Thursday, 20 August 2015

Just Because...

I've been meaning to sew myself a new bag for a while, but somehow it's one of those projects that has remained firmly at the bottom of the pile. Other things were always more important, more exciting or more urgent.

I have made bags before, but not since I started quilting. These bags were made on my old machine and generally involved a bit of swearing, a lot of frustration, some broken needles and a lot of hand cranking the wheel of the sewing machine.

This time was different.

To start with, I used a pattern! I had purchased Anna Noodlehead's Super Tote a while ago but had never quite got around to sewing it.

Then I bought myself some decent interfacing. This was a major feat as New Zealand fabric stores do not tend to have a wide selection of different kinds of interfacing and if I was to go into the standard fabric store and ask for pellon XYZ, the majority would look at me with a very blank stare.

Finally, I had a fun orphan block which I refused to allow to lie around the house unloved. When I first designed my zebra patterns, I made a passing comment to Karen Lewis that the patterns would look great in her screen printed fabric. Although I meant what I said, it wasn't really on my list to make a Karen Lewis zebra, but as time wore on I found myself coming back to the idea time and time again. Finally I gave in and purchased a couple of her scrap packs. In order to make the pattern work with the scrap bags, I reduced it to a 16 inch block. I love the scrappy block that resulted.

The remainder of the fabric for the outer of the bag was easy to choose. I still have lots and lots of yarn dyed essex linen left from my In Flight Quilt, so I used some of this. I had originally meant the inner to be completely Tula Pink 16th Century Selfie, but I got confused when I was working out how much fabric I needed and ended up having to substitute in some other fabrics. I really like the finished result- scrappy inside and out! Don't you love a project that is made completely from stash!

The pattern was fun to sew, although in typical Juliet style, I had made it difficult for myself by using a block which required me to alter the dimensions of the bag. I started doing some maths to work out the new dimensions, confused myself, was almost put off and nearly laid the pattern aside. Then I decided to do what I do best- to jump in with both feet and make it up as I went along.

In actual fact, the alterations were simple (or they would have been if I had kept my brain switched on at all times). That said, all mistakes were easy to fix and the pattern sewed up beautifully.

It is amazing the difference that a good sewing machine makes. My Juki sailed through the most bulky of seams without any problems. No needles were broken. I didn't need to hand crank the wheel a single time. Seriously, if you think that your sewing machine is holding you back, it probably is! You will not regret upgrading and I can't recommend my Juki enough!

Truth be told, this bag would be perfect as a nappy bag, but since both of my kids are long out of nappies, I will have to fill it with craft supplies or other more fun stuff. Finding an excuse to use my new bag will definitely not be a problem!

Now I'm thinking that I might make some more bags- I have patterns for the noodlehead runaround bag and the noodlehead divided basket- what should I make next?


  1. So cute! I love your zebra block!! Glad you didn't let it lie around and put it to good use.

  2. Your tote looks amazing - such a great way to use your cute Zebra! I love Anna's patterns so recommend them all:)

  3. I love how you keep going through the difficulties and the results are always amazing - as for the swearing and broken needles? Say it ain't so!!??!! ;o) xxx

  4. Oh what a joy that bag is to look at! and to sew too by the sound of it! looks fantastic! Karen Lewis, Zebra's, Tula Pink, Essex, Juki and of course Juliet! What a winning combo! xx

  5. This is fabulous - so fabulous that I don't even think the word fabulous does it justice!


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