Handy Handbag

Throughout the years I have bought numerous small handbags that I use on weekends. Handbags that I can use cross-body so that when I go shopping I don´t have to lug a large shoulder bag around, which is what I use during the work week.

However, I was never completely satisfied with them, too small…. too big…. too rigid…., whatever, …. so, I decided to make my own.

I opted to use a Capulana that I had been hoarding for years. What is a Capulana you might ask, well… it´s the name given to Mozambican  cotton fabric. These fabrics are used by the Mozambican ladies as a type of sarong, and for almost everything else, dresses, skirts, head coverings, wrapping babies, carrying babies……. They are beautifully ethnic and colorful, and I love them.

The Capulana I decided to use has a patchwork design, so even though it might be considered a cheat, I love the colors and it certainly took a lot less time to make, not having to sew different fabrics together, to get the final  patchwork look.

I decided to make the bag 33cm in height by 31cm wide.

So, we cut 2 x panels 35cm x 33cm allowing 1 cm on each side for seams. I say we, because I made it with the help of Manuela, a wonderful lady that helps me with my projects, below you can see her hands measuring away 🙂

We decided  that the bottom corners of the bag should have  cork corners, so we cut 2 triangles 12cm x 12cm  from a cork sheet.


We attached the triangles to the fabric corners, and sewed them with 0.5cm seam to the fabric, and cut the excess fabric.

Below is the front and back.



I then pinned a layer of interfacing, and quilted the panels of the bag. In the photo you  also see a panel of plain fabric which is joined to the outside panel and interfacing, just ignore that second fabric, at the time I  thought it would be better to add another layer of fabric, but that is totally unnecessary!

I basically eye-balled straight lines starting on the outside edge and rotating the panel untill I got to the center.

Here you can see the quilting lines.


I cut out 2 panels for the bag flap 22cm in height x 33 cm wide pinned interfacing to one of the panels and did the same quilting technique as above.



After sewing the 2 body panels of the bag together (right sides facing each other), I sewed diagonally across the corners about 3 cm in the center, to create box corners.


Below is the lining, where you can see better what I mean, about sewing the corners together, to get the box corner.

Fold the corner so that it looks like a triangle. Measure 3 cm from the pointy edge and draw a line, then sew along the line.


When sewing the lining together it´s important to leave a gap, because that´s where the whole bag will have to fit through when it´s finished.


Turn the bag inside out so that  the right side is facing out and attach the flap to one side of the bag.


To make the strap. Cut a strip of fabric approximately  11 cm wide and  the length that suits you. Because I didn’t want the strap to be to thick I used fusible fleece instead of interfacing.


Then you just  sew along the edges right sides facing together and then turn it inside out so that the right sides are on the outside.

Sew the strap to the body of the bag.

Below you can see that I also sewed a pocket to the lining, I used the print fabric for the pocket.


The whole bag, right sides facing out, is then slipped into the lining which has the wrong sides facing out


Then you sew the lining top  to the body of the bag, sewing all around the edge.

Then pull the whole bag through the hole in the lining so the lining flips into the inside of the bag.

And Voila, The handy handbag 🙂



Baby Quilt

Since I´m a newbie in this patchwork / quilting adventure, I don´t really have a stock of fabrics. Where I live, fabric choices are very limited, and not wanting to travel a 100 km, I bought 7 types of fabric. I didn´t want it to be only in shades of blue, so I also chose yellow and white, I also fell in love with a fabric that had balloons etc, not realizing that when I cut it into small squares, it mainly showed up the pink ….. oops,… oh well,… every man needs a little  pink in his life…. I went ahead with the fabric choice.

I wanted the quilt to be a postage stamp, so I cut strips of fabric 6 cm wide, this will allow me to have 0.5cm seams, and have 5cm finished squares.

After sewing the strips of fabric, I cut them up into 6 cm wide rows, thereby getting the 3 sets of squares below.


I ironed the seems in the rows in alternate directions so that I could nest them when joining the rows.


I find I can align the squares better when I nest the seams, rather than when I iron the seams open, that’s not to say I always manage the magic of perfect alignment, many times my squares just don´t want to line up. Sewing is my zen time, so I don´t stress too much when this happens, a wonky square here or there is not life changing.


I always pin as close as possible to the seam line.

Below are the nested seams.


Here is the first row of blocks.


Here are the 2 sets of rows sewn together. You can see on the last row that 2 last squares are really very badly aligned, I actually unpicked these and redid them, these were just to wonky even for me.


I then sewed 2 borders of white and blue of different widths, just to make it a little diferent.


Added the batting and zig-zagged the front to the batting all around to hold it in place.

I did the backing and binding at the same time, that is,  I used the same piece of fabric for the binding. I folded the sides of the backing twice and mitred the corners to achieve the binding strip at the front.


At the back, all you see is the sewing line from sewing the backing/binding in the front.


Before sewing the backing I apliqued a little square of a “Alice in Wonderland fabric”, so that no-one would ever forget that it was an Alice that made this quilt 🙂


Since I have a very basic and inexpensive sewing machine, quilting is not an option, unless it´s straight lines so I decided to leave the quilt as is. The binding looks a little ruched, but once it was washed and ironed, it looked perfectly fine, but I forgot to take a photo before giving it away.

And here is the finished product… Yipee… my first ever baby Quilt.



Well as anyone can see, just by looking at my blog, it is painfully obvious, that I have never blogged before! It´s taken me forever to figure out the basics of WordPress, and because my time is pretty limited, what with work, home and now the sewing thing 🙂  spending hours on the PC has been a little frustrating.

However, I will persevere and become a blogger, even as I continue to scream and pound the keyboard of my poor old PC.

Of course I´m coming pretty late to the game, after all everyone is already a blogger! little kids are bloggers!! I actually read an article the other day, stating that in the near future to apply for a job, having a blog will be an asset, so that a potential employer can see what type of person you really are…. Really…. well I think that’s pretty nuts, …. but oh well… just in case… I have decided to join up and create a blog even if I do go nuts doing it 🙂

But honestly I think blogging has done wonders for many, not only for those who blog but also for those that search blogs for info etc. and hopefully I too, will add my small contribution to the blogging world and in the process enrich myself.

Happy blogging!