Summer Crochet Bag

Summer has arrived! Inspired by the lovely weather this week, I made this summery crochet bag. All the materials were leftovers or random things I had lying round the house and it barely took me two nights to make it – quick and inexpensive projects are just my favourite :)! I’m relatively new to crochet and this was a chance to experiment with different stitches. To make the bottom part, I started to crochet a circle, using a single crochet stitch and two stands of ribbon yarn, a dark orange and a slightly wider light orange. The combination of this rather tight stitch and the two different yarns allowed this part of the bag to become quite firm so that it can ‘stand up’. In the middle, I continued with two strands of the thinner dark orange yarn and switched to the woven stitch, which is nice and easy but looks quite pretty, I think. For the final top section, I used only one strand of the dark orange and switched back to single crochet stitches. I also decreased by two stitches on opposite ends. I happened to have a perfectly matching orange zipper in my stash and the strap is just an old belt. Voilà!

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New Sewing Machine & Weekend Sewing

I finally treated myself to a new sewing machine! The Janome Sewist 525S came highly recommended because it’s allegedly “impossible to break” and also exceptionally quiet – the latter is the reason it was the main machine used on the TV show The Great British Sewing Bee. I bought it from “Sew Amazing”, an excellent little shop on East London’s Roman Road. It’s a family business that has existed since the 1950s and the owners really know a thing or two about sewing machines (in addition to selling and servicing both new and second hand sewing machines, they also sell knitting and sewing supplies at strikingly cheap prices!). When I picked up my new machine they showed me how to use some of its specialist features like the one-step button hole which my previous machine didn’t have, and so I was ready for a weekend of sewing!

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The machine is really a joy to use. It sews incredibly smoothly and I already managed to try out some of its more advanced features as (unlike many machines) it comes with an excellent instructions books.

The first thing I made with it was this apron-style summer dress from a fabric I picked up in California over Christmas. It has a lined top, buttons all the way down the front and pockets in the side seams. A little thrifty confession: the lining and the buttons came from an old man’s shirt – it provided exactly the amount of fabric I needed 🙂

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