Author Archives: scruffybadgertime

doris dress

Doris Dress by Sew Over It- Giveaway!

Long time no see!  Well it feels like it anyway.  I’ve just started a new part time job (not sewing related) & I am loving it, but my brain & all available memory cells are devoted to that at the moment.  But today’s my ‘Lady of Leisure’ (LOL) day & I have all sorts of lovely things planned to start the bank holiday weekend off with early 🙂  To start, this is a treat – I have a copy of the new dress pattern from Sew Over It – the Doris dress.  And it’s up for someone to win in a giveaway….read on!

doris

I was a pattern tester for this dress you see, & so I can show you my version of the newest pattern to be added to Sew Over It’s pattern store.  This dress has been held as a course at Sew Over It’s shops & it’s great that it’s another pattern that has existed as a course pattern that is being released for us to make at home.

Product ImageThe Doris dress a semi-fitted dress with a scooped neck and the sweetest bust pleats for delicate shaping and floaty grown-on sleeves.

doris dress

At the waist you can cinch the back with a waist ties, or a fixed back belt- or leave it if it’s too hot & you want a looser fit.  The skirt is panelled & is a really flattering shape, in two lengths (I went for the longer length).

 

The bodice has a faux button closure – the front is still made in two pieces, left & right, but the buttons are not how you get in & out of the dress.  And I didn’t even make buttonholes in mine – just sewed buttons through all layers.  There is a concealed zip in the side seam.  The bodice is finished with facings for a neat finish on the inside.

doris dress

This was a lovely dress to sew & it’s all revving on the hanger in my wardrobe desperate for some warmer weather.  My pale legs are in denial (and didn’t last long!)  It’s such a feminine dress to wear & whilst it is inspired by styles of the 1950s I vividly remember dresses like this in the 1980s.  It’s the bodice  in particular I think.

doris dress

So although this dress is a zipped up closure – I reckon it would be easy to convert it to a fully front operating button up- don’t bother with the zip & cut the centre front skirt  in half with extra facings/ seam allowances etc & you can button up all the way.

doris dress

I was provided with fabric from Sew Over It’s shop too & absolutely fell in love with this turquoise feather viscose.  I am afraid it’s not there now, but another thing I love about Sew Over It’s store, is that you can pick a garment to then find suitable fabrics- look at the choices there are for the Doris dress.  I took a long time deciding it has to be said!  Bit thought a small scale print would look cute on this style of dress.  And essential that you choose a fabric with drape if you want to showcase the nature of the skirt!

And the quality of this fabric is divine!  Absolutely heavenly.

So whilst this is my tester version I am reliably informed that there are no significant changes to bring the pattern for release.

And now onto the exciting part – if you want to win a copy of this pattern for yourself (I’m talking the printed paper pattern here folks) leave me a comment below to enter yourself in the giveaway.  I’ll send it anywhere so it’s open to you all- closes at 1200 GMT Saturday 7th May.  I’ll pick a random comment as the winner.

coco top

Coco top with a yoke

Hello all!  I am in that place where my blogging is not keeping up with my sewing (or even my life ) at the moment.  I might (a big might) write another one about that as there were some sewing adventures & some compulsory fabric purchasing (shortened to ‘CFP’ & defined as unavoidable weakness when in proximity to fabric.  I suffer from this a lot & it is virtual as well as a tangible condition.  I suspect I might not be alone ).

Coco top with a yoke

But for now I am going to rewind a few months to show something I made as a gift (hence no pics of me wearing it, much to your relief as I haven’t got my hair in order today).

This is a Coco top & I added a yoke to it both in the bodice and at the sleeve tops.

Coco top with a yoke

It ‘s not that hard to add a yoke – you just need to be clear about where you want it to sit (I suggest that a horizontal seam right across the fullest part of your bust is not necessarily the best place 😉 )  And you could stop there, but I wanted the tops of the sleeves to mirror the yoke on the bodice.  So once I had drawn my bodice yoke line, I then needed to align the sleeves as if they were sewn in to work out where to continue the yoke line in the sleeve pattern.  Tempting as it might be to just slice through your original pattern you need to make copies of the bodice & sleeves because you need to add seam allowances to the horizontal seams.  But then you end up with a pattern to use again.  Reward for your new pattern drafting !

Coco top with a yoke

The fabric is some soft mid weight jersey in a cream/ green stripe that I had bought with this very intention a bit too long ago to expect it to still be in stock.  I can’t even remember where the cream ponte came from.

I have been having a lot of success using clear elastic on turned over necklines in knits like this.  I was reminded of it when this helpful tutorial was published by Maria Denmark on adding invisible elastic to knit necklines

Clear elastic attached to wrong side of neckline

Clear elastic attached to wrong side of neckline

It involves two passes at the neckline, sewing the elastic to the wrong side before folding (with an all important steam of the iron in between) to finish the neckline.

Sewing from the right side to finish the neckline with a folded edge, elastic sandwiched in the middle

Sewing from the right side to finish the neckline with a folded edge, elastic sandwiched in the middle

I find it gives a better level of stability to the neckline (as I sit here in a teeshirt I made that has a boatneck & gapes dreadfully).

coco topAnd to finish these adorable nautical buttons- no more left now.  Thanks Zoe, who sent them to me all those months years ago.  They are from Textile Garden – whilst having a quick roam amongst some stunners, I came across some anchor-readys, there may be more if you look harder… .

 

hudson pants

Springtime Hudsons

Fancy seeing yet more lounge wear that has been added to my repertoire?  After making floral summer Hudson pants, Arctic Hudson pants (both of which get a sound wearing), the new kid on the block are my Springtime Hudson pants made out of some delicious purple jersey.

hudson pants

Read more about them at the Minerva Blogging network here, and find out why they are not  Kwik Sew K3835.

Enjoy!

sewing studio feature

Fabric shopping in Bath- The Sewing Studio

Hello all! I have decided to pull together just a little series that may be of completely no interest to you…until you decide that you’re going to plan a trip to my hometown, Bath, & want to check out some of the sewing attractions. So it’ll be either no interest to you, or something that you return to when it is relevant!

sewing studio

You see I have been asked by readers of my blog about where to go for fabric fixes …. & more… so decided to write a couple of pieces about my personal recommendations. Bath is a lovely place to visit (& that’s not just me, being a resident saying so, it’s the millions of visitors coming each year that lead me to make that statement! ) Yes I am biased. I have lived here for nearly 30 years now & even though I have moved out to become a rural outlier, the centre of Bath is still just 20 minutes (non rush hour) away for me. I love the city, its Roman history & Victorian regeneration of that, the Georgian architecture, the parks, the river,  Thermae Spa & the wide choice of shopping – all the usual shops you find in any town, but with an Anthropologie, and the lovely independent shops – check out Margarets Buildings, Broad Street and Walcot Street. The museums are also really interesting & some are award winning . But check out visitBath for ideas about what to do if you are coming to Bath & planning your trip.

So to kick this mini  series off, I am going to give some thumbs up to my fave fabric shop in Bath – Mark Pickles’ Sewing Studio. It’s on Charles Street, slightly off the main drag but close enough to Queens Square, host to our summer Boules competition, French food festival and also a generally nice place to relax for a picnic in  town.

Map here.

On a dry day you will see rolls of polycotton standing in bins (see above)  outside serving as flags to signal what goes on here. It was raining when I visited, but look for this shopfront  so that you can spot it nice & easily from the road.

sewing studio (11)

Now, originally, this shop used to be called Husqvarna Studio, (hence the website address) but whilst the names changed, nothing fundamental is any different – still the same friendly owners, shop stocked to the brim with sewing goodies.

Mark Pickles himself

Mark Pickles himself

Mark sells sewing machines, overlockers, swish fancy embroidery enabled machines as well.

sewing studio (4)

This is where I go to have my machines serviced and where I‘ve bought my overlocker and my coverstitch machine.

Here's Mark at work on someone's precious machine

Here’s Mark at work on someone’s precious machine

However, I would be very surprised if on a visit to Bath to see the sights, you were planning to leave with a sewing machine in your case! Fear not, there is so much more to come to the Sewing Studio for!

 

sewing studio (3)

The shop is arranged on two floors, and the ground floor is split between sewing machines, haberdashery & the most popular seasonal fabric / some craft fabric then upstairs has the workshop space for lessons, even more fabrics and the pattern books.

sewing studio (8)

Every time I come to the Sewing Studio, Mark delights in showing me the new additions to the stock & the shop always seems to be on the point of bursting – but not unbearingly so. You can see everything, perform that essential fabric touching test between your thumb & forefingers (very important & undertaken almost subconsciously by every fabric shopper, am I right?) This is not a megastore – it is a family run business homed in two floors of a Georgian terrace. But the space is optimised to get a really wide range of fabric & the gizmos & doings for all types of fabric crafting.

sewing studio (7)

Whether it is patchwork, bag making, cushion & duvet making you’re into, or being an avid dressmaker , he’s got something to offer. Last time I visited he showed me Teflon coated canvas, great for bagmaking. He also stocks tailoring resources (eg canvas – note to self) & other things (maybe less standard) for the fashion students at the nearby college. In winter he’s proud to show off his wools & coatings – the lovliest of selections, & now we are looking at Spring summer sewing, he’s some lovely linens & chambrays.

sewing studio (2)

Just a few of the fabrics on the ground floor

I would say that he picks quality fabrics that would be on a par with John Lewis prices & quality.  Stock is frequently refreshed & his sales are always worthwhile – usually he has blanket discounts to make way for the new stock he knows is on the way & he has to fit in!

sewing studio (10)

I love shopping for fabric on the internet and there are some great online shops, but somehow, we all love a bricks & mortar fabric shopping experience don’t we?   Nothing quite like being able to handle the fabric there & then when you know what you want to make.  Or to fall for something you see in the flesh.

sewing studio (12)

 

This is most definitely my first choice for fabric shopping in Bath- if you have something particular in mind, you can usually get it here. And then some. Temptation all around! And always a friendly welcome.

I have not been paid to write this review or make this recommendation. All views are genuine & my own.

mccalls 7261 feature

Luxury running top McCalls 7261

I have not posted anything for a while about running have I?  That itself could be a post of its own, reflective perhaps that my running has taken a bit of a back seat to the other stuff going on.  Maybe I will find time to write about that sometime.  Maybe.

mccalls 7261 (3)

But this is something I have made for running.  Hurrah!  And it has been worn on quite a few runs already!  Double hurrah!  This is McCalls 7261  M7261 which has long sleeved tops with collar & hood options & cuffs with thumbholes (gotta love those thumbholes for a winter running top 😉  ).  This pattern also has colour blocked leggings which I haven’t looked into.  So quite an interesting pattern!  Almost a winter running capsule wardrobe!

mccalls 7261

The top has princess seams & raglan sleeves.  I went for the version with the two-piece cowlish neck.  It’s like a built in mini Buff.

mccalls 7261 (6)

I also wanted to make the version with the thumbholes – I mean this would be a full on winter running top.

Thumbholes

Thumbholes

But what about the fabric?  It’s from Spoonflower (2m bought  on one of the free postage days last year ) – Birds & Bees in butter yellow – using the Performance Knit – this is the lesser stretch active wear fabric (NB not suitable for leggings which need high stretch,  the Sport Lycra is best for leggings)  This though feels so silky to the skin & performs great when you’re running & get a bit warm.  It also has amazing drape which means that the collar on this top is absolutely glorious & cascades beautifully.  I love sewing with this fabric & I love wearing it.  Truly it feels luxurious.  And the design is so cute & unusual.  But also quite understated.  I love it.  The birds are so cuuuute & singing to me as I run!

Sorry about the apparent strain! Just my arm position...

Sorry about the apparent strain! Just my arm position…

I have not that much to say about the sewing except that it all came together really nicely.  I used my overlocker (of course)!  except for hems & using a narrow zig zag to understitch the seam allowance at the collar.

mccalls 7261 (2)

I did also machine baste the collar to the neckline with my regular machine using a long straight stitch before sewing with my overlocker- just as a precaution & much easier to sew trickier seams on your overlocker when there are no pins in the way!

mccalls 7261 (5)Here are some more photos of the back …

mccalls 7261 (7)mccalls 7261 (8)

I’m not modelling it very well, twisting it a little out of shape.  But it shows it loves to slink.  I did make a size 12, as I prefer a loose fit.    I’ve enjoyed everything about McCalls 7261- so far.  There is finally more choice in the  activewear patterns being released by some of the big 4 & if this top is anything to go by, they are really interesting & wearable.  What do you think?

tartan feature

Genealogy circle skirt of awesome tartan

tartan 9Apologies in advance as this is going to be picture heavy.  It deserves to be you see because this is possibly the MOST EXPENSIVE fabric I have ever sewn.  Or very close to my Harris Tweeds at any rate.  And once again this is as a result of my Dad’s tremendous generosity & love of quality.  Yes, he has struck again & for my last birthday in February, after checking with me & finding how much I wanted, my Dad bought me a length of proper Scottish 10oz wool tartan.  But not just any wool tartan, this tartan, as you have probably guessed from the title has family connections.  This is the Kincaid clan tartan, which relates to my great great great grandma, Jessey Kincaid, born in 1807, dying just 30 years later.

 

tartan 6

My Dad had actually asked me if I wanted some tartan (to make a kilt perhaps!) after the adventures on last seasons Great British Sewing Bee.  I politely declined, not really seeing that the cost of this type of fabric would be justified in the amount of wear I would get out of a kilt.  But then half a year or so later, he must have thought of it again & found some Kincaid tartan on the Scotland shop.  Sending me the link, I was able to check it out, make sure it wasn’t lilac (or other colours I really wouldn’t wear) & then do some visioning.  The good news was that it was a tartan that I really liked & that would be compatible with my usual colours & style.  But knowing that I would never make tartan trousers or anything that involved too much check matching, I was thinking along the skirt route.  Did I really want to repeat the lovely Harris Tweed pencil skirt?  It was an option.  However, having rediscovered circle skirts back in January, I started looking up inspiration.  Lauren’s plaid circle skirt was all the convincing I needed, & I sent the link off to my sewing Guru mother for her opinion, having also calculated the yardage required using the By Hand circle skirt calculator app.

 

tartan 1

We had a bit of an email debate about weight of the fabric & how it would hang… & I did not want to rush into the decision because this was expensive fabric & I wanted to get it right.  In the end though, I needed 1.5m for the full circle skirt which would give me plenty for a different kind of skirt should the fabric arrive & not be suitable.  The website did have plenty of information about the different weights of tartan though & what they can be used for, so I felt reasonably confident.

My Dad conjured up delivery on the day arrived last time I visited.  I think we were all really excited.

 

I was determined to make this skirt for wearing this season, not to let it linger, so I got stuck in last month.

 

tartan 2

This precious fabric needed as good a finish as I could muster.  But I needed not to be scared of it.  I used the skirt pattern from the Sew Over It Betty dress (slightly adapted to give me a quarter piece), placing it on carefully folded fabric, using the vertical & horizontal lines as right angles to then flip the quarter over to cut the mirror image, thereby cutting a complete circle.  I had cut a separate circle according to the waist curve I wanted to cut out.tartan circle skirt

Unlike the knit circle skirt I made, this skirt needed a zip & despite being cut out as a whole circle with a hole in the centre for my waist (slightly smaller than my actual waist measurement to allow for some natural stretching along the bias) I did need to cut a single vertical seam- a centre back seam, so that I could add a zip. (I also stay stitched the waist seam).

tartan 5

I finished the edges of this freshly cut vertical seam with bias binding, kind of Hong Kong seam, before inserting the zip, that way the edges are all finished neatly & in the same way.

Sewing a lapped zipper felt authentic & more easy to control pattern matching than using an invisible zip.  I think it might be a millimetre out in certain parts which is irritating, but not visible in usual wear.

I used waistband Vilene to create a nice neat crisp waistband.  I do love this stuff & always use it for skirts with waistbands.

I left the skirt to hang on my tailors dummy, Barbarella for the best part if  week I think.  I recognised that once I set the hem, I would need to devote enough time to actually sew it….there would be a lot to hem !  Once I had marked the hem I used my overlocker to cut & finish the new finished edge in one pass.  That way the wool fabric wouldn’t fray as I was working with it around the hem.  I liked keeping it under control!

tartan 7

 

You can probably imagine that sewing a round hem would bring all sorts of challenges, not only the distance.  Early on I decided that the best way for me to sew the hem would be with a bias hem, attaching bias binding by machine, right sides together, then turning the bias binding to the inside then hand sewing this as the hem.  And this would also look neat with the honk Kong finish on the centre back seam.  Of course I chose satin bias binding for something a bit swish!  I bought far too much because I couldn’t be bothered to test my maths out …I should have exercised the grey cells though, shouldn’t I?

tartan 8

I am not saying it took a long time to hand sew the hem, but two beers & two episodes of Game of Thrones later, it was done.  And I am pleased with the result.  The bias binding was easy to manipulate around the curved edge & I think I can get away with such a shallow hem because the fabric is heavy enough.

Now initially I had thought I would line it.  But after a while I realised that even if I line it, I would still wear it with a full slip because a wool waistband is too itchy not to.  And so I didn’t line it.

 

tartan circle skirt

It really has a feel of luxury to it – the volumes of beautiful wool….

I think that because this fabric is so very expensive and makes this skirt the most expensive skirt item of clothing I have, I want it not to be hanging idle & reserved for special occasions, but something that can be worn out & about in every day life.

tartan 11

And I have now rejoiced in wearing it on a blustery Spring day.  It felt so good.  I had lots of swish, but it was not toooo flashy for lunch with friends  & for an evening meal in a local country pub.  It looks cute with heels, but in everyday life I wear it with my boots this time of the year.tartan 12

I love this skirt & that it has family history behind it.  ANd this makes it even more special as it combines my passion for sewing with my Dad’s interest in tracing our family history.  He’s done decades of work on it & I am expecting this skirt to give me decades of pleasure (or is that a little optimistic?  Better keep the moths away & keep the running going!!!)

Outfit notes.  Also appearing with my tartan circle skirt are my Fleece Renfrew top and a new essential black SoZo Dolores batwing top (as yet unblogged).

what do you reckon to a bit of everyday luxury or would you keep it for specials?

What’s this week got in store?

Hi folks!  Just a quick one really. First of all I am pleased to announce that I have started the process to make my Harris Tweed jacket.

It’ll be a while before I cut into this wondrous fabric though.  I am making Simplicity 2446 , heavily influenced by the two wonderful examples and detailed notes written at Allspiceabounds by Carolyn.  I’ve toiled it – hurrah!  And have started the cutting out of blazer number one which I am hoping turns out well enough to wear.  I’ve bought a polka dot cotton &  whilst not a blatant replica of Carolyn’s polka dot blazer, it may have similarities & why not make a bit of Boden to hang on my coat peg?   My plan is to use this version to refine fit, learn how to make the pockets, vents etc & work on my details before committing to the hallowed Harris Tweed.  Thank  you in advance Carolyn for all of your detailed notes & wonderful blazers (in both lengths).  I shall be revisiting your notes a lot I think!

So that’s going to be a bit of slow sewing interspersed I am sure with some quickies.  And I have been sewing up a storm recently so there are plenty of newly made things to get photographed & written up.  It’s about time I slowed down …

On another note, at the end of this week I am out & about.

Anyone else going to head over to the open day at the Fabric Godmother?

I must be completely crazy because it’s something like a four hour plus train journey (or should I say trains journey as I have lots of connections!) but I just can’t wait!  I love the idea of seeing Josie’s fabrics in real life- she has some really unusual Italian designer fabrics for starters as well as some quality classics.  I am really looking forward to meeting Josie for the first time & maybe some new & old friends?

Plus I’m heading to the coast!  Woo hoo!

Lisa, the lady behind the Avid Seamstress is also going to be there & I have to say that I’d been aware of the patterns but have not bought any, but my attention was grabbed when I say Josie (aka Fabric Godmother)’s take on the Day Dress.  It’s funny how sometimes another interpretation & pairing of pattern & fabric changes things.  No I haven’t bought the pattern 😉

But the original question, now that I have come back from my rambling, stands.  Who might be going & therefore who might I get to meet?  Let me know in the comments won’t you?!

🙂

polka dot PJs feature

#Vintagepledge polka dot PJs plus vintage lace

I’ll be giving an update on the voting for my vintage pledge at the end of this post, but here’s my first contribution to this year’s Vintage Pledge…. They started with the fabric.  From my fave Bath fabric shop, Sewing Studio on Charles Street.

polka dot PJs

At the time I was choosing between the turquoise and the magenta.   The turquoise was a slightly different fabric, a bit stiffer, more of a poplin.  The burgundy was a softer cotton, beautiful & soft to the touch.  The turquoise became my first Orla top.  This magenta might have become a dress, that is certainly where my thinking started.  I got two metres.  But then the idea of pyjamas was born.  And not just any PJs, but these vintage PJs mentioned as part of my vintage pledge – long leg trousers with a short sleeved top.  I kind of fancied one of the collars but couldn’t make my mind up which one to go for. 

style 4262

 

Which was just as well, because come the time to cut them out, there was really not enough to get any collars out.  I mean seriously scrimping for fabric to get most of the pieces out of the polka dots.  I had to piece the front facing together even. 

Back neck darts

Back neck darts

The top was lovely to sew- a few darts (including beloved neck darts) – but a loose fit.  No surprise techniques from the 70s to be found in the instructions.  But this was of the era when patterns were sold in single sizes & the seam lines are printed on the pattern as well as the cutting lines.  That made me all nostalgic….

polka dot PJs

There was no interfacing required.  I thought about this & felt that I too would gamble – they are PJs, soft lines, comfy, no starch.  Possibly I could get away with it.  Besides, having spliced a couple of pieces of fabric together for the front facings left me a little reluctant to interrupt my creative streak by taking it apart to recut as interfacing.  I took the risk & people, no one died!  The neckline is soft as befits sleep wear.  The buttons & buttonholes are under no undue strain as this top is a loose fit.  (It is a medium – you might think it looks sacklike but it’s sleepwear, not bodycon…)   I think we will survive.  It just came out of the wash a little crinkled…but I refuse to iron PJs just for the sake of a slightly rumpled neck facing.

polka dot PJs

The trousers are a single piece pattern, cut twice (one for each leg) – thereby eliminating the outside leg seam.  Nice & swift to sew!  But they were pretty huge.  I had all sorts of adjustments to make for size – both leg width, length & crotch depth.  As it turns out I bet I could have cut the trousers with a shallower crotch as they came up very high & I needed to lose some of the depth.  I bet I could have squeezed a collar out of that wastage.  Never mind.  By that time I was set on a different path – collarless top, but with one pocket, as per the pattern, jauntily placed over the hip.  I had  doubts about making the top with such a high neckline with no collar & had thought I could maybe dig out a vintage lace collar to compensate. 

Lace topped pocket

Lace topped pocket

And that was what got me placing some vintage lace (courtesy of Minnado– see I am still treasuring it x) on the pocket.  But when the top was almost finished & presentable on Barbarella, my dummy, it was clear that the lace collar was just a doily too far.   So the lace around the arm hems was not in the initial vision, but were added having now the lace on the pocket, which would have looked a bit isolated with no other lace through the whole length of these PJs…I like it!  That’s sort of how I design on the go….playing around with what I’ve got as I go along, and not necessarily there at the beginning when I cut out.

laced trimmed sleeves

laced trimmed sleeves

Buttons were also added according to my depleting button stash.  I did not have enough of the same buttons for a set, so used alternative flower/ plain white buttons as my ‘design’.  I

polka dot PJs

have to say that the understated fancy of these PJs dings my bell.  And they are just so lovely to wear.  I‘d already set on making these when Karen’s post on making proper full PJs came out.  Yes, I do deserve to look nice in bed & ditch those race t-shirts.  Proper PJs, decent enough to wear on a sleepover- pass the cinzano!!

polka dot pjs

PS I will not be making a summer version with elasticated legged bloomers.  Just saying.

polka dot Pjs

And as an update on the voting for my vintage pattern commitment it looks like it’s the 1970s wrap dress that’s streets ahead of the 1950s jacket.  If you want to add to the voting I’ll leave it going for another couple of weeks (purely because I am not going to do anything just yet…)  You can access it using the link to the original post, or even in the sidebar (but you don’t get the pictures of the patterns in the sidebar ,-) )

 

sewing across thick seams the easy way

Sewing thick seams- everyone’s got a humper bumper

This folks, is my take on a very useful piece of kit for sewing over thick seams.  This is a flexible, variable  ‘humper bumper’ that every seamster already has in their kit- and it isn’t a folded piece of cardboard.

Thick layers to sew across

Thick layers to sew across

Using a wool like Harris Tweed for my Anya bag meant there were some thick seams to negotiate (eg sewing over the numbers of layers that result when you sew the bag + lining with straps in between.)    It would be the same with any thicker fabric, even denim.   And sewing clothing like jeans with belt loops & flat felled seams, can also result in similar sewing machine challenges.

details

My first experience of using a ‘humper bumper’ was when sewing my Ginger jeans.  This is something you use to help your machine deal with thick seams- particularly sewing over/ across thick seams of which there are a lot in jeans sewing eg crotch seam intersection, belt loops, hemming.  I used a folded up piece of cardboard for my jeans but did not have any cardboard to hand when sewing my bag.

humper bumper

But what does every seamster have to hand?  A tape measure of course which makes the perfect humper bumper!  Create an instant piece of extra padding by folding up a few layers of tape measure to whatever thickness you need.

humper bumper

You use it once you have actually just started to sew the lumpy bit, pausing just as you get there to add the folded tape layers underneath the back of the sewing machine foot to equalise/ steady it for going forward.

humper bumper

Even though I use a walking foot, the added ‘humper bumper’ was a boon.  Give it a go next time – no purchase required!

Anya bag

Anya bag in Harris Tweed

I have made a few bags in my time, but never have any made such an impression as this one.  Partly due to pattern, but also thanks to the fabrics, it has to be said.  I felt it was time to make a new day bag & had heard how deceptively roomy the Anya bag by So Zo is.  Zoe had kindly sent me the pattern as a housewarming gift (so kind!) & with Spring in the air & a few free hours in the afternoon I tried to bring together some suitable fabrics from my stash.

anya bag

I had initially thought of using some of the pleather I had left from my Madrid tote bag made last year.  But then I remembered I might have enough Harris Tweed  left for some of the bag, if not all.  Excitement raised, I hunted it out & gleefully discovered there was enough (just) to make the whole bag out of the Harris Tweed & use one of the genuine labels too.  Don’t cheapen it, I thought & discounted any use of a contrast yoke.  Keep to the Harris Tweed.  Line up the checks.  Find a lovely lining.  I looked through my Liberty remnants thinking that a Liberty lining would be classy enough for such a fine tweed.  Nothing really zinged though.  Especially when I found a piece of pink satin lining.  Oh my, the shine!  The pink that took out the pink lines in the tweed!  It was a match.  Cutting & sewing started.

anya tab

I was going to add to the pattern slightly by including an inner pocket (in bird print cotton ) & instead of a button tab, use one of those magnetic clasps.  As long as I could remember where I had stored it.  Luckily I did.  Considering my flaky memory, the list of ‘things I can’t find after unpacking’ is very short.  And now does not include magnetic clasps.

anya tab sewing

So the thing to remember is that if you are using magnetic clasps, they need to be added / installed early on to both the tab & the yoke piece before you really start sewing.  It’s fine though, just use the markings on the pattern & they will meet up once the bag is constructed.

anya pocket

The same with a pocket.  I sewed the pocket & attached it to the lining, once the lining yoke was attached to the bag lining piece but before sewing the two linings + yokes together.

Everything else carries on like usual & Zoe’s instructions are mucho comprehensive.  There is also a one page quick sheet if you don’t need all the detail.

The Goy-jus Handmade Jane remembers my fondness for Harris Tweed & had bought me some genuine Harris Tweed covered buttons as a birthday present last year.  The perfect gift & I am glad to say, I have added two to this bag as a classy finishing touch – they are not exactly the same Tweed pattern, but the colours are spot on.  And I still have four buttons to embellish something else 🙂

anya buttons

I am absolutely smitten with the lovely shape & soft pleats of this bag.  But it’s the use of this my last  last piece of Harris Tweed that fills me most with joy.  I know my Dad, who bought it for me, will be so pleased.

Tweedy to the max

Will I wear it with my skirt?  I do not know….what do you think?

Let me tell you though …this bag is roomy…I was able to fit my usual stuff PLUS my DSLR without any particular strains – tab closed nicely & bag’s pleats accommodated it all without any fuss.  What a star bag …. Its only shortcoming is its owner …insisting on using it on rainy days when perhaps she should have been looking after the precious tweed a bit better (It’s OK, nothing ruined !)

So if you’re on bank holiday today you could find some beautiful remnant in your stash to breathe a new lease of life and productivity into? Making a bag can be such a rewarding project for a rainy day!