Craft Project – Sewing the Grainline ‘Stowe Bag’ & Matching ‘Petal Pouch’

Hello sewing friends! I’m back with a quick craft project today; I’m really starting to love throwing these into the sewing queue to mix things up a little bit; for those times I need a chance to sew without having to worry about fit issues, tracing out masses of pattern pieces or sticking huge PDFs together. When I feel myself reluctant to do any of those things, I reach for a craft project instead and this one, the ‘Stowe Bag’ from Grainline Studio and the ‘Petal Pouch’ from Noodlehead, I thought went really well together. My sisters’ birthday was coming up – she’s a keen knitter / crocheter so I figured these would make a good present; creating something for her to make her own craft projects portable.

I have both patterns in PDF format; they were ridiculously quick to stick together and very quick to sew. However, the Stowe Bag instructions did make me blink insensibly in a slack-jawed kind of way on a couple of occassions. It was easy enough to work out in the end, just that in a couple of places the instructions and accompanying illustrations didn’t … well, illustrate … in a way my brain could immediately comprehend! I figured it would be worthwhile then to write a lil’ post sharing my process in making both these!

Ok, so bag first…

…the Stowe Bag was originally designed as a craft bag, to hold knitting equipment and balls of yarn for example. It has inside pockets on both sides large enough to hold pattern/notebook, knitting needles / pens and small tools for example. The opening edges/handles are finished with bias binding and I think it’s got a bang-on-trend lovely ‘boho’ feel to it.

I went looking for fabrics I knew my sister would like – burgundy was essential since its her favourite colour and I wanted a canvas. This spotty canvas in the claret colourway from Minerva Crafts fit the bill nicely; a lovely rich wine shade with cream coloured polka dots. It also has a much better hand then I expected from a canvas; being less stiff but still very durable in feel. (At a push, I’d say you could sew a fit n flare type dress in this stuff!) I’ve just checked it’s still in stock – it is – and also see that now it’s currently on sale; I also ordered a matching 6″ zip. I wanted the lining fabric to be the reverse of the outer so picked out a few fat quarters of a cream quilting weight cotton with teeny polka dots from my local haberdashers.

As to construction, the first stumbling block was in relation to the instructions for the handles – at Step 10 you are instructed to “…fold the outside edge of the handle in to meet the inner edge of the handle…”. Ok, you may think this pretty obvious but it took me a moment or two to realise this means to fold the handle half to the underside. I didn’t find the pattern instruction graphic particularly helpful here, so I snapped this in case anybody else might find it helpful.

Then at Step 13, to create the bottom gusset of the bag, you are instructed to “…measure in from the seam line at the side of the bag and mark a line 3″ in (for the small bag). Fold the sides of the bag in towards the centre along the marked line. Stitch through all layers of the bag along the bottom seam line…”. It seems self-explanatory to me now but at the time I hesitated; a little unsure. It really does mean to lay the bag flat in front of you, fold in 3″ of each side towards the centre and press them down flat. You then stitch a line across the whole of the bottom of the now folded bag within the seam line previously sewn to anchor those folded sides in place.

I opted to create a permanent flat bottom on my bag. Be aware if you do this though that the bag ends up feeling that bit smaller and takes on a more rigid shape; if you want to keep the boho ‘sack’ shape design I’d omit this optional stage.

Again, I didn’t think the graphic and instructions were up to the task of de-mystifying my brain here…but again it is really simple. This is what mine looks like when done; you simply fold the sides of the bag in half down their length so that the their bottoms triangulate. You then stitch these in place horizontally to meet the centre bottom seam line of the bag.

Gah, I hope I haven’t made it sound more complicated than it actually is!

I had no such issues with Noodlehead’s ‘Petal Pouch‘. This is such a sweet make and a cute shape – it has four darts at each bottom corner to create shaping. I’ve always wondered how these zippered pouches are created, mistakenly wondering how on earth the zip goes into the pouch, whereas the pouch is actually built around the zip itself…

This is a nice ‘fat-quarter’ type project and a great way of using up leftover scraps of fabric. I’ve gifted one of these to my sister but I’ve also got one in my car to hold car-parking change and one in my bag to hold that Lippie that always goes rogue at the bottom of my bag! The larger size would make a great cosmetic bag and either are brilliant for holding those little crafting tools for any project you’re travelling with.

I used my beloved Wonder Tape to hold the fabrics pieces to the zip prior to sewing them in place. I also notched the centre mark of the zip and centre mark of the upper bag curve so as to place it correctly, rather than using the notched marks. All in all, a super quick and useful make. Friends and family beware, given time, you’re probably all going to end up with one!

I think the two makes are made for each other!

And they certainly did their job of allowing me to satisfy my sewing urge whilst bypassing the prep work a dressmaking project usually entails. That said, it’s now got me craving a ‘meatier’ project so I’m finally getting around to prepping the wool plaid ‘Hacking Jacket’ I’ve been planning to sew for well over a year now.

Bit of a Win-Win eh!

How to do you pace your makes? When I first started sewing it never occurred to me that I’d end up loving craft projects like these but I’ve found that a love of one type of craft leads me to others; as I mentioned in my MakeNine list this year, I also see knitting creeping its way into my future plans too, I’ll be making another of these sets for myself too!

Until next time, stay happy

NOT a sponsored post; all items purchased. Post does contain a couple of Affiliate links. Views and opinions honest and my own. x

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