Pleated Bag – Class Project

By Judith on February 2, 2020
0 Comments (Leave comment)

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:


For Pleats Sake Bag (class sample)


The pattern for this pleated bag is by Lisa Lam ( and is called ‘For Pleats Sake!’.  You can find the free tutorial here.


For Pleats Sake Bag (class sample)


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.


For Pleats Sake Bag (class sample)


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.


For Pleats Sake Bag (class sample)


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.


For Pleats Sake Bag (class sample)


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)


Happy pleating!


0 Comments (Leave comment)

Sample Swatch Bag

By Judith on June 3, 2019
4 Comments (Leave comment)

My youngest daughter finishes her 14 year school career and turns 18 this month! Where did the time go!


She has had one teacher in particular who has nurtured her love of literature and encouraged and inspired her for the last 4 years.


So I offered to make her a bag, as a thank you.  I already knew the bag I would make, patchworked and roomy enough to take school files.


I had it on good authority that ‘said teacher’s’ favourite colours are black and grey – sadly the 2 colours I have least of in my bag making stash!


So I scrounged requested some sample swatches from a generous friend and my vision of a patchwork bag came alive!


Sample Swatch Bag (Teacher present) June19


My daughter loves the touch of velvets and soft wools so while I quilted some of the swatches, I left some of the more ‘tactile’ ones alone!


Sample Swatch Bag (Teacher present)


I took a risk with the purple lining, but the bag was delivered today and I’m pleased to report ‘she loved it!’  Phew!


Sample Swatch Bag (Teacher present) June19


Using swatches from (often free) sample books is a great way to make patchwork projects.  Ask in Interiors and Curtain making shops for their last season’s books.


Sample Swatch Bag (Teacher present) June19



However, working with swatches is very different from sewing with cotton.


Here are a few things to consider:

    • try to remove all the paper from the back of the swatches
    • use a larger stitch length & walking foot when working with thicker fabrics
    • fuse interfacing to lighter fabrics to give them equal body to thicker ones
    • quilt onto a lightweight flex foam (I used Legacy) to stabilise the mixed fabrics & help absorb the thicker seams
    • ‘stitch in the ditch’ before other quilting
    • use size 90/14 Jeans needle (quilting) and 100/16 Jeans needle (construction)
    • for quilting use upholstery thread (top) and standard quilting thread (bobbin)
    • for construction use upholstery thread (top and bottom)


Sample Swatch Bag (Teacher present) June19


June is turning into a busy month of present making!  I will have more to show you before the month is out!


Happy sewing!



4 Comments (Leave comment)