new machine: Janome 423S

I entered the present time:

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I brought my retro ’70 machine to Rijkers Naaimachines in Veghel and they explained it really is beyond salvage. It only sews backwards. For a reason. It’s busted and slammed stuck in reverse. It cannot be repaired. Bye bye cute retro Senwa:

If I wanted they had the modern equivalent of this to sell to me. The Janome 423S.

The 423S is mechanical machine, not a computerized Diva with sensitivity issues. And one with more features than a more basic type, this one can do button holes, has an adjustable pressure foot and a whole extra series of stitches.

The ladies at the drafting pattern lessons will be so proud, they’ve insisted for two years now I get myself a machine with at least a zig zag stitch.

The saleswoman gave me an extended explanation until she was sure I could take it home and play around with it without frustration. She suggested I make a drawstring bag for the foot peddle. An easy project that invites me to explore the machine. A wonderful suggestion! ¬†ūüôā

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I got to learn threading the needle, filling a bobbin, various stitch widths and foots. It’s a free arm machine.

There are special stitches on there, I used a decorative one to sew down the edges: Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

The Janome 423S has a whole set of extra stitches and one of them is a straight line that is sewn threefold. Nice and sturdy! I tried it out to reinforce the draw string opening:
Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I don’t know yet what to do with the loose threads. Just cut them? I am having sewing lessons now and will ask tomorrow. The machine has all kinds of nifty things. How about a thread-through-the-needle-putter?

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I installed us in the upstairs room. I feel sewing!
Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel


sewing a Pyramid WIP bag

I learned to make a pyramid WIP bag. I have one made by a friend of mine who is an accomplished sewist. It was my example and I used a bunch of tutorials on the net.

My bag:

Shell fabric is linen. I love linen.

My zip is 22 cm long. It will be 24 centimeter eventually. Plus 2 x 1,5 cm SA means the short side of the rectangle will be 27 cm.

This equals 1,73 where the long side will be 4.

27/1,73 times 4 = 55,5 plus 2 x 1,5 cm SA = 58,5 will be the long side of the rectangle.

Ack, I have a fat quarter and it’s 50 cm wide. I’ll have to reverse the math to determine how long the shortest side of the rectangle will be.

50 – seam allowance = 47 cm

47/4 = 11, 75 cm

11,75 x 1,73 = 20,4 cm  = the measurement of the short side that will carry the zipper. I will shorten the zipper at the bottom as needed. Add seam allowance to the side = 20,4 plus 2 x 1,5 = 23,4 cm.


  1. Cut two rectangles of 50 cm x 23, 4 cm.  One is outer fabric, one is lining.
  2. cut batting, slightly smaller (47 x 21 cm). Add batting to outer fabric with seams in another direction than parallel to the longest side. I did waves to avoid sewing over the kitties.
  3. make strap/handle from a rectangle folded in on itself. I used red thread for a bit of accentuation. And I made sure the kitties were positioned in an interesting way. Next handle must be longer: 40 cm.
  4. gave the top of the zipper a nice edge. With this you can make up for the difference in length between zipper and fabric. Working with the print and red thread for accent.
  5. attach zipper. 3 layers: top, zip, inside. Because my zipper extended quite a bit at the bottom, I was able to topstitch the second part of the zipper in one go.
  6. close bottom. The bag is turned inside inside out (yes, twice). Make some kind of butterfly to find the exact opposite points of lining and shell fabric in relation to the zipper. I sewed an extra time over the seam  to make it sturdy. Now I have some sort of batted cushion cover with a zipper in the front and the top open. I use a double sewn seam, for sturdiness.
  7. close the back seam, with the handle in between, but only sew the outer fabric (RS together. Leave the lining alone for now. Leave the zipper open for this part, otherwise problems with turning back right side out.
  8. sew the lining shut, first from the WS then from the RS. Make sure to catch it onto the top for a bit, because it needs a bit of support.

The slippery lining, the shell fabric with batting attached, the topped zipper and the handle:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Attaching zipper in between lining and shell fabric RS together:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

The back of the top stitching of the first part of the zipper:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Now fold and do the other side, remember to keep the zip open:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Determine the under seam, making sure the zipper is in the middle. Sew shut, encasing the end of the zipper:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Now fold and do magic to determine how to sew the other seam/top part of it. The idea is to make some sort of butterfly shape and keep the lining inside outside in:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

It was fiddly and I can’t describe what I did exactly. But the top came out beautifully:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Just like the example bag I have:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

My handle wasn’t long enough so I couldn’t sew it at an angle so it would point upwards (making the bag hang straight down when on my wrist). But other than that this bag is very nice.

cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing


  1. This time I used slik, slippery lining. It would be better if I caught it in some of the corners onto the shell fabric. Now it’s easy to pull the lining through the opening when I take something out of the bag. Other bags, with quality cotton for lining, stay in shape.
  2. The handle was too short to give it the right angle for wearing. It’s now at a right angle to the seam. The bag won’t hang straight when worn on the wrist but at least the hand can go through the handle. Next time: handle at least 30 cm long instead of 26.
  3. The whole bag can be bigger. This is a nice bag though, from one fat quarter with a print that is directed top to bottom. It’s sides are 25 cm long. It’s 21 cm high. It has 4 triangles that are all identical in size and shape, all perfect three sided triangles.

The fabric came from a gift I got for my birthday last year:

Isn’t that a nice idea for a crafty person? It has made me do little handsewing things all year. And now I knew I had the skill set to do the fabric and the zipper justice, they’re both from this jar.

These are the tutorials I used and the sewing steps I did:

I used this Flemish tutorial to learn about the proper measurements: link

I used this tutorial to learn about adding batting: link Loganberry Handmade

I used these tutorials to learn about nice endings of the zipper: link Het Leuvens Stiksel and link Ricochet and Away. (That last one shows you can add any length of zipper to any length of fabric.)

This tutorial again for sewing sequence: link  Loganberry. I found this to be the best tutorial.

This tutorial for turning things inside out: link Sofilles

and I used all three of them to learn how to make the bag. It’s a compilation of tutorials because one uses squares, another rectangles but no zip endings.

a faux leather WIP bag (bunny + gun)

handmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewinghandmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewinghandmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewing

A knitting WIP bag in the shape of a rabbit’s face and inside it has a gun.
The idea is that you tie the ears together if you want to really close the bag but there’s also a button hidden at the top.
For a knitter friend who loves bunnies, the colour black and who already has an awesome bag with the contour of a revolver in it, something like this:

I started with the side burns. The fabric is faux leather on one side and fake fur on the other. I’m using both sides of it in this bag.
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewingfake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

For working with fake fur I got two tips from a good friend:

  1. Don’t pivot your machine when making sharp corners. Add a straight stitch in between, it will make turning easier and give crisp corners nonetheless.
  2. After turning run something (scissors, nail) along the seam to loosen all the trapped fur hairs.

I made sure the “flow” of the fur works a certain way: you want to stroke these sideburns from the inside to the edges. The front and back panel of the bag are cut so you want to stroke it downwards when you put you hand inside. The two cheek puffs are also downwards (“vleug” in Dutch).
handmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewing

Sewing the gun, RS together:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

This gun just wouldn’t turn, the muzzle was too narrow. I made another, with a wider muzzle, and made the sewing mistake of sewing both WS together. But it looked¬†ok so I filled it up and attached the purple leather cord. Here with half turned first gun:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

After finishing the top of the bag panels I measure how long the strip with the ears must be:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

All parts together. Just need to sew the sidestrip (ending in ears) to the front and back panel. Remembering to insert the gun at some point.
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

Using French seams when attaching the strip to the panels:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

For closure a button with braid embroidery floss around it: handmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewing

Finished: a little project bag

Made from a linen jacket I bought in the last century.
When you haven’t worn something in 10 years, you’ll probably won’t wear it again, won’t you? I know things come back in fashion every 25 years but not this jacket.
Nice fabric though. Pure linen.

Linnen projecttasje

It’s a knotted bag, with one handle bigger than the other. I love having project bags that I can wear on my wrist. It keeps the yarn while I walk and knit.
Linnen projecttasje

It is lined and has a boxed bottom. And a pocket.
Linnen projecttasje
On the inside there’s another pocket.
They were on the jacket. I just cut the lower half of the jacket away and made a bag out of it.

Embellished with darling Little Red Riding Hood tape I got from Nieslief, who is very lief. (“lief” = “lovable, lovely”)

Linnen projecttasje

FO: Japanese knot bag

My friend loves her new tote! Now I can show you what I did:

First I made enough fabric. I cut out fabric using the bag I already have as a template.

I then started sewing together fabric, within that form, to create interesting cloth. A pink strip here, a gnomey pocket there. Ad an extra line to a seam. For stability and as an eye pleasing thing.



Untill I had enough fabric for the two sides to the bag: an inside and an outside.


The fuchsia fabric is sturdy cotton. I chose to have the fabric fold at the bottom of the bag, making it unnecessary to cut the bottom.

Now the real sewing started. I made sure both pieces were laying with their right sides together.

I began by sewing together the top of the handles.


Then I sewed all around the bottom of the sides. From handle to handle. Obviously I interupted this line at the bottom of the fuchsia where no seam was necessary.


I then flipped one piece inside out and put it inside the other piece, right sides together.


I noticed that the inside of the handles did not play well together with the outside. The soft pink one was way larger than it’s shell and it was bulking up.


I carefully measured the difference and made a new seam at the top of the soft pink handle


now the inner and outer seam match up nicer and there’s no bulk:


I carefully pinned together the round parts at the top:


sewed it:


trimmed it, clipped it:


I folded the bag right side out. (As by miracle the inside was right side out too.) I pinned it.


The next day I carefully sewed a seam on the right side of the seam I had sewd the previous day.


I then folded the seams of the holes of the handles on the sides. Pinned them. Sewed them, from the right side. Here’s the big handle in the process of pinning. I pin the outer fabric first, then match the inner fabric to that measurement.


Here’s the small handle finished. It seems the seam has not caught all the inner fabric.


I had to do some repairing.

Then I reinforced the lower ends of the handle holes.

All that was left now was “to weave in the ends”. That’s what knitters call it. Sewists probably say something else. “Hide the loose threads”?






parcel send to my friend, she is a crocheter:


card from in Dublin. International shipping at a flate rate!

Japanese Knot Bag: “rrrrrrrr…rrrrrrrrr”

I have a friend who sews amazingly cute Japanese knot bags. These bags have one long handle and one shorter one. You pull the longer one through the shorter one and hang the bag from your wrist.

They are excellent knitting/crocheting bags because they can hold the yarn while you knit away. There are no zippers or velcro to damage the yarn. And there are such great fabrics to be used!
My friend loves to use IKEA fabric or old sheets from the ’70s.
I have at least two of her bags and I use them all the time.

One day we asked what the best way is to make these bags. This is what she said:

“First sew together the little tops of the handles. Then sew the outer edges untill the markings for the handle holes. rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr‚Ķrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.rrrrrrrrrrrrrr all the way.”

“Then: inner bag in outer bag, right sides together, the big innercircle of the handle-bag-handles….rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”

“Clip seam allowances, turn…. right sides out. Sew the big innercircle close to the edge. rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”

“Then the small outer circles of both handles: turn seam allowance in, pin it and then sew rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr close to the edge. At the bottom where the bag starts sew a double seam to prevent tearing = gaping of the seams…”

“Finished… With cutting the fabric and lots of pinning it takes about one hour and a half I guess?”

Yeah… left me guessing too.

Either way I’m trying to make one for another friend. With the fabric I told you about before. Which has to remain a secret.
I wanted to cut the fabric for my dress first so I’d know how much there’d be left for the bag. But that’s not happening, it seems. My dress is still at its toile-stage and has been on my chair for weeks.

But I don’t want to wait any longer with the bag. So I cut. And started sewing. Using above instructions.
I’m halfway done and once you’ve got fabric in your hands above instructions make sense!

I’ll show you pictures in a couple of days, when it’s finished and received by my friend. I hope my rrrrrrrrr-friend is proud of me.