Friday, December 09, 2016

Friday Night With Friends/ And a Finish!

Hello my friends!

Sorry for the delay in posting ..... it's been such a busy week here, I haven't had time to upload my photos until now!

Thank you all for your encouraging comments which spurred me on and helped me finish by Monday morning!

Oops this has ended up a rather long post, and I got more than a little carried away with the photos because I was thinking of writing a proper tutorial, still might ..... maybe, another day!


Anyway, if you've been following my blog you will know that last Friday night I was stitching along with Cheryll's  "Friday Night with Friends" .....

..... and you would have found me crawling round the floor of our bedroom .... with the door shut to keep the furbabies out ..... as I twisted and turned my fabric on my giant sized cutting board .... looking for a suitable corner of fabric from which to bias cut two handles for my little Christmas bag!

As usual, time ran away from me, and there wasn't much stitching that night, apart from joining the two fabrics for the lining, oh, and I decided to add a tiny pocket too!

Christmas bag

Christmas bag

Saturday morning I finished stitching the pocket in place, took photos, stitched the handles together, and threaded some wadding into them .... that was a bit complicated ..... but by wrapping the wadding tightly with paper, sticking a safety pin through said paper, and holding this between two of the press bars I was able to force the wadding into the handles neatly; then topstitch either side of each handle.

Christmas bag - handles
The Press bars really helped to straighten the handles.

BTW I am not endorsing this product ..... these press bars just happen to be what I use, and they work well for me.


Last year I found an embroidery pattern, and stitched my first tree, but couldn't decide what to do on the second side, until now ....

the second tree was made with some of the scraps of Christmas fabric I bought from the Pilgrim Quilters exhibition (where I won my lovely quilt), and using Lara's Crafted Appliqué method I added the appliqué tree on the other side of the bag!

Christmas bag

Once I had added the second tree I wasn't sure what sort of quilting to do. The fabric wasn't as white as the embroidery cotton so I couldn't really copy the first side, and then I remembered Lori Kennedy's blog - The Inbox Jaunt -  about FMQ (free motion quilting). 

I've never tried FMQ but I remembered Lori saying that you should practise by doodling, hence that is what you can see in my notebooks ..... lots of doodling; and that the stitching should flow from one shape to the next. I don't think my stitching was too bad for a first attempt, do you? (Especially considering I kept manoeuvring the foot up and down! And if you don't know FMQ what I mean is that I wasn't really stitching "free motion".)

Christmas bag

I loved stitching the presents too! If you follow the link below you will see Lori's presents are a little different from mine ..... I was working from memory ..... I had no time to check how she did her stitching.

When I stitched my little packages I kept thinking the word "doodle" to myself, and tried to make the lines look like doodles ..... so they were intentionally double ..... not single lines! 

Lori has since posted 10 Christmas tutorials, which you can see here.

There are a few more pictures of  my doodle stitching toward the end of the post.

Finishing the seams
I was very nervous about finishing the seams because the red fabric I used frays very easily (it's Osnaburg which has a very open weave which is good for embroidering ..... I should have hem stitched the edges at the start, but I never thought I would be working on it for so long.)

Christmas bag

As I sew, I hold the fabric in line with the edge of the masking tape on my machine, keeping the seam measurement the same throughout the project.

Christmas bag

Christmas bag - Bagging Out
"Bagging Out"

Just look at those handles ..... do they get cuteness points, or what? ..... and the pocket too!!

Christmas bag

Christmas bag

Christmas bag

Christmas bag

I was soo.... happy, as I finished making my bag by Monday morning!

Christmas bag

And to think this started with me trying to think of an embroidery scene for a bag ..... spotting an embroidery pattern for just the right tree on "Super Mom-No Cape"'s blog (yes, the white tree shown above!) 

Thank you for visiting, and I leave you with this picture ....

Christmas bag
Our naughty cat trying to catch birds, at the water bowls.
Mitzy says, "Funny, when it's sunny I don't see so many birds!"

Have no fear, shortly after taking this picture we moved the plant pots away so the little monster can't "hide" so close to the bowls!

Do have a great weekend, and I now I'm off to catch up on some blog reading!

Hugs from
Barbara xx

Linking to all stitching friends at

Cheryll's - Gone Stitchin' for

Amanda - Crazy Mom Quilts for


Pamela said...

Great finish. I love what you have done!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Your tree bag is wonderful fun - but I can't imagine having to insert batting into those handles. I would be tossing the entire thing in the nearest bin if it were me!!

France Nadeau ❅ inspiration imagination creation said...

What a lovely bag! I like your stitching and the handles are just perfect.

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

It's lovely Barbara. The embroidery is wonderful, you made a great job of the FMQ and those very well done handle and the lining match perfectly. Thank you for sharing.

FlashinScissors said...

Yes, I t was a close thing MA!
For a while I thought the stitches wouldn't hold, especially as my sewing machine was being naughty at times on this project .... with lots of cotton looping underneath the fabric! I tried altering the tension ..... presser foot and the numbers on the tension dial, but still there were loops!
It'll need altering before I use the machine next .... but what to, I don't know!
Hugs, Barbara xx

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Lovely! I think those handles were worth the work. The look perfect. You are quite tenacious.
xx, Carol

Ariane said...

I really love how it turned out. It's beautiful!

Sheryl said...

Lovely bag Barbara, beautiful colour and FM quilting, perfect handles too.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Great work on your bag, it looks beautiful.

Tiffstitch said...

That is a really cool bag, lovely photos and thanks for the info on how you managed. Gorgeous FMQ too!

Christine B said...

What a lovely bag you have created Barbara and I love the quilting! Hope you are having a lovely weekend! Christine x

Bea said...

That is a lovely little bag you created.

Queeniepatch said...

I've never seen the trick of using paper strips to insert wadding in bag handles - great idea. Great is also the right word for the bag itself. I think it is a master piece and you should be very proud of the result.

Narelle said...

Oooh i do love your little bag ... the tree makes a beautiful scene x

Wendy said...

That is so cute! I can never get my handles to look that neat!

Cheryll said...

I'm so pleased for you to have a finish after planning it for so long. And a wonderful one as well. See FNwF does
Hope I see you again in 2017.
Merry Christmas...xox

Raewyn said...

A lovely and unique bag, Barbara...nice to see your processes in putting it together too. PS I think your doodlings are just great!

Mii Stitch said...

Oooh what a delightful bag!!!

Brigitte said...

This little bag is such a beauty. And yes, the handles look really great, and so does the pocket. Great job, Barbara.

Julie said...

Such a fabulous bag you have created, i'm still trying to learn new things with my sewing machine, me and it are not the best of friends!

Josie said...

I'm with you on this as I also prefer to move and pivot my foot rather than actual FMQ. Your bag looks fabulous! xx

handmade by amalia said...

I love love love your Christmas bag, Barbara, I can't even pick a favorite side. I hope you have only nice things to put in it.