Friday, 10 December 2010


A couple of weeks ago I took part in the craft fair at Melbourne, which was a fun day and a great success as far as sales went as I sold lots of bags and A QUILT!!

I only put the quilt in my case at the last minute as an afterthought, as I had made it for myself and then didn't like the colours in the room I made it for - so had put it away in the top of the wardrobe.  A fellow stallholder kept coming over to take a look and eventually decided to buy it - which was amazing as I never expect to sell something so big and expensive at craft fairs.  It just goes to show that you never can tell - that's my Christmas money sorted!

Here's my table, looking a bit Christmassy.  After trying all sorts of table covers, including quilts, I have decided that a plain white cloth is best to show off the colourful bags I make.  I'd love to be able to show you the quilt I sold but can't seem to get the Flickr link to work - another time perhaps.

Saturday, 13 November 2010


Hi there, sorry I've not been around for a while!  It's a long story but if you're curious to know why then go over to my other blog for more of an explanation :-).  Anyway, thanks for hanging in there and not deleting me from your bloggers list!!

In a couple of weeks' time I have a table at the Melbourne (Derbyshire) Artists and Makers Craft Fair.  This group has really only just started in the past year but has already become successful and they are planning to have a monthly craft fair next year.  Consequently, I've been madly making bags ready for the onslaught of eager shoppers looking for Christmas presents :-)

Here are a couple of my latest which I'm hoping will go to a good home.

I used this leaves and berries fabric on a previous bag and it was the first to sell at Tissington.  This is another pattern from the Bag Makers' Bible and I really love how the bag turned out.  I really like the messenger bag design.

This fabric really makes me smile!  The bag is very simple to make and very effective with the bamboo handles. The inside even has sunflowers too!  Very cheerful in this gloomy autumn weather don't you think?

This music print was also popular at Tissington.  As I only buy a metre of every fabric this was the last few bits used up on a boxy zipped pouch and a fold over top bag.

I've made a few of these folded stars for Christmas.

So in a couple of weeks I'll be at the Melbourne Leisure Centre with my little stash of goodies so, if you're anywhere near, do pop in and say 'hello'.

Monday, 20 September 2010


When I took a stall at Tissington Craft Fair earlier in the year, sales were really disappointing; I didn’t even make enough to cover the cost of my table.  I decided to give it another go though, and booked two days last weekend.  What a difference!  I sold loads!  I had people come back for more! I’ve had people phoning for items they didn’t buy on the day!  It helped that John told people from his art class to visit and they bought stuff too, but generally it had a good feel about it and I’ll definitely be booking a few dates there for next year.

Em came to visit for a few hours and we had a nice mother and daughter natter while we sat at the stall.  I also managed to do a bit of hand sewing in the quiet periods and completed quite a few hexagons for my quilt.

I sold seven cushions which I made about a year ago and, up to now, hadn’t sold even one.  I sold eight of my bags, twelve flower brooches and a few small purses.  Strangely (I thought) I didn’t sell any of my denim and floral purses, which were the ones I was sure would be most popular.  It just goes to show that you can never really predict what people are going to like!  I’m now going to concentrate on building up my stock again for the next fair in November at Melbourne Leisure Centre. 

These were two of my most popular style of bag.  I sold both of these to the same lady, who wanted them for presents.  I took an order for another, similar bag the next day but I do try to make my bags one of a kind so need to vary the design slightly.

The first bag I sold was the one with bamboo handles I made from a pattern by Lisa Lam on U-Handblog.  It's the first time I've used bought handles on a bag but I'll definitely be doing it again.  I used a pretty autumn berries and navy print which went really well with the handles.

I do really need to find a new supplier of good quality cotton, linen and canvas fabric for bags.  I only like to use natural, good quality fabrics and don’t always like to use quilting cottons as I find they need a lot of extra interfacing to make a good, sturdy bag.  My regular supplier of furnishing fabric remnants appears to have gone out of business L.  Ikea is good, as is The Fabric Guild, and there are a couple of shops in Derby I use, but I’m always on the lookout for good furnishing fabric shops!  If anyone out there has information to share I'll be very very grateful!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Musically Inspired Bags

I find I am mostly inspired by different fabrics when it comes to putting a bag together.  These two 'music bags' were a perfect shape for the stripey design of the cotton fabric and the black and white theme.  I might just have enough fabric left for a couple of zipped pouches too...

I used piping around the outside and a pocket or two inside, zipped and plain

and finished them off with a nice black button


The perfect bag for a music lover!

I wanted a soft but sturdy bag, so I interfaced the outer fabric and used a soft but heavy interlining.  Both bags have a reinforced bottom so they will stand up on their own.  They measure approximately 13" wide by 11" tall with a 4" gusseted bottom so they are big enough for a lot of 'stuff' whilst still being a nice sized handbag.  These will be going on my stall at Tissington Craft Fair over the weekend.

The Bag Making Bible - Review

When I received this book I sat down and read it from cover to cover. It is a fantastic resource, full of inspiration not only for absolute beginner bag makers, but also those who want to try new techniques to customise their own designs.  It is packed full of instructions on everything you need to know in order to make a bag, e.g. magnetic snaps, zippers, handles, piping, linings, interfacing… the list goes on.  Rather than fill a book with her own bag designs, Lisa encourages her readers to have a go at designing and making bags for themselves using her foolproof techniques.  It is by far the best bag book I have read, and I have read plenty! 

I have already put several of Lisa’s techniques into practice and they have made a real difference to the quality of the bags I make.  Having a one-stop resource on how to insert a zip, attach a magnetic fastener or deciding which interfacing to use would have saved me so much time when I first began making bags, rather than surfing the internet to find tutorials!

There are also 8 full sized patterns in the book together with instructions on how to put them together.  As a bonus, if, like me, you have trouble sourcing things like fusible fleece and bag handles, Lisa runs her own online shop for bag making supplies – so you only need to look in one place for those too!

My advice to anyone who makes, or wants to make bags – BUY IT! 

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Bag Making Bible

I mentioned a couple of posts back that I met Lisa Lam at the NEC Festival of Quilts and was very impressed with her book, having been a follower of her great blog for a long time.  I was lucky enough to be chosen to review the book, The Bag Making Bible and I just received my copy!  Needless to say I will be eagerly delving into it as soon as I possibly can.  Just a glance has revealed so much information and I can't wait to take a closer look!

Watch this space for further information!

Monday, 30 August 2010


I've had this 'cheater' fabric in my stash for some time, waiting for the right project.  I think I found it at last!

The pink goes nicely as a lining and I've used both on the pockets.

I used some cotton wadding and calico backing, quilting with variegated thread for interest.

This bag is a little more subdued but I think it's very pretty

I used a new technique for attaching the magnetic snaps, it works great

the pockets are nice and roomy, as is the bag.  I've almost come to the end of my marathon of bag making.  I go back to work tomorrow and won't have much time then.  I'll miss my little sewing room!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Hearts and Flowers Zipped Purses

Summer in England has been decidedly disappointing.  Since I came back from holiday it has done nothing but rain and I could have taken my hot water bottle to bed last night it was so chilly!  So I've spent oodles of time in my workroom, sorting scraps, oiling my old Bernina, cutting up pieces ready to make into scrappy quilts and, best of all, making more bags! 

I love making zipped purses and pouches and these denim ones are all ready for the next craft fair in September at Tissington.  I hope they'll sell!

I used some pretty prints and buttons to add embellishments and did a bit of machine embroidery as well as quilting, to add interest - and because I like doing it!

I also made a few cute snap wallets.  Think I might keep one of these!


I've signed up for a couple of other craft fairs leading up to Christmas so I'll be sewing prolifically over the next couple of months.  John says he hopes I sell some of it as the cupboards are bursting at the seams already :-)

Friday, 20 August 2010

Festival of Quilts 2010 and The Bag Making Bible

I had a lovely day at the Festival of Quilts yesterday and of course took a look at the bag section for some inspiration.  I don't think I'll be making any of these in the near future though...

Impressive aren't they?  There were also some lovely clothes; I particularly liked these colourful jackets:

I stopped by the Coats stand where Lisa Lam was signing copies of her new book, "The Bag Making Bible" I didn't buy, but it's definitely going to be on my Christmas list this year!  Lisa also has a great blog and an online shop which sells everything you could ever need to make a bag - a fantastic resource. 

I've posted pictures of some of my favourite quilts from the show on my other blog if you want to take a look.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Bright and Sunny!

This sunshine yellow fabric went so well with the Ikea cotton print that I couldn't resist making this bright and sunny bag.  It has large pockets on the outside made with the cotton print and a good sized pocket on the inside.  Having been tipped off by Jane that people like to buy bags with fasteners rather than without, I now make sure every bag has a fastener - this one has a big red button which was just crying out to be used!

Then I had some of the aqua and brown fabrics left over so just had to make a couple more bags out of it.  These are also big and roomy with pockets inside, padded and quilted.

I enjoyed sewing the design on this one - it's a pleated bag with a very bright and colourful lining and a magnetic snap fastener.

I'm off to the Festival of Quilts on Thursday so who knows what lovely delights I might come back with!  I'll be taking lots of photos to share too.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


OK I know the 'mountain' is a bit flat but that is what I had in mind when I designed this bag, having watched the full moon come up over the mountains on a couple of evenings while I was away.  It's just the kind of bag I like, being lovely and 'squashy' but very sturdy.  I bought this fabric a few weeks ago with just this type of appliqued bag in mind,  I think it's worked really well with the brown and duck egg blue.  The lining is some cotton I've had for a while, waiting for just the right project and I made sure I put plenty of pockets in it.

It took ages and several tries before I got the magnetic closure just right.  I realise now that I need to plan these details before starting on a bag and not halfway through!  Turned out OK in the end though.

I love how the lining has lots of  'movement' in it.  Just like the sea...  (Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about?) 

John's been busy too while I've been away on holiday, he's started attending a watercolour painting class to try and concentrate on something other than work.  This is his first project - you may disagree but I think it's pretty good!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


I really love denim but have never yet made anything with it, so, when my daughter was throwing away some perfectly good jeans, I decided to cut them up and have a go at 'upcycling'.  Together with some 100% cotton print and some nice soft cotton wadding, they made this...

Plain on the back

Nice little zippy pocket for hiding things in

some nice big pockets for mobile, wallet etc

cute toggle closure

stiffened bottom to prevent sagging (we all need one of those!)

Trying to show the size - I used the bathroom mirror so ignore the splash marks!

I love this bag so much I'd like to keep it but I'm going to be completely unselfish and list it on both Etsy and Folksy.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Now that Jane's gift has arrived safely in Singapore, I am able to reveal what I sent to her.  I think she liked it and I'm SO glad it made it all the way there without getting squashed!

Jane makes fab bags which she sells on ETSY and at craft events in Singapore; her blog also has loads of really good tutorials, which I've used on many an occasion when making a bag myself.  I thought she deserved the little flower for all her hard work which I've made full use of!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Giveaway Revealed and Scrappy Summer Challenge

Lois has received her flower so I can now reveal it to everyone!

Flower making is on hold for a while as I'm getting things ready to go on holiday.  My case is packed full of scrap fabric and paper hexagons as I'm taking part in a summer scrap challenge over on Em's blog.  Of course I'm also taking my notebook to jot down ideas for new designs, all ready to begin when I return to reality in August.  If I can incorporate scraps into new designs, even better!

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