Bags, bags, bags…

I’m writing this post knowing that I can’t publish it until after Christmas as the intended recipients might well be reading, but I am really pleased with myself finishing up a few of my present sewing list today so I’m writing whilst I’m all enthusiastic.

It seems the thing for me this year is bags, I can’t get enough of them.

I knew I wanted to make a simple tweed bag that I could decorate with some of my flower brooches for my sister-in-law, it’s basically a larger version of a project I was working on back in late summer and that should have been completed for the shop for listing before Christmas, but due to illness, never was (more on that in another post).  In the end, I remembered there were some bag patterns in Ellen Luckett Baker’s book 1-2-3 Sew and I settled on the Tiered Bag pattern.  I think I’ve said before that I’m not very good at using patterns, I have a tendancey to mess with them and certainly with the making instructions (which I often don’t read, silly really as the writers I’m sure have spent many hours testing them), but this was super easy to make and I whipped it up in no time and I’m so glad I just went with Ellen’s pattern and didn’t spend hours working one out myself.  I did use different linings and interfacing, but that’s simply my personal preference and experience of using the weight of the fabrics I chose.

Because the bag was so quick and easy (this is such a great book, I really do recommend it) it left me plenty of time to play with the decoration, which was really the point.  I stitched up a couple of removable flower brooches in matching golds and creams, in real life the colours are a little more subtle and the tweed is plain-ish herringbone in pale gold so it sits nicely as a backdrop for the flowers.  I’m really pleased with the finished bag, so much so I fancy one for myself!

It has a nice matching lining with a pocket, in Acorn Chain by Joel Dewberry and I figured that one or both of the brooches can be removed and maybe worn on a coat collar etc making this quite versatile and great for a special occasions.

So, as I was on a roll I also made a couple more of the Market Totes that led me to Ellen’s book in the first place.  Those that have been reading may remember that I made some as teachers gifts at the end of last year, the pattern at the time was released as promotion for the book on the blog Chronicle Books and it’s what made me go buy the book.  These are one of my favourite gifts to give and are so quick and easy to make.

Oddly, I used my original pattern which I cut from intuition and some measurements given in the post (my printer doesn’t do enlarging….it probably does but I haven’t the faintest idea how to work it), even though I could have traced the pattern from the book, gosh I’m lazy.  I meant to compare my version to the actual so see how far out I am.

Inside is a little message for Gran and Auntie T 🙂

Hope you had a lovely Christmas, we will no doubt as usual do nothing what so ever for New Year’s Eve, I’m normally in bed quite early to be honest as the kids don’t allow for a lie-in but whatever your plans I hope it’s a good one 🙂

32 thoughts on “Bags, bags, bags…

    • I find it’s like all sewing books I buy, I am only interested in a small handfull of things in it but for those alone it’s worth buying. It’s well written and easy to follow so I would recommend it. Bx

    • Glad you like them 🙂 The fabric is from Hus and Hem, you can follow the link on the side or if you click on the link back to ‘teachers gifts’ all the info is there. In all honesty it’s quite expensive but is great quality and in my mind well worth the money. Bx

  1. Your bags are gorgeous and I love the little photo inside. We don’t do New Years Eve either and I’m normally tucked up in bed early too …. hope you have a good one whatever you do x

    • Sine having kids the fun kind of goes out of staying up late, ours will be up by 6, maybe half past of we’re lucky. I’m thinking I’ll get a second wind once they are teenagers and my mornings are my own again 😉 Bethx

  2. your bags do look charming, i love the idea of how you pinned brooches onto the bag so you could wear them on your coat, great idea. i love the fabric you used too, where did you get it from?
    Anyway Happy New Year, i dont know how far i will get to 12am as i have to be up and out the door for work for 7.45am, but hey thats what happens when you work in retail… x

    • Oh poor you, I did many years in retail so I feel your pain. The tweed fabric is from ebay, I use various sellers to be honest and it mostly comes from mills in yorkshire. The bright tree linen is from Hus & Hem and if you follow the link to past teachers gifts there is more info. Hope you have a great new year, even of you don’t make it to 12! Bx

  3. Beautiful bags Beth, I’m quite sure they were well received!
    I love the little photo inside, it makes the bag all the more special. 🙂
    Wishing you a very happy, healthy and peaceful new year!

    V x

    • Thanks Vivienne, I hope you had a lovely NYE and here’s to a great 2012. As you wrote, happy, healthy and peaceful is all I wish for, for myself and everyone else! Bx

  4. Wow Beth that is a stunning bag your made for your SIL, what a lucky lady. They would sell really well on your web site….a new line I can see working brilliantly. Wishing you and your family every happiness in the New Year.
    Jane x

    • I started a similar (ie tweed and flower but my own design pattern), smaller version last summer for winter 2011 listing but never finished them with all the illness. Maybe next year now or earlier if I can get my act together. They feel like a winter thing though with all the tweed. Glad you liked the big bag 🙂 Bethx

  5. Beautiful bags, Beth, simply wonderful! And I love the boys-tag inside there too, that will make the users smile every time they reach for their keys and wallet 🙂

    Wishing you the happiest New Year!


    • I enjoyed giving them, they make nice presents and are so easy to make. I need to stop for a while now as I’ve given them to everyone possible – LOL! Bx

  6. Hi Beth- what beautiful bags! Funnily I have been thinking about making bags myself and started looking yesterday at some books . I don’t think I looked at that one! So will have to take a peek! Have a good New years eve, even if it is quiet,

  7. Hi me again. I noticed you put photographs inside the bags. Did you use image transfer sheets as before? I made some cushions for presses this year and I use dylon image maker to transfer the photo onto the fabric . It worked reasonably well but was a little messy and rather labour intensive – the finished product was also a little stiff and slightly rubbery. Was this the case with your method?

    • Hi Nikki, glad you like the bags 🙂 Yes I used transfer paper and it does leave the image area a little bit stiff, I’m afraid it’s the only method I’ve used for this kind of thing so I can’t recommend anything better. You also have to be careful when ironing the image onto the material as if you over iron it it goes very dark and if under it doesn’t fix properly. Sorry I can’t be of more help. Bx

  8. Oh, such lovely bags! I especially like the tiered tweed bag. It might just inspire me to do something with the stacks of tweed I bought last year…and which have been sitting patiently waiting for me. I must go and investigate the book you mentioned (lots of amazon vouchers to use). We also don’t really do anything for New Year’s. A few years ago, I watched The Last King of Scotland with James and his parents (on New Year’s Eve), and have been traumatized ever since. The film is nothing to do with NYE, but there you go. The night is always such a non-event. I would much rather be tucked up in bed!

    Beth, do you wash tweed before sewing with it? some of the pieces I have seem to be quite a loose weave, and I’ve been wondering if I should wash them to tighten them up. Or have I just got duds? I don’t have anyone to ask!

    • I have so many piles of tweed it’s quite ridiculous, I love the stuff. Your NYE story made me laugh, not really a happy celebration movie is it!

      I generally don’t wash my tweed as it can completely ruin it but if it’s musty or I plan to use it for things that might need future washing (such as softies) I do, on a cool wool cycle in the machine, then line dry. I’d do a test square next time you wool wash, see what happens, if you specifically want it to felt/tighten you will need a higher temp wash. It’s worth cutting a few small squares off and having a play to see exactly how the fabric reacts. Bethx

      • I know! I can’t remember what the other film choice was, but am sure it would have been better. I was in my *must impress parents* mindset though, and couldn’t run screaming from the room like I wanted too! Ha. It does make an amusing story though.

        Thank you so much for your reply, Beth! Most of the tweed I have seems to be a very loose weave, and/or rather thin…or maybe it just looks different in other people’s photos, and I’m just being picky. I am beginning to think that I didn’t buy very good stuff. Woe. I shall have to be brave with my washing machine, and try a few things. I am also a bit worried about loads of fluff in my washing machine, but that probably doesn’t matter.

        Thanks again!

      • Tweed varies loads, I use so much I tend to just buy mine (with a project in mind) and simply re-imagine it’s use if it’s not the right texture/weight. If you have a good look on ebay most of the larger sellers will send you samples and also they talk about the weight and texture in the listing description. I’d stick with these sellers, it should cost you about £14-£20 with P&P (less if you buy larger quantities).

        Also, it’s worth backing it with Vilene iron-on interfacing for bag making, I do this for all my bags and purses (I mostly use the thickest – H250 which does make the finished fabric quite stiff) and I also often use a more squishy non-iron sewn in interfacing between the tweed and the lining fabric to give the bag some softened structure.

        Hope that all helps, this is just how I do it from playing around.


      • Thank you for all of your advice and help, Beth! I really appreciate it, so much. Perhaps I’ll make myself a tiered bag (from my tweed stash) by the end of the year!
        (Also, sorry I couldn’t reply directly to your last comment…the reply button has gone walkabout!)

  9. Those are gorgeous Beth, really lovely! Love the flowers and the image inside, I bet that bought a tear to their eyes 🙂

    Blimey, now I have another book I NEED 😉 Off to nose at that now.

    I will be in bed early on NYE too, will try and stay up but have to be up to work in a hospital for 8am so no lie in for me (mind you the kiddies wouldn’t allow that anyway :-)) xxx

    • It’s a great book, worth the pennies in my opinion. Hope you did have a lovely NYE and working the next day was OK, poor you. Bx

  10. GORGEOUS bags, I especially like the tweed one with the brooches – your sister-in-law is a lucky woman.
    Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration from your blog this year Beth. Have a relaxing New Year’s Eve and hope they don’t get you up too early on New year’s Day! x
    PS. My bird decorations made their 2nd appearance on the tree this year and looked just fab – thank you! x

    • Thanks Jane and for the lovely comment on my blog. We did not a lot on NYE, I had a bottle of champers to myself (as M doesn’t drink) and went to bed at 11, so later than normal (which I blame the champers for 😉 ). Here’s to a fabulous 2012!! Bx

      • I am extremely lucky and I love my bag and also one of the bests bits is I get two beautiful brooches as well.
        Thank you Beth
        Adele xxx

  11. Brilliant bags. I’m sure they will be much loved. The Hus and Hem fabric is just gorgeous. A mummy friend appeared at the school gates recently with Hus and Hem fabric samples for curtains for her newly revamped house (another friend is setting up as an interior designer, she has wonderful taste, and Lottie wanted her advice). I was VERY envious at the thought of her new curtains (not to mention a revamped house).
    Wishing you all the best for a wonderful 2012. Juliex
    PS Just realised that it sounds as if our school gates are a lot more glamorous than they really are……….just Lottie and Pauline not the rest of us rather more mundane mummies!

    • I always have blind fabric envy when I find new fabric sites, most of ours are made from Marimekko and a few from St Judes fabric (bought from Tinsmith) but I must admit when I discovered H&H I could imagine pretty much all of their lovely stock on my windows! Maybe we need to move house again (joking, after the 5 years of building we’re still not finished, I need to live in a complete house first). Bx

  12. Lovely bags! Bags are my infatuation too, though I still haven’t had the time or courage to embark on a weekend bag yet. I do envy you the lovely tweeds you find though, so smart.
    Hope the new year has started well for you.
    S x

    • You should go for it with the weekender bag, it’s one of the most useful bags I own as well as looking good (and my sister, mum and SIL who I also made them for say the same). My top tip would be to tack a lot when you have multiple layers and use the correct needle (ie a heavy duty one). All my tweeds come from ebay, there are some great tweed sellers there. Bx

  13. Pingback: Green Tweed Messenger Bag… « The Linen Cat Blog

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