Thursday, 30 April 2015

A little bird told me...

Cheerful and fairly easy to applique - as these patterns go, anyway!
I love the spotty fabric used here, and have stocked up on a second pack of it.  It seems to work well with any design - hmm, I should try the pig applique in it, I think!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Hippo almost final version

I think this may actually be hippo version 4 or 5, but it is the one I am most satisfied with.

I have tried out numerous patterns.  This one was one of the first, but I have played around a lot with enlarging it.  The original was much too small to sew in denim, and I found the legs really fiddly and unsatisfying.  So I have amended the size (this one is still on the large size - 125% made it quite a hefty size, but very cuddly) adapted the legs to make them wider, and added the inner leg as part of the inside body section (all that for those of you who are interested).  I'm please with the final result, though I may still play around with the enlargement to see if I can come up with the ideal size.  I do have one lone hippo who is large enough to be a seat for a small child... that was the first one, enlarged to 200%.  I don't intend to make any more of that size!  See my "mega Hippo" post for the photos!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

April's animals

I still have to put some of these on this blog as posts, but here is a snap shot of (some of) the animals I have created this month.
Yes, only some of them.  There was another set about the same size, and I sold at least five animals before I could get photos of them!
Not a bad production line - it is clear that April included some holiday time and thus time to sew!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Gingham square in a square bag

This fabric pack, a gingham check in a variety of colour ways, worked well for this bag style.
Strangely, from the photo it is completely unclear that the contrast fabrics are gingham.  Interesting!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Meet Rebecca Rhino

Despite her aggressive stance and bright red ears, Rebecca is actually a sweetie.  Really!
Made from a Funky Friend Factory pattern: 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Masculine backpack?

Well, what do you think?

I suspect the style is too feminine for a man, or teenage boy, but maybe this version would please a tomboy?

Friday, 24 April 2015

More on the wine theme

Another wine themed embroidery pattern and bag.
"Wine flies when you're having fun."

Thursday, 23 April 2015

How do you eat an elephant?

...One bite at a time.
However, that is not how I am making the elephants - more like ten at a time!
Here is another example.
 Part of the fun of cutting these (which I do in front of the TV) is using the seams to add interest, and mixing colours of denim.  Very satisfying.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Cargo bag again.

This is another lighter weight bag.  I think it will work well for someone.  I am pleased to have figured out a way of using these trousers to make a satisfying bag.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Mega hippo!

I have been struggling a bit to get the dimensions right for my hippos.  The initial pattern I used was quite small, which made it time consuming and fiddly to sew.  So I doubled the size ... and ended up with a hippo large enough to be a footstool!
Hmmm.... I'm sure he will sell, but I don't fancy cutting, sewing and stuffing (or transporting) more than one of this size.  So I have gone for a 125% increase on the original pattern, which is looking much more sensible!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Big Green Day - MK Stadium

This was a well organised event in the preparation.  Unfortunately, at the last minute MK Stadium apparently decided that stalls could not be outside, so most of us were moved inside the arena.  Although this is a great space, it was probably too big for the event (particularly since many stallholders appeared to decide not to turn up) and the footfall was very low. Such a pity, for among those of us who did turn up were some brilliant experiences, many of them free. MK Brass played throughout the event - fabulous music - and there was a free (bicycle powered) smoothies stand, bouncy castles, an art area, football areas, sustainable energy, and many many more interesting activities.  Outside were animals and funfair rides.

I was pleased with my own stall set up, and was glad to be able to spread out my stands.

 (Spot the way I found of displaying some of the toys?)
The table looked good too, though really I could have done with more space.

I took less than £50 - OK for two hours, but in reality the event has taken up most of my day.  Wish we could have been outside!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Pastel flower bag

Another flower bag, this time using a variety of colours of denim.  I am often ask if I will take denim which is not blue - and the answer is always yes!  In fact, I am now branching out to other fabrics and have used some lovely blue cord in some of my recent creations.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Ronnie Rhino

I think I am going to have to find names for the rhinos.
This one can be Ronnie - for no better reason than it was the first R name I came up with - and is better than "Randy" which is the name given on the site selling the pattern!  (I'm sure Randy works well as a name in some cultures, but it definitely does not work in the UK!)

Like the elephants, the ears of these rhinos (and their tails) are made from African fabric.  Ronnie has a rather fearsome look, but he is actually very cuddly.  He is from a Funky Friends pattern - I thoroughly recommend these patterns; they are wonderful! 
Shared at Show off Saturday 

Friday, 17 April 2015

Pastel card trick bag

This third version of this lovely bag uses a more pastel colour scheme, with some pink denim included.  I have to say I am not as struck by it as I am the first two, but I am never very good at predicting what will and what will not sell!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

New slogan

I had a request at last year's Stony Stratford Folk on the Green for a bag with a saying about wine.  The request led to the purchase of three bags!  So I have hunted for a variety of embroidery patterns with wine slogans, with considerable success I might add!  Here is the first resulting bag:
"You're not really drinking alone if your kids are home."

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Square in a square

I have used this pattern for a quilt before, with one square inside another and another and so on.
I wanted to use the fabrics from the lovely fat quarters packs from HobbyCraft as a feature, and decided to experiment with this pattern.
This one is my favourite of the four resulting bags.  The turquoise prints work so well with the denim.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

An elephant in the room

Another of this lovely design.  The ears are lined with fabric from The Gambia, brought back by a dear friend.  These animals provide a great opportunity to use this lovely material as a feature.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Changing one feature

By changing one feature of a pattern, very different effects can be achieved.  For this version of the "little girl bag", I changed the length of the strap.  This instantly changed the bag to make it more suitable for an adult.  If I had added the zip, I think it would be even more so.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Another zippered bag

In case you haven't spotted it, this is a variation of my first personal design.  Yes, that's right, the original pocket bag!  A second amendment added 3" gussets to the size, making for a very roomy bag.  This one adds the zip as well.
No, I can't post the instructions.
Really, I can't.

As I have said, I don't do zips.

There are lots of good tutorials on the web for adding zips.  I'm sure all of them are better than my way of cobbling it all together!

At my last MK sale I had two of these bags for sale.  I sold them both to the same customer.

I guess that means I should really finish off some more of these!
Shared at Show off Saturday

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Long zipped cargo pants bag

Apologies for the crooked looking top to this - it really is straight!  These children's trousers made an interesting bag, and I think the pockets could really attract someone to buy it.  I hope so - the zip was a pain!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Rucksac three

This is another of the rucksacks from the Sewing World pattern.  This one uses another donated fabric, this time a vibrant red and white print. I think feature fabrics work well with this pattern.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Card trick bag version two

A second version of this bag.  The pattern came in a magazine, a bags special as I recall.
As with the first one, the black, white and blue denims contrast well.  I love the vibrant green print I chose for the contrast here.

Shared at Sew can She

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Floral patches

Again this fabric came from a curtain I was given.  I love reusing fabrics which would otherwise be thrown away.  These curtains were not suitable for use any more, but by cutting round the faded sections I have been able to reuse most of it in bags.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Enter the rhinos

Following on from my success with elephants, my next animal excursion has been rhinos.  These proved to be much more tricky than the elephants, and finding a pattern which (a) sewed up easily and (b) looked good proved to be something of a challenge.  However, the challenge was solved magnificently when I found the Funky Friends Factory site.
This is the first (of six made so far) and I love the pattern and the instructions as well as the finished product.  It is a detailed pattern, and the shape is fiddly to cut, but the result is excellent - it really does look like a rhino!  I am looking forward to seeing how well these sell.
Shared at

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Crazy cats

This is a lovely pack of applique designs, with cats in a variety of unlikely poses. I used a pack of brown print fabrics for this version.  I sold two of these last year and hope to do similarly in the coming season.
Shared at

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Green flowers

The vivid green of the flowers cried out to me to be used, and teams well with the green denim stripe in this bag.  Actually, there is a story attached to the green denim.  Some time ago I went to enlist the help of the young people at our church youth group in making some phone cases.  One of the young ladies there was wearing a pair of fabulous green jeans.  Half joking, I told her that when they were no longer wearable, I would love to have them to include in my creations.  Fast forward two years and the same young lady turned up to a cutting session at church with the jeans for me to use, as she was no longer wearing them!  I have used pieces in a number of projects as a feature point.  Wonderful!

Friday, 3 April 2015


So, I am entering a new phase here.  No longer just bags / cases etc.  Now I am venturing into soft toys.  I started with the patchwork teddies pictured a while ago.  The big seller, however, has turned out to be these:
After the teddies, a friend suggested that soft toys would be a great thing to teach the ladies in Utange to make, when I go out next year, and that African animals in particular might be popular with tourists.  So I searched around and found a great pattern for a patchwork elephant, and started making....
I mentioned this at Church, and sold one to a friend there.  John bought this for an anniversary present for his wife.
Her name is now Azizi!
Then friends at school saw Azizi's photo on Facebook and orders flooded in.  Lissy bought this one for a friend...
But then her daughter saw and claimed it, naming it Lola.
Nic bought this one and named it Enfys:
and Joella bought Nelly and then Elly!
(I don't seem to have a picture of Elly!)
Four more sold this week at Church, and I have orders from various people for another five.  I'm going to be busy for a while creating all these, I think!  Fortunately they are very satisfying to make, and the positive feedback is very encouraging.

Shared at

Thursday, 2 April 2015

New style pocket bag

I used up some of my large pockets to make this bag.  I like the asymetric look it gives.  I'm planning another, with a gusset and possibly stiffening.  I have seen one on Pinterest which appeals to me and am working up to it!
Meanwhile, this is still quite satisfying!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Zipped bag

This bag reminded me why I do not like making bags with zips.  It needed a border for the zip as the top of the jeans was too uneven in thickness to simply add the zip.  But then the added width caused problems with finishing, and I ended up having to hand sew / finish / repair!  On reflection it might have been better to use a gusset on the bag.