Students at the Studio!

Students Handbag Making Day

Last Saturday I had two lovely students spend the day at my studio in Edinburgh designing and making their own handbags. Neither of them had ever made a handbag before, but both had a love of textiles. Everything was included in their day, including a metre of Harris Tweed each. They designed and made their bags themselves, and were very surprised at what they could achieve in one fun and busy day.

The day began with them choosing their Harris Tweed and coordinating lining. They had already decided to base their designs on the classic mini IKEA blue bag, but of course in tweed it was going to look very different.

Students Pattern Making

The students learned how to make a pattern for their design. No computer aided design in this studio! Just good old paper and pencil, with the aid of a grader square and pattern curve.

student pattern cutting 2 student pattern cutting 1

The students then cut out the pattern in their chosen fabrics, including interlining fabrics to add strength and structure to the bags.

Students Get Sewing

They then got busy on the sewing machines sewing them all together. Not only were the bags interlined, they were also lined in lovely fabrics to give a professional finish. All interspersed with a few cups of coffee and biscuits!

students sewing 2   students sewing

students sewing on machinestudents making bag

Finished Bags

The final bags turned out perfectly. They used different webbing for the straps and even had their own trigger hooks for hanging keys off.

finished bags

If you would like to come and make a handbag in a fun and relaxed environment, maybe with a friend or two, please get in touch! Gift vouchers are also available.

The full day runs from 10am – 4:30pm. Everything is included (except lunch.) There are a number of options for the day, depending on what you would like to learn, and there are also half day options.

New Elsie Day Bags on the website

There are new bags on the website this month, including a few limited edition Elsie Day Bags.

Featuring limited edition tweeds, some from the now closed mills in the north of Scotland, others from further afield in the UK. These limited edition tweeds will never be repeated, once they’re gone, they’re gone, which only adds to their exclusivity. Combined with tweeds from the borders and the islands, the Elsie Day Bag perfectly showcases the diversity of colour, texture and pattern in British tweed today.

The comfortable shoulder straps are made from high quality Scottish leather, and the zip closure is extra chunky to contrast with the soft textures of the body of the bag.

All Elsie Day Bags feature the three layer construction technique, meaning quality and durability are never compromised. The Elsie Day Bag also has an extra layer in the base for added strength, and four metal feet to protect itself from mucky surfaces.

The lining is made from organic cotton hemp and hand printed in our bespoke Katherine Emtage design. It also features two internal pockets, one patch and one zipped, for keeping small items handy.

The Elsie Day Bag is the perfect balance of timeless style and contemporary design, and the ideal bag to use everyday, from season to season.

Ooh la la – Ces Pochettes Sont Grandes!

That’s right Francophiles, there’s a new range of Pochettes on the website, and these ones hold a bit more than the originals. To the uninitiated, the Pochette is a ‘pocket’ sized clutch bag. However, the new style is approximately twice the size of its older sister and even holds a mini iPad. They are all still sleek and flat, with tweed and velvet trim on the outside, smooth silk taffeta on the inside and a chunky metal zip closure. But both sizes now come with either a wrist strap or an across the body strap in lovely matching velvet.

Let me at them!

New Collection at Cromlix House Hotel

Just before Christmas I was asked to create a collection of accessories and home wares for Cromlix House Hotel by Strictly Come Dancing’s Judy Murray. Judy has created her very own Harris Tweed, so she approached me and two other Scottish designer makers to create an exclusive collection of bags, accessories and home wares in her bespoke cloth. All to be sold at son Andy Murray’s hotel, Cromlix, in Perthshire.

The Harris Tweed is a beautiful combination of dark purple, black and bottle green in a bold tartan checked weave. Reminiscent of the colours of Wimbledon, and very Scottish.

My collection, exclusively for Cromlix, consists of a clasp purse, cushion cover and a tea cosy. The clasp purse and tea cosy are lined in cotton florals for a vintage feel, and the cushion cover is generously sized for maximum comfort.

The Pochette Has Its Moment

This year I’ve taken part in a couple of very select Christmas fairs. Flock at Woodend Barn in Banchory, and the Open Studios at the Drill Hall in Leith, Edinburgh; my old studio complex. Both events were a fantastic opportunity to meet lovely customers and show my work in a busy Christmassy atmosphere.

Sometimes, people don’t know what the ‘Pochette’ is for. They think maybe it’s a make up bag or some such ‘at home’ item. But the pochette is a small wrist clutch bag or pocket, made for your most essential items, and perfect for a night out. So I was really pleased when a lovely French lady came by and immediately pounced on the pochette range. She told me her sister has a large collection of pochettes, so that adding a Scottish version would be perfect for her Christmas present.

There’s a new range of Pochettes online now, in a fresh range of tweeds with contrasting velvet trims. They’re the perfect gift and so easy to post.

Beautiful Outer Hebrides

My trip to the Outer Hebrides was amazing. Really inspirational. I knew the scenery would be unique and beautiful, but I didn’t realise how much like a piece of tweed the scenery would resemble. Or how the light and weather would change every minute to renew your vista and ignite your senses.

Upcoming One Day Workshops

There are a number of one day workshops being held this term at Leith Academy. The first one is ‘Floral Fabric Accessories’ on this Saturday 5th October from 10am-3pm. In this workshop you will make at least five different floral accessories using a variety of materials. The class is fun and inspiring, and no prior sewing experience is required. £5 is to be paid to the tutor for all materials etc. provided on the day.

The other workshops are ‘Clasp Purses’ on Saturday 19th October, and ‘Cushion Covers and Zipped Purses’ on Sunday 20th October. No sewing experience is necessary for any of the workshops, although a basic level is helpful for these two workshops as we will be using the sewing machines.Each workshop costs £17.50 for the day. To book a place on any of the above workshops call Leith Academy on 0131 553 2810.

Marion Leaves Scotland

Last week my very helpful and lovely student assistant Marion completed her 8 weeks work experience at my studio and returned to France. She’ll now never know that temperatures north of Calais can reach over 20 centigrade!
On her final day we ate homemade chocolate cake and I gave her a pink Bow Clutch for all her hard work. She has been a great help to me over the past two months, and I will miss her!