Tag Archives: gifts

Peg Bags

Exactly a year ago last week, February half term, me and my sister and our sisters-in-law  met up for a girls day out in the lovely little seaside town of Aberdovey.

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We drank coffee and talked; we

walked along the sea front and talked; we ate lunch in one of the pubs along the sea front …

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and talked and browsed every one of the little shops and talked!

In one shop we talked about peg bags, well the conversation had to have a few mmmm…..  exciting topics, didn’t it?  There were some pretty ones there and my sister-in-law commented that she needed a new peg bag. Well you can probably imagine the outcome. I, of course, said ‘Don’t buy one, I’ll make one’.  Sister-in-law  2 says ‘I’d like one too.’ Not a problem. Well, such an easy thing to make! I knew I’d be making at least 3. And thinking about it I needed one as well. Make that two, our caravan peg bag has seen better days.

But even I didn’t think it would take me a year! I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. I planned and I looked at them on Pinterest, I even made a dedicated peg bag board!                                                                   From my Pinterest board (click through to take a look at them all):

I love the vintage shoulder bag one from Marmalade Rose blogspot; the washing line appliqué from ‘Aiming for swan like’  really appealed to me and the button hanging idea from ‘Love me sew’ got me thinking about alternatives to coat hangers. The Cath Kidston bird house was one of the commercial ones I thought was fun.

I was very dedicated to the idea of making them; I sourced the right sized hangers but never quite got around to ordering them; I became extraordinarily interested in examining them whenever I saw one in a shop and I contemplated how I wanted them to hang.

Well I’m pleased to say that the planning was worth it and at last I have a design that I really like and that is easy to make and that has a hanging system that I’m really pleased with. The trigger hook means that the bag doesn’t come off the washing line no matter how hard the wind blows, and it can blow here on the West Wales coast!

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I bought two different types of hooks, the round ended ones are the best.

The Prototype: Making the front.                                                                                     The opening is just the right size and in just the right place.

I bought a broom handle and found trigger hooks in the farmers stores, there were no eyelets there so I turned to trusty Charlie’s Stores.IMG_1762 I did get Jeff to cut the broom handle into sections for ease and speed and when the sewing was done to help screw the eyelets in. The compressed wooden broom handles are extraordinarily tough!

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Here is the first finished  peg bag.

 

 

The only adjustment to the design was to shave a quarter of an inch off the dowel. I’ve made all the bags I’d planned and they have been quick and easy.

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If you are in need of a new peg bag and  would like to make this one I’ve added a tutorial here.

 

 

Chicken and Egg.

Whenever I set out to realise one of my ideas I find myself thinking back to Design Technology staff meetings at school! Our talented curriculum leader, Martha,  put us through our paces thinking through the design, make, review process. Well, whenever I make my ‘prototype’ there is always plenty to think about in the review part of the proceedings! There certainly was for this little fabric container … or pot …. or box. I’m not really sure what to call it. Ideas on a postcard  (or a comment here) please.

What to call it? Any ideas?
What to call it? Any ideas?

When I saw ‘Chicken and Egg’ in Aberdashery I knew what I wanted to make with it right away. I’d been planning some little round containers for a while. Initially the containers in my mind’s eye had turn down tops not lids but then the lid popped into my thoughts. I think I’ll still make a lidless round one, the rectangular ones I made are very versatile and I like them a lot.

Here are my choices from ‘Chicken and Egg’ in the Henley Studio Collection by Makower, lots more lovelies in the collection. Take a peek. These three were obvious choices for me, I’m besotted by the aqua and red combination and have to stop myself choosing it for everything I make. I love the fabric design and I thought the quilting should be kept simple and just let the design speak for itself. So my straight line practise came in useful.

I hope that I can get around to making the improved version soon but at this time of year, well gardening, golfing  and galivanting around the countryside seem to be higher on the agenda. Among my improvements will be making the lid slightly larger. I did make the diameter slightly bigger but not quite enough for the lid to just drop on.

There are other modifications too and as I make the new improved model I’ll have another go at writing a tutorial. All I need is a horrible wet  useful rainy sewing day. Shouldn’t be too long before one of those here in West Wales!

Nice Needles Part II

 

When I made my much needed new knitting needle roll (original post  here)

I did say I didn’t think it would be the only one I made. I didn’t have to be psychic to know that my daughter would be a very willing recipient of her own ‘nice needle’ roll but when my sister also put in a subtle request I thought it was time I got sewing. Well that was back at the beginning of February and my daughter has been waiting a while  so I thought I’d crack on before the weather (hopefully) warms up.

I went into Aberdashery with a particular range of fabrics in mind but, not unusually, something else caught my eye. These fabrics

from  Hantex  Art Gallery ‘Indian Summer’ range by Sarah Watson are beautiful and such great quality. I took a look at the whole range on the Hantex website (take a peek) and fabric love kicked in and sent my brain into overdrive thinking of all the possibilities.

Back to ‘Nice Needles’ I added a couple of pieces from my stash, including  a favourite Kaffe Fassett that echoes my sisters birthday quilt, and got stuck in. I hadn’t written any notes when I made the original so the process was down to measuring up, making it up and tweaking it up,  but this time I did make notes and have a tutorial here.

IMG_1200I thought my original was a bit too bulky so this time I chose cotton domette (recommended by Jane at Aberdashery) as a wadding and it is just the right weight. I’d choose it again for cushions, bags etc.

loveI quilted using the eggy loopy and the heart border stitches from my Pfaff machine quilting stitch menu for ease and speed and then  free stitched ‘love knitting’  along the       outer flap edge.

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I used almost the same pocket layout as for the first ‘Nice Needles’ with three levels of pockets. The top  layer has equal sized pockets for pairs of needles; the second has one wider pocket in the centre and the third and shortest row has mainly wider pockets to fit a variety of tools. The only difference is two slightly wider pockets in the top level to accommodate the really fat sized needles.

I debated lots of options for fastenings but my abiding love of buttons and my new-found love of making  buttonholes won out.

IMG_1208When we moved house I found a collection of earrings from Bethan’s teenage years so I decided to incorporate some in decorating her needle roll. I can only hope she had no plans to return to wearing them!

I stitched a length of the tape measure ribbon along the inside.

It’s in 10 IMG_4222centimetre repeats so that it can be a useful tape measure.

 

 

labelI remembered to add my label this time too.

 

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Think Pink

IMG_4195This has been the week of the ‘Barefaced Selfie’ on Facebook and millions of pounds have been raised for breast cancer charities. The very best of social media networking!

It all prompted me to blog my ‘Think Pink’ makes. Riley Blake Designs created the ‘Think Pink’ range to support breast cancer sufferers and a proportion of the profits have been donated to charity.

I loved the balconette bra design when I first saw it but didn’t buy it right away, when I did finally buy (from the Little Fabric Bazaar) it I had no immediate plans for it then when I was planning a trip I decided to make some lingerie bags.

IMG_4185I decided on three designs for the bags, first of all the tried and trusted little caddy bag,  then an easy drawstring bag.  Lastly I decided to design an envelope style bag.

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I’ve made so many of the caddy bags and I’m sure I’ll make many more.  This time I made the side pockets a bit deeper and added a button to the top of each pocket.

IMG_4198The drawstring bag is simple and straight forward with the balconette fabric as the main with the cream floral as a border  and an aqua solid from my stash as the drawstring pocket (much the easiest way to add the drawstring).

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The envelope style bag was just an idea that I enjoyed working out. I was happy with the result and can see it working in different sizes for a number of uses.

IMG_4190It’s lined with the floral and padded with a thin wadding so it feels lovely. With my old machine I would think hard about making buttonholes but with my lovely new Pfaff it’s so easy I don’t have to think about it at all. Buttons are no longer just for decoration.

I think I’ll be making lots more of this style too so I’ve written out the how to here.

So a nice little set of bags and an appropriate post for this week!

Feeling chuffed!

This week Jenna sent me a picture of her envelope bag made using the tutorial. Here it is. I’m thrilled to have one of my tutorials tried and tested.IMG_1215I love the fabric choices and it’s beautifully made. I know Jenna is giving it to a friend. I’d love it as a gift, hope she does too!

A little bit of organisation.

Image 07-03-2014 at 22.26I love things to be organised and right now I’m on a bit of a mission to create customised organisation around the house. This week I turned my attention to the little drawer beside my bed. Image 08-03-2014 at 21.55 (1)                          In there are lotions and potions, some bedside necessities; earphones and little book light for sleepless nights; a little supply of very rarely needed night-time medication for just in case (just in case of indigestion, allergy, headache or backache, just in case I don’t want to get out of bed to go looking), and lastly the velux blind remote control so that when I eventually decide morning has arrived I can let the light in without actually getting up. I know exactly what’s in there but I always seem to be scrabbling about to find the very thing I want. So I decided to divide it up and make it easy to lift sections out.

I could have searched around and maybe found some plastic boxes or trays but what fun would that be? What better than to indulge my fabric passion than to  sew some made to measure little fabric baskets. Image 08-03-2014 at 21.56 A little bit of mathematics and I’d worked out that five 6″ x 4″ baskets would fit to perfection.

I love this Makower Henna collection by Beth Studely, I’d seen it here and there and the colours really appealed to me and seeing it in the Little Fabric Bazaar on Facebook was a sign that it was meant to be mine.

Here’s how I made them.

For each basket choose an inner and an outer fabric.                                     From each fabric cut:

* One 6.5″ x 4.5″ rectangle (base)

 * Two 4.5″ x 3′  and Two 6.5″ x  3″ rectangles (sides)

* Cut the same from your chosen wadding

* One 20.5″ x 2″ strip for binding

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Work first with the fabric for the inside. Using quarter inch seams throughout sew the four sides edge to edge, alternate long and short  pieces, and then join them end to end to make the four sides.  Sew the base in place manipulating the turns carefully with the needle down and the presser foot up to get perfect corners. Check that the corners before trimming the points.    For the out outside of the basket lay the wadding on the fabric and sew together in the same way.

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Place the inner basket inside the outer basket.

 

Prepare the binding by pressing a quarter inch turnover at one end of the strip and then pressing in half lengthwise.

With the open edge of the strip edge to edge along  the top of the basket sew in place making sure to tuck the unpressed end inside the pressed end.

Turn the binding over the top edge and pin in place. You can hand sew this in place but I wanted to have a go at invisibly stitching the outside edge so I stitched in the ditch between the binding and the main fabric and I was pleased with the result. The inside seam looks tidy and it was very much quicker than hand stitching. Very useful on some  things but I would definitely still hand finish something like a quilt.

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So a very quick make and I soon had the five to fit perfectly in my drawer and it is so tidy and organised, I think I’ll be able to find everything easily and it looks so much more attractive than plastic boxes.

Oh! I did find the edges are much sharper for a quick press in place once the basket is finished. You could use  a plastic stiffener instead of wadding for a firmer shape.

As an extra I made two more but made the sides of the baskets 1.5″ higher and turned the tops over.  I like these very much and will definitely be making some bigger ones in my quest for organisation perfection!Image 07-03-2014 at 22.28

Lots of Little Caddy Bags

IMG_1083Since making my very first Little Caddy Bag with Mel I’ve made lots of them. She said I would. I had a grand plan of making a stock to have to give as presents but I keep giving them to friends and family as soon as they are finished! Love making them, love giving gifts so win, win really!

Well they are easy to make and I want to have a go at writing a proper tutorial on here, so here’s my first try. I’ve played around with writing little instructions for blocks and the like but nothing really serious.     Many thanks to Mel.                                                                                  So here goes. If anyone does read and use the tutorial please leave a comment so that I know. Thanks.

Little Caddy Bag Tutorial

Fabric cut
Fabric cut

Materials                                                                                                                              Main Fabric A for the sides and the base and pocket linings.

Fabric B for the pockets .

Lining fabric

Binding fabric, can be different or fabric A or B.

Wadding

1.5 metres of cord

Cut

Fabric A        Four  6.5″ x 11.5″ rectangles for the sides.                         Five 6.5″ squares for the pocket linings.

Fabric B        Four 6.5″squares for the pocket fronts

Lining             Four  6.5″ x 11.5″ rectangles.   One 6.5″ square

Binding          Two  2″ x 12.5″ strips       Two  2″ x 6.5″ strips

Wadding        Five  6.5″ squares

First Make up the pockets

Use a quarter-inch seam throughout unless stated otherwise.

Click on the photos for a larger view                                                                       First make four sandwiches with squares of fabric A, fabric B and wadding. Sew as close to the edge as you can.                                                          Take the four shorter binding strips and fold and press in half lengthwise with the right side showing.    Sew the  open sides of the folded strip to the top of  pocket. Fold the binding strip over the top of the pocket and hand sew in place. You can choose to machine sew the binding but I prefer the invisible look and it only takes minutes.

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Next sew the four pockets to the bottom of each of the fabric A rectangles.     The next step is the most important of the whole bag.

When preparing to join the four side make sure that the bindings of the pockets line up perfectly and pin in place. You need to have a clear line around the top of the pockets for a professional finish.  If the tops or bottoms don’t line up just don’t worry about it, you can adjust later.  Once you have joined all four sides sew into a tube.

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Make the base of the bag with just a square each of fabric A and wadding.

 

Image 14-02-2014 at 22.39Sewing the bottom into the tube is tricky but just go for it. Turn the tube inside out, align one side of the base square with one side of the tube making sure that the needle is down as you finish. Lift your presser foot and manipulate into place for the second side. Do this for each of the four sides. When you’ve done that turn to the right side and check that you have caught the corners and none of the pocket seams are showing. Don’t worry if they are just go over them again – this will be hidden under the lining!

Make the lining by joining the rectangles and sewing the base in place in the same way.

Before dropping the lining into the bag I’ve found it easiest to press the seam around the top of each section. Pin the lining and bag together around the top before sewing as close to the edge as possible.

Now you need to make the pocket for the drawstring to run through.  Take the two 12.5″ strips and press a quarter-inch hem along all four edges then pin each strip about an inch from the top of the bag and leaving gaps in between for threading and drawing  the cord. Sew around, again as close to the edge as you can and taking care not to sew through any other parts of the bag.

The only thing left to do is to thread the drawstring through. A tip for anyone who hasn’t worked with twisted cord before is to beware that it can unravel with unexpected ease. Before cutting wrap tape around the cord and cut through the  centre of the taped area to avoid this. Cut your cord in half and thread the two pieces in opposite directions. Knot the cords tightly.

Now that you have made one you can see how easy it is to adapt the size of the bag. I know I’ll be making quite a few more and I think I just might try a waterproof one next. Here they are in yet another colour!  Thank you Mel!

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