As I write this post, I am on my way to Barbados. And boy do we need a holiday! New York over Thanksgiving was marvellous, and the UK a few weeks ago was wonderful too, but with so many friends and family we wanted to see and so much we wanted to fit in, neither could really be classed as relaxing. Lots of fun, certainly. But exhausting too. We’re bone-achingly tired. 10 days of proper rest and relaxation is most definitely called for.
I’d already made some clothes to take away with me, primarily a couple of pretty skirts, but the last few days have seen a veritable flurry of activity in my sewing room. My first little project was caused by the realisation that I needed a plain white top to wear with said new skirts. My goes-with-everything top from last year sadly no longer fits (it must have shrunk in storage…), and I couldn’t find anything suitable in the shops in Lausanne. So I decided to make one, using some white broderie anglaise fabric I had in my stash. The result was this precious little top, which I adorned with a little turquoise ribbon as a pretty trim.
After that, all was ready to pack, and as I was merrily putting things into cases, I came across RR’s ratty old drawstring bag full of various cables, chargers and adapters. I have always hated this bag. It’s too big for what he uses it for, so everything ends up in it all higgledy piggledy. You can never find what you’re looking for in it, and everything gets all tangled up and messy. Now, I had some Spitfire fabric left over from a cushion I’d made him for Christmas, and I wondered if I could make a better bag to contain all those cables.
Of course I could! And here it is.
I used u-Handbag.com’s Sugar Loaf Pouch pattern again, only this time I borrowed the template from my friend Ms C, so it actually turned out the right size. I still can’t work out what went wrong with the printing the first time around, but thankfully this time it worked like a dream.
Then I decided to make myself a couple. Just because I was already all packed and I had the time and I was jealous of RR’s bag. I used a couple of fat quarters I’d had prettying up my stash for a good three or four years. I made the larger size for all my cables, and the smaller one for a little holiday medical kit – tablets, plasters, etc.
Sitting together, pretty as can be…
View from top
Check out that top-stitching!
I’m pretty sure I’ll be making some more soon, given that they’re so pretty, and so easy to make (once you have the right size pattern template, that is!) Imagine what a lovely little gift that would make, stuffed full of yummy Swiss chocolates 🙂
But for the next few weeks, all I have to concentrate on is deep rest and extreme relaxation.
Bring it on 🙂
Well, who’d have thought it?!
It’s been 2 months since I took the plunge and signed up to the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, and I’m doing well. Really well, in fact. Oh yes!
I started out back in January by taking a good hard look at my sewing room, and deciding that it Was Not Conducive to finishing projects or making the most of my stash. Sure, I had fabric stored neatly in my cupboard and drawers (and the spare room wardrobe too, if you really want to know…), and my projects were all nicely organised into boxes, but they were piled up all over the place higgledy-piggledy and not desperately accessible.
Following the tactical purchase of an Ikea bookcase, and the relocation of my sewing machine to the corner by the window to enable said bookcase to actually fit in the room, my sewing space is now much more organised, and I can see all my stash and my projects at a glance.
New Ikea bookcase full of project boxes
My newly-organised stash cupboard
Pre-cuts and fabric bundles
Dress making fabric
Now I can actually see all my yummy fabric, I’m feeling inspired to cut into it and use it up. And I have been! I earmarked my stash of Taxi fabrics for the 2014 Sugar Block Club block of the month, and have already made January and February’s blocks. I’ve also re-discovered some Fig Tree pre-cuts, which had been stored out of sight in a drawer, and which I’m planning to use to make a wedding quilt for RR’s cousin, Miss S, and her soon to be husband, Mr E.
I still have a whole box of scraps which need to be sorted, but I’ve been waiting for a snow day to get going on this and we haven’t had any snow yet this year…
But what’s more important for me is that I haven’t felt the need to buy any more quilting fabric. I’ve unsubscribed from all the fabric-porn newsletters I used get, and haven’t been actively looking on-line at new, must-have fabric lines. A big test came 2 weeks ago, when I popped into my local quilt shop with Ms C, who needed border fabric for her beautiful one block wonder quilt. Yes I looked, and yes I touched, and yes I may have been a teeny bit tempted – but I didn’t buy ANYTHING!!! I don’t know who was more shocked – me, Ms C, or the owner!
What’s more, I’m not getting bored with the projects I have on the go, or with my stash, and I’ve so many quilt and dressmaking ideas whirring around in my head that I’m excited about.
So, all in all, so far so good on the Fabric Fast front – long may it continue!
I’m happy to report another 2014 finish – my Whole Lotta Bag, a beautiful messenger-style bag, designed by Katy Cameron of The Littlest Thistle (pattern available here). Katy’s been running a sew-along to make this beauty, and having a ‘timetable’ of sorts to follow has kept me motivated and going strong over the last few weeks – and got me finished, too 🙂
Seeing as I’m currently participating in the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, I had to use fabric from my stash. The fabric I picked out had been tentatively earmarked for a baby quilt of some description, but I loved it so much I found I couldn’t bear to use it for a gift (what a mean old bag I am, right??!)
I love owls, and these were so cute, not to mention the beautiful purple and pink co-ordinating fabrics, that I decided that this would be the ideal project to use it in – and I’d get to keep the bag at the end of it – totally owltastic!
Although the pattern itself isn’t difficult to make, it is quite time consuming – but I’ve certainly found it to be worth the effort involved, as I absolutely love it!
It sports a back zipper pocket, which is way big enough for my 13″ MacBook…
… two elasticated side pockets (perfect for my phone)…
… a front bellows pocket (ideal for my phone and Macbook chargers)…
… an interior zipped pocket, as well as bags of room inside for anything else I could possibly think of!
I finished the bag earlier this week, courtesy of my lovely friend Ms C, who popped in to install the bag fasteners for me – way too fiddly for my crappy fingers (note to self – next time, use magnetic snap fasteners, which look a whole lot easier to fit!) I was initially planning to use it on my trip back to the UK this week, as it’s absolutely ideal for hand baggage, but then I looked at the weather forecast and decided that perhaps I’d better wait until there was less likelihood of torrential rain to ruin its newly-finished perfection!
My niece, the lovely Miss B, is already casting covetous eyes over this bag, so I may be making another one sooner rather than later, but until then, I shall be enjoying this one all for myself.
Just recently I’ve had a bit of a fetish for bags.
Not just the expensive, bought-in-Paris-on-the-Champs-Elysées-dahling kind of bags (though I have to admit that those are a major fetish too – just ask poor RR…) But recently, it’s also been for ones I have made with my own fair hands.
It all started back in October, at the Patchwork in the Peaks quilt retreat, when the lovely Katy of The Littlest Thistle taught us to make the Aeroplane Bag. My previous forays into bag making hadn’t been a roaring success. I’d somehow managed to cobble together a couple of tote bags in the past, but then I over-reached myself and decided to have a stab at Amy Butler’s Weekender Bag. Big mistake. Suffice to it wasn’t my finest hour, and some Very Bad Words were uttered many times over. After that, I decided bag making was not for me.
Then Katy came along and showed me that it could all be so different!
I’m not saying that No Bad Words were uttered during the process, or that I found it all plain sailing, but Katy was calm and unflappable and taught me loads. More importantly, she gave me the confidence to try bag making again.
Firstly, I made Mum a bag for Christmas. Aeroplane Mk II. With dogs on. She loved it!
Then, Katy brought out her own bag pattern – Whole Lotta Bag. It’s a roomy messenger style bag with loads of pockets that I thought would be ideal to take along on my frequent travels. She’s currently running a sew-along over on her blog, and I’m taking part. I’m even almost up to date…
Then last week I really went for it. Oh yeah, baby!
First of all, I used some scraps to make this itty bitty bag. It was inspired by a pattern in Jelly Roll Scraps – Twenty to Make by Carolyn Forster, which I’d picked up on my last trip to the UK – only, being me, I changed it up a little 🙂
The red and pinky scraps are from my Broken Herringbone quilt, and the black ones are left over from a quilt I made RR 3 or 4 years ago. The lining was a remnant from Dad’s quilt. This cute little bag measures 6″ x 7″, and I think it would be perfect for an evening out. And Mimi Bubba seems to think it makes a most agreeable pillow 🙂
Fired up by my success at making this, I decided to play around with my original Aeroplane Bag to change all the things that were really bugging me about it. Like the fact it was too floppy, the wonky topstitching, and the inexpertly-installed zip. I took the whole thing apart, added fusible fleece to stiffen the sides, and re-constructed it, paying lots of attention to the zip and the topstitching.
Et voilà! An Aeroplane Bag to be even more proud of!
Finally, I decided to tackle the Sugar Loaf Pouch from U-Handbag. I used the same fabric as I’d used for my Aeroplane Bag. And boy was it fiddly! But finally, after much fabric-wrestling, and liberal use of my machine’s walking foot, I ended up with this…
Still can’t quite work our how it ended up so small (it was meant to measure 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 3 1/3″ – it actually measures 3 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ x 2″… – presumably that’s why it was so damned fiddly!) – and somehow the zebra ended up on the bottom of the bag, but all in all, I’m really pleased with it.
So all in all, a bag-filled week, and best of all, I feel truly virtuous about my liberal use of scraps! Fabric Fast – bring it on, baby!!!
Linking up with WIP Wednesday – why not pop on over and take a look?