Holiday Dilemmas

Hello to all you lovely fellow creative stitchers!  I am after your help, I am going on holiday for a whole month, and yes I know I am really, really lucky!

I need your help because if I don’t have anything to do during those quiet moments(?) I think I will go a bit stir crazy.  We are holidaying with family in Cyprus, and we know the place very well.  So sight seeing will not be top of the list in the height  of the Mediterranean summer .  Also there is only so much swimming and sunbathing/napping you can do!

I am already cramming a braid making wheel in my case, which is very light, and the makings for some hand quilting, Folded Star or Somerset QuiltIng.

Somerset Quilt

I have given you a link to a lovely example shown on Pinterest, don’t think my effort will be anything like that.  I should get out and about a bit and see if the Cypriot ladies enjoy patch work quilting or fabric crafts in general.  I know the ladies up in the Troodos Mountains make the most pretty laces. Lefkara used to be the centre of the hand made laces you see, but  I do not know if the tradition is still ongoing.  When we were in India, the people I chatted with were perplexed with the idea of cutting up perfectly good fabric to sew up again in a pattern to make a quilt.  My explanations when asked what I was buying for, were obviously different!

Any portable sewing ideas would be very welcome!

 

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Create your own dog walking bag!

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Louis the Beagle after a long and thirsty walk.

Now I don’t own a dog, but I seem to go on a lot of dog walks with my favourite doggy friend, Louis the beagle and his friends.   He belongs to my daughter and her partner. There always seems to be much that needs to be taken along when you go for a short walk, which I find strange.  I always thought all you needed for a dog walk was a dog, a lead and perhaps a ball?

No!  We need treats, of various enticement value, a whistle, dog poo bags, (here in England anyway), hand sanitiser, mobile, toy, water and lastly and most important this, the dog and lead, phew have I forgotten anything?

I had a challenge given me, can I design the perfect dog walking bag for longer walks? My daughter knows I am  into bag making and thought this the ideal starting point for designer bags, I like a challenge!  I am usually found sewing toy animals, clothes, accessories and more recently patchwork quilting.

I thought I should ask here, if anyone has thoughts on this very important matter for dog walkers.  Now is your chance, what size is best, a cross body bag or round the waist? How many pockets, waterproof etc?

I would love any thoughts and I will do my best to design a bag that fits the bill. This is the fabric I am thinking of using.

guthrie & ghani

Take a peek at this great website for something different.

I am off on a short holiday, but there will be no dog walking, and will be dreaming of things to make on return, so don’t be shy  any suggestions will be considered!

 

 

Zip and Clip Bag

Since making the rather large Long Week End bag, and I am away soon on my hols, I set to with this small zip and clip bag from a pattern by ” Around the Bobbin” .  I have had it ready for about 18 months, but I like a deadline so made it in a day.   The instructions are so clear and precise I felt that if you go wrong it is your own fault!  I needed a pretty bag to use in the evening, yet one that could hold all the bits you need when over seas.

I am happy with the result, and my only wish is that the Eiffel Tower was the right way up on the front, it is one of those fabrics that goes in all directions, so I shall live with it!

Pattern

Around the Bobbin zip and clip bag

front & side

Quite a deep bag

Front

zip and mobile pocket

inside

Passport and card slots behind a zip for safety

Elephant Bag finished!

I last posted a photo of all the pieces needed to make up the Long Week End Bag designed by Touch My Heart Designs.  I am very please with the way finished bag my version has turned out, but I thought I should add a note of warning. I found it impossible to one, match the top seams so as to make the zip opening central, and two, once the opening was made make the seam neat enough to sew smoothly.

original zip instruction

inside zip showing bulk problem

There was no way this would lie flat!

inside zip

bulky zip

Close up of messy corners!

applying bias to zip edge

Strip of 4 inch wide fabric to finish zip opening edge

To get a better outcome and make it easy with no corners to sew, I resorted to binding the zip edge, and  sewing the tabs on each end of the zip as instructed in the the pattern.  But then instead of them lying inside I made them the zip extension and treated the tabs like the zip.

fold over bias

stitch in the ditch

Stitch in the ditch from the right side

applying tabs to zip

finish the Zip ends with tabs as instructed originally

attach zip

Make the tab ends part of the zip top.

sew zip almost to the end

One side in!

The only thing to remember is that the outside and the lining of this bag are made separately, so do not sew the zip or the  strip right to the end.  When you come to join the end panels to the lining and outer you will have to fiddle a bit to make sure you can sew each end panel in individually. It was impossible to photograph this clearly I am afraid, but you should be able to follow if you think it through.  You want the outer and lining only to be joined by the zip as described in the original instructions.zip sewn in

I found it easiest to start sewing the side panels from the top and down each side.

attaching bag sides

bag zip and sides join

Sew the sides in from the zip top down .

My only other amendment was to make the shoulder tabs from the webbing off cuts, if you have any of course.  It just saved time making up fabric ones and is just as strong and professional looking.

I enjoyed this sewing experience, but it was one of those that you HAD to finish quickly or you could get disheartened, now I just want to use my new bag.  I hope my solution has helped others!

strap tabs

I used webbing for the strap tags.

A New Year “Fit Bit” bag!

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t joined the new year flight to the local gym, the only exercise for me is my foot on the sewing machine pedal! But my fitter other half was very lucky to have been given a Fit Bit to spur him on to even greater lengths. Each time he disappears to the gym, on his bike most times, I grab the chance to get to my machine. This morning though, he was gathering his strength with a lie in and I remembered him saying he could do with a little bag to put his Fit Bit in. Once I had worked out to what he was referring I reckoned it was just the job for Sewn Up Gifts. Rushed down stairs for a cup of tea and set to!

Here is the result, made in an hour just in time for the next gym trip!

I made this from a sturdy cotton moleskin. As it is thick fabric I didn’t line it and it does not fray but still my trusty old Bernina only just made it through the layers.  You can make this from scrap fabric and any size depending on your zip collection.  You can always cut nylon zips down to size remember.

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Add binding strip to top edge

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Turn over and press.

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Add tabs to zip ends.

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Stitch zip to binding

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Add any straps etc before sewing together

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Sew together

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Good to go!

I can report this little project a great success, I would have liked to have added an outside pocket for any other bits and pieces but I did not want to risk an expensive repair bill at the sewing machine shop!
Happy New Year everyone!

My Australian Adventure

My feet have just touched ground after a long anticipated journey to Australia, a country that I have always heard so much about through out my life.  My father grew up there and returned to England in his twenties. I believe he always wanted to return but never had the opportunity, even for a holiday.

As an anniversary and birthday celebration my long suffering husband and I embarked on this voyage of discovery!  I had always intended to see where my father had lived and went to school in Melbourne, and I was welcomed to his old school, Trinity Grammar, Kew,  Melbourne, and taken on a tour of the old building just before the original assembly hall and class rooms were replaced by more user friendly new ones.  Timely or what?!

Earlier in the year I posted about my Grandmothers art work in Melbourne Victoria  Read here.   and I asked if anyone in Australia had a painting of hers, well I was in luck!

Lo and behold I was contacted on my way out, by a very kind art lover who said his family had bought a water colour by Bess Golding in the 1920’s and it had hung on the family home wall until the 70’s and still remains in the family.  It was lovely news, especially as it is hanging on the wall next to one of  her contemporaries Australian water colour artist,  Harold Herbert, who she much admired.

Everyone was so kind and helpful through out this personal expedition, and had time to spend helping me find a bit of my past.  I have fallen in love with Australia, but whether I will ever return is doubtful,  even with modern travel the journey is long but worth it!IMG_1143

The weekend flew “past” !

I was all set for a busy weekend at the sewing machine, but no, the sun came out instead.  The garden, or rather undergrowth, was calling me and my t’other half to come out and cut it back before winter.  Not a small task, hacking through two years growth and thinking I wish I was doing something more creative than destructive!  Anyhow on the last of 3 three runs to the recycle centre with the 7th huge builders sack of debris there was a rumble in the jungle.  Over our heads flew 5 Spitfires and a Hurricane giving us a huge “Well done” for our efforts.  They were obviously going home after a very busy weekend celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.  What a sight they were and they brought a lump of emotion to my throat.

All about Spitfires

Back to the sewing machine then.  I went to one of my sewing groups on Friday to see how to ” Whack and Stack”.  Well it was not what I thought, probably a relief all round,  but a random way of cutting and piecing patchwork.  I am not sure I am now a fan of the method but perhaps it was just the choice of cottons I used?  I put the sashing and border on this morning and think it may suit a summer beach house or the garden shed, neither of which I have!

I also made a piggy handbag for a little girl, and I have put it in my shop on Etsy.  I made one for my great niece for her birthday in August and it seems it was a hit, so I hope others like it too.  Was fun to make and the pattern shows other animals to sew up so perhaps I will make those too.

Pictures say more than words so here you go!

Stack and Whack lap quilt top

Stack and Whack Lap quilt top

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Little Miss Piggy Bag

Cuthbert the WI Rabbit – Part 2

Hi again

I have finished Cuthbert Rabbit on time for September 16th the WI Centenary Celebration, as I explained in my earlier post.      Cuthbert

Original Cuthbert

The Original Cuthbert

 

I hope you like my version of Cuthbert, he has plastic coated wire in his legs and body, so that he can bend, with help!  He is a craft item and not suitable for children though.  I think things were a lot more relaxed in 1917 with regards to toys and safety issues!

I am going to add him to the raffle prizes and hope he attracts lots of attention!

See you soon and thanks for reading!

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WI Rabbit

Cuthbert

Cuthbert

A couple of years after The Women’s Institute was formed in Britain in 1915, the Sussex federation started making a toy rabbit and they named him Cuthbert.  He was exhibited at The National Welfare and Economy Exhibition in London, and the tradition of craft work had begun for the WI.  Another reason Cuthbert was born was because there were no imports from Germany during WW1, one of the greatest toy making countries at that time, and our children had no Steiff toys!

September 16th marks the Women’s Institutes Centenary and I am going to try my utmost to reproduce this bunny! I think he has a bit of a glint in his eye and a rather odd expression but I will post my result here, do wish me luck!

( Information taken from WI Life Sept 2015)

See you soon!