I decided I needed another shopping bag, so I opened up a donated pair of jeans and using my little but strong canvas bag as a pattern,cut the pieces out with the outer leg seam down the middle.
I overlocked the edges, and added a pocket saved from another pair of recycled jeans. I applied it by stitching over the previous line of stitching. The handles are from my collection of unwanted boys belts donated by my niece. I have already used a couple for my Poppy Burlap bags, Once the d rings are removed and the belt cut in half it makes a good pair of handles. I pinned then tacked them in place, 4" apart and hanging down against the outside.
I toyed with the idea of french seams instead of adding a lining, but went for the lining option in the end. I'm using another bit of recycled duvet cover (it's the same as I used for the Poppy Burlap bags!). With the outer bag right side out and the lining wrong side out I slotted the outer inside the lining, right sides together and pinned and stitched them together, backstitching over the handles to strengthen them. Then I pulled it right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.
The front of the finished bag. Plain but practical. Hmmmm maybe too plain.... maybe I should add some hand embroidery to make it a little more interesting? I need some inspiration.
As I enjoyed Jennifer Coulston's "Foolproof Crazy Quilt Projects" so much I went browsing Amazon for other embroidery books, and found this one; "Embroidered Memories" by Brian Haggard. It's another one by C&T Publishing.
I had a peek inside on Amazon and fell for the whole heirloom/sepia palette/crazy embroidery look! I bought the Kindle version so I could download it straight away and read it cover to cover. Brian gives details of stitches and loads of designs to try, as well as all the gorgeous samples of his work, like the Crazy Clutch above. I've got my inspiration!
I went through my embroidery threads (a lot of which came from my mother) and chose some stranded cottons. A cream (Anchor stranded cotton #0244) and a coffee colour (labelled VA #153). Then I sorted through my button jar (most of which came from my mother) for a couple of little cream ones, and then set about adding embroidery to the pocket. I sketched a curly line with my Frixion pen, then just dived in!
Once I was happy I had crammed filled the available space, I decided to add a piece of lining to the back to protect my stitches. I used the pocket as a pattern then turned under 1/4" all round and pressed it down. I don't want stitches to show so I fused it in place with Bondaweb (Wonderunder) and whip-stitched round the edges.
Then I stitched it on (again) over the original two lines of stitching, so the lining was caught down between them. Finally I slip-stitched the opening in the lining closed again, pushed it down inside the bag and gave it a good press. What a happy coincidence I had chosen these beige handles, rather than the red striped ones!
The finished bag, with it's simple and understated pocket embroidery. I know it's only small and not the right colour background, but there will be a next time!