Following on the from the great success of her first book 'Quilting on the go: English Paper Piecing', which showcased the portability of hand stitching, this is another beautiful journey through a range of handmade heirloom projects.
The true beauty of this book is the hand pieced element.
This makes you slow down and just enjoy the process.
Sharon has included a diverse range of projects in her book, ranging from small trivets and pincushions, to larger quilts.
But none of them are fast, and that's why I love it. I certainly appreciate the place of quick projects made on the sewing machine, but surely the most special are those that are truly intentional.
The ones that make you stop and sit down.
As I flicked through this book for the first time, I was immediately drawn to the 'Dumpling Bag' on page 54. It's a super roomy drawstring tote.
It was just so unusual, so eye catching, that there was only one choice for me after that!
When starting a project like this, it can be daunting to know quite where to begin with fabric selection, as this bag has several elements involved.
There's the hexagon piecing, the main panels, the accents, and the lining.
So take the time to step back before you dive in, and consider the bigger picture. To have an effective finished product, you need to be pretty certain that your choices are spot on, especially as you are going to devote many hours of your time to creating it.
I suggest choosing a 'hero' fabric first.
I wanted my Dumpling Bag to have a scrappy look, but for that not to be the main focus. So I choose that large peony print to be my Dumpling Bag 'hero'.
You might recognise it from the pillow that I made my daughter last month.
I loved it so much that I had to use it again!I then pulled a paler large gingham print for the gussets of the bag, and a bolder but smaller Tilda print for the accents.
They became my three main fabrics around which I chose the rest.
I went to town in selecting my scrappy hexies, mixing bold colours and low volume, both busy and calm, but keeping it mostly in the blue and pink palette.
Lots of old favourites here, and always satisfying when you can raid your scrap bins for tiny pieces!
If clamshells are new to you, there's just the right amount to get your feet wet here!
Each panel only has three of them, so they are really quick and easy.
I also backed my panels with batting, to make the piecing puff up more and to add some more body to the bag.
Just be sure to cut the batting away from your seam allowances, or there will be too much bulk.
Don't you think this bag is just so unique?!
It's a pentagon, with gussets that add intrigue like the slashes in a medieval gown sleeve (picture Maid Marion!)
The pockets are roomy, and this Dumpling Bag has a base that supports it very well, making a substantial bag that truly stands up on its own.
I didn't have template plastic, so I substituted some heavy weight bag interfacing that I had, and it did the trick perfectly.
I've added flower buttons in place of the cross stitches on the corners, and just I love them!
And for the perfect finishing touch, I wrapped the end of the drawstring in embroidery threads, and added some pearl beads.
And while I was congratulating myself on how well this turned out...I spotted a panel that I forgot to top stitch.
O well, at least there's four other sides to display, and four out of five ain't bad!
Follow along with the rest of the wonderful line up of makers 5 Nov - 5 Dec.
The Dumpling Bag is proving popular!
5th Nov Sharon Burgess @lilabellelane www.lilabellelanecreations.com
7th Nov - Lou Orth www.imstudiolou.com
21st Nov - Ali Phillips www.arabesque-scissors.com - that's me!
22nd Nov - Karen Tripp www.thediyaddict.com
2nd Dec - Stacey Day www.staceyinstitches.com