Craft Rocks: My mind bending bag!

Craft enthusiast Jo Burgess explores the world of needlecraft in this exclusive column for Mr X Stitch!If you follow me on Instagram (@joburgess74) you’ll know I love blackwork stitching, and I love to sew at airports and on planes when I’m off to Northern Ireland to visit my lovely mum. Blackwork hearts are my favourite.

I can’t get enough of blackwork stitching – love it!

I usually frame them and give them to friends, but this time I fancied trying to incorporate one into a bag. But not just any bag, a kind of rocking patchworky geometric folded multi colour bag.

I’ll level with you. I had no idea how to do this, but I do love a challenge. In the last week I have spent a lot of time thinking about this project and how it would all come together. I’ve mostly thought about it at about 3am as your mind tends to do… so first off I drew out a plan.

Craft Rocks bag plan
The crazy bag drawing chaos that came out of my head…

I knew I wanted a panel of fabric 9” x 7” so I drew that box first, the easy bit. Then I planned the 4” x 4” heart in the centre and basically divided what I had left around the edges in two and ended up with his grid formation. The black figures are the sizes of fabric I wanted, the red figures are where I added on an inch to each to use half inch seam allowances. Next I went into my fabric scap bin and found enough bits to complete the plan, had a play with them and wrote down which bits should be which colour.

Seeing what the fabric choices would look like round the heart

At this point I struggled to get my head around how to piece it all together but was determined to succeed. After a few false starts I had it. First of all I sewed the navy strip down the left hand side of the heart leaving 0.5” unsewn at the top so I could slot the red fabric in afterwards to attach it. I attached the navy fabric by putting it right sides together with the heart, sewing the seam and then ironing the whole piece back so none of the stitching could be seen.

Sew down the left hand side using a 0.5″ allowance and iron the fabric back on itself

I then went around the heart with each piece carefully sewing them on, leaving space where necessary to insert other bits and ironing them all into place. This is what I was left with.

The inner square panel is complete – hoorah!

Now for the outer section doing the same thing. First slotting the white strip in under the navy fabric and leaving space unsewn on the right hand side so I could insert the blue. Then I inserted the blue under the white and left a bit unsewn at the bottom so I could insert the navy. Then the navy under the blue, then the red under the navy and it was complete.

The outside square complete – double hoorah!

I couldn’t quite believe I had managed to complete the jigsaw. I celebrated a lot… then I squared off the fabric rectangle I was left with, cut a panel the same size for the bag of my bag, and two bits the same size for the lining. I went with a nice Alison Glass patchworky quilty design for the back of the bag as I had used some of it for the front and thought it kept my random patchworky theme going. As there was a lot going on on the outside of the bag, I used a pale grey for the inside, and a cream zip to finish it off. It was the only zip I had in my stash which was the right size.

All the goodies to form the bag

I then pieced the bag together as I did in my “Don’t panic and get festive” column in December where I showed you how to make a last minute clutch bag for New Year’s Eve. You can read it again here.  And here is the finished bag.

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The finished bag – what a relief to have it out of my head and in my hand!

I must say I’m really pleased with it, I have never done any type of patchwork or quilting (and have no idea how to) and it turned out exactly how I had imagined it in my head all those sleepless nights I tried to figure out how to put it together. I’ll sleep well tonight…

What do you do with all of the cross stitch or black work pictures you make? I think I’ve made one for nearly all of my friends at this point, so they can all have a bag like this next time round, ha ha.

Best cake for this project: Full on chocolate with more chocolate on top
Best music for this project: People Are Strange by The Doors

My project costs:
Black work heart: made it ages ago, pattern 99p
Fabric: scraps
Zip: £1.25
Total: 2.24

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