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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