Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A challenge from Abakhan - Creative Budget

Home crafting has seen a boom in popularity over the past couple of years as we are all watching the pennies. I spend a lot of my time making a little money go a long way - whether it's food shopping, clothes for the LM (and sometimes even some for me!), items for my home or gifts for birthdays and Christmas.

Abakhan, the home of cheap fabrics, haberdashery and general crafty loveliness have issued a monthly challenge to the craft blogging community. 'Creative Budget' is all about showing just how far a small budget can stretch.

I was given £15 of credit to spend on the website on items of my choice and make those items go as far as I could. I spent a very enjoyable evening browsing their excellent website, getting ideas. When I spotted these lovely bag handles at a great price I knew exactly what I wanted to make!  Taking inspiration from the Great Britain section, celebrating all that is red,white and blue, I picked the following items...

Doesn't that look lovely?

1m Union Jack printed cotton lawn
1m medium weight interfacing
1pr light wood effect plastic bag handles
1 each red, white and blue felt squares
1m 'Jubilee' Braid
5m assorted ribbons
2 Union Jack heart buttons

I am a big fan of spots and stripes and red, white and blue AND hearts...

I couldn't wait to get started with those bag handles. I wanted to create a vintage look and came up with this lovely curvy little number...

I just love the shape of this bag. The side seams are left open part the way down, so you have room to reach in and get at your things and it is room enough to carry all the usuals, (phone, purse, keys, camera, baby wipes, cuddly toy... )  Although you can't really see from the photo, the lovely cotton lawn fabric has a very pale blue stripe and lots of jolly UJ motifs printed across it. I added body to the fabric with some medium-weight interfacing - it strengthens the fine cotton and helps the bag keep it's shape. I could have lined the bag with more UJ fabric (there was more than enough in a metre!) but instead I picked a piece from my stash - a lovely vintage floral print my mother-in-law picked up from a charity shop for me. The red, white and blue flowers were a perfect match for the UJ's and it means my bag is reversible. Two for the price of one!

But every bag needs some extra eye candy so I made this lovely red, white and blue ribbon brooch. I think the UJ love heart button in the centre finishes it off perfectly.

It could just as easily be a corsage. I even considered attaching to a clip for the cutest hair piece ever.

With the felt I wanted to create something utilising the UJ print on the cotton fabric and a technique I use a lot in my designs (usually with gingham and felt, like these scented heart decorations) Reverse applique means that instead of adding a fabric panel on top of the main fabric, you add it behind and cut out a window in the main fabric, to frame it It works particularly well with felt as your 'window' doesn't fray. . .

I am using it to take care of my sunglasses but it could just as easily hold a phone or a pocket camera. These cosies are soooooo easy to make with felt. All hand sewn so you don't even need a sewing machine. They would make a great gift for older kids to make for Daddy for Father's Day!

Next up, following a suggestion from the lovely Kerry Lou from Lou Lou's Luxuries is a gorgeous Jubilee Crown made from felt, Jubilee braid and the other UJ heart button. Padded with a tiny bit of toy stuffing, I added some Strawberry scented aromabeads I had for a proper British summer fragrance! A ribbon loop and a key fob from my stash finished it off. Clip it to your bag for a bit of Jubilee charm. (Like the ribbon flower, I could have attached it to a hair comb for my very own cute Jubilee Crown hair piece).

 And finally with the rest of the UJ cotton lawn fabric I made a handy shopping bag using the method in the fabulous 'Liberty Book of Home Sewing' It's light enough to fold up really small and pop in your handbag (I might make a little pouch to store it in using the left over felt) yet large enough to carry your groceries home with style - beautifully modelled by the Little Man here. . .

(yes, he IS wearing wellies. . . Don't ask!)

So there you have it, five fabulous items for less than £15 - and I still have some ribbon, braid, felt, fabric and interfacing left to play with! The bags are both machine sewn (but could be sewn by hand if you have the patience), all other items are hand stitched so you don't even need any special equipment. Any one of these items would make a lovely gift for someone special. It's amazing what you can do with a limited budget and a little imagination!

As Abakhan very generously let me have these items for nothing, I would like to pay it forward and offer you, my lovely readers, the chance to win the special Jubilee Crown bag charm and the super useful Union Jack shopper (complete with storage pouch that I will make. Promise).  Just leave a comment below, letting me know how you would like me to use my Creative Budget next month? Something for the home? Garden? Something for the kids to play with? Or how about something stylish for yourself? Just let me know!

The winner will be selected at random on Sunday 10th June and announced on the blog after 8pm that day.  I will announce on Twitter and Facebook too so you may want to follow/like using the buttons in the column to the right -->

Disclosure - Abakhan gave me £15 of credit to spend on items of my choice from their website. No other payment has been recieved for this post. All items (apart from the shopper) are made to my own designs and patterns and I am happy for you to take inspiration from them to make your own for personal use or to give as gifts but not to sell for profit. Thank you x


  1. What a fab make for £15. I love the bag with the wooden handles :)

  2. What lovely things you've made! How about something for the garden next month? Some bunting, a windbreak or a picnic blanket maybe?

  3. I live for handbags! I challenge you to make something to celebrate Father's Day!;)

    1. I am working on a little something for Father's Day, blokes are so hard to craft for!!! Especially motorbike loving grease monkeys!! ;-)

  4. Argh this is amazing! That's a lot of pretty things for £15! Thank you for the mention, you didn't have to :) The crown looks fab and I adore the wooden handled bag!!

  5. I love the ribbon brooch on your little bag! Do you have a tutorial for them? Next month how about something for the home like a pretty cushion cover of some sweet bunting for summer?
    Victoria xx

    1. I haven't done a tutorial for that one yet but the response both on and off-line has been so cool I might just have to!! Keep your eyes peeled x

    2. It's not surprising, it's a fabulous little brooch - will watch this space :) xx

  6. I love the bag. Totally inspired. Well done you!

  7. Fabulous makes! I'd love a home make next time. I've got so many heavier weight fabrics to find uses for and would love the inspiration!

  8. This is such an amazing challenge - I'm so jealous!

    You did fabulously with your budget, really great makes.

    For next time...hmmm how about something to wear?

  9. Wow! You got such a lot out of the items you chose :-) Love the ribbon brooch especially! Well done :-)

  10. Wow, what a lovely load of stuff for just £15! I reckon next it should be something for the outdoors

  11. Gorgeous items!

    I LOVE the ribbon corsage. I needed one for the Jubilee party at school tomorrow so ordered one from Etsy but it's nowhere near as good as yours!

    I think next should be something for the men seeing as it's Father's Day next month


  12. I would love to see something with/for children - especially with school breaking up soon!

  13. I love that bag!!!!!!!!! You are SO clever! x

    PS my little man insisted on wearing wellies the other day in the blistering sun....

  14. What a fantastic handbag, I adore it and *want* it! The shape reminds me of the bag that my great-aunt used to keep her knitting equipment in.

  15. I love your bags and the applique with the flag. How about doing something for the kids to play with/waer over the summer holidays new month as the hols are getting closer :-)

  16. A girl after my own heart, i'm alway's doing some kind of project.I have lot's of bit's of fabric and ribbon's i have collected, these bag's are fabulous well done..

  17. The are beautiful and great fun. Maybe next time for the garden picnic goodies, lunch packs, etc the sun has to come back eventually :-)


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