A new bag…

Took a visit to the newly refurbished Merchant and Mills last month, and couldn’t resist buying some more of their delicious dry oilskin. Worst thing about the new shop is that everything is better displayed and so you can see all the fabrics and other goodies so much easier. Which means its so much more difficult to resist! Came out of there having spent a small fortune, oops!

Happily though I made myself a lovely new bag, from said dry oilskin. I bought a metre each of three different colours, so I can mix and match. And as the fabric is 150cm wide I can get quite a few bags out of those. I love bags and love being able to make myself new ones. Or sometimes, I’ll make for friends.

I used a template I’ve used before for a sort of shopping/tote bag, but this time I added a longer strap too for cross body carrying. I like the versatility of having carry options.

As you can see I added some of the webbing to the bag for a little bit of decoration. Very pleased with how that turned out. I’ve the lined this bag in a contrasting green. Gives the bag a bit more sturdiness. The outside is a gorgeous colour, M&M call it Midnight, which suggests to me shades of blue, but I see a hint of green too!

Its a fab bag, even if I do say so myself. Can fit quite a lot of stuff in it, and its water resistant, which is very useful this time of year. Sorry there aren’t more pictures of the bag itself and the details, but this time of year there is such a small time frame when the light is right for taking pictures and I usually miss it! If I remember I’ll do some more pictures in the New Year, with more of the detail, but don’t hold your breath…

I wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR! :0) xxxx

Merchant & Mills, Jack Tar bag…

For christmas my lovely hubby gave me a voucher for Merchant & Mills, and I’d been looking at the Jack Tar bag pattern for quite a while, but hadn’t gotten round to getting it. then they started doing a  kit, which includes everything you need to make the bag. So armed with my voucher I trotted off to Merchant & Mills and bought it.

Its taken me a couple of months to get round to making this, but I’ve finally done it. I have to say it was a rather pleasant experience. I did things I’ve not done before, like snap closure, and used D rings. Also a facing on a bag, which I’ve not done before. And turning a bag right side out through a hole in the lining. That was an experience I can tell you.

This was also quite a painful make too! The outer fabric I believe is a dry oilskin and the lining is a sturdy canvas, both fabrics were quite tough to get my pins through at times, and I managed to stab myself on many occasions.

I also want to say, that whilst the pattern is supposed to be beginner level, Merchant & Mills can be quite frugal with their instructions, and If I hadn’t already known how to attach a base to the main body of a bag I would have been a bit stumped at that point.


Base of the bag pinned to the top. Above ^ and below

It was quite tricky getting it through the sewing machine, as the fabric was quite stiff. And this was one of the areas where I would get stabbed by my pins!

Picture of the lining, before I’d sewn the base.

All finished. Inside view of the pockets.

Another inside view, with the shoulder strap. The bag kit comes with a leather strap, but I decided not to use that, and opted for a webbing strap instead, same as I used for the handles. There is an option to make the handles yourself out of the same fabric as the bag. I like the contrast the webbing straps give though.

This is a pretty big bag, I think it will be really useful as weekend bag or carry on bag for flights, as well as being a great everyday bag for town and shopping. The 3 inside pockets are the perfect size for your purse, keys, sunglasses and phone. Plus any other small items you don’t want to lose inside the main compartment. the pockets are also ideally placed for good access whilst carrying the bag crossbody, but I reckon would be tricky for someone to try and pinch your purse.

Carrying options, are as follows.

My favourite is crossbody, so comfortable.  So there we have it. What do you think?








Big baby…

Made a big baby bag for a work colleague to give to her friend.

I think the inside contrasts nicely with the outside. Had feed back and the recipient loved it!

I haven’t forgotten how to sew…

Its just been a while since I’ve blogged about it. I was busy making bags for my little Etsy shop



but now I’m back to the clothes.

I’ve tweaked my Merchant and Mills Trapeze pattern once again, to make a mini dress/tunic length. And the first thing I made from this new pattern was a dress for my works Christmas party. I made it from the textured black and white ponte roma that I made a top from from in the summer. I had a hunch it would make a good dress for a party. And I think I was right. Very happy with it indeed.







It was a nice easy make. The fabric is a joy to work with.

Here it is as party dress, I hope I’m not too old at the age of 45 to be wearing a mini dress like this. Don’t worry won’t wear it without tights, that was not a good look!



It also looks good as casual wear, worn with jeans and Uggs or Birkenstocks.



I probably prefer it worn casually but then again I prefer casual wear now a days anyway!

Hope you like it, I do.



I have an Etsy shop…

For my bags! Yep I’ve been making lots of bags and am hoping to sell them to lovely people. I realised I’d made the ultimate tote bag and thought other people might love them too. I know thats a pretty big claim, but I know bags and I know I’ve hit on a great size and shape for a fabulous tote bag.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/essjcreative?ref=l2-shopheader-name There’s the link.

Here’s some pics of the bags…








I’m calling them the Humbug striped bag, as i think they look like humbugs.


I really do love mine and my Niece loves hers too.



Most worn so far this year…

Are my jersey makes.



I really really love the dress, I wear it with jeans and without and have worn it lots!


So I think I can conclude from this that I’m most comfortable in jersey. I try to look stylish but top of my agenda nowadays is comfort. Gone are the days of wearing clothes that I had to continually adjust and fidget with. Its comfort all the way now and I don’t care. Well I sort of do obviously as I still want to try and look nice.

I’ve also used this bag a lot. I love it!


I have been looking in my wardrobe and am trying to sort it out and take out the stuff I haven’t worn much and being honest with myself and admitting they don’t really work, such as…


I should never have shortened the length or the sleeves, it was fine as it was, now I don’t like it anymore and feel uncomfortable in it.


The fit on this went a little wrong and isn’t as comfortable as it should be, so thats been taken out. As have most of the cotton Mathilde blouses. Gone right off them. I still love the dress versions though.


I love the fabric on the above top, but it has become tight across the bust I feel and once again is not comfortable. Shame as I really do love the fabric. There a re many more and I won’t bore you with them all.

So I’m learning what suits me and what fabrics I like best and will hopefully start to make better decisions regarding what I’m wearing, but don’t hold your breath.

Have you learned what suits you more since starting to make your own clothes?

A striped bag or two…

I’ve been wanting to make a new bag for a few months now. I had an idea of how big I wanted it to be and how long I wanted the handles. However I was procrastinating over this idea for the longest time because I knew I was going to have to draft the pieces myself and I’ve been spoilt with using patterns now (you might recall if you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning that I used to draft all my makes myself) and even though I was still going to be using a very simple shape I was feeling too lazy to do all the measuring out that I used to do when making a bag. also the bags I used to make all had several layers and this was very time consuming. Plus I hadn’t really come across any fabric that I really wanted to make a bag out of recently. Until the striped denim from Merchant and Mills, that I’d made a top out of. I had a feeling it would work really well as a bag.

I cheated with the cutting out and took a bit of a gamble. I didn’t mark anything out at all. I just used my tape measure to guide me, and cut along it. I also folded the fabric so I’d only have to cut out a piece once. This seriously reduced the time it took. And for the most part the pieces were pretty even, so I was quite happy with that. I didn’t line this bag as the denim is fairly robust and sturdy and I also like how the fabric looks on the reverse.

I used some grosgrain strapping that I’d had in my stash for a while, also bought from Merchant and Mills. I like how the straps contrast nicely with the bag fabric.

I’m very happy with my lovely new bag and I was right, the fabric does work really as a bag.



I think I’ve finally got the dimensions and strap length right for a very useful bag. Its comfortable on the shoulder and holds a lot of stuff.

Here I am wearing it with dress and necklace also made by me. Walked into town on one of the hottest days of the year so far, back in July, and I was very comfortable (within reason ) in dress and carrying bag. Not too heavy, even when full of shopping.



My Niece loved it too, and so I made her one. Hers is a little different and also a bit better made than mine. Although mine is not badly made, but it had been a while since I last made a bag. So making a second so soon after meant it was all fresh in my mind and therefore I feel I did a better job of it.  I also managed to get some of the selvedge to show, which I had tried to do with mine but it didn’t work.


Loving that edge seam.


I added my label to hers too. I never think to add a label when its for me.


And here’s a modelling pic of my lovely Niece Zoe with her exclusive bag!


She’s very talented and has her own Etsy shop, Meemalz, where she sells miniature clay animals, and takes custom orders for your very own miniature pet. Follow the link and take a look.



The rest of my 2014 sewing! …

Ok lets try and catch this up shall we? I’m just going  to post the rest of my makes from 2014 now. Here we go!

September, bag for Nona.

September, bag for Nona.


Denim lining.

Denim lining.

Other side.

Other side.

Trying to line up the pattern.

Trying to line up the pattern. I love the bottom right corner.

Sept/Oct, Black dress weight denim top. Started as a dress, didn't work!

Sept/Oct, Black dress weight denim top. Started as a dress, didn’t work!

October, another one. Loving the contrast hem.

October, another one. Loving the contrast hem.

October, Love this black and white top.

October, Love this black and white top.

November, made another black dress weight denim top. I do like multiples. Again I'd tried to make a dress with it! Just can't get it to look right!

November, made another black dress weight denim top. I do like multiples. Again I’d tried to make a dress with it! Just can’t get it to look right!

November, afternoon tea in London.

November, afternoon tea in London.

Wore one of my tops.

Wore one of my tops. CHEERS!

November, altered one of my jersey tunic tops. Think I like at this length. Tough if I don't really.....

November, altered one of my jersey tunic tops. Think I like it at this length. Tough if I don’t really…..

November, this is the last thing I made in 2014. Liberty fabric top.

November, this is the last thing I made in 2014. Liberty fabric top.

So there we have it. That was 2014. I made a lot of tops and quite a lot of bags. I thoroughly enjoyed my sewing. And learnt some new things. It was also interesting to see how different my very simple tops could look using different fabrics. Don’t think I ever need to buy another top again!

September 2014: Mini Moderns, Whitby fabric

I thought I’d done a post about this fabric, but it would appear that I didn’t. I shall make up for it now.

Back in February my very lovely friend Amanda bought me this fabric


I just love the details.

I just love the details.


I  planned to make a bag with it, but didn’t want to rush into it. At £55 a metre it was probably the most expensive fabric I’d got. I wanted to think about it and try to make the most of the gorgeous pattern. 7 months later and i was finally ready to take my scissors to it. Always quite scary cutting into good quality, expensive fabric.

Working out where i want my pattern to be.

Working out where i want my pattern to be.

The pieces cut out. This was the way I'd intended the pieces to be. I wanted the pattern to line up the best it could.......

The pieces cut out. This was the way I’d intended the pieces to be. I wanted the pattern to line up the best it could…….

I used my usual messenger bag template but I altered the dimensions a bit. I made the height shorter and the length wider and also made it width deeper. Which meant a wider strap.  I backed the fabric with calico, just to make it a bit sturdier, and I lined it in denim.



My pattern layout didn't quite work out, got pieces the wrong way round, but still works I feel.

My pattern layout didn’t quite work out, got pieces the wrong way round, but still works I feel.

Bit more obvious here.

Bit more obvious here.

Lining inserted quite neatly.

Lining inserted quite neatly.

Size comparison, not too different but just enough.

Size comparison, not too different but just enough.

I’m very happy with it and have had some lovely compliments on it. Mainly due to the quality of the fabric I feel. I just love this pattern though and find it very appropriate for living by the sea.  I have enough fabric left over to make another bag, so although initially it  was expensive fabric, if I can make two bags out of it, it won’t seem so bad.

July 2014: Another woodland creatures bag…

I wasn’t going to write about this having almost forgotten I’d done it! And that I’ve already made two woodland creatures bags, and that anyone ready this blog might not want to see another one, then I remembered this blog is mainly a diary for me of the things I’ve made. And this one is also slightly different from the other two in that it doesn’t have the multiple straps for different carrying options. I made this for my friend Kristina who no longer lives in the same country as me.

working out where I want the pattern to fall.

working out where I want the pattern to fall.

I love these trees......

I love these trees……

The other side.

The other side.

One of my most perfectly executed insertions of the  lining I've ever done! Sometimes its a little tricky and can get a bit messy.......

One of my most perfectly executed insertions of the lining I’ve ever done! Sometimes its a little tricky and can get a bit messy…….

So there you have it. This bag was taken to Fuerteventura, but is now possibly in Australia!