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.
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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 Craftsy.com and start sewing it today!

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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 www.susieddesigns.co.uk, 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 www.susieddesigns.co.uk

White Tree Fabrics Dressmaking Project – McCalls K3601

I joined the White Tree Fabrics blogging team a while back and, at long last, I have my first completed project to show off!

I chose some lovely Tilda fabrics and McCalls pattern K3601, both supplied by White Tree Fabrics, to make a kaftan-style top. This has also been the first thing I’ve made with my brand new overlocker, more about that in another post! So not only did I have a lovely new top to make, I could also make it on my new machine and hopefully end up with a professional looking piece of clothing.

I found this McCalls pattern quite easy to follow, but… it did take little while to get the collar right as it was slightly confusing as to how it would end up the right way around! Got there in the end though, I just needed to follow the instructions very carefully. You need to fold the outer edges of the collar section to wrong side and press, then pin it, wrong side up, to the front/back neckline, also wrong side up.

Showing the collar construction for McCalls K3601

After stitching around the neckline and the marked centre line, which is then cut to open the neckline slit, it’s turned to the right side of the front/back of top. Then pinned in place and topstitched around the edges.

Dressmaking - McCalls Pattern K3601 neck detail

The collar detail of McCalls pattern K3601

Due to my own mistake (rushing ahead) I ended up having to do set-in sleeves rather than the easier method of sewing the shoulder edges onto the front/back before sewing the sleeve and side seams. I’d already sewn the sleeve seams by the time I’d noticed and couldn’t be bothered unpicking. It worked out just fine though as they didn’t need any gathering to fit. They fitted into the armhole really well and I was so pleased (relieved!) with the result. I needed more practice with set-in sleeves anyway!! LOL

McCalls sewing pattern K3601

So here’s my finished top, ta da…

Finished Top McCalls pattern K3601

White Tree Fabrics have generously given me a special coupon code for readers to get a fantastic 20% discount and free postage on any orders. Visit www.whitetreefabrics.com to view their lovely range and use the code SUSIED when purchasing anything.

Bag-making Tutorial: How to Topstitch a Bag Opening

I always topstitch around the top, opening edges of any bag I make and I instruct this in my sewing patterns as it makes such a difference to the finish. The topstitching gives a neat, professional finish to a handmade bag as well as being functional, in that it keeps the lining in place and stops the stop edge from being all floppy and going out of shape.

Once you’ve pushed the lining down into the outer bag (pull-through and turn-out method which I’ll elaborate more on in another post) use your fingers to roll the top edges to get the seam sitting neatly at the top edge, or just inside the interior. Keeping any handles and tabs in the correct upright positions, place the bag opening over the narrow edge of your ironing board if it will fit (or place a tailor’s ham or rolled up towel inside the opening). Carefully press the bag’s top edges, all around the opening, adjusting the edge as necessary as you go around it to ensure the seam sits neatly at the top. It’s a good idea to use a pressing cloth, so as not to leave any marks on the fabric. Once you’re happy with the neatness of the bag opening, it’s time to topstitch it.

How to Topstitch a Bag Opening 1

Remove the sewing table to reveal the free-arm (narrower sewing table) and place the bag opening over it. The right side of the bag should be uppermost. Start at a side seam, sinking the needle directly into the seam joining. Pull the threads out to the back to ensure there’s no slack. Adjust the stitch length to 3 or 3.5 – the thickness of the layers require a longer stitch and it looks nicer as well. Line up the edge of the bag with the correct seam allowance. I usually use a 1/4” seam here. Stitch a couple of stitches forward and then back-stitch a couple before going forward again, to secure the stitching. Carry on around the bag opening, ensuring you keep any handles, tabs or flaps out to the right and straight so that they don’t get caught up in the stitching. When you stitch over any thicker areas, which have the ends of the tabs or handles inside the top edge, increase the stitch length slightly to cope with the thicker layers and to keep a consistent finished stitch length.

Tip: Use a matching thread, if you’re new to topstitching, (just a slightly darker shade than the fabric) this way it won’t show up any flaws in the stitching too much. Once you get confident with the topstitching, try using contrasting threads which really show up against the fabric as it adds a lovely decorative feature.

How to Topstitch a Bag Opening 2

Once you’ve stitched all around the bag opening, and come back to the seam you started at, stop right on the seam and back-stitch a few stitches before going forward to stop at the seam again. Remove from the machine and very carefully snip off the excess threads as close to the fabric as possible.

How to Topstitch a Bag Opening 3

How to Topstitch a Bag Opening 4

How to Topstitch a Bag Opening 5

Learn more bag making techniques with my easy-to-follow patterns at www.susieddesigns.co.uk and on Etsy

New Sewing Patterns, Fabrics and Bag-making Supplies!

Hi all, just back from holiday, refreshed and ready for ‘work’ again. I’ve been busy revamping my website at www.susieddesigns.co.uk and delighted to announce the arrival of some fab new products I’ll be offering, alongside my bag-making sewing patterns.

My fabric remnants and scrap bags are going down a storm and so I’ll be adding more of these often as I always accrue a large amount of them. To add to my little fabric department, I’m delighted to have taken stock of some exciting new fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics. I’m selling these in 1/4 metre increments, ideal if you just want fat quarters at reasonable prices. Just a small collection so far but I’ll be adding more designs very soon.

Art Gallery Fabrics available from SusieDDesigns

Also new in stock, I’m pleased to be offering a selection of modern dressmaking patterns from Serendipity Studio. These patterns are so lovely and offer different variations to suit your style.

Now in stock… Bag-making supplies! In response to customer demand, I’m now stocking all the components and interfacings I use for my sewing patterns – slim magnetic snaps, swivel hook snaps, D-rings, rectangular rings, belt slides, side-release buckles, purse frames, plastic bag bases, velcro, zips, riveted snaps, vario snap pliers, Vilene stabilisers…

Metal Hardware for Bagmaking

 

 

Dashwood Studio’s Open Day Photos including my Laundry Bag

As mentioned in a previous post, Dashwood Studio celebrated their 1st birthday recently and enjoyed a successful open day, featuring their awesome fabric collections. They created a fabulous kitchen set-up which included the laundry bag I’d been asked to make for it. This is one the photos that was taken on the day…

Retro Orchard Laundry Bag at Dashwood Studio Open Day

“Drawstring bags are a straightforward make and we love how this one combines four of the prints in a simple and stylish way. We also like how two coloured cords have been used as the drawstrings. Sometimes the little details make it.” – Dashwood Studio

I’m really proud to have contributed to their special day. Here’s some more delightful makes from other designers…

dining tableapronsausage dog

All That Jazz! A Ukulele Case from Robert Kaufman’s New Fabrics

I was so excited to receive some advance samples of the new All That Jazz fabrics by Fabrice De Villeneuve for Robert Kaufman Fabrics! These are the most amazing designs and the minute I saw them I knew I had to design and make some musical instrument cases with them.Here’s a few of my favourites from the new collection…

All That Jazz from Robert Kaufman Fabrics

All That Jazz from Robert Kaufman Fabrics …and this is my first ukulele soft-cover case… (get the sewing pattern here and here)

Ukulele Soft Cover Case Handmade by Susan Dunlop (1)Ukulele Soft Cover Case Handmade by Susan Dunlop (2)Ukulele Soft Cover Case Handmade by Susan Dunlop (3)

I enjoyed making this so much and will be making another I think from the red fabric. I’ve added enough padding to protect the instrument, including a carry handle and a useful pocket on the front of the case. I will be releasing this as a sewing pattern very soon, watch this space! I’ll also be working on some more instrument cases/covers over the coming months. What other instruments would you like to see a sewing pattern for?

Update: get the pattern now from my Etsy shop here or in my UK shop here.

Made with Dashwood Studio fabrics – Retro Orchard by Wendy Kendall

I recently received a bundle of the new fabric collection Retro Orchard, by the talented Wendy Kendall for Dashwood Studio. I absolutely adore this new collection! It’s vibrant, modern and I just love the combination of fruits and floral motifs. Dashwood is holding a big open day for their trade customers and I was really pleased to be asked to make something for the display they’re creating. It’s going to be a kitchen setting, so I’ve made this modern laundry bag for the event:

Retro Orchard Laundry Bag by Susan Dunlop of SusieDDesigns

Handmade Laundry Bag made with Retro Orchard

Retro Orchard is Wendy’s 2nd collection for Dashwood. It combines bold graph fruit motifs with fun pattern fills. The contemporary palette makes the collection perfect for use in both the modern kitchen and junior apparel. Wendy’s first collection for Dashwood, was Petite Street – which I used to design one of my modern nappy bag sewing patterns.

Retro Orchard Laundry Bag handmade by Susan Dunlop of SusieDDesigns

Dashwood Studio is celebrating it’s upcoming first year anniversary and continues to go from strength to strength. The studio now has eight signature collections to it’s name, as well as a range of 4 novelty prints and a collection of 18 Flurry print colour co-ordinates.

Dashwood Competition

Dashwood is planning a big competition at the end of June to co-inside with their birthday. Each day they’ll give away something ‘Made with Dashwood’ from each collection they’ve released, plus a grand prize bundle for one lucky winner from all the entries they receive!

Details of the competition will be announced very soon, so follow Dashwood on Bloglovin’ or Facebook to be the first to hear.

New Printed Patterns in Stock

I’m delighted to let you know that I have four new additions to the printed patterns collection – the Retro Handbag, the Tri-fold Wallet, the Barcelona Satchel and the Millie Nappy Bag. To celebrate, here’s a discount code which will give you 10% off the new printed patterns from the SusieDDesigns’ website: WPB612 which is valid until 30th June 2014.

New Printed Patterns by SusieDDesigns

New patterns – Retro Handbag, Tri-fold Wallet, Barcelona Satchel, Millie Nappy Bag

It’s an exciting moment whenever I see one of my patterns in print as I’m so used to producing my downloadable patterns. It’s really nice to have some as physical patterns too! The new printed editions are bright, vibrant and full of colour. If you know my design style, you’ll know that I love to use fun, vibrant, modern fabrics to make my bags and accessories. I also strive to make my designs easy-to-follow and great fun to make. I wanted all of this to be reflected in the printed patterns – creating a sense of anticipation, excitement and inspiration.

Contents of the Tri-fold Wallet printed pattern by SusieDDesigns

There are now eight designs available from the printed patterns range, all of which are available to order from my website SusieDDesigns. I’ve also put together some great mult-buy pattern packs, which offer a saving on the individual prices.

New Stockist: I’m pleased to let you know that Thistle Quilting, situated in Peebles, The Scottish Borders, is now stocking some of my printed patterns. Run by owner Lynda, Thistle Quilting is such a lovely wee shop about half way along the High Street (no.34). Definitely worth a visit, if you’re in town or passing through!

Thistle Quilting, Peebles, The Scottish Borders

Thistle Quilting, Peebles, The Scottish Borders

Where to get Vilene Interfacing Products in the UK

I have written a few posts now on using interfacing for bag making – Using Interfacing and Interlining When Making Bags and More on Using Interfacing and Interlining in Bag Making. I’ve been asked many times where to buy Vilene products. Due to popular demand I’m now stocking Vilene products at www.susieddesigns.co.uk

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I won’t say much more about using the actual interfacings here, please see the previous posts above, but I will sing the praises again of Vilene products. They really are an excellent choice and well worth spending a little extra money to get the quality that Vilene provides (really, I should be getting commission from them!) You will not regret trying Vilene, I promise! I will say though, that the USA equivalent to Vilene is Pellon products, which are also very good to use in bag making but mostly just available in the USA. If you’re here in the UK though, I highly recommend Vilene which is widely available here.

 

Vilene S13 sew-in interfacingThe products I like to use for my bag-making are:

Vilene H250 (Pellon equivalent 808 Craft Fuse) – a medium-weight fusible non-woven interfacing.

Vilene F220 (Pellon equivalent ES114 Easy Shaper) – a light-weight fusible, non-woven interfacing.

Vilene G700 (Pellon equivalent SF101 Shape-flex Woven) – a medium-weight fusible, woven cotton interfacing (my favourite! I’ll have this in stock soon)

Vilene H630 and Vilene H640 (Pellon equivalent 987F Fusible Fleece and TP971F Fusible Thermolam) – low / medium / high loft fusible fleece.

Vilene M12 and Vilene S13 (Pellon equivalent 930 Sew-in / Pellon 40 and Pellon 50) – medium and heavy-weight sew-in interfacing / interlining.