Thursday, 19 January 2012

Becoming a Bag Lady

As I mentioned earlier, I made two more bags to give as Christmas presents, one for each of Bill's daughters.  As part of 'spending out' this year, I suspect I will give more attention to their respective wish lists, but I would hate to abandon making gifts as I enjoy it so much and I learn a great deal.

One of the best parts of making a gift is in choosing the fabric and the colours to use.  I end up thinking about the person practically the whole time I'm making their gift, which is part of the fun as well.  Helen is a redhead; they call it it 'ginger' over here, but in the States we'd probably call it 'carrot top'.  In addition she has very blue eyes.  I suspect in part because of her distinctive colouring she has very decided ideas about the colours in her house and in clothing.   I wouldn't dare give her anything that didn't fit into her colour scheme!  Fortunately, she seems to favour turquoise and I had some fabric that had been in my Aunt Rita's stash that I could use.  Helen may or may not recognise that this is a very 'South West' print and colour scheme.  In lined the bag in the cream coloured muslin (curtain lining) that I used for the two green bags I showed before.

I haven't observed the same distinct tastes in Sarah.  In the years I've known her she's had brown hair (her natural colour), jet black and currently she has very white blonde hair.  Her eyes are a very dark brown, almost black, so she can wear black, but she doesn't seem to favour that colour even when she had the Goth hair.  In the past she's gone for girly pinks and purples but the last time I saw her she was looking extremely polished in a soft grey sweater.

Bill's sister Jane lives in Sydney and Jane's daughter works at an upscale interior decorating business.  When Jenni discovered the shop was throwing away stacks and stacks of discontinued fabric sample books, she was aghast, which is another indication that I've finally joined the right family.  She began bringing the cast off books to Jane, who has made loads of skirts for little girls in Africa, fancy doorstops, and I don't know what all from the beautiful home decorating fabrics.  Jane has also given quite a bit of them to me, but other than pull them out and admire them periodically, I've not found a use for them....until now.  (JANE!!  JANE!!! I FINALLY MADE SOMETHING!!!)

I lined Sarah's bag with a sheer striped white fabric for added strength.  Because of the limitations of having only two pieces of this gorgeous floral pattern, I ended up being quite stingy with the width of the straps, something I came to regret.  So I pulled out a length of stiff lavender ribbon from Rita's stash, cut my stingy strips in half and edged the ribbon.  The back I made from some nice dress fabric that may have been one of my old purchases.  The result was a very girly bag for a young woman who now has a serious job in a bank.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hrello Shelley:
The bags are beautifully made and each very different. From what you write of the intended recipients, we are sure that they will be delighted. Clearly you have given much thought to their individual styles and tastes and this is very much reflected in the fabrics and accessories which you have chosen.

Handmade is so much nicer than shop bought. It really shows a personal effort.

Anonymous said...

Oh well done, I can make bread but that's about it.
And what a great use for the old fabric books.

PS. You are very wise to save for houses, cars and retirement, that switch has just gone off inside my head and I have started a new saving account, I think I may finally have grown up.

Beryl said...

I love that you make Christmas presents. I am happy every time I see someone sewing, since it's been one of my favorite pastimes since I was 5. And I like how you expressed that you think of the recipient of the item all the time you are working on it. I feel the same when I sew.
Thanks for the idea of "spending out" from one of you last posts. I went and read about it. Something to keep in mind.

Expat mum said...

I am currently playing around with hand-made gift tags involving scraps of fabric. And don't forget - you can always wrap presents in fabric in stead of paper. Very luxurious!

Anonymous said...

Both bags turned out beautifully. I'm looking forward to the day that I have the time to make such thoughtful gifts.

Shelley said...

@Dear Jane & Lance - I can't tell you how honoured I am to have you visit my House! I don't know how excited the girls were, but at least Sarah had a pretty bag on hand to carry all her Christmas gifts out to the car.

@Tabitha - Making bread is a great skill, one I don't have (without the use of a machine). Perhaps you've not needing to 'grow up' before, but I personally find it a scary world without a little savings to fall back on.

@Beryl - Yes, I am happy when I see anyone sewing; it reminds me of my Mom and my Aunt Rita. 'Spending out' feels a bit strange after being such a tightwad, but if I don't start using up some of the fabric I've hoaded, I might end up on a TV show!

@Expat Mom - I love the idea of fabric gift tags!! Hope you will blog about them. I have wrapped Bill's gifts in a champagne coloured heavy fabric and bright coloured fabric ribbons the last few years. The fabric will have been hideous curtains, but it is lovely gift wrap. Another time there was this really strange printed fabric, so I used it as gift wrap as I was never going to sew anything with it - also covered a trash bin. I love using what I have.

@Terri - Retirement is lovely. I do sometimes miss the structure of going to work, and perhaps the excuse to spend a bit of money on clothes, but not much else.