An embroidered Wildflower Garden Project Bag

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I may have mentioned to you before how much I liked the bi annual magazine 'Making' and this week I got the new spring issue.   As usual, it is to swoon over....indefinitely.  Packed full of beautiful, contemporary makes, both knitting and sewing, it is just gorgeous. Curated by Carrie Bostock Huge and Ashley Yousling, it aims to celebrate real handcraft in an organic way.  Most of the projects have a natural bias - homespun yarn, hand dyed fabrics etc. and all with practical everyday uses.   My collection of these mags is fast becoming a much treasured one.   This issue is based all around 'colour' - one of my favourite subjects for sure!   Colour fascinates me and I still have that feeling when I look at a palette of colours, whether it be fabric or thread or yarn, just like I did as a little girl and I got a new pack of felt tip pens for colouring.    I love how colours interact to create wonderful effects, how it reflects personality, culture, country.   Anyhow this time, the first project that I just couldn't wait to start is a hand embroidered project bag by Melissa Wastney.  We are going on holiday to Cornwall next week, so the idea of a project bag to take a little hand sewing was perfect.    I took the one in the book as a base starting point and using some of the wonderful Robert Kaufman 'Essex Yarn Dyed linen' in Rust, I set out to create my own wildflower garden.   Mixing coloured thread and textured stitches, I embroidered sprigs of little flowers and peppered my garden with some butterflies in vibrant colours.   This kind of embroidery is often found in Japanese embroidery books and is always beautiful.  I like the free flowing format of randomly placing the motifs, but I probably like it really because it reminds me of all those beautiful chintz fabrics from the 18th century that had sprigs of hand painted flowers on them.  When the front was done I looked at the instructions for making up the bag and realised that I had never made such a bag before.  It was an easy make, and putting a contrasting casing band on the top to match the lining was a lovely touch from the designer.   I used a soft pale green ditsy print from 'Fig tree' for mine and it softened everything beautifully.

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Another recent epiphany in the sewing room as been 'woven' interfacing.  I had never used it before last week and it is such a fantastic product I can hardly believe I didn't know about it.  I had always used the iron-on non woven sort before, which is sort of like a  paper type material, but this Pellon SF101 is absolutely fab.  I found it easier to apply than the non woven interfacing and in a way a more natural choice - fabric on fabric.   I used it for this bag, attaching it to both the lining pieces and the front and back pieces, giving the linen and the lining some structure.

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When it was finished I decided to add on a little lavender bag to help keep my project bag fresh.  I first saw this idea in a Japanese embroidery book and it is absolutely charming.  It is made up of two simple  discs, on the back of one there is an opening outlined with buttonhole stitch, which allows you to pop a tiny sachet of lavender in.  The front disc is embroidered with a design of your choice and then they are stitched right sides together leaving a small opening for pulling through.  Once you have tidied this up, you can simply slip the lavender sachet inside.   Ingenious, I think.  A great addition to coat hangers, but also a bag like this - you can simply pop it in or outside your bag.  You can find the sachets on amazon (of course!!!!).

 I took time and care with the make and actually when it was finished it was such a simple thing, but really quite exquisite.    I am always astounded by how I learn all the time and what I have learnt with this project is that simplicity and accuracy and patience are the real keys to sewing well.  I wonder if I can manage this with some dressmaking....mmmmmmm

I'll be away next week in the West Country and I am sure I am going to come back with oodles of inspiration.   In the meantime though, I am sorry, but I won't be able to send out any Etsy orders until Monday 14th May.

Till then....Ruby x

ps.  The magazine is available from

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