An afternoon of sewing

We've just had a lovely half term break here. Lots of walks in the orange, browns and reds of fallen autumn leaves. There's a slight chill in the morning air now as we quickly get back to our school routine.


While packing my daughter's kit bag I realised that (5 years on) this was the only bag she had ever had. It really has seen better days and I'm surprised she hasn't mentioned it before. We had a rummage through my fabric box and picked a butterfly print to make a new one. It's not a strong fabric so chose a stiff cotton for lining and providing a bit of structure.

Here's what we did next:

Fabric Cut

Outer piece - cut this 32"x12"
Lining - cut 2 pieces 14"x12"
Give all of these a good iron.

Fabric pinned

Lay the outer piece (pattern side up) and place the lining pieces on top (pattern side down), matching one piece at the top edge and one at the bottom of the outer fabric. Pin these ends and sew across.

Fabric pinned

You should now have a long piece of fabric with your outer piece in the middle, and lining at both ends. Give this an iron to get the seams flat then fold in half, right sides together. Try to line up the seams carefully, this is the important bit. Pin the edges and open end. Now measure down 3/4" from the seam and mark with a pin or pen. Leave a further gap of around 1/2" and mark again (I used a couple of pins).

Starting at the folded end, sew a seam up each side, leaving a gap where your 1/2 inch markers are. We back-stitched a little here just to strengthen. Continue up the side and round the top edge for about 4". Repeat on the other side.

Inside out

Using the gap at the lining edge, turn the bag inside out, so the right side is now on the outside. Sew up the gap in the lining with ladder or top stitch and give the bag another press with the iron.


Now you need to carefully push the lining part inside the outer fabric, to create the bag. The outer fabric will be longer than the lining so will create a border all the way around the top. Keep fiddling with this until the lining is pushed fully and neatly inside. Iron again.

Drawstring gap

At the top of your bag (on each side) you should be able to spot the gaps left when sewing. These are for your drawstring.

Last sewing

Carefully sew 2 lines of stitching around the top of the bag, level with the top and bottom of this gap. Again, we did a little extra back-stitching at the edge seams where the little holes were.

Drawstring Bag

Now, insert your drawstring cord. We used 2 pieces. One we inserted on the left and threaded all the way through the front, then along the back, returning to the where it had started. We then repeated this from the right. Tie knots at the desired length, cutting off any excess cord. And there you have it. A perfectly sized kit bag that should hopefully last another 5 years :)

Work in progress

We all do it. We start that new project with such enthusiasm and gusto, but then, as it drags on, a shiny new project comes along that steals us away and into the cupboard the old one goes. Then more projects come along and before we know it we have a box of forgotten wips just waiting for their chance to escape.

Shawl design

I’ve just finished writing a new pattern so before I start my next, decided it was time to delve into the dusty box of wips.


So, there’s a “wow, I’d forgotten about that” top,


an “oh yes I remember this” cardigan,

KAL Blanket

a long ago ended KAL blanket,

Daisy Chain

a box of daisy’s longing to be a chain,

Noro top

a very lovely Noro top, and a dragon. Yes, a dragon.

African Flowers

This is a Heidi Bears design which uses the African Flower in various forms to create an animal. I completed the flowers 2 years ago while on holiday but couldn’t bring myself to fasten these together. There are a lot and this did give me a rather sinking feeling.


This uses the ‘join as you go’ method which I’d never attempted before but Heidi Bears has a pretty comprehensive tutorial on her website. If you have a lot of motifs to join, I would recommend learning this method. There is no sewing (always a bonus) so the seams are neat and uniform. It’s also another skill to add to your repertoire!


So, here is my dragon. Finally removed from the wip box and ready to fly! I confess, I did add a little wire to the wings to give them some structure, otherwise they were a bit floppy. It may have taken two years, but the recipient is still over the moon with his dragon. Have a look in your wip box and try to set one free this year :)

Yarndale - Little Woolly Sheep

24th and 25th September sees the 4th Yarndale to appear in Skipton, and those who have visited or read about this wonderful event online will be aware of the collaborative project that is organised each year. First there was the 1.5 km of bunting swinging from the ceiling. Next came the bright and cheery mandalas, and last year they received crocheted and knitted flowers from all over the world, raising money for the Alzheimers Society.

Yarndale Buntin

Well, of course, this year’s no different and there’s another exciting project for everyone to hop onboard and support. It is .... a flock of Woolly Sheep (well we are in Yorkshire you know)!

There are knitted and crocheted patterns so nobody need feel left out :) I’m opting for Lucy’s crocheted version.

All details can be found at

Sheep parts

These are my pre-assembly pieces, all ready for sewing. I’m using some Wendy Pixile yarn leftover from a previous design, and decided to give my sheep a bright tweed effect jumper with a frilly trim. Very fetching :)

Daisy the sheep

So, this is Daisy. She’s all finished and ready to be posted off. These have to be received by Friday 9th September so there’s still time to make yours if you haven’t yet. I look forward to spotting mine amongst the rest of the flock at Yarndale this year :)

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