I’ve been a lazy blogger lately. I’m *never* lazy when it comes to crafts though 😉 so I actually have many new things to show off on here that I made over the past months. I thought I’d begin with a specimen I decided to call Hipster Shopper, mostly because it’s vaguely inspired by the hipster fashion I see a lot where I live.
The silver plastic-y fabric is from my trip to Walthamstow Market and the lining from one of the amazing African fabric shops near Petticoat Lane (which I hope to write more about soon – they’re incredible). You better get used to the blue and red pattern – I got more than 5 metres of this fabric which means that it will probably end up as a dress, skirt and potentially a jumpsuit (I got ambitious plans!) once I start sewing for the summer again.
I have a very particular taste in bags and the great thing about making your own is that you can let your imagination run wild and include all the extra details and pockets you want. This one was modelled on an old ‘work’ bag of mine that served for many years, schlepping about my laptop, lunch-box and books until it eventually broke apart. In the silver version, I added a few extra centimetres at the top, so it easily fits both my laptop, my chunky dslr camera, and a lot of other stuff. It has an inside pocket that is essentially hidden thanks to an invisible zip, as well as two open pockets for phone, pens etc.
I made the bag early in the summer and it came in handy on several holiday trips. It is the perfect size for a carry-on on flights and, as you can see in the pictures, has already travelled widely.
This is certainly one of my proudest creations! After I’d made the ‘Map’ backpack, my husband Josh asked if I could make him a work bag out of a similar fabric. It took weeks of research and planning, since I didn’t have a pattern to follow and had to make it all up myself, but in the end we were both very pleased with the result! Thanks to this project, I also discovered London Trimmings, which sells a huge variety of metal buckles, fastenings, zips, webbing and whatever else you might need to create your perfect bag…
I bought this “map” fabric in Amsterdam a while back and for a long time didn’t really know what to do with it, thinking it might perhaps make a nice tablecloth if we moved to a place with a proper dining table one day… Then as our Greece holiday was approaching last autumn, I realized I didn’t own a reasonably sized “holiday bag” that I could take with me. My everyday shopper handbag reminds me too much of work and I wanted something fun and special, but also practical, to take on our trip. A medium-sized backpack came to mind. I had recently seen many “vintage” style backpack around, and since they are often made of cotton, thought it wouldn’t be too hard to make my own! Thinking of holidays and travel, I remembered the map fabric and… voilà! I started browsing the web for “make your own backpack” patterns and quickly came across this one, which I can recommend highly.
I almost never follow patterns 100% and also slightly changed this one. I left out the leather trimming, used a different type of buckle for the main fastening and changed the front pocket – mine has a zipper… and is exactly large enough to fit a Lonely Planet.
A major challenge I faced was where to buy all the metal rings and buckles needed for the bag’s strap and fastenings. Thankfully there are several specialist shops in London (I plan to review them in the Places section on this blog soon, so watch this space) and, although it took some time and research, I managed to find everything I needed. Attaching the metal pieces went smoothly for the most part. I only had trouble with the metal grommets and ended up staying late the day before our departure hammering them onto the fabric (sorry, neighbours!). The bag was finished just in time and came in very handy on our hikes in Greece! I think it will become an important companion on summer holidays, and perhaps – as many have suggested – I will start marking all the places it visits with little stitches on the “map”!
After working as a freelance knitter for Sheep of Steel for almost a year, I had accumulated many small bits of their beautiful yarn that was left over from commissioned project. This was the perfect opportunity to make a patchwork handbag, based on a pattern from what is currently one of my favourite knitting books (review coming soon!). I used more colours than in the pattern and made the pentagons and hexagons smaller (casting off after the 10th row), so that the bag ended up measuring just over 20 cm. I put it through one cycle in the washing machine, but otherwise didn’t go overboard with the felting as I quite liked the knitted structure of the squares and the fact the aren’t entirely flat. To finish it off, I added a zipper and a leather strap from an old handbag.