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My EPP Hexie Fully lined Zipper Pouch

I may have mentioned before that one of my resolutions for this year was to try my hand at English Paper Piecing. I want to improve my hand sewing skills, use up more fabric scraps, and also learn a new craft.

The fact that English Paper Piecing (EPP) is a portable craft and you can do it anywhere makes it extra appealing. To do some research, I headed on over to good old youTube. I know that Nikki from The Stitch Sisters loves a bit of patchwork, and I remembered that some time ago she released a video showing the basics of EPP. It’s really helpful, and it is this that helped me get started.

After sewing several hexagons together, I wanted to use them to make something. I wasn’t ready to sew something as large as a quilt at this stage (at any rate, I didn’t have that much fabric), so decided to have a look on the internet for a free zipper bag pattern. It needed to be lined to hide the wrong side of the patchwork. There are loads of patterns and tutorials as you can imagine, but I eventually decided on this Fully Lined Front Zippered Pouch  tutorial which I found on the Projects By Jane blog. I liked how the zip was inserted part way down the front of the bag rather than along the top edge.

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Love the pretty floral lining

If you get a chance, I would definitely recommend that you head on over to the Projects By Jane blog linked above, she has all sorts to look through including bag patterns, tutorials and applique advice.

The tutorial was good and easy to follow with lots of pictures to help you along. I admit that using slightly bulky patchwork was probably not the best choice of fabrics, as it was hard to push out those corners into neat sharp points despite trimming my seam allowances and corners, but it’s pretty close and that’s good enough for me! This pattern does come with instructions to add a strap, but I didn’t want this.

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View from the back

My reason for sewing a bag is that I am saving up for a fancy sewing machine. There’s actually nothing wrong with my current Janome ( the Janome DC3050 ), but, you know, I can’t help lusting after all the lovely Janome Atelier machines that I keep seeing EVERYWHERE!!  There is no way that I will ever be able to afford one of these machines if I don’t start saving, so here it is – my official saving fund for my fancy new Atelier.

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Just for fun, and to use up more scraps, I have made a fun quilted luggage tag using this tutorial on youTube (of course) by The Crafty Gemini.  I probably won’t leave this tag on the bag in the long run, but as I still had some scraps left over in this fabric I thought it would be fun to make something that matched. Once again if you’re in the market for some crafty inspiration then Vanessa from The Crafty Gemini has hundreds of youTube tutorials.

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The only alteration that I made to the tag was the addition of an eyelet to run the ribbon through. The original tutorial shows you how to sew in an elastic loop to hang your tag with.

I have definitely become a little addicted to EPP, and my next project is  this little quilt sampler which I thought might be a good way to try out EPP using some different shapes.

Eventually when I feel confident enough with the basics, I plan to make a big project like a quilt or picnic blanket using this Tales of Cloth heart pattern.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Reversible Box Tote Knitting Bag

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Just before Christmas, my Aunt very kindly sat with me one afternoon and taught me the basics of knitting. Oh my, how I wish we had done this years ago. I have instantly fallen in love with this new hobby, and now grab every opportunity I can to sneak in a few rows ( I’m knitting a scarf, of course), and I’m a little obsessed, I admit.

Of course sewing is my first love, and thinking of how I could combine both these I decided that I wanted to sew up a bag to keep my knitting tidy as it was currently sitting in a pile on the coffee table in everybody’s way.

As with every new project idea, I searched the internet for free sewing patterns that might be ideal, and finally narrowed it down to two that I liked. The one that I chose is the Reversible Box Tote which is a free download from Very Shannon. I loved the shape of this bag, the pockets, and the fact that it is reversible. Another great free pattern that I loved is the Knitting Bag Project from The Sewing Directory. This bucket style bag is quilted and I’m certain that I will come back to this another time as it’s really cute and one knitting bag will not be enough for me I’m sure!

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I was over the moon with this pattern. The instructions are clear and thorough, and it doesn’t take very long to sew up. I made it in a morning. The fabric is a pretty floral cotton on a navy background which I picked up from Hobbycraft and I chose a coordinating pale blue for the lining.

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I decided to cut two pockets (these are both lined) and placed both of them on the inside of the bag. Although this bag is reversible, I cannot see that I would ever use it with the plain side out, so although the pattern gives you the option to have an outside pocket too, I didn’t. What I did do though was keep one of the pockets open and add a pale pink Kam snap on the other pocket, just in case I wanted a pocket that was more secure. Sadly I caught some of the pale blue fabric in the snap tool when I was squeezing the snap in place and this has left a little oily mark above the pocket. Grrrrrrr.

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The pale pink snap is such a lovely colour match you can barely see it.

The bag is 14″ high (from the top of the handle), and is 17″ wide, so there is plenty of room for large knitting projects, your pattern, and all the other bits and pieces that are handy to have close by. I have used my pockets to store a tape measure, stitch markers, a row counter, yarn needle and my glasses. The scarf pattern that I am knitting is the Wheat Scarf from Tin Can Knits. It is part of their Simple Collection, which is a range of free beginner knitting patterns, with step by step tutorials if you get stuck.

 

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The knitting needles are precious to me as they used to belong to my Mother. I’m so thankful that I still have them, along with lots more in different sizes.

The only thing that I would advise with this pattern is to use the fusible fleece that is listed in the supplies needed for this bag. I didn’t have the Pellon fusible fleece that was recommended, just regular quilt wadding, and because I didn’t have the patience to quilt it in place on the fabric, I chose to use some firm iron-on interfacing that I had in my stash. Whilst this has done an o.k job, it’s not ideal and long term I think this bag will sag. Bad choice there and I would definitely recommend using the correct materials for the best result guys!

The fiddliest and most time consuming part of the make is attaching the outer bag to the lining. Because this is a reversible bag the raw edges on both the outer bag and lining bag have to be pressed under 1/4″ and pinned into place before stitching to each other. Usually with a lined bag you can quickly machine stitch the two bags together and simply pull it right side out through a little gap that you have left in the lining. Not in this case. However sometimes it is good to slow down and take your time to ensure a nice neat finish. Careful measuring, cutting and accurate seam allowances gave me a really great result on this bag. Instead of pins, I found it easier to use Wonder Clips for this part of the bag construction.

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Finally the really clever thing about the bag is that you can just hook it through your arm and knit on the go -pure genius!

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Not forgetting some essential accessories..

‘Me Made’ pin badge from Pink Coat Club.

‘Love Knitting’ pin badge from Crafty Pin Up Shop.

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Huge thanks to Very Shannon for this very generous free PDF download. Are you #teamknit or #teamsew ?

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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My Pattydoo Milly reversible shopping bag

My love for all things Pattydoo continues. Not only do they have a super range of sewing patterns, some written in English and some in German only, but they also have some great free patterns and this is one of them! Fortunately this is one of the patterns that you can print out in English too, so it’s a winner all round.

 

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So, this free pattern is for a reversible grocery bag. It is available in a small (children’s) size, and a larger adult sized version and you can choose to make it with webbing handles or fabric throughout, as I did. Because it is reversible, it is effectively lined so this makes it nice and strong too.

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I’ve been on the lookout for a pretty shopping bag for a while, and wanted something different to a regular tote bag. I wanted a bag that I could carry in my hands or in the crook of my elbow (not a shoulder bag) rather like a regular 5p plastic carrier bag, and I also wanted it to be reasonably sized so that I could fill it with plenty of shopping.

I was totally taken with the shape of this bag, in particular the pleats, and I knew that I had some pretty quilting cotton in my stash that I had been saving for a project like this.

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I could tell from the images that I had seen on the internet that the handles were going to be a little bit too long for the style that I was after, so I shortened them by 7cm. As mentioned before I wanted it to be ‘carrier bag style’. I simply printed out the pattern, cut it out and shortened the handle by 7cm before cutting it out. The width of my fabric was quite narrow, and I didn’t follow the cutting layout that Pattydoo had suggested. I folded both my selvedge’s into the centre to give myself two folded edges, and jiggled the pieces to make it fit. It worked out fine though and I managed to get each bag cut out with no problems. Take care if you have a directional print to make sure that your pieces are laying in the correct direction before you cut it out.

Along with the inverted pleats which I think are so cute, I love the way the boxed corners are sewn. I think they’re really pretty and give an interesting finished result.

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There are no written instructions to make up this bag included in the PDF, instead you are directed to a great Video tutorial which takes you through the whole step-by-step process of making it. Although this is spoken in German (I don’t speak German), it is really good and clear and is a great way to follow along with the sewing process.

The fabric that I have used is a quilting cotton from a range by Tanya Whelan. It was purchased from a small independent fabric shop which is no longer in business, but I will leave a link here for one alternative source of this fabric from this range that I have found. It also gives you a good idea of the coordinating colours and designs available in this collection. I really recommend quilting cotton or something of similar weight/strength for this project as the finished result is a really strong and sturdy bag.

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It’s a quick sewing project, and I am so happy with how it turned out. I am definitely keeping this for myself, but it would make a great gift idea too I think. I have a little fabric left over and when I get a chance will make a small pouch to keep it tidy inside my handbag so that I have it with me at all times.

I am on the lookout to replace my big shopping bags sometime soon. You know the large jute shopping bags that look like this:

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Our jute bags are on their last legs and I would like to make a set of bags like this using upholstery fabric probably and webbing handles, but cannot seem to find a good sewing pattern (it doesn’t have to be free) that looks similar to this design. If anybody has any good pattern suggestions for something like this, I would love it if you could leave a comment below and I can check it out. Thank you so much!

Let me know if you have a go at the Pattydoo pattern, I would love to see your makes!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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The Orla Dress by French Navy.

 

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I’ve been sitting on this pattern for quite a while now. I downloaded it at the end of last year and promptly placed it on my #2017makenine list. The design is so pretty – a semi fitted bodice and a gathered skirt, with an invisible zip down the centre back seam. Cute.

Fairly straightforward to make, I would recommend this to an advanced beginner, the challenges being darts, gathers, setting in sleeves and an invisible zip.

Oh, did I mention that the pattern is FREE! Oh my word, it’s free, and very lovely. Do head on over to the French Navy website and grab it for yourselves here. Since the release of the Orla dress, Sarah has now designed another awesome dress, The Forsythe Dress, which looks equally amazing. Such talent!

The push that I needed to make it came in the form of an Instagram challenge. I love a good Instagram sewing challenge, I just can’t say no, and as this was on my list of things to make it was a no brainer!

The challenge was organised by Allie from alliemjackson.com, Maddie from maddiemadethis.com, Rachel from makerstyle.ca and Anya from anna-zoe.net. Working alongside Sarah from French Navy they have provided lots of help in how to fit and make your Orla, not to mention numerous ways to create something a little different with the pattern too, there are so many ways you can play around with this pattern and really end up with something special.

For me, I liked just how it was, although I did add pockets, you know me..I just can’t help it! I simply used a pocket template ( I happened to use the pocket from my last make which was the Colette Peony), which is a simple in-seam pocket, and this was easy to apply in the usual way. Slight problem was that I placed the pockets where I thought they should be, turns out when the skirt was attached to the bodice the pockets were placed way too low. Sadly me and the seam ripper had a good old time unpicking them and repositioning them higher up the side seams. Although this was frustrating, I am super happy with their position now and it was well worth the time spent to get them just right!

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I should mention the fabric that I used. It’s a beautiful floral print with pink flowers on a pistachio green background. I purchased it from Adam Ross back in March on a sewing meet up in Birmingham. You can check out the fabric here. It has a silky feel to it, and also has a medium weight with a beautiful drape. It is described in the selvedge wording as 100% rayon twill.

The neckline is finished with a bias strip. I used some pink floral bias tape that I had made some time ago, which gives a pretty contrast – not that you can see it when you wear it, but I know it’s there – alternatively you can just cut a bias strip from your dress fabric and use that. If you would like to see a tutorial on how I make my continuous bias tape you can click here.

 

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I kept the sleeve nice and simple, just as the pattern. I really would have liked to have made a more gathered ‘poofy’ short sleeve with a little cuff, but simply ran out of time. I can definitely see me making this type of sleeve for another version when I have time to draft it.

At the back there is an invisible zip fastening. I also think an exposed metal teeth zip would look amazing on this dress – so again, next time maybe.

The zip is pretty invisible which I am super chuffed with, although I am clearly not concerned with my pattern matching at the back. Oh dear.. I can live with that though!

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I am really pleased with how it turned out, and I will definitely make more. I love the design, and is the perfect summer dress. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in a slightly more Autumn/Winter appropriate fabric in the colder months too. Super cute with thick tights, boots and a cardigan.

Thanks again to Sarah at French Navy for generously providing this free pattern to all, if you would like more Orla inspiration simply search #theorladress or #anorlaaffair on Instagram – you won’t be disappointed.

Have you made an Orla? What did you think?

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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