing class, I now understand what went wrong last time around, so I decided to put my new-found knowledge into practice by making a new, improved version of the sadly-flawed original. In a turquoise-green fabric with golden-yellow and blue flecked ribbons woven through it. All summery and fresh and beautiful. Mmmmmmm 🙂 I’d actually forgotten I’d ordered it, so it was a wonderful surprise.

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The fabric actually came with a cute Linton label!

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Close up of the Linton fabric

The second parcel was altogether more special, as it contained an adorable bag made for me by the wonderful Katy of The Littlest Thistle. Earlier this year, I participated in her sew-along to make a lovely messenger style bag. And for participating, I won a prize.  And this was it…

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My new little clutch bag!

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Metallic gold flap and cute heart magnetic clasp

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Botanics lining – I love that fabric!

What’s more, tucked inside as an extra surprise were 3 beautiful mini charm packs, which I have to admit I drooled over and petted (well, this was my first new quilting fabric in months!)

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Katy had thoughtfully made this bag in green and gold chevrons fabric, which not only matches the green and gold in my jacket fabric to perfection…

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… but also co-ordinates pretty darn well with my newly-painted nails! (Mr. Boy also seems to approve!)

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All in all, a day of serendipitous surprises 🙂