Useful pots to put things in

Like the characters of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, I do love a useful pot (bag or other container) to put things in.

If you are unfamiliar with the story about Eeyore’s birthday and useful pots to put things in, here is an snippet.

Extract from Winnie-the-Pooh

Who would not be as happy as can be with a Useful Pot to put things in?

In the last few weeks, I made:

  • three tote bags
  • two divided baskets
  • one lined basket.

Yes, I love storage!

The three tote bags used the basic bag pattern from Nicole Mallalieu’s The Better Bag Maker. After making my first tote bag from her pattern, I had grand plans to make some of the fancier bags explained in her book, but it is not easy to buy appropriate hardware here. I know I can order it online, but that would involve choosing what to make with lots of advance thought and planning, rather than opening up my cupboard, pulling out some fabric and starting to cut out a bag. To make these three bags, I only had to go to the shops to buy the three zippers and lining fabric for one bag.

Hand-made purple floral tote bag

Yes, I own purple fabric! It was on sale, and I fell in love with the floral print.

Hand-made purple floral tote bag

I had been saving the lining fabric to coordinate with a Heather Ross unicorn print, but I decided it is better to use it now than one day.

For the hidden internal base of the purple bag, I was able to repurpose some stiff Pellon that had a dog novelty print fused to it. Long ago, I thought to make a bag for the dog park. No one can see the ugly fabric, and the Pellon did not go to waste.

Hand-made tote bag with knitting needle print

I sewed two bags with the same knitting print on the outside.

Hand-made tote bag with knitting needle print

Each bag has an internal zipper pocket and side pockets.

Hand-made tote bag with knitting needle print

I did not have enough of the spot, so I bought a checked fabric to line the second bag.

With the same pattern, I also made two tote bags using Jodie Carleton’s ‘Sewing School’ print that features knitting needles. The two bags look the same, apart from the lining fabric, so I only photographed the outside of one.

For my mum’s birthday in September, I made two divided baskets using Noodlehead’s divided basket pattern. I made a similar basket for her in 2014, and she has occasionally mentioned that she would like more to organise her wardrobe.

Hand-made divided basket

Without realising it, I cut the pattern on the front pocket very similarly to the first divided basket I made.

Hand-made divided basket

These will go in my mum’s wardrobe to organise her tights, etc.

Hand-made divided basket

The two baskets’ linings are made with a neutral linen.

I tried to choose fabrics from my stash that would coordinate with the one she already has, but most of the fabrics had been used up. Thankfully, I still had some of the Philip Jacobs print.

For these baskets, all I had to buy was some interfacing. This time, I used a combination of interfacing and lightweight fusible fleece as recommended in the pattern. I probably could have omitted interfacing from the handles, given that I used denim and not quilting cotton; they are perhaps a bit too stiff.

My last storage project was to line a wicker basket that I bought at an op shop (thrift shop). I started this on a whim. I have had the basket for a few years, but last weekend I decided that it needed lining. I chose the fabric from my stash after lunch, and I had it lined and finished before bedtime. It is a rare and lovely feeling to have a small project completed in a day.

Fabric-lined basket

I added a green fabric to the basket lining’s edge as an accent.

Fabric-lined basket

I fussy cut the fabric for the base of the basket to feature one of the large bouquets.

Fabric-lined basket

I made the lining a bit loose (about 1 inch) so that I could pattern match the one side seam.

I used the same method as for previous lined baskets, but I did not add a zipper pocket or side pockets. I thought they might interfere with the pretty floral fabric, which is a Tanya Whelan print.

Everything for the basket lining, including the ribbon, was in my cupboard.

The recent spring weather has inspired me to tidy my sewing room cupboards, and I am feeling more inclined to sew. My eyes’ susceptibility to strain and the winter weather have made knitting more attractive than fine hand sewing recently, but my sewing room is a lovely place to be on a warm, sunny day. In a few weeks, the jacaranda trees will be in bloom outside the window.


6 thoughts on “Useful pots to put things in

  1. Those are lovely and functional! My bags have been confined to a Monkey purse and a cross body bag, all gifts for my students when they reach certain plateaus. They aren’t my favorite thing, but they work splendidly as gifts. 🙂

  2. I really love those storage baskets for your mum. Great combination of fabrics and colours. The purple bag is wonderful, especially with that pink lining. Not at all my colour choice, but it works beautifully. Your lined basked reminds me I must mend the rim of my hexie basket; after over 20 years, the woven willow is finally coming adrift and I’m going to bind over it with cotton string to give a smooth edge.

  3. I’ve always had a great love for the Winnie the Pooh books so I knew right away where that quote came from. Your bags are lovely but I especially love the lining you made for that basket. It fits perfectly and that floral is just so pretty.

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