Category Archives: Bags & Pouches

Hummingbird Remnants

I still had some remnants of the Duck Egg Blue background fabric after sewing the full length dressing gown mentioned in a previous post. Question: What to do with these scraps? Answer: Make a set of coordinating cosmetic and toiletry pouches.

I tried a variety of patterns – here are some of them.

Clockwise from top left they are 1) my own design cosmetics pouch

2) Clematis pouch by Blue Calla Designs

Clematis by Blue Calla

3) Very small clam shell pouch for use as a change purse 4) Snap closing purse for feminine supplies 5) Medium sized clam shell purse with waterproof (shower curtaining) lining.

Clematis Pouch

My favourite is the Clematis pattern. For my version I used a small amount of the Gold coloured snakeskin finish faux leather that I bought from Thimbles at the Festival of Quilts. I love this pattern which is quick, simple and takes only a small amount of fabric. For this particular version I left off the wristlet strap.

You will notice that three of the items have small pink ‘Handmade’ labels. These were bought from ‘The Range’ and are a charming addition, I have them in a variety of colours so will be appearing on several future projects.

I still have some remnants of the White background Hummingbird print and can see another selection of bags and pouches in the near future.

Festival of Quilts 2019

It is now almost one month since I joined the coach trip to visit the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham. I visited with my friend Pat and we were joined at the Festival by another friend who had travelled from Chiswick. We all had a great day and for once the weather was brilliant sunshine.

There were so many quilts and shopping opportunities, I did not really know where to start. In the end, we started with the shopping – no change there then. I had a list – I did not stick to it!

From the Fabrics Galore stand I bought another 2 metres of my favourite Frida Kahlo printed cotton which is destined to be a simple shift dress to showcase the design.

Frida Kahlo |Border print

I also bought 4 metres of an unnamed cotton lawn at the bargain price of just £6/metre which has since been made up into my second version of Vogue 8577.

Unidentified Cotton Lawn – BARGAIN
Vogue 8577

From the Lewis & Irene stand I collected some free patchwork patterns, and a hug from one of the owners of the company (he remembered me from a talk where I had worn a dress in Lewis & Irene print fabric)!

On to the Thimbles stand which I visited twice. On the first visit I bought some leaf print (Monstera Deliciosa) which I intend to make up into a bag.

Leaf print heavyweight cotton for bagmaking

The second visit I bought this beautiful Tapestry-style fabric with Roses plus 4 lengths of faux leather with a snakeskin finish.

Roses Tapestry fabric + Faux Leathers

The Roses and Red faux leather will be made up into a Companion Carpet Bag (pattern by Mrs H).

Mrs H Companion Carpet Bag

I have already sewn some of the Gold finish as an accent on a pouch (detailed post coming shortly) and I have plans for several new style bags which will utilise the Black & Navy-coloured faux leathers.

After a break for lunch (a very tasty Haloumi salad) we viewed a few more of the many, many quilts before returning to the shopping hall. We visited the Sewing Quarter stand where I had the opportunity to chat to John Scott – what a lovely man.

We then visited Rosenberg & Sons’ stand. I was ‘persuaded’ to buy some beautiful boiled wool in Blue to make a jacket (Simplicity 4032) and a remnant of Mustard boiled wool to make a ‘hack’ waistcoat/vest from the same pattern.

Another break for afternoon tea and a further browse of the quilts before a rest and relaxation whilst we waited for the coach and journey home.

I loved my visit (not sure my credit card was as keen) although I did find it very tiring. Bearing in mind the size of my fabric stash (I swear the fabrics reproduce overnight) and lack of resistance when it comes to fabric buying, perhaps I should refrain from attending any more shows for a while until I have reduced my ‘stock’ and the bank account has recovered!

The Gerbera Mini Crossbody Bag – by Blue Calla Sewing Patterns

The Gerbera Crossbody bag is a FREE pattern and can also be made as a companion wristlet to the Daisy Cross Body bag. It has a feature centre panel where you can focus a small piece of your favourite fabric, a gusset and a few pleats along the bottom. You can make the Gerbera as either a wristlet or a mini cross body bag. The Gerbera has one interior zippered pocket but you could easily add more! The measurements are width: 10.5 inches, height: 6 inches, depth: 4 inches

Gerbera Cross Body Bag


Exterior fabric:1/2 yard, Lining fabric:1/2 yard

Interfacing:2 yards Fusible woven interfacing , 1/2 yard Fusible fleece

Notions and supplies:(1) 6-inch zipper (or longer, will be cut down)
(1) 10-inch zipper (or longer, will be cut down) 

For Cross Body versi.on:(2) 1” D-rings,(2) 1” capable swivel clasp
(1) 1” rectangle slide

For Wristlet version:(1) 1” D-ring, (1) 1 inch capable swivel clasp

I was able to use fabrics and notions from my stash for the first ‘trial’ make. Next time I might use a lighter weight fabric. This particular version is made using a 100% linen fabric that was donated. As I had some coordinating Cream satin piping to highlight the shaped top I decided to ignore the contrasting central panel. Instead I ‘fussy cut’ the Bird design from the printed fabric.

Gerbera as a Wristlet Pouch (front)

As I had sufficient fabric I made both the wristlet strap and the long cross body strap which is just long enough to go over the shoulder and tuck the bag neatly at one’s side.

Gerbera as a Cross Body Bag (reverse)

The bag has turned out well and there will definitely be more in the future as this is an ideal candidate to make as gifts for my sewing friends and relatives.

The Gerbera is very simple to make and relatively quick to construct. It will therefore be an ideal project for beginners to bag-making in this size or perhaps graded up to a larger-sized cross body bag.

Celine Zip Top Tote by Swoon Sewing Patterns

Those that follow my blog will know that in early May I attended the KB Sewing Retreat on the Isle of Wight. I was looking forward to the retreat as it would provide an opportunity of meeting again a few ladies that I had previously met on the Southampton Sewcial in August last year. It would also give me the the chance of some dedicated sewing time in the company of a group of avid stitchers!

I knew in advance that we were going to be making the Celine bag by Swoon patterns with the Pocket Supplement A from Chris W Designs.

Celine Bag by Swoon Patterns

The Celine is a handbag look with tote bag functionality, this is the perfect everyday bag. The top zipper keeps your belongings secure, and the closure straps provide a little added security while giving this bag its unique shape.

Pocket Supplement A from Chris W Designs

The Pocket Supplement A is perfect to use for adding extra pockets to the interior of your bag. With The Pocket Supplement A you create two large slip pockets, a pen pocket and a pleated pocket perfect for your sunglasses.

I had not made either of these patterns before and as I wanted this project to be extra special I visited Purple Stitches in Basingstoke and purchased all the fabrics required.

I had chosen Teal to be my main colour theme for the trip (clothing and project) and this fabric certainly fit the bill as it incorporates not only the Teal colour but several others as well so would be easy to choose complimentary prints/colours.

Outer Feature Fabric
Outer Side Gusset Panels Fabric

I was able to pick out a ‘low-volume’ print for the side panels and a Pale Orange/Blush picked from the outer print to be the contrast for the lining.

I ordered Nickel Silver hardware and metal zips with White tape from Sian for my accessories which also included the iron-on stabiliser and Bosal ® foam wadding.

We twelve ladies (no gentlemen on this occasion) were set up in a large room on the ground floor of the hotel with access to plenty of ironing stations. We spent Friday and Saturday cutting, pressing and sewing our bags with a ready supply of refreshments and lots of chat! Sian with her Mum, Jane, as ‘understudy’ was an excellent tutor, always swift to answer queries with a ready smile.

My Celine Bag

By the end of the two days I had an almost completed bag and had learnt a some new techniques to incorporate into my future bag making.

Outer Zip pocket on my Celine Bag
View from above of my Celine Bag

I have to say that although the finished project is OK, I am not in love with it. The bag took a long time to make (longer even than the companion carpet bag which I much prefer) and in the final analysis is not really ‘my kind of bag’ as it is rather too capacious for my needs. I don’t think that I will make this design again but if I do, I will use different fabrics. I need a more substantial outer fabric, combined with faux leather for the gusset as even with interfacing and foam in my opinion, the quilting cotton fabric used on this iteration is simply not ‘man enough’ for the job.

In the final analysis though, I had a great time, enjoyed the ‘holiday’, accommodation, location, project and most important of all – the company.

Clematis Wristlet Pouch by Blue Calla

Clematis Wristlet

The Clematis wristlet design is a free design from Blue Calla. The finished bag is approximately 10 ins x 5 ½ ins x 2 ins.

Fabric requirements are minimal:

Exterior fabric: Fat quarter of quilt weight cotton , 12” W x 8” H Faux leather/Vinyl ,

Lining fabric: Fat quarter of quilt weight cotton, Interfacing: ½ yd Fusible interfacing

¼yd Fusible fleece, Notions and supplies: (1) 8” zipper (1) 5/8” D-ring (1) 1” Swivel clasp.

I was able to use fabrics and notions from my stash for this first ‘trial’ make. There is just one thing that I will do differently next time and that is to use a lighter weight fabric. This particular version is made using a 100% linen fabric that was donated but as it coordinated so well with the Lime Green Faux Leather I thought I would give it a try.

Clematis Wristlet – front

The wristlet has turned out well and there will definitely be more in the future as this is an ideal candidate to make as gifts for my sewing friends and relatives.

Clematis Wristlet – Reverse

The Clematis is very simple to make and is very quick to construct. It will therefore be an ideal project for beginners to bag-making in this size or perhaps graded up size-wise and to be used as a handbag.

Mrs H Companion Carpet Bag – mark II

I have previously made the Companion Carpet Bag designed by Mrs H patterns. It has proved a great success and I have received many compliments on the bag. However, the first construction was made using ‘landfill’ fabric, was not ‘absolutely perfect’, made in a light-coloured fabric and is now showing some wear. Currently the Companion Carpet Bag is my favourite and I can see many more being made in the future.

As I now have a stock of 8 inch bag frames, it was time to make another version using brand new fabric purchased from Dunelm Mill.

I actually purchased two lengths of fabric, both of which are destined to become bags.

Tenby print cotton linen
Fern print cotton linen

The fabric chosen for Mark II was the Pale Mustard with an abstract design of leaves. This is still a fairly light-coloured fabric but I think it will coordinate well with my Spring/Summer wardrobe.

I am confident with the construction techniques for the bag so this time I thought it would be a good idea to try out a new handle design.

I have seen several bags with handles that are made using plastic tubing for the ‘inners’. I had about 3 yards of tubing in my stash and having viewed some youtube videos went ahead and made the handles. They are not perfect but I feel that I now have a ‘handle’ (see what I did there?) on how to achieve a good result with this type of construction.

Plastic tubing-filled handles

As demonstrated on Sewing Quarter, instead of piping on the outer pocket, I added one-half of some zipper tape. I am especially pleased with this ‘design feature’.

The only other change that I made to the pattern was to stitch a dividing line down the middle of the outer side pocket rather than attach a magnetic snap.

Divided Side Pocket with Zipper tape trim
Mrs H Companion Carpet Bag in ‘Tenby’ fabric ex Dunelm Mill

I am delighted with how the bag has turned out and will soon be making version 3 in the Light Coral Pink-coloured fabric.

KB Sewing Retreat – Secret Sister Gift Swap

It has been a positive age since I last posted on my blog. I have been exceedingly busy in the sewing room as I was preparing for a long weekend away on a Sewing Retreat. This was the first ever retreat organised and hosted by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour and was held on the Isle of Wight.

I was determined to wear only ‘memade’ garments for the retreat and this meant some last minute dressmaking.

Daisy May who is based in the USA and would be travelling to join us for the retreat had organised a secret sister gift swap. In fact ladies attending the retreat came from far and wide including Erica who also came from USA. I was in the minority having travelled only about 30 miles to the coast before catching the ferry to the island. A car ferry was a new adventure for me but it all went very well and I am now very confident about taking my car ‘abroad’.

Back to the secret sister gift swap; Daisy May gave us a link to a free pattern for a drawstring bag that incorporates an old CD in the base for stiffening and strength. What a great idea and one that I will be adopting in the future.

Having been secretly linked to Anna, I checked her vlogs to get an idea of her likes and dislikes. I made up the gift bag and filled it with an assortment of sewing gadgets and sweets – liquorice allsorts and plain Dark Chocolate.

Anna’s Gift Bag

Improv piecing & quilting a la Nick Ball

Whilst attending the Sewcial Retreat in Oxford last month we were fortunate to have Nick Ball as one of the tutors. The session was listed as ‘Improv Piecing’ which at first did not particularly inspire me. However, Nick showed us a unique method of piecing using rectangles and triangles followed by a very simple method of curved piecing and I was immediately hooked!

I made a very simple quilted case for my Hudl tablet which incorporates both techniques that Nick demonstrated. I am delighted with the result.

Hudl case – closed
Hudl case – open
Hudl case – reverse

This method will be a great way for me to use up lots of small scraps and I plan to make a lap quilt very soon.

Sashiko & Dumpling

I spent a lovely morning yesterday at the Patchwork & Quilting class, Franklins in Salisbury. We combined my Dumpling pouch with some Sashiko stitching.

I used the Shippou Seven Treasures  template on some plain Navy cotton from my stash. The stitching was done with White Perle thread. I used some pretty ditsy floral print with a Navy background for the lining and fusible wadding for the filler. The size 5 zip also in Navy has two zip pulls.

Sashiko & Dumpling Pouch

Although my pouch is not perfect, I am very pleased with the result. Hand stitching and me are not usually found in the same place so ‘hats off’ to Emma for the instruction and inspiration.

And finally, 2 small projects

Storage Bin & Extra Small Clam Pouch

Yes, I have finally used up ALL of this pretty red-background floral print cotton. Result! The final two projects were the extra small clam-shaped pouch (which I have also found labelled as a ‘dumpling’) and a small storage bin for those odds and ends that are needed by the sewing machine as we stitch, stitch, stitch.

The pouch is just the right size to take my set of wonder clips and the storage bin can accommodate all manner of bits and pieces of sewing equipment – small measure, point turner, chalk markers et al.

Now I just have to set to and complete my ‘homework’ ready for the free motion quilting session at the retreat.