A Proper Project Bag

When all the comments started coming in on my last post, the one about sewing, all the advice and recommendations thrilled me! There are times when advice is much needed and all of you who sew as well as knit came to my aid with links and suggestions. I was delighted!

Of course I had done some googling of my own in preparation for sewing, but that people who knew what they were talking about offered me much linky-goodness was greatly appreciated. Over the course of days I gathered all the links together, had a bit of a think and today have spent a somewhat tortured but ultimately thrilling afternoon making my first properly ambitious project. I say ambitious because in reading through the instructions, I very nearly didn’t go forth. I just couldn’t see what was meant but I remembered back to all the times in knitting when I read instructions, thought ‘huh?’ and went on regardless.  I wanted to make a bag with a proper bottom, so I gave it a go and I’m not disappointed.

Sometimes, a bit of faith in your own capacity to think is helpful. Here’s my first lined draw string bag. Look, Mum. I made something good!


Special thanks to Amy for sending me this one. It’s a corker! You can find it at Yarnmonster. That a fellow knitter designed it gave it extra appeal.

I’ve had the fabric for this bag for a long time. Several years ago, while on a shopping outing with RoseRed and several other knitters I picked up a wad of fat quarters bundled together with a teapot theme.  Look at the photo above, you’ll see the teapots. I bought them long before I had the slightest notion of learning to sew. I actually thought my mum might like to make something (for me!) out of the fabric. I never got around to passing them on and so instead kept them in a drawer ‘just in case’.  My just in case day arrived. I lined it with some fabric I picked up last week.


I’m not going to pretend this was easy. But rather than calling it the fault of the tutorial, rather it was a lack of understanding on my part. I picked apart a few seams, scratched my head a lot, referred to the photos a lot. But I got there. And I’m thrilled. Sean, who is suffering a rather bad respitiratory infection at the moment, sat nearby watching Team America but pausing periodically to cheer me on as I managed each stage.

Now that I’ve done it, I’m excited to make more. We’ve got another quiet day planned tomorrow and I imagine I’ll get through it a little more quickly than today’s effort. Maybe I’ll even make my second one as a gift. In fact I think I’ll make one soon that I’ll give away as a blog prize, but I need to work on my skills a bit first.

So thanks for all the tips and help. Keep them coming. I even washed the fat quarters last night, drying them over the heating vents in preparation for today.

Soon, I hope to be able to make something cute for somebody lovely, like Alice. Isn’t this a great photo? She doesn’t like having her hair pulled up. This face says, ‘I’m not impressed, Mum.’ Indeed.

alice - pigtails

Any recommendations for simple toddler patterns much appreciated! Although I’m imagining that’ll be more appropriate for less chilly weather since I’m only working in cotton right now.



36 thoughts on “A Proper Project Bag

  1. Pingback: Rainy days + fuzzy laptops = productivity « Acting like a mama

  2. Ditto all the kudos that have already come your way. You are obviously good with puzzling out tutorials! Ready to take some scraps from my fabric collection (I haven’t done much sewing but got on a cool scraps kick last year, and the warehouse is now overstocked just like the stash) and try one myself!
    And if you remember being quite young, Alice’s expression isn’t surprising. I always felt like my scalp hurt when I had a ponytail or pigtails that were done “up top.” Her expression says it all!

  3. Pingback: A Bit About the Drawstring Bags « Bellsknits

  4. Excellent work. I’ve bookmarked that tutorial for myself – it looks very clear and helpful!

    Good news, socks – I think you might be getting a new home…

  5. You’re very welcome, happy to pass on such a good pattern! Let’s see, toddler clothes–there are some cute tutorials out there for making summer dresses out of old men’s button-down shirts, and the pillow case dresses, too. I think in Sewing Green there are instructions for both a toddler dress made from a pillow case, and an adult skirt. I had an idea of finding matching vintage pillow cases for me and Grace, but…well. Perhaps for next year. 😉

  6. I am so impressed with your first lined bag Helen, so impressed that maybe you might like to make one for me after my fingerless gloves of course. The material looked familiar and I realised I have some of it too. I just love the teapots. Keep up the good work. Love Mum xox

  7. The Smallest Female Personage in our family (3 going on 43) has taken to vetoing certain garments on the grounds that they do not “make her beautiful enough!!”. Will not wear jeans any more – “they don’t fit properly!”, will only wear Jeggings. Had similar difficulties with her mother in days of yore, and she grew out of it eventually.

    Mind you, the combination of the Jeggings and the little tush……….

    Gae, in Callala Bay

  8. Bravo, you intrepid fiber artist! Looks grand!

    Alice is charming. The style suits her, even if she doesn’t care for it.
    Give her a look in the mirror before she sets her mind against them. Then, maybe add bows.

  9. I thought about you as I was in the fabric store yesterday. I bought fabric to make two summer skirts. Long flowy things that will be cool as it hits 100 degrees this week. I haven’t had the machine out for a while but since we’re not cooking anything today, I think the dining room is a safe place to spread out. I am only making slip on skirts with elastic waists so I should be able to turn out two respectable skirts today. We’ll see.

    The bag is beautiful. Set in bottoms take a bit of thought, but then so did knitted on edgings, remember?

  10. It looks really impressive and not at all like a first project! Well done you for perservering, and how lovely to have Sean cheering you on all the way. Love the photo of Alice too – definitely not impressed with her hair!

  11. lovely bag, it worked out so well, and alice is obviously unhappy that it’s not for her! can’t believe the pigtails! my girls who are older are still a bit lacking in the hair department. i can’t recommend an actual pattern, but a basic a-line pinafore would be great for alice and not too hard to make. in denim or corduroy they’d be fine for winter. i want to make some in denim and applique vintage crocheted doileys on them, one day!

  12. That’s fantastic! I haven’t done a huge amount of sewing, but have accidentally committed myself to making a regency ball gown for a ‘do’ next summer. Which will be hard, but worth it, I’m sure 😉

  13. Congratulations on your first real project, it turned out wonderfully well. I am trying to think of the dress that is knitted for the top and the bottom is fabric. It might be Summerlin but it is on ravelry and would be perfect for Miss Alice in the summer time. She looks cute in piggytails too. My daughter never liked them because she hated the way her hair pulled in the hairties!

  14. Congratulations, perseverance paid out, the bag is beautiful and you are gaining more skills by the minute. Unpicking is part of sewing like frogging is part of knitting – a means to an end.

  15. Your bag looks really lovely. The teapots are cute.

    Alice looks decidedly unimpressed.

    As for pillowcase skirts on little girl dresses, they also make lovely little sundresses with ribbon or cord gathered round the top. Lots of tutorials and patterns if you search.

  16. That looks amazing! Such success, so quickly! It is hard tho, you are a bit of a knitting expert and used to not having to think about what you are doing. And now you are starting all over again, but you will be an expert in no time. Putting my hand up for sewn gifts in the future, please!

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