Well, they do say "start as you mean to go on", so I humbly present, that most rare of creatures; a blog post.

I picked up another Gléasta bag making kit at the craft fair a few weeks back. They cut up all the fabric (in cute combinations), so all you need to do is pull it out and sew. Far less preparation. And in the manner of easing myself back into making, I dusted off the sewing machine and opened up the kit. Start to finish only took a couple of hours.

Reversible shopping tote, in sewing/haberdashery print, laying flat Reversible shopping tote, in sewing/haberdashery print, opened to show green inside

Reversible Shopper
Photo by chebe

I have a few long overdue posts on past projects that I hope to get up in the next couple of weeks. Until then, let this past year burn, and welcome the new!
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I made up this bag from a blank (no fabric) bag kit by U-Handbag. It provides everything you'll need; the hardware (snap, handle), interfacing, wadding, just without the actual fabrics. Which gives you great scope for personalising.

No, this isn't a knit. It's fancy (quilting?) cotton, the kind that you aren't really supposed to make bags with. But I don't have much experience with matching patterned fabrics, so wanted to play around a bit.

Front outside view of finished bag, sitting on a chair

Finished bag
Photo by chebe

The Usual Details )
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The Knitting'n'Stitching Show has come and gone. I was only there briefly, but still managed to achieve my goal: acquire a new sewing machine. I also picked up a tote bag kit from Gléasta (they had a much greater range of fabrics and colours at the Show than are currently on their website. Hopefully they'll update it soon.) You know, to put my new machine through its paces. It did admirably, and now I have a new sewing bag!

A tote bag hanging on back of a chair. Bottom is purple cotton, rest is white vinyl with images of thread and buttons all over it

Finished Bag
Photo by chebe

Some brief details )
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I've had this pattern for a while now (so long in fact that it doesn't appear to be for sale anymore). It's a Lilly*Blossom Book Bag sewing pattern. And when I say pattern, I really mean an instruction booklet. It doesn't come with any pattern pieces, rather instructions on how to make your own. Which is fine, because it's just a bunch of rectangles, and if you're anything like me your book won't fit the standard size anyway.

The reason I've had this pattern a while is that all my books are different sizes, and I couldn't think of a book I'd need a custom cover for for any extended length of time. That is until I started getting interested in poetry. Poetry is a slow read, often needing many re-reads. This collection, 'Staying Alive', was recommended to me. And it turns out there are sequels, that are exactly the same dimensions! Perfect.

Closed book in a fabric cover with handles, outside view

Lilly*Blossom Book Bag
Photo by chebe

More... )
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I made another bag! The last ones were so small I think I've over-compensated and have gone too much the other way. This one is a laundry bag from a project in 'A Bag for All Reasons'. I deviated a little from the instructions. The two-compartment design wasn't going to suit me; most of my clothing is darks and brights, with a handful of whites/pales/delicates. So I doubled up the internal divider to make a small third section in the middle. For the darks section I chose a black and grey striped fabric, and for the brights a nice colourful printed patchwork fabric. Then at the every end I got lazy, and instead of two parallel lines of stitching 5mm apart I used a twin-needle in one pass. It's mostly straight lines and different sizes of rectangles, which makes the cutting out easier (thank the rotary cutter), but makes the actual sewing rather boring (not even any seam finishes). The end product is approximately 50cm x 60cm, and fully lined. It's quite pretty and ultimately functional, good result!

Pictures! )
I've started making bags! They're handy things, carrying stuff for you. But it can be hard to find just the right one to fit all your really important stuff properly. Therefore, on occasion, I need to make one myself. I got a book (Sew What! Bags) and started small.

This is the glasses case. Just a few rectangles of fabric sewn together in a tube like shape, fully lined. Handy little thing.

Then I tried the drawstring bag. I've made them before, but it's nice to follow a 'pattern'. The one in the book isn't lined, but I fancied a lined drawstring bag so that's what I did. I got a bit confused with the drawstring channel itself and think I was supposed to turn it to the inside rather than the outside, but hey, learning!

Have a few others in the works. It's nice actually having a use for all that pretty quiliting-weight cotton in the shops. Onwards to more complicated bags!
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