January sewing project: the shoulder bag

After promising at least one sewing project post a month from my fab new sewing books, I couldn’t possibly fall at the very first hurdle and delay January’s post… so this post is making it into January by the skin of its teeth… it is still January (albeit for another hour or two)!

I completed this Cath Kidston shoulder bag on Tuesday evening, after a fun afternoon last Sunday learning new sewing skills. I had never made a bag before and felt that this would be a good starter project for me… and I’m pleased to report that I managed it!

If I’m honest, there were a couple of points when I thought it might defeat me. However, Cath Kidston’s ‘Sew!’ book provides lots of tips and ‘how to’ guidance alongside the project pages. The first thing that nearly stumped me was the ‘T-junction’ seam. The book explains that this type of seam is used to give width to bags. So with this helpful guidance and some head-scratching, I eventually worked out which seams joined where – result!

Next came the button loop for the top of the bag. The instructions directed me to make a ‘rouleau loop’. Being fairly new to sewing, I had never heard of such a loop before but I soon discovered that (for me) this was definitely the trickiest part of the whole bag! Again, I was saved by the instructions in the book, which helpfully advised me that a rouleau loop is a “narrow flexible tube, made from a bias strip of fabric”. After a significant amount of trial and error, coupled with lots of patience, I found myself to be the proud creator of my first ever rouleau loop! So far, so good!

But there was one more daunting task which I had been nervous about from the outset. The pattern directed me to make four buttonholes. I had never made a buttonhole before, either by hand or on my sewing machine. This was one of the last steps before completing the bag. Sheer determination set in: I would learn how to make a buttonhole like my life depended upon it! So I dug out the instructions for my sewing machine, fitted the buttonhole foot, located some fabric scraps (I clearly wasn’t brave enough to just go for it without a trial) and then tackled the challenge…

A triumph! I have to say that making buttonholes using my sewing machine (the John Lewis JL110) is surprisingly easy! Yippee! Another newfound, soon-to-be favourite crafting skill! So here’s the finished buttonholes in action…

I am amazed at how many new sewing skills I have learned by making one small shoulder bag. I am looking forward to picking up many more techniques in my monthly sewing project promise this year! So on that note, I’m off to pick February’s project… decisions, decisions…

Mrs D xx

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