I was really pleased with the Viscose Linen fabric used on the Black ‘Jane’ I made last month. When I saw the same substrate but in a Light Green with Polka dots on the Rainbow Fabrics site, I immediately ordered the 4m remnant. This ‘Jane’ will be the core of my Spring capsule. I will wear it with different tops and also over some of my Spring/Summer dresses.
As usual I cut out the pattern with the fabric folded right sides together and unfortunately this meant that I did not see the fault lines on the front bodice and side bodice panels. These were then set aside to use as lining and those pieces re-cut so that I could ensure no faults were apparent.
Again I cut the skirt as 2 width of the fabric x 32 inches long. Having stitched the two panels together I decided that was too much fullness for the skirt so removed a total of 30 inches width from the centre back. That has still left a generous amount for gathering the skirt. I will still have just enough of this fabric left over to make a Summer top. I used a remnant of viscose crepe print for the centre back lining panel and also to bind the hem and facing edges.
Construction was plain sailing and I made 14 buttonholes down the front of the pinafore dress. I used 15mm shell buttons for the front fastening and later added a button to the top of each of the patch pockets to prevent gaping. NB The excellent pattern matching of the pockets!
Conclusion: Blouses, fine polo neck tops and dresses all fit under the pinafore beautifully. Next project is yet another ‘Tabitha’ dress in the Viscose Crepe used for the lining.
This was to be the core of a mini capsule based on the colours of Black, Red and Winter White. I have already made two dresses and a blouse and although the ‘Jane’ pinafore dress was cut out first, I had to wait for the delivery of some Black fusible interfacing.
3 metres of Black viscose linen was purchased from Minerva along with 2 metres of Black lining at a total cost of £37.31 including the post and packing. Although in the past I have cut this pattern from less fabric, I wanted to ensure there was sufficient to make the skirt at long enough to exceed the length of the dresses to be worn beneath.
The construction was plain sailing until I got to the 13 buttonholes! First I made up the bodice and the bodice lining. Once the shoulder seams joining the front and back bodice together on both the fashion fabric and the lining, the lining was stitched to the fashion fabric right sides together around the neckline, up and down the front edges and both armholes. All seam allowances were pinked and pressed. Once turned through I stitched the underarm/side seams in one pass, ensuring that seam allowances were pressed to the lining side
Next was the skirt. I had cut two widths of fabric by the length, in this case 34 inches. I made a centre back seam and finished the seam/hem allowances with some left over viscose binding.
There was a goodly amount of fabric to be gathered into the waist seam, however this made it easier to ensure the gathers were even. Once the skirt had been attached to the bodice, I hand stitched the lining in place (the ONLY hand stitching in this garment!). I turned up the hem and mitred the corner with the front facings.
Then came the 13 buttonholes. I am not sure quite why my Brother 4000D machine decided to have a hissy fit but eventually all buttonholes were completed and the buttons attached. I used yet more of the plain black buttons that I bought as part of a bulk buy from Amazon. Finally the patch pockets were stitched in place.
Conclusion: Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together exactly as you wanted? The blouse and dresses all fit under the pinafore beautifully . Now the last item to be sewn in this mini-capsule is a Sorrento Jacket.
I purchased this pattern recently when attending the Bag Retreat in South Wales. When attending the Sewing Day organised by Sprat & Winkle Quilters I decided that making up the Handbag sized version for the first time would be a good project to concentrate on during the day. However, as it turned out, I did not get a lot done during that day and the bag had to wait until I returned from visiting my sister in North Wales before I could continue with the project.
For this first iteration I chose some Neutral-toned linen with an Oriental blossom-style floral motif from my stash of ‘landfill’ fabrics, whatever nickel hardware was in my stash plus some pretty multi-coloured cork bought from Purple Stitches that has long been in my bagmaking supplies.
I had not had much time to examine the sample bag thoroughly so this was pretty much an ‘exercise in the dark’. The Swoon instructions were comprehensive but as I have not made the style/type of bag before this was also a learning curve.
After several ‘false starts’ I finally managed to spend a couple of hours concentrated work on the bag. I used some remnant quilting cotton for the lining and added an extra slip pocket plus a long key keeper.
I have learned a lot! The bag came up a little smaller than I expected though it is a good size for my personal requirements.
I will definitely make another using all quilting weight cotton fabrics and this time will order up hardware in the specific sizes as directed on the pattern. I will also adjust the length of the handles to my preferred dimensions as I found the ones cut according to the instructions to be a little short.
Having just completed two versions of the Morgan Messenger Bag by Mrs H patterns I wanted to revisit my favourite Mrs H pattern – the Companion Carpet Bag. I had spied some lovely Lime Green Linen in the ‘proposed landfill’ stash and was determined to use it for an unusual bag! I already had an 8½ inch bag frame in my stash and together with co-ordinating fat quarters for the lining, this would be a ‘bag for free’.
I took the fabric, frame and pattern with me when attending the Bag Retreat in Wales but unfortunately did not manage to complete the construction whilst there. Also, I was seduced by the beautiful fabrics displayed by ‘Sew Hot’ in their pop up shop and purchased a metre of a contrasting cotton print (Nantucket Summer by moda ® Sail Check Plaids – Cream and Navy #55265 21) to use for the lining.
According to the pattern description 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″.
Construction notes: Due to the thickness of the linen fabric I was able to omit fusible interfacing for the outer fabrics, but it was used on the linings and pockets. Bosal ® one-side fusible foam was used for the stabiliser to give structure to the bag, together with some plastic mesh bag base and some nickel bag feet from my stash of bag-making hardware.
For the internal zip pocket I used a Yellow zip with Cerise pink tassel for added colour.
The external pocket is trimmed with piping using the Nantucket Summer printed cotton.
I added a flap with magnetic snap fastener to go over the top of the frame and ensure that the bag is closed up. I also added my long zip keeper but this time it was not elasticated.
The linen fabric handles were made extra long so that they can go over my shoulder, they were padded with strips of Bosal for additional comfort.
Conclusion: This pattern is definitely my favourite style of handbag and so far each one that I have made has something a little different. So after making 3 bags ‘on the trot’ it is time to return to dressmaking as I am in need of some new ‘Autumnal’ dresses and blouses…..
By way of easing myself back into the process of bag making, I decided to ‘have a go’ at the Annette bag. I have had the pattern for a very long time but simply never got around to it.
According to the Swoon website the Annette bag is perfect for all occasions. The tote is stylish and practical with a sleek and classic look. The bag features handles, a removable shoulder strap, two exterior pockets and optional decorative feature. The bag can be made in fabric or vinyl/faux leather. Bag dimensions are listed as width: 13″ (33 cm), height: 9″ (22.9 cm), depth: 5″ (12.5 cm).
This bag pattern was the project undertaken at Kittenish Behaviour’s most recent Sewing Retreat but unfortunately I was unable to attend. However, Sian has released a vlog demonstrating how to add an internal zip closure to the bag rather than a zip at the top of the bag and this was the prompt for me to try the pattern.
As this was going to be a ‘trial run’ of the bag, I chose fabric from my vast stash of ‘landfill’ furnishing fabrics. I had a small piece of print featuring birds in autumnal shades plus some geometric print in a coordinating colour. I decided to use nickel hardware as there seemed to be plenty of that in my bag-making stash.
Construction notes: I used fusible interfacing to stabilise the furnishing weight linen and ‘headliner’ stabiliser. ‘Headliner’ is a foam stabiliser (an alternative to Bosal ®) that is used in the car manufacturing industry to line the insides of cars e.g. roof and door panels. As it is not fusible I machine basted within the seam allowance to the interfaced pieces of the bag. Inside the bag I added a zip pocket, a divided slip pocket that is specially sized for my ancient mobile phone and an extending key keeper. I added 6 bag feet and my own ‘Carousel Cottage Crafts’ label.
Conclusion: Unfortunately constructing this bag was not a particularly pleasant experience especially as I made so many basic errors during the process it has rather coloured my view. I don’t think that I will use it very much, if at all.
It all started to go wrong when I realised that I had cut the outer of the side pockets in the wrong print and by the time I realised the error, there was insufficient of that print fabric remaining. When attaching the D rings for the handles I did not notice that I was blocking out the head of the large bird print on the panel.
I was impatient to get the internal zip fitted and did not take the time to check online for instructions. I now know better! I took on board Sian’s suggestion to leave part of the side panel lining unstitched so that I could turn the bag right side out through that larger opening. It was still a wrestling match. Had I taken the time to layer and clip the seam allowances the top edge of the bag would be neater as would the top stitching. Although I was aware of the dimensions of the finished bag, to be honest it is larger than I like. I cannot envisage that I will ever use the external pockets as I don’t consider them to be secure enough, except perhaps for a water bottle. I have a strong suspicion that my next bag will be the Carpet Bag by Mrs H. I have previously made at least 3 versions of that bag and it is definitely my favourite!