I'm using another of Diana's fabrics! Come back later to see what it becomes.
I have been very fortunate to acquire some beautiful exclusive fabrics from a talented water colour artist, Diana Tregaskes who is based in Newton Abbott, Devon.
I first discovered her work when trawling Etsy looking for unusual greetings cards. She has a fluid flowing easy and vibrant water colour style that results in wonderful captures of small animals, birds, insects and native flowers. Do give her Etsy shop a look when you have a minute... You're welcome! :}
Anyhow, she posted a pic on Instagram showing some fabrics she'd found during a clearcut of her studio and offered them for sale to her followers. I quickly snapped up a few, as I love her work and could imagine how fabulous it would look on bags. Later on she very generously gave me the remainder that hadn't sold. Needless to say I was delighted. So now they are available to you. Once they're gone, they're gone, never to be repeated so have a browse here and see if there are any you fancy to make an real one-off item. I have added a pound coin to each picture to give you an idea of scale. Some of the pieces are only 18 x 12 inches so we'd need to discuss your bag style carefully, so make contact and we'll start from there!
January is often a bleak and non-productive month for makers, after the Christmas rush!
I'm happy to say my lovely clients have kept me quite busy, providing ready made and bespoke items. I've also had a sale on Etsy and MyFlair, which always drums up some interest!
The Year Ahead Now I'm looking ahead to the coming year, hoping to attend a few more fairs. I have just applied to the Braintree Textile Fair, hoping I may secure a pitch there. It's a great event and back in full force after a couple of years when events were difficult to arrange due to the unmentionable! Click on the link HERE to find out more about this year's event.
Sustainability And then there's my vow to be more sustainable. I already use eco-friendly wrapping, that can be recycled or reused, now I am looking to find some more sustainable ways of creating items. I have in the past, used preloved fabrics and woollens, so there will be a bit more of that, certainly.
Refurbishment I am also offering a free refurbishing service for Toots Totes bags you may have bought from me in the past that need a new zip or lining to make them last longer rather than you buying new. My bags are made to last with the best fabrics and threads and strong construction methods, so they'll stand up to that challenge!
Furthermore I intend to find sad and unloved wicker handbags to clean and refurbish giving them a new life. Watch this space!
I make no excuses for not having visited this page for so long, but I thought it about time I gave a quick update and show you what I've made since the beginning of the year.
Two lovely ladies sadly left the team that I used to work with, however I was delighted and honoured to be asked to make a part of their leaving gifts.
Both were made to the same pattern - my 'Rosa' design, but look what a difference the choice of fabric makes! This design has become a favourite to make and receive it seems! Let me know if you'd like one in your own choice of fabric.
Having ordered more fabric from my favourite designer Heather Moore at Skinny laminx, it arrived within 4 days all the way from South Africa, and I set about turning it into yet another 'Rosa'. It makes a lovely summery bag, don't you think? Still available at £80 (inc p+p within UK) Contact me if you're interested in purchasing.
UPDATE: Both now SOLD
With the Emma Bridgewater fabric being oh so popular I was on a mission to find some more. Frustratingly it was very difficult to find and the smallest pieces were going for mega-bucks!
Then I chanced on a cushion cover that had used a whole width of the fabric, so a massive cushion and lots of fabric for me to re-purpose. (Who needs another cushion when you can have a unique Tansy Tote?) I checked with the seller that it was in good order and purchased it at a fair price. I was a little caught out as there were some marks along the bottom I couldn't wash out, but I cut them off and there was still plenty left to make two Tansy totes.
With a soft wadding and plastic reinforced base to give some substance, leather handles and lovely purple or pink spotted cotton lining, they were great fun to make!
The pink version has an additional feature of the design details down the side and shows no obvious signs of its previous incarnation as a cushion cover.
Please note that the purple version has some stitching lines from it’s previous incarnation as a cushion, (e.g. see pic , running from cats ear upwards, which also extends down the side to the base). It doesn't spoil the overall look of the bag and if that doesn’t bother you and you’d like to add one to your collection or tick someone off your gift list, please message me below for more pics or to purchase:
👛£60 (inc UK p+p) 👛
Click on pics to see whole picture.
The Emma Bridgewater fabric has been so popular! I've now made four 'Rosa' bags and a little backpack and have just a shelf and a half of the 'dresser' fabric left! Also lots of little bits and pieces, which will make lovely little 'Zinnia' zipped top purses. So keep your eye on my Instagram account where they will gradually be revealed!
Sourcing more of the elusive discontinued fabric has taken up quite a bit of time-there's none to be found unless you can pay mega-bucks to secure it, but I have picked up a cushion cover which I'm hoping will arrive in good condition. I felt quite smug as no other Emma Bridgewater fans had spotted it, so it came at a reasonable price and it will make a lovely bag!
I made hay while the sun shone during the warmer months. Once again I’m cosied up in the sewing room and can fill you in on what I‘ve been up to.
Here’s a fascinating cotton barkcloth that I was really pleased to acquire from an extensive vintage collection. The selvedge states that it is a ‘Sunlover ‘ fabric, but no other name apart from that and the seller’s label reports it to be from the fifties. The iconic design is typical of that decade with its sleek pottery lines and stylised plantlife reminiscent of Terence Conran’s design for Midwinter Potteries. It might be a Mary White textile design, but I don’t really know.
I’ve seen the same design against a bottle green and also with a black background with red and yellow, both of which work well. I love this design so much I have even framed a piece for the wall of my guest bedroom!
The remaining piece was to become a Bouquet (bucket) bag with an adjustable cross-body or shoulder strap. When I laid the fabric out on the cutting table, I found that there was some degree of foxing (little brown marks usually caused by moisture during storage) on some of the pattern. Mind you, it was 60+ years old, and had survived remarkably well! However, I couldn’t avoid it as I didn’t have enough fabric to play with. I had just enough for one side of the bag.
I contacted the seller on the slim off chance she had some more and she said she’d have to search through her stash. She finally came back to me offering a small piece that was just the right length for the other side of the bag, but a little narrow. I snapped it up, knowing I would be able to adjust the bag proportions a bit to compensate.
I already had a golden yellow and white fabric to accent and frame the design and some jolly gridded yellow cotton for the lining. Adding a yellow beaded zip pull and a navy leather strap completed the picture. Talking of the picture-you can just see my reflection in the window! Doh!
A bit of vintage chic with a name to conjure up warmer days, don’t you think?
And a real one-off!
It measures approximately 13 inches across the top and 12 inches tall, so a good sized bag for days out or as a work bag.
The leather strap can be adjusted from about 24 inches to 48 inches.
£60 with free postage in UK.
I can send anywhere tho’, so please contact me here for a postal quote to where you live!
Towards the end of May, I had contact via my Instagram account from Val, who lives in Canada. She was going to be coming to the UK for the month of June for a creative writing course and to enjoy the Suffolk and Norfolk countryside. She wondered if I could make a little purse as a wedding gift for a young friend she would be meeting up with during her time here. She specified that it should be made with a forget-me-not fabric as a reminder of the young lady's grandmother who loved these little blue flowers.
I was delighted at the prospect of creating such a poignant, thoughtful gift and agreed straight away!
She chose the Clover Clutch shape from my website and I started sourcing some suitable fabrics, as time was at a premium.
I found three fabrics: two Liberty cottons, from the "Cottage Garden" range, which were readily available and another beautiful fabric with oversized flowers, that I would need to have printed specially by Spoonflower, a US supplier of custom printed fabrics. Guess which one she chose? Yep! that one! I then had a couple of nail-biting weeks waiting for the fabric to arrive from Spoonflower's German distributor, hoping against hope that it would arrive in time for me to make the bag and post it off in time for the day towards the end of June that Val was meeting her friend. Time ticked by...
Fortunately it did and I did! And I posted it to her AirBnB address in Norfolk the week before it was needed! I sent an extra piece of fabric to attach to a horseshoe for the wedding day and a couple of little badges as a memento for Val. Phew! She was very pleased with it and reported that her friend really liked it. Another satisfied customer. Job done.
Designed by mum as an upright chair seat cover this cross-stitch is very typical of the 1970's. When 70's colours went out of vogue the seat was re-covered, this was washed and placed aside in the linen cupboard, where I found it again recently. The colours and design now appeal to a new generation and Mum's quite happy for me to repurpose it, so I'm going to attempt to make it into the back and flap of a clutch bag.
I have a lovely golden dupion silk to make the front and lining, so we'll see how that works out!
A new Mum and Dad approached me for their first purchase in preparation for their expected addition to the family! Isn't that lovely? The fabric needed to be leafy and the bag roomy and able to be carried on your back to leave hands free!
I sent them lots of leafy pictures and they chose this vibrant jungle print.
I already had a lovely green cotton for the lining and a colourful ladybird waterproof fabric for the changing mat.
I included zipped pockets back and front, with small ribbon zip pulls, rather than my usual beads (health & safety!). The back pocket is lined with waterproof fabric, which is bound to be useful at some point!
It has a zipped top for extra security under the flap and four elastic topped pockets inside.
Adjustable shoulder straps to fit both Mum and Dad and a handy grab loop on top!
(Smug note: I managed to match the pattern on the flap with the body of the bag! Yay!)
The changing mat fits neatly in the centre, so all ready now to stuff full of baby things for a day out in the jungle!
03/05/18 Update: I also made a matching zipped purse and drawstring bag, which was a gift from me at the baby shower!
Hello, I'm Ruth Overton. My nickname as a child was 'Ruthie Toots' which is how the name