So…I thought it was high time I opened a bag sewing support group on Facebook, for help, support, photos and questions about Spencer Ogg sewing patterns. So on Sunday I launched the Spencer Ogg Bag Sewing Group Facebook board – just press the button to join!
I have been putting it off for a while as I just didn’t know if I had enough patterns out there yet, but I have been delighted with the response so far, so thank you those of you who have already joined. (and now I have counted, I actually have 22 patterns, lots of free tutorials and a Craftsy class out there, so maybe more than I thought!)
I am aiming for a friendly, happy group and want everyone to feel part of it. It doesn’t matter if you are new to bag making or an old hand, we know from other groups that a wide mix works really well, the more experienced members helping the newer ones. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
Feel free to post pics of any work in progress or finished items from Spencer Ogg patterns or just chat about bag making. There will be free tutorials and competitions and lots of fun, and I’ll keep you updated with what is happening in my sewing studio.
Thank you so much for your continued support, I look forward to chatting to all of you. I know so many of you already, even if we haven’t communicated before we have often seen each other’s pics out there.
So as a start did everyone pick up the free Groovy Glasses Case pattern from the blog on Friday ? –
We’ve already seen lots of lovely cases, and I’ll be running a mini comp on the new board this week for the most ingenious versions.
Happy Sewing, and I look forward to chatting with you soon.
It has two fronts with two distinctly different looks, so you can wear it ‘different ways on different days’
When I was developing this pattern, I couldn’t decide what design layout I preferred for the front of the bag, and whilst pondering for hours on which to do, I realised I could actually have both ! Why limit yourself to one, just ‘turn it around’ for a different look, and hence the Turnaround Bag was born.
Filled to the brim with pockets of every shape and size, use it to organise your daily life, and really great for travel.
One side has a feature twist lock fastening flap pocket, and the other, a roomy, built-in zip wallet pocket with credit card slots.
Inside the bag are two generous bellowed gadget pockets, and a roomy faced pocket. You can make the pockets in bright contrast colours as I have done here, to give a surprise pop of colour when the bag is opened.
The main compartment is more than large enough to hold an iPad, and securely fastens with a recessed zip closure.
The bag is suitable for a wide range of materials, make it up in quilting cottons, cork, denim, vinyls or leather, or in lovely Harris Tweed as this one I made for myself.
Made in ‘tougher’ fabrics, it also works for men – try waxed cottons, earthy tweeds, or leather to make a sturdy man-bag
I do hope you enjoy making this bag as much as I did, and make it many times over. You can get the pattern here.It’s on offer for the first week end at a discounted price
With many thanks to my lovely testers who did a great job in helping to tweak this bag into shape.
Whilst preparing and filming my Craftsy class I was lucky enough to have on loan the Janome Atelier 7 (Janome Skyline in the US). I was very impressed, and I got so comfortable with it, I thought I would review the big beauty before it disappeared out of my life.
I usually work on a Janome TXL607 at home for bag making, which is a mid range domestic sewing machine, and I have been happy with it for the few years since I traded up from my 25 year old Bernina Sport (which has had an amazing innings and still going strong despite years of overwork and misuse).
I think it is important that I don’t move to an industrial machine as I need to be sure my patterns are all ‘do-able’ (is that a word??) on a domestic machine, as that is what most of my customers work on.
While still a domestic machine, the Atelier 7 is a range up from the old TXL models, and she is an amazing beast.
I didn’t think there would be a huge difference, but trust me, I really don’t know how I am going to go back.
Given that the Atelier is all singing, all dancing with amazing features I have never seen before, I still did what all of us do when we get a new machine, and went straight to the pretty decorative stitches to have a go at a few sewing symbols and handmade logos. It has 240 built-in stitches so it took me a while!
One of the main selling points of the Atelier range is the AcuFeed system, which the supplied walking foot, or dual feed foot, is specially designed to engage with. This moves the top layer of fabric in sync with the bottom layer. I’m going to bang on for a bit about this because it is a marvellous tool, especially when you are sewing multiple thick (and often a bit sticky) layers as we do in bag making.
The mechanism is built into the back of the machine rather than dependant on your needle just going up and down as I have used previously, so there is much more control, there is even a twiddly nob to adjust the differential between upper and lower feed.
The Dual Feed foot is a much wider foot than a normal straight stitch foot, and although I wanted to use it for nearly all my stitch work, I couldn’t because it is too wide to get into some of the tight corners I often find myself in. Whilst ruminating with another bag maker about how fantastic it would be to have a narrower version or one with a stitch guide, I decided to ask Janome if there were plans to make such a thing. To my surprise, I found they were already available and the supplied foot just slips off like a shoe, and can be replaced with the other feet – well blow me! Obviously I ordered them immediately and am waiting very patiently (yes that’s me, patient) for their arrival so I can play some more.
I swear this beast sews straighter than any machine I have owned previously too, but it does have 7 feed dogs, and I guess with the AcuFeed that could possibly be true.
There are a host of other useful features of which I will list but a few:
The Atelier 7 has a large full colour screen that you may question when you get it out of the box if you are ever going to be able to understand it, but it’s very owner friendly and I was creating and programming stitch pattern combinations within the day via the USB connection.
Some very useful features are a fully lit machine with a number of LED lights at various spots around the body to give a really well lit work area – they can be turned off individually too – so if you are a chronic migraine sufferer like myself, this is always a prerequisite of a machine (although unscrewing the bulb has always worked technically very well for me in the past)
The automatic thread cutter and presser foot lift functions are brilliant. I am still getting used to the foot lift and keep reaching around to raise it manually, but it’s getting more natural. The machine is also supplied with a knee lift control for the presser foot, which I am trying to use on a regular basis as I feel it could be useful, if I could only stop feeling like I’m dancing to a Rhianna track every time I give it a nudge.
There are many improvements on previous machines I have encountered –
an additional straight stitch needle plate for fine fabrics, improved alphabets and size control, the zipper foot is a dream compared to my last one, (which ended up sat in a jar next to my machine so I could glare daggers at it every time I thought I might have to use it – in fact I didn’t use it, I just kept my straight stitch foot on and moved my needle far left!)
The foot pedal is a gentle giant – it is HUGE – and I love it, much more easy to control, and you don’t end up with dancing feet chasing it all around under the table.
The Atelier also features Sewing application buttons – so rather than choosing what stitch you want to use, you can just tell the machine what you want to do, for example zipper sewing or gathering, and it will automatically select the stitch and tell you when to stitch where. I think this feature is probably suited to more novice sewers, or maybe it is just that I am a control freak and can’t let it choose anything for me.
If you are an avid bag maker like me – and boy do we know the problems with bulky fabrics, vinyls and numerous layers – and you are looking to upgrade your current machine, I can heartily recommend the Atelier 7, it has handled everything I have thrown at it so far, even 8 layers of vinyl !
The only improvements I could suggest are, that the machine should also be available in bright pink, and should have an option of a prescription glass protruding at right angles from the front so I don’t have to take my glasses on and off every time I sit down.
Thanks for the lend Janome, any chance I can keep it??
Watch the ad for my new Craftsy bag making class here
If you have unlimited membership you can watch the whole thing. If you haven’t, don’t worry, you can get a free 7 day trial of Unlimited here
I’m so looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks of the class, and at last I can tell you what I am making!
I’m making 2 items in the class, the first is the Harris Tote which a few of you will already know, and The Harris Clutch Wallet which is new and exclusive to Craftsy.
The Harris Tote is a lovely roomy tote bag with inside facings and classic leather handles. It has a huge zipped security pocket on the inside to keep your valuables safe. We all love the look of an open tote – but we still need somewhere safe for wallets and phones.
I show you how to make the bag in beautiful Harris Tweed with lots of tips on how to work with wool tweed, but the bag is suitable to just about any type of fabric.
Lots of tips on using rivets, attaching zips, stabilisers, top stitching, easy box corners and more
The second item is new and exclusive to Craftsy, it is the Harris Clutch Wallet. It’s a beautiful soft co-ordinating clutch wallet that you can pop in your tote or use on its own on a night out with it’s cute removable wrist strap.
Use my ingenious flap creation method to make the sharpest and most accurate flap in town!
I’ll walk you through a really easy zipper method that you may not have used before, create credit card pockets and attach magnetic fasteners.
These wallets are really quick to construct and make great gifts
I hope you enjoy the class, why not leave a comment and tell me what you think, I’d love to hear.
So…..my first bag making Craftsy Class is going live this week. I am sooo excited.
I finally got to see the finished class a couple of days ago whilst on holiday – (sat in the sun on our sunbeds under a towel so we could see the screen!)
It has come out really well, I am so pleased with the finished class. The editing is fantastic, all my slip ups and tripping over the carpet have magically disappeared, along with the odd ‘oooch’ face whenever I stuck myself with a pin.
I can’t disclose what I am making until it actually goes live, but I am demonstrating two items, one of which you will know, and one which was completely new and exclusive to Craftsy.
I used a Janome Skyline (Atelier 7 in the UK) in the class which is a superb sewing machine, and I will be reviewing it later in the week.
I so hope you are going to enjoy the class, I will upload the links as soon as it goes live – I can’t wait to hear what you think!
And remember – This weekend on Craftsy, you can stream 10 free classes specially made for the junior chefs, fashion designers, cartoon artists, and crafters in your house. Just click below: