Saturday, 19 April 2008

Making and giving

I've been in a sewing mood lately, but I think it goes in fits and starts for me. I'll sew madly for a couple of months, and then put it down for a couple of months while I do other things with my free time.

Yesterday I finished a Pleated Beauty Bag from Amy Karol's Bend The Rules Sewing book. It is for my first ever swap. I will be sending this bag off to Missouri in the US and someone else, somewhere, is making a bag for me. This is the first swap I've joined in, as its taken a while to find a swap for something I was confident making in the time allowed. I've enjoyed this one so much, that I know I'll be joining in others the next time I am in a sewing mood!

I love the whole concept of swapping - such a nice idea. Its been great to make a bag, but now I've finished it I am more than happy to give it away and get something different through the post in return. I hope to goodness my swap partner likes it - that's the most nerve wracking part of doing the swap. I've tried not to think about her too much to be honest, otherwise I could easily have had a crisis of confidence half way through making it ... Arrgh - she's going to hate this linen...she's going to notice that part on the inside seam where I went slightly wonky... etc. etc.

I've made plenty of other things from the Bend The Rules Sewing Book, but this is the first time I have made this project. I made it over a couple of sessions, which is not my usual style of sewing, but I think it was a wise move. There are many steps to making this bag and I would have gone wrong if I'd not taken it so slowly.

Things I would do differently next time:
  • the interfacing I put in the base of the bag didn't end up being very stiff - next time I'd hunt out a MUCH stiffer interfacing
  • I would line the pocket

Things I would do the same next time:

  • I would make it in several steps again - this is a great way to approach sewing.
  • I would sew the strap linings right-side together and turn inside out. The instructions say to iron 1/4 inch seams and then topstitch, but I know I would have burnt myself trying to do this - the way I did it looks just fine.

I used a printed linen from Laura Ashley for the main outside fabric. The pleats and inside handle fabric is Kaffe Fassett's Paperweight in grey. The lining was a late night Etsy purchase and I think is a Robert Kauffman print called Carnaby Street.

Close up of the outside and the pleat:

Close up of the lining fabric:

Close up of the straps:

My other recently finished sewing project was a scalloped, quilted baby blanket - also from Bend The Rules Sewing. I was so keen to get it in the post to my friend that I forgot to photograph it. Durr. I will have to ask my friend nicely to take a photo and email it back to me so that I can put it up on flickr.

The baby blanket was a much quicker project than the bag, but no less satisfying. It was great to choose more childlike fabrics and imagine the baby-to-be lying on it or under it and maybe even trailing it around the house when older. Both my two had blankets knitted for them by my mother, that are still treasured and taken everywhere.

Here is O's today - watched over by Dave The Monkey - and C's - lovingly clutched in one sticky hand, when he was about 18 months old.


If the Pleated Beauty Bag and the Scalloped Baby Blanket are adored half as much as these two blankets have been, then I shall be very pleased indeed. Its a great feeling to make things that you know will be loved by someone else.


There were quite a few questions coming out of my geocaching post, so I thought I'd answer them here rather than replying in another comment, which might not get seen.

  • Yes - you are allowed to reveal your treasures. The treasure tends to be the sort of thing that small children relish rather than adults. Below is a picture of a cache we found this week. We tend to leave marbles or small plastic animals when we've visited a cache!
  • Yes - I do have to lurk in the street, trying not to look like a dodgy character, until there is no one close by and I can rummage around for the cache. When I am looking in the City I get paranoid that some security guard watching a CCTV camera is going to think I am up to no good and call the police!
  • If you want to use your car's sat nav as the GPS, then you'll have to take it out fo the car and hold it otherwise you're unlikely to be able to get close enough. I don't have a sat nav myself so haven't tried it, but my mother-in-law hunts for caches this way and assures me it can be done.
  • It is indeed like a more 21st century version of letterboxing.

Please leave a comment here if you do get round to trying geocaching - I'd love to hear how you get on!


  1. love the bag, and I'm sure your swap partner will too!
    the geocaching sounds better and better!

  2. What a beautiful bag - yes please!
    Love Ma xx

  3. Oh that photo of Cam brought back memories!!
    I too, did the handles that way - I tried the book way but knew it wouldn't be great and anyway I have the turning tool so like to use it whenever I can!
    Will blog about my bag when I've finished. Like you, I'm taking it in small steps and it is working out great for it!!
    Would LOVE to go Geocaching as it sounds so fantastic but where on earth would I find the time?!

  4. C's cheeky smile has always been a winner. That photo taken at our house.
    I love the bag
    At the moment there's a parcel on our table - wedding anniversary present for next Wednesday. It's been sitting there for days - ever since M found me about to buy a yellow Geocaching aid like N's!! So no more Satnav from the car

  5. I am sure the bag and baby quilt will both be well loved for years to come- the bag looks beautiful in your photo, am especially loving the lining, very funky!!Yours Mums baby blankets are beautiful, how lovely that O is still snuggling up to going to buy Rob a geocaching device for his birthday, I think. Great present for those hard to buy for people!x

  6. I absolutely love your bag - I have that book, but had never noticed the bag in it, so it must be your lovely fabric and wonderful execution that has drawn me to now go back and have another look through Bend the Rules! x

  7. The bag is perfectly adorable - I love the pleat! I am sure the person on the other end will be very pleased
    Take Care
    Clare x


Even though I often do not have the time to reply to everybody, I really appreciate all your comments so much - thank you for taking the time to read my blog and share your thoughts on what I've written.