Another Bloomsbury Blouse Hack

If you have read any of my recent posts then you will know I currently have a bit of an obsession over ruffles and the Bloomsbury Blouse by Nina Lee is up there as my favourite. I recently hacked the blouse into a dress and added an extra wide ruffle which you can read about here:

https://wordpress.com/post/jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/1626

I was so pleased with how it turned out and have worn it several times already; I feel smart but casual wearing it which is very much what my day to day wear is about during these lockdown times (that and secret pyjamas) – we currently have light at the end of the tunnel here in the UK and hopefully if all goes to plan we may be able to start socialising a little in the not too distant future.

The fabric I used this time is some light blue chambray from my local sewing shop – Sew With Holly and it was a bargain at just £7 per metre.

https://www.sewwithholly.co.uk/product-page/cotton-chambray

This time I went with the regular sized ruffle from the pattern but decided I wanted to change the sleeves. I made a dress last summer during lockdown 1 (the Dayo Dress – Sewing Patterns by Masin) and although I love it I haven’t really had much call to wear it – hopefully all that will change soon; this dress has a really nice sleeve detail so I decided to use these.

I traced around the armscye of the Bloomsbury sleeve and then just followed the shape of the Dayo sleeve. The sleeve hems are finished off with shirring elastic which I much prefer to ordinary elastic and it really isn’t as difficult as I imagined it would be. The trick is to hand wind the bobbin with the elastic not pulling it too tightly and then to do a few practice runs until the tension is correct. I didn’t actually need to alter the tension on my machine; I just used my longest straight stitch and it gathered pretty well whilst I was sewing but a little steam from the iron really works the magic.

I am finding a real appreciation for plain fabrics lately. When I first started sewing it was all about the strong bold and fun prints. I am sure I will still find room for a few more of those in the future but I am currently more than happy adding some plains to my wardrobe.

Total Cost £15.95

Blue Chambray £14.00 Gutermann Thread Blue £1.95 Buttons Free in gift bag

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Broderie Anglaise Lily Top

I haven’t been doing much sewing lately, we are currently having some home renovations – we have just had a new kitchen fitted (a week of takeaways wasn’t much fun!) and eventually our old conservatory will be altered and knocked through to make a dining/sitting area which will also serve as my new sewing area. In the mean time most of my sewing is packed away and I can’t find anything!

I am still keeping up with the sewing community by browsing Instagram and a couple of weeks ago I won a lovely little bundle of goodies from one of my favourite shops.

Felicity Fabrics have been running a weekly competition under the hashtag #fridayfun and each week a lucky winner receives a mystery box. I was fortunate to win a couple of weeks ago and received a wonderful box of goodies: 1 metre of white Broderie Anglaise, a matching thread, some lovely buttons and a tube of hand cream which is something I keep on my bedside table and use daily.

I haven’t sewn with Broderie Anglaise before and if I am perfectly honest it probably wouldn’t of been a fabric that I would of chosen for myself but this turned out to be a good thing because I love what I have made. The fabric is a lightweight cotton so in that respect is fairly stable of sew with but the holes do add to the challenge.

I needed to use a pattern that I had already got cut out, tracing and cutting out new patterns isn’t really something I can face in our current chaos. I first made the Experimental Space Lily Top last year when I pattern tested for it. This is a great choice because it only needs 1 metre of fabric and there are only 4 pattern pieces so I was able to find a spot on the living room floor for my cutting board and cut it out there.

Although the fabric itself isn’t see-through all the holes that make up the flower pattern could of left me feeling a little exposed so I decided to line the front and back bodice with some lightweight cotton voile that I had in my stash. To do this I just tack the lining to the main fabric and treated it as one piece.

The top has bust darts and then the neckline is finished off with bias binding, I cut out the bias binding from the Broderie Anglaise, I’m not sure that this was one of my better ideas, trying to fold a narrow strip of fabric with holes in around a raw edge proved a little tricky but with a lot of patience I got there in the end and I think it looks good but perhaps a simple piece of white cotton would of been an easier option.

The selvedge edge of the fabric was a plain cotton (no cut out design) and originally I did cut a strip of this to use for the ruffle but at the last minute I changed my mind and decided to cut out a strip with the holes instead, I am glad I did and think this adds to the overall look. I love how the ruffle goes around the neck and onto the shoulders and think it gives a simple top that little bit of interest and of course I had to add a label and this one seams appropriate because ‘Yes’ I have finally got round to some more sewing after several weeks away which is a long time for me.

I really love how this top turned out and am so glad that this fabric was chosen for me because as I said earlier it wouldn’t of been something that I would of thought to buy myself. I know I will get plenty of wear out of it especially now the weather is starting to improve here in the UK and spring is on its way.

Decorating not Sewing (A new kitchen)

We are currently having some home improvements done but this unfortunately means I am struggling to find time or space for sewing.

I have always used our kitchen table for sewing with my material, machines and haberdashery stored in various rooms but we have decided to have a new kitchen and convert the conservatory into the dining/sitting area which will be open plan into the kitchen. This was our previous kitchen just before removal:

We have removed the back door and have added a longer window above the sink; this caused some confusion for our cat who has always been able to come and go at will through the cat-flap that was cut into the door; she will eventually get a new cat-flap in the wall of the extension but at the moment she is very unwilling to leave the house at all so that should be fun trying to tempt her back outside into the fresh air; her current favourite place of residence in on my side of the bed out of the way of all the upheaval. The garden will eventually be accessed via some bi-folding doors which will be at the front of the extension – this was our old conservatory which never had much use because it was always too cold in winter and too warm in summer. The conservatory is down now and we are having more brickwork added to support a tiled roof with some Velux windows to keep the light. We have managed to hold onto some of the old frames and glass from the conservatory and these will be used along the one side of the extension.

The patio doors that can be seen in the last photo above will eventually be removed to give one open plan room.

The new kitchen was fitted last week and it is quite a transformation and I am so pleased with the colour scheme we decided on; we just need a new window shelf put in which should be done next week and a bit of skirting board but we are nearly there for that part of the house.

Our garden that we spent so much time working on last year is looking pretty much like a building site now but hopefully we will have it back to normal in a few weeks and we should be able to enjoy the garden view from our new sitting area.

Bloomsbury Blouse Dress Hack

One of the things that I have discovered that I really enjoy doing since taking up making my own clothes is the ability to experiment a little more – I never considered wearing dungarees before making my own (now I pretty much live in them) partly I think because the ones I tried on in shops never fit very well; I am only 5ft 2 inches tall and most shop bought clothing is made for people taller than me so now I can just adapt my patterns to fit me perfectly. Another thing I have been converted to is ruffles – I wasn’t keen initially but after giving them a go I am converted; so much so that I decided to go big or go home with this make.

I actually got my inspiration for this make from a long standing TV soap that is on here in the UK. Coronation Street has been on the screens for 60 years – it’s older than me! In a recent episode the actress who plays Toyah was wearing a really nice dress; is was a rust coloured floaty floral dress with ruffles and I paused the screen to have a good look.

On close inspection I realised it wasn’t dissimilar to the Bloomsbury Blouse by Nina Lee; the neck and sleeve ruffles looked pretty much the same but the ruffle on the shoulder was really long and of course it was a dress not a blouse.

I will be honest and admit that although I have been sewing for about 4 years now I haven’t done much in the way of hacking patterns; I am still learning and had no idea if this would work so unlike my usual method of cutting into my gorgeous fabric and hoping for the best I decided that a toile would be needed for this make. My vision is to make this dress in a draping fabric such as viscose but for now I wanted to work with what I had got. That said I did want this first attempt to be wearable.

The fabric I have used is a chambray that has been on my shelf for a couple of years; I picked it up in Budapest a couple of years ago when holidays were a thing (I really hope this vaccine gets rolled out quickly this year and we can start getting back to a bit of normality).

The Bloomsbury Blouse has a button down back but because I was turning it into a dress I didn’t want the buttons to run all the way down. I have made the blouse before and can easily slip it on and off with just the button on the yoke unfastened so I decided to remove the button placket from the back bodice pattern piece so that I could cut on the fold. I then lengthened the front and back bodice pieces by 14.5 inches and came out slightly for the hem. The only other pattern piece I altered was the shoulder ruffle; for this I just cut 2 front ruffle pieces because I didn’t need the opening on the back piece. I doubled the width of this ruffle pattern piece so it now measures 9 inches wide. I really wasn’t sure if this would work but thought I could always narrow it down if it looked ridiculous!

As I mentioned previously I wanted this to be a wearable toile so I decided to take my time over the seams. There happened to be a competition running on Instagram for a week just as I started my project: #FeelingSewMuchBetter with the idea being to share a progress shot each day for a week with the big reveal of your final make on the last day so this gave me an excuse not to rush it.

I used French seams wherever possible to give a neat finish on the inside. Lots of patience was needed for the ruffles; especially the shoulder ruffle which was over 2 metres long; I marked 1/4 sections with a pin to help distribute the gathers evenly.

I am pleased with how this has turned out and will definitely wear it out in public. There are a couple of alterations I will need to make next time. I think I need to size up slightly around the armscye; when I made the blouse version I used a rayon which had a little bit of give but with this being a slightly more structured fabric it does feel a little tight. I also want to lengthen the sleeves next time; I think they are designed to be slightly shorter but I would be happier with them at wrist length. I initially thought that I should take some length off so that it was more tunic length but my husband convinced me otherwise saying that the length was in balance with the big ruffle – I do listen to him sometimes 😁

Total Cost £20.61

Blue Chambray £18.66 Gutermann Thread Green £1.95

Dhurata Davies Overlap – Coat or Dressing Gown?

So I have just finished my first make of 2021 and I have got to say the jury is currently out on this one. I should say at this point that this is down to my fabric choice rather than the pattern, I am still learning what works and what doesn’t and this time I think maybe I got it wrong.

Firstly lets talk about the fabric. This is a lovely fabric that I purchased from Sew With Holly last year. When I spotted this colourway in her shop during one of my weekly sewing classes I really loved it, however the following week she had brought in a couple of other colours.

https://www.sewwithholly.co.uk/

I love green and at the time had in mind the Tilly Buttons Eden Coat but after some umming and ahhing over which colour to go for I opted for the pink colour (I already have a green coat) to make my Eden coat which you can ready about here:

https://wordpress.com/post/jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/1355

The green was still calling to me so I ended up buying that one too (at £9.80 per metre it didn’t break the bank).

I spotted the Dhurata Davies Patten when it was first released and loved how the seams are finished on the inside, after a quick look through some of the versions on Instagram I decided to send for it. In the correct fabric choice it really does look good, just go take a look at the one by @revansmerritt or @cathysewsstuff

https://dhuratadavies.com/

Taking into account my body measurements and the finished garment measurements I decided to cut a straight size 12 and I find the sizing very accurate. The instructions are very good and there are 3 different methods explained for finishing the seams – Hong Kong finish, flat felled seams and French seams. Because I wanted all the prettiness inside I opted for the Hong Kong method, the only place I omitted doing this was on the armholes, I did initially add the bias binding to this seam but the sleeves just did not sit well so I ended up removing it.

The only place I got a little confused when reading the instructions is when you add the collar to the neckline. It says to align the collar with the edge of the placket on the front – I took this to mean the very corner of the placket where the binding comes to an end but after pinning it all the way around I had a lot of excess collar and then realised it meant the corner of the front of the jacket before it starts to slope up.

What I do love about this make is the finish, I have spent a long time over it adding all the binding and I know it is finished to a high standard. I machine sewed the facing along the bottom because I wanted this seam line to show but I hand sewed the cuffs and the collar in place.

I really want to love this make and I think it looks ok when it is unfastened but I can’t get away from the fact that when it is fastened up I think it looks more like a dressing gown than a coat, what do you think?

I am sure I will wear it even if it is just around the house but it hasn’t turned out like the vision in my head. Sometimes when I make an outfit I put is on and it gives me an instant buzz to know that I have made it and it looks and feels great but sadly that isn’t the case this time.

My Top 5 Patterns of 2020

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year, hoping that we can move forward in 2021 and leave the virus behind.

I thought I would take the opportunity to reflect on my makes for last year and talk about my top 5 patterns. I always find it interesting to check out my #bestnine for Instagram but the pictures that get the most likes are not always my favourite or most worn so my 5 choices reflect my personal favourites that I have made and worn last year.

First up will have to be Jennifer Lauren Ivy Pinafore; I made 2 of these last year and they have been my uniform through the winter months. I love that they are fully lined making them look good on the inside too and the instructions are very easy to follow.

Second will definitely be my Burnside bibs; I made a lovely full length pair at the beginning of lockdown and a shorts version in the summer. These are my secret pyjamas and they have deep pockets; what more could you ask for. I have worn them on many a walk which is about the only outings (along with my cycling) that I have had this year.

Tilly and the Buttons Eden Jacket – this was one of my more complex makes of the year and a real success story. This is my go to coat now when I venture out; it is warm and cosy and I just feel great wearing it knowing that I made it. I learnt a few new techniques with this one and added an open ended zip as well as buttons so took my time over it.

Next is the Nina Lee Bloomsbury Blouse; I have got to admit that I wasn’t really sold on this when I saw the pattern. It has been around for a while but I wasn’t sure that ruffles were my thing but then I kept seeing the Friday Pattern Company Sagebrush Top pop up on my Instagram feed and got tempted into giving that a go. Anyway I loved the Sagebrush along with its ruffle (it was quite a close call between the two patterns) so then I decided that maybe I should give the Bloomsbury a chance. I think my fabric choice just works with the pattern and it’s one of those tops that makes me feel dressed up but not overly so (bearing in mind that 2020 has mostly been walks and supermarket shopping). Anyway I have plans to try and hack this into a dress with an even bigger ruffle so I think I have definitely changed my mind about ruffles.

The last of my five is the Zadie Jumpsuit; this one only just managed to sneak in because it was my last make of the year but I wore it on Christmas Day and already have plans to make one in some plain fabric. Again I love the pattern and fabric combo that I chose and it is comfortable enough to relax around the house in – more secret pyjamas. Also the tie waist gave me room for my Christmas dinner and the numerous chocolates I have eaten over the Christmas break.

So those are my top five makes for 2020 but had it been a different kind of year I think that one more would of made it into the mix. I made the Dayo Dress by Sewing Patterns By Masin during the summer. I saw the pattern on the Foldline Vlog when they were talking about the new pattern releases and I sent for it straight away. It was such an easy and enjoyable make and I love how it looks and feels but alas all my plans for evenings out went by the way side last year so I haven’t actually been anywhere to wear it. The furthest we made it last year was the garden of our local pub during the summer when lockdown was relaxed a little.

Fingers crossed we have a wedding to go to later this year and hopefully a few other events and this will get worn then and I really can’t wait.

Christmas Pyjamas

Well I hope everyone who celebrates it has had a good if somewhat different Christmas this year and that you all received some nice things from Santa.

Christmas Day means new pyjamas for me. It’s a bit of a tradition that I receive a new pair each year. Now I have been trying for some time to achieve a completely me made wardrobe, but surprisingly in the four years since I started sewing I have never made pyjamas. No idea why because there are some very easy patterns out there and it is something I wear everyday so I thought that this year I needed to add pyjamas to my me made list.

With this in mind my husband treated me to the fabric for my pyjamas this year so that I could make them, and he wrapped the finished article up for me for Christmas. Now it might seem a little odd to some that I would be making my own present but for me sewing is a very big part of the enjoyment of my makes and as talented as my husband is he doesn’t sew.

I purchased the main fabric which is a cotton jersey from Felicity Fabrics in their recent Black Friday sale and I picked some black jersey ribbing up from my local store (Sew With Holly) for the cuffs and neckband. Before I talk any more about my project I just wanted to mention the whole experience of receiving parcels from Felicity Fabrics. I have purchased from them twice now and I have got to say their attention to detail is outstanding.

My fabric (along with a pattern I may have been tempted by) arrived promptly in a wrapped cardboard box with each item then individually and carefully wrapped in tissue paper (it’s a little like Christmas come early receiving a package from them). They also provide a handy little swatch of your fabric choice with all the details attached.

Anyway back to my pyjamas; there are a good choice of patterns out there and I knew that I wanted a casual comfy pair hence my decision to go with jersey fabric. The pattern I chose is the Juno Pyjamas from Tilly and the Buttons ‘Make it Simple’ book. I have had this book pretty much since it was released but am making slow progress working my way through it. So far I have only made the Safiya Jumpsuit but there are some great patterns in the book with easy to follow instructions – I just think my sewing list is too long and I am easily distracted but I will definitely get around to using more of the patterns next year.

I usually go with my body measurements with Tilly’s patterns putting me at a size 4 for my bust and hips and a 5 for my waist but because I will be sleeping in them and I like loose fitting sleepwear I decided to cut a straight size 5. I also opted for the short sleeves because I am usually too hot at night and end up throwing the bedcovers off.

The Juno pyjamas really are a very simple sew and because I have made jersey tops and bottoms before I whizzed through them without looking at the instructions. That said I would advise not to sew when you are tired! I am currently suffering with a shoulder problem so after a very restless night with little sleep I made a mistake when sewing them up! When attaching the neckband to the top the seam should sit in the middle at the back; I managed to sew it so it was slap bang in the middle of the front neckline. I had used the overlocker for all of the seams and I am pretty sure that if I had tried to unpick it all the neckline would have been stretched out so I decided the only way to sort it was by cutting the neckband off. This obviously lowered the neckline and also made it wider so I then had to cut a longer neckband to refit. Anyway I managed to rescue it and the lowered neckband design looks fine – I am pretty sure that no one would have noticed if I hadn’t owned up to my error.

Anyway other than that everything went smoothly and the waistband on the bottoms was done in a very similar method to all of the scrubs that I sewed up earlier this year so I think I could have probably carried that out in my sleep.

I had some fabric left over so I used a small remnant to make a matching sleep mask which is also in the book. Lets face it everyone needs a leopard print cat mask in their lives don’t they?

Total Cost £ 24.45 (1.5 metres of fabric) Leopard Print Cotton Jersey £22.50 Gutermann Thread Black £1.95

Ilford Jacket for Christmas

I have been promising my husband a jacket for a while now so when we where thinking about Christmas gifts for each other this seemed the perfect opportunity to give it a go. I have had my eye on the Friday Pattern Company Ilford Jacket for a while. I like the fact that it is marketed as a unisex jacket so you can see what it would look like on a male figure as well as female in their marketing pictures.

I have made one of their patterns before – The Sage Brush which I found a really well drafted pattern with good instructions so I sent off for the paper pattern which I was able to pick up in a Black Friday sale.

https://wordpress.com/post/jennylovestosew.wordpress.com/1257

My husband chose the fabric which is a lovely cotton canvas from Merchant and Mills:

And I helped him to pick some buttons out which unsurprisingly (if you have read my recent posts) I got from Felicity Fabrics.

https://felicityfabrics.co.uk/product-category/haberdashery/buttons/

Size wise I cut out a straight Small size. There a few few different options with regard to sleeve finish and pockets so he decided on the placketed sleeve with 2 handwarmer pockets. I washed the fabric before hand and in hindsight I should probably of serged the edges before because it does fray quite a bit. It is also one of those fabrics that is really difficult to distinguish between the right and wrong side so after deciding which side I was going to use on the outside I stuck sticky labels on the reverse.

One thing I will state from the start is that if you haven’t made a shirt or jacket before this probably isn’t the easiest of patterns to start with. There are no markings for pocket placements, the idea is that you chose your own placements to make it your own but if you haven’t added pockets to a make before then this may be quite daunting.

There are a few pieces that need interfacing, these are pictured at the start of the instructions and then it is time to start sewing. The first thing to work on was the sleeve plackets. The placket tower (the 2 pointy bits) needs to be constructed first before sewing the placket to the sleeve. I had to read the instructions a couple of times to get my head around what I was doing and struggled a little with the thickness of the fabric that I was using.

The placket is attached to the sleeve – right side of placket to wrong side of sleeve and stitched along the outer chalk markings, then comes the scary bit of cutting along the middle chalk line.

Next the placket needs to be pushed through to the right side of the sleeve and if you follow the folding instructions carefully you should end up with something that looks like this:

Now to get onto the jacket construction. Again there is no hand holding with regard to seam finishes and you are left to your own devices in deciding how you would like to finish them off. Because this was a present for hubby I wanted to give it as professional a finish as possible with all the inside seams enclosed. First up is the shoulder seams where I went with flat felled seams. I joined the front and back right bodice pieces right sides together at the shoulders and then trimmed the back shoulder seam down be half. The front seam is then folded in half and tucked around the back seam before pressing and top stitching. Below I have shown what the finished seam will look like both on the outside and inside.

The sleeves are then attached to the bodice, right sides together matching the single and double notches. The sleeve seams are then finished with your chosen method before sewing up the side seams. For the sleeve seams and the side seams I opted for Hong Kong seams. This method involves wrapping bais binding around the raw seams. I chose this method because I wanted to add a pop of colour to the inside and also a wanted to keep the front and back seams separate to avoid adding too much bulk although this method could also be used with the seams folded together.

Because the instructions use a 5/8″ seam allowance I decided to trim them down slightly before adding the folded bias binding. Firstly I opened up the bias tape and attached one raw edge of the bias to the top side of the seam along the raw edge and sewed at 2/8″ the tape is then wrapped around the raw edge and sewn along the open edge of the bias.

Once the shoulder seams have been finished then the side seams can be sewn up right sides together starting at the sleeve hem and sewing right through to the bodice hem. I took my time when I got to the underarm seam where I needed to pivot the needle and sew over a bulky bit of fabric, I folded up a piece of scrap fabric and put if under the back of the presser foot when I got to this area to help with the bulk.

The collar is interfaced on one piece and then they are joined right sides together along the edges and top side before trimming the seam allowances and turning right way round. Again I paid a lot of attention to pressing everything well. Before attaching the collar to the jacket I knew that I wanted to add a hanging loop. I used some of the bias binding for this and just estimated how much I would need before tacking it in place at the centre back on the inside of the jacket with the loop hanging down.

The collar is joined to the jacket in a different way than I have used before. Usually when I have made shirts or jackets the bodice front edges are finished off before adding the collar but in this case the collar is attached first, the remaining top edge is then folded down before folding over the jacket edges to construct the plackets. I didn’t find this the easiest of methods due partly I think to the fact my fabric was fraying quite a bit and I really struggled to get a clean edge between the collar and the placket. Once I was happy with how it looked I top stitched all around the collar.

Once the front edges had been finished I decided now would be a good time to hem, the instructions use an allowance of nearly 1.5 inches in total for the hem but I decided to add some bias binding before turned the hem up and only used a seam allowance of about 5/8 inches and my hubby is happy with the length.

I then finished off the sleeve cuffs before turning to the pockets. There are several pocket options with the pattern and my husband chose the hand warmer style. I pinned them in place where I thought they looked about right and then got my husband to try it on. The height of the pockets was about right but they needed bringing forward about 1.5 inches before he was happy with the position. I then tacked them in place and got him to try it again before topstitching.

I always find the final stage of adding the buttonholes particularly nerve racking. This fabric I used is fairly thick so as with my recent coat I reverted back to my old sewing machine which does a 4 step buttonhole and when I got to the sleeve cuffs a hammer was in use to flatten the seams – I don’t think this is a conventional sewing method but it worked for me!

I always enjoy adding the buttons and seeing it all finally come together and a little sewing label that I picked up recently added the perfect finish.

More photos to come after Christmas Day.

Festive Bottle Bags

We had planned a nice long walk in the countryside this morning but it is pouring down so we have changed our mind and will be staying indoors so I thought it would be a great opportunity to wrap some Christmas presents. Over on Instagram Kathy at @sew_dainty has just shown a great video for a wrapping technique which I have given a try; the result can be seen below:

This is the link to her page if you would like to give it a go yourself:

I also like to sew a few bags and have been busy making some bottle bags which I will talk about below:

For this particular bag I used the following:

4 x 8″ by 15″ (2 main fabric and 2 lining fabric) 2 x 3″ x 16″ main fabric 2 x 3.5″ x 2.25″ interfacing or stiff card

First up we need to make the handles so take the 2 long strips of fabric and fold them in half right sides together; then sew along the long edge. I used the edge of the presser foot to gauge the seam allowance and then trimmed it down before turning.

I recently purchased these loop turners and they are a real game changer when it comes to turning fabric through to the right side; I really don’t know how I managed without them.

Once the handles are turned the right way they will need a good press before going onto the next stage.

The handles need to be placed along the top edge of your main fabric; I marked a placement mark 1″ from the long edge but it really isn’t set in stone so you can always judge for yourself where you would like to position your handles.

Once you are happy with the position then the lining fabric needs to be positioned on top right sides together. Make sure your handles are tucked inside between the main and lining fabric.

The above steps need to be carried out twice with both handles and main and lining fabrics and then the top edge needs to to stitched (I used a 5/8″ seam allowance). Below are my 2 pieces and I pressed the seam allowance towards the lining fabric.

Now you need to place one on top of the other – right sides together again with the handles sandwiched in the middle. Take your time to make sure that the seam allowances match up before pinning all the way around.

I used wonder clips to join the pieces together but I put a pin in at the seam allowance in the middle. I also placed a couple of pins to mark where I will start and stop sewing. This means that there will be a gap of about 2″ in order to turn the bag through to the right way. Again I stitched using a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Once you have sewn all around the edges (remembering to leave the gap unsewn for turning) you need to bow the corners. This will give your bag a nice base to sit on. I used a 1″ square for my corners but again this can be adjusted depending on what you want to fit into your bag.

The corner that you have marked then needs to be cut away; this is repeated on all four corners. You then need to fold the corner so that the bottom seam lines up with the side seam; again a good iron will help with the accuracy of this. Pop in a couple of pins and then sew across the edge to enclose the corner; I used a 3/8″ seam allowance for the corners.

It’s over to the ironing board again to press the bottom of the bag so that you get a nice rectangular base. This is where we are going to add our interfacing. I used some fairly stiff interfacing and added it to both the base of the main fabric and again to the base of the lining fabric.

Once the interfacing is firmly in place then the bag can be turned through to the right side using the gap that we left earlier. Once it is the right way round then the gap needs to be pressed and stitched either by hand or using your machine.

The lining fabric can then be slotted inside the outer fabric and another quick press before you are ready to pop your bottle in all ready to put under the Christmas Tree.