sewing & needlework
…bag lady…

…bag lady…

Over the last almost-sixteen years, my bag of choice has been through multiple iterations. From a functional target nappy bag to a cute faux leather almost-hand-bag to everyone at school & preschool, needing only my wallet and keys. Then came homeschool and a return to bag carrying, either a backpack or a messenger bag depending on the day and the outing.

Outings have dropped off, obviously, over the last two years, but are slowly ramping up again. Generally, the children will take a backpack for full days, and I just need my small cross body bag from a few years back. Along with the return to homeschool group, there’s also Saturday sport and library committees and sitting around for drama rehearsals. After a few years of bag-minimalism, I was feeling a need for a larger bag. For church and sport I generally take a basket, but sometimes, I just want a cute-but-large bag to haul all my crap around.

Coming into winter holidays, I was motivated to finally get around to making myself something. A week at the coast with lots of day trips, the need to carry oils and wipes and tissues and kids pocket money, all meant the time had come to get stuck in and get something made.

I ended up settling on the Wool + Wax tote by Noodlehead. It was such a hard decision, their website has some many great patterns. After much deliberation, I decided the Wool + Wax would be the most practical, though I want to grab one (or more) of the backpack patterns as well. Unfortunately when I went shopping on Etsy, the shop where I could get my leather straps from was out of waxed canvas, so I instead went for waxed linen. If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you’ll know the linen + denim combo is a particular favourite of mine. It did change the look of the bag slightly, but I love the end result, especially with the leather straps in the mix as well.

I lined the inside with a bright and cheery yellow quilting cotton, that makes it easy to find things right at the bottom. The one thing I do want to do is add a loop with a D ring I can clip my house keys onto. In typical fashion, I was sewing the day before we left trying to get it finished, so I closed the lining with machine stitch. It’s not as neat as hand stitch, but on the upside it gives me a really clear unpicking point. I can then top stitch the loop into the seam allowance, and hand stitch the gap closed, giving me both the key clip I want, and a nice clean finish.

While I was in holiday sewing mode, I also wanted to make something to help me manage the children’s pocket money. Not only would they be bringing their own money, but they had also been gifted some spending money from their grandparents, and I very much did not want to spend the week managing everyone’s spending money. I also needed an easy way to organise it without seven thousand mini wallets in my bag (ok, four. Four is still a lot when you are digging around in a bag at the lolly shop).

Enter: the pocket money wallet

Originally, I had designed, and cut fabric for, a fold around wallet with card slots I could also use for myself. When I sent Mr Barefoot and Miss11 shopping, however, there weren’t enough normal zippers available, only the chunky metal ones. I do love the gold against the denim, but it made the four pockets too bulky for the design I had in mind. Instead, I embraced the theme word of the last 2.5 years, and went with a PIVOT. I used one of the cut pieces of waxed linen, intended to be the lining of the original design, and instead folded and tweaked and used it to create a binding “spine”, turning the four pouches into a folder of sorts.

It worked brilliantly, and in fact still lives in my handbag for those odd occassions the little people would like cash to hand. The one thing I do want to do is get some little initial charms, to more clearly identify whose pocket is whose. The lady at the lolly shop couldn’t stop raving about it every time we went in, and not a single dollar was lost that could have been spent in pursuit of a sugar overdose.

I’m loving the large size of my new bag. It fits so much – wallet, oils, wipes and pocket money wallet as standard. A book or a project if I know I have downtime. Papers for a meeting. My day book for lists while running around town. My water bottle as the weather warms up. I’ve yet to find an outfit it doesn’t work with. It’s the perfect oversized mum-of-big-kids bag I never knew I always wanted. Now to just narrow down a backpack for my next make…

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