english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Sewing Weekender took place in Cambridge this weekend!

After lots of planning and waiting it was, of course, over in a flash. I’m now home again, with a cup of tea in hand, and I thought I’d share a little reveal of the goodie bags.

On Saturday morning, attendees arrived to find a The Fold Line goodie bag, stuffed to bursting with the following:

Our principle sponsor, Adam Ross Fabrics, supplied a selection of fabrics for each attendee, including the cat fabric below (plus dodos and penguins).

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Janome, who provided the sewing machines for the Weekender, provided a goodie bag for each attendee containing a tape measure, swatch card and stationary.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Any attendees who hadn’t decided what to sew over the weekend (or who were liable to change their mind) may have been swung by their Marshmallow Dress paper pattern from CocoWawa Crafts. These patters were extra special as the lovely Ana has only just released the Marshmallow as a paper pattern – and these were hot from the printer.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Or attendees might have been tempted to make a start on their Tilly and the Buttons paper pattern! Attendees would have found a Arielle, Fifi, Orla, Martha, Marigold, or Rosa in their goodie bag.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Attendees can go home and label up their stash (and perhaps some new additions from the swap…), with fabric tags from Sew Hayley Jane, who was herself an attendee.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Plush Addict provided sewing supplies for the Weekender and beyond, in the form of Gutterman threads and elastic in a variety of shades.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Draper’s Daughter sent each attendee a fat quarter in one of their beautiful handwoven cotton ikats.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Sew Now Magazine provided a copy of the magazine.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Cotton Reel Studio supplied attendees with a set of pins.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Simply Sewing Magazine provided a copy for every attendee.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Sew Crafty provided a Dressmaking Journal, ideal for attendees to document all of the additional garments they wanted to make by the end of the weekend! (P.S. Sew Crafty also sell craft, and knitting/crochet journals, so all of your crafts are covered).

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Stoff and Stil sent attendees one metre of their woven navy bird-print viscose, plus haberdashery supplies.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Simplicity sent plush toy sewing patterns.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Lucy from Sew Essential joined us at the weekend, and provided each attendee with a handy guide to different fabric types, plus a selection of threads.

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Abakhan sent pocket sewing kits, plus shopping bags.

 

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

The Sewing Weekender Goodie Bags 2017

Plus attendees took away a range of discount codes, including from Beyond Measure for post Weekender shopping.

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Casper & Wendy Full Circle Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics

I’m a big fan of staring at Japanese pattern books – the colours and layouts are just so satisfying. This bag is from a new English-language release from Tuttle Publishing, Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics: Over 25 Easy-to-Make Purses, Totes and More by Emiko Takahashi.

Casper & Wendy Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

This is the Full Circle Bag project from the book. This bag is reversible although there is no way I’m ever going to reverse it and hide that Casper & Wendy print! Peter recently asked on his blog whether sewists ever reverse their reversible makes – I know I don’t, I pick a favourite side from the start!

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

The bag is a large circle which is pulled in via 16 loops which the strap is threaded through.

Casper & Wendy Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

One of the distinguishing features of the book is that each project includes some element of hand sewing (and it is intended that the bags can be sewn wholly by hand if so chosen). For the project I made, the book suggested hand stitching a circular design on the bottom of the bag. I placed a circle of interfacing between the two layers of the bag and then machine stitched a circle design to help create a more sturdy base.

Casper & Wendy Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

I know this looks like a slightly overdue Halloween project but I actually bought this fabric from Abakhan in Manchester ages ago with no project in mind. When I was shopping my stash for a suitable fabric for the bag I decided to go with Casper and Wendy. I have loads of this fabric left so it will be making another appearance at some point.

Casper & Wendy Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

Casper & Wendy Bag from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

There’s a real mixture of bag projects in the book. There are 25 projects with customisations for 60 bags. The smallest are actually purses, the largest are totes.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

I’m intrigued by the Checkout Basket Bag. I’m not sure how useful it would really be but it’s certainly different and I love the styling used in the book.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

The Eco Bag is a nice simple design for a reusable bag and they would be quick to whip up as extra Xmas gifts.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

As a lover of a large handbag (I tend to carry around a lot of stuff…) a Large Tote or a Picnic Tote has been added to my list of future makes.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

At the back of the book there’s a nice ‘before you start’ section which includes advice on which type of interfacing and which bag accessories to use for each of the projects.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

The projects all appear relatively simple and each project has clear instructions with lots of diagrams. A pull out pattern sheet is provided at the back of the book although the larger pattern pieces are only provided in part (e.g. for the project I made, 1/4 of the pattern piece was provided, meaning it needed to be traced 4 times to create a full pattern piece). Seam allowances also need to be added to some of the pattern pieces (although it is clearly stated where these are required).

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi

Do you ever sew bags? Planning to make any for gifts this Christmas?

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics in exchange for a review; all opinions expressed are my own. Post contains an affiliate link.


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Leather Bag Making

Handmade Leather Bag
A couple of weeks ago I attended a Saturday workshop to make a leather handbag run by Gosia Weber, a local designer maker here in Birmingham. The class was held at Bilston Craft Gallery, which runs a really good selection of courses which are also cheap! I booked the class back in December as a Christmas present to myself:) I’d seen the course advertised previously but been unable to make the date so was adamant that I was going to make it this time around. As it happened I had to travel  to Istanbul for work the week of the course – but arrived back on Friday in time to attend, if rather tired and keen to spend some time at home.
Handmade Leather Bag
Making a leather handbag was actually easier than I though and was mainly made up on a sewing machine – with some hammering of metal fastenings also involved! Gosia made it easy by providing a pattern for the three main pieces involved – the back (which also formed the flap), front and bottom/side piece. These were all cut from small leather off-cuts.
Handmade Leather Bag
In order to personalise the bags we each cut out a small motif and sewed this (by machine) onto the bag before the bag was assembled. I used the hand wheel rather than the pedal to keep sufficient control while attaching the motif. My choice of a moon and star motif was influenced by the color scheme of my bag. Plenty of tea was provided to keep us going.
Handmade Leather Bag
Handmade Leather Bag
The picture below shows all of the bags produced in the workshop. You can see we all went for different colours, designs, and even placement of the clasp!
Handmade Leather Bag


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袋 Chinese Character Totes

袋 Screen Printed Shopping Bag
Last Friday it started snowing here in the UK and it’s been intermittently snowing since. I took advance of an afternoon off work – we were sent home due to travel issues – to do some screen printing. One of the items I printed were tote bags featuring the Chinese character for bag, 袋 (pronounced Dài in Mandarin).

I printed the design on a basic cotton tote and a canvas tote with gusset using blue ink. You can see the bags (and the snow) in the pictures below. They are also available from my Etsy shop.

袋 Screen Printed Shopping Bag
袋 Screen Printed Shopping Bag


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Screen Printed Hydrangea Bags

Screen Printed Hydrangea Bag

I was running a little late making Christmas presents this year. On the 23rd December I was busy screen printing bags as extra Christmas presents for lots of family members. I went with a two-colour hydrangea design on grey bags.

I did the screen printing in our shed and hung the bags out to dry on the washing line. It took longer than it should have as a neighbour’s cat decided to help out by joining me in the shed and winding around my legs!

Screen Printed Hydrangea Bag
Screen Printed Hydrangea Bag