Customer Make – The Sophie Diaper Bag Sewing Pattern

These are Teshae Carrasco’s versions of my Sophie Nappy Bag design! I love the use of the black and white fabrics in the first bag and the red and black is awesome! Thank you for sharing Teshae.

Teshae Carrasco - the Sophie Diaper Bag“I really enjoyed making this diaper bag from SusieDDesignsUK. She is a great pattern designer and gives such easy to follow instructions, I am already on my 3rd bag! Her customer service is also excellent, always answering any questions kindly. I highly recommend her patterns to anyone.” Teshae Carrasco

Teshae Carrasco - the Sophie Diaper Bag 2

Get the sewing pattern for the Sophie Nappy Bag from my Etsy shop!

Customer Makes – The Emma Handbag Sewing Pattern

Look at the fantastic bags which one of my lovely customers sent a picture of recently. Beth and her friends used the Emma Handbag sewing pattern to make these gorgeous bags, for selling at a school fete. What’s more they used donated denim jeans to make them! I’m so impressed, what a fantastic way to recycle fabrics which would have otherwise gone to waste. Great way to raise vital school funds too!

Beth and friends used donated denim jeans to make these fantastic bags, using the Emma Handbag sewing pattern.

Beth and friends used donated denim jeans to make these fantastic bags, using the Emma Handbag pattern.

“Here’s a pic of two bags for our school fete, they are made from scrap denim left over from aprons we made from donated jeans. Lovely pattern to work with, will work with just about any fabric given the right interfacing. Thanks so much for such an adaptable pattern.” 🙂 Beth

The Emma Handbag sewing pattern – more info…

New Handmade Bags and Purses Shop on Etsy – Gift Ideas

My new Etsy shop selling my handmade bags, purses and accessories.

Hi all, as many of you know, I create sewing patterns and projects from all the bags, purses and accessories that I make. Problem is, I don’t often get around to selling the actual finished bags these days. When I first started the sewing pattern business, I did also sell the bags (one bag even went to the designer of the fabric that I’d used – the lovely Kate Spain – now that was special).

Catriona Tote Bag handmade by me, using Kate Spain fabrics from the Fandango collection.

Catriona Tote Bag handmade by me, using Kate Spain fabrics from the Fandango collection.

Well, I was trying to tidy things the other week (to make room for all the projects I need to make for my new book) and was quite taken aback by the amount of bags that are piling up around me and even taking over my bedroom wardrobe! I know a girl can never have too many bags but really, I have too many!

…and so, HandmadeBagsbySusie has been borne on Etsy, just launched yesterday. This shop will run alongside my sewing pattern shop and will feature any finished bags that I have available for sale. Some will have appeared in Sewing World magazine (some had the front cover spot) and others will be from my sewing pattern designs.

Etsy shop banner - handmade bags by Susie

I hope you like what you see, maybe treat yourself or consider purchasing a special handmade gift for love ones. Each bag or accessory will also boast my unique little metal tag, identifying it as a SusieDDesigns original (how posh is that?)

The SusieDDesigns Metal Tag

The SusieDDesigns Metal Tag

Camera Bag Project Featured in Sewing World Magazine

August '13 issue of Sewing World Magazine featuring Camera Bag project

August ’13 issue of Sewing World Magazine featuring Camera Bag project

Here’s this month’s issue of Sewing World magazine. My camera bag project made it to the front cover! Yippee!!!! I made this bag for my new camera (and all it’s attachments/accessories) a wee while back and was so pleased when it was selected as a project for the mag.

So, what’s on offer in this month’s issue to inspire you?

There’s a 10 page Kid’s Special which includes a cute quilt, a practical pencil roll, pretty lettuce edge scarf, toy sleepover bag and a fab boy’s summer cap.

Other makes include a casual jacket, a girly tool belt, a gorgeous vintage-style dress, part one of a seasons wall hanging and my camera bag.

You’ll also find a whole bunch of techniques and features to keep you busy: the master class shows how to alter a pattern and make a perfectly fitted top, you can learn how to make Perfect Patch Pockets. Fiona tells us about four successful sewing bloggers and Julie continues her feature on sewing machines, this time exploring specialist patchwork and quilting machines.

Hope you enjoy this month’s issue. Check out Sewing World on Facebook.

Find more bag making projects for instant download in my Etsy shop or at

Latest Sewing World Magazine Project Feature

Here’s this months new project feature in the latest issue of Sewing World magazine – the Uptown Tote Bag. I made this luxury, summer tote using gorgeous fabrics from the Zen Chic, Juggling Summer collection for Moda Fabrics. Aren’t the colours and designs just amazing? I love, love, LOVE those fabrics!

Uptown Tote Bag - sewing project by Susan Dunlop for Sewing World Magazine July 2013

Uptown Tote Bag – sewing project by Susan Dunlop for Sewing World Magazine July 2013

This month’s issue is jam packed with the usual high standard of fantastic projects to make and sew, all boasting lovely bright summer colours to inspire you. There’s a cute dolly called Pippi, a pretty summer top with plackets, a gorgeous rainbow quilt, garden cushions, machine embroidered coasters, a pretty skirt made from fabric strips, an elegant sewing machine cover, a case for your sunglasses, a beautiful machine embroidered picture and of course there’s my summer tote bag too!

When you’re taking a break from your sewing, put your feet up and enjoy reading the techniques and features which include how to add plackets to a plain top, masterclass on how to adapt a multi-size pattern, choosing a new sewing machine, working with Chiffon, troubleshooting guide for overlockers, article on The Story Behind…M. Makower & Co. Ltd and another article about Men who Sew. Phew! Told you it was jam packed, enjoy!

Visit Sewing World magazine on Facebook and you’ll also find me hanging around there too (when I have some spare time): SusieDDesignsUK on Facebook

Get the PDF downloadable sewing pattern, for the Uptown Tote Bag, from my Etsy shop.

Writing Set Case sewing project featured in Sewing World magazine

The latest issue of Sewing World magazine is in the shops now! Look out for my Writing Set Case sewing project, featured in the May Makes section. I made this fab accessory from really cute Zoology fabrics by Michael Miller. If you’re looking for a unique gift to make for someone special, this is sure to delight. It can hold a writing pad, envelopes and two pens.

Sewing World Project by Susan Dunlop

This month’s issue is jam packed with gorgeous sewing projects, including a pretty hex-frame bag, a vintage style skirt, amazing patchwork greetings cards, cute dog applique picture, retro cross-body bag, Coquette table runner, embroidered bridal hair accessories, a patchwork bed runner and last, but not least, a fun electronic door hanger with lights and sounds!

There’s also some great technique and feature articles on offer – I was very interested in the ‘Sewing for a Living’ feature. Hats off to the ladies featured here, very inspirational.

Well done Sewing World on yet another fantastic issue, hopefully I’ll put my feet up later and enjoy a good read!

Find out more about the magazine on their Facebook page or visit Traplet Publications to buy issues. There’s also digital versions available at Pocket Mags.

Sewing Project by Susan Dunlop for Sewing World magazine

Get the PDF downloadable sewing pattern, for the Writing Set Case, from my Etsy shop.

Totes Amaze! My Sewing Projects in the new Crafty Magazine.

I was so pleased when this new magazine eventually dropped through the letter box. I had been asked (quite some time ago) to contribute to the first ever issue of a new craft magazine – Crafty. What a lovely opportunity! Well, it’s been a long time coming and I didn’t know what the feature was going to look like until I’d eventually seen my copy a couple of weeks ago. So I must admit to having been quite apprehensive about it. Well here it is…

Tote Sewing Projects by Susan Dunlop for Crafty magazine. The new magazine is a very nice quality and has plenty of fresh looking, modern ideas to make and create. It boasts a range of craft projects include sewing, knitting, upcycling, machine embroidery, floral sculpture and paper craft. There’s also quite a few interesting articles throughout the magazine. All-in-all, I think you’ll enjoy this new magazine and I hope you like my tote bag projects.

Tote Bag Sewing Projects by Susan Dunlop

These bag projects are quite simple, compared to the ones I normally do, so are for novice/beginner level. The magazine covers crafts in general (not just sewing) and is mainly aimed at those new to the world of crafting. To make the bags more interesting and pleasing to look at, I used gorgeous fabric by Art Gallery Fabrics and by Joel Dewberry, both which are available from Gone To Earth.

Find out more about Crafty on Facebook or check out the website

Crafty Magazine Issue 1

Latest Sewing Project Feature – Sewing World Magazine

Here’s news of my latest sewing project, featured in Sewing World magazine. No front page this time, boo hoo! No, seriously, I’ve been on a good run with last few issues, so I’m still so pleased with the new feature. I’m having so much fun working with the magazine, lots more in the bag (excuse the pun, couldn’t resist) and can’t wait to see each one in print. It’s so exciting when I hear the magazine drop through the letter box, I’m like a little kid.

So, this issue’s project was my bi-fold wallet sewing pattern which I made with gorgeous fabrics from Laura Gunn’s Wall Garden collection. I just love the strong colours and designs from this range.  In the UK these fabrics are available from Eclectic Maker.

Sewing World Project Feature by SusieDDesigns Bi-fold Wallet (March 2013 Issue)

Sewing World Project Feature by SusieDDesigns Bi-fold Wallet (March 2013 Issue)

If you’d like to find out more about Sewing World magazine, please see Traplet Publications for current and back issues and subscriptions or you can visit their Facebook Page.

Bi-Fold Wallet Sewing Pattern by SusieDDesigns

Bi-Fold Wallet Sewing Pattern by SusieDDesigns

Get the PDF downloadable sewing pattern, for the Bi-fold Wallet, from my Etsy shop.

Competition – Win Sewing Patterns to make Bags and Accessories

Would you like to give bag making a go or would you like to improve your bag making techniques? If you’re new to sewing and bag making or you just want to stitch some exciting new bag designs, SusieDDesigns have a wide range of sewing projects to choose from, suitable for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels.

I would like to offer 5 readers a sewing pattern of their choice from my PDF sewing patterns range. To enter, simply have a look at all the patterns on offer in my online Etsy shop, then let me know which pattern you’d like to win by leaving a comment to this post or contacting me through my Etsy shop. Visit

(don’t worry if there’s a delay in your comment being posted, I need to approve it first if you’ve not posted here before)

Rules: Only one entry per person please. Patterns are supplied in PDF format, sent by email. 5 winners will be chosen at random and will be emailed the pattern of their choice, after the closing date. All entries must be received by Monday 4th March 2013. Please leave comment below, with pattern choice,  or (if you prefer) you can send me your entry through my Etsy shop, by clicking on the blue Contact button which you’ll find on any of my shop pages.

Discount Coupon: If you don’t win (or you just can’t wait), not to worry! Here’s a special discount coup0n which will give you 15% off anything within my Etsy shop (valid until 31st March 2013). It can even be used for my ready-made bags and accessories, if you’d rather just buy the completed article – perfect for gifts or to simply treat yourself. The code to use is WPBLOG15 – enter this into the ‘add shop coupon’ section in your Etsy shopping basket, before clicking through to Paypal payment.

Thanks and Good Luck!!! I’ll announce the winners here by 8th March 2013.

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who has entered. That’s the competition closed now. I’ll be randomly drawing 5 winners over the next few days and will announce the winners here.

Customer News – Fabulous Handmade Handbag

I received a lovely email from Sarah (Hunting For Ladybugs on Etsy), who has followed my Amelia Pleated Handbag sewing pattern to make the most delightful handbag. I’m very pleased to be able to share it here with you, by kind permission from Sarah.

I think the use of denim for the top bands and handle looks amazing, next to the gorgeous main body fabric. Bright, vibrant fabrics are a top favourite of mine. What a quality piece of work! As you can tell, I just love it!

”Just  thought I’d send you a photo of your Amelia pleated bag pattern that I finally got around to making this morning. I used denim for around the bands and I didn’t have any of the strap hardware so I just left it out.  I’m pleased with how I turned out. Thanks again.” Sarah

Beautiful Handbag Handmade by Sarah, of Hunting for Ladybugs on Etsy

Handmade by Sarah, of Hunting for Ladybugs on Etsy. Made using the Amelia Pleated Handbag by SusieDDesigns

Customer Makes and Comments on Sewing Patterns

I love to see and hear about the handmade items my customers have made from using my sewing patterns. I thought I’d share a few with you here as they are so creative and I really like the little tweaks and embellishments used, which have enhanced the designs even more.

The following two bags have been handmade by Fiona Slack, aren’t they just gorgeous? I love the embellishments and the use of lovely bright colours. Fiona used my Elegance Tote Bag sewing pattern to make them.

Handmade Bag

Fiona's Handmade Bag with embellishments

“I enjoyed making the earlier bag and am hoping to make 3 pattern variations of this new bag pattern for daughters at Christmas.”

“Two handbags I have made so far from your fab pattern. Have added a few additions to the bags – I decided late in the day to put in magnetic clasps which meant a bit of a redo so I added a tab to one bag. Also as a magpie there was some embellishment needed. I’m delighted with the patterns – I find your instructions so clear and with the photos showing exactly what to do it’s pretty idiot-proof.” Fiona Slack

I was recently sent some lovely images and comments by Beverly, who has an Etsy shop called ButterBeans & ChickPeas (even the shop name is so inspiring) selling her beautiful handmade items. Beverly used my Abigail Diaper Bag sewing pattern to make the following baby bag. I love it!!

Beverly's Handmade Bags

“Your pattern went very smoothly. At first with all those pieces I was worried I couldn’t keep organized. I ended up using pinned notes to each to keep my brain straight. ha. It worked out perfectly. My client uses this bag as her diaper bag for her new baby. She loves it. Also I had many people oww-ing & aww-ing over it. It was just such a great & functional bag.” Beverly Lauzon

I’m so delighted that Fiona and Beverly got on so well with the bags they have made. What wonderful and creative work.

Getting Ready for a Handmade Christmas

Phew! Time to take a breath from sewing (and all the Christmas preparations) so thought I’d let you know what I’ve been busy making for Christmas. Any of my family reading this? Please don’t, look away now or you’ll ruin the surprises!

Well, first of all I wanted to show you the advent calender that I stitched up for the kids. I’ve been meaning to make one for years now and finally got it done this year after fruitlessly trying to find decent ones in the shops, that didn’t cost too much. Now, I have all boys but my fabrics are all girly so please excuse the fact that this is very girly looking. Much to my surprise, the boys didn’t mind a bit that it’s mostly red and pink. They were really pleased with it and loved the fact that they were going to get a decent sweet each day rather than just a tiny disc of chocolate. I used up my offcuts of beautiful Tilda fabrics to make it and I bought some die cut felt numbers for the pockets, from a fellow crafter.

Handmade Advent Calender

Handmade Advent Calender

I love to gift handmade items and always try to make as many things as I can, just unfortunate that I can’t stitch xbox games and such like, would save me a fortune! So, anyway, my mum had suggested I make a knitter’s hold-all kind of wrap for my Etsy shop & sewing patterns. She’s an avid knitter and so I grilled her on what essentials I should include for this design, knowing that this would be the ideal Christmas present for her. She keeps asking me if I’ve come up with anything yet for the knitter’s wrap, so I keep putting her off saying it’s in the pipeline, just been so busy. Well here it is, what do you think? I will be doing a sewing pattern for something similar to this in the New Year.

Handmade Knitter's Tri-fold Wrap

Handmade Knitter's Tri-fold Wrap

Handmade Tri-fold Wrap f

My big sister was admiring some fabric I’d used for one my handbags and mentioned that she’d love a cushion for her living-room, made from this, hint! hint! So to work, had to order some fabric from America as it’s been selling out here. I’m not surprised as it’s absolutely gorgeous, Wing Song designed by Laura Gunn.

Handmade Cushion - Laura Gunn Fabric

Cushion Handmade with Laura Gunn Wing Song Fabric

My next project was a handbag for my little sister, I’m hoping she’ll like this one made from Amy Butler’s delightful Gypsy Caravan fabrics. I wanted to design something with a vintage look and I think these fabrics work great with this pretty bag. I have a sewing pattern for this one in my Etsy shop, if you’d be interested in making this one.

The Bonnie Hobo Bag Handmade in Amy Butler Gypsy Caravan fabrics

 I can never think what to get for my brother-in-law, apart from books which he always loves but I wanted to give something different this year. I wouldn’t normally think of making anything for the men in the family, but he’d recently got himself an iPad and I wondered for a while if I should try make him a cover for it, as I do a sewing pattern for iPad / tablet sleeves. The ones I normally make are quite feminine though, but I had some faux leather and suede, in brown, which I though might work a treat.

Handmade Faux Leather and Suede iPad Sleeve

Well, I think that’s all my gift makes so far for this Christmas. I hope they are loved and enjoyed by my family. As for me, I’m so looking forward to seeing what my hubby has helped the little ones to make for my Christmas gifts. I am so proud that he helps the kids to make something for me, showing them how much fun you can have and how rewarding it is to make something handmade for someone special. The little 2 year old almost let the cat out of the bag with both his make and his big brother’s. He kept saying ‘mummy, I’ve made …….. for you, come see it!’ Luckily I haven’t heard what it is as I’ve been ready each time to cover my ears and go na, na, na, and then the other week, hubby said to big brother that they should finish making his gift for mummy and next thing, there’s the little one running toward me with something in his hands, ‘see what we’ve made!’ and big brother shouting, ‘no! don’t look mum!’ I didn’t peek, phew! We still don’t know how he knew where it had been hidden. What do you do with 2 year olds, they are useless at keeping secrets.

Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, happy holidays to all.

What have you handmade for your loved ones this year?

How To Make Bag Handles – Sewing Tips and Tutorial

There are a number of different ways you can make a handle for a bag, as opposed to buying  ready-made handles. It looks good to have handles or shoulder straps in matching / co-ordinating fabrics. I mostly make my bags from medium weight cotton and I like to use the same fabrics when making the handles.

Handmade handbag with matching fabric handles

Handmade handbag with matching fabric handles.

This is the most common method that I use:

Cut two lengths of fabric to suitable size (this will depend on your overall bag size). The width I use most often is about 14cm – 16cm, which will give a finished width of around 3cm – 4cm. The length is really up to personal preference – for a handbag or tote style bag the length could be about 45cm – 50cm. For handles that you want to be able to put over your shoulder you could choose a length around 60cm – 80cm. Measure what handle drop you’d like, ie: measure from your shoulder to where you want the top of the bag to sit, double this measurement and add a few extra cm’s for seam allowances. This will give you the overall length of fabric required.

If you’d like to add more strength or a little bit of padding, cut matching lengths of either fusible interfacing or sew-in interlining (medium to heavy weight), with a width which is slightly less than a quarter of the fabric width.

Iron the handle fabric and then fold in half lengthways, wrong sides together. Press and open out, so wrong side facing up. Align the interlining piece to centre crease. If using fusible interfacing, press to adhere to fabric.

how to make a bag handle 1

Fold bottom long edge of handle fabric to centre crease, so interlining is now enclosed underneath that half, press.

how to make a bag handle 2

Fold top long edge of fabric over to centre crease so that the long raw edges now meet.

how to make a bag handle 3

Press, then fold in half lengthways again so that folded long edges are aligned, pin in place.

how to make a handle 4

Topstitch along both long sides, with a 3mm – 5mm seam allowance. Repeat with other handle.

how to make a bag handle 5

You’ll now have two completed handles to use in your bag making project. The short ends of the handles have been left raw as they will be enclosed inside the seam allowances at the top of the bag (more on how to do this is shown in my pdf sewing patterns).

If you will be attaching the handles directly onto the outer bag, then ensure you cut any interfacing / interlining a little shorter than fabric length so that you have a gap of about 1cm at either short end. Fold over 1cm of handle fabric, at short ends, before you do the lengthways folds. This way you’ll end up with neat folded edges at all sides and topstitch the short ends as well as the long sides of the handle once all folded up. The handles will now be ready to stitch directly to your bag.

Stitching bag handle to handmade bag

Stitching guidelines for attaching fabric handle directly to handmade bag.

Amy Butler’s Gypsy Caravan Fabrics – The ‘New’ Original Fabric Range is Back!!

Remember Amy Butler’s first ever fabric collection, Gypsy Caravan? I remember seeing examples of it ages ago but couldn’t find any stockists, so it’s fantastic that the popular fabrics from this range have been re-released for 2012. I think the patterns and colourways are just gorgeous.

So, of course, I couldn’t resist snapping up some of the fabrics the minute one of my fabric suppliers started stocking the ‘new’ old range. It’s a lovely collection of cottage garden style florals, stylised forals and deco dots and diamonds. The colourways range from soft, muted blues, pinks and greens through to bolder, deep shades of plum, brown and grape.

I’ve been busy designing some new hobo-style bags which I have used the Gypsy Caravan fabrics for. I’m in the process of finalising the sewing patterns for these bags so that other keen sewers / Amy Butler fans can make them too. They will be available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops very soon. The Emma Hobo will be suitable for Beginner level sewers, the Annie Hobo and the Bonnie Hobo will be suitable for Intermediate level. Here’s a sneak preview of the bags: