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.
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.
*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?