Wednesday, 9 February 2011


Hello everyone. I hope today you are all enjoying some much needed Spring-like sunshine, as we are here in the Capital? I've been out to the market and there's certainly been a spring in my step, especially when I bought my first delightful pink hyacinths of the year. Such glorious goodness for a mere £2.

Unfortunately, the good weather has not tempted Charlie Boy off his heated pad on my sewing table and outdoors. Yawwwn!

The Den has had a little seasonal spruce up and is sparkling in a most pleasing fashion.

A few weeks back, I treated myself to this dinky vintage sewing machine and set it up in pride of place on the mantlepiece, along with some other vintage sewing related goodies I had been stockpiling on my thrifty outings.

When we went to Lewes, I was really pleased to find this original wartime book which is full of useful dressmaking hints 'n' tips.

There has been quite a lot of making going on around here recently but I am waiting on quite a lot of things to enable me to finish things off so I decided to treat myself with a day of making something just for me. So I took out some luscious dyed pink woollen blanket...

Spent quite some time agonising over the most divine vintage fabrics (from Donna and Sal)...

Contemplated adding some beautiful buttons...

...and a bit of embellishment with these gorgeously coloured perle cotton threads...

Down to the drafting then, relatively simple, just measuring and drawing out the shape on some tissue paper (I prefer to use freezer paper which is more robust but have run out)...

A while later, my project is starting to take shape.

It's getting dark though and Charlie thinks it's time for me to vacate the den and switch the bright lights off!

The next day, my new Spring bag is born.

What do you think? It's a simple messenger bag style and as you can see the main body is crafted from the sturdy and tactile wool blanket with a feature panel of patchworked vintage flowery cottons. I added a few lines of simple detail with the perle cotton, both to the front panel and to the shoulder strap.

The lining is a gorgeous vintage French floral cotton (bought from Lizzie) and I have added three pockets, sized perfectly for my bits 'n' bobs (one of the advantages of making the bag yourself, you can make it "just so"). There's a metal snap for easy closure, and a long velvet ribbon with a clip to attach my keys. The keys will reach the door lock whilst staying safely on the end of the ribbon, no scrambling around in the bottom of the bag trying to find them!

She's ready for adventure!

The felted wool is thick so it takes quite some persistent sewing. I broke two jeans needles on my regular machine so in the end, I used my "beast" (a Pfaff Grand Quilter which is a semi-industrial straight stitch machine which I use for quilting). This ploughs its way relentlessly through however many layers you choose to throw at it! I was surprised at how much I remembered from my bag making days; bags were the first things I made several years ago when I started sewing again in earnest and selling my wares.

I'm pleased with my bag, on the trip to the market it performed perfectly and delights me every time I see that flowery vintage patchwork on the front. Perhaps I should make some for my stall? Decisions, decisions!


  1. Love your bag it's gorgeous x

  2. It's completely gorgeous, I love it! The colour is fab and the vintage lining so pretty. Perfick! Emxxx

  3. L.O.V.E it!!!!!! I need to make something for myself soon.

  4. Love that bag! And the gorgeous hyacinths. What a good buy - they're £5 in my neck of the woods.


  5. Oh I do wish I had your sewing skills! That bag is just too gorgeous for words. That is one pampered pusscat you have there!:0)

  6. Make as Many as you can - SHARE the love!!! It is adorable -well done you!


  7. Lovely cp;;ection of sewing things, and oh my I just love your bag
    Julie xxxxxxx

  8. What a pretty bag! You should definitely make some more!

  9. Agony it is! Just how cute do those fabrics get?

  10. The bag is gorgeous! Super cute. You're definitely ready for spring. x

  11. Great bag! Love the pink... let the sunshine last.

  12. I do love reading your posts with all those colourful photos. I'm particularly envious of your fab find in that vintage Sew & Save book - how apt is that title some sixty odd years later?! And being a nosy bod, I enjoyed looking through all your lovely bits and pieces on your mantlepiece. I love that bag too - what a brilliant idea to use that blanket - I love it!

  13. Great bag - pretty and practical - job done! Yes, make some to sell, definitely :)

  14. What a gorgeous bag Hen and so beautifully made. I too have an industrial sewing machine as I was finding it hard to stitch through quilt beast of a machine goes through them like a hot knife through butter!! I think you should make some for your stall, there is nothing nicer than something handmade and unique.
    Jo xx

  15. Beuatiful Hen, perfect for Spring. I imagine they'll fly off your stall like hotcakes.

    Genius idea the keys-on-a-ribbon thing - I might have to pinch that from you!!

    Enjoy the sunshine.

  16. And a very beautiful bag it is too, well done Hen. I love peeking at your workroom and Charlie Boy is such a cutie, nice he likes to keep you company too.

  17. Hen,

    Love your new bag, looks like you are really getting into Spring, cleaning and crafting. I'm longing for the long days :)

    All things nice...

  18. Gorgeous post...full of scrumptious things (especially kitty!). Love the bag....and the lovely fabrics x

  19. Oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh I love it that is just gorgeous i adore the design and the colours, you should def make some for your stall they will fly out the room. Beautiful, dee x

  20. Love it, love it, love it....I wish I was a more confident when it cam to sewing!!! Gorgeous photos to go with a gorgeous post xx

  21. lovely bag, Hen. I had to laugh at Charlie Boy. I hope you have something else to do because it doesn't look like Charlie Boy plans to move any time soon. :)


  22. That bag is just divine! I love it!

  23. Love the bag, the fabric squares, and your stitching, the fabric lining, the button ... and Charlie Boy knows how to stay comfy! Bess

  24. Hen, those cats of yours are so funny. They truly do have a sense of always being camera ready.

    That new blanket bag is a beauty, well designed, lovely colors and ... the long loop for the keys is a brilliant feature.


  25. I love the bag! Such a gorgeous shade of pink :)

    Cats sure love the warm spots! We've just come out the other side of a heat wave...and I'm sure the cats are missing it ;)

  26. What a great integration of cotton fabric with wool felt! It's a really cute bag. The vintage fabrics are real beauties.

  27. It's sweet, and kind-of looks cozy too! :) Wow, that must be really thick!!! I'm certain they would sell well.

  28. Love the bag, Hen, its very pretty and very you!!!
    Definitely make some for the stall, they'll go like hot cakes, I'm sure!!!
    Your cats are so laid back and relaxed, they make me laugh!!
    Love Linda O xx

  29. love your bag and your new little sewing machine

  30. Hi Hen,

    My goodness you've made a winner there, very pretty bag and practical too.

    A little word of caution though.. I love the way you've displayed your perlé threads, I did a similar thing with a few in a basket on the windowsill of my work room last summer... I meant them only to stay for a couple of days, but it turned into a couple of months as is the way of things.

    When I picked one up to use it I found the sun had worked its magic and had bleached the colour down through several layers but only on one side! So the thread was now an interesting variegated variety! Still usable but not what I needed at that moment.

    So beware, care for your perlé in the sun... I wonder if factor 50 would work, perhaps not, hehe.
    All the best, Ruth x

  31. Gorgeous bag, definately think you should make some for your stall.

  32. Hen, that is a no brainer! Of course you should make more bags! Get some done for the V&H!
    T x

  33. you clever girl, these would be snapped up....just lovely

  34. That is gorgeous. Love the way you've put all the colours and fabrics together. Just right for a new season!

  35. Gorgeous bag Hen - I love it!!!

    Please, please, please make them to sell. I would most definitely be a customer. xxxx

  36. Stunning bag, one to definately make you very happy on trips out.


  37. I'm sure this is just the first of many others gorgeous bags. Definitely love it!!! Bye for now, Clara.

  38. I love the colours...very cheerful!


  39. I have a sewing machine like that - Tim found it near a skip when he was a boy and kept it all this time.

    I recently found a few books at my grandparent's house - crochet and kitting one from the 50s and a 'make do and mend' book from 1946 (looks brand new) I was so utterly thrilled!

    I love your bags - more bags please I have bag withdrawal! :-)


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