The Best Laid Plans

I started this year with the best of intentions, I was going to  watch less tv and instead I was going to blog more, make more and be generally more productive.  Clearly I haven’t been doing as well as I would have liked to!

I decided to put my clothes sewing on hold for a couple of months because I was feeling fat and uncomfortable in the clothes I had so reckoned a couple of months were needed to see if I could get myself a bit fitter and less bloated before I started. After a hellish few weeks cutting out sugar (my biggest vice!) I am feeling a lot less bloated so it’s time to get back on track!

I’m going to try to tackle the Archer Shirt by Grainline Studio.  I have had the pattern since the start of the year and I’ve read through the sewalong about a hundred times now so I feel as happy as I’m ever going to be about starting into it.  When I printed the pattern out I think I got a bit overwhelmed by the number of pattern pieces and got worried about how many opportunities there are to make mistakes but I find the best way to learn is to do so here I go!

I’m using a black slub linen look cotton that has been in my stash forever.  I had originally planned to make a skirt with it but I realised that I really don’t wear skirts that often and I loved the material too much to make something that I wasn’t going to wear all the time.  Time to get cutting I suppose!

Black slub cotton

Black slub cotton for my Archer – hopefully it will work out ok!

Have you got any projects that you just haven’t been able to get round to?  Let me know if you have any motivational tips to get you back into the swing of sewing!

 

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Suits Into Bags!

Some years ago, when I was new to this whole sewing lark, I was browsing the Internet for ideas. I needed easy sewing projects that wouldn’t break the bank. One of the most inspiring I found was this clutch bag made from the sleeve of an old suit jacket. I loved the look of it and I knew my dad had an old sports jacket that I could cannibalise. Eventually I didn’t make the clutch but I made this bag instead.

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My first bag!

This was the first bag I ever made and I pretty much just cobbled it together with no knowledge of bag making but it turned out really nicely and it’s still one of my favourite ever makes. Unfortunately I gave it away as a Christmas present because I really did love it!

My sister was also quite enamoured with this bag so when she had an old suit that she loved but it no longer fit she came to me to see if I could work some baggy magic. She sourced some awesome fabric with camera film for the lining (from Plush Addict if you’re interested but long out of stock!) and I got to work. I wish I had thought to take a photo of the suit before I chopped it up but it was from Reiss and was something like this.

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Unfortunately I was very pregnant when I said I’d make this bag and in the intervening year and a half I’ve been a bit busy and a bit distracted! However now I’m sewing again and with her birthday on the horizon I thought really I should get a move on and get her bag finished.

The bag was a pretty basic design. The shape was more or less the same as my Totally Reversible Tote, although I put a recessed zip in the top and a flush zip pocket in the lining.

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Zips!

I love the recessed zip. You can have the bag closed and secure but you can still see the awesome lining! I’m definitely going to incorporate this feature into my future makes. It was a little fiddly but worth it, I think!

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Bag closed, lovely lining on display!

The front of the bag is made from the front of the jacket. You can see some of the lovely tailoring that I have tried to keep as some nice detailing on the bag. The back was taken from the legs. There wasn’t really enough fabric in the back of the suit jacket for the back of the bag. Plus there were pleats, many panels and I manage to rip the wrong seams! There really isn’t enough fabric in a size 10 suit jacket!

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The devil's in the details!

I made an adjustable shoulder strap made from the legs of the suit. I’m regretting not interfacing the strap a bit but I suspect I might be the only person to notice! Thankfully everything came together quite nicely. I now have one WIP dealt with and all the associated guilt of not finishing a job for someone is gone! Plus my sister now has a pretty snazzy bag. Everyone’s a winner!

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The finished article. I'm pretty pleased with myself!

Now onto my next bag. I have some suit jackets just waiting to be sliced into but I have some bunny pouches to finish first!

Sewing bags.

I can’t remember what turned me on to the idea of sewing my own bags, I think it was possibly just reading other people’s blogs on sewing and seeing what they had made.

I made my first ever bag as a Christmas present two years ago. I deconstructed one of my Dad’s old suit jackets and after some footering about I ended up with this.

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My beautiful bag featuring all the original pockets

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Floral lining with flush pocket for a phone or similar

I absolutely loved this bag. I actually nearly cried when I had to give it away. I still have some of the material left to make a purse or something similar for myself but it just won’t be the same as my first ever bag!

Coincidentally that same Christmas somebody bought me the amazing Lisa Lam’s book The Bag Making Bible. Her blog is still a source of major inspiration to me. I can’t stress how much easy to follow information this book has on bag making, any and all novice bag makers should buy it!  I love all of Lisa’s patterns and the next bag I managed to make wasn’t out of the book it was her Cavernous Carpet Bag. I had so much fun making it and seeing how the amazingly clever pattern came together. I would love an army of these bags in different patterns & sizes!

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I admit I have a major love of bags so fit me there is nothing as satisfying as actually making my own bag. Knowing how they come together and being able to customise what size and how many pockets to have is so much more fun for me than sewing my own clothes!

My favourite make so far though is the changing bag I made for when I had my daughter. I found the most amazing superhero fabric and adapted one of the patterns from The Bag Making Bible. It’s a big messenger type bag. The strap is made from an old belt I found in a second hand shop. There are external, elasticated pockets for keeping drinks, toys or other things I need to be handy. Inside I have added loops for hanging my keys and dummies or little toys to make them easy to find. I’ve added specific pockets for my kindle and phone plus a section at the back for my changing mat, nappies & wipes. It’s also massive enough to fit everything I might ever need. I think I’ll keep this bag forever!

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Now my daughter is nearly a year and a half old I’m thinking that I really need to start sewing more! Thankfully my friend Laura needed a hand to make a secret Santa present and I was able to help her cobble together a lovely pouch for keeping cosmetics, stationery or whatever else the recipient wants!

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It has helped renew my love of bag making and hopefully in the new year I’ll get back to sewing and I’ll get back to coming up with and making things I love! Keep your eyes peeled for a tutorial for the lovely wee pouch we made.

What do you love making? Any other bag addicts out there? Drop me a line; I would love to hear from all you other crafty people out there!