My first love is sewing, hard to believe when I almost always post about knitting or crochet..right? ..well it’s true!
I got my first machine as a teen, a heavy-duty metal Kenmore in a hard plastic carrying case. No one in my family was a seamstress (my mom would repair missing buttons and mend holes, but didn’t sew for fun). I was never taught by anyone, one day I just taught myself. Making everything from clothes to quilts to pillows & toys. Back then most of my fabric came from old clothes and sheets, I used spools of colored thread pulled from my mom’s sewing box, that most likely belonged to my grandmother.
I remember breaking so many needles at first, once unknowingly I dropped a thin sewing needle on my bedroom carpet and one day while walking across the floor, I slid it into the ball of my foot, right between my toes ..ouch! Thinking I just poked myself good I walked on it in pain for a week, until my mom said lets go in, the doctor did an x-ray and sure enough there was the broken tip of the needle lodged between my toes! I had minor surgery to remove it …I still always sew barefoot, but keep a better eye on those needles!
Many years later, I have a new machine a Husqvarna, it’s lightweight (comparatively), so quiet & smooth, nothing like that old Kenmore, which is in need of a new cord, but still clunks along just like always! When I moved out at 18, I took my moms old metallic blue ironing board (still perfect & what I use to this day) & her Black & Decker iron (I’ve since upgraded to a super steamy ½ ton Rowenta).
Now days I mostly make bags ..allsorts..sometimes I use patterns, but most of the time, I just make them up.
I make little bags for my knitting & crochet projects & to hold gifts.
I make bags for friends & family. A simple heavy canvas tote made extra special with hand painting & a bird appliqué (from the excellent book Applique Quilt Revival).
Sometimes I make bags just so I can embroider or draw on them. This “Always” tote was inspired by one of my favorite Shinzi Katoh designs. I like to use fine line fabric pens & draw on the fabric before sewing it up, that way the design falls into the seam, instead of stopping at it.
I draw silly things, strange things or things that make my heartbreak.
I love how this one looks like a big slouchy pillowcase! Made ultra feminine in a busy rose print & sweetly gathered along the top. It’s made using the slouch bag pattern from Linen, Wool, Cotton ..one of my favorite bag sewing books.
Even though I have access to a extremely well stocked local fabric shop, mill end outlet & the (worlds largest) Textile Center garage sale, I still am always on the lookout for beautiful or unusual sheet sets, old tablecloths & oddball pillowcases at thrift shops and rummage sales, you can’t beat all that yardage for cheap! (you can easily work around holes & stains)
I love strong burly bags for toting auction & thrift finds. Tough outdoor fabrics & upholstery fabrics make EXTRA sturdy bags!
I acquired a load of zippers awhile back, so I have been sticking them in everything, sometimes they only open up into the tiniest little pocket for penny treasures, but I can’t help the color & sweetness a little zip adds!
I am by nature a perfectionist, so I like my bags to be near perfect, so no fraying seams, unclipped threads or messy finishing here. I have a serger now, but before that I always lined my bags or used simple French Seams to hide the raw edges. Sometimes I will use ready made items like t- shirts, terry cloth towels or pillow cases (already finished seams!) and with minimal sewing, fashion them into one of a kind bags & pouches!
There are loads of excellent tutorials and books on bag making, if you have recommendations I am all ears! Really, once you get the feel for bag construction, you’ll be designing your own in no time!
Couldn’t help linking you to death .. here are a few of my favorite patterns & books!
* Morsbag start a revolution & do your part! SAVE THE EARTH!
(for the AWESOME tote pattern click make one)
* Charlie Bag from Burda Style.
* Reversible Bag from verypurpleperson.
* Easy Drawstring Bag from The Purl Bee.
* French Seams from Sew to Speak.
* T-Shirt Bag from Martha Stewart.
* Carry Me by Yuka Koshizen
* SEW by Cath Kidson (her style & aesthetic is so lush!)
I also obsessively sew aprons, sun bonnets & kleenex pouches too ..but that’s another post!