Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Convertible-Reversible 4-in-1 Bag Tour and Giveaway (and 25% discount code)

The Convertible Reversible 4 in 1 Bag 

This was my first ever pattern test. I was really thrilled to be included, especially as this is my year of doing new things. I had no idea what to expect, but it definately wasn't this. In for a penny, in for a pound though, and so glad I did.

Sarah has designed something very ingenious. It is put simply one bag, which can be converted into three entirely different looking bags.

I made up mine with the idea of taking it on my hols next month. Sarah suggests either laminated or quilting cotton. I am trying to use only my stash at the moment, and I didn't have any laminated cotton (actually I'd never heard of it until then - I was only aware of oilcloth which is TOO heavy weight to use for this. I have since bought some -> UK folks try Prints to Polka Dots for laminated cotton as they have some on offer right now)

As I said, I wanted to use this as a holiday bag because it means taking only one bag that I can convert for use on different days. As you may know, I am a big fan of quirky and colourful fabrics. After much chopping and changing I decided on the following 4 fabrics:

Bag 1 I used the trailer travel fabric by Michael Miller and it has a generic red polka contrast. I think of this as the Day bag.
Bag 2 I used the remainder of some Matryoshka doll Kokka fabric I had left, and scraps of one of my favourite ever fabrics, the Alexander Henry Viva Frida in Teal. I think of this as the Night bag.

Bag 1 (My Day Bag) : Shows flap down, flap up, and in crossbody style and matching strap.

I think this is my favourite 'mode'

Bag 2 (Night bag) - I made two straps, one for each colourway as they are quite different, but you can just make one to match both to save time (and avoid losing the extra strap which I may be in danger of!).

 In the latest version of the pattern I believe there are tips on fastening the flap for Bag 2 upwards instead of having it hanging down like this.

If you swing your eyes over to the right there in the 'Things I've made' section ->>>>> you will see a link to the photos I took whilst making it. Its not a tutorial - I haven't recreated Sarahs instructions, but it may be useful to reference whilst you are making up your bag. 

I won't lie and say this bag isn't challenging - if you are a beginner to bagmaking it might well be too much for you to cope with. However I will say I have never been so satisfied as when I completed this sucessfully.
I found that slow and steady is definately the way to go.
  • Make sure you use the labels Sarah has provided as there are a LOT of pattern pieces. These are invaluable - if you can print them on sticky paper even better (I just pinned mine on)
  • Don't worry too much about zip lengths - as long as they are wider than the bag you can cut them down to fit. Just don't cut off the zipper pull when you are trimming *yes - I went and did that the first time!
  • If you can find cotton thread that matches both bags/all four fabrics, thats the way to go (I had to re-thread as I went back and forth from Bag 1 to Bag 2 and back)
  • You need to concentrate that little bit harder with directional fabric (which I used for Bag 1) to make sure its the right way up. If this panics you - don't use directional!
  • Stick to lightweight fabric - there are a lot of layers and it won't work with anything thicker.
  • Enjoy it - as it comes together its fantastic.


25% off until 2nd August 2014 use 'bagtour'


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Participants

Monday, July 28th
Maria of Mia's Creations 
Niki Stringer of Roonie Ranching 
Alyssa Carrion at Keep Calm & Carrion

Tuesday, July 29th 
Lynn Potts of PottsCrafty 
Marilyn Brandt at Shades of Bold

Wednesday, July 30th 
Vicky Myers of Vicky Myers Creations
Liz Schaffner at MOMENTS

Thursday, July 31st
Amy Macdonald with Friends Stitched Together 
Judith Clauss of Judith Stitches and More

Friday, August 1st 
Jonie Brooks with Knot Sew Normal 
Lorena Rey of my way of... 
Bethany Rapp with Sweet Bee Buzzings

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Jolie Pomme (pom pom can can) handbag

This is my latest make, which I am really rather pleased with. I did a bit of embellishment on here, with the pom pom trim, and a little bow on the front. 


I think the puppy tooth is quite a good match with the Joli Pomme fabric. 

Pattern used was the Swoon Rosie Bag, which is perfect for carrying the essentials around. There are two zipped pockets, one on the back, and one on the inside.

I'm not going to say this was an easy sew, because it was time consuming, but I really enjoyed how it came together and I think its probably my favourite bag so far :)

Monday, 21 July 2014

Lancaster Flyover, Scones, Bags, Summer Fete and Beach Party time

Lancaster Flyover

For such a small town, we tend to have quite a lot of events, which is wonderful. There has been a lot of emphasis on the WW1 centenary lately, and a special flyover was arranged over the rec along with a memorial service. I don't have a photo of the Lancaster (well I do but it was rubbish) but it was a great turnout from all the Godmanchester residents. 


Noah was insistent that we make scones after John bought some at the shop (and polished them all off)
Baking with a broken arm - can be a bit messy - I put his waterproof cover on shortly after this photo was taken!

He did a smashing job:

Swoon Bags

I am also mid-sew with this Rosie Crossbody bag from Swoon Patterns. Its described as 'simple' and 'easy' It is in fact quite time intensive and a little bit difficult to understand, but I am persevering as this is one of my favourite Joli Pomme fabrics (bought from a Japanese etsy shop). I'm mixing it up with a black/white puppytooth.

I'm also planning on making the Betty Bowler (honestly I have a To Do list as long as your arm)  This one with a mix of leopard, red and frida fabric. 

When am I going to find the time?! 

I'm trying very very hard just to use my stash at the moment. I failed miserably last week due to my trip to London. However sometimes it just has to be done - there are no fabric shops near me so I usually have to rely on whats available online. 

Summer Fete

More local events: the summer fete, usually held in the vicarage gardens and hosted by Rev. Busk and his gorgeous wife Yoko. This year they made the last minute decision (prompted by weather reports of thunderstorms) to move it into the church. Typically the sun shone throughout the event (so much so actually that it was a bit of a relief to be inside)

As usual, lots of lovely stalls and activities for the children. 

Noahs nursery is located in the church hall, which is also where the cream teas are served :)

Beach Party

And on Sunday - a beach party in Huntingdon town centre! Another scorcher of a day, the boys got straight to it, and made some castles.

They also made themselves into mermaids!

Sew Chic Tia Dress pattern

Finally. I'm supposed to be holding back on purchases, but I couldn't help myself. They're doing a craftsy offer at the moment on the tia dress so I got the pattern and the online tutorial for £12.50. 

I am now thinking I would like to make my hawaiian dress with this bodice. Minus sleeves. Possibly just using straps rather than a full back. I won't know till I get started!

Friday, 18 July 2014

A day trip to London (Fit Modelling & Goldhawk Lane fabric binge)

As posted back in Jan this year, I was chosen as one of the three plus size models for the upcoming Voodoo Vixen plus size range, and so on Tuesday I travelled into London for a 2nd dress fitting session. I was only in there 20 minutes but I love the dresses they have chosen to upsize and I am soooo hoping they let me have one after the shoot! I didn't get to see the other girls Sarah and Helen this time sadly as we couldn't make the same date, but will at the shoot which will hopefully be scheduled quite soon. I wore my Hell Bunny Souvenir dress which I won in the Hello Dolly competition. Is it good to wear a rival brands dress to a fitting session? Well why not. Keep them on their toes :)

Of course as I was only there for 20 minutes, that left me a fair bit of time to indulge in some fabric shopping. I hopped on the tube and headed for Shepherds Bush market, and Goldhawk Road - the fabric lovers mecca.

It was all a bit overwhelming frankly. Like a kid in a sweetshop, I was almost unable to choose anything at all. Then I spotted the Hawaaian fabric I'd been after. The stuff they used for this Hell Bunny dress. 5 metres for £25. Bargain! I probably could have haggled. I think you're probably supposed to, but I didn't. It would cost twice that much on ebay so still happy. 

What I really want to make for my 40th birthday night out dress at Whittlebury Hall, is a hawaiian sarong style dress. Not halter. I love the look of halter, but I don't like the feel of it, and hate wearing halter bras. So I want something a bit like this stop staring dress:

I've decided I'm going to attempt it with my new fabric, as a hybrid of Butterick 5880 (for the skirt) and Vogue 8280 for the bodice (view A)

I may well change my mind before I start it, so we shall see what happens! I also bought some gorgeous red cotton which is crying out to be a sarong dress as well. Its lighter than the hawaiian stuff and will probaby drape better, but I'm not sure I have time to make both. I ended up spending about £75 quid on fabric, which was quite restrained, and I have enough for 3 dresses, and quite a lot of bags!

I should also mention that I'm happy to follow the Curvy Sewing Collective, which is pretty much what it says on the tin. Ladies with curves, who sew! 

I generally don't specifically point out when I'm sewing, what size it is that I'm using. Or at least I don't think I do, because mostly it isn't really relevant. 
I don't have issues finding patterns in my size (I'm a UK 18, however for sewing purposes I'm a 20 or 22 as they are not generous like shop sizes!) However I am always happy to see the outcome of a sewing pattern on someone who is more fuller figured, as I can get a better idea of what something's going to look like on me. I do have to make adjustments on most things I make and alter. 
My arms are chunky and some patterns just don't take this into account when grading. I am short-waisted and always need to chop off a couple of inches around the midriff region. I have a portly stomach which is proportionally bigger than my bust and hips (even though I have a massive arse LOL)
So all tips and advice and suggestions coming from this new site are most welcome.

Finally a bag is made - the Galloping Horses Tote

Bit of a change from the norm this one as a friend requested it.

This shopping bag is lightweight cotton canvas fabric - Clarke and Clarke galloping horses, Cath Kidston duck egg polka, and a duck egg stripe lining  - and I used a pattern which was Kwik Sew 0118 - a craft bag but suitable as a shopping tote.

I added two inner pockets as well as the 6 outer ones. Fairly quick to sew up but slightly tricky on the corners.

This would actually make a really good beach bag if you used some cotton laminate. Its not too labour intensive - and great for stashing bottles of sun lotion, drinks, flipflops etc. I did buy three lots of laminates the other week, but I really don't think I'll have time to get one done before our hols!

My friend seems very pleased thank goodness - its taken me a long time to start on this one as I just couldn't find the right pattern.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Beau Pair - complete (almost!)

I received my kit from u-handbag last week, which you may or may not recall I won for naming their newest pattern, the Beau Pair.

The kit included everything required, apart from the fabric and the basting tape (which I do not have, so didn't use) Unfortunately the back for one of the self-cover buttons was the wrong size, so I'm going to have to buy one and attach the coin purse button later. Lets gloss over that though...this is how they turned out :

I'm quite pleased with these. I bought the Cassette fabric remnant a couple of weeks back, and it matches the green zips I was sent. This was such a bright fabric I thought I'd go for plain bows, but I quite liked this plain indigo cotton I had in my stash, so all in all a very zingy pair!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Hell Bunny, Womens Hour, Wedding Bag and various outdoor events

I'm so busy at the moment, its all a bit crazy with end of term approaching and Noahs last days of nursery.

Firstly, my prize from Hell Bunny finally arrived. If you recall, I won the Hello Dolly Competition (see page 31 http://www.hellbunnyrag.com/the-brand-new-issue.php) and my prize was a dress of my choosing from this seasons catalogue.

I chose the souvenir dress, because it was so cute and quirky, and also because I wanted something quite modest for my hols.

I had to do some adjusting. Major tedium. I am short waisted and I had to remove two inches from the shoulder seams, because it was saggy in the neck region, sat two low on my waist, and you could see my bra strap at the back.

Unfortunately this of course meant that the underarms were raised and are therefore now a bit tight. I haven't got the patience at the mo to adjust this and I can live with it, but at some point I need to think about snipping away at the armholes.

I do absolutely love it though.

They held a nursery garden party at Ducklings to say a farewell to the school leavers. This is Noah getting his certificate (and his duck!).

It was the St Annes Sports Day. Joey did really well - here he is pulling faces with Bobby. Joeys is fourth from the left. He earned 10 housepoints for his efforts :)

It was the biggest weekend of the year in our small town - Godmanchester Gala Weekend (Joey sang in the school choir, but I couldn't get a photo of him)

WW1 poster for Joeys school project. 
I have already researched my family tree, so we picked some relatives and decided to do a piece about what they would have been up to during WW1, mostly assumption and guesswork I hasten to add.  I can only track back through one side, as my mothers side is Thai and I have no contact and therefore no information about that. 
My great-grandfather Peter was a labourer at a foundry works in the Middlesbrough region, so we decided that he must have stayed on the home front during the war and possibly made munitions. His brother James, going by the only family photograph I have of the Robertsons, was a policeman. So we decided that he probably stayed on the home front too, doing policemanly duties.

Noahs last day at Littlefoot Toddler Group. I've been taking the boys to this group at the local baptist church every term-time Wednesday for years. Its quite sad to reach the end of an era.

Plus I was on Radio 4 Womans hour! Talking about out of school care. Don't ask my why they picked our school - I have no idea - I was accosted at the door when dropping off Joey and had no warning. The journalist shoved a mike in my face and started grilling me!

Listen here http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/2005_25_mon_01.shtml

I'm on at just before 12 minutes.

I also wanted to share this. The lovely Emma got married earlier this month. Her bag (shown in pic) was one she commissioned from me (SheWearsRedFeathers) a while back. Doesn't she look stunning!

So you see its all been a bit busy. There just aren't enough hours in the day!