Monthly Archives: September 2014

Scrap Sunday – make up bag

IMG_2479If you are following this blog since a while, you might think: Has she not been showing us that before? Is she reusing posts already in the second week of her challenge? No, I am not. But well done for recognising  the fabrics as I have used exactly those for my skirt a while ago 🙂

If, however, you have no clue what I am talking about, go back and read this blog properly, there might be a written exam next week!

So, I have used a lovely pattydoo pattern to make this little bag, entirely made of material I already had at home, even the zip was somewhere in my zip collection.

It really is made out of many little pieces and I will certainly make a few more of those, I think they make a lovely gift.

But I do have a little problem with it. (I can see some of you (you know who you are!) rolling their eyes about me being overly fussy about little details.)

Actually the box pleats aren’t shown off properly because it has a lining with interfacing which makes the inside rather stiff and strong. IMG_2480So even if you fill the bag with something, it will not pop out the pleats, which is a bit of a shame because you can not really see the fabric hiding behind the pleats unless you pull them apart (which I did for the first two pictures).

IMG_2481I think I have two options to get to my desired effect:

I could cheat and leave a little gap between the pleats so the background fabric always shows.

Or I leave out the strengthening interface and make the lining a bit bigger than the actual bag. So when it gets filled, there will be room to push out the pleats naturally. I think this is my first choice. It is only a small bag and not meant to hold heavy things anyway. So I will see how this goes and keep you updated.


“Cotton bag” is the new “designer hand bag” … or was it “jute bag”?

Cotton bags have definitely become a fashionable accessory and I am a proud owner of a zillion of them. From the Austrian country side butcher to the Notting Hill book shop – I have them all…. coming to think of it, the Austrian ones are all pretty old vintage whereas the fashion capital London does not hand them out since such a long time. Have we been trend setter, for once?

I do love cotton bags, they are great to keep my knitting or children’s change cloths clean yet breathable, you can put smaller things into your suit case without taking extra space, you can wash and reuse them, etc. etc. and of course they make you look trendy (for that purpose I would suggest the Notting Hill book shop one rather than the Austrian country side butcher)

I have already been sewing quite a few ones as my children’s nursery also seem to think that they are great to keep children’s change cloths in them.

Recently, I have made two for my children to keep their ballet equipment together and clean and since they have been a big hit I made another one for a little girl’s  5th birthday. They are really easy to make, and as an encouragement for those who would like to make things for their children but are a bit scared of their sewing machine, I put together a few pictures for a little tutorial:

Stofftasche 22

Before we get started:

I really like using contrasting colours or one patterned and one plain side which makes it also a great project to use up left overs. The remaining question would then be the thread colour. A contrasting colour is good if you believe in your sewing skills. Little imperfections are more visible then if you are using matching threads. I like to find one colour that links all the colours of my project. In this case, I went for white. It is a contrast to everything but as it is a neutral colour, it does not add to my overflowing colour pot. If you do not want to have very obvious seams, you’ll have to use matching colours, which will lead to a lot of thread changing. Your choice.

You’ll need:

  • fabric: 0.5m of cotton
  • sewing thread, scissors, pins and the usual stuff
  • iron
  • optional appliquĂ©:
    • paper template (I printed out a letter font size 400ish)
    • fabric (I like using the same fabric as for the second bag side)
    • interface (I used a simple iron on one, there would be a more fancy fusible web with two sticky sides  to make positioning later a bit easier)
    • kitchen towel

 1. Cut out two pieces of fabric for your bag and two for the handles.Stofftasche 01

Dimensions: I have made my bag a bit shorter than most standard cotton bags as it was made for a child (which tend to be a bit shorter 🙂

This is how you calculate it, followed by my own example.


  • desired width + 2x seam allowance: 32 + 2x 1.5 = 35
  • desired length + 1x seam allowance + 2.5cm for folded top line = 34 + 1.5 + 2.5 = 38cm


  • 2x desired width + 1.5cm = 2×2 + 1.5 = 5.5cm
  • desired length + 8cm = 35cm

2. If you want to add an appliqué you will also need a paper template, a bit of contrasting fabric, some interfacing (or fusible web) and a kitchen towel (or a tear away backing).

If not, you can jump to Step 8 straight away. Stofftasche 02

3. Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of your fabric (sticky side of interface on the fabric!). If you are using a fusible web, the paper side is up.Stofftasche 03

4. Pin your desired shape the right way onto the fabric side or the wrong way onto the paper of the fusible web and cut it out.Stofftasche 04

5. Position the appliqué on the bag fabric and pin it in place. I chose the center but the corner looks good, too. If you are using paper backed fusible web, pull the paper off and stick the appliqué onto the fabric.

6. Put a kitchen towel (or fancy tear away backing) under the fabric – this will result in a neater stitch as it holds everything together – and sew the appliquĂ© on using a wide zigzag stitch. Stofftasche 07

The zig goes through appliquĂ© and fabric, the zag goes through the fabric only, just next to the appliquĂ©. I usually use a rather small stitch length (almost as if I was sewing a button hole as I want to use it as a contrasting feature and to make it more secure (things for children get washed very often – at least in this house)Stofftasche 25

7. Carefully pull away the kitchen towel. The little bit stuck between the seem will come off in the first wash.

8. Pin the two sides of the cotton bag with the right sides together and sew along the two sides and the bottom. Shorten the two edges at the bottom of the bag and zig zag all around to secure the seams. (Usually you are supposed to cut off the edges after zigzagging but I am slightly security obsessed).Stofftasche 10Stofftasche 11

9. Now it is time to prepare the handles.

Put the fabric wrong side up onto the ironing board and fold both long sides 0.7mm and iron those edges.Stofftasche 12

10. Fold the fabric lengthwise in half and iron again.Stofftasche 13

11. Since you are already using the iron, take your bag(right side inside) and fold the open top twice. First 0,5mm, iron, fold 2cm and iron again. Stofftasche 15

12. Back to the handles. Close them by top stitching close to the folded edges.Stofftasche 14

13. Place the open ends of the first handle into the opening of your folded top line, right up to the top. Make sure you are positioning it centrally.Stofftasche 16

14. Now fold it up carefully and pin in place.Stofftasche 17Repeat this with the second handle.

15. Top stitch around the whole opening, close to the folded edge and over all your handle ends.Stofftasche 18

Stofftasche 19

16. Now you need to secure those handles for added bag strength. I do this with a little x in a square on top of each of the 4 handle ends. It looks much neater if you do that on the right side of your bag, even though you can not see the exact position of the handle.Stofftasche 20

Since I am not only an amazing photographer but also an incredibly skilled graphic designer, I have made a little sketch, how I normally do it. Starting point is the top left corner, the end would be top right. Secure start and finish with a few reverse stitches.X Diagramm

Finished. Stofftasche 21

And just to show off the two initial ballet bags – they could do with a bit of ironing but come on, I have just spent ages putting together this post 🙂

quick gifting update

A couple of days ago I was talking about my worries to give gifts without offending anybody.

So, I have decided to knit for those mums (to be) who have actually been in one of my knitting classes but (so far) not for the third one who might not even know who I am.

They are both having / expecting girls so I made a little Rainbow Dress by Georgie Hallam – one of my favourite little girls dresses.

IMG_2435I have used Lana Grossa  Elastico, a cotton with 4% Polyester, for the bodice. It is very light and stretchy which is important for that part of the dress.

And to make it a bit more special occasiony I have used some of my Rowan Pure Life Revive, a recycled blend of cotton, silk and rayon. It is meant to be hand washed only (not great for a baby dress) but I did machine wash a swatch and not only did it turn out fine, it was actually softer than the unwashed version (which also has a bit of a funny smell to it).

I have added a lacy hem, a flower and picot cast off for the armholes.

IMG_2438 IMG_2440I am more than happy with the result and I hope the future owners will be too (when it fits in about 8 months time 🙂 –  Clearly you need to be able to stand to show off a dress )


Scrap sunday – The challenge

One of my new years resolutions was to stop buying yarn without any reason and to try using up my stash instead and so far I have done fairly well. I did buy a few balls here and there but they were for specific projects and and are more or less used up. Unfortunately, I did not apply this to fabric buying and so I ended up with quite a bit a lot of fabric. If I really like a fabric, I tend to buy more than required, just in case…. and as I don’t even throw away the smallest bits, I ended up with boxes full of fabric.

Anyway, I have decided to step up a gear and to set myself a challenge, well actually a double challenge:

I will use my friday sewing class to not only use up some of those little bits and pieces but also to think of new ideas (I mean new to me not to the world, “thinking” includes stealing “finding online”) of how to use up all that scrap fabric and yarn.

To put a little bit of pressure on myself, I am now introducing Scrap Sunday where I will post about it. We will see how long this challenge lasts and how easily I will remember to write a post to a certain deadline. I do work better with deadlines, but the joy of motherhood did make me a tiny bit forgetful….

But back to the actual topic…

what was that again? Oh yes, Scrap Sunday.

So I will post every Sunday. Something about Scrap. Might be the recent project (I made in my Friday Sewing class). Might be something knitted. Might be just a link to a brilliant tip I found online.

So this friday, I took tiny pieces of the fabric that I had left from this skirt to make a little birthday gift for a friend who’s birthday was in June (I said, I am good with deadlines)…. and I failed spectacularly (too busy chatting discussing design ideas if you really need to know)

So let’s talk about that next Sunday and let’s get that series started with … tadaa

The knitted bow

It is probably a well deserved beginner for this series as I have really done many of these. You can use them to decorate children clothes or put them on a hairpin, Alice band or crochet chain and they look super cute. This is also why I encourage people in my knitting classes to knit one of these as their first project. They give you a quick sense of achievement 🙂

I mainly use DK yarn and cast on 20 stitches for my “standard” size. I knit in garter stitch (occasionally moss stitch) for about 20 to 24 rows, cast off, weave in the ends, wrap some yarn tightly around the middle and voilĂ .