Saturday, 26 September 2009

How to: attach a bag strap slider

Wow, I can't believe I've been on maternity leave for 1 week already! As you can probably tell from the length between posts, I've not quite got the hang of the lady of leisure thing and have been crazily busy! However, I've finally finished the last minute preparations and will hopefully have more time to put my feet up and relax a bit next week...

...oh who am I kidding? I'll be spending the week sewing like a demon, trying to get as many bags as possible made before The Bean arrives!

Anyway, one of the things on my to-do list this week was to finish off the nappy/changing bag I've been making for myself from the Butterick B4560 pattern (btw there's a really useful review on the SewChic blog). It's a pretty big messenger-style bag with loads of pockets of assorted shapes and sizes.

The pattern is great, but I wanted to make the strap length adjustable - a few of my new-mum friends have said that having a long strap is essential for hanging over pram handles, but then you need to be able to shorten it for carrying over your shoulder. So, I bought 2 1/2" bag rings and sliders from one of my favourite suppliers on Etsy - 3D Pattern Paper - and merrily whipped through the pattern instructions, adding the strap loops and rings to the sides of the bag instead of a fixed length handle.

All pretty straightforward - but then I got to the bit where I needed to attach the extra long strap I'd made to the slider and then to the strap loops and ended up in a MASSIVE pickle! It took me ages to work out which bit of strap to thread through which big of metalware and in which order! Once I finally had it worked out I realised how easy it is! Maybe I was suffering a bad attack of baby brain and it would be immediately obvious to people with normal levels of spacial awareness, but I thought I'd write a short tutorial to save anyone else an hour of frustration and naughty words!
So, here goes:

Step 1: isn't really a "step" but more of a starting point. I'm assuming that your bag body is all made-up and you have strap loops with bag rings attached to the side of your bag as per the picture below. You also have a long bag strap made-up and ready to attach.

Step 2: Take one end of your bag strap and thread it through the slider as shown. Note - in this instance the top side of the strap is patterned and the underside is plain.
Then, once you have pulled the strap through the slider, fold the end over and stitch it down with the back sides together. I stitched the end down in a box shape for extra strength.
Step 3: Now pull the end of your strap without the slider attached through one of the bag loops on your bag.
Step 4: Keep hold of the end of your strap and thread it through your slider again, like so....
Steps 5 and 6: Next, still keeping hold of the unattached end of your strap, thread it through the second bag loop...
... and finally fold the unattached end of the strap over (back sides together) and stitch in place close to the bag loop, as per the picture:
All done! Your strap should now be securely attached and perfectly asjustable! If it sounds really straightforward, well that's because it is!!!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

This month's Things to Make

I thought I'd stick with the baby theme for this months tutorial round-up. There are soooo many to choose from - but here are the ones I love the most!


  1. Baby booties from ithinksewdotcom
  2. Round Baby bib from Made by Petchy
  3. Bulky Baby Blankets from The Purl Bee
  4. Baby's cardigan knitting pattern from Prima
  5. Vintage Pixie Hat from Vintage Baby Knits by Kristen Rengren posted by The Storque
  6. Bib pattern from Chick Pea Studio
  7. Baby Hair band from A Penny Saved
  8. Bumpy Jacket and Hat from F.Pea
  9. Pinwheel mobile tutorial from Chick Pea Studio

Also, check out:

Monday, 14 September 2009

Baby knits and booties

The nesting instinct has well and truly kicked in and I spent the weekend adding to the pile of baby stuff that has accumulated on our dining room table. We've been amazingly lucky and so many people have given us their "pre-loved" baby equipment that we've not needed to get much new stuff. Hopefully the nursery should all be sorted out by the end of this week - I can't wait to post the before and after photos!

In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the knitted goodies that await our little Bean!

I'm so proud of this blanket and teddy bear - knitted by yours truly.

The blanket was my first attempt at intarsia knitting - it's not perfect by any means but it's the first baby thing I knitted so I love it anyway!

I've named the cute little teddy "Archie". I loved knitting him as each of his body parts only took a few hours so I made him over the course of 1 week.

The blanket is a Debbie Bliss pattern from Essential Baby and the teddy from her Simply Baby book.

I made these gorgeous mary-jane booties/shoes from a pattern in Gifts for Baby by Catherine Woram. I was really pleased with how they turned out and will definitely be making more once we know what flavour The Bean is!

Lastly, I wanted to show you the amazing layette that Paul's Mum, Pat, has knitted. I couldn't believe how many gorgeous things she's produced! We have a whole set of matinee jackets, cardigans and booties in white and then another set of cute cable cardigans and sweaters and hat in arran-style wool. So The Bean is going to be as snug as... well, a baked bean in a can with a lot of other baked beans!!!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Great news!

I've just found out that my rose ribbon tutorial and Etsy and Folksy shops have been given a mention on the Sewing Crafts sub-blog of Craft Gossip! I've been following this blog for a while and it has great tutorials and tips, so I feel really honoured to be among such great company!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

More floral embellishment!

Continuing the theme of floral embellishment - I've just seen this tutorial post from Heather Bailey for a fabulous "Pop Garden Scrap Flower". Gorgeous!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

How to: make a ribbon rose corsage

I've just listed a new batch of Esther flap clutches in my Etsy and Folksy shops. I thought I'd feature the rose corsage from the Esther 'Laughing Leaf' series as my first ever tutorial.

Step 1: Take a length of 1 ½ “ (38mm) wide ribbon – I prefer grosgrain as it has more structure, but you could use any type of ribbon.

Roll one end over three or four times to form the tight bud like centre of the rose. Hand stitch through all the layers at the base to secure.

Step 2: Now comes the fiddly bit! Spiral the ribbon around the “bud” and fold it back on itself to create a loop or “petal”. Hold the loop in place at the base of the rose while you make a stitch or two through all the layers to secure.

Steps 3-5: To create the next petal, repeat this process, positioning the next loop a little further along the bud centre. Continue to create your rose by repeating this twist-spiral-fold process, securing every fold in place by stitching through all layers each time. You may find that you need to play about with the positioning of the folds and check how your rose looks from a number of different angles before securing each new petal – I’ve produced a number of lop-sided roses by not following my own advice!

Steps 6-8:
When your rose has reached the desired size and shape, snip off the long end of ribbon. Fold the raw edge under and stitch in place at the back of the rose. This is also a good time to make another check of your roses’ shape and make any little stitches you need here and there to adjust the petals if necessary.

You should now have a beautiful flower to gaze upon. I like to congratulate myself a little at this stage!

Step 9:
Now for the leaves. Cut out one or two leaf shapes from coordinating or contrasting felt. I’ve chosen to use some quite abstract shapes to echo the pattern on the fabric of the bag for which this rose is intended. But, you could use a more realistic rose leaf shape and perhaps make tiny snips into the edges to create a more life-like correlated leaf.

Step 10: If you wish to add some texture to your leaf, hand or machine embroider some veins in coordinating or contrasting thread, or add a more abstract pattern as I have done here.

Steps 11-12: Once you are satisfied with your leaf or leaves, add a little bit of extra shape by pinching the leaf at the base and adding a stitch or two to secure a tiny pleat/dart.

Step 13-14: If you have created more than one leaf, stitch them together in whatever arrangement you desire before then attaching to the base of the rose.

Now sit back for another moment of self-congratulation!

If you wish to attach your rose to your bag/coat/dress in a permanent position, you could do so now by sewing it in place. However, I prefer to add a brooch back so that it’s possible to play around with the position of the flower on the bag or remove it from the bag and wear it as a matching corsage.

Step 15: For this final stage, attach a brooch back to the underside of your rose by stitching it in position – it’s worth checking the best position for the brooch back by placing your rose on a flat surface and seeing if your flower has a tendency to lean a certain way. You want to position the brooch back so that it is least visible – not just from the top view but also from the sides.

Step 16: Finally, I like to make it all look as neat as possible by positioning a small circle of felt over the base of the brooch back. This adds another layer of security as well as hiding the stitching.
Et voila! Your rose corsage is now complete!

See Esther - 'Laughing Leaf Yellow' on Etsy here or Folksy here.
See Esther - 'Laughing Leaf Green' on Etsy
here or Folksy here.

Other embellishment ideas:

Felt daisy from |
Ric Rac dahlias
from knick knacks & ric rac |
The flowers on this tea cosy by Cassi from Bella Dia would look great on a bag!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Vintage bag inspiration

During the sewing cupboard sort out, I came across a picture-a-day calendar of handbags that I’d been given for Christmas one year. I spent a good hour going through them all and have put my favourites in my special “ideas folder". I particularly love the shapes from the 40s, 50s and 60s… I’ve been looking for some inspiration and now I have too much! Here are some of my top picks:

I’ve also recently sourced some vintage 60s and 70s bag patterns (how I love Etsy!) and can’t wait to play around with some of the shapes and ideas once they arrive:

I’m on maternity leave in 2 weeks time so am hoping I’ll be able to get lots of sewing done before The Bean arrives – I’m sure other mum’s to be go for massages and pedicures, but I shall be relaxing to the gentle sounds of a whirring sewing machine and the tinkling of pins!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Shelves glorious shelves!

It's been a little while since my last post as we are now reaching the final countdown until the arrival of The Bean (only 1 more month to go!) and have been desperately trying to get things off our to-do list.

I've also been working on my first ever tutorial which I plan to post up in the next week or so, and have been searching through my bookmarks list to create a useful post about sourcing vintage fabrics. In the meantime, I wanted to share my new found appreciation of the beauty and wonder of shelving and storage space!

This is what the cupboard in the spare room - aka my sewing room soon to be the nursery - looked like previously:
(Actually that's a bit of a fib as this is what it looked like after I removed the chest of drawers and the extremely unstable stacks of cardboard boxes and Bags for Life overflowing with the jumble of my fabric and sewing supplies.)

And this is the cupboard after my Super Dad spent a day and a half waving his magic DIY screwdriver, and fitting made-to-measure shelves and a light. I then spent a week's worth of evenings sorting through the fabric stash and putting things into tidy boxes.

It's been nearly 2 weeks now and I still like to marvel at the wonder of my beautiful new cupboard! Eventually I'll get round to prettifying the walls a bit and painting it to look even more wonderous.

And still on the shelving theme... here is Paul's marvellous handiwork on the cupboard under the stairs:


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