WINNER! Handmade bags in Natural Fabrics

Thanks everyone for your entries and for all your tips for hand made presents!  The winner of the Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics is.... Aussiegirl.
Email me your address at kirsty dot bunfield at gmail dot com and I'll get it out in the post tomorrow!

GIVEAWAY! Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics

I've recently been sent a couple of Japanese books (in English) by the team at Tuttle Publishing. I thought I'd talk about this one first, Handmde Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Tahashi. My mind is swimming with Christmas present ideas and for those of you who like to stress yourselves out at this time of the year - like I do- and make quite a few presents (including teacher presents) then I think you will definitely find something in here that would make the perfect present... or just something lovely for yourself.  I wish I'd had this book before I made most of this year's presents!!
This book contains 25 basic bag styles along with 60 simple variations, some are just simple embellishments. The book comes with fully sized patterns which I like for those that aren't simple rectangles, although of course the patterns are layed on top of each other so you do need to locate the pattern and trace it. The book though is layed out beautifully. There are clear instructions and guides on the techniques required including some simple embellishments. Often Japanese books feel a bit light on with the instructions, but there is plenty of help in this one.
I'd say that most of the bags in this book are simple to make. There are only a couple with zippers or frames, so the book would really suit a beginner or someone who is looking to have a consolidated set of simple bag patterns.
My personal favourites are the checkout bag and the eco bag which folds up into a pocket to put in your bag. A perfect teacher present if you ask me! I'm hoping to make up an eco bag over the next few days.
I have a spare copy of this book to give away just in time for Christmas.  If you'd like to win a copy just leave a comment.  The giveaway closes Monday 15 December to give me time to post it out before the holidays.  (Open to international readers :)) Are you making presents this Christmas? Do you have a go to handmade gift?

FINISHED! Pineapples are so hot right now Culottes

The sewing world has gone culottes crazy and I am no exception. Here is my third pair. My second pair are 90% finished but pattern placement issues have prevented me from finishing them.  I might take some photos of the pattern placement nightmare on them for some end of year bloopers as part of the top 5 series. They are definitely in for winner of worst pattern placement faux pas of the year. Stay tuned.
But back to these ones. Oh I love them so don't even start on pattern placement with these ones! This fabric is from Darn Cheap Fabrics, and I know you will see it pop up all over the blogs over the next few weeks. It's my candidate for fabric of the year! A lot of very cool people have bought it and may also be heading down the pineapple culottes route.  And why not!  This fabric has already been seen on Emma of Ernest Flagg, in a Kelly skirt. The fabric is a heavy linen blend. It has a lovely drape and doesn't crush! And well, pineapples are so hot right now!
I bought the fabric at Darn Cheap Fabrics last week in Melbourne after seeing the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition and having an all round fantastic day.  Thanks again Nic for convincing me to go down and for organising an awesome day of chatting, laughter, fabric shopping and JPG! And for driving me around!!

Please do yourself a favour and get to the JPG exhibition if you can. It is just so incredibly inspiring!!
For these culottes, I once again used the Liesl and Co Girl Friday pattern.  I really like this pattern and the fact that they are a bit full and skirt like - not just wide leg pants.   And I really like how the zipper is hidden in the pocket. I used the same size as my silk ones, although I worked out the side seams better in this non slippery fabric and gosh it looks nice.  Doing the side seams correctly also reduced the waist a fraction from my other pair.
I ended up taking 8 cms (4 from each side) from the back pleat and as a result the waistband wraps a bit further back, but I like the extra wrap. I should have taken some from the front because there is significant ease but it's not enough of a problem to bother me.  Of course I could probably go down a size, but now I know what to do with this pattern, I think I'll just stick with these changes.
And a final photo bombed shot to see how long I made them. They are long! I'm not sure proportionally for my height they are right, but do you know, they feel the perfect length when I'm wearing them... and sometimes that's all that matters.  Is this the end of the culotte making for me? Oh I don't think so!  Are you on the culotte trend?  If not, why not!!!

I'll be back very soon with a couple of very cool Japanese books and some giveaways. It's Christmas after all!!