Mamma’s got a brand new bag

When I first started sewing, hmmmm maybe about 5 years ago now, one of the first things I made was a tote bag for my mum…it was very basic! She did, however, use it all the time so now the colour is less navy and white more navy and brown, and the appliqué apple (bit random…who knows why I decided on this for a decoration!) is now just an outline of stitches, the inner fabric as worn off.

So for mum’s birthday this year I made a new bag to replace this well loved but pretty disgusting old one. The pattern for the bag was from U Handbag which has a great easy-to-follow tutorial that you can print.
The fabric I used, bought from Favourite Fabrics on Ebay, was a cotton/linen blend, strong and hard-wearing for every day use, in a pretty vintage-style blue and pink floral print for the outer and pink and white polka dots for the lining. The tan leather sew-on bag handles were also from Ebay.

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Slightly better than the old one I think and mum was pretty pleased with it too…here’s to another five years.

Due to the popularity of this bag amongst my other family members, my sister also got one for her birthday a month later, with just a couple of changes: the same fabric but different colour; and the handles, again leather, but brown, slightly longer, and different in style (I think slightly more modern looking than mum’s) – I bought these from www.bag-clasps.co.uk. I also added a pocket inside the bag to keep her phone or keys, knowing how they always seem to get lost amongst the Mary Poppins range of items in a girl’s bag!

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I just need to make one for myself now and we’ll have a matching set.

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Little Lavender Bags

Lavender bags are quite simple little gifts to make, but everyone seams to love them!

I made a few before Christmas to give as gifts, but instead of just two pieces of fabric sewed together and stuffed with some dried lavender, I decided to jazz them up a bit with some decoration.

My 90 year old nan is so hard to buy a present for as she just tells us she doesn’t want anything…not even chocolates (because she is ‘trying to be good’! If you can’t be naughty at 90, when can you be?). Really, I know she appreciates anything we give her, and I like to try to make as many things as possible so knew she would appreciate a these little hand-made gifts…

I got this cute cross stitch pattern (plus threads) free in one of my issues of Mollie Makes magazine. It took me about three hours to do (in a one’er) whilst I was watching Children in Need back in November, which I then trimmed with cream crochet trim, and stitched onto some lovely pale pink and white spot cotton linen fabric (Seasonal Supplies shop via Etsy). I edged the design with a hand-sewn running stitch and embroidery thread. After sewing the little bag together as normal, filling with dried lavender, I finished it off with a ribbon loop and cute button.

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I also made a matching bookmark with my nan’s (Mary) initial.

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As this was such a hit with my mum, I thought I would make her (and my Aunty) some lavender bags as little additions to their presents. Only I couldn’t decide on a design so I made many and thought the extras would make handy little gifts ready for friends and family birthdays throughout the year…

The entire collection (times four of each)…errr yeah I got a bit carried away with my free-hand machine appliqué!

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Aunty Shirley got the little pink houses (far right), whilst Aunty Elaine got the cherries…

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My mum got the brollies (only she saw a ‘J’ for Joyce…err yeah mum, that’s what it’s supposed to be!)

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The blue flowers are my favourite (may keep these for myself to hang in my wardrobe)…

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These make great little inexpensive gifts as you can make them as big or small as your fabric allows; you can even use up fabric left-overs for both the bags and decoration.

Christmas is coming…now taking orders.

I’ve just finished my first order of Christmas stockings of the year, and about to start on another…you people are getting organised early!

This recent order, I have to admit, are my favourite stockings to date.

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I made these for the lovely Sarah of Leafy Couture who did the most amazing flowers for our wedding a couple of years ago. She asked me to make these for her two little ones: Lily and Elliot, and nephew Finn.

The main stocking is made from a cream cotton linen fabric, with the toe, heel and cuff in a red spotty linen blend – whilst these fabrics are not on the cheap side, using quality fabrics really makes such a difference in the overall finish, and are sure to be much more longer-lasting.

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They are fully lined and include a wadding inner to make them nice and padded. These stockings measure 51cm in length and 28cm in width (around the top of the stocking) – nice and big for Santa to fill with treats!

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Whilst keeping all the stockings matching in size, basic colours and style, I’ve personalised each with their names (also in cream cotton linen), edged in a hand-sewn running stitch, on the cuff. On the fronts of each, I appliquéd a cute Christmas design in felt and fabric on the front, with additional hand-embroidered elements such as the Gingerbread Man’s bow and icing, and the Angel’s halo, hair ribbons and dress decoration.

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Each have a vintage cream and red gingham loop to hang over the fireplace on Christmas eve.

Word in from Sarah on receipt of the stockings...’Emily you are ridiculously talented, they are beyond perfect, thank you so so so much!’…I think she liked them!

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So, if anyone else is getting organised early, and would like a personalised Christmas stocking like these for your loved one, please do not hesitate to contact me (hello@emilycarlill.com).