Summery Bags

At some point during the spring and autumn every year, many people switch over between their summer and winter wardrobes. I did that last weekend – later than usual – and sure enough, the weather changed soon afterwards.

What about bags? I switched from a black and silver chenille bag to a more summery floral denim bag with pastel pink accents. What about you? Do you have different seasonal bags?

If you need a bit of inspiration for your holiday, a wedding, garden party, or just to pretend it’s summertime (despite the weather), take a look at these:

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Not the Simister Festival

I live in Simister, a tiny village nestled just inside the M60 – Manchester’s orbital motorway.

Every year, ever since time began, the Saturday nearest St George’s Day is when Simister villagers turn out in force to celebrate. After all, our little chapel -of-ease is dedicated to England’s patron saint. There is a parade up and down the village featuring children, teens, adults, elders, a marching band – and even horses! There is a short ceremony, a bouncy castle, face painting, a café selling gorgeous sandwiches and home-baked cakes, a raffle, tombola, and many other stalls selling all sorts of goods from crafts to plants, white elephants and handmade bags. Of course, we couldn’t do this in 2020, as we were barely 4 weeks into the first lockdown of the pandemic. But that was a one-off, surely?

Saturday 24 April would have been this year’s Simister Festival. Sadly, yet again, we couldn’t celebrate, due to the ongoing covid restrictions. However, I decided I could nevertheless contribute by hosting a series of four “Lunchtime Lives” on Facebook. Sincere thanks to all who dropped by and watched the videos live, to those that watched them back later, and especially to all those who purchased items from me. As always, all proceeds will be donated to St George’s, and at time of writing, that stands at £380 – and rising!

The videos are here, and will remain ‘up’ for the time being so you can continue to watch and support St George’s:

Carol P

Lockdown, Uncategorized

Sanity Sewing #3: Done Scrubbing

It is 10 weeks since lock-down started, and restrictions are being eased. The commercial supply chain of scrubs has been in place for a few weeks now, and the national network of scrub hubs is winding down.

Personally, I had to retire gracefully from scrubbing for the NHS a couple of weeks ago, as six weeks of non-stop production line sewing triggered a bout of cluster migraines – the first in over a year. It lasted over 10 days, and took a good fortnight to fully recover.

Anyway, during my time as a proud #NHS #Scrubber I managed to complete:

  • 31 scrub tunics (ranging in size from S to XXXL)
  • 27 pairs of scrub trousers (ranging in size from S to XXXL)
  • 10 surgical gowns
  • 244 scrub laundry bags
  • 137 scrub hats

That’s a total of 449 items of PPE in just 6 weeks. No wonder I made myself ill!

Thanks must go to Joan E for collecting unwanted bedding from her neighbours for making into bags and hats, and to Judith H for helping with cutting out bags and hats.

Thanks also to the scrub hub coordinators who worked tirelessly fundraising and sourcing fabrics for the scrubs and gowns, and to the drivers who delivered fabric and collected finished items for distribution.

What a team. I am proud to have been a part of this amazing effort during the pandemic.

Salford Scrubees

Bury, Oldham and Rochdale Scrubs Hub

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Lockdown, Uncategorized

Sanity Sewing #2: Scrubbing for the NHS

About a week ago I was cruising Facebook, and saw a post from the Manchester and East Lancs Scrub Hub. Intrigued, I clicked through, and saw that this is part of a national network of professional and home sewists beavering away sewing scrubs for use in the NHS. I pondered this a bit. I signed up.

Patterns for scrub tops and trousers are in desperately short supply. Companies like Blue Sky Printing are offering to print these on A0 size paper and post out, and mine should be here any day now. IMG_1074Meanwhile I have been making scrub hats (Tie-Back-Hat-Pattern-Pieces (1)) and laundry bags. IMG_1043These are very straightforward to make, and I have fully raided my fabric stash for any suitable weight fabrics – regardless of colour, print, or whether I had bought them for use in a ‘special’ project. After all, what is more special than helping to ensure that our front-line staff are adequately protected?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is single use, and includes scrub tops, trousers, hats, face masks, gloves and aprons. “Single use” means change after every patient interaction, not after every shift. Some hospital and GP staff are getting through over 20 sets of scrubs every day.

So, I’m a Scrubber Bee, and proud to be so.

But I need your help. A lovely friend has offered to help with cutting out so that I can focus on sewing. There’s more to do. Tops and tunics need to be made from regulation fabrics, and the Scrub Hubs need help with funding these. Hats and laundry bags can be made from any polycottons, and old (clean!) bedding is ideal for these. Do you have any sheets, duvet covers or pillow cases that you no longer need? Please get in touch!

Lockdown, Uncategorized

Sanity Sewing #1

SingerMy mum taught me to sew when I was around 6 or 7 years old, by guiding me through making myself a skirt – by hand. It had an elasticated waist and was cut to the selvedge, so no need for a hem! Just a laboriously back-stitched centre back seam and a turn over around the top for the elastic. I wore it with pride for many years. The following Christmas, Santa brought me a gorgeous black Singer sewing machine dating from the 1880s. I loved it – and still do. It is hand-crank and straight stitch only, but I used it for making countless items of clothing for myself and for sewing Christmas and birthday gifts for friends and family for many years.

F and R 504As my skills progressed, so did my need for zigzag stitching and automatic reverse, so eventually my mum allowed me to use her Frister and Rossman 504, a machine that was state-of-the-art at the time.

JonesTime passed, and I used my mum’s machine to make my wedding dress, my bridesmaid’s dresses and the waistcoat my dad wore to my wedding. My soon-to-be Mother-in-law saw all this activity, and her wedding gift to us (me!) was a Brother Jones machine with plenty of whistles and bells. When the time came, I used it to make my children’s christening robe.

I am an active person, always on the go, and I find it difficult to sit still. Sewing is completely absorbing, and it has kept me sane whenever I’ve had too much time on my hands: following serious illness, recovering from injuries, following redundancies, and during the current lockdown.

JeaniusBags was born of the need to stay busy and raise funds for causes that matter to me. I will continue to sew during lockdown, and will continue to post bags out to clients for as long as the Royal Mail and my local Post Office (a very short walk from my home address, and on my daily exercise route) are operational.

People are still having birthdays (including me!) and special occasions. Please do take a look through my site and contact me with your orders. I’ll even gift wrap for a small additional fee.