Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag

A review of the ‘Satchel Complete Bag Kit’ by Oh So Sweet Shop.

With all of this comfort zone annihilation I’ve been doing of late, I decided to push myself even further and make a bag. It’s a long overdue project because I purchased the Oh So Sweet Shop ‘Satchel Complete Bag Kit’, in 2019! 🙈 There were four patterns to choose from: flamingos, bees, toucans and kittens. Bees won out on this occasion, although it was a tightly won race against the flamingos.

A bag is not something I’ve ever thought of making. I just really liked the look of it, the fabric caught my eye and I knew everything I’d need to construct it would be in the kit, including all of the hardware. With all of the notions and different materials required for bag making, I really appreciated the fact that I wouldn’t need to source everything myself.

The fabric and stabiliser provided are not ready cut. The pattern is included, so you use the measurements provided within it to carefully cut out your pieces, ready to sew.

You are given enough materials for what you need, with a small amount left over, in case of any minor cutting errors. Be mindful to pay extra attention to the instructions regarding where to cut your fabric for the specific pieces. I began cutting with gusto, then realised I hadn’t left a large enough piece for the lining of the bag flap. It wasn’t an issue, I simply joined the remaining fabric pieces together and cut the flap out from the newly joined piece. This is why there is a visible seam in the lining of the bag flap but I’m ok with that. It doesn’t take away from the bag overall and I’m keeping it for myself, so there’s less pressure for the bag to look perfect.

I can’t bee-lieve how cute this pocket looks
All of the components ready to be sewn together
The bag interior is just wonderful. Lots of space!

The pattern instructions are clear, well-written and there are colour photographs and illustrations to help along the way. It is definitely a pattern for sewists who are well versed with the basics. There are quite a few sewing techniques required and there is quite a bit of bulk to sew in some parts of the project, even though great tips are given for how to lessen this. It can make sewing the different components of the satchel tricky if you are not used to manoeuvring your way around bulkier seams.

The completed satchel (front view)
Back view

I really enjoyed the challenge of making this satchel and would recommend this kit to anyone who fancied giving it a go themselves. I’m no bagineer but I’d certainly make another bag in the future. In fact, I’ve been eyeing up a few patterns I like and have been looking into the best places to source good quality bag hardware at a reasonable price. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make more bags for myself in the not too distant future.

Project Information

Patterns, all fabric, stabiliser and hardware: The ‘Satchel Complete Bag Kit’ by Oh So Sweet Shop

Difficulty: Confident beginner.

Assembly Time: 1 evening cutting. 2 evenings sewing.

Sewing Room Progress

Creating space for a standing height cutting table in the sewing room.

I was so tired of using the floor space as my table that I made the decision to commission a bespoke, cutting height table. I used a local carpenter, gave him the measurements, the design and sourced the wooden worktop myself. He sourced the materials for the shelving units and base of the table and we were good to go. The table took one, full day to construct.

COVID safe outdoor setup

I excitedly set about clearing a space for my massive table. Once it was in place, it would mean that I’d have no excuse but to start rearranging more of the room and start creating my ideal sewing space.

The space for the table is ready
View from within the room
View from outside the door

It looks like there will be plenty of space to spare once the table is in place, but that’s not the case. The table is massive. The worktop is in two parts and is screwed onto the base units. I genuinely believed that getting this table up our stairs was going to be the end of me! Even though it was in parts, it was heavier than the heaviest thing I can think of. Kudos to The Hubs who has strength of the like I never even realised!

The table in its space

This isn’t where I’d planned for the table to be placed but The Hubs just set it up and classed it as job done. To be fair, I don’t blame him (in hindsight, that is. At the time I was livid that I hadn’t gotten the chance to choose where I wanted my table to go). The placement will suffice for now. No one’s ready to move it again. The sewing room is finally starting to take shape and I can’t wait to add more to it. Keep an eye out for future updates on the continued transformation of this space.

Quilting Time

Using the Cricut Maker to cut simple quilt squares.

It’s been far too long since I did some quilting. I still have an urge to craft since my previous crafting project. This is why I enlisted the help of my friend (the Cricut Maker) to cut out the squares for my quilt top. Note to self: get a larger fabric cutting mat!

Quilt prepping like a Cricut boss!
Four precise and accurate squares

I’ve been looking for any excuse to give the rotary blade a whirl after all it’s hype and it didn’t disappoint. The rotary blade was precise and accurate, with each and every cut going straight through the fabric on the first attempt. The Cricut Maker worked like a dream and I was in awe.

My blocks all neatly cut out by the Cricut Maker

It played such a small, yet crucial role in my quilting. I wanted to complete a simple quilt within one evening. Sewing is so important to me, and with two children under the ages of 3 years, every minute of sewing matters. I don’t get any time for myself once they are awake, so sewing time needs to be used wisely. The Cricut Maker shaved off some of the time that I would have spent measuring and cutting fabric, meaning I got to do more sewing, and finish my quilt faster than usual. What a result!

Quilt sandwich ready for pin basting
The finished quilt

This experience has really got me thinking about other sewing projects the Cricut Maker could be used for. My only issue is that I don’t know how to turn images or patterns into Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). This enables you to resize an image without causing any distortion. It’s the file type recognised by the Cricut Maker (and most other die cutting machines) and enables it to cut out images and patterns.

Does anyone else use their Cricut Maker to cut fabric for their sewing projects? Does anyone have any idea of how to convert sewing patterns into SVG files? If so, I’d really love to know. The more this machine can aid in my sewing, and cut down my prep time, the better.

Crafting Over Quilting

Revamping my sewing machine case with a giraffe mandala.

Quilting has taken a back seat. Just this once! The Hubs purchased a Cricut bundle, which means the machine came with a ton of vinyl, and other materials and tools, to get me well on the way!

Some of the Cricut crafting materials from the bundle

Since my ‘Cricut Crafter’ post, where I completed my first ever Cricut project, I’ve joined more Facebook groups than I care to count and watched countless YouTube videos from all manner of Cricut crafters. My go-to sources for advice and tutorials are Jennifer Maker and Makers Gonna Learn.

In a large proportion of the Cricut crafting groups recently, members have been posting photos of their mandalas. These designs are intricate, with all of the symbols interconnecting, creating beautiful patterns within a larger image. The process of weeding (removing the excess materials in a design that you do not need) the mandalas appeared to me to be a delicate, yet therapeutic exercise and I wanted in!

Weeding my giraffe mandala

I dislike doing a project just for the sake of it. Whenever I do this, I end up making mistakes because I don’t have the focus or willingness to properly apply myself. I really had to think hard about what I wanted to create. Then I got an idea to jazz up my sewing machine case. I decided on a giraffe mandala and set to work weeding the image.

It was certainly therapeutic and much more complex than I imagined. Vinyl is just so sticky and strong. Great care is required when weeding because it’s not always easy to rectify mistakes. Vinyl is an unforgiving material!

Thankfully, it all went without a hitch. Beginner’s luck, I suspect. My sewing machine case received a revamp and I was thrilled with the results. A tip for attaching vinyl to a surface: clean it with alcohol wipes beforehand. The vinyl will stick and stay put like a dream!

Doesn’t this giraffe mandala look amazing?
From drab to fab: My revamped sewing machine case.

For those of you who fancy seeing the weeding process (sped up, of course), then here’s a short clip, especially for you. You’re welcome.

Music: ‘Carbonize’ by Wolves. (I do not own the rights to this song)

I’m feeling much more confident about my ability to learn how to use the Cricut Maker properly. This project has left me wanting to do more crafting. I’ve now got a few projects I’d really like to successfully complete. Some greeting cards and a Valentine’s Day gift for the Hubs.

I hope the beginner’s luck doesn’t run out!

Sewing Space Revamp Alert

My current sewing space and plans to revamp it.

I’ve moved from my designated corner in the dining room to the spare bedroom. I’ve been hankering after this space for quite a while, but to no avail. The Hubs surprised me by randomly suggesting that I should have it as my sewing space and I didn’t hesitate to claim it as my own.

As you can see, it leaves a lot to be desired, compared to the sewing spaces of Pinterest and Instagram! I’ve got big plans for this room that will more than likely happen in stages, so stay tuned for future changes over the course of this year.

So uninspiring!
The leaning tower of shoes must go!
Sneaky night time footage.

This will eventually become a wonderful, inspiring, sewing space. I realise I’ve got my work cut out, and any transformations will have to fit in around looking after my two little ones.

My plan is out there now. Nothing like accountability. No pressure! 🙈

Cricut Crafter

Completing my first Cricut project on the Cricket Maker.

I must admit, I felt completely daunted after turning on the Cricut Maker for the first time, yesterday. Then, I watched 6 YouTube videos in quick succession, got over the fear, and made myself a badge.

Badge components on Cricut Design Space
‘Cricut Crafter’ badge

That’s right. I make myself badges in my spare time! For this quick project, I watched a Paige Joanna YouTube tutorial, used the card stock I received with the Cricut Maker, and fabric from my scraps.

Feeling smug with my badge

Look at me…proper SMUGGINS! Also, check out the African Wax Print fabric from Dovetailed, for the ribbon.🎗Hopefully, I’ll learn how to make something useful to share with you, at a later date.

Unboxing the Cricut Maker

Unboxing the Cricut Maker for the first time.

Introduction

Hello there! I just received the Cricut Maker. It’s my birthday and my husband very kindly and lovingly purchased one for me. I thought that I would share my journey using the Cricut Maker as a complete novice with the machine, and just so I can look back and track my progress and see if I can go from complete beginner with no clue what to do, to having some idea and being able to make some really beautiful things using it.

Contents of the Box

So, here it is! The Cricut Maker fresh out of the box and here’s what it came with. Some cutting mats, the power adaptor, and in this box I imagine are the tools. I’m just opening it right now. Oh, look at this! “Materials for your first project.” Well, I never! Oooh, this is lovely. “Open me first.” The warranty…everybody needs a warranty in their lives. Ok, I imagine there are some tools underneath. Oooh, lovely! Well, you’re seeing this just as I’m seeing this. So, I’m going to have to open these lovely envelopes.

Goodness me, it just looks so beautiful. Right, let’s see, let’s open it up. Oh, wow! This is fantastic! It’s just so special. It just gives off the impression that it is a really, high quality product. I’m impressed. Here are the materials that were in that lovely envelope. Doesn’t it just feel as though you’re receiving an invitation to join a select club. It’s just amazing. Wonderful! “Get started in four steps.” Let’s see what they are. Unleash this beauty (giggles). Plug in and power on your fabulous new Cricut machine. Two, get connected. Three, make a little something, and four, bookmark the page. Well, I certainly will be on that page…a lot.

Tools

So, tools. I’ve got the rotary blade and then I’ve got the rotary blade cap. A fine point pen and some sort of extra connector. I’m unsure as to what it’s used for. Perhaps to connect your Cricut Maker to a computer or to the internet if you’re not wireless, or something of the sort? Not sure, I’ll have to check on that. I told you I was completely clueless.

Summary

Those are the contents of the box. The Cricut Maker itself, the rotary blade with extra accessories, and the power adaptor and a few cutting mats to get you started. There’s no physical booklet containing instructions. You have to visit the website in order to get it set up and from what I understand. you get given a project to start with, and that’s how you get to grips with the machine. So, my next thing is to go onto the Cricut website to set it up and start a project.