Split Personality Bag

This bag is a gift for someone. I don’t think she reads my blog very often (or ever!), so I’m probably safe posting it here, even if I haven’t given it to her yet. To give you a hint it’s for someone who is the subject of an upcoming holiday.

This pattern is the Split Personality Bag from the Straight Stitch Society line, which is another line by the brilliant Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S and Lisette. As usual this pattern features all kinds of neat details. First, the bag is completely reversible. There are no exposed seams anywhere either. I couldn’t quite visualize how it was all going to come together, but sure enough, it did. The instructions are detailed and helpful, just like O+S, but they do have a different, slightly ‘sassier’ tone. Did you ever think pattern instructions could be sassy? I do kind of wish that the patterns were available digitally though, as these little things are the perfect candidate for being printed on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet.

Split Personality Bag - Side 2

So in case you couldn’t guess from my introductory paragraph, this bag is a gift for my mother. My mother is more of a fancy, Prada-bag type, but I think she will appreciate this for those summer Wednesday afternoons sipping coffee at Cafe Artigiano with the grandkids.

I’m always interested when I read about mother/daughter crafting duos, or women who learned to sew or knit from their mothers. I’m pretty sure 99% of crafting bloggers had a crafting mother or grandmother. My mother has (I am not exaggerating) zero interest in doing domestic crafts. She did sew a lion costume once for my brother’s school play, and did so entirely by hand as we didn’t have a machine. But aside from the odd button, that was probably the last thing she ever sewed.

When I made P one of his first pairs of pants, she said “Oh, so he will be dressed like a little hippie.” When I asked her if she was interested in taking a tote bag sewing class that I’m teaching she said, quite frankly, “No.” When I reminded her about my year-long challenge, she just said “Not for jeans I hope.” The hippie pants are still fresh in her mind I guess.

Split Personality Bag - Side 1

So crafting is not her thing. And maybe it will not be M or P’s thing either. But I do think she has a little bit of admiration for all the crafty stuff that I do. She bought me a “learn-to-knit” kit when I was six or seven, and my first sewing machine when I was 14. I think I’ll see her using this bag, at least on her grandkids days, which is once a week. She takes very good care of my two little people, even when they’re cranky, or have terrible stomach flu, or are just in the midst of a toddler tantrum.

And just in case she doesn’t like the bag, I’ll take her out for brunch too.

Zippy Bag

Nothing fancy here – just a little zippy bag to hold my knitting supplies or a small project. On the front is a wee pocket to hold all those pesky accessories, like stitch holders and markers.

On the back is a little vertical pocket to stick an extra pair of knitting needles or circulars into. Put a little embroidery thread across the top for a fun embellishment.


I find I mostly knit on the bus, and too many times I’ll reach in to my purse to grab it and find it’s come loose from its needles. So it gets its own little portable pocket. P tried to co-opt this right away for his toys, but I hung on to my own bit of selfish sewing.


Have abandoned the Christmas quilt in favour of other diversions for now. I realized last weekend that I had this urge to use my Heather Ross fabric. I love love love this print of girls playing with horses. I mean, little girls in cowboy boots? Adorable. I wanted to use the fabric on something I’d see often, and its weight made it perfect for a bag.

Oliver + S Backpack

As usual I relied on Oliver+S. The book has a pattern for a penguin backpack, but when you leave off the penguin details it’s just a regular backpack pattern, with all the usual attention to detail – lining, an inner pocket and so on. I only made one modification which was to make the straps narrower. That change was made simply because I had several 1-inch D-rings for some reason, and I wanted to use them as strap adjusters rather than having to buy something else.

Here’s a picture just showing the inner lining, which is Oliver+S fabric. A lovely woman named Robin showed me how to blind stitch properly on my flight back from our sewing workshop, so the lining looks totally seamless.

Oliver + S Backpack

And here’s Miss M shunning the bag in favour of one we got 2 years ago as a birthday gift. Which is too bad because the brown and pink coordinates much between with her outfit. Oh well.

Oliver + S backpack

Of course what’s good for the goose is good for the gander (or vice-versa?), and I couldn’t make a bag for M without making one for P. He was certainly far more appreciative and impressed. He was especially taken by the zipper, and proudly told his daycare provider that: “My mum sewed this!” I might even love the fabric here as much as the horses – those Echino cars are adorable. The blue is some Sew Lisette fabric I ordered from Joann’s about a year ago.

Oliver + S Backpack