My Super Supertote

I am just a little bit excited to show you my new bag.

Last year at Fat Quarterly Retreat I took a paper piecing class taught by Joanna and Julianna which I wrote about here (free pattern available here).

The result of the class was this block:

Read between the lines

It has hung rather beautifully ever since on the wall of my sewing space; patiently waiting.

In January this year a local lady came round to pick up some fabric she had purchased from me and suggested that I used the block on a bag.  That suggestion stayed with me.

I’ve had Noodlehead’s Supertote pattern for a while now and a few weeks ago decided it was time to tackle it.  So I read the pattern through a couple of times, read others people’s reviews and modifications of the patterns and set about thinking what to do with mine.

Laying the pattern piece for the exterior pocket on my typewriter block I was delighted to discover that it was the perfect size for it (I had to remove the glasses as they would be caught up in the seam allowance).

I opted for recycling a pair of jeans from the charity shop for the main panels and gusset as I wanted something hard wearing and that would contrast well with the typewriter.

I was struggling slightly with the amount of denim I had to work with (approximately one and half legs!) and creatively cut up one of the seam lines and used the uncut seam as the middle of the back piece.


The changes I made were to add an internal zip pocket on one side rather than the elasticated pockets.


Here are the elasticated pockets on the other side:


I added piping to the top of the pocket and all around the gusset, it adds a great pop of colour to the dark denim. I used the same orange on the back as I used in the typewriter block.


On the front I used a packet of vintage bias binding that went well with the typewriter paper:


You can see some of the detail on the top stitching in Aurifil 40W 2150 a dark orange which again just adds some lovely detail.  For the straps I used webbing and top stitched the paper clip print (Type by Julia Rothman) on to it, in keeping with the desk/office theme!

Conveniently I had a chunky bright pink zip that I’d bought from the charity shop for 50p that was the perfect size for the recessed zip:


I even remembered to add a label too:


In summary I am pretty delighted with my new bag:


It’s a great pattern, lots of preparation work to do before you start sewing but it’s worth it. Not only do I love it but Tobit has declared it’s his favourite bag that I’ve made too!

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A birthday bag

My wonderful husband celebrated a big birthday in May. On his birthday last year he was diagnosed with Coeliacs disease so I wanted to make sure that this year was a lot better!

I love to give handmade gifts if I know they will be appreciated (yes I’m shallow like that, unappreciated gifts I feel are a waste of my time!).  I asked Tobit if there was anything he would like me to sew for him and didn’t get much of a response.

So I decided to make him a Cargo Duffle, the pattern is by Anna of Noodlehead and produced for Robert Kaufman, you can find a copy of the pattern here.  I’ve used a number of Anna’s patterns before and love the bags that I have made with them so felt sure this would be another winner and I could make it masculine.

Architexture Cargo Duffle

The pattern instructions are only 6 pages long and assume an amount of sewing knowledge and experience, e.g. quilt-as-you-go.  However as time was on my side I did some searching to see how others had sewn the same bag and read their experiences.  I ended up creating a Pinterest board with all the useful posts I found on sewing the duffle.  The most useful was a sew along series by Sophie Crespy on her blog.

I already knew what prints I would use:

Architexture FQ bundle

My hoarded, uncut, collection of Architextures which Tobit had admired since the day it arrived.  Without telling him why I asked him to pick out some favourite prints, although I must admit I did direct him slightly to make sure it fitted with my plan!

For the bottom gusset and exterior bottom accent I bought a pair of jeans from the charity shop and cut them up. I didn’t have quite enough denim left for the length of both handles which was really annoying and I was worried that joining 2 pieces together would create too much bulk but after a good pressing it worked fine with the use of a denim needle and walking foot.

The zip gusset and interior is Comma in Swinging Slate by Zen Chic and works well with the Architexture which was a bit of a relief because I didn’t have anything else that was remotely suitable and long enough.

I also had time to order some nice zips and snaps for the pockets.  The zips came from here, (and if you want latex rubber they sell that too!) and the snaps from here.  I will admit to being a little nervous about fixing the snaps on, but I left it until I was home alone and could concentrate on the job in hand and all but one went on perfectly.

Architexture Cargo Duffle - pocket detail

The troublesome one I think just slipped a little and somehow tore the fabric, but I did a little fix with some interfacing and unless it was pointed out I don’t think you would notice as it’s on the pocket rather than the flap so not really seen!

Architexture Cargo Duffle - pocket detail

I added an exterior zip pocket:

Architexture Cargo Duffle - exterior zip pocket detail

Again I had planned to do this so the zip matched the main one, I did have trouble finding 2 zips that matched that were the right length for this!

Architexture Cargo Duffle - exterior zip pocket detail


The pattern doesn’t have a lining but binding on the seams, I used this tutorial to add a lining which meant I could add an interior pocket:

Architexture Cargo Duffle - interior zip pocket detail

I took great pleasure in creating this bag, having time to add touches that would be useful was fun. However, nowhere did I find any mention of anyone having a problem inserting the side panels into the gusset. I had a nightmare with them, I measured and remeasured to make sure I hadn’t gone wrong somewhere, no my measurements were as the pattern but I really struggled to get the sides stitched in neatly once the top and bottom were in. I think I spent a whole day while the children were all at school stitching and unpicking this stage! But it was worth it!

Architexture Cargo Duffle

The children and I had fun filling the duffle with 39 other gifts and I’m pretty sure he had a great birthday!  He’s going away for work this week so I’m expecting to see this used for the first time – no pressure ;-)

Thanks to Anna for a great free pattern and to everyone who has shared their experience of making this bag it really helped.  I’d like to make another one…

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UK and Ireland Vintage Sheet FQ Swap Round 2

It’s official; I’ve finally got my act together to organise another vintage sheet fat quarter swap. I’ve updated the flickr group, you can find all the details here.

I’d be grateful if you’d tell your friends/blog readers, IG friends, generally spread the word, the more participants we have the more lovely vintage sheets you’ll be able to get your hands on.

If you want to pop a lovely swap button on your blog;

The following code will insert a 200×200 px button:

<div align="center">
<a href=""> 
<img style="border: none;" alt="FQ SWAP" src="" /> 

I look forward to seeing what sheets you want to share.


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Sunday Stash

It’s been a good week for fabric stashing so I thought I’d share it with you. Tracey at Quilt Me Happy has decided to shut up her online shop and as a result is having a BIG sale.  I took advantage of this and bought half metre cuts of a number of Curious Nature fabrics:

Stashing Curious Nature

There is a FQ in there too that Tracey unearthed and a whole metre of the print on the left.  I’m now planning a quilt for my eldest brother.  He is quietly very amazing and has helped us out no end with the building work this year.  This is one way I can say thank you and I know he’s not adverse to lying on the sofa with a book and a blanket so a quilt can’t be bad.  I’ll keep you posted on progress.

I bought Kona solids to co-ordinate even though I’m not sure of the plan yet, there are a great range of Kona’s on sale from as little as £3.50 per half metre so worth checking out if you need to stock up.  Tracey helpfully pulled the colours for me as colour matching on a screen is never easy:


top – bottom: mid grey, ash ivory, olive, dusty blue

So they were the bargain stash additions this week, well that is until we come to the additions to my vintage sheet collection:

An early morning trip to the car boot sale last Sunday got me these:


And then popping into the charity shop on the way to school one afternoon I found these:


I am now struggling to fit all these into my vintage sheet cupboard so will really have to sort out FQ bundles for my Etsy shop.

Linking up for the first time with Sunday Stash which is not at Fiona’s this week but with Alyce.

Sunday Stash

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Quick shop update

Just to let you know I’m taking a little break and any orders placed in my Etsy shop between 21st – 27th August will be dispatched as soon as possible on my return and definitely by 30th August.  As a thank you for your patience use code HOL13 for 10% off orders up to 27th August.  If you want a custom order send me a convo and I’ll create the listing and apply the discount when I’m back.

I’ve been having a sort out and here’s an instagram view of my freshly folded and organised vintage sheet stash for the shop:

vintage sheet cupboard

Click on any of the photo’s to take you straight to the shop.  Here are 2 new prints that you may well find in a charm pack, bunting kit or quilt kit:

pink vintage blue vintage

If you’re in the UK enjoy the bank holiday weekend, I’m hoping for no rain – sunshine would be a bonus!

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Orbit quilt finish

On a freezing cold day I’m able to share with you a quilt finish.

This is the original fabric pull, all vintage sheets from my stash (some recently obtained from the vintage sheet FQ swap):

Fabric pull for Orbit QAL

It changed a little and I went with the bottom floral print for the background fabric rather than the plain blue solid.

There was a fair amount of cutting to be done but thanks to Lindsey’s clever pattern which includes a quilt by number chart it was easy to put together.  The pattern is currently free to download and after 1st April it will be available to buy from Lindsey.

Last night I finally finished sewing the binding on:

Orbit Quilt - binding

Finishing the binding meant that all that was needed were photographs, so despite the temperature I took a walk to the park at the end of our road and pegged the quilt to the fencing of the tennis court.  I was concerned about the strength of the wind and the ability to get a decent shot but it was obviously blowing in the right direction, I think it would have stayed up without pegs!

Orbit Quilt

Backed with a vintage sheet:

Orbit Quilt - back

And the quilting? I’ve never free motion quilted a quilt so I thought ‘why not start on this one?’ For the centre of each Orbit I used pebbles:

Orbit Quilt - pebble quilting

For the outer square I did a loopy something or other:

Orbit Quilt

Orbit Quilt

And then for the Orbit I used parallel lines following the outer edge of the Orbit:

Orbit Quilt

I’m pleased with it as a first attempt at free motion quilting (obviously the straight lines are not FMQ!), I can see how with practice it should improve.

Thanks very much to Lindsey for a great pattern (I can see myself using it again) and for hosting the QAL.

Quilt Stats:

Size: 60″ x 60″
Fabric: Vintage sheets
Backing fabric: Vintage sheet
Binding: Vintage sheet – 100% cotton candy stripes
Quilting: Quilted by me on my machine
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Wadding 80/20
Pattern: Orbit by Lindsey Rhodes of LR Stitched

I’m linking up with:

My Button

My goal for the month was to just get the quilt top made but as building work on the house was slower than anticipated (i.e. I was not evicted from the dining room until last week) I was able to get the whole quilt finished – great big hurrah!

Not so hurrah is the cold weather and this sight at the end of today:

Yep that’s right even more of the back of our house is missing! Spring/summer please come soon, our house is so cold.

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Vintage sheets – January/February

It’s been a quiet few months on the finding front.  A sheet from the car boot:

Vintage sheet - blue/yellow floral

A handmade duvet cover from the charity shop, this was quite expensive, especially considering the one side was plain, but still I had to have it:

Vintage sheet - teal floral

A couple of pillowcases in a fairly rare dark blue print:

Vintage sheet - dark blue floral

A gorgeous pile of pillowcases in this print:

Vintage sheet - pink purple

Fortunately I also had the UK and Ireland Vintage sheet swap going on.  I think in the end we had 11 swappees and 200 or so FQ’s!  I was so intent on sorting and attempting to meet requests for particular colours that I neglected to take any photographs.

Here’s a photo of the bundle that Judith received back that gives you a taste of the gorgeous prints and colours we had:

Vintage Sheets FQ Swap Jan13

Judith was also incredibly quick off the mark and made up a block:

Brit Bee Block Feb13

She then sent off some fabrics to her Brit Bee ladies who have made up blocks for her, so you may see them popping up on other blogs too!

Jan found that the arrival of the fat quarters helped her find her sewing mojo and quickly sewed up a quilt top:

Vintage Sheet Quilt WIP

And I’ve been sewing with mine too:

Orbit quilt

If you’re interested in joining a future vintage sheet swap then please do let me know here or leave a comment in the flickr group and get searching.

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Vintage finds – December

I’m a little later than usual with my round-up of vintage finds for the month.

I’ve not been to the car boot sale for ages; illness, birthdays, exhaustion and Christmas have prevented me for getting out of bed and out of the house, so there was only one find in December:

Vintage sheet - floral

This was once a vintage sheet but had been cut and hemmed and used I’m guessing as a tablecloth, my husband found them in the fabric bin in the charity shop, 3 pieces in all. One piece was labelled and it confirmed that it was once a twin flat sheet made in the USA.

This print here is a pillowcase found only last week but I’m using it to fill out this blog post!

Vintage pillowcase - orange/yellow floral

What I can also show you though is this:

Vintage Sheet FQ's for swap

A pile of gorgeous vintage sheet fat quarters sent by Veronica from the USA for the vintage sheet swap that I’m organising.  The cut off date for FQ’s to arrive with me is this Friday 18th January.  So if you want to join in you’d better be quick, there is a fantastic selection of vintage sheet FQ’s stashed in a box under the bed that have been sent in to me and are ready to be swapped and sent back out.   The flickr group is here if you want to join in or just spy on the wonderful selection of sheets that are being swapped.

Lastly here is the latest item to be made from vintage sheets and added to my etsy shop:

Heart fabric tape - just right for your valentine

Yes, all ready for Valentines day, vintage valentines fabric tape, unique and handmade with love by me!

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Vintage finds – November

The Sew Mama Sew Giveaway post is here, there is still plenty of time to enter.

It’s been a busy month and I think I only made it to the car boot once, due to terrible weather (I can’t imagine anyone was out on those Sundays, buyers or sellers), illness and being away at the wedding.

So technically only the first two sheets were found in November:

Vintage Sheet finds - November

The wonderful blue one was gifted to me on Saturday at the fair by some lovely friends Ant and Tatty, it was pulled from a bag of stuff at Tatty’s mums that was due to go the charity shop.  I am delighted with it!

The others are all pillowcases that I found at the charity shop on my birthday yesterday!  I’ll be chopping these up to add to charm packs available in my shop (use the discount code in yesterdays post for 15% off).

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Vintage fabric finds – September (and a swap heads up)

Despite the fact that September was a wet month and there wasn’t a lot of fabric hunting going on I still managed to end up with quite a haul:

Vintage fabric finds - September

This has got to be the wackiest sheet I have ever seen:

Vintage sheet - pixes, tortoise, mushrooms

As first glance it just appeared to be a pastel floral sheet and then I noticed the tortoise and then the pixie/elf girls – really quite extraordinary.

The manufacturer is Dorma, if any one had one of these sheets as a child I’d love to hear about it.  I bought it from the charity shop on the way to school one afternoon and I showed it to one of the mums, she said it was the sort of thing that would have given her nightmares as a child and I’m sort of inclined to agree!  The print is large so no good for charm squares, in fact I have no idea what I might do with it!  I’m not sure using as a quilt back is the answer!

This item is actually a tea towel, I love the print and it would be awesome as a sheet if not a little loud!

Vintage tea towel

I wrote last month about the vintage fabric swap I did with Veronica and have been thinking about organising a vintage sheet FQ swap in the UK.  I’ve watched the US ones with envy so encouraged by Judith I thought I’d set one up here in the UK.  This is really a bit of a heads up to get looking for sheets, we’ll do the swap in the new year so it gives you time to nick them off your granny’s bed find some.  If you are interested in taking part I’ve set up a flickr group here so please go and join.  You will not need to have a wide selection of sheets one could be enough!  More details to follow in the flickr group.  Happy hunting!

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