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!