To Russia with love ….


This bag is just so not me…. I don’t like pink and I’m not that fond of squares simply sewn together. But sometimes you have to make for the recipient and hang up your preferred quilting principles and design to one side. Normally I try to reconcile the two and come up with a design that works for me and the recipient but I had to admit defeat on this one.

This bag is for a child coming over to the UK from the region of Belarus and Russia hit by the Chernobyl disaster. Holidays are organised across the UK for children from this region.  As a nice touch Jennifer organises a bunch of sewers to make bags for each child and a table topper to take home. The children this year are predominantly girls around 10 years old. As good luck had it I had a 10 year girl in the house the other weekend and asked her advice about fabric choice.

I was all ready to go with recycled denim with pink/red accents rather like last year.



I liked this bag. I would have used it and even my teen daughter said she liked it but declined the offer to make her one, so clearly she didn’t like it that much!!! But something Jennifer said about these children having very little hit me that whilst using recycled denim might be tick the box for us who have so much and therefore actively want to reuse and repurpose but it might look cheap from the recipient’s perspective where repurposing might be an absolute essential. So hence 10 year old Nicola’s input to choosing fabrics from my collection . Of course she went straight for the girly pinks, chequer board design. Who am I to argue!!


I used Jennifer’s tutorial (linked above). It’s relatively quick and easy. I made mine an inch longer but kept the width the same. The top pieced half is about 8″ deep. There’s a large pocket inside. I narrowed the straps using 2.25″ not 2.5″ width. Crucially I added not just batting but a fusible interfacing product called  Vilene S320. I think Vilene have changed their name to Visilene or something like that?   You iron it on  and what it does is give the fabric a stiffness and it feels more like canvas. It’s perfect for the outer part of a bag to give a nice bit of firmness and structure.  Cotton has little structure of its own and I like the effect of the fabric being stiffer and is my go-to for a more finished and professional look.


This will shortly be winging it’s way to Jennifer along with the table mat I made a couple of months back. That is more me although that pink and lavender isn’t. You could ask why do I have so much of this fabric if I don’t like the colour. Well they are left overs from a couple of baby quilts and a quilt for a very ‘pinky’ girl’s quilt I was asked to make.  Is it any surprise then my Siblings Together quilts embrace blues…..


Linking up with Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts (sorry tried to link but it kept freezing my ipad….but you all know where she is!!)

This is a finish under FAL Q2 blogged here.

4 thoughts on “To Russia with love ….

  1. It’s funny when you make for someone else’s specification. I really struggled with it when doing the silk painting. But I really think you are right about avoiding the recycling. And I really like the bag myself. It is pretty and simple but it is also just the job.


  2. I love the look of pinks and purples but seldom work in it. You inspire me to pull some out soon. (Well after everything else is done.) Some little person is going to love that tote bag.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s