Free Craftsy Course!

Images from email received from Craftsy

Just a short note to say that Craftsy have launched another free course!  If you want a quick win on some Christmas presents, this could be perfect…  Here’s the blurb:

Get hold of the Bag-Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper Pouch class, and create two gorgeous bags with quick and easy techniques.  Join Kristin Link of Sew, Mama, Sew! and learn all the skills you need to make both a reversible shopping tote and a zipper clutch in any size you desire. […]

This isn’t new to me as I’m already quite comfortable making these items, but it’s always good to see how others approach the same task, and I have learnt a few things from the class that’ll improve my efficiency – particularly with the zippered pouches!

PS – a few more hours to let me have your details for the Christmas Fabric Swap!  I’ll be sending emails out this afternoon / evening (GMT).

First Etsy Sale!

I’ve sold my first bag from my Etsy site!  I woke up this morning to an email to say that this bag is now sold

A Basket Bag in Amy Butler's Dancing Paisley

I am really rather pleasantly surprised as I’d kinda given up on selling through Etsy as it’s such a crowded market place.

Anyway, it’s all carefully packed up and will be going to the Post Office and then its new home in the USA tomorrow.  I really hope the buyer is pleased with it.

Happy Birthday Baby Sister

I’m the eldest of three girls and it was my baby sister’s 25th birthday this week.

Baby Sister's Piping Hot Hobo Bag

This is the bag I made for her – the pattern is from Lisa Lam’s Bag Making Bible.

My youngest sister has a cute, quirky and quite playful style and I knew she’d love this sock monkey print, when I found a banana print to go inside I was over the moon!  The fabric is by Moda and is called Funky Monkey.  The designer is Make and Nobie.

Monkeys and Piping

It’s not the first time I’ve applied piping to a bag, but it’s the first time that there was so much of it!  I used a bought satin bias binding and I’m really pleased with how this turned out, as is my sister – it’s going every where with her!  It’s also a really cavernous bag – when I emptied it this evening so that I could photograph it (I forgot to take the photos before I gave it to her!) it had a cardigan, phone, keys, purse, another purse, paracetamol, lip balm, bottle of water and a ton of other stuff in it and there was still room for more!

The strap is long enough to wear the bag across the body, which is what she does, or can be shortned and worn on the shoulder.  It’s closed with a magnetic fastening.

I love it’s curvy shape – particularly the curved top edge when it’s open and the pleat in the gusset which makes it so easy to reduce it’s volume.  She’s using it as a day bag at the moment but apparently it’ll be making it’s debut on night out this weekend!

Curves and Bananas

Carrying on the photographic theme, I got the rest of the photos done for the bags I made and they’re now on Etsy.  I roped Middle Sister in as a model for some of the shots – have a look and tell me what you think of the bags!

Peg Bag Tutorial

This is my old peg bag.  It’s looking more than a little bit sad!  It’s had a busy life and it’s even busier now we have the little person, but as it was only a few £s in Sainsbury’s several years ago it has done very well.

This is the fabric for the new bag!  Bright and cheerful and from Ikea – I’m sorry I can’t tell you what it’s called, it was part of a bundle of remnants bought on eBay.   It’s a home dec weight material and has a soft canvas texture.  The lining is going to be  some plain red cotton that I’ve got lurking in my stash.

The design is quite simple and similar in shape to the old bag with a few tweaks, the biggest being that it is going to be lined.  This is going to be a luxurious bag for the pegs to live in when they’re not doing their peggy thing!  I’m hoping it’ll mean that it lasts a bit longer too…

I’m going to make it a bit bigger too as I want a larger hole to get the husband sized hands in and so that I can get more pegs into the bag.  We have an insane washing machine that will wash 9kg of laundry per wash, which is a lot, and our line will hold two of these washes!  If it’s all towels and sheets, that’s fine.  When it’s all socks and pants that’s not so good because you need a LOT of pegs, so a bigger bag is the way to go…

I’m also going to square off the bottom of the bag as I like the depth it will add, this is personal preference though and completely up to you!

I’m plannig to re-use the hanger from the old bag but you could always use a child-sized hanger.  Asking in your local supermarket (if in the UK) if they’ve got any destined for the bin is always an option if you don’t have stock from your own small person, or ask someone who does have a small person if you could have one of theirs (hangers, that is…)!  You can buy small hangers, but it makes sense to recycle them where possible.

What I used:
Focus Fabric
Lining Fabric

If you’re using lighter weight fabric for the focus fabric on the outside of the bag, you may want to use some interlining to add some strength.  I’d suggest a medium weight woven fusible one.

  • First, decide on your bag size, this depends on the hanger width and how deep you want the bag to be, plus the seam allowance. 
    I wanted my finished bag to be 10″ by 14″ (before I square off the bottom) and my seam allowance is 1/2″, so I need my pieces of fabric to be 11″ by 15″.  
  • Cut two rectangles of this size from the focus, and the lining fabric.  Decide on which will be the top edge and mark the centre.  Make two further marks 3/4″ either side of the centre mark – this will be the gap where you thread the hanger’s hook through, so adjust as necessary!
Outline for my hand hole
  • Pin one of the focus and one of the lining fabrics RST (Right Sides Together) and then draw an oblong where you want the hole to be, making sure that it is centred and square. 
    My oblong is 2 1/2″ down from the top and 3″ from each size.  I’ll have a hole that is 4″ by 5″.  I’ve used disappearing marker to draw on the fabric.
Outline stitched and envelope pattern drawn, ready for cutting...
  • Next, stitch along the line you’ve just drawn as the oblong’s outline and iron the stitches to set them.
  • Then draw an envelope type pattern inside the oblong and carefully cut along these lines up to but not through the stitches around the edge. 
    I also trimmed out some of the excess fabric, making sure to leave at least 1/2″.
Lining pulled through and ironed
  • Push the lining fabric through the hole you’ve just made so that the focus and lining fabric are now WST (Wrong Sides Together).  Manipulate the edges of the hole so it’s lovely and neat and iron so you have a nice crisp edge. 
Top Stitching around the hole
  • I then pinned the two pieces together at the edges and top stitched about 1/4″ from the edge of the hole to help hold the layers and add some strength.
  • Pin the second piece of lining fabric to the first RST.  You’ll need to hold the focus fabric out of the way as you stitch the two pieces together:
    Starting at the right hand side of where the gap will be for the hanger hook to poke through, stitch around the edge of the fabric in a clockwise direction. 
Can you see the longer stitches after the back-stitching?
  • On the bottom edge after stitching a couple of inches of the bottom seam, back-stitch a little then lengthen your stitch length before sewing about 3-4″.  Shorten your stitch length again sew a few stitches, back-stitch then carry on along the bottom and up the side and across the top, back-stitching again just before the hole for the hanger hook.  Iron the seams to set the stitches then iron the seams open.
  • Square off the bottom by pinching the bottom corner flat so that the bottom and side seams line up.  Pin to hold this in place.
Measured, drawn and stitched to make a flat bottom and a 3D peg bag
  • Measure 1″  up from the corner along the seam and then draw a perpendicular line to the seam at this mark.  Sew along this line and cut away the excess fabric at the corner.  Repeat for the other corner then cut away your long stitches in the bottom seam.
  • Pin the second piece of focus fabric to the first, RST.  Make sure the lining is out of the way.
I'm pointing at the hole for the hanger's hook - don't stitch between the pins!
  • Starting at the right hand side of where the gap will be for the hanger hook to poke through, stitch around the edges of the fabric in a clockwise direction.  Back-stitch again just before the hole for the hanger hook.  Iron the seams to set the stitches then iron the seams open.
  • Square off the bottom of the bag as per the lining and clip the top corners of the focus fabric.  This will make sure you have sharp corners when you turn it the right way out.
  • Turn the bag the right way out by reaching up through the gap in the lining and grabbing the outer bag through the hole for your hand.
  • Slip stitch the gap closed in the lining.  Keyka Lou has some really good instructions on how to slip stitch.
  • Poke the lining fabric through the hole where your hand will go to grab the pegs and arrange inside the outer bag so it’s nice and neat.
Threading the hanger through
  • Put your hanger through the hole and thread its hook out of the gap at the top.
A funky new home for my pegs!

Ta Dah!  One very plush place for your pegs to live!  Believe it or not, this has the same number of pegs in it as the old bag so I’ve got lots of room to add more…

A little bit more of the shop is done…


So, I’ve been away for a little while but a little more progress has been made!  I now have some store stationery – banners and avatars. 

Etsy is a big market place and there are a lot of people selling on it!  Being noticed by anyone is the first hurdle, and then you’ve got to persuade them that they want to part with their hard earned cash for something that you’ve made…  It’s actually pretty daunting putting yourself out there like this.  You want to be noticed and you want people to like what you do.  But what if you’re not noticed?  What if people are looking but no one buys anything?!  It’s a whole world of angst… 

I make bags and purses because I enjoy it and there’s only so many bags a girl can use so selling them isn’t going to fund my life.  What I would like it to do is pay for its self, so I can’t sell at a loss.  I intend to price so that my materials are covered with a few £s on top to cover things like Etsy and PayPal fees, getting labels made and a tiny bit of my time so that I can invest it back into stuff to make more bags!  I’m not looking to pay my mortgage with this, it’s a way of sharing something that I enjoy…

And if I don’t sell, alot of people are going to be getting bags as presents for the next squillion birthdays!

Welcome to VickikateMakes

My Mini Moo Card

Good morning

Welcome to my blog about my bag making.  I don’t know how to describe it – obsession, love, preoccupation…  It keeps me awake at night whilst I think of designs.  How to make them a real life, useable, gorgeous piece of arm candy, or little somethings to hold the pennies or mascara or whatever you want to keep in a purse.

What free time I have is used making them.  I’m a Mum to a one year old, wife and I work part time.  My bags are made because it’s a passion and something I enjoy doing.

I love to give bags that I have made and see the joy they bring.  It’s a rush when someone in a shop approaches me to ask about my bag and I can say to them that I made it.  It was and is amazing when people have parted with money they  have worked hard to earn to buy a bag that I have made.

It’s this positive feedback from friends, family and work colleagues that has given me the courage to open a store on Etsy.  As I write this, the supplies for my first few bags for sale on the big WWW are at home waiting to be turned from flat peices of gorgeous fabric into 3 dimensional beauties.  Unique items that no one else will have.  One of a kind.

Whilst it’s amazing to sell to family, friends and colleagues, I can’t wait to make my first proper sale to someone who doesn’t know me but likes what I do enough to spend their money on it.  I want that person to love what they’ve bought as much as I’ve loved making them!

Vicki x