Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Treasury love

I know I've been quiet over the past week or so - I'm frantically getting ready for another craft fair on Sunday. To prove it, here is the mess that constitutes my creative space.

Just out of shot is a mug of tea that constantly mocks me - I fill it often and yet 'tis always cold when I come to sip it.

Anyway, apart from moaning, I also wanted to gloat a bit (oh dear, not exactly showing my best side today am I?). The Grace handbag was included in a treasury this weekend . It's called Vintage Florals and is by Jai.C.Maie. Look at all the vintage loveliness....

Monday, 19 July 2010

Sale: Hurray it's Christmas in July!

You know how they say that Christmas seems to come earlier every year? Well, this time it's true! I'm taking part in the Etsy 'Christmas in July' sale - so, from now until the end of the month, I'm offering a 20% discount on every item in my Etsy shop over $20. Browse my shop here

Prices listed are the full price - to receive the discount, pay as usual via paypal and I'll issue a 20% refund once the order has gone through.

Right, I'm off to put some fairy lights up around my hanging baskets.... "Jingle bells, jingle bells..... "

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Treasury love

Yay - the Lola 'Vintage Butterfly Garden Tote' has been featured in an Etsy treasury. It's called Cottage by the Sea and was made by Shop On A Lark

It's grey and dreary here today so I am very much appreciating the beach cottage theme!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Another contestant for the best tip ever!

Just as I'd got over the wonder of Flossie Teacakes' hemming tip, there's an equally genius and simple tip on Sew Mama Sew that will change my life - again. I'm often sewing narrow tubes for handles and really hate the turning right-side out shenanigans. I've got a tool to help but it never really works and always results in much swearing - but no more! Place a long peice of tape or ribbon along the inside of the tube as you sew it up, then secure the ribbon in place by sewing along one short end. Then pull on the tape to turn the tube the right way out. See the full tip here.

The "ta-da" moment
photo from Sew Mama Sew

Again, I'm really very excited about this. Also, am becoming increasingly aware that I probably need to get out more!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The best tip ever!

Florence from Flossie Teacakes has just changed my life forever with her incredibly simple but amazingly genius tip about hemming. Instead of laboriously measuring round the hem with pins she uses a peice of A4 card with lines drawn at 1/4" intervals and then uses this as a pressing guide - see the full tip here.

photo from Flossie Teacakes

I can't believe I've never thought of this before - I wonder how many minues of my life I've wasted!!!

Monday, 12 July 2010

My fabric stash really doesn't need to get any bigger right now, but I took a sneaky peek on Ebay last week and couldn't resist bidding on these vintage cotton curtains. I'm loving the stripe and floral combo - there's definitely something of the deckchair in a summer garden about this little beauty!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Vintage blog finds

Just when I thought there couldn't possibly be more room in google reader for another blog subscription, along comes a gem that's set me off on a whole new blog network and - whoops - a whole afternoon has been spent in blog wonderland!

I've been a bit lax on keeping up with my blog reading lately, so I've only just seen the fabulous tips on sewing vintage patterns by Mena Trott from Sew Weekly featured on Sew Mama Sew blog as part of their Make it Wear it month. It's a fab introduction to sewing vintage patterns, but even better is Mena's blog itself - since Autumn 2009 she has sewn something (mostly from vintage patterns) every week with the aim of having a completely home-sewn wardrobe by the end of 2010. I am quite literally pea-green with envy at both Mena's amazing blog, and her fabulous wardrobe.

Mena's blog reminded me that I've got a number of vintage patterns in my sewing stash, so while I'm not sure I'll ever manage an entire vintage wardrobe, I have set myself the (small, but hopefully achievable) goal of sewing at least 3 items of clothing between now and my return to the world of work at the end of September.... I've got to do it now it's in writing!

Mena's blog has also led me to some other fab vintage sewing blogs and shops:

Gerties New Blog for Better Sewing: Follow Gertie as she makes all fourteen fashions from her favorite 1950s sewing book, Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing.

Casey's elegant Musings: Graphic designer, vintage pattern seamstress and vintage style-ista, Casey's blog is beautiful and inspirational. Check out her great feature on sewing vintage patterns.

Lisa Freemont Pages: Retro styling with a focus on Hollywood glamour

Vintage pattern vendors:
Replica Vintage Patterns

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The baby's new clothes

I've developed a new addiction - healthier than smoking and not as expensive as gambling, but still pretty unsociable as all my spare time this past fortnight or so has been taken up with... making baby clothes.

The fruits of my addiction so far run to: 2 dresses with matching bloomers, 2 tops, 1 pair wide legged trousers, 1 pair elasticated bottom trousers and 1 pair shoes. I've been using these patterns: Butterick B5017 and New Look 6903 which I can definitely recommend.

(recognise this dress anyone? Twas the subject of much rage)

But, I can't stop! I have so many more cute things in mind (including this top and romper from Simplicity) My defense is that Freya needs new clothes as she's bursting out of what she currently has, but I fear if I let my new obsession run it's course that she may become the Imelda Marcus of baby clothes. Oh well, I guess there will come a time when she will be deeply embarrased about wearing stuff her Mum made, so I'm indulging myself while I can!

And to end this post, here are the outtakes of today's photo shoot...

Monday, 5 July 2010

How to: make a pair of simple jute bag handles

I was really pleased with the way the handles turned out for the range of Lola Expandable Totes. I discovered a roll of jute looking very unloved, a bit dusty and kicked under the haberdashery display rack in the fabric shop - it definitely needed rescuing. I love the way the rawness of the jute contrasts with the detailed vintage fabrics of the Lola totes, and the natural colour seems to go well with everything.

So, in case there are some more unloved rolls of jute in need of a good home out there, I thought I'd spread my new-found love around and show you how I made the handles - it really is super simple.

The jute I used was a good 2" (approx 5 cm) wide. This method would also work with other types of tape/webbing (canvas etc).

Step 1: Cut your jute webbing to the desired length remembering that you will need around 4" (10cm) at each end for attaching to the bag body. For the Lola tote, I used 22" (56cm) lengths of webbing, which gives a comfortable fit over the shoulder.

Step 2: Fold under and pin 1/2" (13mm) on each of the short ends.

Step 3: Measure 4" (10cm) up from each end and mark with a pin.

Step 4: Fold the strips in half along the long edges inbetween the 4" markers you've just made, and pin in place.

Step 5: Sew along the short ends, close to the folded edge....

... then sew along the raw edges of the folded length, in between the 4" markers.

Step 6: Depending on the finish you would like, you can now press your handles. Pressing them will create a slightly crisp, sharper looking edge, wereas not pressing them will make them look more rounded - see the difference in the photo below (the handles on the left have been pressed).

Your handles are now made - see, wasn't that easy! Now we need to attach them to the bag. For the Lola bag, I chose to attach the handles after the bag body was complete. This means that the stitching is visible on the inside of the bag. If you would prefer not to see the stitching on the inside, you could attach the handles before you line your bag.

Step 7: Mark the placement of your handles on your bag. I like to use pins for this - I use a horizontal pin to mark the position of the bottom edges of the handle and a vertical pin to mark the position of the outer long edges. The position you choose will depend on the size of your bag and the width of your handle, but for the Lola bag (which is about 15 3/4“ (40cm) wide), I placed the handles 4" (10cm) from the side edges of the bag, with a gap of about 5 1/2" (14cm) between them.

Step 8: Once in position, sew the handles in place by sewing a rectangle shape about 1/4" (6mm) from the handle edges and 1/4" (6mm) down from the top of the bag. For extra strength, I also like to sew 2 diagonal lines from corner to corner of the rectangle. If your bag is quite thick, it's definitely worth using a strong sewing machine needle (much swearing will be avoided, I promise). Also, if your bag is quite large, like the Lola, it makes life much easier if you sew the rectangle shape in 2 stages, bearing in mind the location of the bulk of your bag in relation to the inside edge of your sewing machine. I hope that makes sense! In any case, I've suggested the sewing direction for the right and left handles below:

Repeat this for each handle, and there you are - you're all done!

To see these handles in action visit my folksy shop at (prices in UK£) or my etsy shop (prices in US$).

Saturday, 3 July 2010

New styles available and Facebook news

I've added a veritable closet's worth of new bags to the Made by Loulabelle shops (any ideas on a good collective noun for bags, anyone?).

There are 3 brand new styles:

Lola Expandable Tote features vintage fabrics, raw jute and neutral linens. She is generously sized and would be perfect for shopping, work or play - brilliant for picnics or trips to the beach.

Esme is a cute little cosmetic pouch. A great size for slipping into your handbag or suitcase, she is available in a range of funky, fun or whimsical vintage fabrics and features a bead embellished zip pull.

Kelly Pocket Grocery Bag is the perfect eco-friendly alternative for the style conscious. This nifty little bag folds up to fit in any handbag or pocket so she’s always there when you need her, wherever you are.

And finally, I've added some more to the simple but popular range of Ruby Zip Pouches, including the Vintage Autumn Rose version in the photo above.

To check out Lola, Esme, Kelly, Ruby and other styles, visit (prices in UK£) or (prices in US$).

And now for something completely different...

I've just launched a Facebook fan page for Made by Loulabelle. I'll be keeping the page up to date with shop news, including special offers, updates on the latest styles in stock, opinion polls and links to other great bag related stuff. To become a fan (and make my day), click on the big F above or on the 'Become a Fan' icon in the navigation bar on the right of this page.

Go Grace!

There's been some love for the Vintage Floral Grace Handbag this week - she was featured in an Etsy Treasury of Upcycled and Repurposed items which was highlighted on S and O Productions Blog and also featured in this week's Folksy Friday post on Jen Owens Images blog. Good Work Gracie girl!

For more information about Grace, visit my Etsy or Folksy stores.


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