The Bloomsbury Bag

During my long non-blogging break due to my health problem (sounds worse than it is), I couldn’t resist answering a plea for pattern testers by Florence of Flossie Teacakes. Florence’s blog was the first one I discovered and followed on a regular basis. So imagine how I excited I got when she sent out a request for people who would like to help her test the pattern for her Bloomsbury bag which comes in two sizes. Quick as a flash I sent off an email and within minutes (that’s how it felt anyway) I got an answer telling me that I had been chosen!

Florence sent me the pattern and some supplies, so all I had to do was choose some fabrics from my stash for it. I quickly decided to use some of the Liberty scraps I’d ordered from Ali’s shop and pair them with Master’s torn trousers that were lying on the recycling pile.

Because I couldn’t really sit at the machine for a whole day I sewed the bag in three sessions. I took my time trying to forget I’d ever made a bag, going through every step of the pattern to make sure the instructions were clear and easy to follow. They were and I ended up with a beautiful bag which, by the way, is the bigger version:

Please excuse the quality of the pictures. The light outside makes it rather difficult to take pictures that aren’t washed out.

The bag came together quickly and easily and I love all the gorgeous details such as the elasticated side pocket in which you could keep a bottle of water, tissues or your mobile. The Dresden petals and piping look sophisticated

and the little zippered pocket inside a zippered pocket is simply adorable.

I wanted quite a long strap as I wanted to be able to wear the bag over my winter coat. Master’s legs are long but the trousers weren’t quite long enough for this job, so I had to piece the strap. This is now my favourite part of the bag.

I love the extra glimpses of Liberty.

Now I have to admit that not everything went according to plan. However, none of the problems I encountered had anything to do with the pattern and everything to do with my lack of patience and rubbish cutting skills.

First, the Dresden petals are supposed to follow the curve of the flap exactly and if you look at Florence’s beautiful example bags they do. I found the Liberty Tana lawns really slippery and awkward and as I wasn’t feeling my best I decided after a while of cutting, checking and swearing to just make do with what I had and leave the petals the way they were.

Second, my machine did not enjoy making the piping. I don’t own a piping foot so made do with my zipper foot. The piping is quite wrinkly but again I didn’t feel inclined to faff about and try to get it perfectly smooth. I’m hoping Santa will put a piping foot in my stocking so that I can try again and make perfect piping.

Despite these little problems I love the bag. It’s so practical with enough pockets for everything to have its place. I’m sure I will make another version for the summer, maybe even two. The smaller size would be perfect for walking the dog while the bigger one is great when I’m about and about with Little Miss Bossy-Boots.

If you would like to make a Bloomsbury Bag pop over here and have a look at Florence’s beautiful bags with perfect Dresden petals and piping. Once you scroll to the end of her blog post you can buy her pattern and get sewing.