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Friday, 15 August 2014

Summer Picnic Bag

One good thing about returning home from holiday is seeing friends again.

Within a day of getting home from Devon, my pal Emily mooted the idea of a sewing night at hers. My thoughts soon turned to what I'd like my first post holiday sew to be. A summer picnic bag seemed the perfect one night project. This particular pattern is nice and simple to sew (I teach it on my Complete Beginners' Course), and so I knew it would make an ideal thing to sew sociably, when chatting and eating (on this occasion it was warm from the oven chocolate brownies with clotted cream - YUM!).

For the record, I already have a bag or two (or ten) that would do for this purpose. But, well, a girl can never have too many bags, right? And, I justified my need for a bag by assessing that I didn't have any that went well with my favourite Megan Dress of the moment.

I've been meaning to check out the Cath Kidston factory outlet shop near St. Neots for ages.

Embarrassingly, I've been recommending it as a place for discounted pretty prints for the last three years that I've been running my sewing courses from home, and have yet to actually go there myself. On a regular basis, people have come to the courses with stuff from this shop, and I have had to close my mouth to stop me from dribbling over the fabric loveliness being produced out of the familiar light blue carrier bags.

The sewing night invite, along with a desire to treat myself to something nice (to make up for the lack of sea for me to swim in now we are at home) spurred me on to take a trip there. It being the school holidays (and husband at that point had yet to head back into work), I had the luxury of taking just one girl with me. Okay, arguably a bigger luxury might have been going alone, but the four year old was keen to seize upon some one to one time with me. This is a thing I try to make a point of doing with each of the girls as regularly as I can - although I love it when we are all together, there is something special about leaving the house with just one child. Like the calmness of only one - and the lack of (the sometimes relentless) sibling rivalry, for starters. It should be noted that the rivalry starts up again the second the child that has had the parent to themselves walks through the front door, and they blurt whatever they consider to be the most jealousy inducing highlights of the outing to whoever will listen.

 Anyhow, if you live within reach of St. Neots, I'd recommend a visit to the shop. About a dozen or so rolls of different `duck' fabrics, some oil cloths, and a really good box full of off cuts to rummage through. I let the four year old choose a few of these - the red spots you see being one of her choices (and a bargain at £2.90 for a 0.4 metre piece).

The cherries were the thing that stood out for me. It was only when I got home and cut the bag pieces, that I worked out I had enough leftover (I'd only bought half a metre) to make a little book bag with. As it was the biggest girl's birthday the following day, she seemed like a worthy recipient of this little bonus make. And joy - I remembered the crocheted cherries I'd made from the kit on the latest Mollie Makes, and added them onto the front of the bag. Serendipity, I think.

Book Bag*
The biggest girl is a complete book worm. And, had been eyeing the crocheted cherries as I made them on holiday. I hadn't offered them to her at the time (sibling rivalry), but needless to say she was delighted to end up getting them. And, as it was a birthday gift, no one else complained.

*Please ignore the wobbly stitching - I made her bag after my own (a less selfish mother would prioritise her daughter's birthday present over her own superfluous bag), and it was approaching midnight when I sewed that felt detail on.

I have a few more pieces of Cath Kidston fabric from my little spree - watch this space for some more summery makes before too long...

Are you a fan of Cath Kidston prints?


  1. Beautiful bags!!! Really lovely fabric choices as ever Janet! Is it wrong that I'd totally use that book bag?? Haha. Xxx

    1. Thanks Lucy. Not wrong at all! And besides, I know what a Cath Kidston fiend you are x

  2. These are so lovely. The little crocheted cherries really finish off the book bag and I am sure your daughter absolutely loves it!
    The Cath Kidston outlet store sounds really great. Must pop there in the new year when my house renovation and MA are all finished ; )

    1. Thanks, Caroline. Sophie seems to like her book bag, and both were fun to make with not too much thinking needed (am still in holiday mode!). Hope the renovation goes smoothly - off to check out your blog now (not read any on hols so plenty to enjoy catching up on now). X

  3. Hmm, I do feel like a little post holiday sewing! I always decide I must have something newly sewn for a holiday which means I can be found at the sewing machine when I really ought to be packing... This year some shorts for P for our Devon holiday. What a lucky duck being close to a Cath Kidston outlet-we lived nearish Bicester and I do miss it! Thankfully a few prints still left in my ever toppling piles of fabric

    1. What is it about holidays and the temptation for us to sew right up to the moment the car is practically ready to pull away?! I am certain I would have been burning the midnight oil this year again were it not for being ill. Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer sewing. 😊