A Bag

I’m always happy when someone appreciates handmade gifts but realise that not every one does. This week I made a bag for my running buddy as it was her birthday.

I used some dark blue waterproof rucksack fabric that I had leftover from when I made my sister a bag, some waxed fabric from Ikea (my Christmas table cloth) and some red webbing and produced this:

Steffi's Bag

I loved it but was ever so slightly nervous when I handed her the present. I needn’t have worried, she loved it too and it’s already in use.

I still have some of those polka dots and some turquoise rucksack fabric. I may just have to make one for myself…..

I did the boxed corners in a new-to-me way and I loved how quick and easy it was. I’ll show you what I mean on the next one I’m making as I didn’t take any pictures this time. That’s what happens when you finish a gift five minutes before you leave for the party.

A LOUD Birthday Present

It was my sister’s birthday on the 6th and, although we agreed ages ago not to give birthday gifts anymore, I made her a bag. I had already made her one earlier which she loves (no pictures as it was one of those finished-seconds-before-gifting projects) ¬†However, after using it she thought it would be even better if it was a little taller so her knitting doesn’t fall out.

When I was at the Fat Quarterly Retreat I bought some Cotton & Steel with lions on which I knew I wanted to use for the bag.

Cotton & Steel

Then I remembered some laminated Amy Butler fabric that I thought would work well colour wise. It wasn’t quite the match I had hoped for but I liked it together nonetheless. I added a very bright blue lining with neon green, pink, purple and white dots and some bright green handles.

Lining

It ended up being a very LOUD bag. It shouts LOOK AT ME and I really like it despite the clashing colours and patterns. Or maybe because of them?

Kris's Bag

I will give it to her with the words: “If you don’t like it I’ll make you a different one.” Because I’d be very happy to keep it.

Fireworks

A little while ago there was a picture of some gorgeous fabric on the Fat Quarterly blog: Katharine’s Wheel by Nel Whatmore. The fabric came with a Designer Challenge to make blocks inspired by circles, swirls and fireworks. Before I could engage my brain I had left a comment to enter the draw. Can you imagine my excitement when I was picked?

Five fat quarters arrived and the fabric was even more beautiful in real life than it had been on the pics; the colours were incredibly rich and zingy. I had had a few ideas buzzing around my head while I was waiting for my parcel but the minute I saw the fabric I ditched them all. No way was I going to cut these beauties into small strips and circles.

I quickly googled Catharine Wheel Fireworks as I have to admit that I know nothing about fireworks, never having bought any myself. Swiss national day (1st August) is celebrated during the school holidays and we were always away. The pictures were lovely and I soon drew some blocks with lines coming from a circle in the centre. I wasn’t quite convinced and started drawing curves. Bingo!

After a few variations and some serious trial sewing I found a curve I liked and started cutting up my lovely fabric. I think the big pieces really showcase the bold flowery prints and rich colours.

I made cardboard templates of my two sections and cut out four of each. Then I sewed together one section a to one section b making quarters, two quarters into halves and then the halves together making sure all the points meet in the centre. After I finished the first block where I used the five different designs I decided that the stripy one was stopping the block’s flow and made another one.

I then wondered what to do with the two blocks I had made and on a whim decided to make a bag. A few weeks ago I bought three different green Konas from Florence‘s pop-up shop on Etsy. Sadly I didn’t make a note of the different names but one of them was a perfect match with Katharine’s Wheel.

There’s a stripy pocket for a mobile phone or key and some fabulously stripy handles.

I also cut off one of the selvages and sewed it onto the lining to remind me of the challenge.

I’m really happy with this bright, swirly explosion of colour and hope that I’ve fulfilled the brief of the challenge.

My Bag

I made myself a new bag! I’ve been lugging round a ginormous bag for the last year which was filled with wet wipes, nappies, changes of clothes, snacks and drinks and everything else one needs when looking after a small child. Master called the bag “the bag from hell” and I suppose he was right. Everything ended up somewhere on the bottom of it or ended up in the big black hole never to be seen again. As Little Miss Bossy-Boots is now out of nappies and I don’t really need to bring spare clothes anymore I decided that a smaller bag was called for. Add to this the fact that I was going home to Switzerland for eight days (hence the non-blogging) and didn’t want to carry the monster bag around arouanymore and you get a very strong incentive to make a new, smaller bag. As I didn’t have much time before travelling, I decided to go for a really simple design I have sewn lots of times. The fabric, however, is a little bit special and very, very practical: rucksack fabric. It’s waterproof, very light and, best of all, comes in lots of fun colours. I chose a lovely turquoise for my bag and I love it.

As you can see I added a big pocket to the front of the bag with a flap to keep things in there a bit safer and drier. It’s fully lined in the same IKEA fabric I used to line the bag. I love this fabric as it’s so summery.

Now in hind sight I wish I had put a flap on the top of my bag as well. I didn’t because I thought that it is a summer bag which doesn’t end up in the rain too often (how wrong was I?) and therefore simply inserted a zip at the top.

I decided to have pockets galore in this bag in the hope that it would be more organised and less “hellish” for Master if he ever has to find something in it. There’s palace for everything now: wallet, pen, mobile phone, plasters and antiseptic, camera and snacks. The wet wipes go in the bottom with a pair of knickers and leggings for Little Miss Bossy-Boots (just in case). The key is attached to a key fob and can easily be found and used while still attached to the fob which means I’m not hunting for my key anymore as I know it’s in bag.

I’ve used it for a bit over a week now and I can say that I absolutely love it. The size is great as I can still get a few things in there when I go shopping but without them disappearing without a trace. I also don’t have to take everything out to find smaller items that have buried themselves at the bottom of the bag.

However, there are two things I don’t like. First, as mentioned before, I wish I had put a flap over the top opening. Nothing has gotten wet yet but with the miserable weather we have had this summer it would prolong this bag’s season into autumn. Now I will have to make another bag for autumn, winter. Oh, that is terrible… Second, I re-used the black strap from my old bag for this one but I feel it’s just too harsh. I bought some red webbing in Switzerland but have to get the right hardware before I can change the strap. The black strap will simply be re-cycled when I finish my autumn/winter bag later this year.

My sister loved the look of my bag and ordered a similar one. I will, however, put a flap on hers so that she can use it all year round.