Our good friends who live in Nottingham and Derby came ‘up north’ for the weekend to help celebrate Mr Gertie’s significant birthday and also his retirement. We hadn’t seen them for a while so it was great to catch up.
Even though we’ve just come back from holiday we’ve been away again – twice. In my defence both were for hospital appointments. The first was in Manchester, and as it was a 9am appointment we had to travel down the day before.
The second one was to see the Professor (the wonderful man who performed his magic on my hip) in London. Again we decided to travel down before hand or in this case a few days before. It seemed such a wasted opportunity not to.
I’ve also been frantically sewing. A friend of a friend loved the bag I made as a birthday present and asked if I could make something similar.
The brief was:
• a rucksack big enough to hold her knitting when she goes to her knitting classes
• a pocket at the front to keep scissors, tape measure etc
• adjustable straps
• the fabric must have dogs on it and not be of boring colours
We’re off down to Nottingham soon for Jenny’s birthday so I asked the birthday girl if she would like a ‘Gertie creation’ as a present. I’d love a couple of make-up bags she replied as I can’t find the right size. No problem.
The brief was simple: if possible a waterproof lining and any kind of cat fabric.
I am rubbish at maths so had to ask Mr Gertie for help. However once it was explained it’s so easy to work out. If you want to give it a go check out this blog (it explains it so much better than I could.).
And finally a belated birthday present. Last November our friend Jan was having a party to celebrated a significant birthday (21 again....). As I was convalescing from my hip surgery (or more importantly banned from my sewing room) I couldn’t make a anything for her so had to give an IOU birthday bag voucher instead.
When she was up for the weekend she redeemed her voucher by asking if I could make her another jewellery tool bag. I’d like it a bit bigger than the last one, she asked, say tray size....
The brief was:
• a bag about 16 inches by 13 inches
• lilac fabric
• two pockets in the lid – one elastic and the other zipped
• elastic pockets of various sizes all around the edge of the bag
• a handle on the lid
If I’m honest my heart sank when she asked for another tool bag – especially one the size of a tray. When I made the original one it took a couple of attempts to make it strong enough. Eventually I had to reinforce the lid and base with heavy weight interfacing. That certainly wouldn’t work this time.
Following advice from Mr Gertie on how to strengthen the bag I bought a roll of corrugated cardboard. The idea being I sandwich three layers of cardboard together, the two outer layers having the corrugated lines running one way and running the opposite for the inner layer. Ideally they would have been secured using staplers but as I’ve only got a tiny stapler, sellotape had to do. For extra strength Mr Gertie suggested I put a couple of stitches in the centre to hold them all together.
Unlike the lid and base I needed both strength and bend-ability for the sides so had to leave out the middle cardboard ‘sandwich’ layer.
I know you’re not supposed to use cardboard in bags, unless it can be removed, as it turns to mush when washed. However we were at a loss as to how to make it stable so this bag is ‘dry clean only’....
As you can see from the photo the inside pockets aren’t elasticated. Having battled to attach what seemed like a six foot elastic snake, the sides simply weren’t strong enough to cope with the elastic pockets. No amount of extra cardboard around the sides would stabilise it, so reluctantly I had to take out the elastic and make them pleated pockets instead.
Due to the cardboard providing stiffness to the bag it wasn’t possible to use a sewing machine so a lot of the stitching had to be done by hand - my poor fingers were covered in blisters....
Whilst it may not look much this bag has gone down in history as the most time consuming thing I’ve ever made. It took over 74 hours to make, and boy was I pleased when it was finished!!!!!
Have a great week.
PS why not pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow craft bloggers have been up to.