Saturday, 15 October 2016

Rubie by Moments Designs

It's been a's been a long and beautiful summer........sewing came to a halt while I went on holiday but now I'm back.......and here is my first offering of the Autumn.....

Rubie is the new design from Liz at Moments.....Liz claimed in the first instance to be creating a 'simple quick sew'........and so she was in the beginning. Like all good things they evolve. Whilst Rubie is still a pretty quick sew she now has several options, something for every taste, and better still, two ways to wear her.

So lets start with my first offering.
All in faux leather and following the pattern (well more or less)
Rubie is a stylish sassy cross body bag with an unusual cuff at the top that can be worn rolled over, or if you have more to carry you just roll it up and the bag capacity is increased by almost 1/3.......clever idea eh? The pleated front panel add interest to the design.....especially when accented with rivets or decoration of some sort.....

There isn't anywhere obvious to add embroidery on Rubie......but there is a really useful little invisible pocket tucked under the cuff. I couldn't help myself, as soon as I saw that on the pattern I knew I had to use a 'chad'..........CHAD??? yes Chad or as Liz calls him Kilroy..I guess it depends where you are in the world, I call him chad, others call him other things........but he looks fab just peeking out from on top of the pocket.

I love that Liz designs bags that can be turned through the pocket, it's so much neater inside when you don't have to stitch up the gaping hole you turned through.......this way it's all at the bottom of the pocket so nobody can see....I added a large slip pocket to the back of the bag rather than doing pleats front and back.....oh and did I mention the strap hardwear?  don't even get me started.......Liz is using a clever threading system suggested by another of her don't use a traditional slider for the adjustable strap.......I can tell you it took me several attempts to get it right.....but once I had it sussed, it seems really easy. A great trick to keep in your tool box for those days when you don't have the slider you need!

For number two I decided to try and change it ip a bit and piece my front and gold......I love the way she looks, again I added a tall slip pocket to the rear......and changed up the hardwear as this was all I had in gold that suited... 

Number three is a classy little number in cork and indigenous fabric..........keeping it really simple with no additional outer pockets just the beautiful cork. I love this combination.

It all goes a bit 'off piste' at this point. I decided that those pleats could perhaps be zippers...........and I probably should have stopped at that thought, but something kept me going......and I added a long zipper right around the top of the cuff.......without any thought to how practical that would be at if the cuff is up....I can use it.....if its down and I open the zipper I'll be leaving a trail of odds and sods behind me as I go......Hansel and Gretel least ill be able to find my way home!

It was while I was hunting down my long zippers for number four that I stumbled across my prized piece of Alison Glass ExLibris fabric........and suddenly I am inspired. Ok so lets confess here and a hacker.....its what I do. I love following a pattern, but I love not following it better. And it is with this in mind that I decided to make Rubie as 'I' would wear her. I'm not a little bag kind of girl. I carried my Isobel on holiday and I enjoyed the freedom of a smaller bag but for everyday use I really need something bigger. Rubie is a  good size, but for me I really like her with the cuff there seems no point in making a bag where the cuff can roll down.......once ive got this idea inot my head it opens up all sorts of ideas. So here she is, my number 5 Rubie

Yes this is heavily hacked... I missed off the pleats as they would have spoiled the fabric.......and I straightened out the cuff as it doesn't need to roll down for me........and I used some strap hard wear from Emmaline bags.....add a funky welt pocket to the outside of the cuff and a whole load of zippered and slip pockets inside and she's custom built to suit me and my needs......

So there we have it.....Rubie in all her glory and several ideas for additions that aren't on the pattern as if you need more.
The pattern is well written, with all the tips you could ever need for sewing with faux leather, and additional ideas for all the way through for those of us who don't read.........and so many options to customise the design to suit you.......
She is on sale for the first few there really no good reason not to go and buy her now.....

bet you cant resist eh???

Happy sewing

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Kate, the Carry All Tote by Moments

Kate is the latest pattern by Liz at Moments........and she's an absolute beauty.
The pattern is for a large beach tote that's an ideal size for swim gear and everything you will need for a day at the beach or pool
you can find the pattern here

As always with moments patterns there's a twist in the construction, but if you've done a moments pattern before then you will know Liz's style.........

So.......for my first bag I went a little off piste! (not such a surprise for me eh?)  rather than doing her in the pieced panels that the pattern needs I decided to do her in one large panel......I decided to decorate my bag with some cutwork flowers..........
I've had a set of cutters for several years but use the same ones over and over so went a little wild with some of the unusual shapes  so if you have these....don't feel they are just for making holes for your twist

The bonus is you end up with a whole lot of faux leather if your going to a wedding soon you already have some to throw....

So here she first all her hippy glory
Fully lined in waterproof vinyl fabric with a large zippered pocket that has a slip pocket inside, so no chance of loosing your valuables on the beach.

 For my second bag I decided to go small..........and I did the pattern at 50% which creates a bag a 1/4 of the size of the original........again I did her in one single panel but added some pretty butterfly embroidery to decorate and red webbing tape
she's the perfect size to carry all our lotions for the beach and fits inside 'big' Kate perfectly.

I thought id finished making this design.....until a moment of thought hit me late one evening and I decided that maybe something half way between the little and the large might be interesting..........with that in mind I made another at 75%......

 Number three is made on embossed faux leather with a cotton lining, I added an additional slip pocket inside as well as the large zipper pocket from the original pattern and also a bridge zipper to close..........she is the perfect 'in between' that's my full set of Kate's completed.......

As always the pattern is beautifully written and has a lot of photos, lots of tips for when things are a little different. The pattern is designed for faux leather but also has instructions for cotton or home decor fabrics......
I love the slip pocket inside the zipper pocket......just a little detail but it makes perfect sense to put one in there. and the additional outer pocket that is totally hidden gives somewhere to just slip your phone......making the whole bag uber functional whilst still keeping her simple lines.

words of advice??? oh yes.......clear your sewing table of everything before you start.........because she only has one seam the panel you are working with is huge.........and when your sewing her you will knock anything that's on your table off.........take my word for it, its easier to move them than spend hours picking up......

Kate isn't a complicated sew, the real challenge is the size.......Liz's tip about rolling the panel to make it easier is definatly the way to go......

Make sure you observe the guilty of ignoring them on previous patterns so now I'm a notch convert..........she will not go together well if you ignore them as the seam isn't where you would expect it to

Most of all she's versatile.........easy to shrink down if you prefer a smaller version......

Have fun sewing her...........

Friday, 5 August 2016

Bag of the Month Club 2016........August......Swim Gym Bag by Mrs H

I feel like I've been unfaithful as I've been testing for another designer........its an interesting experiment since every designer does things a little differently.

So what have I been testing? The August bag for ..........never heard of it???? have a look at the website, its a fab club that up until now has run for 6 months of the year. You pay one subscription and get six patterns, one a month from Jan to June of the year..... you never now what your getting. The designers are all well known so you can expect quality patterns.
"2016 is the first year they have run two July to December has a new set of patterns. I have been playing with August.

So what is she??? August is a Swim /Gym bag, something a little off beat....if like me the very mention of the word 'GYM' sends you to lay down in a darkened room , please don't worry, this is a bag that wont make you break out in hives or even break a sweat! She's large and functional.........and made in different fabrics from the ones you normally use for bags. The lovely Samantha of has been bold in her design, using fabrics and materials that some may find frightening, simply because they are not 'the norm'............embrace the differences ladies...........this is a fun sew with new skills to learn.
so lets start with the materials...........Cordura.....described by the manufacturers as follows

''1000 denier Cordura, Nylon, PU Coated (polyurethane coated) to be waterproof. It is very hardwearing fabric and has excellent anti abrasion properties. Whilst a heavy duty material it can still be sewn with most domestic machines.''

If you have never sewn with it before try it......its similar to sew to faux leather, but you can sew through more layers. I use it quite a lot and always use a long stitch length and Teflon foot...... The main thing it needs to be for the pattern is waterproof. The pattern tells you how to double turn all the seams to create a totally waterproof more wet patches down your leg or in the car when you've been swimming!! Cordura is also fantastic for embroidering, but like faux leather is better to float over the hoop and use lighter designs.

Mesh.........I have mesh in my stash but found it wasn't sturdy enough, you will need something with a little 'body' to it.......Byannies mesh from either or from works a treat and comes in an array of fantastic colours....I used white as I wanted to be able to use the same mesh on different bags.....

So.........the bag........

The bag is big enough to carry everything you'll need for a day at the beach, a trip to the pool , mesh pockets for creams and all the smaller bits you need, sunnies, flip flops iPod.............and a cavernous inside that will quite literally hold water as the seams are all sealed to prevent leakage. I managed to fit three large towels into mine with room to spare so this is a great size for me. The one thing I always struggle with at the beach is where to put my car keys and valuables......there's a clever little zippered pocket tucked away inside for those. the mesh top keeps the bag light to carry, and its comfortable to either pop on your back like a ruck sack or sling over your shoulder.........the whole thing is finished off with a drawstring  that threads through grommets on the top I know some people are worried about only advice is ......don't make your holes too big, I try and always make mine slightly smaller than the grommet I'm using......add a tiny bit of glue around the edges of the hole before fitting the grommet......I've never had one fail on me yet.

I added an embroidered panel to the front of the bag, just because I liked the idea of it.

My second bag I made for my he got to choose the fabrics. This one is made in cotton on the outside, I used fusible fleece and no mesh. This is at 80% and the ideal size for a child.
I used waterproof vinyl (the thick tablecloth type) to fully line the bag and used the same sealing technique on the seams to ensure the outside part stays dry. I added some straps for his shoulders rather than the rope as he's better with something that's a little thicker.....

The pattern is unusual, with the seams being front and back rather than at the sides where you might normally expect to find them and the construction and materials are different from those you might normally use, but as always with Samantha's patterns, its well written with lots of pictures to help explain what you need to do for those who don't read.......guilty as charged..........working with waterproof fabrics is something I'm fairly familiar with but for those of you who aren't......its not as hard as you think.......and I think this pattern makes a refreshing change to making bags with

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Buckles and Grommets.......the mystery unravelled

My latest pattern test was a fab bag with an unusual strap fastening......with a buckle.
Doesn't sound scary? To me it wasn't as I've fitted buckles before but some may find it easier with a few here goes.........

You will need the following things.......a buckle......mine are 'roll buckles' so you will also be adding a loop for the strap to go through once its been through the buckle.........grommets........and a tool to fit them. I get mine from ebay, costs no more than £5 for the tool and 200 grommets. I buy 4mm grommets for belts. Something to make holes...I like a punch and hammer but a leather cutting tool works just as well.  Rivet and rivet setter to hold it all together.

So lets begin.........

Take your grommets and hole punch.......mark in the centre of the strap and create a hole
then take your grommet and grommet pliers........push the grommet through the hole with the rounded edge on the right side of the strap. don't make your holes too big or the grommet will pull straight through, I use a 3mm hole for a 4mm grommet and fiddle it through so its a tight fit.
then take your grommet pliers........make sure you have the pointy side of the pliers at the rear of the grommet.......this will curve those sharp edges over

and PRESS!........Hey Presto! have a perfect hole with a metal grommet in place.

Fitting the buckle.....

Thread the buckle prong through the strap from the rear of the strap......then poke the top of the strap through the top of the buckle and fold it over ........its starting to look like a real buckle now. You will need to mark where you want the rivet and loop to go now. We will fit the loop with the same rivet as we secure the buckle with.

Take you loop......I make mine by cutting faux leather/vinyl approx. 3/4 inch wide then turning both sides over and top stitching to create a thin strap.......nobody will see the back of it so its not important to make it perfect at the rear. wrap the loop around the strap to see how long it needs to be, overlap it by approx. 1/2 an inch then make a hole at each end 1/3 inch from the end of the strap.  I use longer double capped rivets for this part as there are a lot of layers to get through....I found 8mm stem rivets work just fine..........This is where it gets fiddly..........from the rear of the strap (if you have double capped rivets you can do this from the front of the strap, single caps will need to be done from the rear)  thread the rivet through the hole......then through the loop strap.......
Your going to need to pull that loop over the front of the strap and thread the other end onto the rivet stem, then the top part of the strap........sounds complicated but it really isn't.......just a bit fiddly

You end up with the loop part sandwiched in between the straps..........all threaded onto one long rivet can see the end of the rivet stem sticking out in the will sit under the loop so it won't show on the finished bag...... you will need to push the loop out of the way slightly to set the rivet.....

Take your rivet setter and hammer and bash that baby into place.......

 You have a buckle........and isn't she beautiful. For the strap that goes through the buckle you fit the grommets in the same way as you did to fit the buckle grommet....... You end up with a very professional finish. Grommets come in many colours to suit most tastes, I also have some coloured ones but beware, the lacquer they use on them chips anything that might get rubbed I would avoid coloured ones.....

adding some links for some of the tools I used for reference

You will not need the additional loop for the strap if you buckle is this shape though

 I hope this helps you to be able to confidently use small grommets and buckles on your future makes.........I'll be blogging about the bag when its released too........keep your eyes peeled.......x

Isobel 'Grab and Go' Crossbody Bag by Moments

I think I'm starting to get the hang of the way Liz from moments writes her patterns, or maybe I've just come to expect the unexpected?
The wonderful new bag pattern,  'Isobel' didn't disappoint.

You can find the pattern for Isobel here

She's a classy looking bag with a feature curved zipper on the front, a wrap around pocket that also curved and a wonderful asymmetric strap that means she sits comfortably on your hip as a cross body bag.

Several things I've never tackled before in this pattern so I read it through a couple of times to ensure I was clear about what I was doing........
and then went straight into cutting mode!

For some people the fabric picking is the hardest bit.....I rarely have that problem, as soon as I see the bag I know what I'll use.....on this occasion it was even easier as the bag is named for my my first bag was for her and the fabrics are her choice. She picked a deep teal faux leather and a pretty white canvas with teal floral design......and white zippers......

My fist bag isn't without fault........ for some reason I suffered a nasty affliction........lets call it 'Notch Blindness'.....a nasty condition that will render the sufferer totally baffled when trying to fit the bottom of the bag or the zipper in the fact it will totally stop you from creating this beautiful took me a while to realise what I'd done, what I'd missed.....and how to save her..........but save her I did.......and my daughter is delighted with her version of Isobel.......if you buy this pattern....DO NOT IGNORE THE NOTCHES!

Moving swiftly on I decided to try an all fabric version

This time I was uber careful to observe every notch and mark the pattern tells you to use........and oh how much easier it was. There's a lot to be said for following the pattern rather than trying to filter out the bits you think you'll need. I used 2mm headliner to stabilise her, and SF101 on all fabrics..........she's a little more structured than the faux leather version but I quite like that......she is made using Alison glass fabrics.
This ones mine for the summer!

Number three I figured I'd set myself a challenge......and used upholstery weight glitter vinyl......something I've never made an entire bag from before.......the thickness meant I couldn't do the exterior pocket so I added some free motion stitching to the outside of the bag to give a little interest......and a magnetic snap fastening

I thought I was done but then decided to make just one more........this time in faux leather and Harris Tweed....I missed the front zipper to minimise the bulk at the seam...........and I love the finished bag........

So is it worth you buying the pattern???
Of course........this is a fun bag with a unique design and a really unusual construction......something Liz is starting to become known for.

Her construction methods are not like anything I've done before, so there are always new skills to learn.....The pattern instructions are clear and concise........lots of pictures to help when you need a visual guide........and of course Liz is always available in her Facebook group to offer words of advice and wisdom if anyone has any problems.

Take note of all the notch placements and cutting instructions, some of the pattern pieces are cut with the pattern facing right side down.........caught me out on my first

 I love the way the lining is sewn never have to worry about removing your purse and the entire lining coming out with it......... you will never have this problem with a Moments bag......the linings are secured in during construction....

Isobel is a a bag that can be made in faux leathers, vinyl, décor weight or quilting weight the options are really only as limited as your imagination........within the pattern Liz offers a couple of additional options to customise the design and lots of helpful little tips and comments to keep you going.
This is an advanced pattern, but don't let that put you off, if your a novice bag maker you may want to try her in fabric before you tackle faux leather  as I know a lot of people are worried about using faux leather.

I've really enjoyed sewing my sample bags.........and I hope if you choose to buy this pattern you will enjoy it too...

Friday, 27 May 2016

Sewalong mayhem

Why oh why don't I think before I do things???

Full of bag sewing enthusiasm after Bag Camp , I decided that it was my civic duty to keep the new bag makers from camp if they need me egging them on. I think most will continue the baggers journey with or without my encouragement.......
So what do I do??? without much of an idea I decided to do a sew along..........Sounds easy? well that's what I thought too. I have to say I have a new respect for the art of creating the instructions on sewing patterns now...
So........a sew along........ whats it all about? of every stage of the making process, lots of encouragement and ideas, tips and generally helpful comments. To add to the experience I wanted to make it a learning forum too, so added a double welt zipper pocket to the pattern.
So what bag are we faithful friend the hobo by sewing patterns by Mrs H
pattern available here......

Just in case I fall flat on my face and my supreme confidence lets me down I keep it small.........just the ladies who came to camp.......I'm using them as guinea pigs..........they don't mind they say.
I offer some options to customise the pattern a bit and the ladies seem keen so I go for it....

two bags, two lots of fabric, pockets galore, overlays......all sorts of things.

I can make a hobo from start to finish in about 3 hours....its a bag quick sew, but when your taking photos every step of the way, having to keep charging your phone, it takes hours.
I realised my ironing board cover wasn't overly photogenic, so nipped to Sainsbury's where all they have is a lurid Barbie pink effort with tropical flower will have to do. I cant share my torn grubby looking ironing board with the world....

Its amazing how many processes there are in sewing a bag. so many things you don't really think about but you need to explain. I'm rarely lost for words, but finding the right words to describe some of these things is almost impossible. In theory, the people participating should be able to create the bag using the pattern, all I'm doing is giving a few more ideas and explaining in my words what I'm doing. So if I need help with the words I can crib from the pattern. Not so with the pocket. I do my welt pockets the way I feel comfortable doing them and just try to break it down into manageable portions........It's really hard to describe something you can do with your eyes shut in words that everyone will understand........

''you take the thingy and tuck it into the whatsit wrong sides together, then pull the oojemyflip over the doodah...........''

You get the picture? finding the right words is really hard to do.
Photos..........hundreds of them..........loaded onto the computer and sorted into order.......the ones of my feet or the wall deleted, a couple of short videos of the bits I just couldn't describe......
my three hour hobo is no more, in all seven hours to make the first one, stop start stop start.........redo take more wine...........drink wine.......
no less than 200 photos

40 posts........2 videos...........
and my lovely ladies have created hobo bags to be proud of......yes just 6..........but I couldn't have been more delighted that my instructions worked and the bags speak for themselves......

Encouraged by the success of this event I decided to go bigger......this time I asked the lovely Liz at Moments ( if I could do her beautiful Fine and Dandy pattern......pattern available here... ...and we decided to do my hacked version of the pattern so people could make something 'off piste' from the original pattern.......when its a small group of ladies you know, its fine if you make a mess of it, when its open to anyone its a whole new ball game. I don't want to look a fool, not do I want to let Liz down. you might think once burned twice shy, but oh no........straight back in there and off we go again. this time it was so much easier, although for a small pouch there are an awful lot of processes to get through to get a finished pouch.
My ladies didn't let me down, at the end of the week we had no less than 13 beautiful fine and dandy sewing pouches.
When it was all done, I felt almost as though I'd given birth......exhausted.....relieved it had all gone need of a stiff drink...........and very very proud of what had been produced.
When one of the ladies from the Fine and Dandy sew along posted her pouch on Facebook, she commented that it had been like having her own personal tutor...............those words alone made me decide that this wouldn't be the last time I do this, it was fun..........and a huge learning experience.......
Watch this space for details of the next one

Sunday, 22 May 2016

'Eve'...........The new Moments bag design

So I've been sewing away testing a new pattern by Liz at Moments
I have to say she's a beauty. I love being a tester for Liz as every pattern she writes I learn something new. Liz has a real talent for creating patterns with unusual construction methods.

The one thing I find restrictive about a lot of patterns is the lack of choice.......not so with Eve, shes a bag with so many zipper........faux leather.....fabric.......combination of the two.....magnet......twist lock........the options are endless.
You can find the pattern here......

I started with the flap option and chose to make her in a combination of fabric and faux leather.
I read the pattern........yes you read that right......I read the pattern....not once but twice.......I must be getting soft in my old

So here she is, this is totally following the pattern, a fantastic sized bag that can hold a small laptop with ease, unusual flap designs and shorter grab handles......for a little added 'va va voom' she also has a fab silver trim from  For me fitting that was the most complicated part of the bag. The bag pattern is aimed at intermediate level sewers, but I believe if your capable of fitting a zipper, the instructions are so well written you should be able to manage this.

The pattern is written with the same touch of humour as all of Liz's patterns...........,she adds notes for sewing with faux leather, and tells you where to stop and check things to make life easier. Sadly I totally disregarded one of those notes and left the lining zipper pocket closed when I put this one together. BIG MISTAKE......HUGE..........the bag is turned through that pocket, needless to say I had to use my seam ripper to get to the zipper to open it. I wish I could say I learned from this first glaring error............out of six bags I've done, I've made the same mistake four times........this is not a reflection on the pattern, but on my lack of reading it!

Eve number two is the zipper version, again an unusual way of fitting the zipper so it sit lower inside the bag, gives a much more professional finish than a zipper sitting on top of the bag. I love the boxy shape of this one. Made from scraps of left over Faux leather from Bag Camp and some Harris tweed scraps that I quilted together to create the front panel. I used webbing instead of leather for the straps and connecting panels as I didn't have enough leather, but I think it works ok.......

Eve number three I decided I could have a little play with, so added a slip pocket to the front panel and a longer cross body strap rather than the short grab handles. made in Essex linen and décor weight fabric this makes a fab summer bag, the additional pocket is ideal for your keys or phone, I used side accent straps to attach the connectors but kept them low on the bag as I think one of the clever features of the bag is the lack of side seams.......if you don't make bags that wont seem that clever to you........but if you do you will understand that this is a totally different way of constructing a bag! worth buying the pattern just to see how that bit works in my
(please note: the slip pocket and long strap are NOT options given on the pattern but additions that I made)

Number four. I went a bit pocket crazy and added them to all the panels, so you have four deep slip pockets on the outside of the bag with pretty accent flaps.........again a long strap and a magnetic fastening rather than the flap or zipper, I think this one has a much more casual look to it than the previous ones. You can see how versatile the design is??? with a little imagination and a small amount of sewing know how you can transform eve into so many different looks........she really is a woman with so many faces..... Made in décor weight cotton canvas by Clarke & Clarke
And totally blinged up 'in your face' Eve in all her glittery glory.

I really wanted to use the beautiful green cotton and steel canvas's flecked with gold, trying to decide what to put with it took me ages...........I didn't want to over egg the pudding......I wasn't having any joy deciding so I decided in the end to just throw everything at this is quite a statement bag, gold, gold and even more gold, glitter, bling and all that jazz. The gold zipper was an ebay find......not great quality but sparkly and wonderful.........and I was totally going to use it even if it wasn't great quality. I had enough zipper left to create zipper piping on the front of the bag and an additional zipper pocket to the rear.....combined with glitter vinyl and some beautiful Tula Pink Eden range for lining this bag is a stunner! ..for hard wear I used recycled gold buckles (from a charity shop bag) and some matching oblong connectors........I think you could carry this either way, both sides are different but could easily be the front or the bag........This ones a
I thought i was all Eve'd out.......but I kept finding myself looking at the photos of the bag Liz pleated faux leather........after a bit of a search for some to buy in the UK I discovered that I can get it, however I will need to sell vital body organs to pay for it, so decided to try and make some myself..........I know I know.......madness with that in mind I pulled from my stash some very thin and stretchy faux leather and just went to tow to create pleated faux leather......the resulting bag I'm rather pleased with but ill let be the judge of


So that's my EVE collection all done. I've had a great time testing this one, adding my own spin on an already very good pattern.......
The pattern is available here
and Moments also has a Facebook group
where you can ask any questions you have directly to Liz or any of her testers who I'm sure will be happy to help.
A great bag, with lots of options, pattern is well written with loads of photos (I use those more than the words) lots of new techniques to learn and take away to use on other patterns.
Go get yours now!