It’s been a long time since I did any sewing. At school I took O-level Dressmaking (I am that old), and would have loved to have carried on to A-level, but I was told to do courses which would get me a “proper job”! I continued to make most of my clothes for many years, but have been too busy recently. I really want to start again, but have memories of how difficult it is to make clothes that fit well, especially when you are somewhat asymmetric!
Last year I watched The Great British Sewing Bee. In this programme contestants competed in various sewing tasks, some of which involved making garments from patterns while others involved modifying pre-made garments. I looked at the Great British Sewing Bee book and was impressed because it has patterns suitable for a range of experience, whereas many new sewing books cater solely for beginners.
I decided to start with a simple tote bag.
First I had to get my sewing machine serviced.
I got my sewing box out; I love the shape and style of this!
I sorted out some fabric for the bag; it’s a linen-cotton weave with a nice texture. However, I didn’t have any leather for the handles, and didn’t want to buy any, so what to use? My idea was to crochet two striped lengths to use for handles, so I chose some yarns from my stash. They are all cotton – the peach is Debbie Bliss ecobaby, the two lower yarns are Rowan purelife organic cotton 4 ply – I don’t know what the others are.
Here is my finished tote bag.
I made a few modifications. I machine stitched the handles to the bag. I left an opening in the top edge rather than a side; this made it easier to stitch the gap once the bag was turned.
If I made another one, I would use a heavier weight interfacing (the medium-weight suggested was not stiff enough). I’d also attach the handles lower down, and I’d probably line the handles with fabric to stop them stretching. But overall, I’m happy with this as a first project for a long time!