We have just had our annual family holiday camping in the north norfolk coast.
Just before we left I was reminded of the great campaign started by Carah Hamilton “just a card”
The concept is simple. If we all buy a postcard, or similar low cost item each time we visit an art gallery or craft fair we will be making a considerable difference to the maker/seller. As a craft fair seller I can relate to this, the low cost sales really do add up without these I would make a loss.
With this fresh in my mind we have attempted to support local sellers this holiday. We enjoyed a scrummy morning snack of homemade tiffin at Cromers parish church cafe. A round of drinks and snacks for four of costing a grand total of £5:20, plus fabulous service.
But the real difference in my attitude was at a local produce market. I met the lovely Sally of Felicity-Ann Bags selling handsewn items, including cushions, bags, hair clips and slides. All items I can easily make myself.
When my daughter fell in love with one of the hairband’s rather than my usual response of “I’ll make you one” I reached for my purse. Sally and I discussed with her how I could teach her to make them, and what lovely gifts they would make for her school friends.
The local small purchase supported a fellow crafter and inspired my daughter, a win win if you ask me.
This summer please do think about supporting local makers when you can, it truly makes a real difference to the viability of a business.
Have you heard of Refashion Runaway hosted by Renegade Seamstress? Eight refashion bloggers are taking part in a weekly challenge, we get to vote for our favourite refashion of the week Plus we can sew along too… To see what the contestants came up with go check out Beth’s post.
Initially tempted to sew along I sensibly ruled this out, school holidays, a pile of planned activities plus sewing commitments. But I just couldn’t help but notice this striped top and floral top in the local charity shop yesterday just waiting to be refashioned..
My daughter loves pink and red, but I decided to take the gamble and make her a dress.
The dress in my mind was a t-shirt top with gathered cotton skirt joined along the waist. My first step was to measure my daughter and work out the finished length of dress, the next step to work out the length of the t-shirt top, and the cotton skirt.
I chopped the t-shirt up along the seams – the existing neckline is too big to reutilize so I unpicked the neckline binding to reuse.
Using an existing pattern for a t-shirt which fits her I cut out the front and back of the top of the new dress.
Next up to cut the skirt length (not forgetting seam allowance!)
There was not enough t-shirt fabric to make the sleeves, so I created the sleeves from the floral top, reusing the sleeves to save hemming.
After a slight gathering of the skirt with hand stitching I stitched the two parts of the dress together, ensuring I followed the stripes of the top part round. Last up to finish the neckline, shortening the neckline binding to fit the new neckline and reattaching.
The project took little more than an hour (yeah for my budget overlocker!!) and the new dress cost only £6.50.
Thankfully my daughter overcame her disappointment of colour choice, but did put in a request that the next dress I make her has a real swirl to it when spinning round!
Here is the list of the weekly challenges, just in case you too are tempted to join in:
Week 1: Combine Floral and Geometric or Stripes
Week 2: Gingham
Week 3: Handbag, Tote bag or Clutch
Week 4: Maxi Skirt or Dress
Week 5: Boho Chic
Week 6: Asymmetrical
Create yourself a stylish large tote bag with this free tote bag pattern.
Large Denim Tote Bag Pattern
You will need:
32 by 54 cm fabric (this is for the bottom of the bag)
9 by 54cm 2 pieces of fabric
11 by 54cm 2 pieces of fabric
16 by 54cm 2 pieces of fabric
2″ by 28″ twice for fusible fleece
2″ by 30″ twice for the fabric
15 by 11cm lining fabric with heavy weight interfacing
15 by 11cm denim with heavy weight interfacing
54 by 94 cm lined with heavy weight interfacing
23 by 31cm for pocket one
36 by 46cm for pocket two
Outside of the bag
layer your fabrics as per your finished bag, creating one long rectangle, this will be approximately 92cm by 54cm. Stitch together allowing 1 cm seam allowance.
Hand stitch with running stitch 3mm from the seam.
Embellish the front of your bag by placing your three squares of fabric as is pleasing to you. Stitch the squares on. Handstitch your own design onto your squares. I have used simple stitches and french knots for the design shown.
Iron on your fusible fleece on the back of your pieced bag fabric
Fold the bag fabric in half, lining up your fabric seams along the sides.
Stitch the side seams.
Next create the base. Iron the fold at the bottom of the bag, this gives you a neat crease. Fold the side seam of the bag to the crease.
Mark a 3″ seam with taylors chalk. Stitch and trim the corner off.
Repeat for the other corner. Turn the bag right side out.
Create the flap closure. Mark the point for the magnetic snap 3.5 cm from short edge and centrally between the side edges on the lining (with heavy weight interfacing attached). Insert magnetic snap.
Place right sides together of fabric flap.
Stitch three sides. Trim seam allowance.
Turn right side out and top stitch round the edges.
Place centrally and baste into place along the top of the rear of the bag.
Mark the point for the magnetic snap on the front of the bag, and insert.
Bag handles – create you bag handles. See my tutorial on So Sew Easy. Place on the bag 8cm down from the top and 10.5 cm in from the sides of the bag. Sew on, I suggest sewing a a rectangle and sewing across it diagonally to add strength.
Lining – adhere heavy weight interfacing to the fabric. Create two zipped pockets. Place centrally 8cm down from each short edge.
Join the sides of the lining together, and then create the corners for the bag base, following the instructions as for the main bag.
Place the lining inside the bag – right sides together. Stitch the top of the bag all round, except for a four inch gap for turning right side out.
Turn right side out, and then top stitch along this seam. One finished bag:)
For free bag patterns follow my pinterest board.
This post is linked up here: