When I read about the Hillarys Craft Competition for 2015 I knew I wanted to enter, but the question as what to make? With 1m square of fabric from their new Roman Blinds and curtains collection there were so many possibilities. Instantly the Daisy Pistachio fabric jumped out at me as the one I wanted to work with – even if I had imagined the pattern to be smaller on it than it actually turned out to be – but I was completely undecided about which of my plans to follow.
Then, there I was one day hanging the washing out when inspiration struck me. My trusty old Cath Kinston peg bag was hanging on the line and really starting to show its age. Faded in the sun there was no longer that bit of pretty on the line that I had loved when it had been new. The upholstery weight of the Hillarys fabric is ideal for a project that is going to get a bit of wear and tear in everyday life and I’m also hoping that the slightly shiny texture will also help repel the odd raindrop from those times that I’m busy rushing to get the washing in as the rain starts to fall.
Having seen my old peg bag fade dreadfully in the sun I am also hoping that the sort of material used for curtains and blinds will not fade quite as easily as a standard cotton. Time will tell with that I guess.
So, on with the project.
I decided to use my existing peg bag as a basic template. This is made from three main pieces. One complete one to form the back, and two halves which form the front. These two front pieces are cut so that you have a pointed oval shaped opening in which to put the pegs.
I cut all three pieces out from my Daisy Pistachio fabric, making them a bit larger than the pieces in my original peg bag, so leaving a good edge for the seams, which I thought was particularly important having seen how much the fabric’s raw edges can fray when cut. Whilst cutting the two pieces for the front I also made sure to align them so that the flowers ran in straight lines down the peg bag – a little tip that I’d picked up from watching the Great British Sewing Bee avidly!
I also decided to line the back piece of the peg bag with some plain green cotton fabric which matched the brighter and darker of the four green colours that feature in the centre of the Daisy Pistachio flowers. Seeing as you always see into the peg bag when it is in use I thought this would be more attractive to look at than the stripes on the reverse of the fabric. I bought a piece of green 100% cotton from St Albans market for this purpose and cut it to exactly the same size as the panel for the back.
I hemmed the curve for the opening on the two front pieces before stitching them together to form a complete front panel for the peg bag.
Wanting to show off some of my hand embroidery skills I decided that the peg bag needed a bit of decoration, but at the same time I didn’t want to distract from the daisy pattern. Again taking inspiration from my old peg bag I initially decided to embroider the word “Pegs” to go above the opening. Telling my knitting group about my plans though one of them had the genius idea of “Penny’s Pegs” instead and I’m so glad she did as the alliteration works perfectly!
I found a font that I liked in a sampler design in a book entitled The Ultimate Cross Stitch Companion and sketched out a cross stitch design on squared paper before stitching it on to some aida. I used green embroidery silk from my craft stash in exactly the same shade of green as the lining fabric.
I used my sewing machine to carefully stitch the Penny’s Pegs label onto the front panel and again used a cotton thread in the same green colour to continue the look.
With all the front complete it was then time to sew everything together. As the peg bag has a large opening on the front, you can use this to turn it through and therefore don’t need to leave a hole going round the edges. Other than a small one at the top for the hook of the coat hanger to go through.
It was important at this stage to get the layers in the right order so that you get the lining in the right place. The order should be, from bottom to top: green lining fabric, bag piece – flowers up, front piece flowers down. Starting at the hole on the top I machine sewed all around the outside of the bag in running stitch and then to strengthen the seams I zig zagged over the edges. Before turning it out it was necessary to clip a couple of corners off inside to get neater points.
Once turned out I pressed with the iron before hand catch stitching the hem around the hole at the top to stop it fraying. Putting a child sized wooden coat hanger inside completed the project nicely.
Overall I’m really pleased with my finished result. The only thing I think I could have really improved is matching up the two front pieces better so that no only would the daisy flowers line up, but also match completely across the seam. Had I done this with pattern pieces this would have been much easier, but a bit tricky when doing it all freehand.
There are a couple of tiny bits that Patrick and May might fuss over had I been on the Sewing Bee, but the beauty of just crafting at home is that there’s not such a critical eye looking over your work!
Now, if it would only stop raining I could put it to use on my washing line.
What I used to make the peg bag:
- 1 meter square Hillarys Daisy Pistachio fabric
- 1 piece of green cotton fabric (approx 30cm x 40cm)
- Green cotton
- Grey cotton
- Green embroidery silk
- Small piece Aida
- Child’s wooden coat hanger
Disclaimer: This post is my entry into the Hillarys Craft Competition 2015. I was sent 1m square of the Daisy Pistachio fabric with which to make my entry. All other materials were purchased by me. All opinions remain my own.