Denim shopping bags


Where those lovely straight straps went. Not exciting but useful. Grocery shopping bags made from denim left over from one of my almost jeans projects. I’d not have needed to make them, but I foolishly dropped one of my set in a carpark. I didn’t realise until I’d got where I was going. When I went back, it was not to be found. So there is a Montjoye bag out there randomly somewhere. I hope it gets used.


In denim, these should last me many years, as long as I manage to not leave them behind in random places.


These are to the same pattern as my last Shopping Bag Mk II.




Shopping Bag Mk II

The floppiness of the Mk I version did not please me. Looking again at the synthetic original, it has bound edges which act as stiffening. I’ve made up the same pattern again with a few significant changes:
1. The seams are done as inside out french seams for the stiffening effect
2. The base reinforcement only extends to the fold line, not beyond
3. Stiffer fabric. This is a pretty linen canvas (or so I conclude) remnant from Laura Ashley. Good fabric for the purpose.


This folds nicely more easily too, which pleases me. If I make the handles a cm shorter each side, the folding will work even better. Hurrah, I have a workable pattern and several bags to be going on with.


Prosaic Project

This isn’t fascinating but I’m still pleased to have done it. I’ve been meaning to replace my collection of synthetic shopping bags with cotton or linen ones. This is a good start. I like the shape of the supermarket issued ones, so I copied the measurements. Mine are floppier which might be a bit irritating in use. They sure feel nicer to the fingers though. The fabric is a brushed, dense cotton twill suiting left over from a pair of trousers.


They look neater folded flat. I doubt this will happen often though. They may never look this neat again.


I’m a little disappointed that I miss positioned one of the handles. Oh well.

These are done with my first thought on construction. Front/base/back is all one piece for strength. There is an extra layer in the base for reinforcing. The sides are separate pieces. I have a few other different thoughts and plans to make a few more. Patterning and/or construction decisions might well be influenced by the shape of the fabric pieces.

Of course I had to put labels on.



Some months ago, my niece pointed at a picture in a book and said “I want that one”. I didn’t see the picture, but I’m told it was a bag made from a pair of pink jeans. I needed to organise a present for her and this is something well within my capabilities. She may not even remember the picture, or the wanting, but I hope she likes it anyway.

An opshop provided a pair of size 8 ladies jeans in brilliant pink. I chopped them below the fly, inserted a rectangular base and handles, cut from the legs.


I then put a coordinating lining in.


I left the button and fly functional for fun. Then I realised that gave access to the space between bag and lining for the putting of things, and a five year old would. So to prevent the inevitable struggle of having to get them out again, I sewed through to catch the placket closed. Pity I didn’t think of this until the lining was in, so that stitching shows on the inside. Oh well. If I ever make another I shall try to remember.

And the backside:


I reckon it came out quite well. It occurs to me that my old jeans would make good grocery bags made up like this with a squarer base. I wonder if I’ve kept any?

Little zippered bags


Such a tiny project I’m not sure it’s worth blogging about. I was visiting a friend yesterday and she had just made a bunch of these. Then today, I remembered why I wanted a couple, so I made some. Hurrah for timely inspiration.

I should have used a finer lining fabric for the blue one, it’s sitting badly. I also suspect a different order of operation would give a neater effect at the top corners. Oh well, they will do for the purpose in mind.

The red toile fabric is left over from a tablecloth and napkins I made years ago. I bought the fabric in Florence. The blue willow pattern love birds were originally part of a tablecloth that I bought in an opshop, I think in Holbrook. It was damaged, I made a kitchen hanging from it first. A few years later I cut that up to make trim on a curtain for the then new servery. This is the leftovers from that, so the third purpose for these scraps of cloth. The zippers are stash cast offs from a friend.


A Little Augmentation

This is the original of those fabric bags I’ve been making. I decided to add internal pockets so that it is more useful as a travelling handbag. I have also shortened the strap because that had been so annoyingly long I had knotted it up.

I’ve sized one of the pockets to hold my passport and phone.


This would have been SO much easier if I had thought to do this during construction in the first place. I had to carefully handsew through only one layer of the bag so that the stitching doesn’t show on the outside. Well, I could have done it on the machine, but I didn’t want the ugly stitching lines.


Here is the bag from the outside. Looks no different.


I still might make myself another, but later.

Purple handbaggage

Another bag for another recipient and a reminder that I must focus and be really present even for simple projects, or I will keep stuffing up. I thought to myself that I could “just throw this together” in time for a planned visit. Nup. Yes I had time to build it, but I made more mistakes and did more unpicking for this little, simple project than I have in ages. Plus I broke two needles in quick succession trying to sew through the metal stops at the top of the zip*. Stupid. After I pulled myself together and concentrated properly, the bag came together much more smoothly.

I got that zip in after a silly amount of mistakes. The sparkly crystal pull looks nice against the purple lining.


It’s the same shape as the tartan bag from a few weeks ago, but on a smaller scale. The outer fabric is apholstery stuff left over from a doorway budgie barrier I made maybe 12 years ago? The lining is from a friend’s reject stash. Button and zip from a different friend and threads for the plaited loop from my large box of perle cotton. I do heaps of things with that stuff.


The strap is long enough to be worn cross body, the way the lady prefers. I think I want to build myself one for travelling. It’s almost weightless, squashable and machine washable.


*in my defence I had though the first breakage was on the pull tab, which I moved for the second attempt, but I was mistaken.

Lacy Handbag Resurrection

A few months ago, a friend invited me over to go through her remaining fabric stash and take what I wanted. Very generous. Amongst the bag of bits I took home was this old hand crocheted bag that had seen better days. I wanted to have a go at making it both useful and pretty again and give it back to the lady.


You can see above that the outer section of the lacy edge was quite badly damaged. My first thought was to fix that by sewing it together, using beads to enliven it. I started doing that but the fibres were just falling apart as I worked. So instead, I decided to snip off the worst of the damage. Thankfully the crochet was worked in rounds so taking off the outer section was easy.


Here it is sans damaged section.


I was sad about having to lose that lovely depth of lace trim. So to both replace the fancy and give back some weight and drape, I decided to sew the beads all around the edge. Besides, doing that was fun. The beads are a mix of ones I had in my stash.


Beginning the bead trim:


It needed a strap. I was a bit stumped for what to use until I thought of plaiting one from a mix of almost right colours. Thread from my stash. I think it looks quite good.


Then I built a liner for it. The blue silk I hand dyed. I had hoped for a more purple colour, but this is what I got and it’s pretty as is. The green is lightweight cotton drill from another friend’s stash rejects.


It has a pretty zippered pocket in a mix of colours


Then I stitched the liner to the lace outer around the opening edge. I forgot to get pictures of that. Here is the whole thing finished though:


and a good detail of the beading with the liner in place


She should have it by now. I very much hope she likes it.

Tartan Satchel

Hurrah. After days of gardening, travel and huswifery, I got to sit down and make a thing.

I bought some offcuts of tartan from a fancy kilt shop on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh about 8 years ago. I think what they do is make up a bunch of kilts and then shorten them as needed for whoever buys them. Maybe? Anyway, they were selling long narrow rolls of high quality pure wool tartan, woven in the mill at the top of the Royal Mile. How could I resist?


After not using them in 8 years, I nearly got rid of them. Then I had the thought that I could perhaps make something for my sister in law, who is proud of her Scottish heritage. So I’ve put together a satchel, almost identical to the pilgrim bag I made a few years back. Maybe with that double pleat it is more just a handbag, but in fabric, the pleat makes the bag sit better. Here it is with the flap open before I put the leather closure strap on:


I put a neat little pocket on the inside, with silver pull on the zipper to match the beltlets on the outside.


The whole thing is from stash, including other people’s rejected stash. The red cotton drill lining was from one friend and the zipper from another. Here it is on a body for scale. Not the outfit I’d wear it with, just what I had on.


And here is a closer shot of the whole thing. The beltlets are more for looks than anything. They are sold for kilt fastenings (also bought in Edinburgh, though one can get them locally now). I know I’d not bother to buckle the one on the flap very often.


I’m really pleased with it. Must make something similar for myself one day. I do hope SIL likes it.