This blog features The Companion Carpet Bag sewing pattern.---
My new office manager Amanda has instigated a scheduled working week for me now, and as much as I like to complain about her love of organising, I'm in love with my schedule. Mostly because it has a section for working on PhD items every week. (Projects Half Done!) One of the things sitting in my PhD pile was this Carpet bag I started cutting out of a wool jacket I found at the Ty Hafan children's hospice charity shop in Aberdare. It was on their clearance rail so only cost me £1!
I'm very cautious using second hand wool, so I put the jacket in a bin bag then put it into a drawer in my freezer for a few days to ensure there were no moths or eggs. I then washed it on a 'wool' setting in my washing machine and dried it flat. The bright green shoulder pads disintegrated. Oops!
I cut the front panel out of the front of the jacket, keeping the original breast pocket as a feature. I added the jacket's original buttons back onto the front panel, using hot pink thread for a bit of an unexpected contrast.
I used an offcut of hot pink zip on the back pocket instead of piping. I love using zip teeth instead of piping, it's a little bit quirky, but not too wacky! I also added thumb tabs to the top of the panels made from upholstery grade faux leather.
The handles I bought from Fabric Time at the West Country Quilt show for just £2 for the pair. They feel and smell like leather, especially on the backs of the connectors, so I'm not sure why they were so cheap! (ETA: their website shows them as faux leather and at £8.35 a pair. I'm glad I bought a few pairs!)
I'm not usually one for mixing so many colours, but the wool had navy, brown, black and cream in it, so I figured I wasn't going to end up with a hideous bag by using the colours in the wool, even if it is 3 more colours than I would usually use!
I lined the bag with Kona Cotton in Coal and added a zip pocket, a slip pocket and a 'frilly knickers' pocket (As Amanda would say).
I used antique brass cage feet from 3DAN on Etsy to secure a piece of plastic cutting board inside to give it a nice sturdy bottom. I do like a sturdy bottom!
Whilst I am thoroughly chuffed with my new bag, it wasn't without it's disasters. Apparently when you fail to follow a pattern, even one that you have written yourself, you could end up having to post a photo on instagram of inserting a magnetic snap through leather strap connectors. I wonder if I'll ever follow my own patterns, despite reminding you all to follow them!
I also noticed that the frame I had is a full 1" smaller than the ones this pattern is written for. I bought from 3DAN as usual, and didn't think to check the size when it arrived (months ago!) so I didn't realise until I came to insert the frame and had to trim some of the Frame Channel off to fit.
Please, please, check the size of your frame hinge to hinge before starting, and if you need to adjust the pattern, see my tutorial on how to do so!
The Companion Carpet bag is one of my most popular patterns, and I've yet to see a version that I don't love. If you want to make your own, please do tag me in your makes (@sewingpatternsbymrsh), or add it to the tag #companioncarpetbag