New commission… new design

Following my redesign of the Ashbury handbag a few months ago, I recently had the chance to play about with another of my favourite designs when one special lady asked me to resize the original Shelstone.  It’s great when someone asks me to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – it gets moved right to the top of my ‘to-do list’.

When I originally designed this handbag I had several sizes in mind; I started with the Shelstone, then enlarged it to make the Shelstone Weekend, then finally I wanted a smaller, more everyday version.  The lady for whom I created this already owns the Shelstone, so it was really useful to hear what dimensions ideally suited her for the new size.

Redrawing patterns always takes a fair bit of reworking to ensure the finished design looks and feels right.  It isn’t always a case of reducing everything by the same amount, but after a few mock-ups on some old sheets, I got the dimensions and proportions that worked for the style.

I love the fabric she chose; you may have noticed I love blue anyway (!), but the blues with the mint green flashes make this really eye-catching.

Introducing Shelstone Box Top!

So, after redesigning my original patten, here is the finished Shelstone Box Top with its brand new zip top…..

Click on the gallery to enlarge and scroll through –

I decided to make the zip long enough to start and finish on the side panels, rather than just being the length of the top of the bag, (hence the box top zip closing).   This makes it even more practical and improves its functionality.

After being asked to create this Shelstone, I was then asked by the same lady to create another to be worn on the left shoulder instead of the right.  This makes a difference with zip and pocket placement (you want the zip facing the front on whichever shoulder you wear the bag, so the zip is easily accessible; similarly, the inside phone pocket, situated on the inside side panel, needs to be at the front of the bag).  All these requirements can be adapted so the bag is personal to how you use it.

For all the details, including prices and dimensions, please visit the Weekend and Travel Bags page.

Oh and did you notice – IT’S SNOWING ON MY BLOG!!!!!!!!  Very exciting!

Redesigning Shelstone…

With all the ‘work’ (when is sewing ever work?!) for Christmas going on, I’ve been a bit behind with updating news of my projects.   I was really excited to be asked to adapt an existing pattern for one of my favourite handbag designs so far.  The Shelstone was originally designed with a snap-set closing, as shown below, but I was asked to create one with a box-top zip.

Creating one with a zip closing had been on my (rather long!) ‘to-do’ list, so it wasn’t yet something I had got round to completing, until a certain lovely lady requested one.  It was then moved from half way down my list to the very top, and so began the pattern redrawing and redesigning.

Adapting an existing pattern isn’t always straightforward, so I literally took it back to the/my drawing board to work out what pieces needed to be adapted and what new pieces I needed to create….

…. fortunately throughout some of the (minor) head-scratching I had some of the very best advice on hand…..

So, after the pattern drawing was finished, I then started constructing all the pattern pieces and assembling the panels ready for creating the new version of Shelstone ….

Shelstone pattern pieces

Redesigning Shelstone

…finished photos of the new design to follow….

Shelstone update

July is whizzing by and I haven’t yet posted an update of my progress on the Shelstone Weekend handbag…. so without further ado, here it is…..

This panel will form the front pockets of the bag.  I think Makower’s complimentary spotty fabric looks great with the mint green main fabric.  I was really pleased to find a perfect colour match with those buttons.  I use the tailors chalk to mark exactly where the buttonholes need to go to ensure they are evenly spaced.  The maroon and orange spotty fabric, which forms the trim at the top of the pocket, has to be cut and stitched so that the trim is even and the spots line up to the nearest millimetre….  Working with spots is great, but my goodness it can be frustrating sometimes!

Case in point was my very first Shelstone – if you look at the top of the red trim on the front pockets of the outside image of the bag, it sits exactly under a row of white spots; the bottom of the trim sits on top of a row of spots without cutting through the spots.  The inside view shows the large interior pocket; again, I had to cut and stitch that so I didn’t stitch through a line of spots….


…That may sound easy, but because I back the main fabric with, on average, an extra three layers, including a quilting fabric, the panel pieces are so much thicker than a piece of cotton, so lining it all up does get a bit tricky.   This pattern involved measuring so carefully before cutting the fabric (I always do, but this was something else!), as well as being super accurate when stitching all the pattern pieces together (I always am, but this was something else!).

I love spotty fabric (and I mean really love it!), but cutting and stitching with it and ensuring it’s all straight, is much more time-consuming than working with a plain fabric.  I have to say, it is worth it though – this is still one of my favourite ever handbags.

Making Shelstone

After finishing my new satchel, I set to work on the other project I’d started during my machine troubles when all I could do was cut out lots of fabric…..

This gorgeous Henna fabric (sunshine fabric!) from my previous post in February is just a joy, and Makower did their usual wonderful trick of designing fabulous complimentary fabrics to bring out some of the other colours within the main print.  So, as you can tell from the title of this post, I’ve decided to turn this into another Shelstone Weekend shoulder/travel bag.

Sometimes it can be tricky deciding which fabrics to use for which handbags, but the size of the Henna print lent itself to becoming a bigger bag, so it seemed like a natural choice.  There’s still a way to go with this (front pockets, interior side pockets, zip pockets, side poppers….), but I thought I’d share this photo so you can see the colour combinations I’ll be using. This photo shows the main print, the darker print for the handles and the lovely mint green for the gorgeous lining.

Shelstone Weekend - Henna fabric collection

Shelstone Weekend – Henna fabric collection


Shelstone Weekend Bag…..

As soon as I’d finished my Shelstone design, I set to work on a super-sized version.  I took the pattern I’d created and worked to make the bag even bigger.  I love the original sleek Shelstone size and shape, but wanted to push the design to see how big the bag could be whilst still being an oversize/everyday handbag as well.

I had the idea to add in expandable sides using poppers; this way it retains the original silhouette of the Shelstone when half full, but because the bottom and side panels are even bigger, you can pack this bag with even more when it’s fully open!  This makes it the perfect handbag for a weekend away…

Click on the gallery to enlarge and scroll through –

For all the details, including price and dimensions, please visit the Weekend and Travel Bags by Ellie page.

Introducing Shelstone…

After promising photos of my new handbag, here they are…!

Stylish and functional, Shelstone is the perfect handbag for so many occasions, whether you’re escaping for the weekend, working or travelling.  The tailored straps give elegance and comfort, whilst the front pockets, phone pocket and large inside zipped pocket provide security and convenience whatever the event.

Click on the images to enlarge –

For all the information, including prices and dimensions, please click on the Weekend and Travel Bags by Ellie page.