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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DIY oversized clutch bag

So I'm continuing with the bag theme this week by sharing this little (actually quite big) clutch bag I made last week. A friend of mine who is crazy talented and creative was moving (just after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl literally one week earlier) and was freeing up some space by giving away a huge load of fabric scraps - needless to say I was more than happy to take it off her hands - thanks Erin! It took me about five hours to organise the scraps of fabric but my mind was in creative overdrive as I was sifting through all the cute fabric. A lot of it is just small swatches so I'm thinking I might just get round to making that patchwork quilt I've been planning ever since getting my sewing machine!

But lets get back to this bag. I have a real thing for yellow at the moment...maybe it's because I'm trying to make up for the lack of sun in my life.

I've been seeing these fold over clutches popping up on Pinterest for ages so I finally decided it was time to make one. I normally get annoyed with how impractical clutches are but I can fit everything I need with ease into phone, wallet, keys, make up...even my camera (I only have a little one) can fit!

Let's get to it!

1. Cut out two 30 x 22cm pieces of the base fabric (yellow) and two 30 x 15cm pieces of the top fabric (patterned). Pin one base fabric and one top fabric together along the longest side, right sides facing. Sew together. Repeat for the other pieces of fabric.

2. Cut out two pieces of lining to match the size of the sewn together fabric. Place one piece of lining with the fabric rights sides facing. Pin the lining to the top fabric and sew together. Repeat for the other fabric and press all seams.

3. You should have two pieces of fabric that look like the photo above. A quick pause from sewing while we tackle the snaps. Mark the middle of the lining fabric about 1.5 - 2" from the top, fit the base of the heavy duty snap to the lining using the manufacturers instructions (just make sure that the bottom of the snap is showing on the wrong side of the fabric!). You can fit the top half of the snap at this stage but I wanted to make sure they lined up so I fitted it once the bag was sewn together!

4. Next pin the two pieces of fabric together, right sides facing. Sew together around the edges leaving a 7 - 10cm gap along the bottom edge of the lining. Next pull the fabric through this gap so that the right sides face out. Close the gap at the lining with a slipstitch. Press the edges.

5. Fold the lining inside the bag and press the seam joining the fabric to the top fabric to ensure a nice clean edge.

6. Mark on the outside of the bag where the top side of the snap needs to be fitted. Fit according to manufacturer instructions.

Note: if you want to hide the snap then you can fit the top side of the snap in the same way you did the base in step 3, Just fit it to the lining but make sure when you pin the two sides of the bag together that the snap parts match up!

Also, if you want to cover your snap with fabric as I did then it's really easy! Simply add a little fabric glue to the top of the snap and adhere to the fabric, easing out any creases. Cut any excess fabric leaving about a 1/2cm edge. Glue the excess fabric to the back of the part and leave to dry for a few minutes before continuing with fitting it to the bag.

And then all you need to do is fill it with your lovely things, fold over the top half of the bag and show off your newest handmade treasure :)

Can you tell I had some time to kill on Photoshop? (well it was more procrastinating to avoid the washing up waiting for me in the kitchen...and, yes, adding hearts is about the extent of my creativity when it comes to editing photos!)

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Favourite gift wrap ideas...

Following my last post on how to make a paper gift bag, I thought it would be fun to show you my 5 favourite ideas from Pinterest on how to decorate these lovely brown bags! Periodically I sing Pinterest's praises and I'm pretty sure I'm due for another song, so here it is!

1. Calligraphy favours by Lisa Vorce
2. Scalloped edged paper bags via New Nostalgia
3. DIY stitched fabric tags by Lauren Elise Crafted
4. Vintage style favours via wedding wire - I love everything about this, the print, the doily, the peg!
5. Colourful bead ties by This Little Street

I would love to see your ideas for decorating these little bags...the ideas are endless!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Make your own paper gift bags...

As promised in my last post, here are the pretty little gift bags that me and my friends put together for one of the leaving parties last week. I have met so many talented and creative friends since moving to Cambridge and it was so much fun deciding together what gifts to make. I seriously need to convince Cath and Lizzie to set up blogs - they're so talented! Cath made some gorgeous sewn hearts whilst me and Lizzie had a crafty afternoon making these notepads, decorated peg magnets and little prayer cards...and of course, these paper gift bags!

I love crafty afternoons.

I picked up a roll of brown paper and fiddled and folded my way around...and discovered that paper bags are so easy to make. There are so many amazing decoration ideas out there (hello Pinterest) and these bags are the perfect base for pretty gift wrap. We decided on dusting off my butterfly stamp and decorating with a simple name tag and twine.

You can use this method to make any size bag you like, the only rule to follow is that the base and the sides are folded to the same measurement. The dimensions in the below instructions gave me bags that were approximately 12 x 24 cm. Also, don't be scared with the number of steps or photos below! I get confused when talking about folding this edge, easing that crease, taking this side...etc etc, so I compensated by taking waaaay too many pictures!

How to make a gift bag

What you need:

1. Cut out your paper 28 x 35 cm.

2. Turn the paper so that the long side is facing you, fold in half.

3. Fold the two edges over and 4. glue down.

5.6.&7. Measure 2.5cm in from the glued edge and fold the paper over. Repeat on the opposite side.

8.9.&10. Next open one of these sides out. You will have three crease lines, one of the outer creases will be inverted, reverse the crease.

11.&12. Invert the middle line so that the two outer creases meet. Repeat for the other side.

13. Turn the paper round so that the short ends are facing you. Fold the ends over to create a thin seam, glue the seam down.

14. Measure 2.5cm in from the edge and fold the paper over. Open out and fold along the same crease the opposite way - this will make open the bag out a tad easier.

15. 16. 17.&18. Unfold and put your hand inside the bag to open out the bottom. Gently push the sides of the bag out to create the block bottom. This is the fiddliest part but you can use the ruler to open it out to create sharper lines.

You've now finished the bag and it's ready to be prettied up! But if you're making a supply for future use then you can fold the sides in and the bottom of the bag up so that they can be easily stored without damaging them. (19 &20)

Warning to any friends and family - expect your future presents to come in brown paper bags from now on!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


It's been nine months since we moved to Cambridge. This time last year we were excited about moving but we had no idea what life would look like here - we were leaving our friends, church and home behind. Would we feel at home in the house we looked at for all of 15 minutes? Would we meet people we 'clicked' with? Where would I work? Could we cope without hills? (Okay the last one was only a minor consideration, but wow the excitement whenever I visit a hilly place now!)

When we first visited the college on Andrew's interview day, there was one major thing that struck us. The warmth and love of the people there. People welcomed us, chatted with us, cared about us - even though they had only met us for 5 minutes and might not even see us again. The whole experience felt so...personal. In each interview the tutors prayed with us, that we would know where was right for us. They never 'sold' the college but each person we spoke with had their own hand in indeed selling it to us.

And now Andrew's first year is coming to an end, and on Thursday we had an amazing Midsummer's night dream-themed bash and said goodbye to a number of our friends as they and their families move on to curacies. It is a strange time of transition for us and also the college as we see our friends off and get ready to welcome a new set of people to the college.

But I am blessed. I am blessed that the warmth we felt when we first visited wasn't just put on for visitors, but a genuine and deep undercurrent of love to life here. We have met wonderful friends and have shared so much laughter and tears in just one year. Knowing this is only temporary somehow makes it seem even sweeter, I want to savour every moment we have at this wonderful place we get to call home.

So please excuse my absence from this little blog of mine over the last couple of weeks. I have been busy partying at all the leaver do's! But I have been crafting away so I have some fun projects to share with you, including some pretty gift bags we put together for one of the parties!
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