Monthly Archives: May 2016

New Look 6035

I will admit I made this jacket a while ago, but never got around to taking photos of it!

New Look 6035 came free with an issue of Sew Home & Style and although the rest of the items look good, I had to try making the jacket first. Rather than risking using a fancy fabric for a first attempt at this pattern, I used a duvet cover from Primark for my fabric – it’s polycotton, nicely patterned, and can result in a wearable item if I get the sizing right.

Bias Binding

To make the seam finishes a little neater on the inside, I bound them with some polka dot bias binding. It looks a lot nicer than just zigzagging the edges, and should hopefully be more sturdy when washed.

Overall, it’s a good fit – I made view B, which is a perfect sleeve length for me. I didn’t add any pockets, mainly because I wanted to concentrate on the shape and size of the jacket itself, but if I made another one, I definitely would add the pockets in. It is unlined, so the jacket is quite thin (mainly due to the thinness of the duvet cover), but if it was made in a denim-weight fabric, it would be an ideal Spring / Autumn jacket.

Black Jacket

I do want to try making a heavier-weight jacket, so I think I would probably give this one another go at some point – the shoulders are a perfect size (usually across the back, a jacket can be too snug for me), although the sleeves were a little wide at the end.

Sunday My Way bag

The last couple of messenger bags I’ve made haven’t quite gone to plan – either the lining hasn’t co-operated as I’d hoped, or the pockets aren’t quite the right size. Either way, I decided it was time to try making a different bag completely. So, I thought I’d use some of the polka dot canvas I had in a remnant pack from Abakhan, and some burgundy polycotton I had left over from the previous messenger bag, to make the Sunday My Way bag.


It’s a completely different style to the others I’ve tried making, with a slip pocket on the front, a long zip with tabs on either end, and straps that look like they go all the way around the bag, but don’t actually cross the bottom piece.


If I made another one of these, I would probably change a couple of the methods – topstitching the strap over the existing topstitching was almost impossible to get it accurate. For my own bag, that’s not something I’m too concerned about, but if I was making one for someone else then I’d want it to look neater than that!


The lining is inserted in a different way to any other bag I’ve made before, attaching it to the seams of the main bag body. That went reasonably well (other than the lining already being puckered where I couldn’t get the seams to lie totally flat), but sewing the lining to the zip seam was a real challenge. Again, you have to top stitch over the existing stitch lines…. as I did that, the lining shifted slightly so some of my stitching didn’t catch the lining at all. In the end, I hand stitched the lining to the zip, which gave it a neater look.


I didn’t add any interior pockets to this one – I decided it’d be a useful shopping bag to hold any purchases, rather than needing pockets for a phone and a wallet!

My first attempt at “Design Your Own Handbag”

Having had enough of the problems with the other messenger bags I’ve tried making, I decided to “invest” in a Craftsy Course called Design Your Own Handbag. Promising to tell me how to make several different pockets styles and zipped closures, I felt it was worth the money as it should prove useful for many different bags.

I will admit I didn’t find this course as easy to follow as the Fleece Sewing one I’ve started – yes there’s a lot of information, but as the bag design is up to each individual, there’s a lot of things that I feel could be explained a bit better.

Lining the outer pocket up was a bit hit and miss – mainly miss, as I had to unpick the entire thing and resew it. The inclusion of an interlining (I used some thick cotton I found in a local fabric shop) meant that it was a bit too thick to get my hand sewing needle through to tack everything, so I had to make do with pins…. which wasn’t ideal.

However, the second time around, I did get the pocket to line up – and the button I’d already machine stitched onto the pocket, also lined up with the buttonhole!


Just to prove the button does do up….


Adding the back zipped pocket was also a challenge – after stitching and unpicking it, I decided to make it more like a welt pocket, so you couldn’t see the zip tape. That gave a nicer finish, although if I made another, I would also add an extra inch to the width of the pocket pieces – that would enable me to sew it neatly around, without the risk of catching the zip tape on the sides.

The rest of the bag outer was pretty self explanatory – much like the Good to Go messenger bag, you cut the corners from the main pieces in order to get the depth of the bag. My canvas was a bit too fray-happy at times, resulting in some extra stitches being necessary, so I did zigzag the edges of some pieces just to be on the safe side.

Due to the fraying, I had to ignore where it’s said to trim the edges really close to the stitching, but while that made some of the seams a little more bulky, it didn’t really change the look of the finished bag.

I added a couple of patch pockets to the inside, like I did on the previous bags, but other than that, the lining pieces were just the basic pattern ones.


I decided to add some tabs on the sides to hold a strap, rather than adding a tab to the front and back – I prefer a cross-body strap. Top stitching the strap was done with a decorative stitch, just to make it look a little different to the regular boring straight stitch. The tabs and strap were made almost identically to my London Tourist bag.

Now we come to the main reason for me wanting to take this Craftsy course – the top zip. None of the other bags I’ve made have had a closure to the main body, so this was an important thing for me to want to learn. After all, even if you have a flapped messenger bag, a strong wind can make the flap flip up, so it’s nice to have a secure way of closing it.


I struggled to get the top piece to line up to the zip – it’s the first time I’ve used an open (separating) zip, so I didn’t realise the metal at the end took up so much space. Partly because of the fraying canvas, and partly due to not cutting a little extra on the flaps, I didn’t have space to turn the flap pieces right-side-out and keep the metal part of the zip on the outside. So that side had to be zigzagged together – not an ideal finish.

However, using some double-sided fusible tape to ‘baste’ the zip in place seemed to work really well for that – much better than the back zip pocket (too many layers for the heat fro the iron to go through). And the zip is perfectly usable and relatively neatly stitched as well!

Rather than leaving a hole in the base of the lining to turn it all right-side-out (I really like my lining to be strong, and I didn’t feel that a hand sewn seam would have the strength I was after, I left a gap at the top, where the facing and outer join – that was able to be closed with the final top stitching, so you wouldn’t know there’d been a gap there 🙂


The only other thing I wish the course had pointed out, was that the angle of the top zip means that it needs to be pushed down into the bag to run smoothly – this means you can’t put anything in the bag that would be 1″ or less from the zipper flaps…. which means my entire bag really could’ve done with being an extra inch tall to compensate *sigh*

I would try making another bag from this course, mainly because now I know the ‘quirks’ of the methods, I should be able to rework it and make a bag with the [erfect (or near enough) dimensions!

Polka dot fabric from Abakhan (part of a ‘canvas remnant pack’), polycotton lining, cotton interlining and and accessories from a couple of local shops.

Beach Hut Messenger Bag

You can never have too many bags…. or at least you can never make too many bags! I’ve not been 100% certain about the way the lining looks caught up on the messenger bags I’ve previously made, so I decided to try out a new pattern. The Good-to-go messenger bag by Two Pretty Poppets, has a plain body with a patterned flap…. but I wanted to change that slightly, so I used their pattern, but with patterned fabric on the outside, and a plain lining.

I also added in a zipped pocket on the flap, piping around the flap (it’s not clear in the photo, but that’s white bias binding with sailboats on, to fit the beach theme), and added some plastic bag clips to hold the strap in place – not only does that make the strap removable if needed, but it also adds a nice touch to the finished bag.

Beach Hut Bag

Because of the way the bag is sewn together, the lining isn’t stretched around strange corners, and there’s no weird puckers and stretches on the inside. I also changed the inside pockets, to fit a small bottle of water and a smart phone, to save rummaging around amongst everything else just to find the phone when it rings.

Beach Hut Bag

I would probably make the bag slightly taller if I made another, and maybe also add in the clasp to close it (I left that out, as I wasn’t too sure how accurately I could attach it!), but I think it’s a very good pattern, and it’s also a lot easier to sew than the previous one I tried!

New Look 6230

Sew Magazine came with a free New Look 6230 pattern a couple of months ago, and I was drawn to the baseball t-shirt look. It doesn’t have set-in sleeves, which is a nice bonus as set-in sleeves and me don’t tend to get on!

I found some really funky fabric, but I decided it was a bit too busy to use for the entire top, so I balanced that out with some plain purple. Again all the seams are zigzagged, including the top stitching, so they should stretch with the fabric. I did get in a bit of a mess trying to attach the collar, but apart from a few pleats and stretch marks on one side, it looks pretty good. I’m still struggling to work out the size I need though – this one was way too wide on the neckline, so I brought in the body-sleeve seams by about 1/2″ on both sides to try and narrow the shoulders a little.

New Look 6230

The sleeves are nice and roomy, but I think if I make another of these, I would try the smaller size for the shoulders, and just widen it a little at the waist to try and get a more suitable width on the shoulders.

New Look 6230

New Look 6230 – excuse my unphotogenic eczema-covered wrists and hands