Before I started making clothes, I used to make tote bags. They were a simple design that was easy to repeat and to customise with all kinds of applique, some simpler than others – like my current music book bag, which is a design cut from a favorite worn out t-shirt. I use this bag to carry around all my ukulele music books, many of them created by my boyfriend (such as ‘Ukulele! – The Strummers Guide‘ available on Lulu and Amazon. All profits go to Save the Children). My boyfriend asked if I could make him a manly version of this bag, so he can carry around his books too.
I started with the red twill that was left over from his Monkee’s shirt and added a black and white musical note lining. I hadn’t mad one of these bags for a while so it took a little longer than it used to, but it was soon complete …then I noticed that the straps were sewn in the wrong way round! I really do need to take a little more care.
Quite understandably, my boyfriend asked if I could turn them around, and while I had the lining detached I was able to add an applique design. Jez drew a skull and cross bones pattern, which I cut it out of the red twill and sewed onto a square of the musical fabric ready to attach to the bag.
It worked out really well in the end and I have plans to make another bag with a ukulele design on, to hold the books we have for sale.
Since December I’ve been working in Manchester and catching the train from my local station just outside Leeds four days a week. It’s been a great way to get some more reading into my day and I’ve been making very good use of my kindle. I do find that my kindle cover (which includes a pull-out light) is a bit bulky and its sturdiness is not really necessary in my work bag. I thought I’d have a go at making a lighter drawstring cover to simply protect the screen when it’s in my handbag.
Using some of the fabric left over from my red and white spot blouse, and some interfacing to make it a little thicker, I created a flat, lined pouch. I’d made some draw string bags in the past but never quite figured out how to make a tidy opening for the draw-string. I’d recently been reading ‘Love at First Stitch’ by Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons and one of the patterns I was planning on working with next was the Pyjama bottoms. This had a great method for creating a draw-string channel with a very neat opening, so I used this and I was really pleased with the result. It has definitely lightened my daily load.
Since returning to sewing I have also been discovering the great variety of sewing blogs that are online. Previously, I wrote about sewing (and other things), but didn’t read many other blogs. It seems a little self-absorbed now that I think about it, and I was really missing out. I’m really glad that I’ve started looking outside of my own world of sewing. There are some fabulous blogs out there – entertaining, inspiring and great fashion voyeurism. And then there are all the great patterns and sewing books that have been brought to my notice through these blogs. The first sewing book I heard of which was written by a blogger is ‘Love at First Stitch’ by Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons.
It is a beautiful book, with lovely crisp photos of clothes that
look very well made. I have seen books which have photos of clothes that look like they have been quickly knocked together and don’t leave me feeling inspired, but this book had inspiration oozing from every page. There are even some style ideas after each of the patterns, showing how you could adapt the clothes to make them your own.
I decided to start at the beginning with the scarf pattern, which I wanted to make to match my red and white spot blouse. The instructions were simple and clear. Including the time I spent just ogling the book, I had a scarf ready to tie in my hair just two hours after I opened the book.
I’m now looking forward to progressing through the other patterns in the book. I’m a little concerned that I’m right at the top of the size range, but until I get sewing I won’t know whether I’ll be able to make them work. Fingers crossed on that one.
Do you have a favourite sewing book?