Saturday, 2 May 2015

Nappy Bag Giveaway Winners

Hello lovelies,

Thank you all for your kind comments, tweets and Facebook comments and for participating in the Nappy Bag giveaway!

This is a quick post to announce the 3 lucky winners and they are... drum roll...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will be contacting each winner personally to let you know how to get in possession of your prize!
Thank you all for participating and keep your eyes on this blog for more giveaways in the near future.

And now, back to the sewing table :)

Friday, 1 May 2015

Starting our Nappy Bag sew along {Cutting and stabilising}

Hi lovelies, it's time to get going with our Nappy bag sew along!

Don't worry if you're busy or away, you've got until 15th June to enter your finished Nappy bag to win one of the prizes. Check the facebook groups for a list of the prizes.

Today we'll start with our fabrics and stabilisers, getting all prepared and cut out ready to sew.

If you're going to be pattern matching your outer pieces then I'd recommend you don't cut your outer A - Body main, Outer B - Front & back pockets and Outer C - Front flap just yet. We'll have an excellent post next week on how to pattern match, you'll want to read that before cutting those pieces.

Before we start cutting we need to decide on our stabilisers. These are what will hold your bag's shape. You might choose a foam stabiliser (check out my comparison), or a fleece stabiliser. This will depend on your outer fabric.

If you're using a thicker, home décor fabric, then you won't need as much stability as if you're using a quilting cotton. If you're using a quilting cotton I'd recommend each outer layer having a layer of medium weight interfacing and then a layer of foam stabiliser. For thicker home décor fabrics, you may wish to just go with a layer of medium weight interfacing and some fusible fleece. I'd recommend you do a test swatch of your chosen outer fabric to decide which stabiliser you prefer before you begin cutting out.

First you will need to print your pattern pieces. You should print piece C - Front flap first and check that the test box is 1" square. A few mm out shouldn't make a difference.

You can find more info on how to ensure you're printing your PDF patterns correctly here on Emmaline bags.

Where one pattern piece is split into two, I like to cut all around one piece, then tape it to the second before cutting.

If the edges don't quite join up, don't worry, I've already deducted chocolate buttons from the pay of my tech guy! Just try to straighten it up as you cut.

Pieces A, B, C, J and L are provided as pattern pieces to print. Pieces D, E, F, G, H, I and K are provided as rectangular dimensions which you should cut with your rotary cutter and mat. This is common now to reduce paper wastage and on ink costs. If you still prefer paper pieces, you could always draw these out on paper before cutting.

Now it's time to cut.

I like to call this the lazy (but frugal) method of cutting your pieces.

Begin with cutting all of the medium weight interfacing pieces and marking which piece they are in pencil, or fabric marker. 

Next, lay your lining fabric out across your ironing board and starting with the biggest pieces, fuse the medium weight pieces which correspond to lining pieces onto the wrong side. 

So you will fuse 2 x A - Body Main lining, 2 x B - Front & back pocket linings, 1 x C - Front flap lining, 2 x D - Zip gusset linings, 1 x E - Base gusset linings, 2 x I - Zipped pockets, and 2 x J - Lining slip pockets. 

You can cut these out directly from the lining and tick them off on your cutting out list in pencil. I do this in pencil so that the pattern can be re-used. I do one tick for each piece cut and ready. 

You will also need to cut 2 x K pieces for the elastic side holders, these do not have any interfacing.

You can prepare the contrast outer pieces in the same way as for the lining.

For any outer pieces which you are not planning to pattern match, you can use the same method, cutting out your medium weight interfacing and using that to choose which part of your outer fabric you use easily. I like to move it around on the back of my fabric until I'm happy with the placement, then fuse it on and cut out. You can do this for pattern pieces D - zip gusset, E - Base gusset and L - elastic side pockets.

I'm looking forwards to seeing all of your fabric choices, let's all share a photo in the facebook group of our fabric selection to give us something to drool over!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Bag making tools of the trade - how to make life easier!

Hi everyone,

Seeing as we're gearing up to the Nappy bag sew along I thought it would be helpful to share with you some of the tools I use when bag-making. Hopefully these will calm any fears you might have for the trickier parts of bag making, ready to tackle the Nappy bag which is considered an advanced pattern.

I'll be with you every step of the way though, as will the Facebook groups, and these tools below can really make a difference to how easy you find certain steps!

Firstly, some of my most basic tools are ones that I use on every bag.

I love a good comfy seam ripper. Let's face it, you're going to need to remove stitches, you might as well do it in comfort! I love this 'luxury' clover one. It is a possibly a touch more pricey depending on where you buy from, but I've had the cheap plastic ones as well as the little freebie ones and I can tell you, when you make as many mistakes as me, cost per use isn't much on the more expensive one!


Next up is some great glass head pins. They're fairly fine so I can usually sew over them (cue gasp!) although because the heads are glass they can be pressed and ironed too without worrying about melting. I use these from Hemline, although other brands are easily available.

I have always been a vocal supporter of Frixion pens as a fabric marker, but an unfortunate incident involving sub-zero weather and some hot pink marking lines has led me to be more cautious and my weapon of choice for markings that are in visible areas is a Chaco liner. It draws a fine line of chalk powder which easily brushes off or can be damp dabbed away. It's great for marking pocket dividing lines.

Don't forget that in the Nappy bag there's a few zips. Don't fear the zipper, there's two excellent products on the market which can help your zip placement lickety split.

Firstly, there's the glue pen. This is a pen which you can apply directly to the zip (or fabric zip opening depending on your preference). The glue fades and can be washed away.


Secondly you can use Wonder tape, I'd go for the smallest width you can find so that it's not visible in your welt zip pocket openings. It shouldn't gum up your needle and washes away easily.

Trying to sew a welt zip pocket such as you would have in a bag lining straight can be tricky if it's not properly secured in place and pinning seems to distort zips in the blink of an eye!

Another excellent tool and one that I would recommend over and above any other in this post is the adjustable zipper foot, sometimes known as an adjustable piping foot.

You use the little screw on the back to ensure that the needle falls exactly into that little cut out of the foot. I've yet to sew a straight zip with the zip foot that my machine came with, even with 5 years of practice. However, as soon as I screwed this adjustable foot on, my very first zip was incredibly accurate. So now you know my secret!

And finally, this next product is something that you've maybe seen around but aren't sure whether you need it, it's a set of binding clips. Sometimes called wonder clips or sewing clips. I love these pretty multi-coloured clips from Bobbin Girl although I bought the very expensive Clover ones when they first came on the market. Maybe I'll treat myself to a new set.

These clips are excellent at holding bulky seams together prior to sewing, and especially for easing around corners. I find that pinning around corners can result in one or the other part being too long whereas with the clips the seams are always perfectly aligned. They also save unnecessary pin spiking trying to get your pins through thick fabrics!

Have I missed any essential bag making tools that you would recommend to anyone embarking on their first nappy bag? Anything you'd add?

Don't forget, if you haven't already signed up for the Nappy bag sew along you can find more info in my previous posts.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Win the fabulous Nappy Bag pattern - a Sewing Patterns by Mrs H giveaway!

Are you ready to join the Nappy Bag sew along but haven’t got the pattern yet? Today is your lucky day because we’re giving 3 away! All you have to do is either leave a comment below, visit our Facebook page or send out a Tweet and on Saturday we’ll select a random winner and announce it here, on the blog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the pattern:

The Nappy Bag is specially designed to be practical, yet stylish and it’s ideal for mums who want to look good while toting the supplies needed to cope with a little one, but we’ve seen many fabulous makers using this pattern to sew weekend travel bags. You can see some of the bags made with this pattern in our Nappy Bag inspiration post.

Harry's Nappy bag (Elvis' best friend)

Why you’ll really like this pattern:

  • Apart from looking stylish on the outside, the interior of the bag is made to keep everything organised, with 4 elasticated slip pockets and 2 elasticated bottle holders and a zipped pocket for personal items.
  • The bag has two short shoulder straps and a detachable long strap you can use both as a shoulder or crossbody strap;
  • The pattern features a large front pocket, closed with a magnetic snap, while the full width back pocket is closed with hook & loop tape and conceals a hidden zipped pocket.
  • The finished dimensions are 18" (45.75 cm) wide, 10" (25.5 cm) tall, and 5" (12 cm) deep, surprisingly small for such a roomy bag.
  • Plus, together with the sewing pattern you’ll get a 28-page booklet with step by step instructions with colour photographs and you can always come back to the blog and ask us sewing related questions! 

Psst! Do you already have the Nappy Bag but you’d still like to participate in the giveaway? If you win, you can choose another pattern from our sewing pattern collection.


Sunday, 26 April 2015

5 ideas for your Nappy bag

Are you joining our Nappy Bag sewalong? In case you haven't decided for the fabric you're going to use, we have 5 ideas for you to think about before May 1st!

The Nappy Bag is a roomy bag that's perfect for showcasing your best fabric. 

Give florals a try 

We really loved Katie's bright and bold bag and we can imagine other type of floral fabrics working beautifully with this pattern. If you're planning on using this bag a lot, take in consideration the colours in your wardrobe you tend to wear most and choose either a contrasting or a matching colour. Plus, spring is the perfect season for florals!

A geometric vibe

If you love bright colours but can't really imagine yourself wearing a big, floral bag, you could try a colourful geometric pattern, like this bright green and blue bag Dee from Dee-Zines made. You can imagine how irresistible your bag is going to be just by seeing the grandson's excitement over this version.

Up cycle an old pair of jeans 

We love it when incredibly creative people such as Annette turn something old and no longer useful into something new like this up cycled denim nappy bag. We love the bright pink handles, which make the bag look really fun and fresh. Another idea would be to use piping in a crazy colour.

Mix and match 

If you're a genius with mixing patterned fabrics like Stacey, and love a bold look, then the nappy bag is the perfect project for those fabric remnants you love so much. 

Make a travel bag

The nappy bag can be also used as a weekend bag and we particularly love this classy version made by Liz from the Moments Blog. You could use sturdy fabrics like denim and canvas or, if you're feeling brave enough, try this pattern in leather or vinyl. 

What about you? What are your ideas for your new nappy bag?