Friday, 20 May 2011

A present in the bag and a giveaway to come

How times change! When I was a small girl, red and spotty meant that you had some unpleasant disease which required quarantine and absence from school.

Even in the Ploughboy's youthful lifetime, red and spotty meant medical emergency. On the day that he woke up covered in rather startling red blotches, and I took him to see the doctor, we were speedily despatched to hospital, where they wouldn't even let us into the children's ward. Instead we were confined to a little room while the red spots gradually disappeared as the Ploughboy became more interested in the toys. I was beginning to feel that I had imagined the red spots in the channelling of some childhood trauma when finally a medic ventured in to see us, but luckily the stress of medical attention brought the blotches out into a wonderful angry red again, and completely mystified the hospital staff.

We never did find out what caused them: his first taste of pheasant; chocolate; grubbing around in the dirt; or general parental incompetence, but they disappeared under the influence of copious quantities of piriton, never to reappear.


Of course, nowadays, and probably due to the benign and roseate influence of the Great Cath, red and spotty is the thing to be, and when I found myself in urgent need of a birthday present for a very stylish person, a red and spotty fat quarter and a Keyka Lou pattern came to my aid.


So a pleasant afternoon spent in the company of my sewing machine and the Easy Envelope Clutch Pattern, which comes in two sizes, produced these two rather charming little red and spotty numbers. The downloadable pattern is very clear and easy to follow, and comes with actual size pattern pieces.

I have made a resolution only to use books and patterns which come with full size pattern pieces to cut out.  I have one or two books in which the patterns at the back tell you to photocopy at 195% or some such completely unhelpful number which does not relate to the normal proportions between paper sizes, and (in my probable incompetence) I find this completely impossible to do on my little home printer. I know I could probably drive a few miles to a copy shop and pay for them to work it out and do the printing, but I would rather have a correctly-sized pattern, or pieces that will print easily on my A4 printer in the first place, especially when I have paid for the book.

So this is one of the reasons that I like Keyka Lou patterns, and the second is that the patterns leave nothing to my faulty imagination, and invariably turn out well at the first time of trying, thus maximizing my productivity on the last-minute present front.


(I won't mention the Saturday afternoon I wasted on a notebook cover I tried to construct from a book that promises to have you producing stitched creations in no time at all, where following the instructions to the letter produced a cover that, try as I might, I could not squeeze onto its notebook, and then had to be ripped up and turned into a lavender bag in the face of a present emergency.)

And such was the magnificence of the red and spotty effect of this birthday present, the recipient could not believe that I could possibly have made the little bags myself - which possibly tells you more about the deficiencies in my craft skills than their excellence, but I felt a warm glow of competence, which is quite unusual and most welcome.


For the fabric aficionados amongst you, I bought the red spotted fabric at the Vintage and Handmade Fair last year - I can't quite remember who from, but the very pretty trellis fabric in the background (which I am saving for myself) was from Donna at The Fabric of My Life, whilst the purse lining was made of some leftovers from a smock top which I made for a princess who grew out of it almost immediately, which was rather heartbreaking, but princesses will be princesses, and the bare midriff look is no longer all the go.

And finally, the red buttons are once more from my inheritance, my grandmamma's button tin, an inheritance which has proved its worth on many occasions.

So have a good weekend, make a few presents (take my advice, don't leave it to the last minute), and remember that Monday is giveaway day, so come back and say hello again then.

35 comments:

Serenata said...

Oh I agree, full size patterns here for me as well! Nothing more frustrating than having to work out percentage enlargements! The little purses look great.

Have a lovely weekend.

Pipany said...

Oh they are very lovely aren't they? Spots and stripes always make me smile and are so seasidey. Have a lovely weekend x

gillyflower said...

Love those pretty red polka dot purses with their floral linings - they are so cute!
I wholeheartedly agree with you re: the pattern sizes - I have neither the time nor patience to mess around enlarging pattern pieces, so am glad to find am not alone with this niggle - and it does niggle me!
Must click on your link for this reliable pattern (and hopefully more!)- i hate it too when you've invested time, effort and a pretty fabric into making something and it doesnt work, despite following instructions.
Have a great weekend!
Gill xx

Louise said...

They are very impressive.
I'm awful at making precise/neat things (I'm still haunted by a crochet hook roll endeavor) .... however I'm really attracted by some of the patterns in that range, especially the owl purse which looks great for using up fabric oddments(and re-purposing the fabric from half finished crochet hook rolls).
It's lovely to see you back and blogging.
Louise
x

Gina said...

What a perfect spotty duo. I would also choose a full size pattern every time!

PinkCatJo said...

Very pretty! It reminds me of one of our younger children at school who told me today that she collects spotty things. When I asked her if she had any spotty tights or spotty socks, she was quick to tell me that her collection was made up of spotty leaves and spotty flowers. Interesting!

Have a fabulous weekend. x

Michela said...

Have a great weekend, I hope you will find some time for your lovely makes!
xxx

Little Blue Mouse said...

I'm not surprised the recipient was pleased with her present, the bags are very professional looking.
I'm with you on the increasing pattern sizes, it's just too complicated.

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

Always a perfect delight to see the use of polkadots.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Susan X

Isobel said...

Oh Pomona, they look so pretty and girlie! Well done!
Have a great weekend too!
xx

Miss Holly said...

Thank you so for popping by my site today!! I love your red dot pouches. I checked out the pattern site as well...wonderful designs.....
I also noticed you are a lover of opera!!!!! So am I !!! The Mozart operas are gorgeous aren't they!! So happy to have connected! Have a lovely weekend...

Floss said...

'Make a few presents'... hmm, I've just bought the raw (vintage) ingredients for my PILs' Christmas presents, but I think it may be a while before I nerve myself up to actually making them...

The purses are lovely and I can understand (just) about the patterns - in fact, all patterns, even full-size ones, fill me with horror. Now I know Son 1 is dyspraxic, I think I might be too...

And finally, the red and spotty debate. I've seen some cheap but decent red oilcloth with large white polkadots, in a supermarket I sometimes visit. I've been continually torn ever since, between the notion that it's too good to miss, and the idea that I only want it because everyone else has it. I don't know what the final outcome will be.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I do like nice simple patterns and shall go over to the site and photocopy it if possible.

If you want an easy notebook cover, I make them all the time and could send you the instructions - just let me know.

Elizabethd said...

Red and white spots are so fresh and pretty, and very 'today'!

VintageVicki said...

You can't beat red & spotty in terms of home decoration / clothing - its just so cheerful :)

However on small people it means sleepless nights ;)

Have a lovely weekend xxx

silverpebble said...

At the moment 'making presents' will comprise a hurriedly plucked posy in a repurposed tomato can as I am in a phase of dashing about. Still, there are benefits to posies in tomato cans and no one in particular requires presents just now so I think I'll be alright.

Your little purses are very lovely indeed. Someone will be delighted. I am eyeing your trellis fabric with a tiny touch of envy. I am wishing you a happy weekend.

lily said...

I always think of red polka dot fabric as flamboyaunt and slightly outrageous........maybe even a little daring, and have always wanted to be one of those women who just casually throws on a red polka dot dress to pop to Sainsburys for the weekly shop.

But, alas I am not daring enough, but I would readily settle for the pretty spotty clutch that you have so cleverly made and feel myself very chic and ever so slightly outrageous with it tucked under my arm.

lily x

Florence and Mary said...

I was reading a sewing book in bed last night and it almost caused me nightmares just reading it, let alone tackling the projects in it!

Victoria xx

Jooles said...

I with you on full size patterns, i always have 'issues' with enlarging , there always seems to be part of it missing!
love the little purse :o)
jx

mooi hoor... said...

I have to try these out! They are most charming indeed!

Noelle said...

Had a lovely stop at your blog site!
Glad I stumbled on your posts and looking forward to discover more about your little cottage's comforts!
Blessings,

lemonade kitty said...

You can't go wrong with a purse especially one made up in that red spotty fabric the lining is pretty too, Lucey x

potterjotter said...

I love your dotty, spotty bags. Will be back on Monday to say hello.

andamento said...

Very pretty pouches and they do look as if made by a very proficient seamstress.I'm sticking to crochet for now, sewing is such a faff (in my opinion!)

Kelly said...

The closest i got to sewing was buying a machine, so far I haven't even sewn a line with it!! I thought i would learn to sew but now Have a baby so may have to put it on hold till i have some time!!!

Rowan said...

Somebody is very lucky to be the recipient of such a pretty bag.

Frances said...

Red and white in any combination are favored collaborators of mine, whether in sewing, crocheting, knitting, drawing or painting.

Your latest project has turned out perfectly!

It's been a while since I've done any sewing, and I wonder if my vintage portable Singer machine is still functioning. I bought it in 1967!

Best wishes.

Helen Philipps said...

I love red and white spotty things, and these bags are gorgeous. I also like your choice of lining and the beautiful buttons. A lovely project, and pretty gifts! Hope you are having a lovely weekend.
Helen x

Lisa said...

I've always had a weakness for pola dots.
I'm sure your presents will be well used and well loved.
Lisa x

momof3girls said...

Your bags are just lovely! I'll be back on Monday for your giveaway (I've joined the giveaway too!).

Menopausal musing said...

Red with white spots....... ALWAYS a winning combination. Great gift.

andrea creates said...

these are great! love lavender :)
thanks for stopping by !!

andrea creates said...

i'm now following :)

Anonymous said...

How can I not have found you before? I've just spent an enjoyable lunch hour reading your past entries - I love the intelligent way you write AND your sense of humour. Your approach to life, recycling, hand-making, growing your own food, making presents for people - I agree wholeheartedly. Now to order the purse patterns for my daughter-in-law's birthday! Lovely to meet you... AnnaC

Lola Nova said...

Oh Pomona, those are so pretty! What gorgeous work. I too agree about the pattern bit. I will have to go check out the site and see what looks good.

I would be most happy to receive such a lovely gift!

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