If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a peg bag then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘I made a sale…!’
‘What do you think?’ asked Kim, evidently very pleased with the sketched cake design she was showing me.
‘Ooh, Kim, it’s beautiful!’ I had to admit she had excelled. The understated splendour of this ruby wedding celebration cake was stunning. She’d taken on board my plans to use red calla lilies in the flower displays and come up with something that I was sure my client, Mr Jones, would be delighted with.
Now all I had to do was persuade him to order the cake without Kim realising I didn’t have it in the bag already, and without Mr Jones realising I was trusting Kim to deliver when his only encounter with her so far was the unfortunate chaos during the local Open Gardens event.
‘I’ll try and fathom out how to scan this design and email it to him,’ I said. ‘See if he likes it.’
‘He’ll love it,’ she said confidently, even though she didn’t know him at all. She’d mentally ticked it off her list and switched her attention to preparing a formal objection to the supermarket. ‘I’ll go and get some quotes of opposition from Colin and Colette to go in the letter,’ she said. And then she had a friendly dig at me, ‘bet I can get in and out of the beauty salon without having my hair done!’
The odds were completely in her favour. She would not feel the need to buy any meat from Colin nor let Colette coerce her into parting with a penny in the beauty salon. In fact, as she went to pick up her file and smart pen, I thought, she’s probably already written their quotes and just needs to encourage them to agree.
I tapped out an email:
Dear Mr Jones. I have been liaising with a cake-maker who has created the attached design. It will complement my floral displays beautifully. If you are happy to proceed then I will make all the arrangements with her and deliver the cake at the same time as the flowers. Jenny.
Then I turned my attention to scanning the design, determined not to be defeated by technology every time I wanted to do the simplest of tasks. The printer started making noises and messages started flashing up on the laptop screen. So far, so good, I think. I didn’t want to take my eyes off proceedings so when the phone rang as Kim was walking past our counter I asked her to pick it up for me.
I’d intended to come to the phone and take over – professional as she is, I didn’t think Kim would be able to take a flower order – but, even after I’d pressed the ‘Send’ button, she didn’t seem to want me. After a polite greeting she said, ‘Sorry, she’s busy at the moment.… I’ll just check with her….’ And after a few seconds delay she said, ‘Yes, that’s fine, she’ll be waiting.’ And she hung up, smile on her face.
‘I’ll be waiting for what?’ I enquired, slightly miffed that Kim felt she could take control of my customers.
‘Shaun McArthur. He’s picking you up for lunch on Friday.’
‘It’s perfect, Jenny. I’ll rally round this morning, draft our objection then you can run everything past Shaun before we present it to his planning committee.’ And she waltzed out of the door towards Colin’s shop, happy that her mission was taking shape.
My insides were in turmoil. Lunch? This Friday? What would I wear? What would I say? Thankfully I was distracted by a ping on the laptop and to my delight it was a response from Mr Jones: Hi Jenny. Love the cake! David.
One problem sorted, one to go…
That evening I washed everything I owned so I’d have a full wardrobe to choose from. I forgot about my troubles for a few moments as I pegged out the washing with my new peg bag – quite chuffed with how this little project turned out! ◊
How to Make a Peg Bag
Here comes that salvaged curtain sample material again! I can’t believe what value I’m getting from it. I chose two pieces from the pink/blue range, making sure that the patterned piece didn’t have too large a pattern on it because the bag is quite small.
The main salvaged item this week is a small plastic hanger. This one came with a new bra.
I cut two pieces of plain fabric and two pieces of patterned fabric. Because this is curtain-weight I didn’t need any stiffener. You can make it whatever size you want but I chose to cut my pieces 33cm x 27cm. My hanger was about 30cm so I added 1cm for a bit of wriggle room and 2cm for seam allowances. I’d probably go with 33cm x 30cm next time to give me a bit more length, but it is okay as is.
The opening of mine was 16cm x 7cm but again, you can make this whatever you want. Draw your shape on the back of the lining fabric where you want the opening to be. I designed my opening to be above the centre.
Pin this piece of lining fabric to one of the outer pieces, right sides together, making sure the patterned fabric is the right way up. Stitch all the way round the rectangle shape. Here it is on the other side (where the thread shows up better!).
Cut a horizontal line through both layers and then make four cuts through both layers, one into each corner. Take care to get close, but not touch, the stitches.
Now, if you’ve not done this kind of opening before, I hope you’ll be delighted with what comes next. It’s a bit hard to explain but you need to post your layer of lining fabric through the gap. It may feel a bit awkward but just go for it!
Once you’re all the way through, it should look like this if you turn it over.
It’s a bit scruffy until you press it. Now it looks good!
At his point some people would stitch neatly round the gap about half a centimetre in. If I’d been more confident about getting this neat then I’d have done it but it’s okay as it is.
I find it tricky to work out how to sew all of the pieces together at this point so I laid it out, as it would be in its final state. The two pieces of lining material are inside and the two pieces of patterned material are on the outside, the correct way up, so now I have to turn it ‘inside out’ to stitch it together. See next steps.
Your front outer piece is attached to your front lining piece so they can’t get muddled up. Pretend your back outer piece is attached to your back lining piece and pick them up as one. Pin the two outer pieces together, right sides together, so the lining material is showing on both sides.
I marked the centre of the top seam so I could leave a gap of about 1.5cm for the hanger. And I used double the amount of seam allowance on this edge to ensure I didn’t have any raw edges peeping through where the hanger pops up. All other edges had standard seam allowance of about 1cm.
At this stage I trimmed the seams with pinking shears (keeping the top one quite large) and cut the corners to make it neater when I turned it right way out. Give it an iron to get rid of the creases.
Now it’s time to insert the hanger. You may need to flex it slightly to get it through the gap on the front of your bag.
And here it is – one new peg back to be proud of!
- If your hanger won’t flex, make sure the rectangular opening is a bit bigger than mine so you can insert it.
- Check the width of your hanger at the neck to decide how big a gap you should leave when stitching your pieces together.
- Plastic hanger
- Old curtain sample fabric
Hope you enjoy making this as much as I did.
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