Thursday, 17 March 2016

Paper bag style lunch bag

I think that we all know about recycling and that means not creating waste in the first place as well as knowing which bin to place it in. Food is the focus of most of our waste so I thought that a cute paper bag style lunch bag may be just the thing for this week's post. I want something that will look and behave like a paper bag - forever!

To add another dimension again, we are going to make a scrap project so that we are not cutting into new fabric either - see no waste AND using the stash. 

You may cite this article when your other half starts the usual rant....

I am having a love affair with Art Gallery Fabrics and I have gathered a few offcuts from my favourites so they will be featuring this week. 

I love Essex Yarn Dyed Linen so I am going to use that too.

Before we get going, can I draw your attention to something else that you might like to know about? This is unfortunately only for UK followers so I am sorry to my other readers.
There is a great competition going at the moment to create a Sketchbook Quilt and you can read all about it properly in your Popular Patchwork magazine (or you can click on that link to do it right now).

I am really into this because two of my major sponsors are very much involved - Janome and Vlieseline and I am always up for supporting my crafting community. 

So what's in it for you? Prizes and great ones at that - we are talking sewing machines here and who doesn't want a new one of those! A Janome machine will change your sewing forever and there are three to win! All you have to do is....well, click on the link and read all about it and then get sewing. 

I am not allowed to enter the competition proper but my sketchbook quilt will be featured in Popular Patchwork in one of the coming issues so watch out for it there.  I think that it is the bag issue and you will find out what one of my favourite colours are at the same time!

Well, that;s so exciting and I wish you all the very best of British luck! 

Right, packed lunches then. What do we need to create a lunch bag that will have everyone else looking on in envy?

-scraps of fabrics cut into 6 cm strips
-a fat eighth of Essex Yarn Dyed linen in denim
-a fat quarter of something cute for the lining
-fat quarter of H640 fusible fleece (Vlieseline)
-fat quarter S320 fusible interfacing (Vlieseline)
-a button which ties it all together
-12 cm round elastic

You can access the main pieces for this project from...

Vlieseline 01453 883581
Art gallery fabrics from -Hantex-
If you love my sewing machine-Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8200 QCP Special edition sewing machine from  

To begin with, here is your template for the lunch bag. The measurements are given to help with printing out.

Begin by collecting about 6 of your strips and cutting them all to 30cm lengths or thereabouts. Sew them together to make a block and iron them....

Cut two pieces of denim 30 cm x 12 cm and attach one to each end of the strip panel....

Fuse the fleece to the wrong side of this patched panel. Quilt in straight lines using the strips as a guide and simply continuing the quilt lines up onto the denim...

It is useful to rule some lines so that you don't go wonky here. These lines have to be very straight indeed.

Fuse the other piece of interfacing to the wrong side of the outer panel over the top of the fleece.

You might wonder what exactly is the point of using two lots of interfacing? Well, that is easy to answer. they both have different functions. The fusible fleece gives loft and 'quiltability' and the interfacing gives a little structure to the bag and stops it from flopping about.

Fold the patched, quilted and interfaced panel in half and then cut the bag shape out on the fold (there is a line on the pattern to show you where this is)....

Fold the elastic in half and attach it to the top centre of what will become the back of the bag. Sew it on well because there is some stress when you open the bag and close it.

Sew up the sides of the bag so that you have something a little more recognisable....

Box the corners next. This is simple and the cut outs are already there for you. Pinch them together....

And sew across....

Repeat for the other side and then do the same for the lining in a tick. Prepare the lining next. Cut the lining out using the pattern the same as you did for the bag's outer. Sew up the sides of the lining but leave a gap in one side for turning out....

Box the corners so that they fit into the outer. You may need to trim and adjust the corners a bit. This is not a pattern fault or anything that you have done wrong. It is actually physics to blame! Fabric creeps a bit and we are constantly making slight changes as we sew.

Turn the lining inside out and the bag outer the right way out and pull the lining on over the top of the outer. The two right sides should be together.

Match up the side seams nicely and sew around the top.  

Turn out through the gap. Close the gap and stuff the lining down into the bag. 

Top stitch around the top edge. I have done this twice because I quite like the look of the double stitching and it provides more security for the elastic....

Sew the button on too and you are ready to roll!

I hope that you have enjoyed this week's pattern. Don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Above all, don't forget that competition! It really is worth while and you could be a very lucky winner. 

See you next time!
Love and hugs

Friday, 4 March 2016

Happy Mother's Day! Garden path hot water bottle cover.

Spring is trying to spring here in England and it is approaching Mother's Day. 

When I say, trying to spring, there are some pretty bulbs poking their heads up and we are seeing a sprinkling of yellow daffodils, white snowdrops and purple crocuses in the hedgerows. 

But it is invigoratingly cold at the same time and although the sun is out, it's not doing too much to warm the air. 

Enter the hot water bottle cover! This is an oldie but a goodie and very useful to have in the house. My Mum loves hers but the old cover for it is worn out. I thought that the ideal thing for her special day was a pretty new one!

I want to combine the idea of spring flowers and brick garden path so here is the big idea...

This is an easy make and I am using some fabrics from the Lavish collection by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery fabrics. I will put stockist info at the end of the post for the UK. If you Google AGF anywhere, you will be on the right track.

The back looks nice too!

So what do we need for this practical and useful make?
- a few large scraps or fat 8ths of pretty fabric (Hantex)
-a solid which coordinates nicely
-lining fabric
-2 x Fat qu. #279 80/20 cotton mix wadding (Vlieseline)
-coordinating bias binding. You need a couple of meters to go comfortably around the outer edge and the neck of the hot water bottle cover. I have used Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed linen in Denim for mine. It gives a beautifully earthy feel to the make.
-Your usual sewing needs including a dual feed foot for your sewing machine.

Before we go any further, here is your template for this make. It is a 1:1 scale and should be 37 cm high and 24 cm wide.

The green line (whole piece) is pattern part A, the pink line (top half) is pattern piece B and the turquoise line (bottom half is pattern piece C.

Begin by cutting 'bricks' from your pretty fabrics. These are 6.5 cm x 13 cm.From your solid, cut some strips 2 cm wide and as long as the fabric.
We will use these whole and then trim the excess off the end each time and then re use the leftover bit. Don't worry, all shall become clear in a sec!

Now we are going to build a brick path and the solid strips will become the grout. Start by taking two of your bricks and a strip of the solid. Sew the strip of solid to one short end of a brick....

Add the other brick to the other side....

Iron and trim the excess.....

This is a completed unit. Use the rest of that strip to join another brick....

When you have three bricks joined together, take another solid strip and attach it to the top.....

Make another row of bricks and put it on top using the long solid strip to join. To begin every second row, cut your 'brick' in half and then they will match to a brick pattern...

Keep going in this way until you have a brick path 3 wide and 4 high  and then turn it ninety degrees like this...

Iron it and lay it onto a piece of untrimmed wadding about 3 cm larger all around and a piece of lining fabric the same size as the wadding. This is your 'quilt sandwich'. This pattern calls for two fat quarters of wadding. This will leave you with a bit left over but it will come in very handy for making some thing else. 

Use a water soluble marker to draw a diagonal grid with lines about 3.5 cm apart if you need to (easier for beginners) otherwise, use the spacer bar on your dual feed foot.

A bit closer look...

Coming back the other way...

Quilt along these lines and then remove the water soluble marker lines. 

Lay your template over the top and cut out (pattern part A)...

The back is a bit simpler, You can make it from two larger bits if you have them or you can go with the brick pattern again. The method is the same. Use pattern Piece 'B' for the top of the back and pattern piece 'C' for the bottom. Cut a piece of wadding and lining just a bit bigger for bother pieces but leave these untrimmed.
  Quilt the wadding to the top fabric on the both top and bottom pattern pieces. I have used a slight variation on the front pattern...

Always do this on untrimmed wadding and backing and then cut it back after you have attached the fabric. This puts paid to any fabric creep. Cut the shapes out...

Bind the straight edges with your chosen bias binding...

Add a label to the top part if you like. You can find the instructions on how to do this in the Tips and Techniques drop down menu. Site the label in the middle of the straight bit of top section, just up from the binding...

Now let's put it all together! Lay the front face down and arrange the back pieces on top of it. Linings should be to linings and there should be a slight overlap on the back pieces (the top overlaps the bottom)...

Sew around the edge to keep it together (I like to do this by hand because you have more control). Leave to top bit open. Trim any daggy bits off too.
Bind with your bias binding; sides first....

And then the neck....

All done! Mum will really appreciate this and it is something that is needed in most cases too. Especially older Mums feel the cold in their feet even if you have central heating and because they usually 'have everything' it is hard to find a gift which will really do the trick for them. 

And the back...

Here is your stockists info too so that you can get some of these lovely bits and pieces for yourself - 
For Art Gallery Fabrics, head over to Hantex. They have a special feature on their website to make it super easy to find a stockist in the UK. You need then follow the prompts.
For Vlieseline, visit

Thank you so much for stopping by and a very Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums in our world. Especially Happy Mother's Day to my own lovely Mum :-)  See you all again next time!

Love and hugs