Does anyone else remember yelling that in the school yard? Baggsing a seat, or a turn on some play equipment? It’s frequently used in our family in the car – a sudden shout of ‘Bags car!’ as a particularly cool/sleek/vintage car goes past. The Bloke insists on shouting that out for Winnebagoes and other campervan type stuff, even though he’s got absolutely no competition for them. The lass has a penchant for convertibles, the lad loves his motorbikes and I look out for the Austins, Jags and other sleek types.

Which is a round about way of getting to bag-making, notably sooz’s shoulder bag.

I’ve mentioned before that I made it as a gift for my mum (and she loves it) and now I can show it in pictures and say that I loved making it.

I have to admit that  I was crazy enough to do this in the six days between our house move and Christmas. Rather than sewing it in one hit, I had to find bits of time. It wasn’t really a problem as it turned out; the instructions are clear and step by step so I could finish at one step and walk away without worrying about confusion when I got back to it.

Enough fabric was supplied that I could centre my pieces over the geometric print and match them up.

I recommend pinning the ease in to make sewing it a great deal easier. Don’t be afraid to manipulate the fabric as it turns the corner.

Putting together the lining and main fabric is straightforward. Love your iron at this point – iron down the hem allowance for each piece before you put them together and you’ll get a very neat result.

This is a nice little example of what not to do. The strap should have been threaded up and then over the centre bar. I discovered this after I’d sewn it in, of course.

Ta da! This was just the right size for a shoulder bag – something a little informal and chosen to complement mum’s wardrobe. Since I had to replace the strap, I asked mum if she’d prefer a different kind of strap. In the end, she found a woven belt the same colour as the base cloth and I fitted a non-adjustable strap. We’re both happy with it and I’m looking forward to making my own version with a different piece of Ink & Spindle cloth I purchased last year.


Sewing bliss

I may have mentioned earlier that setting up the sewing room study was a priority when we moved. It’s still a little cramped – unpacking the study section seems less important than unpacking the knitting and sewing section. I took a few shots to give you an idea of how it is now.

A dedicated sewing table has made my life so much easier. The chair was a garage sale find and I have plans to reupholster. The good thing is that it’s still comfortable until that happens.

See all that natural light? It’s amazing! The brown table in the corner is my cutting table and I can’t tell you how grateful my knees are now that I no longer have to scrabble around on floorboards. If you look closely you’ll see the wicker sewing basket I picked up in an op shop in Pambula on the far south coast of New South Wales. It was $20 which made me dither for half an hour but good sense won out in the end. I have fabric remnants of the same era in the same colour combo (white/red/black) and that will replace the ugly floral lining.

This is the 1950s dresser my sister had when she left home and gave to me and the Bloke after we were married.

It’s unbelievable heavy, every male in the family loathes the thing because they’ve had to help move it and I love it with a passion. The little cupboard on the left is actually a meat safe with ventilating wire mesh at the back. And it has something you could only find in white Australia during the 1950s – the maker’s sticker proudly proclaiming ‘only European labour’.

This is my sewing basket that was a leaving home gift from my mother. My older sister got the pale pink version and I got this aqua one. There were no expectations that we’d start making our own clothes it’s just that Mum had a fairly practical view that we knew the sewing basics and the least we could do is mend and repair stuff.

I don’t think it coped well with this move. During the second sewing project the hinges on the left lid gave up the ghost and shattered in my hands. It was only a momentary blow because then I could pull out and properly use this little beauty.

A 1950s, cantilevered, made in Melbourne wonder. It does need a little attention with that brace on the left but that’s it – no damage internally and no scuffing. Another op shop, this time in Sunshine. I walked in after early release from a work seminar and pounced on it immediately. It had only come in that morning.

With all that organisation, I’ve made a top for me, one for the lass, a summer dress for my niece, a little matching skirt for her doll and sooz’s bag (as a gift). Very, very satisfying.

Blowin’ in the wind

I’ve been really busy with sewing, studio organising, knitting and planning. I’m busting to show you (now that I’m back at work and have a computer with decent processing speed) but I’ll start off slowly.

This is fabric purchased from Ikea. It’s destined to be cushion covers – the orange toned fabrics will liven up a beige slipcovered couch while the blue tones will replace covers nibbled out by Misty the class rabbit.

I love these large, graphic prints. The oversize delicacy of the bird and branch print on the right makes me happy. The floral on the left seemed so much fun that I bought an extra long piece as our outside tablecloth.

I’m not a huge fan of blue but I’ve ended up with a 3-seater couch in dark blue. I think the combo of pale blue, white and black should lift the dark blue and break up the splodge of darkness. I think that’s why I didn’t yell when I found out which cushion covers had been chewed. At least I had an excuse to replace them.

News of summer adventures will be forthcoming: sooz’s shoulder bag kit (delightfully received by my mum), op shop scores on the Mornington Peninsula and tales of just how much sewing you can get done when things are tidy and slightly organised.