Monday, 22 December 2014


Well they're not the traditional Furoshiki folded bag, but a rough approximation! These bags are also known as a Japanese triangle bags or origami bags.

I was originally inspired by the lovely Anna's post on her teacher presents this year. I loved the look of her bags and how well they can be completely individualised for the recipient. I had wanted to delve down the path of handcrafted gifts (at least for some) this Christmas and I knew I'd hit on the perfect project. Who doesn't love another beautiful and lovingly made bag?

I sent out a few emails with some vague, but enlightening questions, about favourite colours, prints or vibrancy and I was off. I used the very gorgeous Cloud9 100% certified organic cotton canvas fabrics for all but the flouro yellow chevron which was a buzoku duck from Spotties.

It really is a super easy and fast make. You just need a rectangle of fabric three times as long as it is wide, and a bit of fancy folding and stitches later, ta-da, there is your bag. I used BurdaStyle's Triangle bag tutorial because the particular way in which the material is folded and then stitched made way better sense to me, and seemed to suit the dimensions of my material. I was constrained by the width of my fabric and ended up cutting rectangles 43.5 inches x 14.5 inches.

Other, alternative methods can be found in this tutorial by //Between the lines// and this one at

I also decided to work that leather magic again with some handle wraps made from scrap pieces left over from one of hubby's many leather projects (see here and here).

I dyed the leather Whiskey brown  and found it hugely annoying perplexing that the final colour of each piece was so different. But in the end I love that each piece is completely unique.

Each piece was hand-stitched which meant punching all those holes. It gave me a whole new appreciation of the love that went into my bespoke bag. This nifty little tool certainly makes the job a little easier though. Combined with a wooden chopping board or workbench and hammer you're good to go.

At this stage we've also accumulated a little collection of leather threads in different colours, so I was able to make every handle wrap completely different from the others and coordinate it with its bag fabric.

So much prettiness...

And I reinforced my seams by folding the seam allowances to one side and topstitching (kind of like a faux flat felled seam). You might be able to see in the photo below.

Equally happy on my shoulder or swung lazily by my side.

 I so have to go back and get more yellow chevron. Too perfect...

And to all you lovely peeps out there here's to a very Merry Christmas for you and yours, and a wonderfully joyful and creatively rich New Year! There might some radio silence from this here crafter as I work on getting fat and extremely relaxed over the next little while. Enjoy!

Sunday, 14 December 2014


Never work with children or small animals. I get it, I truly do.

This child never stands still or stops talking... she's talking above. Good lord, this was even after having to bribe her to model with the promise of a forbidden candy cane. Oh how the mighty fall when it comes to children. We truly aren't boss, you know. It's impossible.

Back to the dress. This is my fifth Xmas dress for the very lovely (if infuriating) Miss M. I'm liking it, and Miss M is ecstatic, but it's not the triumph of last year. Oh boy, how grown up she looks this year!

I was really pleased to use one of my vintage pattern finds for this dress, before she outgrew its one size!

Vintage Butterick 4983, View C. Isn't that illustration adorable?? It totally sucked me in... those pigtails, those bows, that cute floral. So much cuteness.

It's been a very rainbow year in the SewJillian household. Rainbows in every drawing, rainbows in every book. It went without saying that this year's dress would feature "rainbows". But I was down with that when it came to this fabric. Geo Rainbow. So. Much. Awesomeness.

Oh and stars, there had to be stars. Stars and rainbows apparently go hand in hand. Golden stars around the hem it was.

I thought I was all embellished out (I don't do embellishment), but then Miss M remembered the Daiso zips. I was all for sticking in a red one (very Xmasy), but it was pink or nothing. As I said: any illusions of being boss are completely thrown out in the face of a 4 year old's egocentric desires.

So we did pink.

And with a zipper as gorgeous as that I did an extreme exposed zip. I actually love how it turned out. I thought about enclosing the base of the zip in some dress fabric, but I really like the slightly industrial look of it as is.

I had a significant problem with design ease in this one. I tried the dress on Miss M before inserting the zipper or attaching the facings. It seemed quite tight around the chest, so I reduced the seam allowance to 1cm (from 1.5) and away I went. Entirely finished the dress and realised it was a sack of the most epic proportions, huge in every way. I ended up having to detach the armhole facings at the side seams (understitching and all!!!!) and take it in just over an inch each side and re-attach. Still seems a little broad across the shoulders, but it's much better.

And this little one is mucho pleased. And still ridiculously gorgeous. Look at that face...

Sunday, 30 November 2014

I'm obsessing culottes... Inspiration

I completely blame Kirsty and Debbie for this and I think I might have to eat my words and a little humble pie. You see they have both made awesome culottes recently and whilst I love them on those ladies, I was convinced they'd be hideous on me. I announced they'd never get me into culottes, no way, no how. Then I saw these babies from Gorman...

Photo source
...and I thought now there's a pair that might completely sway me. Then I went to Gorman and tried them on and now I'm a goner. I hope I'm not completely deluded, and they don't in fact make me look like an Oompa Loompa.

That said, I bought this amazing cotton/linen (85/15, I think) fabric and I'm committed.

Then Myra of MyZeeMoo very rightly warned me on Instagram: that print is gonna make for some potentially awful pattern placement faux pas. Oh lord, I'm not sure I can avoid it...

But I neeeeeeeeed culottes.

Are you falling head over heels for the culotte trend or are you happily avoiding it?