Friday, 9 January 2009

First project of the year

Granted this is a little late, but better late than never, as the old saying goes. My sister-in-law (to be) loves handmade things, so it is always a pleasure to make gifts for her and our adorable niece Elizabeth as I know they will always be appreciated. So as her late December birthday approached, I wracked my brain for ideas.

I decided a beach bag would be ideal but in my pre-baby preparations (and nursery curtain sewing mishaps) I ran out of time. So on Christmas Eve, I went through my stash (too late to go to hunt for fabric in the shops, especially with Madelyn attached to my chest 90% of the time) and I searched for something simple, modern and that would go with the apple green lining fabric that I had managed to buy earlier in the month. I ummed and aahed about using this gorgeous Joel Dewberry fabric I had bought to make something for me because it's one of my favourite fabrics, but in the end it won out because although more aqua than green (SIL's favourite colour) it set off the photo beautifully without being too busy and gave the bag a nice modern look. Unfortunately there's not much left, but I may be able to do some applique with the scraps for Maddy.

I cut out the lining and printed the photo (with breath held as it was my last piece of printable fabric) on Christmas Eve, but that's as far as I got - couldn't bring myself to cut the feature fabric in case I found something else, and Madelyn was unsettled all night so I couldn't get to the machine anyway. So when we saw SIL on Christmas Day, all we had was a promise of a personalised handmade present. She was understanding though and happy to hear I was making her something, especially so soon after having a baby.

Then the days passed and I still hadn't managed to make any progress, putting it aside to make a couple of nappies instead to spread out my nappy washing days a bit. Then Andrew mentioned it to me one night this week and asked when I was going to do it, my reply being "Who knows?" as he kept occupying himself with odd jobs and shed tidying and sorting, leaving me with both children and not returning the favour. So when Maddy was asleep yesterday, he told me he would keep Austy out the back with him so I could sew. Woo hoo! It was pure bliss, and with a few feeding breaks this is what Maddy did most of the day, laying in her bassinette beside me with the humming of the sewing machine to soothe her:

I went for an after dinner walk to get her to sleep at a reasonable hour and was itching to get back and finish the bag, especially as we were meant to be babysitting Elizabeth today - the perfect chance to give her Mum her birthday gift. So after I fed Maddy, Andrew settled her and I sewed into the night, finishing at 12:30, half an hour before Maddy woke for her next feed. So I am paying for it a little today (and certainly needed my coffee with Madelyn waking up three times last night and taking nearly an hour to feed and settle each time) but the results are worth it I think.

The lining has an internal pocket with decorative stitching and a mobile phone or sunnies pocket, with plenty of room for a towel, sunscreen and bathers.

I've had the plastic for about a year to make bibs for Austy, then when he stopped wearing bibs I thought I'd use it for an art smock then decided to use it for this bag instead. I was afraid of plastic sewing, and while it took a little more care and patience, it wasn't too bad and makes a great splash proof beach bag.

Austy thought so too - here he is modelling it straight after his shower - he wouldn't get dressed till I took a "smile" of him with it!

Oh, and I almost forgot! I have joined the one a month challenge, as I needed to remind myself that I won't always have an unsettled baby and those WIPs, baby dresses and outfits for Austy will get made eventually. This was the perfect motivation, and I've already managed my first completed project for the year. Bonus!


Ariane said...

I love the bag.I really like the idea of using the plastic on it. I'm going to have to try that. Your kids are beautiful. You are a lucky mom.


Tracy said...

Great bag. Thanks for the inspiration. It would make a great nanny present.

Andrea said...

Love the colour and fabrics of the bg oy, and the little photo is a great personal touch.

Kris Meares - Tag Along Teddies said...

Hey There! Will add you to our Challenge list, but could you let me know what name to pop it under please. I still don't have email - Grrrrrr!! Only way I can communicate with the 'outside' world is blog commenting - SIGH! Soon I hope, but for now, blog commenting it is! Once I've got your name, I'll add you to my sidebar and register that you've got one finish. Happy stitching! Bear Hugs! KRIS

Anonymous said...

Oh that bag is divine and you are amazing doing it with a newborn and all. You have inspired me to complete a plastic covered fabric bag that I have started & remains as a UFO.

sue said...

The bag looks like a fantastic present and the plastic over the top seems like a wonderful idea too. Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous.

mames said...

i love it! the bag came out beautifully. and i laughed a bit when you wrote 'sunnies' (glasses, right?). it reminds me of all the great words you aussies use.

i think i am going to join the challenge too!

Natalie said...

The bag is gorgeous! I've been meaning to try sewing with some plastic, but keep forgetting to pick some up.... maybe next time ;)

Louisianna Jane said...

you are a wonder woman!
congratulations on the birth of Madelyn- she is just gorgeous.