This week in our Instagram Pattern Designer’s collaboration for March we have been making one of my patterns.
I first designed this bag several years ago for a summer issue of Quilt Now magazine. It is a carry-all type bag for the many toiletries and sun creams you take away on holiday (Holiday? What’s that?!)
I just love the unique creativity and interpretations the other designers brought to this project.
And Sonia had the genius idea of incorporating a handle into the zipper tabs, which she has kindly given me permission to include in the pattern.
I’ve now updated the pattern with new ‘Carry Tabs’ and included lots more photos (you can never have too many photos right?!)
As you can see, there is lots of room for your essential toiletries (or in Jo’s case, sewing project supplies!). And the detachable ‘Wet Bag’ is lined with water resistant ‘Rip-Stop’ nylon to keep your toothbrush and flannel contained.
February is the month of love, and no better way to celebrate than with a free patchwork heart tutorial!
I first created a placemat size Log Cabin Heart a few years ago for Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, when they asked their contributors to design a mini quilt that represented 3 favourite things.
For me it was Log Cabins (my first love in quilt blocks!), scraps (of course!) and the colour purple (my favourite colour since childhood!).
But now I can add a 4th favourite element – piecing!
I love piecing much more than quilting, and the thought of downsizing my Heart block (while dialing up the cuteness!) thrilled me no end!
So my free YouTube tutorial means you can choose from the large (original) size – which makes a 14″ square unfinished block, the medium size – which makes a 10″ square unfinished block and the baby of the family – which makes a 6.5″ square unfinished block.
Perfect for using even the smallest of prettiest scraps!
But of course, why stick with squares!!
You can turn your blocks into anything you like. How do you like my trio of mats, made with my favourite Tilda scraps and Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim)?
The large size would be perfect as a table centre.
Or how about the medium one as a candle or potholder mat.
And the mini mat is the perfect coaster size for your co-ordinating mug!
At the risk of sounding like Goldilocks and her 3 bears, there’s a size perfect for everyone!!
I love cross-hatch quilting, and it’s the perfect design for ditching through the ‘logs’ of these hearts.
And despite having a drawer full of pretty pre-made bias bindings, I didn’t have just the right colour for my trio, so I made my own!!
I also made a little gift bag with the small size heart pieced into the front and another one on the back.
This is filled with goodies for my friend’s birthday!
So if you love piecing, log cabins or cute hearts as much as me, why not check out my free YouTube tutorial. A link to the accompanying PDF Cutting and Measurements chart is in the description.
To enter my 10 year blogiversary giveaway click here.
Happy New Year everyone!!
I love new year, so much more than Christmas. It’s a turning of the page, a new start, fresh hope, renewed motivations and goal setting!
Bringing in this new year definitely feels a lot different from previous years, but positivity and hopefulness are generated from gratitude and thankfulness. I hope like me you can find many things to be thankful for as we start a new year together.
A good friend of my daughter’s very kindly invested her time and expertise in my stunted photography skills a few months back.
So when I heard she was in need of a laptop bag for Uni ……….
I based this new bag on a previous laptop bag I made, just reducing the measurements a little to accommodate a smaller laptop (everything is getting smaller!!) and leaving off the front pockets.
Denim is strong and durable so I’m hoping this bag will stand the test of time (just like the previous one has done!).
Of course I couldn’t resist adding in the characterful features of the denim and a little Italian wool for strokability!!
This is my first time using a buckle clip. I think this chunky one suits the robust-ness and proportions of the bag.
And just in case you thought the bag was getting too masculine, check out the lining, in the recipient’s favourite colour!!
This fabric is ‘Joie De Clair Woodland’ by Art Gallery Fabrics (and is available here).
I’ve included a slip pocket for the laptop, which is secured with a velcro tab. And I repurposed some pockets from a denim skirt to make a double pocketed section on the other side. Lots of storage for notebooks, pens, phone and leads!
I’m delighted to say my daughter’s friend loves her new bag! Yay!
This bag was my last finish of 2020, a year in which I didn’t complete a single quilt!! But it seems it was a mostly bag kind of year!
I can’t quite believe it’s Christmas Eve and another Christmas celebration is upon us!
I’m sure, like for us, Christmas will look and feel a little different this year. But I hope you can still find some light in the darkness and keep your spirits and creativity going through this festive season.
Every Christmas I have a few friends I always make a little handmade something for. About a month ago I was in desperate need of some light relief and ‘playtime’ which coincided nicely with a donated bag of fabric scraps!
I’m particularly drawn towards vintage style textiles and have recently discovered the quirky style of a Korean hand sewer called @sososewing070 (check out her thoughtful scrappy style on Instagram).
Using her sweet drawstring bags and styling as my inspiration I decided to use the donated scraps to make one and see if I liked the concept!
Turns out I really liked the concept and ended up making 5!
The base is linen and the patchwork sections include vintage fabrics, table cloth embroideries, fussy cuts, ditsy florals, even embroidered flowers from a blouse!
I hand quilted all of these bags onto wadding using Aurifil 12wt wool thread! It was so relaxing sitting in front of the TV in the evenings hand quilting and stitching decorative red accents on all 10 panels!
I love the way sososewing070 places seemingly random pieces of lace or buttons on her work, contrasting with the organised neatness of the patchwork. So of course, I did the same!!
All the bags are lined with a vintage style print (from Ikea, also donated!) with linen drawstring handles.
They are the perfect size for filling up with Christmas treats and goodies!
All the bags have been gifted, and of course they can be reused or regifted again and again, for many more Christmasses to come!
I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us this year by buying patterns, classes, fabric and haberdashery, this year in particular! It has been a difficult year for many small businesses and your purchases, comments, encouragements and post shares have been invaluable to us these past months.
We wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy Christmas. May 2021 bring us new hope and lots more inspiration!
I love seeing the same pattern being made in a wide range of fabrics and styles!
My Betty Bag is growing in popularity and I want to show you some stunning finishes!
Aren’t they fabulous!
I just love how stylishly practical they are, ready for some serious use about town!
And 3 more to show you.
These are Betty Bags made by my #threadsacrossthesea buddies, Trudi, Sarah and Di.
Because we weren’t able to have our annual meet up this year, we had ourselves a secret swap, making Betty, and had an exciting reveal over zoom at the weekend. I received the first one pictured, which was from the super talented Trudi (@Trudi_wood), made in stunning Art Gallery Fabrics, received together with this package of cuteness!
The class consists of 1 YouTube video and 2 PDF files. You can purchase the class here.
In your order confirmation email you will receive links to 2 PDFs – one is the full list of materials needed. The other is the heart template which also includes the link to the YouTube video. Copy and paste this link into your internet browser to access the video.
When printing the heart template, either select ‘Actual Size’ or deselect ‘Fit To Page’ printer settings.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of our class finishes (always my favourite part!).
Not only will you receive everything you need to make our drawstring bag, fully pre-cut, but we are also throwing in a half metre of Retro 30’s Apples & Strawberries (Green) by Lecien and a spool of Aurifil 50wt Quilting Thread.
The giveaway opens today 3rd July and you have 4 different ways to enter:
* subscribe to our YouTube Channel * follow us on Instagram (@justjudebelfast) & tag someone in our giveaway post * like our Facebook page and leave a comment on our giveaway FB post * leave a comment here with your email address
The giveaway is open to international entries and we’ll announce the winner on 11th July!
The last of my recent run on gift making is this plush velvet tote bag for my youngest daughter.
She requested an everyday sizeable, soft tote bag, especially when she’s too-ing and fro-ing to lectures at Uni.
Now this girl of mine is super tactile! I gave her a choice between 2 different lightweight upholstery bolts I had been donated, knowing full well she would choose the sumptuously soft velvet over a paler linen look fabric.
I also gave her a choice of lining fabrics and she choose the one I had my fingers crossed on! That’s my girl!
At 5’11” I knew she would need long length handles. I made a feature of them with a few repurposed denim loops and tabs. A little scrap of leather denotes the front of the bag.
A simple phone pocket on the inside is all this bag needed to make it fully functional.
I’m happy to report the birthday girl loved her new bag and has been using it ever since!
I’ve been working on a few gifts lately, and now that one has been received I can show you it here.
This bag was made as a special thank you to a lovely lady who enjoys repurposing textiles as much as I do!
I had a few relaxing evenings making up the EPP hexies, but with no other plan in my head than that!
So when I had 2 panels made to a good enough size the old design juices started flowing.
I got the panels quilted on to Flex Foam which I think really adds some lovely texture to the hexies.
I had a vision of a messenger bag with curved corners this time. Once the gusset was in, the bag really started to take shape.
Getting the depth and style of the flap was important. I didn’t want anything too fussy, so as not to take away from the hexies. So a few lines of Aurifil 12wt wool thread in contrast gold did the trick, with curved corners to mirror the bottom of the bag.
When it comes to bag linings, I love the surprise of opening up a bag and getting that ‘wow’ factor from a stunning lining!
This lining is Autumn Nectar Honey by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabrics and is available here in my shop.
Doesn’t it just bring a blast of sunny colour to the inside of the bag! And the purple tones are the perfect match for a cheeky Liberty key fob tab!
No funtional bag is complete without a handy slip pocket.
And the adjustable cross body strap means you can get out and about hands free!!
I’m delighted to report that the new owner loves her bag and says it was a timely gift as her old bag was in need of being replaced! Yay!
I love it when my ‘play time’ repurposing textiles brings happy smiles and pleasure to faces!
We are still very much in lockdown here, so ‘teaching’ has had to look very different for me.
Aside from my free video tutorials on YouTube, I trialled an online class last month with my ladies – the Causeway Hexie Cushion.
Feedback from the ladies was really positive and I’m looking forward to showing you their results!
Spurred on by their brilliant results and encouragement, I’m making another class available – the Applique Hearts Boxy Bag.
This class will be available first to my ladies from 8th June, and then to the general public from 6th July.
As before, the class will consist of 4 weekly YouTube videos, with an optional zoom session at the end of each session (existing class members only). This is when we check in with each other, talk about any issues, swoon over our progress and fabric choices etc. and generally stay connected (as best we can!).
This boxy bag design is a variation on my original Boxy Bag class I designed and taught way back in 2011!
I often call it my book bag, because the short handles and sturdy body really lend themselves to carrying heavy books and files, to work, college, church or the library!
However, I also think it would be a great project bag. There is a handy divider pocket which could keep a pattern book with lots of room in the main bag for a knitting or crafting project.
I chose to needleturn my hearts onto the bag, but as you will see in the ‘what we cover’ section below, I also show you how to machine applique too!
So here’s what we will cover in this class:
*hand applique (Needleturn)
*machine applique (Satin and blanket stitch)
*suitable materials for the bag
*reinforced divider pocket
*snap fasteners for divider pocket
Many of the materials I have used in this bag are available in my shop.
So if you need another practical and sturdy bag in your life, or can think of someone who would love one, why not join us on either 8th June or 6th July for some step by step handbag making fun!
In our current block of classes we are looking at tucks and pleats.
You may remember I had made 2 examples of tucks for our classes, but at the time was still working on a pleats sample.
And here it is:
The pattern for this pleated bag is by Lisa Lam (U-handbag.com) and is called ‘For Pleats Sake!’. You can find the free tutorial here.
The tutorial doesn’t include quantities for the exterior and interior fabrics.
If you are using non-directional fabric you will need 0.5 metre of both. However, if you have a direction to your pattern which follows the width of the bolt, you will need 0.75 metres.
And a further note on the fabrics. I used ‘deco’ (decorating) weight fabric (or lightweight curtaining) from Ikea. This fabric gives body to the bag, pleats beautifully and negates the need for interfacing or fusible fleece.
I used the same weight for the lining (a vintage curtain) which also gets pleated. However if you wanted to use quilting weight cotton I recommend using a heavy weight sew-in stabiliser (rather than fusible fleece) on both the exterior and lining. Spray baste the sew-in stabiliser rather than using a fusible heavy weight stabiliser as this could resist the light weight cotton and cause it to bubble.
Sewing the faux leather handles through the exterior layers only can be tricky (the handles can’t be held in place with pins and the needle comes out awkwardly between the exterior and lining!). So try sewing through both layers and covering the visible back stitching with glued on fabric or leather scraps.
P.s. you want to use really strong thread to sew on your handles, like linen, perle cotton or 6 strand embroidery floss.
The bags currently being made in class are gorgeous! I can’t wait to show you them at half term, with the equally beautiful pleated pouches and cushions! It’s a hive of wondrous activity!
(Want to know the difference between pleats and tucks? See here)
I like a little ‘hexie action’ in the evenings, and over Christmas I enjoyed working my Tilda scraps into 1.25″ EPP hexies.
As they grew I thought I would make a cover for my soft cover Bible. But then I keep a journal with my Bible, as well as Bible Study books!!!
So a cover grew into a bag!
I remembered many years ago I had designed and taught a boxy bag class (my mum uses hers for keeping books in). So I blew the cobwebs off my pattern and set to!
There is so much I love about this new boxy bag.
Firstly, it has plenty of room for my Bible and study books and a separate pocket for my A4 journal. And because it is made from flex foam it sits squat and open giving me visible and easy access to the contents.
I also love the combo of Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim) with the Tilda Hexies and a little vintage lace.
I even included some hexies inside.
Also inside is handbag mesh in the base, to ensure the shape of the bag is maintained while carrying around heavy books.
Now that I can keep my Bible books together in one place, I’m super organised whether reading at home or at Bible Study group!
I have another round of hexies being made at the moment!
3 and leave a comment here or on FB or IG telling me what’s your favourite textile to work with.
You have until Monday 18th November to enter, when I will announce the winner (international entries welcome). (Please ensure you leave your email address with your comment if you are a ‘no reply blogger’.)
Our studio in August looked a little bit like a jeans factory, as many pairs of jeans were massacred in the honourable pursuit of making my Boro Denim Bag pattern.
Repurposing projects are among my favourites, and it was exciting to see the ladies’ bags grow in a very organic, non-prescriptive way.
While some of the techniques are the same e.g. ‘quilt as you go’ and measured bag construction, each bag looks uniquely different because of the different denim placements and features used.
Like an archeological dig, there was much excavating through the pile of jeans for pockets, loops, leather labels and interesting design features which were rescued and treasured for embellishing the bags!
Doesn’t Glenda looked pleased with her finished bag!
There are a few more bags that are still in the making, but to all my ‘bag ladies’ I’d like to say a big well done on your repurposing and bag making skills! The variety and creativity you showed in the hand and machine quilting of your bags was inspiring!
If you would like to have a go at your own Denim Boro bag, you can find the pattern here.
(Newsletter subscribers will have received a 50% off coupon code for this pattern in the Autumn ’19 edition – expires 25th Sept.)
Almost 2 years ago I launched our first appeal for Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Care in Antrim Hospital.
As the name suggests, the bags carry Syringe Drivers, the vehicle for administering pain or sickness medication. The patient receives the meds via a tube, which means they have to carry the Syringe Drivers around with them all the time. Sometimes they have one syringe driver, sometimes 2.
Providing bright and colourful bags instead of the standard issue grey ones is a small way of bringing a little cheeriness to the patient, especially when they get to choose one they like!
For our first appeal we had a brilliant response from generous sewists across Northern Ireland. So much so, we were able to pass on some bags to other palliative care units.
These bags can’t be reused, and the supply of bags from the first appeal has been exhausted.
Macmillan have asked us for more, so we are launching our 2nd Syringe Driver Bag Appeal!
If you have some sewing machine experience and cotton fabric, would you consider making one or two bags for those receiving palliative care or cancer treatment? You can find the tutorial here.
Previously we have only made for adult males and females, but now we also have a request from The Children’s Hospice, N.I., so we can receive bags in child-friendly fabrics too!
I launched the 2nd appeal on Facebook 10 days ago and we’ve already received 25 bags! THANK YOU!
I’ve always known how generous our sewing community is! Please, please help us to make many more bags! The bags can be posted or delivered to me at home. Email me at email@example.com for my address.
And if you live locally to Belfast, keep your eyes and ears open for an announcement about a free Syringe Driver Bag Workshop at our studio in Conway Mill!
This is my last week of classes before the summer break. The sun is finally shining and I will have a few more photos to show you from this term’s project focus.
In the meantime, I can show you some stunning bags from our Beach Bag Workshop last Saturday.
It was a warm and clammy day in the studio, perfect weather for thinking about holidays by the beach!
All the ladies beavered away on their bags, and just look at their results!
Such classy and colourful bags! The webbing handles are sewn onto the exterior and base of the bag, making them nice and strong for all your beach or picnic gear.
The bags are lined with Rip Stop Nylon, a water resistant and washable fabric, which is really easy to sew with too!
And you can see a few examples of the additional ‘wet bag’ above, which is included in the pattern. This is also lined with Rip Stop Nyon, the perfect place for wet swimwear or drippy sun lotion bottles!
Well done ladies on your hard work. I hope you get many opportunities to use your bag this summer!
And if you would like to make your own roomy beach bag, you can get the pattern here.
You may remember seeing my aprons on display last term. I decided to leave my dressed mannequin again this term because we are running our 3rd Apron workshop in August (booking available here). In this workshop you can choose from either a tie back apron (pictured) or the Japanese style cross back apron (see here).
2 Kids Tote Bags:
These simple and fun makes are samples for my upcoming children’s workshop.
I have 4 girls and 2 boys registered to learn how to use a sewing machine and let their textile creativity loose!
Children are a joy to teach because they don’t overthink it and are so creatively uninhibited! We adults could learn alot from them!
This is my big and roomy beach bag (first featured in Pretty Patches magazine). It features water resistant Rip-Stop Nylon lining, mesh or cotton exterior pockets and a detachable ‘wet bag’ for your soggy bikini, or drippy sun lotion bottles!
I’ve made a few of these practical bags over the years, and they’ve even been road tested by my girls on their holiday!
If you’d like to join us at our Beach Bag workshop, you can book in here.
This week saw the end of our current block of classes.
The optional class project was all about Triaxial and Basket Weaving.
I had made 3 class samples to showcase the different types of fabric weaving I would be teaching, but as you will see, a few creative minds didn’t stop there!
Aren’t they stunning! A few little notebook covers didn’t manage the photoshoot, but I’m sure you can guess how wonderful they are!
In the end, we were unable to source Wefty weaving needles here in the UK, and while we managed pretty well instead with large safety pins, the Wefty needles are certainly advantageous when it comes to the more complex triaxial weave. I would definitely recommend these genius little tools!
So a huge well done to my weaving ladies for stepping up to the challenge (especially when it came to triaxial weaving!) and producing beautiful work!
And of course, these weren’t the only projects being worked on! Well done to all my other ladies on your pre-Easter finishes.
I hope you all have a wonderfully creative and choccy-filled Easter break!
(Classes resume w/c 29th April – booking available here.)
I’m so proud of all my ladies, not just those who tackle the class project, but also those who work continuously on their generous gift making, charitable fund raisers, sharing inspiring new projects and continuing to fuel and feed their creativity.
And I get to call this my day job!! #lovemyjob
We are taking a one week break, and when we return it will be the last block of classes of 2018!
Tune in again soon to find out what our new class project will be.
It’s hard to believe that the summer is almost through, and attention is quickly turning to the new term of classes starting in September.
This term our (optional) class project will be Twin Needling with Fusible Bias (incorporating Stained Glass Windows).
As you can see above, there are a range of makes to choose from. Let’s look at them:
Mosaic Cushion (Beginner Friendly):
This 18″ cushion is a great starter project if you are new to fusible bias and twin needling.
Simple piecing creates the mosaic background, with the twin needled bias creating a dramatic (and quilted) finish!
I’ve made a feature of the zipper closure in the back of the cushion, but you could easily have an envelope or button closure here.
The digital pattern is available here (hard copies are available to purchase in class).
Mackintosh Flower Cushion (Intermediate):
This is another 18″ cushion, this time inspired by Charles Renee Mackintosh’s iconic design.
Shapes are bondawebbed onto background fabric, and the fusible bias then curved and twin needled down.
Again I’ve made a feature of the cushion back.
The digital Mackintosh Flower Cushion Pattern is available here (hard copies and full size templates are available to purchase in classs).
Applique Leaf Denim Bag (Advanced):
This project not only incorporates twin-needling (stems) and satin stitch applique (leaves), but also re-purposing textiles, zippered pocket and handbag construction.
The digital Applique Leaf Denim Bag Pattern is available here (hard copies and full size templates are available to purchase in class).
Mackintosh Rose Wallhanging (Advanced):
If you love wallhangings and aren’t afraid of something a little more challenging, you could try your hand at this Mackintosh inspired ‘Stained Glass Window’.
I’m in the progress of making up this wallhanging in a different colourway, and hope to show you the finished wallhanging soon! The finished size will be approx. 14″ x 21″ and full size templates will be available to purchase in class.
Each pattern lists the materials you will need.
However, I will have the following available to purchase in class:
black 6mm fusible bias
4mm twin needles
pattern transfer pens
hinged faux leather handbag handles
full size templates
So I hope you are inspired to perhaps try something different this term. You will have 7 weeks to make one of these projects, or a project of your own choosing!
And there are still a few spaces left across all the classes (more info here), so why not join us for some creative fun!
How is your week going? We are (still) basking in the most gorgeous sunny weather here, leaving us with stunning, glorious sunsets!
This week in my classes I am presenting my summer Saturday Workshops. The 4 Saturdays in August will all be workshops, and I will be posting about them here, starting with ……
If you’ve been sewing for any length of time, you may have a huge healthy stock of scraps, leftovers from previous quilting projects. These pieces might just be too sizeable, pretty or meaningful to throw away, leftover binding or jelly roll strips, or perhaps frugality gets the better of you!
Either way, there are many, many ways to put those ever growing scraps to good use!
Here are just a few examples of what you can make on Scrap Buster Saturday.
My technique for making strip pieced blocks doesn’t involve a foundation layer.
I added a little ‘organisation’ to lots of random strips by making the central strip in each block white. The white strips are of uniform width, but that’s were the uniformity ends! All other strips are random widths and lengths. I even used ‘ugly’ fabrics I still had, but I totally love the finished quilt! That’s the magic of using scraps.
Autumn Rail Fence Quilt(block tutorial available here)
The simple sewing together of strips means you can easily make up this quilt top in a day.
Once again, I dove into my scrap drawers for specific colours – golds, oranges, pinks and teals, all of different widths and lengths. Some donated yardage of a brown stripe gives flow and order to the scraps.
But equally, this quilt would look fabulous made in random coloured scraps with a uniform ‘fence’ fabric.
‘Quilt As You Go’ Handbag: (pattern available here)
Here’s another roomy handbag idea for all those colourful scraps!
This ‘quilt as you go’ method involves the quilting of each individual piece of fabric onto a larger piece of wadding. There are no raw edges, and the condense quilting gives the bag lots of structure.
The pattern also includes this secure recessed zipper closure.
‘Birch’ Quilt (in progress):
I took inspiration from this quilt and decided to make a grey and low volume version (given that I have an overflowing drawer of LV scraps!).
I plan on using up my stash of Kona Greys to make this into a bigger ‘man’ quilt. Somehow, I think it will take me a lot longer to use up my LV scraps!
So there you have it! A little inspiration on how to use your scraps, and a date for your diary on how to have a day of fun turning them into something wonderful!
For the past 6 weeks some very talented ladies in my classes have been beavering away on my Denim Hexie Bag Pattern.
This pattern combines techniques such as English Paper Piecing (EPP Hexies), eyelet holes, zippered pocket, handbag construction as well as some serious denim upcycling!
At times it looked like a missile had gone off in a jeans factory in my classroom, as scissors and blades feverishly amputated legs, pockets and loops! While denim is one of my favourite textiles to work with, it doesn’t half shed!
But oh boy, the results of this serious crafting were so worth it!
Not all the bags being made are represented here, a few are still being finished off.
But aren’t they brilliant! Sturdy, stylish practical bags that I know will get lots of use!
And I also know that the bags still being finished are equally as fabulous!
I haven’t been able to capture all the individual details in the bags here, but trust me when I tell you that each bag has it’s own unique characteristics.
Details like repurposed loops, tabs and pockets from the jeans, as well as complimentary fabrics like cotton and tweed, buttons, badges and even embroidery and printing.
A huge ‘well done’ to all my wonderful ‘Bag Ladies’!
I also have 3 part-kits available in my shop, which include the pattern, pre-cut hexie papers, various coloured denim squares (for the hexie panels) , 1 metre of heavy weight sew-in vilene and 4 eyelet rings.
When I was at Primary School we had a ‘Nature Table’, decorated according to the seasons, with items mucky hands would triumphantly find and trophy into class the next day!
The Autumn Table was my favourite. I can still see the bright orangey-red ovals of rosehips, shining like jewels among the tattered leaves and empty conker casings.
Well I may be all grown up now (sort of!), but in the childhood-spirit of celebrating the season, I thought it would be nice to have an ‘Easter Table’ in class!
Not all of these items are strictly ‘Easter’ related – I’m using a little Spring inspiration (& a lot of creative license!) too.
So over the next 2 posts, let me talk you through my table and I’ll give you the links to the free tutorials too!
We’ll start with the left hand side of the table. The items are sitting on my blue chenille mat. If you’ve never tried chenilling before, I highly recommend it. Great fun and super easy too!
Chenille involves lots of layers of fabric, sewn together on the bias in half inch channels. The fabric between the channels is then cut, through all layers except the bottom one. Give it a rigorous wash and tumble dry, and hey presto, you have the fluffiest fabric which you can then turn into anything you like!
So far, I’ve chenilled a baby play mat, a bath mat (below) and a heart cushion!
Happy October to you all! The beauty of Autumn has arrived here in N.Ireland. Aren’t the leaves just gorgeous this time of year!
Many of you have been beavering away making Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Support.
I want to say a huge thank you for your contributions so far! More are needed on an ongoing basis, so if you get a spare 5 minutes to rustle up another one, we’d much appreciate it (you can get the tutorial here).
And here’s a thank you from the staff at Macmillan (modelling some of your bags!):
“Hi Judith, just to say a big thank you for the syringe driver bags we’re getting at the Macmillan unit. This is a few of the staff modelling them!!! They’re amazing! The workmanship is incredible! You have some very talented connections! Please pass on our thanks… so nice to offer something cheery and have a bit of choice when you have an attachment to carry around that you’re not that excited about!! BIG THANK YOU!!!! X”
What a great way to make a small difference in someone’s life.
Summer seems to have left us here! But I have some good news! My sewing room is finished and I’m fully operational once more!
And what better project to christen my new creative space than sewing for a good cause.
These are Syringe Driver Bags, used by patients to keep essential medication on their person as they move around. Earlier this year we received a request from Marie Curie Cancer Care to make Syringe Driver Bags for their unit in Belfast. The response from the sewing community was incredible, and we donated enough bags for the hospice and a local hospital cancer unit.
Well I’m putting out a call to all generous and creative sewers, to make more Syringe Driver Bags, this time for Macmillan Cancer Support unit in Antrim hospital.
I have been approached to make these bags, for current and future patients in the unit, and any bags donated over and above what is needed will be shared around the other cancer units too.
The bags required this time around are for adult males and females, in bright, cheery fabrics, and come in 2 sizes. The small bag takes a single syringe driver and the large bag takes 2 drivers. Both sizes have a velcro flap, and while the dimensions vary, the construction method is the same for each.
I do hope I can count on your generous spirit to support brave patients in this small way.
Here is the tutorial:
Measurements listed are width x height
Use 1/4″ seam allowance
Use reverse stitch to start and finish each seam
1 Fat Quarter of cotton (approx 18″ x 22″) will make the exterior for either the single driver bag OR the double driver bag
1 Fat Quarter of cotton (approx 18″ x 22″) will make the lining for either the single driver bag OR the double driver bag
1 Long Quarter of cotton (approx 9.5″ x 42″-44″) will make the handles
** Please do not use stick-on velcro
Make the Handle: Iron under 1/4″ along each long edge.
2. Now bring both long (folded) edges together and press. Top stitch 1/8″ from the edge down both long sides, starting with the open side. No need to top stitch the short ends. Put the handle to one side.
3. Make the Flap: Place the outer and lining flaps right sides together. Sew around 3 sides, leaving one short side open.
4. Carefully snip the corners at an angle (to reduce bulk) before turning right side out. Push the corners well out and press.
5. Sew the soft side of the velcro to the lining side of the flap, 1/4″ away from the closed end of the flap. Put to one side.
6. Make the main bag: Attach the remaining piece of velcro to the front bag piece. The top of the velcro should be 1.5″ down from the top edge (or 2″ for the large bag).
7. Join the front and back pieces and the sides, right sides together (as shown) stopping 1/4″ short at the bottom of each seam.
8. Join the remaining edges together to create a box (remember to stop 1/4″ short at the bottom).
9. Insert the base: Pin the base to the bottom of the outer bag, right sides together.
10. Sew the base in place, stopping 1/4″ short at each corner to pivot & turn (leave the needle down in the fabric and lift up the presser foot). As you pivot the corners, flip the underside of the bag away from you (see below).
11. Turn the bag right side out. Push the corners out and press the seams into a nice box shape.
12. Machine tack the flap onto the back of the bag, right sides together.
13. Machine tack the handle onto the sides of the bag (take care not to get a twist in your handle). Put to one side.
14. Make the lining: Repeat steps 7-10 for the lining, leaving a 2″ gap in a long side seam. Do not turn right side out.
15. Insert the outer bag into the lining, tucking the flap and handle inside between the layers. Align & pin the side seams and top edge.
16. Sew around the top edge (you may find it easier to remove the accessories tray on your machine here).
17. Pull the outer bag through the gap in the lining, and hand or machine stitch the gap closed.
18. Press the bag before pushing the lining into the outer bag. Sew around the top edge again, making sure to keep the flap and handle well out of the way.
And you’re done!
It would be wonderful if you could help me with this small measure of kindness. The 2 bags I’ve made have already brought smiles to the faces of the 2 recipients!
I will be the collection point for any donated bags, so please get in touch with me directly and I’ll give you my address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanking you all in advance of your support and generosity.
As I enjoy the wide open windows and the washing on the line, I’m also progressing well with packing up ready for moving house at the end of this month. A small challenge when there’s 15 years worth of ‘stuff’ to thin out ready for our down-size!
I have also packed up my sewing room, but not before I got a class sample finished for classes in the new term.
I’m a great admirer of Anna’s fabulous bag designs and patterns, and her Maker’s Tote is a particular favourite of mine. I’ve had it bookmarked for a while, but am only now getting around to making it!
I thought this would be a good bag pattern to teach in class because of the variety of bag construction elements and skills involved.
But of course I couldn’t just stick to the pattern, could I!
I love using denim for bags, it makes them more durable and useable in my view. And besides, I already had 2 ‘uneven brick’ panels sewn together for another project long forgotten! They were the perfect size, so I got to *quilting them, first in the ditches, and then some feature quilting using Aurifil 12wt wool thread.
*the original pattern uses a foam interfacing like Bosal to give structure and reinforcement to the bag. I wasn’t able to get any in time, so substituted with a layer of wadding and heavy weight sew-in vilene spray basted together.
The front and back of my bag are slightly different. I didn’t think the prescribed front pocket would work on my version of this bag, but I did include the zippered back pocket.
One of the joys of working with recycled denim is thinking of ways to use the loops, tabs and unusual features attached to a pair of jeans.