So here is some of my selection. The middle two are both Paul Smith, the top one is of unknown origin and the bottom one is some of Ikea's lovely linen that Joanne kindly purchased for me - there's nothing quite like agreeing to a pregnant lady's offer to haul fabrics across London for you to make you feel like a bad person.
A hand bag requires a different sort of everything to a shoulder bag. It requires a handle that is comfy on the palm, a stockiness that means it doesn't lollop around one's ankles as you walk and a fastening that sandwiches together the sides in case of inclement weather (for with a shoulder bag your arm acts most efficiently on this front). So on this occasion the Melly bag that I love to make so much would be all wrong. So here it is (the photo is poor - a very rainy day last week).
The shiny hardware is, as ever, from my favourite bag supplies lady. I also ordered some plastic tubing to go inside the handle (photo of handle at top of post). I worried that the ends might wear at the fabric and so sewed the tube flat at each end before inserting it (if you are thinking of doing this it's not at all stressful and my sewing machine sewed through two layers of the thick plastic tubing without any problem, because while it's thick, it is very squashy). I found constructing the handle tricksy, partly because I'd never made that type before...my mistake was to attempt to stick to using my machine, in the end I realised that the only way to get the finish that I wanted was to sew the majority of it by hand. I'm sure that I've mentioned and linked to this before, but once again I was so grateful for the tutorial on ladder stitching by Orange Flower. Where a traditional whip stitch would have been technically suitable, aesthetically it would have been an eyesore. Thankfully a ladder stitch is almost completely invisible and so perfect for this kind of handfinishing...it troubles me to think of all the projects that would look utterly ugly in parts had I never come across this method. It's one of those things that within the realm of sewing is quite life changing! Yes, I am such a creature of understatement and reserve, I know.
Anyway, this week I have made a cravat, a bag and a bed tidy...as random as the items in a game of My Grandmother went to Market...but somehow it doesn't feel like I've been sewing at all. On Monday I found myself going on an impromptu trip with a lovely friend to previously unvisited garden nurseries where we managed to fill her entire car with eleven Laurels, some clematis and a 7ft Golden Bamboo. The next day she returned to help me dig...we dug nearly all day and ate fondant fancies from Marks and Spencers in between shovels loads. On Wednesday I painted the garage door a sagey green. On Thursday I ate one green leaf (that bit's not strictly true) and wrote a blog post. Ahh, the sun has come out and it feels like I'm on holiday this week. Enjoy the sunshine. x