Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fancy Fabric Bag

Did I mention that I am highly inspired and productive at the moment? Obvious isn't it, when I am sewing during weeknights! This is the bag I designed myself. No brain surgery, just a plain bag with a different shape. Love, love, love it!

This lovely fabric is one of only three precious pieces of Japanese fabric I own. This own is by Kokka. I have this in grey and pink as well. I needed a larger bag to show off these stunning, big flowers. I was also keen to use some of my homemade fake leather bag handles. The blue polka dot fabric is from Arthur Bales. I have this fabric in various colours.

A close-up of my fake leather bag handles. Not the best finishing on them, but they work for me. And they are so cheap to make! Have you seen the prices of bag handles? Anyway, each pair that I make gets better, I think. I am still working on proper finishes for my bag handles.

A view from the top. You can see some of my many inside pockets. I love lots of pockets for the stuff I need to get to quickly. At least this time I did not forget the magnetic snap closure. I was planning to use piping, but decided against it. The fabric is so stunning, I think it does not need any further embellishments.

This is a side view to show the heavier interfacing that I used for the outer bag off. I used two layers of interfacing for the outer bag, one standard iron-on interfacing and then I added a heavier iron-on interfacing on top of that. The heavy one creases badly, but it makes the bags so nice and firm. Overall a big, roomy bag that fits all my daily essentials and more!

Apologies - another creased bag! I normally cannot wait to take photos.

This is a sneek peek at my Simple Party bag, ready to sew. It is all cut out and interfacing ironed on. Once this part is done, it literally takes me about an hour to finish a bag. A lovely, quick project for a weeknight!
I also came up with a new design for my next bag. It's in my head and once I have selected the right fabric, I will make it. Wonder how many bags can fit into my closet?

Apart from working and sewing yesterday, I also played action photographer. This is my son flying past on his BMX. My heart nearly stopped afterwards. He's removed the brakes from his bike and just after this jump he races towards a glass sliding door, using his expensive name-brand shoes to brake.... Boys!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fabric Handbags

I am delighted to tell you that I am back in business! Lots of inspirations and productiveness this past weekend. Remember the Simple Party Bag I mentioned in a recent post? After making up the pattern, I realized that I will never use this bag. It is far too small. I don't use small bags. I have too much stuff that i simply NEED with me all the time! So, I modified the pattern and although there were a few hiccups, I am pleased with my much larger version.

I made this bag for my sister. She loves blue and pink. I used some of my favorite pink polka dot fabric for the lining and also made some inside pockets. I added two pleats to the front to make it interesting. It was quite a task to turn the bag out through a small hole with all the extra interfacing. The bag is quite thick to give it structure.

Excuse the creases, I still need to press it after sewing it. This blue fabric is from last year's shopping spree at Hobby Lobby in Chicago. Can't remember the designer now. Very bright and happy though. Hope she likes it. I have already cut out one for myself in black with purple lining and a bit of purple piping.

I also made this simple little tote bag for my sister. Can you believe I forgot to add the magnetic snap! I realized almost at the end and quickly added a covered button and loop closure. Love the piping. The color matched the blue fabric perfectly. Lots of pockets inside just how I like it. Perfect little shopping bag for my sister.

I also finally received my parcel from This order was my third attempt to get my hands on the Pink Lady Bag and Mega & Phat Pink Lady Bag patterns! Two previous orders from other yarn stores were unsuccessful. I cannot wait to try this little bag. I also ordered two skeins of Lamb's Pride yarn in a delicious brown. This yarn is 85% wool and 15% Mohair. Delightful. I want more!

I also started on the lovely crocheted Japanese bag, the Ribbon Accent Bag, I mentioned in my previous post. In fact, I started on two at the same time! I must admit this was not the quick project I expected. My first attempt was with a lovely pink variagated yarn that did not show off the interesting pattern of this bag. My second attempt looks a lot better in plain cherise pink. It will however take a lot longer than I expected to finish.

I am also busy planning two other fabric bags. The one is based on a bag pattern I recently bought in a lovely casual style, the other I am busy designing in my head. I cannot find a pattern to compliment the lovely Japanese fabric I have had in my stash for a while now. The pattern has large flowers on it, so I need to make a larger bag to show it off. I am also planning to use a set of my handmade fake leather bag handles with this bag and some more piping. This bag must be special, so need to give it some more thought.

Hope you also had a great crafty weekend!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Japanese crochet bag pattern - HELP!

I finally figured out why I have not made much lately. I need INSPIRATION. Something that will make me say: "That is fabulous! I want to MAKE that!" I found it. This is a crochet bag pattern available FREE on my favorite Japanese yarn website, Pierrot. I was browsing in Ravelry yesterday and came upon this beauty, as well as a few other fabulous bags.

I have already selected my yarn, some lovely pink variagted wool I bought at the recent Arthur Bales Sale, but when I studied the pattern, I got stuck. I need urgent HELP, please. I have made many items from Japanese patterns and I can pretty much read all the symbols, but this pattern has a new symbol in it. Here is a picture of it:

This helpful explanation is at the bottom of the pattern. Not helpful if you do not understand Japanese! Can anyone read Japanese? Or help me with this symbol? This stitch is familiar except for the little hook at the end. Sadly, I cannot start on the pattern until I figure this one out as most of the stitches in the pattern is this one! If you can help, please leave a comment on my blog. I have searched the Internet and cannot find this symbol anywhere. Hope you all have a great weekend!


Thanks Gina for all your helpful links. I found it! Can you believe this symbol is a dc but the little hook at the end shows left or right, indicating if you should work the stitch in the front- or back loop! I will be making this bag on the weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New stash

On the last day of the Arthur Bales Sale, I found this. Not on sale, sadly, but still at a great price. This is the most fabulous quality knit jersey fabric in black and purple polka dots. (The brown in the middle is from another shop at three times the price!) I purchased 2,5m of each as I am not sure what I want to make yet. (Of course, I have been a regular visitor on recently too!)
I started knitting a scarf the other night. Love this thick yarn. I am using the huge knitting needles that came free with a copy of Let's Knit magazine from the UK. It's one HUGE skein. Since I am off to Chicago in just two weeks' time, I need a few warm things.
I have also been busy searching for nice new fabric handbag patterns and ended up buying a few patterns too. I just cannot decide on which one to make first! Hope you are all having a great week so far!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sewing Magazine inspiration

I received copies of some of my favorite sewing magazines this week. Nothing like some fresh, new sewing ideas! On the left is the new copy of the quarterly Bernina magazine. An inexpensive magazine that has full-size patterns for a variety of projects from clothing to household items and quite often, handbags. This issue has some lovely winter dresses inside. The one on the cover is my favorite.

Here is another dress inside the magazine. Often patterns featured in this magazine has machine embroidery detail which is not really my taste.
On the right of the first pic is the January 2010 copy of my absolute favorite Burda WOF magazine. I have been waiting excitedly for this issue as there are some stunning winter-white dresses in. Just look at this shirt-dress above. I must find some nice white fabric now.
This dress is first on my list! Isn't this beautiful? It is made with viscose, except the sleeves and insert on the bust is from jersey knit. Of course, I am planning to make the whole dress from jersey knit. I just need to find a thicker, good quality fabric.
My other favorite sewing magazine is the UK published Sew Hip. I have bought every copy since it launched in November 2008 and now subscribe to it. The magazine has a great mix of projects in, from quilts, pillows and clothing to bags, toys and features on new products, books and fabric. This month there is a full-size pattern in for this fabulous dress on the cover.
And this fabulous bag, among many other lovely projects.
I also spent some time selecting fabric for a new bag I want to make. I found this fabulous free bag pattern last night. I don't normally like small handbags, but I love bags made from fat quarters! This bag, the Simple Party Clutch, found here is just so fabulous for a night out or lunch with a girlfriend. It is made with only two fat quarters! The designer is Elizabeth from I have made some of her designs before and love her patterns. I plan to make a few of these cute bags for family and friends and then maybe I will enlarge the pattern and make a bigger handbag for myself.

Here is a picture of the Simple Party Clutch, from the Sewmamasew website. (Hope they don't mind.) Isn't it cute? The bag has several layers of iron-on interfacing to give it structure. I hope to make at least one this weekend and will share pics next week. Hope you all have a great, crafty weekend!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fabric Handbags

I am delighted that I finally got around to making fabric handbags this weekend! Never mind that I spent the entire Friday night deciding on fabric and bag designs. I could not find what I was looking for amongst my patterns so I browsed on Flickr for a while and saw some great designs. This bag is based on a ladybug shaped bag I saw but I made many changes.

I added quilting wadding to make the bag soft and thick and used thinner iron-on interfacing than I normally do. I found a roll of the interfacing in my closet and decided to try it. I was very impressed with the results. I normally use the iron-on quilt wadding for my bags or a thicker iron-on interfacing that seems to make a lot of creases. This one is just perfect for bags. I also added an overlay of the lining fabric with piping and a little pocket. I was too lazy to cut the bag front piece so I just stitched it over the bag front. This caused all sorts of problems sewing over the piping! Reminders of the Amy Butler Weekender Bag came to mind... not good memories!
I also wanted to make a bigger bag and looked through my previous patterns I made. I selected this lovely Amy Butler fabric that looks best in bigger patterns. Whilst looking through my patterns, I discovered this pattern I drafted a while back. I made it to fit this metal purse frame I bought long ago. Perfect for this bag I had in mind.

I decided to add a large front pocket to the bag with piping. I must have had the Amy Butler Weekender Bag on my mind! At least this bag was without the heavy interfacing and bulk. My poor machine has just been serviced...

I decided to add a structured base and purse feet. This is the first time I used purse feet. Looks nice, I think! And not difficult at all, especially with the new plastic mesh I used for the bag base. I think it is used for gardening (vegetable gardens) and is sold by the meter on rolls at the hardware store. It was inexpensive and cuts easily. Works well.

I haven't inserted a purse frame for quite a while, and never a big one like this before, so it took me a while, and lots of patience and swearing! It was also a battle to select lining fabric. Amy Butler's fabric tends to only match with... Amy Butler fabric. So I selected an old piece of fabric lying around. Not a great match, but it works.

A crappy pic, but here is the final bag. Lots of pockets inside just how I like it. I also wanted to sew clothing from my new patterns I recently bought, but never got around to it yesterday. I had grocery shopping to do and plenty of laundry. I hope to share more bags and clothing later this week. Hope you all have a great week!

*Updated: Just in case you are interested in the inexpensive plastic mesh I used for the bag base, here are some pics of it.

Here it is rolled up. It is 1m wide and you buy it in metres at the Hardware store. The plastic is very flexible, yet firm, and can easily be cut. I cut it with normal scissors, no problem.

Here is a close-up of the plastic mesh. Looks like wire, but is plastic and very flexible. The hardware store salesman told me it's normally used in vegetable gardens. Not sure I have seen it in any garden before, but it is in the same section as the chicken wire and shade netting. Hope this helps you to find a local alternative. I am unable to find the stuff crafters in the US use for bag bases, so had to find an alternative. This works!