Bags of inspiration


An IG  post from Poppy of Cuckoo Blue got me rushing to copy her latest creation…..again. This happens all too often. Mind you she’d say she got the idea and pattern from Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts. So this inspiration thing is definitely very circular.  But once I saw her fantastic super sized scrappy tote bag I knew it was the perfect idea for thinning out my blue drawer of scraps. I liked the way Poppy had used scraps but the base was a solid fabric. The combination of a riot of colour and a neutral works for  me.

I’m forever needing shopping bags to replace these, albeit useful, but very ugly plastic bags so I was off to raid my scraps .


And I’m also forever needing to use scraps so the drawers of my scrap filing cabinet don’t explode!


I knew it would be productive as at least one in every two quilts I make is a blue/green colour.

I had a very enjoyable afternoon sewing them together and making pretty, wonky strips of blue and green scraps. It’s so freeing not to have to worry about the lack of straight lines or properly sewing and ironing seams other than the basics to make sure they don’t come apart  and just revel in bonus fabric. Of course it helps that the final product was for me.


Well after my foray into the world of manmade fabrics on last week’s post  I had some interesting comments. For me,  everyone has to plough their own furrow, but to summarise mixing in polycotton with cotton is risky say in a block but as a backing it seems very practical. It’s Kate’s backing of choice often using polycotton sheets for their cosiness and I can see myself on occasions going in that direction. She’d even, at the time of writing, while visiting family saw the 20 year old quilt she’d made them, yes with a polycotton backing, looking as beautiful as ever.

The Joyful Quilter was not a fan and reminded me that polycotton can more easily burn and distort when ironed as did Linda and Donna. A very valid point. And that brings to mind yet another point of great unfairness between US and UK based sewists – not only is your fabric so reasonably priced but your irons get hot, I mean really hot.

On a recent holiday to Colorado I used the iron to set some seams on some hand sewn blocks  I’d done on the plane (much to the intense embarrassment of my children)


and wow was it a dream to do them with a seriously hot  iron. To the point you had to be careful you didn’t singe it. In this country you would have to leave the iron in place for some time for that to happen on cotton. There will be some regulation somewhere in our very protective culture limiting the temperature setting of irons so they are not too hot for safety reasons. Mindyou that protective attitude may well have saved my forgetful self from burning our house down so I’m not complaining too loudly!

Anyway back to exploring man made fabrics, I’ve crossed another bridge with these bags. In using home dec fabric and of course with the interfacing there’s a fair bit of man made fabric in these bags anyway but  I’ve stuck to leather handles.  But they are so darn expensive. The leather handles on this tote I made earlier this year comes in at £18 a pair!


I have bought some cheaper leather straps but well, they look cheaper and even then they are £6 a pair for shorter handles. I’ve also bought pre made  leather straps for bags but again at £5 a throw. I’m lucky not to have to be too worried about sewing on a strict budget but then again who doesn’t like a cheaper but as effective option?

So I thought I’d try webbing  type straps and ordered from eBay 5 metres of webbing but too late realised they were made from polypropylene. At £2.50 I didn’t beat myself up too much! I was expecting plastic straps but when they arrived they actually looked and felt quite good. So doubling them up for more structure, though I don’t know in reality whether that’s needed, I sewed them so they have a rounded look and used them on these two scrappy bags.



Please admire the grease stains on my bargain £50 oak table which won’t wash out. It urgently needs a re varnish …..

I think they work really effectively  and I shall be switching to these except for gifted bags. It just goes to show how the wrong order can become the right one.

I used the tote tutorial I did here but I’m afraid when I came to use it I didn’t find it very clear! I needed to make it easier to determine the sizes of the outer fabric and the inner lining fabric pieces. I’ve updated it now if you fancy having a go.

I do love using these  bags. I want a car boot-full of them so I never have to buy a plastic carrier bag again and in this anti-plastic era for once I would be doing the right thing!




2 thoughts on “Bags of inspiration

  1. I love the bags, and once I’m done with fence painting ( horrid job) I think I’ll try one…or two .
    How did you manage to get sewing equipment onto the plane? I thought scissors, even tiny ones, were a no-no, and needles, too?
    Teenagers seem to be permanently embarrassed by their parents; I remember one daughter pleading with me not to mention that I had a stereo gram to her then boyfriend…when, years later, I caught up with modern music, I advertised it as ” free to good home” , which succeeded.


  2. Hi lovely, I totally missed this post! I LOVE your bags! Totally beautiful. All the blues are gorgeous. And I’m so flattered to have inspired you, and thank you so much for being so generous with your credit! I see more scrappy bags in both our futures, don’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

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