Saturday, 28 April 2012

Sale at Sharnbrook

The weather seemed to put off most of the car-booters - at about 10am (the sale started at 8.30) I understand all but two cars had left.  I was SOOOO glad I had decided not to chance the weather and had taken a stall inside!
Buyers were thin on the ground, but those who came seemed to like the bags and I sold a lot (though you wouldn't really know it from the amount I brought home!  I was pleased with how things looked; I'm finding that fewer bags on the rail seems to sell more than packed rails. 


The owl tree (the metal spiral is an IKEA Christmas decoration) received lots of interest and was great for displaying the phone cases. 

This time I sold mostly larger bags - tote style - though the owl items were all popular too.  The playmat bag received plenty of admiration, though I didn't sell it today. 
I was home by 12.30 - and spent most of the rest of the afternoon planning some of my lessons for the impending OFSTED inspection next week.  One subject down, two to go.  Time for some sewing to relax myself, I think!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

More wrist purses

These little purses were quick and easy to make.  I made them to fit some zips I "inherited"; most of them are 7" square.  All are lined, with the same fabric as used for the wrist strap.  I think these would be good for carrying the "bare essentials" when dashing out to collect children from school, for example. 


The final one has a boxed base.  I quite like the effect, though I have to admit I didn't intend it!  I was sewing two different styles at once and got confused ... no harm done though!
I think I still have over 100 pockets waiting to be used.  I'm scouring books looking for inspiration!

Shared at these link parties:
Create and Share
Hoo's got talent
We Did It Wednesday
Whip it Up Wednesday
Show off your Stuff




Sunday, 22 April 2012

Little tote bag with flower

The inspiration for today's bags came from here. I used the measurements but probably changed just about everything else, if I am honest!  I made mine shorter by using a 2" cutout for the boxy base.  I had to trim down the sides somewhat - I think a greater seam allowance was used on the original (I habitually sew bags with a 1/4" seam).  I also used somewhat wider and longer handles, and added a flap with a magnetic catch. The flowers are different too - the one on the third, bright bag was my own design, trying to cater for the thick curtain fabric I was using, and the others were similar to the pattern here.
I did break with my own tradition on this bag and use a fairly stiff interfacing, and I rather like the effect.  I may be going to Ebay to find an economical supply of interfacing, I think.
My bags were made from denim and more of the curtain samples I was given.  I'm about half way down the supply now!


I will be sharing these bags at some of the Monday link parties on my Link party page.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Drawstring bags

Thanks to Sandra who sent me this link. It was a pattern I had not made before.  I used up some more of my stock of pockets on these and think they would be great (as the pattern suggests) for storing your plastic shopping bags in the car (unless you have already managed to make a stock of fabric ones!) or as little wash bags / cosmetic bags. 






Looking forward to seeing what people think of them, and the rest of my stock, at the craft fair at Sharnbrook next weekend.  The weekend after that I will be at Milton Keynes Bowl for their garden event; have just collected a boot full of plants to take along so I am as yet not sure how I will also manage the bags...!

I'm sharing this at the following parties:
Serenity Saturday
Polkadot Pretties
Saturday Sew and Tell
Sew Crafty Saturday
Strut your stuff Saturday
Once upon a weekend

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Playmat bag tutorial

Here is the promised tutorial.  Warning - it is long!  This is not a bag for a beginner either.  Having said all the negatives, I hope it will be one which you would like to use.  As ever, if you use it to make items to sell for profit, I would really appreciate it if you would consider making a donation to support the work of The Sure Foundation in feeding starving children in Kenya.

First, draw up your pattern.
Pattern for the main denim segments:
Draw a line 15" long.  Use your quilting ruler to draw a line 45 degrees to this line, and also 15" long.  Join the ends of these two lines up.  This is piece A.
Contrast strip:
Draw parallel lines 14" long and 2" wide.  This is piece B.
Top strip (the loops will be attached to this):
Draw two parallel lines 17" long and 3" apart.  This is piece C.
The rest of the pieces will be cut witha  rotary cutter and ruler.

Cut 8 each from denim of piece A and piece C.  (I found that the backs of jeans were best for piece A.  From one pair of large men's jeans I managed to cut four segments, but from most jeans I only managed two, one from each leg.  I put the rest aside for other projects.  Piece C I cut from the front legs.)
Cut 8 of piece B from your contrast fabric.  I "fussy cut" this, using a repeating longways pattern.
Also cut one long strip 2" wide from contrast for the loops, anotehr 2" wide for the binding and one long piece 6" wide for the handle.  Keep most of the fabric for the lining - you will need a large piece.  I waited to cut the strips until I had cut my lining piece, so that I could see what i had left.

Prepare your loops.  Press in half lengthwise, then open out.  Press the edges in to the middle.  Press in half again and sew a line of stitching a scant 1/4" from the edge.

Find the centre point of the long edges of the contrast strips, and the centre point of the short edges of your segment pieces. Matching these points, sew the contrast strips to the segments.

Fold your Piece C in half widthways and in half again.  Put a pin at the points 1/4 of the way in from each end.  Pin the loops in position here.


Stitch these pieces to the top edge of your wedge, backstitching over the loops to secure them.

Place your ruler in line with the long denim edge and use this to continue your diagonal all the way up through the two strips you have added.
Pin and stitch the segments together in  pairs and press.  Line up and "lock" the seams of your contrast pieces.

Pin each pair of segments to another pair and stitch them.  You will have two pieces with four segments in each.

Pin these two segments together and stitch.  Sew very carefully over the centre as this gets very bulky.

Use this piece as your pattern for your lining, cutting the lining about 1" larger all the way round.  Put the lining and main body wrong sides facing. Pin (use lots of pins!) and stitch them together.  I stitched "in the ditch" on all seams and 1/8" around the outside. If you use cotton fabric for both the outside and the lining you may wish to add wadding between your layers.  I decided I could do without the extra bulk!

Add your magnetic clasps to the lining.  Place them at opposite sides of the bag; I put mine centrally on opposite segments.

Now you have your two pieces securely attached, trim your lining to match your main body.  Bind the mat around the outside by placing the binding face down on the outer fabric and stitching all the way round, pivoting at each corner.  Then slipstitch the binding to the lining of your mat.

Make the handle by pressing your long 6" wide strip in half lengthwise.  Open, press the sides to the middle and then press in half again.  Sew 1/4 " in down each side of the strip.


Feed the strip through your loops.  Cut to the right length - you want your mat to lie flat, but you don't want any extra length in the handle.  Fold each end of the handle under about 1/2", one up and one down.  Place these ends together with the raw ends sandwiched in the middle.  Stitch securely - I did several seams round the outside and several X seams across the handle.

Your mat is ready to use.  I found it so helpful to have a space to place my not-yet-mobile babies - it was useful to have a "marked out" space.

 When it is time to leave, take your baby off the mat (!) and fasten the macnetic snap. Pull the handles tight through the loops:
  And you and your bag are ready to leave.  Don't forget the baby!
I did think that you could line this with a fleece fabric for a baby, or with a waterproof fabric for use as a changing mat - all the nappies etc would fit comfortably inside.  That may be a plan for another day, however!
Do let me know if you make one of these.

I am sharing this post at:
Catch a glimpse
Things I've done Thursday
Tutorial Tuesday
Link it up Thursday
Hookin' Up with HoH
Sew Darn Crafty
Threading My Way
Clothes Upcycling Projects

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Trimmed tote bag

I think I am going to have to come up with a series of names for my bags... Maybe flowers?
"Trimmed Tote Bag" being the best I can come up with today (lonnggg first day back teaching after our Easter break!) here is a photo of what I produced:
It's a tote bag from strips of fabric.  For mine I used four strips of denim, two of the red contrast fabric, one more of the red contrast for the binding and four strips of blue edging.
I cut my strips 6 1/2" wide.  They came out about 16" long - but this depended on the length of the jeans.  I used the fronts from a pair of jeans, cut it as wide as possible (the other bag was made from 7" wide strips) and cut each strip in half length wise.  Then I cut the patterned contrast strips to the same length and width. The narrow edging was cut just 1" wide.
Press the narrow edging in half lengthwise.  Place the open edge in line with the long edge on a piece of denim, right side up.  Pin in place.  I put my pins diagonally with the heads sticking out at the open edge of the trim, which made it easier to pull out the pins as I sewed.
Place your contrast fabric on top of the denim, right sides together.  Sew a 1/4 inch seam, keeping all edges in line.




Open out and repeat at the other long edge of the contrast fabric.  Open and press carefully, pressing the narrow contrast towards the denim.
Repeat with the second side.  I then added a fabric rose I had stored away.  These were made from fleece fabric, but any decoration would work well.
Put your two body pieces together, right sides facing, and sew round two long edges and one short edge, which will be the bottom of your bag. Place this bag on top of your lining fabric and cut it to the same size.  Sew two lining pieces together.
To make the boxed base of the bag, I cut out a 2" square from the bottom corners of the main bag and the lining.  Open out the bag and place the cut edges together.  Sew across.  (There is a great tutorial on how to do this here if you want one).
Turn the outer bag right side out.  Cut your straps - I used webbing for mine, but you could use fabric cut to a 6" strip, press in half, press the sides to the middle and fold in half then sew down the edges).  Pin the straps in place, then put your lining inside the bag.  Match seams.  Sew the binding round the top of the bag, turn over the top and slip stitch the inside edge to finish.
Stand back and admire!
I'm sharing this bag tutorial at:
Create and share

We Made it Wednesday
Show off your Stuff
Show and Tell
Whatever goes Wednesday
Whip it up Wednesday

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Preview - tutorial on its way!

I'm really pleased with my latest creation and want to share it with you.  I also want to give you a tutorial so you can make your own ... but I haven't written the tutorial yet.  I took the photos as I made it, but haven't had time to put them together.  So...
I used some lovely Kenyan fabric for the inside of this playmat, and denim for the outside:
That loop of fabric looks a bit odd doesn't it?  However, leave the toys on the mat...
...and pull the handles together....
 ...and fasten the magnetic snap ....
... and your playmat becomes a bag.

Inspired by this, I turned it into a hexagonal patched mat (nobody has jeans that big!) and decided that loops would work better for me than a casing. I couldn't resist the opportunity to use some of my wondderful Kenyan fabric stock either.  What do you think?  Tutorial will follow later this week if you think it would be useful.

I'll be sharing this at the following link parties:
Mommy by Day, Crafter by Night
Sew Cute Tuesday
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Trash to Treasure

Monday, 16 April 2012

Monster purse tutorial

You may have seen these on a post earlier this week.
I said then that I was thinking of making a tutorial.  Well, here is the tutorial. I made 5 more of these little purses today, so I can honestly say they are very quick and easy to make.  As ever, you are welcome to use this tutorial to make your own purses (and I would love to see the results!), but please do not copy the tutorial onto your own blog.  If you make purses to sell as part of a business, online or at events, it would be great if you would use the PayPal link at the top of the page and make a donation to The Sure Foundation towards their work in feeding starving children.  Obviously, if you make this to sell money for another charity I am just delighted if you find it useful and there is no need to make a donation.

So, on with the tutorial.  I made a friend for Toothy Monster above - Toothless Monster!  Actually, the truth is that on two of the purses (including the one I was photographing for the tutorial - darn it!) I just forgot to include the teeth.  However, I quite like the result so if anyone asks, it was entirely deliberate!
You will need a piece of fabric (mine is 5 1/2" x 11") for the body, with one end cut in a curve, and an identically sized piece for the lining; something to use as a fastening (I used velcro on these); two small buttons for the eyes, two small circles or ovals of felt for the eyes, a small piece of felt or fleece for the tongue, and small triangles of felt for the teeth.


Attache the felt circles for the eyes by zigzag stitching round them. Then sew on the buttons in whatever positions you decide.
At the other end of your body piece, attach your velcro.
Attach velcro to the lining piece.
To find where to place it, I put the body and lining wrong sides together, and folded it into the shape of the purse.  I marked with pins where the flap folded down - this is vital when you come to sewing it up. You can see these pins in the photo showing the velcro attached to the main body.

Put the lining and main fabric right sides together and sew along the short straight edge.

Open out and pin the tongue and teeth in place, pointing inwards.
Sew round the curved edge, starting and finishing at the pins.
Pin the main fabric in position for the purse, using the pins as guides.
Sew up the short sides, starting at the seam joining the main fabric to the lining.
Pin and sew the lining down one side.  On the other side, leave a gap of about 3" for turning.
Turn right side out through the gap you have left.
Sew up the gap, push the lining inside your purse and press well.



I'm sharing this post at the following link parties:
Sew Darn Crafty
Threading My Way
A Round Tuit
Manic Monday
Tutorial Tuesday