Category Archives: Bags & Pouches

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.

Scissors Cases & Clam-shaped Pouch

I originally had 4 metres of the Red background floral printed cotton that I have been using for the sewing accessories. I checked the amount left and thought I had better check to see there was sufficient for a dress. There was and I will be posting photographs etc., as soon as the hem has been finished. So back to some more accessories…..

I used a couple of TNT patterns to make 2 scissors cases. The large one will take pinking shears and dressmaking scissors whilst the smaller one is just right for a small pair of scissors plus a stitch ripper. I used a double button for the closure on the large case and a White KAM snap on the small. Neat!

Regular readers of my blog will have seen several versions of the clam-shaped pouch (sometimes referred to as a ‘dumpling’). This iteration was made using some leftover Bosal ® wadding with a plain White poly/cotton lining. I have run out of Red zipper pulls so instead used White plus some Yellow hair bungees for the pulls.

Now I have just two more small items – an extra small pouch for my wonder clips and a small storage ‘bin’ for odds and ends to put by the side of my machine whilst I am working.

Then finally, I will have used just about every scrap of the 4 metres and move onto dressmaking projects that have been cut out and are ready-to-sew:- a spring-themed cotton print dress and two jersey tops.

A change of plan

Annie Unrein Sew Sturdy Sewing Organiser Bag

I am greatly looking forward to a Sewing Retreat to be held at an Oxford hotel in March 2019. This will be my very first weekend retreat and as is my wont, I plan to have a matching set of sewing accessories.

The first and major item of the collection would be a Sew Sturdy Sewing Organiser Bag by Annie Unrein. I first discovered this great design on the Craftsy website a couple of years ago. A friend had already made one and was taking commissions for more. Maureen made two for me, one of which I gave to a.n.other friend as a birthday gift. Eventually I had to make my own which was completed over the period of 7-10 days and was given to yet another friend for Christmas in 2016.

Joan’s Sew Sturdy Organiser Bag

http://carouselcottagecrafts.com/category/bags/page/3/ for full description.

As I have not been as productive as I would like and have a long list of projects to be completed in a relatively short time, I asked Maureen if she would help by making up this latest bag. She swiftly agreed.

I found just the right cotton fabric print in my stash and using that combined with a metre of contrast fabric for the lining (purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop) and some Bosal ® made up the quilt ‘sandwiches’ that would be required. I cut the various pattern pieces and prepared the zips. Meantime, Maureen had prepared the vinyl for the internal pocket pages.

I handed over my contribution on Thursday morning and by Monday morning we met again and Maureen presented me with the completed bag. Apparently it had been finished by Friday evening! What a star she is.

Zip up vinyl pocket pages

Zip up mesh pocket on inside of outer bag case

So that’s the main item prepared and ready for the Sewing Retreat. Now I have to make a new dachshund pin cushion, scissors case, clam shaped pouch for wonder clips and foldover wallet for machine needles. These are all relatively quick and easy projects that I will fit in around other items that are on my ‘to do’ list. Wish me luck!

My new Sew Sturdy Organiser Bag – Ready for the Retreat

Sewing Plans

I have a few projects that have been hanging around for a while so I really must get those completed. So for January/February I have identified the following:-

There are a couple of stuffed toys/pincushions that I made last year that were stuffed but not stitched up!

Kitty Cat who looks more like a dog!
Nellie the Elephant – turned out much larger than expected

Then on the list is a Black Corduroy Pinafore Dress that I plan to decorate with some felt appliqué (similar to the denim jacket that I made in 2017).

Vine lines on front bodice
Vine lines on back bodice

There are a couple of small patchwork quilts that need binding and a ‘Jodi’ top by Tilly and the Buttons that just needs lengthening with the addition of a frill.

In addition to the usual dresses and some raglan sleeved tops I also plan to make a coat using the Vogue pattern V8346 that I received in my KB pattern swap.

Vogue V8346

The Pippi pinafore dress from Jennifer Lauren Handmade.

Pippi Pinafore Dress by Jennifer Lauren

some Piccadilly PJs by Nina Lee (to wear to the Sewing Retreat on the Isle of Wight)

and another larger version of the Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H.

Small version of the Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H patterns

That is it so far but you know how it is – the well-made plans of mice and (wo)men often go awry!

Top Twenty Makes in 2018

As promised, here are my Top Twenty Makes from last year. With the exception of the Ultimate Travel Bag that I made to take as Cabin luggage on my flight to the Caribbean, I am pretty sure that I will be repeating all these garments using fabric from my stash. So watch this space!

Dartmouth Hack by Cashmerette
Plantain by Deer & Doe
Plantain by Deer & Doe
Lady Skater by Kitschy Koo
Ultimate Travel Bag
by Annie Unrein
Simplicity 4032 hack
Kwik Sew 3736
Fraser by Sewaholic
Teddy by Style Arc
TNT Bodice & Gathered Skirt
Drunken Caribbean Birds
TNT Bodice with box-pleated skirt
Libby Blouse
by Sew Over It
TNT Bodice & gathered Skirt
Joni dress by
Tilly & The Buttons
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H.
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
Collar from KwikSew 3736 hacked to TNT bodice & box pleated skirt

Rookwood Sewing Retreat Day

Just before I fell ill with chronic Bronchitis I, together with my great friend, Adrienne, attended the Rookwood Sewing Retreat Day. This has become an event held twice a year when we like-minded sewing enthusiasts descend on the Rookwood School for a day a sewing, chatting, eating and downright 100% enjoyment with our sewing sisters!

On offer were several projects to make starting with a Jelly Roll Rug, mat or bag, something that seems to have taken the internet by storm.

Jelly Roll Rug by Lizzie

Jelly Roll Place mats by Lizzie
Jelly Roll Baskets

I had prepared by bringing along a jelly roll, some pre-cut wadding and plenty of pre-wound bobbins as I knew that the project was particularly ‘thread hungry’.

Before commencing on that BIG project, we were also shown some clam-shaped zip-top pouches.

Clam-shaped Pouches

They looked really cute and the pattern was available in several sizes from extra small to extra large. As I knew that I would be needing some form of pouch or bag in which to put Christmas gifts, I started the sewing marathon with a Medium-sized pouch.

My completed Clam-shaped Pouch

During the day we undertook a block stitching challenge which was really well-prepared with all the triangles of fabric pre-cut. All we had to do was stitch into the CORRECT order and ensure that we kept to a strict ¼ inch seam allowance. All the completed blocks were then drawn and distributed to lucky winners to make up into a project of their choice. I was unlucky but Adrienne did win a set of blocks with which she was delighted.

We stopped for a delicious lunch to which everyone had contributed. All very tasty.

After lunch I started on the mammoth task of the jelly roll. I intended to make a bag which I continued stitching at home. I can only say that this turned out to be the most unusual-shaped bag that I have every made! Banana-shaped!!

Banana Boat Bag (Minus handles!)

We ended the day tired but happy, loaded up with a head full of inspiration and new ideas for our sewing.

The next retreat will be in May 2019.

Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H patterns

I have finally started dressmaking again. This time yet another sleeveless shirt dress using ‘Anaconda’ printed cotton lawn. But before I post details of that dress, I want to tell you about my latest bag construction – the Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H patterns.

The pattern was demonstrated on Sewing Quarter on 3rd October and I purchased the pdf pattern direct from Mrs H’s website. Details of the pattern are as follows:-

The Companion Carpet Bag comes in two sizes, small and large to fit frames 8.5”and 12”. The finished sizes are 12” x 8” x 6” (30.5cm x 20cm x15cm) for the small and 16” x 10”  x 6” (41cm x 25cm x15cm) for the large.

The Companion Carpet Bag features a full width front pocket, which you can trim with piping or lace, bag feet, leather handles and optional leather snap tab. Inside there’s a zipped pocket and a slip pocket. The pattern uses an internal tubular frame, either 8.5″ or 12″. You don’t need the top snap tab as the frame holds everything closed nicely, but it’s a great accent feature!

The Companion Carpet Bag pattern is suitable for pretty much any woven fabrics, from quilting cottons to upholstery chenille. All of the versions made by me have been sewn on my (really rather weak) domestic sewing machine, so you will not need any special machines to make this carpet bag.

I have been absolutely delighted with the bag which I feel represents the culmination of all my bag-making learning rolled into one beautiful project.

The outer fabric was some gifted linen that had originally been destined for landfill, the lining is a Lemon/White pinstripe cotton donated from a neighbour’s de-stashing last year.

The zip was from my stash acquired when my father worked at the Opti-lon zip factory over 50 years ago. The handles were in my stash and still marked up with a price of £5.50 so must have been lurking for a considerable length of time as I note current price is around £14 for a similar set of handles. The magnetic snaps were in my bag-making stash and cost about 50p per set. The 8½ inch bag frame which cost £7.10 and the headliner* foam wadding bought for about £2.75 were the only new purchases – both from eBay.

The bag was not a quick make as I completed the construction over 3 sewing sessions of about 2 hours each session. It would have been a lot quicker if I had not changed my mind about the accent fabrics AFTER they had been cut out, interfaced and basted to the headliner fabric! So I had to cut new pieces to be interfaced and applied to the headliner wadding. That all takes time!

The outer pocket is trimmed with some Cream satin piping that I bought about 15 years ago at a Doll Fair. It was only when taking photographs that I noticed it is on the slant.

However, I quite like the look as it exposes a little more of the floral print on the side panel of the bag, a happy accident.

I did make one addition to the bag and that was my signature clip hook just inside the top of the bag. Attaching my keys to this clasp prevents the inevitable scrabble around the bottom of the bag in search of those pesky keys! 

The fold over tab which I made to my own pattern has been ‘fussy cut’ to feature the floral print.

However, underneath is hidden an error on my part. I did not put the corresponding magnetic snap in the correct place. So now there are two but fortunately the original incorrect placement is hidden by the tab. Phew!

The bag frame slots into the hinge and has some teeny, tiny screws which were a challenge to deal with but luckily my husband had just the right-sized screwdriver. Feeding the frame through the channels was also a tight fit but finally it does look good.

Although I prepared a nylon mesh bag base panel this was not used as I did not have any brass-coloured bag feet to hand. Still the bag base is set aside for the next iteration so will not go to waste.

    

Flushed with the success of this small-sized Companion Carpet Bag, I have now ordered the larger bag frame – watch this space for iteration #2!

* headliner is a substitute foam for the In R Form Bosal Bag & General Foam Batting.