My New Sewing Shop!

Hello everyone! Ages since I’ve been on here. I’ve had a really good excuse though and bring some exciting news. In August last year, I opened my own sewing shop (with workshop space)! Squeal!!!!! Still feels slightly surreal but I’m slowly but surely getting into the swing of being a shop owner; and absolutely loving the fact that I have oodles of space to spread out my sewing projects.

Space to Sew and Craft PenicuikSpace to Sew and Craft - Shop and sewing workspace

It’s taken a lot of planning and financial commitment to get to this stage. Having worked at home for many years, branching out into the big wide world was a very daunting prospect. But it was a decision that had to be made if I wanted to take my business forward.

The online sales of bag-making supplies, through my website SusieDDesigns were steadily increasing, which meant I was buying in and storing more stock than my home could cope with. I was also running out of space to work on the projects that I design and make for sewing magazines and my own patterns.Etsy Handmade Bags by Susan DunlopI knew I couldn’t afford to lease a shop on the high street, so my dreams of expansion were fruitless for a long time. However… we have small row of commercial units in our residential area and one had been sitting empty for ages. I had often passed it thinking it would be a great space for me. Well, after a year of passing it, I finally plucked up the courage and spoke to the owner. Luckily for me, it was affordable and I snapped it up like a shot. So, here I am. My new shop is called Space to Sew and Craft and it boasts a good-sized shop area and an equally good-sized work area. I have 3 large tables set up with sewing machines where I teach classes and workshops. Best of both worlds!

Customer Make: The Barcelona Satchel

Here’s Polly Bell’s version of my Barcelona Satchel sewing pattern. Fantastic, I love the fabrics used and what a great all round job Polly has made of this gorgeous bag. Very unique and eye-catching!

Polly Bell - Barcelona Satchel Sewing Pattern“I thought that you might like to see my finished bag.I have added a pocket on the gusset for my phone and a clip on the other side to put my keys on when not wearing pockets. I have also added a zip to the top of the bag for added security. I hope you like the look of your design in my colours.” Polly

or my UK shop, SusieDDesigns, has a downloadable version and a printed version.

Sweetheart Handbag – reader make: Sewing World magazine project

In my last post (here) I showed you some lovely Sweetheart Handbags, made by Janis Davies, from one of my bag-making projects featured in a past issue of Sewing World magazine. Janis also had another one in progress, with beautiful embroidered butterflies on a front panel…

Janis Davies - Makes (embroidered sweetheart bag)

…and here’s the finished bag which I thought you might like to see…

Janis Davies - Makes (embroidered sweetheart bag 2)

“It is finished and ready for Portugal. I will use it on the plane as my iPad and kindle fit in perfectly! Hope you like my interpretation of your great pattern.” Janis Davies

I do, it’s fantastic! I’m so pleased to see how Janis has made the bag her own, by incorporating the embroidered front. That’s the thing I love about bag-making, you can adapt them to suit your needs exactly.

If you’d like to make the Sweetheart Handbag, download it now from my Craftsy shop.

Happy Sewing! x

Reader Makes – the Sweetheart Handbag from Sewing World magazine

…and more gorgeous makes by Sewing World reader, Janis Davies, to share with you! A past issue of the magazine featured my Sweetheart Handbag project and Janis made these three amazing versions!

Janis Davies - Reader Makes Sewing World Magazine

“I have just been looking through my past editions of Sewing World. The Sweetheart bag is my absolute favourite. I have made it several times. I have three and several others have gone to special friends as gifts. I am currently making it so am just sending a construction picture for you to see what I am doing with it. My other passion is machine embroidery and I love to incorporate it in my sewing wherever I can.” Janis Davies

Here’s a picture of the Sweetheart Handbag in progress. Janis has incorporated a piped centre panel, with embroidered butterflies on the front, instead of the pocket. I think this will be a really lovely bag and look forward to seeing the finished result.

Janis Davies - Makes (embroidered sweetheart bag)

Want to make this handbag too? Download it instantly from and start sewing it today!


The Sweetheart Handbag Sewing Pattern

Customer Make – the Tri-fold Wallet sewing pattern

Check out Amy Fahey’s version of the Tri-fold Wallet sewing pattern! I love the fabrics Amy has used and the matching bag is great too!

Customer Make - The Tri-fold Wallet sewing pattern by SusieDDesigns“My first attempt. I like the pattern very much!” Amy Fahey

Thank you, Amy, for allowing me to share your fantastic wallet. I’ll look forward to seeing more makes from you.

If you’d like to have a go at making the Tri-fold Wallet sewing pattern, it’s available for instant download from my Craftsy and Etsy shops. It’s also available as a PDF download from, as well as a printed version with full-size tissue pattern pieces.

Tri-fold Wallet on Craftsy, by Susan Dunlop of SusieDDesigns

Reader Make – Summer Shoulder Bag in Sewing World

Check out Janis Davies’ version of the Summer Shoulder Bag, my bag-making project featured in this month’s issue of Sewing World magazine!

Sewing World magazine Summer Shoulder Bag

“I loved the bag on the cover of June’s issue of Sewing World. I had offered to make a bag as a present for my friend’s 60th birthday and this one was perfect. She asked for purples, browns and greens, plus she loves cats, so I incorporated a machine embroidered cat, using my Janome Memory Craft 350e and came up with the attached. I love the finished result and hope my friend will too!” Janis Davies

Too cute! I think Janis’ friend is going to absolutely adore this bag. Well done Janis and thanks so much for allowing me to share your make.

Sewing World Magazine June 2015

Customer Make – the Sophie Nappy Bag sewing pattern

Delighted to hear from a customer recently who used the Sophie Nappy Bag sewing pattern to make this gorgeous version:

SusieDDesigns - Sophie Nappy Bag sewing patternSusieDDesigns - Sophie Nappy Bag sewing pattern - the zipperSusieDDesigns - Sophie Nappy Bag sewing pattern - the interior pockets

“I love your pdf (sewing pattern) very much. So user friendly. Easy instruction to follow, though looks complicated.” Junita Satibi

Thank you so much for sharing your lovely bag, Junita. I love the cute fabrics too!

If you’d like to have a go at making the Sophie Nappy bag it’s available in my Etsy Shop or in my UK website at

Customer Make: the Barcelona Satchel sewing pattern

Another fabulous make by one of my customers to show you. Sharon has made the Barcelona Satchel. When she took it into to work, she had requests to make some for her work colleagues! I’m not surprised, she’s made such a lovely job of it. The forals work so well with the polka dots, don’t you think?

Barcelona Satchel made by Sharon 1a

Barcelona Satchel made by Sharon 2a

“Just finished the Barcelona Bag, love it, brought it into work and now have requests for more! Thanks so much for the pattern. The Barcelona says Advanced, which worried me a little as I think I am intermediate at best, but I found it quite straightforward, it came together very logically!” Sharon.

If you’d like to have a go at making the Barcelona Satchel yourself, it’s available from my online shop, SusieDDesigns, as a PDF pattern, or get it as a printed pattern which includes full-size tissue pattern pieces.

Barcelona Satchel

Reader Makes: Trendy Hipster Bag from my new book, Style and Swing

Delighted to come across a blog post, at Linda’s Quilt Mania, about the Trendy Hipster Bag that Linda has made from my new book, Style and Swing. Linda makes the most gorgeous samples for displaying at Katja’s Quilt Shoppe, in Kamloops, Canada. What do you think of her version and don’t you just love the fabrics she’s used?

Trendy Hipster Bag from Style and Swing: 12 Structured Handbags for beginners and Beyond. Made by lindasquiltmania

Here it is on display at Katja’s Quilt Shoppe, where you can buy these gorgeous fabrics and a copy of Style and Swing!

Trendy Hipster Bag from Style and Swing made by lindasquiltmania

If you’d like to have a go at making this or other bags from my book, it’s available through most good book stores and from Amazon, worldwide. You can also get it direct from the publishers, Martingale’s / That Patchwork Place or order a signed copy from SusieDDesigns. Here’s my Trendy Hipster Bag, which I made using fabrics from the Comma collection by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic for Moda Fabrics.

Style and Swing - 12 Structured Handbags for Beginners and Beyond - Project 5

Sewing World magazine June 2015 out now!

Sewing World Magazine June 2015

The new issue of Sewing World magazine is out now. I was ecstatic to find my new bag-making project is featured on the front cover! I used the lovely fabrics from Suffolk Garden by Brie Harrison for Dashwood Studio. I have these prints in stock, in my online shop.

What’s in this month’s issue:


  • We Meet Janet Clare
  • Competition
  • Fabric Showcase – Summer Florals
  • Masterclass – Decorative Edgings
  • We Visit CallyCo
  • Brilliant Bagmaking – adding zips
  • Re-fashion! Collars


  • Summer-time – Modern shoulder bag
  • Here comes the sun – Empire line sundress
  • Sundial Cushion – Easy appliqué circles
  • Cosmetic Purse – Using Vilene Lamifix
  • Fun in the sun! – Girls sun-top and skirt
  • Funky Key Fob – Colourful key holder
  • Criss-cross Table Runner Set – Quilted runner and coasters
  • Bear Cushion – Animal friend cushion
  • Scratchin’ Chicken – Appliqué and embroidered bag recycler
  • Home from Home – Campervan picture

If you’d like to get a copy of the magazine, it’s in the shops now or can be ordered online at Inspired to Make.

White Tree Fabrics – Jersey Fabric and Simple Sew 007 – Part 2

For my next top, made with the lovely jersey fabrics supplied by White Tree Fabrics, I did a bit of pattern hacking with the gorgeous Bella Dress pattern. This was a free pattern with a Love Sewing magazine issue, from Simple Sew patterns. I’ve been wanting to make the Bella Dress for ages but as I hardly ever wear dresses, I thought it would be great as a top. The blue-grey warm jersey from White Tree was the perfect fabric to use.

9070-11-3 Warm Jersey

The Bella Dress is a lovely flattering shape, which comes in at the waist and has back darts which give a wonderful shape. The sleeves are fluted which again gives a really nice shape and the neckline is a slouchy roll neck. I decided to trim the pattern just below the hips to make a long top and I straightened off the curve which goes over the hip, so that the top didn’t pull in at the bottom. I also made the next size up to what I would normally choose for this pattern as it’s a nice figure hugging dress and I wanted it to be a loose-fitting top.


Making a top from the Bella Dress – free pattern giveaway from Love Sewing magazine





Some tips on sewing with jersey fabrics: use a ball point or jersey needle in your sewing machine. Use a polyester (all-purpose) sewing thread, which has a little stretch and won’t break easily like cotton thread would. Remember to use a stretch-stitch and use an over-locking stitch to finish all the raw edges. I used my over-locker for the raw edges and main seams and I used my sewing machine for hemming. Don’t stretch the fabric as you sew it, unless your pattern specifically tells you to do so. Just gently guide it and let the feed dogs move it through.

If you want to try using this super-soft, two-way stretch, warm jersey fabric, visit White Tree Fabrics and save some money by using this exclusive discount code which White Tree have very kindly offered my readers: SUSIED

White Tree Fabrics – Jersey Fabrics and Vogue V8951 – Part 1

I was delighted to receive some beautiful jersey fabrics, from White Tree Fabrics, for my next dressmaking projects. I received a 2-way stretch, blue-grey warm jersey and a one-way stretch, purple Ponti Roma jersey fabric.

I was originally going to make two tops from the Vogue sewing pattern V8951, which I also got from White Tree Fabrics. However, I decided on making just one of them for now as I was also eager to make a different top from another pattern I already had. So I’ll do a separate post on that one and start with the lovely Ponti Roma fabric which I used to make View C from the Vogue pattern.


View C from Vogue V8951 using Ponti Roma jersey fabric. I altered the back piece to make it the same length all round as the pattern has a very long back which I wasn’t keen on.


The collar construction looks difficult but the instructions are quite clear. I even managed to add some decorative stretch stitching to it!


The front view: I’d probably make the next size up next time as I feel it looks a little bit neat. Still lovely to wear though.


The back view: I was happy with the fit around the back, so maybe I just needed to adjust the front bust area. Will try that next time. That’s what having four kids does to you, I suppose!

Some tips on sewing with jersey fabrics: use a ball point or jersey needle in your sewing machine. Use a polyester (all-purpose) sewing thread, which has a little stretch and won’t break easily like cotton thread would. Remember to use a stretch-stitch and use an over-locking stitch to finish all the raw edges. I used my over-locker for the raw edges and main seams and I used my sewing machine for hemming. Don’t stretch the fabric as you sew it, unless your pattern specifically tells you to do so. Just gently guide it and let the feed dogs move it through. If you’ve never sewn with jersey before, Ponti Roma is a good choice to start with as it is quite a tight knit without too much stretch.

If you want to have a go at making this top and trying out Ponti Roma fabric, visit White Tree Fabrics and save some money by using this exclusive discount code which White Tree have very kindly offered my readers: SUSIED

Local Auction Find: Vintage Singer Sewing Machine

I spotted a lovely old Singer® sewing machine, at a local auction house last week. I was so pleased to find it hadn’t been converted to electric, as I’d been looking for one like this for a while now. I had to leave the auction early, before the lot came up, so I left a hopeful bid of £30. I was delighted to win it for £25! I know there’s a lot of them around and they don’t go for much but I’d been having a hard time trying to get my hands on one. I think they’re so popular now, everyone’s snapping them up!

1927 Vintage Singer Sewing Machine with original wooden cover.

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Instructions and Accessories

It’s in fantastic condition, with its gorgeous wooden cover, original instruction booklet and metal bobbins. There’s even a pack of old, unused needles. The kids were fascinated by it and I’ve promised to teach them on it. It works beautifully and I’ve checked up on the Singer® website to find out it’s a 1927 model (although the instruction booklet has 1928 on it?) If you’ve got one that you’d like to check it’s age, go to and click on the link relevant to yours – no letter pre-fix, single letter pre-fix or double letter pre-fix. The serial number of mine is located on the front right-hand corner:

1927 Singer Sewing Machine

Did you know that SINGER® sewing machines were first manufactured in 1851. The manufacture dating on their web site is reproduced from the original company register number log books. They’ve not located the log books for 1851 to 1870 as yet, so the serial numbers for those years aren’t available.

Serial numbers on SINGER® sewing machines manufactured prior to 1900 are numbers only. After 1900, the machine serial numbers have a single or two-letter prefix.

I plan to use mine for teaching the kids on and for putting on display in my new sewing studio (more on that in the very near future). Do you have a Singer®? How old is yours and do you use it or display it?

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Presser Foot