Category Archives: Bags & Pouches

NCW workshop

As mentioned in a previous post, I was really looking forward to a visit to Beautiful Things based in Brentford, Essex ( ) where I was to attend a workshop.

We would making the Necessary Clutch Wallet (Emmeline Bags) tutored by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour.

I was joined by my friend from Franklins Monday Patchwork & Quilting Club, Pat B, who lives not far away in Old Sarum. At midday on the Friday we set off in Pat’s lovely new(ish) car, following the instructions on her satellite navigator. After a couple of breaks for refreshments I also got the chance to drive her car which was rather a culture shock. My lovely Toyota Avensis (with manual gearbox) is now 19 years old and I have had it from brand new. As you can imagine there are not a lot of ‘bells and whistles’ on a car that old. Pat’s car has an automatic gearbox with windscreen wipers that come on automatically along with the headlights when it becomes overcast or dark!

Exciting times as we travelled through the Dartford Tunnel, then having undertaken an extensive detour as we missed the exit to the Travelodge(!) we arrived somewhat weary around 5pm.

I have met Sian on three previous occasions – two Sew Southampton meet ups plus the Bag making workshop that she ran on the Isle of Wight in May this year. I have participated in two of the KB pattern swaps, regularly follow Sian’s vlogs, instagram and also subscribe to the KB Peeps facebook page. I feel that I know her quite well.

But now onto the Workshop! We met Claire who is the owner of Beautiful Things (yet another vlogger that I follow) really friendly and a very creative lady. It was lovely to be greeted by Sian and also to make the acquaintance of Di of Daffodil Ledger, another vlogger that I follow. Di is based ‘up North’ and has chickens that regularly feature on her vlogs!

After a general introduction we got down to some serious cutting out, interfacing and preparation of the various ‘innards’ for the NCW. As I had ‘sneakily’ already made a trial version of the wallet it was good to refresh the construction methods and also to pick up lots of tips from Sian including how to add a second zip compartment to the NCW.

Fat Quarter Pack from my Stash

I used some of the fabrics that were in this pack of fat quarters purchased originally from a Patchwork & Quilting shop in Marshside, Lancashire when on a visit to a friend. As you can see from the price label, this purchase was made a long time ago and it is only now that I have got around to finding the ideal project in which to use these unusual prints.

I used the Purple/Burgundy print for the exterior and made the interior pockets from two of the other prints. The flap is lined with a remnant of plain Purple cotton from my stash. The hardware in nickel was supplied by Sian as part of the cost of the workshop. Although I did not think I would be likely to use the wriststrap or adjustable shoulder strap, I did make them as it was an opportunity to see how Sian makes these straps.

There were plenty of refreshments in the form of tea, coffee and biscuits throughout the day. We stopped for a light lunch before cracking on with our work. Finishing up around 4pm we returned to our Travelodge and later joined Sian for a lovely meal in a local hostelry.

Sunday dawned and we were up bright and early ready to attend the workshop and finish our NCWs. Another busy day – lots of chat as we got to know one another better and finally – completed wallets with rivets!!

My ‘masterpiece’ NCW

Following Sian’s suggestion I purchased a rivet press some time ago but have been too afraid to use it! Now, after the practice at Beautiful Things I can count myself as a Riveting Ninja!

Insides showing the Two zip compartments

We all enjoyed our lovely and productive time at Beautiful Things, Claire is a great hostess and Sian an excellent tutor. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for other classes at BTHQ and hope to join Sian on the Isle of Wight in the Autumn of next year for another Sewing Retreat.

Necessary Clutch Wallet – A trial run

I have long admired the NCW purse/wallet having browsed the many photographs on the internet. I purchased the pattern from Emmeline Bags over one year ago but was very hesitant about making one. Then Sian of Kittenish Behaviour posted a You tube sew-along but again I was nervous about starting.

Looking ahead I noticed that Claire of Beautiful Things Sewing Studio based in Brentford Essex was going to be hosting a workshop for the NCW and tutored by Sian herself. I immediately booked myself onto the course.

I searched my fabric stash for new materials that would be required and came across the remnants of the fabrics I had used on another of Sian’s workshops that was held back in May this year at the Sewing Retreat on the Isle of Wight.

As I did not want to appear to much of a novice at the workshop (I do have something of a reputation as a bag-maker!) I bit the bullet and used some of that remnant fabric to make my very first NCW.

The ‘trial’ run exterior with contrast

I followed the instructions on Sian’s vlog but did not have all of the correct stabilisers to hand, thus the finished wallet is not as sturdy as the ones I have made since but nevertheless, not too bad for a first attempt!

Interior showing single zip pocket

Rose Tapestry Carpet Bag

The seasons are progressing and although a Mustard coloured bag is quite appropriate for the Autumnal colours of my wardrobe – I fancied a change!

Mrs H Pattern

When visiting the Festival of Quilts in August this year I purchased a couple of lengths of ‘tapestry’ fabric plus some faux snakeskin which I thought would be a great combination for a new Companion Carpet Bag using my TNT pattern from Mrs H Bags.

Rose tapestry fabric and coordinating faux snakeskin

Thus I embarked on yet another bag! I used the 8 inch bag frame and added an extra external pocket.

Additional External Pocket with stitched divider

Inside there are the usual slip and zip pockets plus a key keeper.

Interior with slip and zip pockets plus key keeper

Instead of fabric I used a set of Red polka dotted vinyl for the handles from my bag-making stash although after a couple of weeks wear I am not 100% happy with these and may well change them out for a tapestry set.

Faux Snakeskin panel/pocket with magnetic snap under

I have sufficient fabric remaining to be able to make the 12 inch framed bag and maybe even a necessary clutch wallet! So watch this space.

There is not much more to say about the bag except that I have received several compliments which is always a nice fillip to my bag-making ego.

Bags of Style Saddle Bag

For a long time I have wanted to make a saddle-bag-style bag. Sometime ago I made the Mollie bag from Swoon patterns in both the original small size and also graded up to a larger, more useful size. However neither bag fitted my requirements and I was pleased to discover this bag pattern by Debbie Von Grabler-Crozier in one of my scrap books. The original had been produced in a magazine and this was the only article that I had saved. A stroke of good luck.

Two-tone Saddle Bag

I found that I had a large remnant of cotton fabric left over from the bag-making workshop that I attended on the Isle of Wight back in May 2019. As the fabrics were specially chosen to coordinate they would be ideal for this project.

Coordinating fabrics

Unfortunately I did not have quite sufficient to complete the entire bag and thus the contrast on the reverse of the bag plus the lining and pockets are made using other printed cottons from my stash.

contrast lining and pocket fabric prints
Back view showing contrast

I followed the instructions as closely as possible although I did change the size and method for making the shoulder strap. I am pleased with the end result. The size is just right and for the next iteration I will change only the thickness of the wadding by replacing the fusible fleece with Bosal (R) foam.

Bags of Style Saddle Bag

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.