An Autumn Tote and a teeny, tiny embroidery

Hello there,

So this blog posting is about 3 things.  A scarf, a bag and an embroidered pendant.    With the onset of Autumn (which I love!) everyone's thoughts turn towards their winter wardrobes. I have to say that I much prefer cosy winter clothes to summer ones and this year, I decided to sort out my cupboards and think about the idea of a smaller, more coordinated approach.   I was having a bit of a sort out and this scarf, which I actually knitted, was definitely in the 'much treasured' pile. 

Bag 3

Knitted in one of those gorgeous variegated japanese yarns by Noro, found in John Lewis many moons ago - it is a very simple, which befits my knitting abilities.  I did add all these pretty buttons though and I decided that these colours are just so delicious, that I should take them a step further and make a bag to go with it and I was thinking of the Moda Crossweaves that are my current fabric obsession.   I decided to make a tote bag, as I wanted something that roomy enough to carry my laptop and the pile of books and notebooks that I simply can't move around without.  I am not a prolific bag maker, but rather tend to make what I need and I was wondering what direction to take this in.  In fact I was guided by an idea I found on another sewing blog.   I love reading sewing blogs and there is just so much interesting stuff out there.  I found the original idea here on the Ginger Peach Studio blog, where I am constantly in awe of the stuff Jen Rossotti produces.  I  loved this idea of the flying geese strips lining up to form the side of a bag.  I followed her links to the originator of this pattern and  downloaded the flying geese paper peicing template from the Bernina website and it was just so simple.  You can just print off as many of these as you like and use them for anything.  I always approach paper piecing with a little apprehension, but really this is as quick as a flash and produces perfect results every time.   Check them out here

I think that high contrast works well with this idea and I found some lovely small pieces of Amy Butler fabric for the centres of my flying geese.  It coordinated well with the mulberry coloured faux leather and moda cross weaves and so I was set.  I made up three strip sets for each side of the tote, plus a plain band of crossweave for the top edge of the bag.  I made up the fabricky bits.  Pressed it all carefully and layered each bag side with some bamboo batting and muslin.  I really enjoyed quilting these with different patterns and took the trouble to change the threads to match too.  

Then I added the faux leather bottom part of each of side of the bag.  I hand stitched down the seams to give a flat appearance and because I simply love the look of this kind of contrasting hand reminds me of the japanese style of Shasiko.  I know from past experience that bag making is alot easier with the right hardware.   I got mine from  the wonderful site  They have a fantastic selection of handles, rings, bag feet etc and this makes a whole heap of difference to the finished result.  I cut out a piece of firm cardboard for my bag base and attached the feet through this and the faux leather so that it is very firm and strong.  

Bag 2

For the lining, I used a co-ordinating fabric and even made a little inside pocket, lined with faux leather to pop my phone in.  

Bag 6

 I bought some ready rolled black leather handles and found these easy to attach contrasting thread and an elastoplast on my finger!!!

Bag 10

I was, I have to say rather 'improv' with this project and didn't have a pattern but miraculously, somehow it turned out really well.  The real star of this project is the Cross Weave fabric by Moda though.  It is textural and strong and the colours are wonderful and it suits bag making very well.  You can find them in my Etsy shop and I am happy to supply small quantities for projects such as this.    I feel that this was a good week.  My new bag is a roomy, practical tote bag that is totally indvidual and fun.   

Bag 1

  But the fun didn't stop there.  I had another project in my sewing room that has been hopping around in the packet for weeks.  These tiny little hoop necklaces are often on instagram and other social media and I was excited to see if I could use one of these to coordinate with my new accessories.   

Bag 5

I chose one of my very precious variegated silk threads to work this teeny, tiny design.

Bag 4

 Honestly it was quick and just so effective.  I think these are a fantastic way to make your outfits totally original.   Good job they come in packets of 3!!! 


So all set for winter.  You simply can't beat that feeling of having made something for yourself, at a fraction of the cost of buying such individual things.  


Happy Weekend ...

Toodle ooo folks!

Ruby x

Next time... a bit of a makeover in my sewing room....hope to see you then.