New Bag!

My handmade bag.

It’s been a while, so here’s some sewing at last!… I made myself a bag, and it started with a piece of textured fabric that I made about 2 yrs ago.

I added texture to some plain grey cotton canvas that I bought at IKEA. A few lines of pin tucks, sewn down in opposite directions. Which I then made into a pocket, and this became the centre panel for my bag.

Centre panel with zipped pocket

Bags are one of my favourite things to make because they can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. I like to plan how the bag will be used, so that I know which pocket will hold my phone, and I wanted to fit my lunch in the centre bag and have room for my flask or water bottle.

I took a pattern from a shop bought bag, after trying out the panel for size:

Deciding which bag to copy!

I wrapped some fabric around the bag and traced off a pattern.

Then assembled the pieces:
Pieced front panel

The canvas has a very tight weave which was difficult to sew, and impossible to get even topstitching. So I stopped trying and improvised instead:!

Back pocket with wavy topstitching

The components ready to be joined and straps attached:

It has an inner bag and an outer bag which are joined at the top edge of the side seam and with snap tabs at the centre front and back. Close up picture below –
I added elastic loops to the lining of the outer bag so that a flask or bottle could be held upright.
Upright bottle…success!!

I also changed the silver zipper pull at the front, as the zips were salvaged from a child’s backpack and had GAA embossed on them 😂(Gaelic Athletics Association)

DIY Swimrobe and swimsuit

Openwater or outdoor swimming seems to be having a moment, it probably has alot to do with gyms and pools being closed!

I live by the coast and swim in the sea every year. Usually from May to September, but this year we had a very mild October so it made it a bit easier to keep going.

The feeling of exhilaration from the cold water gives a great mental boost, as well as being a useful recovery from a jog!

DIY Swimrobe (Not a Dryrobe!)

As the weather got cooler, I put on my wetsuit, but I needed something to throw on after a swim, as it’s often easier to go home and dry off properly there.

Dryrobe and other similar robe brands are very popular – they are basically a loose fit raincoat with thick fleece lining. As usual… I wanted to make my own version, can’t take the easy route😆

I started by tracing the elements I needed from a coat. The hood on my Superdry jacket has great head coverage so I traced the hood and shoulders:

I improvised the general robe shape using a sweatshirt as a guide.

I chalked a wide margin around the sweatshirt. Main fabric is a lightweight and waterproof, I bought it from Guiney’s years ago, to use as a bag lining I think!
The fleece lining came from a Penny’s (Primark) blanket. The pink stripe came from a fabric sample that I bought from Minerva.com.
Generous fabric samples from Minerva

I had bought some raincoat fabric samples from Minerva, but decided to go low-cost for my first attempt at a swim robe, and instead used what I had at home. Their samples are genorously cut across the full width of the roll, so I used them to add some interest to the robe.

Playing with embellishment.
The front pocket was made from ripstop samples. Front Zip was taken from the grey jacket above (those jackets have 2 front zips.. I only need one!). I might change this to a longer zip if I continue swimming next winter.

The fleece doesn’t extend into the hem because I ran out, so the end is lined with a patterned blanket fabric.

I bound the inner seams with the red outer fabric, and wore it a couple of times before I sewed on the lower front pockets, which are lined in fleece.

I also added my favourite feature: an inner pocket for my hot water bottle!

Now that’s how to warm up!!
Bright enough!! Not hard to spot me from a distance!

The other item I needed was a sleeved swimsuit, it doesn’t add much warmth, but it will protect from the sun this summer.

I used sports lycra from fabricland.co.uk. And lined it with black lycra.

I changed the neckline after seeing the draglines in this picture.
The leg openings were finished after this (and after I’d worn it under my wetsuit to swim a few times – for research purposes!)

I almost titled this ‘new togs’ but do many other countries say togs instead of swimsuit? (or bathers/swimmers) but we use togs as much as swimsuit!

Anyhoo, the pattern I used is below- Vogue 9192. I combined the top from view E with the bikini bottoms view D. I didn’t need to make any alterations, they joined perfectly across the waistline. These were so easy to make that I’m sorry I put it off for so long!

Vogue pattern V9192

I’d like to make view C sometime too. Recommendations for swimwear fabric stockists will be gratefully received!

So that was my sewing for January. Feb and March were all about knitting, specifically Machine Knitting!. . I’ll share more of my progress soon.

Slán go fóill x

And one more picture before I go…

Unexpected bonus…. It matches my fleece lined ski pants!

Made in Ireland (Again!)

McCalls 7694

Sometimes sewing plans take a while to come together. I was given a long wool coat by my Aunt over 2 years ago, she knew I’d appreciate the pure wool fabric, and would put it to good use.

William Lett Wool Coat (1985)

It was Made in Ireland by the label ‘William Lett’ approx 35 yrs ago, and despite being worn in the 80’s to Weddings and Funerals alike – other than the lining and foam shoulder pads coming apart – it was in almost perfect condition.

I had thought about altering the shoulders and trying to change the collar etc, but I knew it still wouldn’t be my style, so I put it away for a while.

Then this pattern caught my eye:

Mccalls 7694

So in November I took the coat apart at the seams and tried to fit as many of the pattern pieces as possible.

Disassembled coat!
Pattern tetris….

Despite the length of the original coat, I was left with only small scraps once I had cut and pieced some of the panels.

The front panels have an extra vertical seam, the sleeves have a longer cuff panel than on the pattern and the inside facings are also pieced together.

I added a seam parallel to the zip line so that it would look intentional!
Sleeve panels, longer cuff panel than the original pattern
The back pleat is a pieced panel and not as deep as the pattern, due to fabric shortages!
The paisley lining and snaps were the only things I bought to complete the jacket.

It’s a great pattern and I seem to fit Mccalls size 10 quite well – despite my measurements matching up with the size 12 on the envelope. (my measurements are approx 34-29-36)

I did take the shoulders in a little, they are cut to be a dropped style, but this doesn’t suit my straight shoulders so I took them in about 1.5 cm to sit on my shoulder.

Before altering.. Comparing shoulder fit to the original

Below after altering. I also love the lower curved hem detail:

The zip came from an old RTW Cardigan!
Final bit of posing I promise! It’s lightweight but so warm!

Other than a few swear words while attaching the snaps (they kept popping off as soon as I tested them – I was being too gentle with the hammer 😂), I loved making this.

It’s nice to prolong the life of this fabric, and good to show alternatives to buying new fabric!

Buttoned skirt – Rtw skirt copy

I made this skirt by taking a pattern from a cord skirt that I love to wear… It buttons down the front and is unlined so I knew it would be a good option to make a copy.

In making a pattern from clothing there are a few ways to approach it – it can be cut apart and used as a pattern Or it can be traced without damaging the original. I want to keep wearing this skirt, so tracing it is…

Grey striped fabric and original cord skirt.

I pinned the skirt onto brown paper and added the seam allowance for the button placket:

I took some photos and a video as I was tracing it and have it saved on Instagram.. The link below should bring you straight to it… (If I’ve done this right!)

I cut the new skirt from a lovely grey suiting fabric with a pink stripe, which I got from the recent fabric swap.

Cutting the pockets at an angle
Pockets have been lined and are topstitched on

I underlined each skirt piece with some thin habotai lining, before folding and sewing the facings.

Front facing folded and front waistband attached
Skirt fronts finished
Interior.. Side seams sewn
Bias strips of lining to finish the side seams
Seams bound and waist facings attached
Testing out pink buttons

I had some pink buttons that were the perfect size and made the buttonholes using the embroidery unit on my Pfaff machine. I took alot of photos of that process and will post about it soon.

In the meantime since the pattern worked out – I have cut and almost finished a 2nd version.

Scrap happy sewing

My green dress needs one more pocket to be stitched and it’ll be finished, but I keep putting it to one side!

In the meantime, while I wait in the car for the rain to stop….. I thought I’d show off this appliqué top!

Good nail day😉

It started out as a plain top:

Before

There were one or two tiny marks that wouldn’t come out in the wash, so I decide to use some colourful scraps of fabric to jazz it up a bit.

I have lots of embroidery transfers that are years old (maybe 20+!), from a time when I bought an embroidery magazine every fortnite that had a kit attached. (Such a mis-spent youth 😂)!

Image was transferred using a hot iron.

I cut out flower shapes that interested me and strategically placed them to cover any marks and then ironed the design in place.

I then used the transfer to cut out the coloured shapes – those pieces of fabric had bondaweb ironed to the reverse.

The coloured shapes were then ironed in place using the transfer lines as a guide to placement.

Appliques pieces being positioned onto the tee shirt

Once that was done, I used a mixture of machine and then hand embroidery stitches to hold the pieces in place, using running, chain and buttonhole stitches. It was finished over a few nights in front of the TV, a really nice relaxing project that didn’t turn out too badly! I love the colours together.

Close up of the stitching.

In other sewing related news, I thought this might be of interest:

Colourful lobster pots

On one of our walks at the beach, I stopped to photograph the lobster pots that were lined up on the Quay, when we noticed some creative stitching:

Repurposed drums!

These pot’s were made from repurposed drums that had net stitched around a cut-out opening! So clever!

That’s it for now, I hope all is well wherever you’re reading this from. The rain has changed to a foggy blanket, but I’m keeping hopeful that’ll well get a few more days of summer before August ends!