Monday, July 26, 2010

Inspired again

The other day I received the most delightful bag of fabrics from my friend Kayscha. She was having a huge declutter and offered to give away lots of her fabrics for the price of postage (how awesomely generous is that!!!!) It was a bit of a lucky dip, she just filled a bag for anyone interested on a first in best dressed basis. I had no idea what I would receive, and it was a such a thrill to open up a package full of such bright, happy and gorgeous fabrics. Of course I'm keeping some pieces for my scrap quilt, but there were fat quarters, and other large pieces in there as well. Ive already ear marked a couple of prints for summer skirts and dresses for Jacinta.

Surrounded by all that fabric, how could I not be inspired to get out my sewing machine. I started out with a project that I had been meaning to try for ages - journal covers.

Well lets just say that the first one looked gorgeous (floral/stripes), but is a little snug on the actual journal. I tried a second one slightly larger, and pieced together from some jelly roll strips (orange/blue/green) - even though i made it a little larger, somehow it ended up a touch to small again GRRRRRRRRRR. The following day I had another try, I finally got the size right, and now have a gorgeous journal cover for me. (the swirl fabric on this one and the blue/green strip on the last one were the only two bits of fabric that I didn't get from K! isn't she just such a sweetie - THANK YOU!) The one for my blog giveaway was attempt #4 (some what appropriate for a 400th post giveaway) and is defiantly proof of the old saying that practice makes perfect. Well OK, its probably not perfect, but you know what I mean!

Todays project also used a couple of the fat quarters from my newly inherited stash. A gorgeous sunny strawberry print and co-ordinating yellow check for Jacinta's bag, and a lovely bright red fat quarter for the lining of Isaac's bag. The car print is one I picked up on sale at Patchwork apple for $2 ages ago.

I made these tote bags for the kids. Lots of their imaginative play lately has including carrying around dolls/teddies/puppies even wombats. After watching Isaac trying to get the two handles of a library bag over his head (and of course he protege was attempting to find a bag to do the same) I decided it might be safer to whip up a quick easy bag for them to sling over their shoulder.

It really was so easy to make. I know as a beginner sewer even some of these simple projects can seem quite daunting, so I thought I would share how I made mine. If you are a stickler for beautifully finished seams and precise measurements then you might want to stop reading now!!! When I say quick and easy, that's exactly what it is.

2 fat quarters - see I told you it was simple!

1. press your fat quarters and fold in half from the selvage to the centre. As you can see I didn't even bother removing the selvage.

2. From each folded fat quarter cut 2 x 3" strips from the fold to the opposite edge. These will be the handles. You will have 4 pieces when you open them up.

3. Stitch together the short end of each of the handle strips so you have one long strip of each fabric. With right sides of the strips you just made facing each other, stitch along both the long sides using about a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn this tube through and press. Top stitch along both sides of the handle. That's the handle completed.

4. Turn & press a 1/2" fold along both the sides that lay opposite the fold on your fat quarters.

5. Take one of the fat quarters. With right sides together and the pressed edges lined up, sew a seam down both sides. Repeat with the second fat quarter.

6. Turn the fabric that you want to be the outside of your bag in the right way and press. Slide the lining piece inside, match up the tops and pin. Centre the handle on the side seams, slipping it between the two layers. Pin. You can adjust the length at this point by having more of it tucked down inside the bag.

7. Top stitch all the way around the bag. Make sure to back stitch a few times over the handles to secure them.

I added very simple little bow detail to the strap of Jacinta's bag as it was still a bit too long. I also left a lot of the handle down inside the bag, if it survives long enough, it will be relatively easy to unpick and lengthen the strap as she grows.
They have already carried babies, balls, toys, dummies and even some mail for the cubby house letterbox!!!
I think they would make great little gifts, especially with a book or some pencils tucked inside.


Nell said...

You have been busy!!! They look beautiful (and you are right - they would be awesome gifts ...hmm...note to self...good to "wrap" the nieces Christmas presents!) See you soon,

Car said...

Great idea Nic - thanks for sharing, I am definitely adding this to my 24weeks to christmas gift idea list ;)

Dawn said...

HI Nic, I have blog hopped all the way from who knows where now ( USA)... Love the blog, had a nice read with my cup of tea then looked at your profile and realised you live in my neighbourhood... ha ha.... Journals look fabulous...

varenia said...

The apple bag is sooooo cute!