Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A Lighthouse Backpack

I had a discount code for Abakhan Fabrics and chose a random bundle of decor fabrics as I am keen to increase my bag sewing skills.

Among the fabrics that arrived was a heavy canvas printed with huge Lighthouses. I thought this would make a great weekend bag for my husband to take down to the boat when he goes sailing but he told me it wouldn't do because his boat is currently on a swinging mooring which means he has to row out to it using the dinghy and anything he takes this way MUST be waterproof. What a shame!!! It meant I would have to use it to make myself a new bag....

I found a great pattern and video class by Betz White at a new site for me, creativebug.com. The bag Betz made together with her excellent instructions gave me confidence to try it out. It's called a flight bag and would make a great travelling holdall but I made a few changes to suit my personal requirements which I'll share with you below.

This is my version.
I am so pleased with the results especially as it is roomy enough to use when I next go fabric shopping. Unfortunately my fabric shopping buddy has just taken off for a two month holiday throughout Indonesia so I may have to go alone and that means there will be no one to stop me buying too much.. Oh dear!!!

I needed a bag large enough to take my 12 inch tablet as well as my kindle and other large items I occasionally need to take with me. [Kindle is always useful in the dentist's waiting room etc] The size of this bag was perfect but as I wanted to have the option of using it as a backpack I made some modifications.

I added two extra rings on tabs to the bottom of the bag at the back and two large rings at the base of the grab handle straps. By changing the length of the long strap and threading from the bottom rings through the large rings at the top and back down to the bottom again, I can use the bag as a backpack.

Just using the strap from one top ring to the other, I have a cross body bag.


I also changed the back slip pocket into a zippered pocket and customised the interior pockets too.

I added a small pocket specifically for the battery packs for my hearing aids. These normally last about 10 days and they always run out when I'm not at home so I need to carry a supply with me. They would get lost in this big bag so the battery pack pocket is going to keep them where I can find them easily.

I also added another small zip pocket in the lining in the other side for glasses and other things that I need frequently but that would get lost at the bottom.

The bag took me a day and a half to complete and the most amount of time seemed to be cutting out the various pieces of pattern in lining, contrast, interfacing and the main fabric, then fusing the pieces which took forever. I used a heavy fusible interfacing where Betz recommended Fusible Fleece because (a) I didn't have any and (b) the fabric was already very firm and didn't need a lot of support.

Nearly all the hardware for this bag was plundered from a really horrible bag I bought from a charity shop for just £3.00. This included the large rings, the twist lock clasp for the front pocket and four gold coloured feet for the bottom but I forgot to take a photo of them, sorry.

There is a slight drawback to this bag though, it's large enough to put lots into it which means I probably will and I just hope I've made the handles strong enough to take the load.

I would definitely make this bag again despite the pain of fusing so many bits.

Friday, 4 December 2015

White silky shirt with a sleeve surprise

I wanted a white shirt, an item missing from my wardrobe and a basic staple to wear with almost anything. I searched my stash and found a beautiful silky satin-like fabric but would it look too much like wedding dress material? I needed to embellish it a little to take away the look of a bride. I also had a sleeve detail idea in my head and maybe this was the time to employ it.

First I used my Sure-Fit Designs body blueprint from the shirt kit and created the shoulder pleats and hidden button placket that Glenda has in her design options. For my sleeve design idea I added a strip of fabric that I cut 9 cms wide and joined with a 0.5 cm seam allowance. I turned it to the right side and pressed it with the seam at the centre. Having chosen a simple embroidery stitch I then sewed this down both sides. Before assembling the sleeve further I attached this strip down the centre of the sleeve using another embroidery stitch at 10 cm intervals through the strip and sleeve together.

I also sewed the fancy stitch down both edges of the shoulder pleats and around the cuffs. I toyed with the idea of doing this around the collar and centre front as well but I think less was more in this case and I'm pleased with the end result.

Don't ask about the jacket? It's still not finished and I'm putting it to one side at the moment until I am more in the mood to tackle the cuffs. I found this shirt was what I needed to get back to sewing some meaningful items but the lined jacket is still not there...