Today I have a guest blog post to share with you, written by my friend Karen. Karen’s been sharing pics of her wonderful work with me for a long time now so I am really loving the fact that she has offered to share some of her ideas and wisdom here with us today! In fact I am BLOWN away by the fact that she is also going to make her guest posts a regular feature too! WOOHOO!

As many of you already know, my life has been pretty full on caring for my elderly parents and my dad (now 91!) who has been stricken by that horrible disease of Dementia. I know that so many of you can relate, having had your own loved one or that of a close friend also dealt the same cruel hand….and I want to take a moment to say that I always appreciate the love and support that so many of you extend to me via your personal messages and emails. Truly I appreciate them more then you will ever know!

However unfortunately for now it means my own blog writing has taken a back seat, as I am not often able to write for you myself…..So with this all in mind, I am really pleased to be able to share with you some awesome content going forward, from Karen! 🙂

Enough of my prattle….Over to you Karen:


Hi, my name is Karen and I live in rural England.  I love to sew and share my makes on’ and Instagram (@auntystitches).

My dad is 92 and has mixed Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia but my circumstances are different to Christine’s.  As I have more time to escape into sewing and writing it seemed obvious I should offer to help.

So I hope to share my ramblings, musings, tips and findings once a month and hope you will find it useful or interesting.  Feel free to let us know either way in the comments below!


The Art of Bag Making

The great thing about finding a good bag designer is that they have done all the hard work so you can have all the fun of creating your own masterpiece!  It will be unique because of the choices you make.

Choose your pattern.  Once you have found the pattern that offers the features you want – flap, adjustable shoulder strap, zipped interior pocket etc it’s down to collecting the materials required.

Choose your fabric.  This is just the first choice of many that you will make, that will result in a bag as individual as you are.  Most bags can be made out of quilt weight cotton, readily available now with a huge selection of patterns, as it will be reinforced with interfacing and stabilisers.  Then you can add in recycled denim, corduroy, canvas, faux suede, faux leather and now cork leather!


Choose your options.  For example here is ‘Genevieve’ which has a large flap just crying out to be a statement piece.  Christine offers it with several options;

  • a regular one piece flap
  • a shaped one piece flap
  • a three section regular flap with piping.
  • a three section shaped flap with piping

There are also these options!

  • A three section regular flap without piping
  • A three section shaped flap without piping

Christine has done a tutorial on making your own piping if you don’t want to use ready made, you can read it here.

Karen's Sketch

Choose how to arrange your fabrics.  I usually like to do a tracing of the bag photo, so I can see the basic shapes and how they fit together.  This gives me a blank canvas to work on and I sometimes print copies to colour in, to help me decide!  Here for instance you can put one colour down the centre, and another down the sides, or have them all the same colour with contrasting piping.


Jen’s Genevieve has the regular one-piece flap with the fabric fussy cut to centre the lion exactly!  I find the best way to do this is to cut your flap pattern piece in Plain Plastic Template so you can see through it for positioning before cutting.

 Optional – Choose an extra decorative touch!  There is a huge choice!

  • Applique

Karen's Genevieve

My Genevieve was made with the regular three section flap, without piping, in recycled denim with an applique butterfly embellished with hand embroidery.  I did a blog on creating an applique here if that helps.

  • Patchwork
  • Hand embroidery
  • Digital machine embroidery
  • Free-motion machine embroidery
  • Fabric flowers
  • A picture or saying using Print on fabric!
  • Color Weaving

Dianna's Genevieve

This beauty was made using a technique called Color Weaving and if you click on the link you can read the tutorial by Dianna.

Flip Lock by Emmaline Bags

Choose your hardware.  There is a vast selection available now, with new alternative closures like Flip locks,Twist locks, Edge Clasps and Bar locks.  Then there are the new Metal Edge Trims and Corners that add a totally new and high end finish to your creation.  If you want to try the corners, there is a tutorial here. On top of this Emmaline Bags now has most of them available in Copper finish as well as Gold, Brass, Silver, Gunmetal and Black!

This Genevieve from Florence Madelaine Co is in Cork Leather, set off with gold hardware and the extra bling of a chain strap.  (She also made the outer sections of the regular flap shorter, leaving the centre section full length).

 Choose some finishing touches;

  • Rivets (tutorial here)
  • Studs
  • Tassels
  • Zipper Pulls
  • Handmade Labels
  • Your own label!

Becky's Mean Girl Genevieve

This Bad Girl Genevieve by @rjafmakesbecky won Christine’s Genevieve Flashback Competition on Instagram.  In black faux leather with star studs and a tassel, this bag couldn’t be more different from the floral cover bag!  Here are some others….

Collage of Genevieve's

  1. By Phyllis (Pitbull Hydraulics Handbags)
  2. Instagram @genycartes
  3. Found on pinterest, no maker’s name!                 
  4. Instagram @thenosypepper

I hope this has given you some ideas to try out, and shown that you can make the same pattern up multiple times and have a completely different bag each time.  You can make one to suit any purpose or taste (mother, sister, daughter, niece, friend!). Don’t forget to share pictures if you come up with another idea.


Thank you so much Karen! You can read more of Karen’s posts over at Sew What’s New HERE and visit Karen on Instagram – @auntystitches

Meanwhile if you haven’t got the Genevieve pattern yet, you can grab it from my shop now


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One Comment

  1. I just finished reading this lovely guest post about my favorite ChrisW Designs pattern, the “Genevieve.” The four photos at the end mention a Genevieve (#3) found on Pinterest, but with no maker’s name. That bag is one I made for my dear friend several years ago. I pinned it on my own Pinterest page, but I had no idea it was out on Pinterest anywhere else. Lol! The fabric is a batik that has been pre-embroidered with a cotton chain stitch. I still have some of that fabric and occasionally use it for projects.

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