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Woven Fabric Bundle Review by Sarah

There is nothing better than a little bit of anticipation and excitement and I have to admit that’s how I felt waiting for my mystery Woven Fabric bundle to arrive from Minerva Fabrics. I have to admit, however that when I received my package and immediately ripped it open the fabrics weren’t quite what I was expecting. I mean I don’t really know what I was expecting to be honest but it’s safe to say that a mystery package is not going to satisfy all of your wildest fabric desires on every level, but this is where I found it an interesting challenge, to take what I was given and make something fantastic and usable from it.

The first fabric I pulled out was a patterned corduroy fabric covered in stylised flowers that was reminiscent of paisley designs and a beautiful flowery fabric in hues of rust and oranges. I have no idea what type of fabric this is, nor its composition, but it didn't feel like typical dressmaking fabric. It is a sturdy, thick woven fabric and with my limited knowledge I am assuming it's a heavy cotton with something synthetic in it.

I have to admit to being a little bamboozled by what to make with these fabrics as neither were immediately popping out at me. Deciding to concentrate on my favourite of the two fabrics, the bold orangey, flowery fabric, I took some time brainstorming what to make. In the end I decided it would make a perfect statement clutch bag, settling on an accessory in part because I didn't know what the orangey fabric was made of and I didn't think it would be a comfortable dressmaking fabric. It turns out it's the perfect purpose for this beautiful pattern, to show it off and to get the most use out of it.

I searched high and low for the best clutch bag pattern. Having not made a bag before I wanted a base pattern to work from. I eventually settled on a free pattern from Grainline patterns and freelovefest. It was originally made for leather but as I didn't want to glue my fabric together I adapted it by adding a lining and at the same time stash busting my supplies! Here's what I did to make this super simple bag.

1 - Download pattern here, print, stick it together and cut it out. 2 - Cut out the pattern in an outer fabric and in a plain black cotton. You could also use a proper lining fabric for the interior.

3 - To make the fabric sturdier and to stop the handbag flopping about when finished you need to stabilise the fabric on both the lining and outer fabrics to make it stronger. Don't skip this unless the fabric is thick enough already. Cut out two pattern pieces in fusible interfacing. I used hair canvas as it's the only heavy weight one I had to hand and it worked perfectly. Fuse one piece to lining and outer fabric.

4 - If you want to add a label to your bag do it now just below the top fold on the lining fabric.

5 – You need a closure on your clutch to secure your bag when finished. I chose a tie closure from a piece of leather but you could also use ribbon, it just needs to be long enough to wrap around your bag a couple of times and tie in a bow.

Sew a small buttonhole big on to the lining big enough to fit your choice of tie through. Use the marker for the clasp on the lower flap for the buttonhole. 6 - Secure your ribbon or leather thread with several neat stitches on the wrong side of the outer fabric at the marker for the clasp on the bottom flap. 7 - Sew the lining and outer fabric together, right sides together. I used a small 3/8 allowance here. Remember to leave a hole big enough to pull the fabric out the right way again.

8 - When the fabric is the right way out iron flat. At this point I also cut out some wadding to put into the bag to make it squishy. I notice a lot of patterns asked for this and it just adds more volume and sturdiness to the fabric. You may feel it's not needed. I didn't have the normal stuff to hand so used thinsulate which when added to coats helps keep you warm in winter. It's still pretty thin so was just about OK! I cut it out in the pattern piece and then cut off the seam allowance and a teeny bit more to make sure it wouldn't buckle inside. I then fed it in through the hole and moved it around until I was happy with the position. 9 - Make a button hole through the front flap. This is where your ribbon or leather thread will go through to tie the bag when in use. I moved my button hole up very slightly from where it was marked on the pattern to take into account the seam allowance I had taken away from the pattern piece.

10 - Sew up the open section by hand and then pin the envelope together. You will now see the shape of the final bag. Hand sew the bag together and viola! A lovely new bag! Enjoy!

The best bit about this experience is that it really made me think outside the box and it pushed me to be a bit more creative. I love what I have made and the fact it's something slightly different from my normal makes. When I first looked at the fabrics, I can't lie, I wasn't sure I would have bought either of them but I love them both now. I now plan to wait to winter and sew up a Moss mini skirt from Grainline patterns in the corduroy so they will both be used.

So in essence I would highly recommend buying a mystery Fabric Bag because it really pushed me to think about how a fabric can work best and what it’s perfect purpose is, something I should probably adopt more with my own fabric stash!! I will definitely order one of these mystery bags again and as you can get them in so many different variations, including wovens, jerseys, abstracts, floral and all sorts of colours, as well as being sold at bargain prices you can’t really go wrong.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah @ Sewing-Beautifully

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