Nylon Tote Bag – Prototype

For a long time now I have wanted to make a reusable bag made from nylon and recently I did using a self drafted pattern.

I won’t go into the issues that plastics bags have on the environment as we are all know this. I will not be hypocritical I’m guilty of using plastic bags but where at all possible I try not to use them preferring to use my own bag/s. The reason for wanting a nylon tote bag in particular is confession I buy takeaway sometimes and I wanted a lightweight bag that was kind of waterproof that I could use instead of the plastic bags I normally get given for carrying my takeaways home. We all know takeaway containers sometimes leak or there is sometimes grease on the outside of them so I didn’t want a cotton bag that would easily stain I wanted a fabric that was a bit more robust and easy care. Earlier this year in a fabric swap I picked up some nylon so it was a good way to  try out my idea without having to spend money on fabric (save money wherever you can)

I had a rough idea of the base measurements I needed for the bag, on previous takeaways I had mentally measured the size of the container (on one occasion I think I held a tape measure of it) Once I decided on my base measurement square I just worked out the height of the rectangles for each side. I added ½” seam allowance to each side on all my pieces and cut out all my fabric. The bag is double thickness so made of 2 bags then stitched together. I’m sorry I am totally unorganised and have misplaced the actual measurements for all my pieces… I’m not good at this blogging thing am I 🙂

For the handles I cut them from some leftover side rectangle fabric, from memory they are about 16″ long. I made them in the usual fashion of folding them quarter folds and top stitching them closed before attaching them to the bag. When I was originally cutting the fabric I thought I could get it entirely out of the pink fabric so I cut my pieces double thickness. When I discovered I wasn’t going to have enough and would have to use both fabrics instead of cutting a base out of the khaki fabric I used the second pink one I had. It adds a pop of colour to the bag. To add strength to the base of each bag I did use a triple stitch when attaching all my pieces to each one, this gave it that bit of reinforcement. For the sides I just used a regular straight stitch.

I am really pleased with how this bag turned out. As you can see I have road tested it and it holds the takeway containers well. I thought I had made this maybe a fraction too big but it actually turned out better to make it larger as it was easy for the vendor to put the food in easier as they weren’t struggling to get the containers to sit flat in the bottom of the bag. They were happy that I had my own bag to use.  This actually seems to be my go to bag at the moment since I finished making it a few weeks ago. I have used it shopping, to take Christmas gifts to the post office that would otherwise be awkward to carry. I have brought nylon now and I will make this bag again in this size but I may also make it from cotton as it is great size. It is big enough to hold everything but not too big.






PJ Tops K4088

After the success of making my first pj top from Kwik Sew K4088 I raided my knit stash to make a couple more.

I made the shirts exactly how I did it last time. It is a men’s pattern but it is just a t-shirt so who cares. I made view B which is short sleeve but used the neck line of C so it is a crew neck.

At the start of last year I purchased a bundle of bolt end knit fabric from Melly and Me. I used some of it in a test skirt last year but I still had heaps left over. The fabric is so comfortable and soft. I had one larger piece of and I was able to make this pink top. Laziness means I never hemmed the sleeves or the bottom. I’ve worn and washed and it is ok. To be honest the test skirt I made last year I never hemmed either and that is lasting fine.

I had 2 smaller offcuts of fabric that wasn’t enough to make an entire shirt out of but combining them meant I had enough for a shirt so that is what I did. I don’t like to wear white fabric (even on pj’s) but this fabric was too cute not to used. I compromised and used the white fabric on the back and sleeves.

The front and the neck band I used the pink fabric. I really like it. It is a little bit different. I’m more of a bird or hippo girl but I do like the tiny hedgehogs. They are so bright and cheery and I can see them on my arms.

I may still make more of these tops (I have suitable fabric in my stash) for pj’s. It is a simple pattern and very comfortable. I do want to make myself some t-shirts to wear out casual but I’m leaning away from this pattern for them. I’m conceding they may just be a bit too baggy to wear out when I am dressed. I always go for the largest baggiest clothing because I like comfort but I don’t think I need to go this big.


Frocktails 2018 Planning

Photo Courtesy of Useful Box

Last week the 2018 Sydney Frocktails event was announced. Frocktails is a night out where everyone who likes to sew gets together to talk all things sewing, fabric and patterns. Wearing a “Me Made” garment is optional. It is a fun night where you spend half the night walking up to people and rubbing the side of their clothes to feel their gorgeous fabric. It was a kind of last minute decision for me to this years event but 2018 was a must and in fact I was the first to buy my ticket.

Even though Frocktails isn’t until February I have limited sewing time between now and then. I still have to finish of my Christmas gifts plus I have birthdays to make for in January and February so I want to get my outfit organised sooner rather than later. I’ve decided I want to make 3 pieces:

  • Cape
  • Top
  • Skirt

This sounds like a lot but all the items I am making are very simple and wearable again in other occasions. Yes I wanted to make something to wear to Frocktails but looking at my lifestyle I don’t do a lot of nights out to venues where you need to get dressed so there is no point making a ball gown when Cinderalla never goes to a ball. Each item I am making I could in fact where to work in an office if I wanted to.

Sydney, February is not what you would normally think of as cape weather as it summer. I hate air conditioning so I always have a jacket wherever I go. I thought a lightweight cape might be fancier than a jacket and give me the coverage over my shoulders. I purchased this Burda pattern last year after seeing Anne Whalley make it. I really like the style of view D. From a fabric swap earlier this year I picked up a polyester knit that has velvetine blue dots all over it. To be honest I only picked up this fabric as it was blue but I think it will make an awesome cape.

At this years event I won the Lou Box Top pattern by Sew DIY as a lucky door prize. As a connection to next years event I want to make that top. Earlier this year I did make it with a jersey knit but I have decided to go with fabric with a bit more drape this time. Last weekend I purchased a modal poly knit fabric. It has a nice drape to it. It should make a lovely version of the top. I really like the feel of this fabric, even though it is a poly it doesn’t have that icky feel to it. Apologies to anyone who can wear polyester silky fabrics and who likes them but some fabrics I can’t wear as I know I will be too hot in them.

In hindsight maybe I should have purchased more of the modal fabric to make a matching skirt as I think it would be a nice out fit. Sadly I know there is no more fabric left in the shop as the sales assistant was buying what was left as she liked it so much. Looking at my fabrics for my top and cape which by chance really match well together I think I am going to have to make my skirt out of strong contrasting solid colour. Recently at another swap day I picked up this textured black fabric but it is a thick polyester so although I may make a winter skirt out of it I don’t think I can wear it to Frocktails. I think with the fibre content I have chosen for my top and cape I think I need a cotton skirt. Putting these fabrics together at least lets me see what colouring I need to choose. I will most likely pick a black or possibly even a burgundy, shock horror but I don’t think I would go a blue.

Pattern wise I think I will go a simple pull on elastic waisted skirt. I have a couple of patterns I will probably pick from. These a quick simple skirts. I don’t want anything fancy for my skirt. I intend to visit another fabric store next month where I may find some fabric.

So I have made a start at least on my preparation for Frocktails. I haven’t set myself over ambitious items to make. For months I wasn’t enjoying sewing but the spark is back again.


Blue Potholders

I again have made potholders for a Christmas gift. They are a very practical item to have and can also be used as a trivet. At Christmas you are always in need of potholders and trivets for all the hot dishes so you can never have too many.

Once again these pot holders contain a layer of insulbrite in them which is a heat resistant fabric but this time I added a double layer of cotton batting not just one layer. Last time I made these the top fabric was a double layer as it was foundation pieced where as this time I just used straight fabric so it all works out even I guess.

I am pretty proud of these. I found this fabric in my stash and it was perfect for this Christmas project. I used an 8″ transparent hexi template and actually fussy cut the Santa’s on each one. If you are not aware of the term fussy cutting it basically means that align an image in the centre of your work and you cut your template around it so the image is highlighted and the focus of your work. From a frugal perspective fussy cutting does seem a bit of a waste of fabric as you end up with a piece of fabric that has a giant hole in the centre but from a visual point of view fussy cutting is very effective. On this project I didn’t mind fussy cutting as I was unlikely to use the fabric in another project and the Santa’s in the middle of each one does look good.

For the quilting at first I wasn’t sure what I would do. Last time I made these I didn’t quilt them. I went the option of quilting all layers except for the backing fabric. I started in the centre of each one and machine quilted lines about 3/4″ – 1″ apart. I was worried that I might stitch through the centre of Santa or a reindeer’s head but luckily the lines ended up missing each one. I am liking the simple stitch lines. I was tempted to do a grid but I think would have looked over quilted. After they were quilted I placed each one the backing fabric and double folded the edges before hand sewing into place.

I am not normally into Christmas things but I do love these.


Hand Stitching Class With Sarah Fielke

In my mental bucket list I had it on it I would like to take a class with Sarah Fielke. Sarah is a brilliant quilter who teachers in Australia, overseas and even on Craftsy. A few years ago I made a teacup for her birthday quilt and when I saw the finished quilt hanging in the background of a teaching video she had done and spotted my cup it blew my mind.

Last weekend the Modern Quilt Show Australia had a show in Sydney and had classes running one of which was a hand stitching class with Sarah. The style of quilting Sarah demonstrated is termed “Big Stitch Quilting” but it is just hand quilting. On the front of your work the stitches are a little bit bigger but on the back the stitches are just tiny pin pricks. The way you position your needle in the quilt layers and hold your fingers allows you to do this technique. At first you are all fingers and thumbs as you are trying to juggle a larger quilting hoop whilst holding your fingers in the right spot and the do actions you need to do to form the stitch but after a while you get the hang of it. I tried doing lines down the centre of my work and I was a bit drunken sailor, without following something I can’t do a straight line.

I decided to try a circle. I traced around the centre of a roll of masking tape to give me a line to follow. Quilting a circle is a little more trickier as you have to keep turning your hoop so your not twisting your wrists but it was actually fun. As a beginner I am pleased with my circle. Following a line to quilt on was much easier than just eyeballing it. Getting my stitch length consistent is the area I need to work on. I had to keep repositioning my needle several times before I pulled through the stitch as I wasn’t happy with the length of it. Large on the front tiny on the back. It will take practice. Sarah gave us some good tips on things to make to increase our skills with doing it. I am seeing lots of mug rugs and doll blankets in my future.

The quilt show itself was great. It was only a smallish show but I am sure it will grow as more people get involved. As the name suggests the Modern Quilt Show has quilts in that are more contemporary and a little different to your traditional quilts. If you imagine bright colours, and abstract design or traditional done with a twist than that kind of describes modern quilts. I personally just think of them as quilts. They are certainly the type of quilts I would be doing more if I got my butt around to actually making a quilt.

The show did have a few stall holders but I honestly couldn’t see anything I needed to buy. Nothing was jumping out of me and I didn’t want to buy things just for the sake of it. In the class room Sarah had a mini shop set up of her books and items she sells on her website. I did buy a couple of things there. In the class I tried out a Lap App which I will do a full blog post on at some stage. Briefly a Lap App is like a little stand that you use for when doing hand crafts. I found it useful so I brought it. My indulgent that I didn’t really need was blue apple pin cushion. I had seen these recently on Sarah’s Instagram feeds and thought it was cute so when I came across a blue one which had words on it (love a good pun) and has numbers which is my day job I had to have it.

I really enjoyed the class with Sarah. Without sounding stalkerish I was friends with Sarah on Facebook prior to the day. Sarah has chosen not to have a separate business account to her personal account so you feel like you know her as you do all your Facebook friends. I met Sarah at the Sydney Quilt show this year but it was really nice to do a class with her. She is a genuinely nice person. She is not egotistic even though is a fantastic designer and creator. She is open and honest and if you ever get a chance to do a class with her do it. On her website she has some block of the months running where each month she releases instructional videos on how to make the sections of a quilt. I am very tempted to do them but I think 2018 might be a little busy for me. I brought one of her project kits at the Sydney show which comes with instructions videos so I might do that first. You can always join the block of the month programs whenever you wish.



Project Bag – Denim Hearts

In my last post I talked about fabrics that I thought might be a skirt but I know won’t, the denim fabric used on this project bag falls within the same category. I picked the piece up at a charity shop last year. It measured about 50cm wide x length of fabric, I wanted to make a skirt from it but there was no way I could unless I added other fabric to it. When I was rearranging my storage area and culling fabric I came across it. I couldn’t let it ago so I decided to make a bag from it.

The pattern I used was Essential Wristlet by Dog Under My Desk. I have made this pattern a lot now. I used the enlarged size that I made my rose bag and toiletry bag with. It is a nice size and holds a lot. Because of the thickness of the denim I didn’t use any lining in this bag. It does have a few dimples but for the most part there is enough structure in the denim for it to hold its shape.

On the inside I used some leftover fabric I again found in my stash. I used this fabric on the binding on my first ever blanket. As well as liking hearts I am a big fan of stars so I really like the combination of this bag having both. It is a stiffer quilting cotton so again works well to hold its shape. This fabric does soften a lot once it repeatedly washed and used but in a project bag you are not going to wash it a great deal. I added a simple little pocket that wasn’t lined or interfaced. The purpose of the pocket is so you have an easy place to stick a crochet hook or row counter, small notions you don’t want to lose in the bottom of your bag or get caught on things.

Within minutes of this bag coming off my sewing machine I was already using it. I am delighted that I have used the random piece of heart fabric that I came across in a practical way. No more sitting in my stash it now holds my little projects with a purpose.


The Skirt That Wasn’t

As much as I like the idea I have come to the realisation I am not making myself a knitting needle skirt. Months ago I cut out all the pieces, overlocked the edges than never touched it again (except to shift it about out of the way on my craft table) The fabric is Sewing School by Jodi Carleton (Ric Rac) It is so cute and whimsical but I know in my heart it won’t be a skirt. Part of me is feeling like it is a waste of good fabric but from this, the piece I cut it from and another couple of fat quarters of it I have there is plenty of fabric to make bags from. In hindsight this fabric to me is more calling out bags rather than skirt.

This week I brought another piece of knitting themed fabric. I think I had seen it before at the shop but as it was reduced to half price so it took my attention more this time and I brought what was left on the bolt so just over 3m. I’m not a big yellow person but it is yarn so how could you not adore it. My first thought was bags than hours later I thought maybe it could be a skirt… No I am going to squash that idea now. As a skirt I won’t wear it but as a knitting project bag or tote bag I will use it all the time. If I am going to spend all that precious time sewing I need to make stuff that I am going to use and not just sit in the cupboard because in my heart the fabric is working for me in that project.

Stay tuned to see what I do actually make with these fabrics.