Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A Patchwork Bag....With Tutorial

Hello Lovelies, 
today I have a simple sewing project to share with you :0)

Patchwork was my first crafty love. I adore that you can make something colourful and unique from often uninspiring fabric remnants.  I love having a stash of fabric that has gradually grown over many years. Some of the scraps in there date back to my teenage sewing projects or were given to me by my Nana as a child.

Last week I pulled out some appealing colours and patterns.............


Cut out some strips and sewed super easy straight lines.............


This is what I was making.

Ta-Dah...........



A cross body bag..........


It's not a handbag ( though I could do with a new one of those too)

it's a Peg Bag :0)


I love the look of your traditional "hang on the washing line using a coat hanger" type bags but always found them slightly frustrating.
 They never seemed to be in the right part of my long washing line no matter how I tried to push them along as I went.

Then I saw THIS post......hurray, Cuckoo had the same problem as me....and she had come up with a brilliant solution.
Now my pegs are always with me as I hang out the washing.

I didn't try and make mine from a pattern...preferring to make it up as I went along. But I took lots of photos of the stages....in case it turned out O.K. and I wanted to share how I did it with you.

 Happily It did turnout O.K. In fact I'm rather thrilled with this pretty and super practical make..........


So here's how to make your own version ( which, of course, you can use for any purpose you choose )

Start by cutting out strips of fabric. Mine are varied widths of between 5 and 10 cm. They are all the same length,  32cm 

Place two strips right sides together, pin  and sew a narrow seam ( you can see mine is just as wide as the presser foot on my machine)

It's O.K. to sew over pins if you place then at right angles to your edge like this

Once you have at least 30cm of width press your piece..........


Then make a second panel in exactly the same way ( you can use the same fabrics again....I used different ones )
 I used a steam iron on hot for my cotton fabric and pressed my seams open to make them less bulky......

 Watch your fingers!


Next you need to add some interfacing. This makes a huge difference to the look and practicality of the bag so don't be tempted to skip it.
Mine is lightweight, iron-on interfacing. Medium weight would be good for this project too.

Simply cut out two pieces the same size as your patchwork panels, cover with a damp cloth and press. When pressing I turn off the steam on my iron and push firmly down in one place ( for 12 seconds as the instructions say ) before moving along to the next section and repeating.


It's worth taking a bit of time to make sure all your seams are flat and there are no loose threads trapped between the layers before you begin.

This is how your interfacing will look once applied........


Next turn it over and admire :0)

Then make a pattern for your bag. This is simply a 30 x 30cm square of paper. I folded in in half and cut a rounded corner at one edge away from the fold.
Unfold and place on top of your panel.
Pin in place........


And cut out.

Repeat for the second side and then cut a gusset for your bag. The gusset could be omitted if you want to keep things really easy, but it does make a roomier bag that is easy to get your hand into ( something I thought was important for my peg bag project)

The gusset is simply a 90 x 8 cm strip of fabric, which I also applied interfacing to.........


Pin the gusset along three sides of  one of your panels, starting at the top edge and easing around the corner. Leave the top open.
 I used lots of pins to hold the rounded corner in place, then I took the trouble to tack the seam before sewing. This helps if you are not the most confident sewer
( like me ).

Machine sew a 1cm seam along all 3 sides, taking your time and making sure you haven't trapped extra fabric at the corners.
Finally snip close to the seam on the corners.........


Next attach the second panel to the other side of the gusset and repeat.
Remove any tacking stitches.
There will be a bit of extra length in the gusset that you can remove at this stage.

Make a lining for your bag in exactly the same way as the outer bag ( omitting the patchwork piecing and the interfacing ).

With your outer bag inside out, place it inside your lining ( which is also inside out)

The right sides are together...........


Pin the two layers together, leaving a 15cm gap as you can see here.......


Sew a 1cm seam around the top of your bag........


Remembering to leave that 15cm gap open............



Turn your bag the the right way out and pin the opening closed


.........Before top stitching close to the top of your bag. This will serve two purposes. It will close the gap nicely and give a stiffer top edge to your bag.........


Next you need to make a strap. I used this sweet school uniform dress I found in my stash.......I couldn't remember where it came from till I saw my nieces name inside........

What a cute zip....I need to reuse that sometime too

I cut out 10cm wide strips which I joined together to get a long enough strap.
I folded it in half and sewed a  seam along the whole length..........

As you can see from these pictures I was sewing in the evening. I just love that feeling of sitting working in the pool of light created by the sewing machine bulb.........is that strange?

Next you need to turn your strap the right way out. It's a bit of a fiddle, but with the help of a wooden spoon handle or similar, and lots of shaking/flicking it's not so bad..........


Iron your strap so that the seam is in the centre. Make sure your strap is the length you need , then turn in the ends and sew closed. Next  top stitch close to both edges..........

this is the wrong side.

I decided to attach my strap to the inside of my bag, but you could attach it to the outside if you prefer. 
Sew a square and add a cross from corner to corner...sewing through all layers of your bag and strap.......



The outside of my bag looks like this............


For a bit of added prettiness I used the rest of the crochet trim bought for THIS project around the top of my bag...........I did this before adding the strap.........


My new wearable peg bag works brilliantly and I love that it contains some sentimental fabrics, like my nieces dress and a checked shirt my that my boys  have long since outgrown..........


Do ask if anything is unclear........I'm more than happy to answer questions.
Happy sewing
Jacquie x

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Church Garden :: Spring

Hello Lovelies, 
I've brought you to this garden before, only back in January I found it a delight on a crisp and sunny day HERE.
Shall we see what it's like at the moment?

On Saturday evening I went for a stroll with my lovely sister in law. The day had been glorious but when we arrived the sun was hiding.

The beautifully well tended memorial garden , hidden behind the church, is always a delight.........


This  bed is  full of dainty Forget-me-nots and Cowslips........


As we wander around a Blackbird sings sweetly..........


It's a very restful place to be on this still evening.........


The greenery is returning around the pretty gates..........


I love that there are lots of interesting corners to explore...........


where cherry blossom is looking at it's loveliest.........


Such a beautiful spot to rest..........


These Narcissi are so cheerful and their scent is divine.......


And then the setting sun peeps out from below the clouds............


Casting super long shadows across the lawn........


And making the Tulips glow.........


Such a perfect time of year.........


Once again I feel thankful to the generous volunteers who created and  maintain this special place........


We leave the garden and wander past the patchwork church walls. There has been a church on this spot for 800 years..........



And I wonder how long the towering Yew and Giant redwood tree have been here..........


I so enjoyed this latest visit and I hope you lovelies did too.
Jacquie x

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Good Friday

Hello Lovelies,
Yesterday I finally got round to putting up some Easter decorations. Each year when  Mr BM trims our Silver Birch tree I choose a branch to bring indoors. Usually it's a bare branch , or one with a few catkins. HERE is my first ever version.

This year Easter is quite late and my branch has leaves.......I LOVE it :0)


My home made MILK BOTTLE makes a perfect container so I can keep it watered and stop the leaves from wilting..........


I've added fewer decorations than usual, but I couldn't leave out last years make ...my MINI CROCHET BIRDS............


After the "tree" was decorated I was keen to go out somewhere as the weather was lovely and hubby was off work.
In the week I had mentioned the possibility of another National Trust adventure to my boys only to be met with objections.........sigh..........it's a tricky time these teen/tween years. I don't want them to resent our outings and I know they generally find it quite interesting once they are there. But they were not to be cajoled.

On this occasion I decided what would make me happiest was to see them outside somewhere. Balancing the screen time with some green time. Getting some exercise and not missing out on the natural beauty that is so abundant at the moment.
So we ended up at our local park.....somewhere they are usually happy to go, thank goodness...not quite the adventure I had hoped for but lovely all the same.

The tiny Speedwell looked pretty in the sunshine..........

Such a gorgeous blue.

And the open areas were a mass of Daisies and Dandelions.........


I walked with eldest while the other two played ball with their Dad. It was warm out of the wind and once again I spotted really lovely woodwork that I hadn't noticed before............


These trees were looking wonderful with their pale green leaves just opening up. I'm sure some of you lovelies will know what sort of tree this is............


We fed the Ducks and I loved the warm afternoon light............



It made all the ripples so defined and the water looked wonderfully clear...........



Then in the early evening we got a call from my niece.........would we like to meet them at the pub? It was a beautiful evening, we were happy to say yes.

The pub is about one and a half miles from home and we decided to walk the footpath way. I've brought you lovelies here before, but it was so nice seeing it in the evening light..........


And walking as a group of five..........

Thought I can only see four shadows here.

The crops are already getting tall..........


We climbed stiles..........


And wandered through this quiet glade, the Willow Trees are already looking lovely...........


I loved our unplanned and spontaneous adventure........sometimes they are the best sort..........


And at the end of it was a refreshing drink :0)




The beer garden had some new play equipment and the boys and their cousins had a great time. I lined them up for a group photo ....as I usually do. My how they have grown. Once again I felt surprised that our children are changing so quickly.

We walked home the road way as dusk fell. It was chilly



 but a  lovely end to what turned out to be a really good Friday.
Happy Easter Lovelies
Jacquie x