upcycled #13

A peg bag. Or a toy bag for very small toys. Or a bag for smalls.

36cm wide and 16cm deep from the lower edge of the opening.

Jasper update

Jasper likes nothing better than to recycle the recycling. With a paper bag clamped in his jaws he padded in from the kitchen one morning, with an “I dare you to try and take this bag from me!” gleam in his eye. I noticed that the bag was from my son’s shop Tea Ink, so I had to take a photo.


road atlas bag

We have sat nav in the car but I’ve always preferred a paper map. This actually translates to: We have sat nav in the car but I find it difficult to use and spend more time shouting at it frustratedly than navigating with it.

Our previous car had a roomy pocket on the rear of each of the front seats and it was easy for me to pull out the road atlas from the driver’s seat pocket but our current car has no such pockets so the atlas gets tossed onto the back seat or falls on the floor and gets trodden underfoot by passengers and squashed and torn when the rear seats are folded down for trips to the recycling centre and I generally have to do a series of acrobatic contortions from the front seat in order to be able to reach the atlas before I can even think about reading a map. I’ve had this problem for over two years but it was only when a replacement road atlas was bought recently that I wondered why I hadn’t thought to make a hanging bag in place of the missing seat pocket.

I decided on a simple bag with two tapes to hang it from the head rest supports but then I thought I ought to have some kind of picture on the front to indicate what’s within. (Why I need to advertise that it’s a bag for maps is something perhaps only a psychologist can answer.) This is what I came up with: map bag A very simple interpretation of an OS map using fabric crayons and free motion embroidery on thin calico backed with a lightweight white canvas that I found in my supplies. An ordinance survey map seemed the easiest kind to stitch even though it’s unlikely to ever be the type of map that will go in the bag!


map bag 2

a new bag

A new bag yes, but one that’s totally impractical for shopping purposes being only 4.5″ high and made from craft felt. OK, I was bored and this was all I could think of to keep myself occupied this morning when I wasn’t in the mood to do any hand embroidery. Of course I couldn’t leave it unadorned so I free-motion stitched a tree-like structure on both sides. I might use it as a repository for all those free-motion embroidery scraps that I don’t currently do anything with. It’s as good a use as any other.


silly little birds

Last week I came across a book on how to illustrate children’s books but the only thing I remember after a brief look was the recommendation that when you get an idea for a character, you should draw, draw, draw and keep drawing that same character until you can draw it inside out. I had been doodling some embroidery ideas for a bag front and when I got to the end of the page, I thought my leaf shapes looked a little like cartoony birds so this morning I took the idea further. The lines of birds were drawn from right to left but I’m not sure they improved along the way. I patently still can’t draw birds for toffee* but believe me, they look more like birds than any I’ve drawn in the past!


*I remember the phrase “I can’t (insert appropriate skill) for toffee” from my childhood but have never been able to figure out what relevance toffee had to not being able to do something. Do you know?

a new shopper

Before I started in my last job, I bought a generous sized shopper in which to carry my lunch, my Kindle, my brolly, anything I might buy during a swift lunch-time foray to the shops and my cardi if the weather forced me to peel off a layer (twice only).  Now, after nearly five years of continuous use and my recent retirement, my trusty indestructable shopper has itself been retired. Each time I now leave home, I don’t need to carry everything that I did before but I have only one handbag large enough to carry a brolly, and additionally, as I have not yet been classified as a full-blown hermit, I still need a shopper from time to time.


There are loads of bag patterns on the internet but I decided to design and sew my own – see the image below for the end result. I machine-quilted the leaves only, prefering to leave the background plain. Inside, there are two zipped pockets – one small and one the width of the bag. I included an upright bottomless tube pocket too at one side – just for my brolly! I used to get so fed up digging for my brolly amongst everything else at the bottom of my old shopper so a designated brolly pocket had to be an essential element of the design. I don’t really have a fixation on brollies but most women who live in rainy climates would agree that brolly storage in a handbag is something rarely considered by handbag designers!


I don’t yet know how much my new bag will comfortably hold, but it might serve as both handbag and shopper at the same time. When I’d finished it, I came across some forgotten upholstery fabric which would be just right for a ‘winter’ shopper so once I’ve gotten some other unfinished projects out of the way, I might have a go at one and fine-tune my pattern and construction methods at the same time, perhaps adding a top closure for added security.

Quick challenge

My son set me a challenge: sew a bag for his collapsible mini scooter using a couple of cast-off display poster bags. After a couple of hours of unpicking, measuring, cutting and sewing, I had met the challenge. Easy to slip the scooter in and out of and the choice of shoulder or hand straps retained. The brief did not stipulate a closing of any kind which was good as it was difficult fabric to manipulate. Unfortunately I can’t try it for size yet as the scooter’s in use today…

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