It’s never too late for a Christmas present – the bag story continues

As I said last week, I have been busy with quite a few bags lately.

This time, I will show you two very similar bags, one is a Christmas present for last year (so it needed to be a bit more apologetic than usual) and a smaller version as a birthday present (just in time) for my niece.



For the adult version I followed roughly a pattern from Lisa Lam’s The Bag Making Bible (not a bad book, lots of things in it, but it does lack a bit of consistency and pictures where you can actually see what is happening. Maybe not quite a Bible but a good start)

For the outside I have used waterproof coated cotton which I have once again bought at Dotsnstripes.

For the big bag’s inside I have used red and orange cotton, plus one patterned cotton hiding behind a zip 🙂

I made a laptop flap thingy on one side and three different pocket types on the other side.

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The book suggests to use Twist Locks for the main flap but I was slightly too frightened to make holes in something that I have made myself. Thought I will leave that for next time. My initial plan was to just use a band of velcro to close it. I did change my mind halfway through though and bought some kind of button release buckle on ebay which meant that I needed a rather long and awkward looking strap to reach from flap edge to bottom bag edge. Not too great so I guess, next time I will try those square twist locks and make holes to fit them 🙂 or at least decide before cutting out and make a longer flap.IMG_3267

For my niece I made a smaller version as there is no point in dragging around a bag that is half the size of you.

Instead of a flap I decided to put in a concealed top edge zip. I was a little bit unsure which fabric to choose to conceal that zip. The waterproof outer? Might be tricky to sew neatly, will be bulky  and might be odd to fix to the bag.

The plain cotton inner? Not waterproof, slightly flimsy (in comparison) and most importantly boring.

Difficult choice so I went for a third option: a strong cotton with yet another pattern. And as I was already adding patterns, I thought I might as well use another fabric for that inner top edge and made this in another one of the waterproof coated cottons.


Inside, I added three pockets in total, one with zip and the patterned cotton (same as for the zip) on the inside of the pocket.


I honestly love using a pretty fabric secretly hiding behind a zip. It makes it so more special, no?

I am very pleased with both results, they look amazing and I can’t wait to finally make one for myself – after all this is why I initially bought that fabric in the first place a few months ago 🙂

It is just hard to say which one I prefer… which one would you choose?


Great news: expanding business… or why it is sometimes just better to remain a small independent business rather than turning into a big multinational company

Yes, my wordpress account hasn’t been hacked, it is true, business went rather well at the end of last year and I really struggled to complete all my orders so I have decided that I can not do it on my own anymore. At first, I was rather excited about all these changes but I am less now.

When you have your own little business, you are independent, can take all decisions yourself, don’t have to compromise or – even worse – realise someone else’s – potentially silly and ugly – design. You can just work on your own pace, you are confident because you are creating something you can fully identify with. And now all of a sudden I have this rather bossy project leader, who does not listen to my ideas! Sure, she talked to the customer and made all the sketches for the design, chose the swatches and went back to the customer to discuss the final design. I only had to actually bring the design from paper into real life fabric. But, as I said, none of my ideas were even listened to! And then the fear, when I had to show the progress of my work…. I thought, joining with someone would take stress out of my life but it has instead increased it. But enough moaning, I guess, that is potentially dangerous anyway, I wouldn’t be the first one getting into trouble at work after a few imprudent comments online.

Lets talk about the actual project, the task was to make an apron with pockets for a nursery teacher who uses a lot of cards in her work.

So here is all the paperwork, from first sketching to measurements of the cards, notes about colour preferences,… and on the right side the chosen swatches….


And that is were troubles started. Said teacher is a really nice person so as you can see, all swatches got ticked as she just found all of them lovely.

So, the new task was to make sure that all fabrics got used, in the – how I would have thought at least – most sensible way to make sure they match somehow.

So, in the next team meeting, I quickly realised that my opinion is not particularly valued …. Clearly the person taking lots of notes is in charge instead.


– Pink is the main colour to be used! No discussion allowed! This is how it is! And the flowers will be the big pocket! Because it is the second nicest fabric!

– But…

– No but. That is how you will do it.

Clearly someone needs to go on a workshop about team work or leader ship or whatever.

Anyway, all that had left to me was to actually make the apron. I had sweaty hands when I nervously showed it to the project leader.  I can not describe the relief when the rather austere glance in her face turned into a smile and a “I like it, it looks beautiful”! IMG_3101

Phew. I am relieved, and I have to admit the result looks actually rather nice, even though I would have arranged things slightly differently (and in fairness, the appliques to use two of the many fabrics were actually my idea…. don’t tell her, but I just did it, without really asking)

Anyway, the awful experience of not actually being the creative head of my project have made me think again. I want to go back to my own small business. No other bossy people involved. I am currently looking into the legal side of undoing this fusion…. shouldn’t be a too big problem, considering that there has never been a written contract. I will keep you updated.

In the meantime, I wish you all a very belated happy new year! I hope all your holidays have been great and that you have settled back into reality with lots of good new years resolutions. As you can see, it has taken me two weeks to settle back. Sorry for this delay, it will get better. Probably.