If you're after a bag pattern that you can personalise and truly make your own, the Smell The Roses Patchwork Tote Bag by Sue Belleli is the perfect project for you. This fun, scrappy patchwork bag can be made up quickly by using up your fabric scraps to create an improvisational patchwork design for your bag.
Full materials list included in instructions
The perfect project to use up fabric scraps from your stash
Lots of clear instructions with Sue's handy tips on upcycling, improv piecing and fabric mixing
A perfect gift for a friend, family member or for yourself - just make it in fabrics to suit the recipient
Detailed step-by-step instructions, colour photographs and clear diagrams take you through each step of making the bag, from improv piecing, through to completion
Includes some diagrams with ideas about how you can layout your fabrics
Makes a great scrappy project, or keep it in pink and green fabrics like Sue's original or try out some other colourways and combinations
A great pattern for beginner-level crafters looking for a fun, creative way to try out your bag-making skills
Have you been stitching since you were a child? Yes, my nanny taught me to embroider and crochet as a little child and I had a toy sewing machine from about age seven. I can remember making little quilts for my dolls’ beds on my toy sewing machine. I loved home economics (sewing classes) at school, and when my children were little, I made clothes for them.
Did you have professional training in stitching crafts? Not really; I am a self-taught quilter. When I first started, I blogged a lot and learned from my blogging friends. As I have progressed, I’ve had a few lessons on free-motion quilting and used YouTube a lot, especially when teaching myself how to paper piece.
Do you have the new design completely formulated in your head before committing it to paper and fabric? No, I buy fabric just because I see something that I like without any real plan, and then one day a design comes to me and I go from there. I bought the fabric for this design while on holiday in Hawaii in 2015, as it reminded me of the snorkelling that I did over there. I had it on a shelf in my sewing room for almost a year but I could see it every day, and one day the seahorses jumped out at me and the design for this quilt was born.
What’s your least favourite part of designing and making a project? Writing the pattern. I take notes as I go along, but I scribble, then I need to decipher them if a pattern is taken up.
Have you got an unfulfilled stitching dream? I’ve always thought it would be lovely to own my own shop, but that’s a pipe dream, and I know the romanticism of it is quite different from the real deal. I think if I could quit my day job and just be a full-time quilt designer, that would be awesome. And how amazing would it be if someone asked you to design a range of fabrics?
Is there any part of creating a new project that you don’t entirely enjoy? I love the whole process, especially piecing and appliqué. Which is why most of my designs have some form of appliqué on them. I also like to hand stitch the binding, and I get great satisfaction when finishing a quilt. I don’t even mind trimming half-square triangles, especially now I have a Bloc Loc Ruler, which has made the job so much easier.
What are the three most appropriate words to describe your stitching style?
Minimalistic - I don’t like busy patterns or designs.
Modern – I tend to be drawn to modern designs and fabric ranges.
Colour – I love to use loads of colour in my designs, as they make me smile.
You can brighten the look of a whole neutral room by throwing a bright quilt over the sofa.