Sunday, March 15, 2015

'Must Have' Shopping Bags

Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!! it's been so long since I last posted and so much has been going on that I haven't had one minutes rest since then. It's a long story so I'll try to make it quick so as not to bore you but I had intended on going to the craft fair with all my things but one night I had dozed on the sofa and was woken by a loud crashing sound. My son was in the kitchen cooking something for himself and the first thought that came to my mind was the cooker had exploded LOLL. After checking on him and seeing everything was fine I heard the loud noise again only this time I noticed it came from my sewing room. I then thought I had left the iron on and it had exploded, a bad habit I have. I went to check and was horrified to see that part of the ceiling in my sewing room had fallen down. The mess was everywhere, on my cutting table where I had been working in my thread draw, everything was a mess. The wet room is above the sewing room and a leak had caused it.

Luckily I have a large sitting room upstairs that was empty and never got used except for a treadmill in it so I set upon the task of moving everything up there. It took a couple of days and left me exhausted. Thinking this was Gods way of telling me to have a rest from sewing I resigned myself to the fact that I should take a break. Well that lasted less than 24 hours and I was back at my sewing machine again. Since then I've been waiting on workmen to show up and my sewing room still needs to be repaired. When it is I don't think I'll be moving back down there again though as I have twice the space in my new room and can't be bothered to move everything again.

Because of this I've had to put testing bags on hold for now as I can't concentrate with all that's going on. Having said that I did accept to test a clutch which is so cute and becasue I know that the designers pattern is so good that it would be easy and quick to test.

Back in February before all this happened I was over the moon to be accepted as a tester by Geta Grama of Geta's Quilting Studio. I've been a follower of her blog for ever and admire her beautiful quilting. She has loads of great tutorials and also makes wonderful bags which are very simple designs but so striking and beautiful. These that I tested are shopping bags, again very simple to make especially compared to what I'm used to making but I believe there is always something that can be learned no matter how simple a project and this was the case with these. Check out the above link where you can see Geta's shopping bags and also a tote bag which is gorgeous and you can buy that pattern too. I can't wait to be able to make one of those.

These are supper quick to make and really easy. The one standing up is made from a waterproof fabric that is from Spain. I bought the fabric ages ago becasue it's in the colours I love and it's from my home country. This one has boxed corners where as the other one doesn't. I've been using them ever since and they are really strong and so handy. I never leave home without them. I just fold them up and put them in my bag.

These bags have no interfacing or lining just an outer fabric but what makes them really nice is all the seams are neatly finished off so there are no raw edges. This is the part that was new to me. I had seen these seams before but had never made them.

This is the inside of the bag. Even the boxed corners have no raw edges. I love how tidy the inside of the bag is. The pattern was really easy to follow with good instructions and clear photos of the steps.

These are great to keep in the car when you go shopping. You could make a whole bunch of them so you don't have to put things into plastic carrier bags. Good for the environment. You can find the pattern HERE. Geta has also made these in faux leather in various colours which you can also see in the link for the pattern and the colours she's used are gorgeous. Also check out all the TUTORIALS. I'm really looking forward to be able to test more bags for Geta in the future. She was looking for testers for her quilt pattern but that was a bit out of my league but who knows maybe one day I'll be good enough to test one of those too.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this post. What started out as a disaster has all been for the best. I have a new bigger sewing room and a shop is now selling mine and my daughters work and nobody else's. I'll post about that another time with some photos for you to see. More good news is my daughter has been published in a magazine and her work is on the cover of the first issue. She's been doing tutorials for the magazine and I also did a tutorial for my fabric hearts which has also been published in the same magazine. For those of you who've sent me emails I'm sorry if I haven't managed to get back to you. I'm not on my laptop much these days with all the sewing I have to do but I think in about three weeks to a months time things will slow down a bit.

I've really missed visiting all the blogs I follow and hope to find the time soon to visit those and see what I've been missing out on.

Again thanks to all of you for stopping by.

~ Maria ~

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Craft Fair Sewing

Hi again. This is a photo heavy post so if you plan on sticking around you might want to grab a cuppa before you start.

Here is my latest collection for the craft fair. It took just under a couple of weeks to put together. It wore me out but it's so nice to see them all together now. I want to keep the lot.

I made these using the Open Wide Zippered Pouch tutorial by Noodlehead which you can find HERE. The tutorial gives three different sizes. I used the medium size and it's pretty big. I sure don't have enough makeup to use this size, the smaller one would suit my needs and the large one must be huge, I guess you could use it to hold brushes and hair products when going away. It would be great to have all three sizes for different needs.

After making the five above and taking the final photos at the top I finished off another two.

I love the pink and grey.

Next up was 28 key holders using the tutorial by Dog Under My Desk HERE.

In between sewing for the craft fair I also had a custom order to complete for The Happy Bag by Imaz Zaman which you can find HERE. 
This is the second one I've made. The first one didn't have a zipper closure and the lady that saw it asked if I could make one exactly the same but with a zipper. 
I love this bag. It's very easy to make, great for a beginner.

This kind of recessed zipper is so easy to add to any bag pattern.

Inside there are two slip pockets. You could add another two to the other side or even a zipper pocket.

Custom order out of the way it was time to get back to the craft fair sewing.
I love making these. Another easy and quick make. These are made using the Reversible Lunchtime Pouch by Projects by Jane. You can find the pattern on CRAFTSY or ETSY.

This is the reversible side.

Last of all but by no means least are these Sanitary Towel Holders which sell really well here.
These are designed by Yasemin who blogs over at Nachnuch. Yasemin very kindly gave me the measurements for these and sewing them up was easy. You can also see Yasemin's lovely creations on her FB page HERE.

Here's 29 of them. There is one left to make. I have to unpick the end of it becasue I forgot to add the elastic closure. Some of you will be laughing saying 'ahah she made a mistake' LOL, I'm allowed one mistake out of all of these surely.


Next on my list is a custom order for a Necessary Clutch Wallet and another Reversible Lunchtime Pouch like the ones above but this one has to be in a black fabric for and evening bag. 

See you soon and thanks for making it to the end of this post.

~ Maria ~

The Maya Clutch Bag

I was so happy to be testing this clutch bag for Kylie of Little Moo Designs for the second time. Her bags are easy but stylish and her patterns are well written with clear photos of the steps to making the bag. You can also check out the other testers bags HERE on the Facebook Group.

The pattern includes two versions. A bag or a clutch bag. I chose the clutch becasue I wasn't sure this would be large enough for me to use as a bag but after making it saw it would be perfect for taking the essentials with me, money, a cell phone, keys, ID card, medical insurance booklet, even some makeup.

I love the curved edge along the top of the closed flap and don't know if you can make them out becasue of my very floral fabric but there are pleats on the flap. I used quilting cotton thickness fabric for the lining and flap and for the body of the bag I used upholstery fabric.

The clutch has a removable wristlet strap. Although you can't see it on my bag the other version is for a shoulder strap or across the body strap which clips onto the sides and is also removable.
Inside has a slip pocket on one side of the bag which is perfect for holding a cell phone.

The thing I love about this pattern is it's so versatile. You can get a completely different look just by choosing different fabrics, it would look great as an evening bag.
As usual with most of my bags lately I did some zig zag quilting on the body of the bag.

I've been really busy making stuff for the craft fair lately otherwise I would have made a few more of these.

Kylie is also selling the hardware for the bag and the clutch if you want to make one and if you don't have the time or don't sew and still want one you can by one ready made HERE.

I've been sewing like crazy lately and have loads to show you in my next post.

Thanks for stopping by.

~ Maria ~

Monday, February 16, 2015


This is a fantastic offer you shouldn't miss if you like making bags.
Delinda Boutique is giving away a pattern of your choice and all you have to do is become a fan of her FB page.

Here are three bags I tested for her. You don't have to choose these if you prefer something else, I just wanted to give you an idea of what Maria's bags are like. The patterns are excellent with well written instructions and loads of photos so don't miss out. The offer is open until Sunday 22nd February.

This is the link HERE.

Thanks for stopping by

~ Maria ~

Friday, February 13, 2015

Amelia Hobo Bag

I love everything about this bag I tested for Maria At Belinda Boutique. It's simple and really quick to make. Perfect for a beginner as you can choose to add a magnetic button closure instead of a zipper closure. Amelia can be made with different variations explained in the pattern.
The one I made has no interfacing or fusible fleece which makes it even easier and quicker but there is the option to use fleece in the pattern.

Here's mine in my favourite colour.
There is the option to add a slip pocket on the outside of the bag but this fabric has a large print so wanted to keep it plain to show it off.

I love the shape of the bottom of the bag. The pattern suggested using Vegan leather for the bottom and the strap top but I used the same fabric I used for the lining.

This is the handle which may look tricky but is actually really simple to do.

Inside there is a zipper pocket.

and a large slip pocket which you can have as one large one or sew down the middle to make two like mine.

I chose to use a zipper closure for my bag but there is the option of a magnetic button closure.

This is the side view and if you're wondering what that strange looking thing is next to it, it's a pouch I made out of the top cut out of the bag.

See, I didn't alter the shape of the piece that was cut out from the top of the bag I just used it as it was to make the pouch.

This fabric was too nice to waste the top piece.

Really easy to make the pouch, I like to add fabric zipper tabs to both ends to give it a nice finish when turned to the right side.

This bag was a pleasure to sew. The pattern is well written with loads of photos of each step and flows really well. The bag measures approx. 18" W x 21" H x 4" D and you can choose from three variations.

Delinda Boutique is offering a 40% discount off ALL Delinda Boutique sewing patterns by entering the discount code 40OFFPATTERN HERE. The coupon code is valid on any purchase of AT LEAST 2 sewing patterns and expires on Feb 14, 2015.

If you're too late for the discount you can still buy the pattern HERE on Etsy and HERE on Craftsy.

Thanks for stopping by.

~ Maria ~

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sugar & Spice Sew Along Bag

This is my version of the Sugar & Spice Bag by ChrisW Designs. We had a sew along for this bag on Christine's FB Group that has just finished and it was fun to take part in.

This is my third one so didn't expect any problems as the first two came together beautifully but then I didn't use this fabric for those. I started cutting the pieces out and ironed on my interfacing then noticed something wasn't quite right. I placed the paper pattern pieces back on top of my fabric pieces that had been ironed an to my horror found that I had lost an inch off the bottom and half an inch off the sides. If it wasn't for the fact that I love this fabric and couldn't get hold of any more I would have slung the whole lot in the bin and started again.

I was now left with the problem of how to salvage this bag.

Because of the shrinkage I had to position my pockets slightly different to the pattern and ended up having to chop an inch off the bottom of those. Then I could have carried on and used the fitted bottom pattern piece only that was now too wide and becasue my bag was an inch shorter it would have been too small for my needs so I decided to make a pleather piece that I cut out about four inches high, added it to the bottom of the bag and then just boxed the corners.
The front and back are exactly the same with two slip pockets on each side.

Despite the alterations I'm really happy with the way it turned out and it just goes to show how versatile this pattern is.

Inside there are 2 pen pockets and 4 additional slip pockets all kept secure with a main recessed zipper.
The measurements of the Sugar & Spice bag in the pattern are approx. 36cm (14”) W X 20cm (8”) H X 7.5cm (3”) D

Another sew along is being planned for one of Christine's designs so if you'd like to take part then join the FB group HERE.

Happy Sewing and make sure you iron your fabrics before cutting LOL.

~ Maria ~