Wednesday 7 October 2009

Sewing Week

Things have been a little quiet on the knitting front this week, which is mainly because I have been busy sewing. I know you are shocked, normally I don't spend a lot of time with a needle in my hand, but I seem to have caught the stitching bug. I think it started with the Wedding Urn I made for my brother's wedding. I also think that TinTockTap and the Hand Embroidery Network have to take responsibility for inspiring me too.

I decided after finishing my most recent bag that it needed just a little bit extra "something". All the colours and the fluted top made me think of a garden of flowering tulips. TinTockTap had been creating lots of lovely felted things and shared them on her blog. She kindly told me about her usual supplier for felt, Pixie Rose, who have really lovely colours of felt to choose from. I bought a stack of 30 different colours and waited with baited breath. When they came I was easily able to match up the colours from the stack with the colours in my bag. I made a template and then cut out the tulips and sewed them on with backstitch, using my DMC threads in contrasting colours. I added stems by sketching out the lines with long back stitch and then doing a very dense couching stitch with three strands. I'm sure that there is a formal name for this stitch but I don't know what it is, I just like the effect (name suggestions welcome). I then added leaves to the stems with the same technique as I used for the tulip heads.

I am really pleased with the finished design on the bag, I think it just rounds the whole project off. I have rechristened this project my "Tulip Top Bag".

As well as embellishing the outside of the bag I have lined it with a lovely fabric from Mary Clare's.

It has tiny little purple flowers on it, to continue the floral theme! I used the fabric to attach the handles, which I bought from John Lewis. I have loved these handles since I first laid eyes on them. They are made of cotton, but look like plaited leather, with wooden hoops at the base. I made loops out of the fabric and then attached the handles.

I also made a pocket for my mobile phone. My first attempt at making a pocket for a phone in a bag didn't really work very well. It was in my Fair Isle Messenger Bag and at the time I was really pleased, however time showed the design had flaws. With an open top the phone would often slide out and then I couldn't find it again. This time I decided to make a pocket with a press stud closure to prevent similar phone evasion!

So far, this design has worked well, and I haven't lost track of my phone once! One of my other problems with bags, is losing my keys at the bottom of the bag, and the constant clanking. I have quite a lot of keys and a couple are quite large (have you ever seen a RADAR key?) I decided that I would use the last piece of my yarn to make a little pocket for my keys. I also decided to attach the pocket with a clip, bought from U-Handbag to enable ease of access! I thought that if I wanted to put something else in the pocket, instead of the keys, I could use the clip for the keyring instead. I am quite proud of this little addition to my bag, especially my thrift in using ALL the yarn I bought.

I even lined the little pocket, how keen was I with my sewing this week? Speaking of keen, I also bought some lovely fabric this week, as I am fully intending to get even more use out of my sewing machine in the weeks to come.

This is PVC coated cotton, which I have cooed over for ages. I bought it from ebay and intend to use it for project bags (well it is only appropriate don't you think?). The PVC bag I bought from Paperchase, may serve as a model, as it is a very useful size and keeps my projects clean, dry and together.

I also went to Leicester Market and got a bargain on several metres of aubergine jersey. I want to make a skirt and a dress in this fabric. During Autumn and Winter I live in jersey because it is warm and comfortable, which is essential when I'm feeling a bit rubbish and sore. By the way the colour is deeper in real life.

I also splashed out on some pure wool houndstooth fabric. It is gorgeous and I haven't quite decided what I want to make with this fabulous fabric, as I don't want to spoil or waste it. I have some linen trousers that fit me perfectly that I am tempted to copy in this material as I think the cut would really suit the fabric.

If that is too complex for me, I will make a pencil skirt and matching waistcoat.

All three of these fabrics along with the coloured felt have really excited me. I think being without my sewing machine for a month, while the house has been in chaos, has shown me how much I have enjoyed using it and learning with each project I make. I just wish my sewing mentor Linda wasn't in Australia for another 3 months. Ah well, I shall just have to IM her when I get stuck! Isn't the internet great!

By the way I can't decide whether to write up the pattern for the Tulip Top Bag or not. I am not sure if the knitters will be put off by all the sewing and the sewers by all the knitting. Do you think people would be interested in it or is it too specialised a niche? Comments would be greatly appreciated on this one. Speaking of comments, Carmen who won the contest I ran a while ago still hasn't got in touch. If I don't have a reply to, in the next week I will do another random draw and pass on the prize to someone else, from the entries.

I suppose I better get back to my knitting, before I forget how to purl!


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