Back to the Beginning

Every week I spend a pleasant Thursday morning at a sewing club where we work alongside other sewers getting on with our own projects whilst putting the world to rights. This week I had two projects on the go at home, but neither were at the point of being able to pack into a bag to take to group.

Instead I decided to use the time to make a lined make up bag.

This was one of the first things I made when I returned to sewing 5(ish) years ago and attended a workshop at the Sewing Cafe in Hinckley, Leicestershire. I’ve made several in the intervening years, but haven’t given one a go for a while (you know how it is when everyone you know has received one for either a birthday or Christmas!)

I’m pleased to say that although I still have the original instructions, I didn’t need them at all. Also I was able to use a zip that’s been in my stash forever and some left over vegetable fabric from a recently made Anna dress.

Now, who can I give it to..

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A First Try at Bags

My goodness, it has been over a year since I last blogged a make. I have been sewing in that time, but have taken a break from all forms of blogging. however, this latest project has found me itching to share the ups and downs of trying something new.

I love making dresses but living here in the Highlands there are really only so many dresses a girl can wear so I decided to try something new. Enter the Summit bag, a pattern by Cloudsplitter over on Craftsy.

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After purchasing, downloading printing and assembling the pattern it was time to start getting fabric sorted. And my goodness, there was a lot to sort and keep organised. I made the rookie error of labelling everything using one of my pattern marking pens only to discover that it was an air drying pen and all my careful labelling had disappeared overnight.

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Once the pieces (I think there’s 31 of them) were cut out it was time to start interfacing, with some pieces requiring two layers. Several evenings were spent with a tepid iron and a chalk pencil. There was also the matter of some foam to attach. This wasn’t a problem in itself, but the foam had a very particular aroma that put me in mind of cat wee and left an unpleasant odour in the house.

Eventually, construction could begin. I had read a couple of the brief Craftsy reviews and they were clear about following the instructions carefully which I dutifully did. It was good advice as I didn’t really have any idea about how the bag was coming together but, piece by piece, it began to resemble the picture on the front of the pattern.

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I was amazed that all the pieces fitted together perfectly, despite having to trim a bit here and there to get the perfect fit. Towards the end it was the sewing itself that was difficult just because of the sheer thickness of the layers of fabric and interfacing. I think I misunderstood which pieces needed to two layers of interfacing because of my lack of experience as a bag maker. I’m keen to try the pattern again but with less interfacing in some areas. Hopefully this will make the construction more enjoyable and less painful (I managed to sew three of my fingers in the machine!). I also thing that using my walking foot could be beneficial.

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I am really pleased with the result and love using the bag already. Not only that, but I am excited about using the pattern again and developing my skills now that I better understand the construction. I have to congratulate Sydney at Cloudsplitter on her clear and precise instructions – I definitely couldn’t have done it without them.

 

More Cartonnage

This time I tried my hand at the clutch bag, making an accessory for my new couture dress. I’ve lined it with some plain blue off cuts from a fabric that I’m using to make a shirt for my husband. I also picked up a pair of lovely shoes in a sale the other day. I will look stunning when we go out for dinner on Sunday!

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Glasses Cartonnage

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Yesterday, thanks to the magic and generosity of Twitter, I went to the Great British Craft Festival at Stoneleigh. I hadn’t seen anything locally about this show, but another Twitter user found she was unable to go and offered her ticket up for free. It arrived in a lovely card wishing me a good time and off I went.
To be honest, although it was packed with lovely crafts, most of it was paper craft and that’s not my thing at the moment. However, my eye was caught by a couple of things and purchases were made. One was a set of printing blocks and I’m sure ill blog about those when I get started with them, and another was cartonnage.

 

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It was not something I had come across before but I was intrigued and bought three sets from Hazel May Designs: a pencil case, a mini clutch and a clutch template. With my husband’s need for a glasses case in mind, I started by trying the pencil case.
I read the instructions through a couple of times, but they weren’t the clearest, however once working through step by step a little bit of logic came into play to make it work. I had planned to take my time and leave the pieces to dry between instructions but in the end I was enjoying it so much I just cracked on. Getting the fabric completely flat was less challenging than I had expected, but I need. To improve my corners on the other templates.

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It took about an hour to make with a real sense of achievement at the end. I’m now looking forward to making a clutch purse to match my new dress. I feel a new obsession coming on!

 

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Bootie Bag

Another quick make today as there seems to be so much else to do at the moment. I made a bag to put those lovely kimono slippers in for the friend at work expecting his first child. This was a lovely make as I could fit it in between my school work, my sister popping round and dying my hair!

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Although things appear to have been quiet on the sewing front I have been busy learning. A while back in the sale, I bought a Craftsy Class – the Couture Dress. I have been watching them up to lesson 5 and am eager to get on with creating my own muslin. I bought some calico at the weekend and hope to get started soon. I’ve also bought some blue fabric to make a plain Simplicity shirt for Robert, although he still seems to be enjoying wearing his multi-coloured version.

I’ll let you know which one I start soon.

x

Quick Make

My second make of the day is a zipped make up bag for a friend that’s going off travelling. I learnt to make this at The Sewing Cafe in Hinckley and I’ve used it lots of times since. I really recommend their workshops if you live nearby.

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