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 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???

Posted in Australia, bags, bionic gear bag, crochet, fluff-n-stuff, grandchildren, handmade, knitting, sewing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

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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Pattern Testing

Just recently, patterns by Dog Under My Desk have been keeping me very occupied…I have made s few gifts (which I can’t show you yet) with Erin’s patterns and found that her construction techniques were so beautifully written, each step flows smoothly into the next, I was hooked!
A FB friend introduced me to these designs and truly, I totally love all of them!
I put my hand up when Erin was asking for pattern testers
This bag is called Take Off Tote and I made it for myself with fabric I bought at the weekend from The Eternal Maker in Chichester, wow what a shop that is! A cafe, fabric and yarn all under one roof…I think I need to spend longer there next time and maybe I should start saving now!! I have only ever bought from them online before, but we wanted to visit Maise as she is at Uni there. We did a little Christmas shopping and our last stop was the glorious fabric shop.
I also treated myself to a new popper gun, this one attaches plastic poppers to garment, no more shocks for little people! Whenever I used the metal poppers on garments, I would think that the coldness of the metal would make a baby jump!
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and lots of coloured poppers…
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So back to the pattern testing
Here is the fabric that was purchased on Saturday afternoon
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all the pieces cut and interfaced and wadded where necessary
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I enjoyed sewing this very much
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clear instructions

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and perfect results
Inline images 7

I am going to enjoy using this gorgeous bag….but now, I have to leave the bags alone and get on with a few more of the many presents I have yet to make, I do have a list, but not really enough time to do all the sewing that I’d like to, I will just do my best and see what happens
Time to refer to my list…x
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Even More Bionic Gear Bags

I have been on a sewing frenzy

14 Bionic Gear Bags in as many days!

Want to know how much stuff you can get into one of these amazing bags? Visit Sally’s website

To say I have had enough of zips this side of Christmas would be an understatement :)

This fabric is so gorgeous, balls of wool on a pale aqua background

I have put some pretty pink batik fabric inside, along with a beautiful Tilda print

This gentler on the eyeballs bag features a collection of fabrics by Tula Pink, Fox Fields
On the cover you will find rabbits, birds and a fox

You can see more rabbits inside…

I love this fabric very much, in fact my own BGB is made from it too

Sewing Notions, by Makower

Beautiful purple and lime green batiks have been used for the pockets, but for the front and rear trays I used the matching vintage cotton reel fabric

Gorgeous toning colours from Lewis and Irene, in their Dolce Brazil collection

wonderful toning fabrics on the inside

A knitters favourite, Knitting Sheep!

This time, I have gone for red inside with a lovely pale grey inside the pockets..

Beautiful hot colours here, designed by Zandra Rhodes, Lace Mountain, which is based on some sketches Zandra did of Ayres Rock in Australia, I learned today that this colourway is her favourite :)

Exciting brights inside too…

Same fabric collection as above but a difference colourway

So very pretty

There are 2 of most of these bags going into my shop tomorrow this evening Friday 12th December 2014, at 7pm, UK time, you can see what time that is in your country here

Looking forward to seeing you all there

PS you can sign up for shop update notifications here

I don’t want to see another zip for quite some time….but I’m sure I’ll soon get over it! lol

I’ll leave you with a photo of the lovely bag and purse I made for my step daughter’s birthday this week

I really need to make more of these, it was great fun, and not too many zips haha!! Don’t ask me about sewing with plastic…I coped, after a false start!

Posted in bionic gear bag, sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments