A Day Tripper bag for Paris

Yesterday I made myself a really crappy dress. I’d saved the fabric for a special pattern and I really thought I’d found it. I cut it out oh so carefully, I sewed each seam with equal care. The fabric was stretchy, 4 way stretch slinky stuff. I didn’t really enjoy sewing it but my lovely overlocker made it easier. Then, when I was almost finished in thought I’d try it on….. My goodness it looked awful. The weight of the big gathered pockets caused the dress to grow sooo long! I thought if I added some of that elastic tape to the side seams it might hold it up better but no, it didn’t. I spent all day sewing this catastrophe and the evening before, I cut it out.. So much time wasted but sometimes sewing goes like that, it’s in the bin in my bedroom right now, I’ll retrieve it and make use of the fabric as best I can… Grrr….

Moving on

I needed to make something that I knew would fit and that the satisfying instructions would soothe my frazzled sewing harmony..

A bag! A Day Tripper Bag, by DogUnderMyDesk… The perfect fabric was in one of my many fabric drawers waiting for me

We’re of to Paris again soon, making use of some free First Class Eurostar tickets after last year’s travel scenario, someone caused an incident on the line in Paris so everything was delayed by hours and hours…eugh…not a good memory, especially having to get into a different carriage to my husband. I remember sobbing in my seat next to some some strange man, he probably though I was bonkers! However, my hero (Barry) came to my rescue as the person sat next to Barry said that he would be happy to change seats with me…phew…! Then of course we arrived at our hotel late and they gave us a box room as it was all that was left…the air conditioning didn’t work, so we opened the window and all the frying fumes from the kitchen below was wafting into our pokey room…I couldn’t even open my suitcase properly as the ceiling sloped, nor could I stand up straight, so many things wrong…needless to say it was sorted out the next day, I’ll not bore you with the details but I was a bit cross to say the least Anyway, this is the fabric, I love how this pattern goes together, the instructions are perfect!

love how the zips fit so beautifully… this is the main part of the bag with the gorgeous big zipped pocket on the front, all interfaced and wadded, it feels lovely already, no puckers on those curves either! The reverse of the bag, see how I fussy cut that pocket to sit in exactly the correct position on the back piece? I love doing that :) Sewing the curves of the front and the back is a bit tricky, but I did as Erin told me in the instructions and it all looks good, no puckers! I carefully cut out an eiffel tower for the side gusset, that pleases me too I love doing the zips, see how neat it looks and that’s before I put it into the bag lining it’s in! my least favourite bit, so awkward sewing the main bag to the lining, I’d probably find it easier if I used my free arm on the sewing machine but my machine is set into a cabinet and it’s a bit of a palaver to move it The photo above can get a bit painful, it’s a bit like giving birth…you have to pull the whole interfaced and padded bag out through the hole left in the lining, it takes time but well worth the effort lol I like to steam the seam and then hold the bag and the lining apart as the bag cools, I repeat that on the other side too, I find it makes it easier to get a crisp edge when you topstitch the seam Here she is all finished!

I love how my iPad fits in the zipped pocket :)

So now…do I still need a new dress for the weekend away?


I have added a few more bags to my shop, including one of these in the ‘larger bags’ section

Just one more thing…I have sent out an email to all of my Luxury Fibre Club members, if you haven’t received yours yet, do get in touch, but it might be in your spam folder

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend


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Two more beauties…

I have been very busy in my newly sorted out sewing room, so much so, or should that be sew?, that I managed to break a little bit off my base plate of the sewing machine yesterday..I thought it was going to need a visit to the sewing machine hospital but after phoning them up, they told me that I just needed to purchase a new base plate…it arrived today…now that is great service. I am fortunate to own a second smaller sewing machine that I use for my sewing group so I wasn’t too panicked about the damage, but I really hated the thought of leaving my precious machine in a shop for a week or so waiting to be mended! I recently made these two gorgeous Bionic Gear Bags, but they hadn’t been totally completed until today… I love them and I love the new little dishes that popper to the front trays of the bags I used my new Kam popper gun to attach the pretty plastic poppers on this second dish, they work really well and are great fun to put in place I am now working on my next 2 bags, well, I have selected the fabrics…its this cute elephant fabric that I have used in this WigWam..i think it will make a super cute BGB! I am using it with some spotty fabric which blends in really well I’m also dabbling with sourdough and last night I produced a really lovely Rolled Oat Boule, I have had several flops in the sourdough department but I think I may have cracked the process…hope it’s just not a one off!

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Lana Tote Bag

When I first saw this design, I knew I had to buy it, I loved the shape and the clever way it folds like a clam shell and fastens with a magnetic snap I came across the designer by just looking at bags on Pinterest, that place is so inspirational The designer is Delinda Boutique Designs and she is on Craftsy After purchasing the pattern, I immediately downloaded it and opened the PDF…on reading that I needed to add seam allowances I became a bit agitated lol…one of my pet hates is adding seam allowances but whilst working through the fabric cutting process I began to understand why the designer chose to do this. For the main pieces, which were pieced and then topstitched, you added seam allowances of 1/4″ to all sides except those which were placed on the fold. After cutting out all those pieces, the paper pattern pieces were joined as there was no decorative topstitching required on the lining…this is a good touch. I chose to print out the pieces again so that I could join them and then add the seam allowances. Is this all making sense? What I am saying is that I had the individual paper pieces for the main fabric and then the joined up paper pieces for the lining. This way I can reuse the pattern when I make more The instructions were nice and clear, placement lines and markings were all there on the pattern pieces. I did change how I inserted the zip though, I think my way looks crisper, and it was a lot easier too ;) I love the angle where the straps are attached, oh and I changed how the straps were constructed, but think I might add in some fusible fleece next time, to make a more puffy handle Did I already tell you how much I love how this closes up? The magnetic snap gives a satisfying click before you put the bag on your shoulder Love the topstitching…. If I was to make this again, which I most certainly will, I would add a zipped pocket above the central main zip, somewhere to put your keys ;)

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Ten things you shouldn’t say when pricing handmade items


Good advice for any crafters that sell their work, including me!

Originally posted on Life's Big Canvas:

Fascinator by Janine Basil http://folksy.com/items/2770202-Pound-Sign-Fascinator-in-pink-glitterFascinator by Janine Basil

I’ve been giving advice this week on pricing handmade items for selling. Not on purpose, just because it’s cropped up a couple of times. Working in a shop where people sell handmade items means it’s something which is bound to come up.

When I started selling handmade items, advice was thin on the ground. I tried reading some things online, but never really had someone to talk to in person. I also didn’t realise that my lack of knowledge was holding back my business, because people were bitching about me not being able to price properly behind my back, instead of just telling me what I was doing wrong, and I was missing opportunities.

This is why when I now see people underpricing their work, I tell them, and hopefully not in a patronising way, but because underpricing is undervaluing your own skill. To me, it’s…

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A tale of two bags

Can you spot the difference? (sorry about the difference in the quality of the photos, the second one was taken on my mobile phone)

I have made plenty of these wonderful Expandable Pack-it-In tote bags in the past, you can see them here in my Flickr feed

I love that pattern, the feminine shape, the gathers, the bows, the fabrics

Then I had an order for one, made from the fabrics used in her BGB

That’s short for Bionic Gear Bag

I just love that retro sewing equipment fabric…

so, I made this

I have used another bag design for the front and back pockets and the straps, I love this combination..

If you go and look at the Expandable Pack-it-In totes using the link above you will see the differences between my earlier bags and this one

I duly posted this bag off to my customer

It arrived the next day, and it was received with a lot of happy pleasure, however……it wasn’t big enough for the project my customer had in mind! I was a bit sad about this but I always want my customers to love their purchases from me, so I put out a call on my Facebook Page . I couldn’t believe the response, the bag was sold in minutes!! :) My customer posted the bag to the new customer, this saved it being posted again by myself. It was sent by Special Delivery so the price is a bit steep to have to post it again..

It was decided that the bag needed to be 6″ (15cm) deeper to accommodate the single bed size ripple blanket and all the yarn and paraphernalia required when taking her blanket on a hike to her crochet group

So I ordered more of the same fabrics, requested a little more money to cover the extra fabrics needed and set to work…

and this is the result

isn’t she beautiful?

she’s so roomy…

The last photo shows my own folded single bed sized ripple blanket inside, you can see there’s plenty of room for other stuff inside…it does remind me of a moses basket but I don’t think it’s suitable really lol

I really want to make myself one of these bags, for use as a weekender, it’s so lovely

I particularly love that it stands up all on it’s own…all the fabrics used have been interfaced with a substantial woven cotton interfacing, theres also some cotton wadding inside for that luxury feel and a bit more structure

Hope you love it as much as I do

Right, back to work for me…


PS If you like the look of my bags I have added some to my shop, you can find them here

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Stuff Wot I Made last year 2014 October to December 2014

3ply handspun for my Fibre Club

Indi modelling her new cardigan

and a lovely hat

My first machine knitted socks….I had to kitchener the rib to the top!!

a purse for Maddie

crochet boots for baby Josie

lots of little purses for my shop

Dumpling Dishes to go in the Bionic Gear Bags

A Bionic Gear Bag with a Knitting Sheep theme

machine knited tiny socks for Josie

a tiny Granny Square baby cardigan

and matching pram blanket

a quilted small project bag

a patchwork camera strap for my Mum

loads of stuff for my shop

a funky skirt for me, which I’ve still not worn!!

two crochet headbands which I had forgotten about, they were made for Christmas presents, maybe I’l send them on…maybe I’ll keep them for next year ;)

a dolly quilt for Esme

a small fair isle cardigan

even more knits!!

a Frozen quilt for Maddie

A bag for Laura

and matching purse

14 more Bionic Gear bags with matching Dumpling Dishes (2 of each!!)

I tested a pattern and made myself this gorgeous tote bag!

Well that appears to be all that I’ve uploaded to my computer, there is even more stuff that I’ve made and photographed with my phone, these are on Facebook….

Today I’m meant to be tidying my sewing room…but I don’t feel like it now so I might just go and sew another bag!

Happy New Year xx

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Stuff Wot I Made last year 2014 July to September

There shouldn’t be too much on this post as I was in Australia for 4 weeks….

My first of these gorgeous and fun dresses

An outfit for Esme


and bottom for Janina

I finished off this little cardigan in Melbourne!

and this one…

My first ever Bionic Gear Bag…I forgot to use the interfacing in my haste to sew this clever bag so it is a bit on the floppy side!! :)

a bag for Esme

I can’t really cleaim to have made this dress as it was a joint effort between me and my gorgeous Granddaughter Emilia

a Tilda Doll for Maisie to take to Uni with her

a machine knitted jumper for me!!

my second Bionic Gear Bag…this one’s mine!!

Another of my own designs, Hint of a Peplum Cardigan, machine knitted

A load of Wigwams…Spindle or Peg Bags

Felted granny square slippers

Goodness me I’ve been busy haha…wonder what I made up to December 2014???

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Stuff Wot I Made last year 2014 April to June

A machine knitted waterfall cardigan that I never wear because the fronts are too long, I loved the technique used to knit this though

A Schoolhouse Tunic

Cinch It In Tote (made at the end of March 2014)

Me in Paris, wearing my modified Waterfall Cardi and a dress that sewed…the cardi is now living in Sydney with Fiona, I had to reduce my luggage to avoid paying excess baggage!

a Waterfall for Michelle

New Design Ali’s Jumper

another Slouchy for me

Aunty Sally’s Jumper

A child’s coat knitted for the film ‘Tell Them of Us’

and matching hat

Test Machine Knit waistcoat

‘Comfy Jumper’ for Barry

New Machine Knitting Design…first garment…

Needle Tip Organiser

Quilted Baskets

Little Red Machine Knit Cardi

and Matching dress

Dress and crown for Miyah

matching bag

Machine Knitted Shrug

Pink Waterfall

two darling little dresses

an outfit for Indi, which will fit her better this year!!

A Red Cardi for me…machine Knitted

a little outfit for Esme

a purse for Janina’s Mum in Germany

Two little dolly bags

phew….think I need a lie down now…!!

July to September to follow…

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Stuff Wot I Made last year 2014 January to March

For Ali

This one for Rosi

Kid Mohair Cowl, I made this for me but it is now living in NI with my Mum <3

Pouffy Pants for Esme

Matching jacket

A machine knit fair isle jumper for maddie

A snuggly slouchy cardigan, my own design :)

Handknit Flower Socks for me

Handspun cardi for Esme

I made this on my knitting machine for my Mum for her Birthday in April

I enjoyed making this fair isle cardigan but don’t like wearing it :(

Me in my new machine Knitted slouchy cardigan

AnnaKa Sminkepung, Sugar Skulls

A Quilted Basket

I made this for the film ‘Tell Them of Us’

All these items were made by me during January to March 2014

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The #VATMoss sledgehammer cracking tiny creative nuts


oh my…this EU VAT is tough to understand…I need someone to simply say, do, do that, you’ll be fine! hah!! Spinstar’s blog post makes good reading but really, I just want all the worry to go away :(

Originally posted on SpinStar's Blog:

I enjoy writing patterns.  I have several waiting to published, some of which I am planning to offer as paid patterns.  I have no way of knowing whether I will end up selling no patterns, a few patterns or, in the words of Del Boy ‘this time next year we’ll be millionaires…’!  My income as a fledgling self-employed designer, is (very, very, very) unlikely to edge over the threshold for income tax in the UK (about £9,500).  A typical pattern price would be £3 – £4 so that represents sales of 2,400 pattern sales in a year!

Just as I was about to publish my first paid pattern VATMoss/EUVAT raised its ugly head.  The rules on dealing with VAT on sales to Europe are changing and it seems that the smallest businesses have been totally disregarded and are about to be hit hardest – and everyone has to start small at some point!

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