OK there doesn’t appear to be much love between Russia and the western world at the moment but there is on a different level. Each year groups of children from the Chernobyl region come to the UK for an extended holiday staying with local families. One such group go to North Wales and the lovely and generous Jennifer of Glinda Quilts who lives in Wales brings together a group of quilters from all over to make tote bags for the children and table toppers which they take back as gifts. Needlesksn to say Jennifer fills those bags with goodies and receiving these gifts is one of the highlights of the holiday. The original plan had been to make the table topper this week as well but life’s dramas got in the way ……
Each year I enjoy taking part. The children are quite young around 9-11 years old and are mostly girls. I made this girly version last year.
A friend’s 10 year old daughter helped me with fabric choices but unfortunately they’ve moved away so I was left to my own devices this year.
I would normally have gone with my usual tote bag but I’ve made so many over the last few months I wanted a change. That tote bag has also got quite a wide top so while useful as a shopper not so ideal for a day bag containing things you don’t want to lose.
I came across this free bag pattern on the Shecansew blog. For some reason it won’t let me link the actual free pattern but it is on Craftsy called the Mini Downtown Messenger bag. As blogs go Shecansew is quite commercialised but each day has a free pattern and last Monday it was this rather sweet mini messenger bag. The problem was just that, it was mini. Jennifer suggests a bag 14” deep and 12” wide so I had to scale it up. I don’t have access to a fancy photocopier that can scale it up automatically 0so I just scaled up the overall shape and then made a couple of more templates then cut out the relevant sections, so the curved pieces, the front pocket etc and then added seam allowances. As haphazard as it sounds it worked.
I chose these fabrics.
I love the raccoon fabric ( I think it’s a raccoon and not a bear but US friends do correct me). I did wobble a bit on this choice thinking perhaps a child from rural Russia might have a fear of a bear like face. But then I thought back to my fellow holiday makers last year on a ranch holiday in Colorado. We were discussing bears and the threat of walking or riding into one. We don’t have bears or anything that can attack you in the UK (other than fellow humans unfortunately). I found it amazing how sanguine the US folk were about the very real threat of the wilder types of the US’s wildlife. On one hand saying how rare it was to come across a bear and in the next breath swapping stories of bear encounters and the best brand of bear spray!! They are so much braver than me….but I decided, fearful or not, that it was too cute a fabric not to go with it
It was a very simple make and using my beloved headliner as interfacing gives it body but it is still light and functional. I chose the cursed polyester mix for the lining thinking our alphabet would be an interesting contrast to their cyrillic alphabet.
If you are thinking our garden is looking very verdant then that might be due to the torrential rain we’ve been having but sadly not all my garden looks like that, see here my very sorry looking vine….. it was chosen to hide that ugly down pipe, a task it is spectacularly failing at! I think I will give it a thorough prune and see what happens.