This bag was long overdue, so I finally managed to squeeze in another HotPatterns Nairobi bag this weekend, made for about the 6th time now(?) I think!
It was originally a download-only freebie pattern, but it’s been long discontinued until a few weeks ago, when they started selling it again in paper form for a limited time! I highly, highly recommend getting this pattern if you don’t have it already!
I find it’s really difficult to photograph bag linings once they’re done, so I’ve taken some photos of the lining before assembly so you can clearly see my pockets!
The changing of the seasons… the circle of life… and another Nairobi leather handbag for me!
I’ve become a bit boring with my handbags, but I just love everything about the Hot Patterns Nairobi bag and my own little evolutionary improvements that I just can’t bring myself to mess with a good thing. My mustard handbag has lasted over two years of heavy, every day use now, but it’s on its last legs, so it was time to create a new one.
This bag is very similiar to the bag I made Pip for Christmas last year, but without the central strip (I find it just too big with it in!), and with my own special lining pockets added inside.
We were supposed to meet up with my friend (and former bridesmaid!) Pip and her boyfriend back in mid-December to celebrate Christmas, but we had to reschedule due to my swine flu, so I’m only just now able to show you her present – a Nairobi bag made up in gorgeously soft red wine leather, bought in NYC from Global Leathers (I find it interesting that Americans would call this colour “burgundy”, whereas in the UK it’d be “claret”).
I sewed this up before Christmas (so you saw a sneak peek in my 2010 roundup), but she asked me to hold off posting about it until she received it. I actually made this same bag for her a few years ago in black corduroy, and she famously texted me later that night exclaiming “I can fit a whole bottle of vodka in here!”
When I made the Nairobi bag for myself, I usually leave out the strip that joins the two halves together as I find the bag is just too big for my liking with it in, but Pip asked me for the bigger size, and bigger she got!
While my mom was staying with us over the summer, she absolutely fell in love with my mustard yellow handbag and called dibs on something (anything!) made from the remaining leather. Since I didn’t have enough to make another Nairobi bag, I started looking through my stash and fashion mags to get some inspiration, and lo! from the Feb 09 Burda WOF “Australia The Movie” accessories feature (not on the website I’m afraid), there was the perfect handbag, already in yellow even!
There were only two pattern pieces to trace – the main bag body (I doubled the paper pattern so it was the full size rather cut than on the fold to make it easier to lay out on the leather) and the small flap. All the other pieces were rectangles of various dimensions that Burda list in the instructions – the only one I actually used was the piece for the side and bottom of the bag.
So following on from my high class, designer escapades last week, I’ve now got something a little more, err, salt of the earth to show you. I’ve taken to calling this the “Appalachian Wedding Shirt” (and being from Perry County, PA, I’m allowed to say that!), but it’s also a gift of a gift, and I love when I can do that.
The (officially licensed!) John Deere quilting cotton was a gift from my friend Sharon, who bought it at her local Amish fabric store and presented it as a gag gift in my stack of fabrics that made up our wedding gift. John Deere is a completely unknown brand amongst my circle of friends in central London, but we knew our friend Simon would love this, and he travels all around the world on business so we knew it’d get seen a lot, too.
I paired this with Simplicity 5273 (now Out Of Print), which I’ve made many, many times for James in various guises and it’s my go-to pattern for a quick and easy button-down casual shirt for him.
You may remember Simon from the quickest pirate coat ever (and yes, he still wears it!). But this shirt has been a mental project for almost a year now, since Simon was overheard at our wedding complaining to other friends how “it’s not fair that James just picks out any fabric he wants and Melissa makes it into a shirt for him!”. ha! So we thought this would be perfect for him…
James’s first reaction when he saw the finished shirt was “It’s horrible! Simon will love it!”.
(Apologies for the mobile phone photos!)
Are you ready for some random sewing goodness? Let the randomosity begin!
- When I was at the bookstore on Brick Lane buying James’s birthday card, I couldn’t resist this reusable wrapping paper (okay, it’s just fabric to me and you!) with London streetsigns. I love that it’s a London fabric without being OMG UNION JACKS THE QUEEN TOWER BRIDGE! I figure I could use it as a lining like I did with that Japanese tea towel and my bolero jacket a few years back…
- We were supposed to meet up with Pip and her boyfriend two weeks ago to celebrate Christmas, but we had to reschedule due to my swine flu, so I’m only just now able to sew up her present – a Nairobi bag made up in gorgeously soft red wine leather, bought in NYC from Global Leathers (I find it interesting that Americans would call this colour “burgundy”, whereas in the UK it’d be “claret”). I’m about halfway done and already I can tell she’s going to love it!
- The KnipMode jeanskirt:
- The KnipMode pink knit day dress:
These both just need photoshoots this weekend! (Actually, I’m wearing the former for the second time today…)
In some vague order…
- The Colette Patterns “Eclair” dress in gold silk crepe (with aubergine silk ties), being sewn for Iain & Steve’s wedding in early May:
I beta-tested this pattern back around Christmas so I know my muslin fits perfectly, but the silk arrived too late to sew it for holiday parties!
On Saturday I once again ventured to the ever-brilliant Goldhawk Road here in London. This time I was lucky enough to have Anwen and Isabelle as my partners in fabric fondling, glitter disgust, and pattern and supplier informing. It’s so much more fun to go fabric shopping with fellow sewists, especially if they possess a daughter as patient as Anwen’s and a resolve as steadfast as Isabelle’s (I cannot believe she only bought the two fabrics she came looking for!!).
But really, I wasn’t so bad myself. I’ve only got two lengths of fabric leftover from the previous trip: red corduroy which will still become trousers at some point, and dark heathered grey jersey, which is being made into a pyjamas set as we speak! So clearly my stash needed replenishing and my mood needed lifting so I was mostly looking for quality I couldn’t easily get elsewhere…
From top to bottom, I bought: