Gardening in Style

What can you make with a metre of fabric? That’s the £1000 question and the challenge I have chosen to undertake! The fabulous people over at Hillarys Blinds are running their Country Crafts Competition. All the information can be found here.You get to choose from four gorgeous fabric designs, and they send you 1 square metre with which to create your project.

All the fabrics are lovely but I was struck by the impressionist pattern and colours of ‘Calluna Amethyst’. The description says that it represents the colours of heather – but it made me think of the pretty crocus that are in flower now with it’s shades of purple and gold. This got me thinking about the garden and I decided to make a practical garden tote bag and pocketed apron from my fabric.

gardening tote bag

gardening apron

The tote bag has pleated pockets on the front and back to store bulky items and flat pockets on the sides, with a roomy interior. I have chosen to use interfacing and a lining to add a bit more stability to the fabric, but this is optional. I used one handle across my bag as this helps to keep the bag upright, but you may prefer to make two (there is enough fabric in the layout to do this) and stitch one to the front and one to the back.

While working out my pattern layout I needed to be aware of matching the pattern around my bag and its pockets, and came up with this (you may find an alternative layout suits your own choice of fabric better) :


Additional materials required for bag:

3 metres bias binding

Approx 1/2 metre of Iron-on interfacing (optional)

Approx 1/2 metre of Lining fabric (optional)

(1 cm seam allowance included on all pieces)

Bag Instructions (apologies for the picture quality of the step-by-step photos, the lighting has cast a yellow tone to the pictures):

1. Cut pattern pieces for front, back, base, sides and pockets.

2. Bind top edges of all four pocket pieces using bias binding.

bag step 2

(If you are not lining your bag then omit step 3.)

3. Cut iron-on interfacing for front, back, base and sides and attach to wrong side of fabric pieces.

4. Find the centre of the front pocket and match to the centre of the front bag piece, aligning along the bottom edge (you will have excess pocket fabric on either side for pleating). Stitch vertically from top of pocket to bottom down the centre line. Pin the outer edges of pocket piece to the outer edges of the front bag piece and fold the excess fabric evenly creating two pleats on each pocket (allowing for a 1 cm seam allowance on outer edges). Pin or tack in place along bottom edge.

bag step 4

bag step 4


5. Repeat step 4 for back .

6. Align side pockets to side bag pieces along lower edge and pin or tack in place.

bag step 6

7.Pin or tack front, back and sides to the bag base, right sides together, and stitch together. Trim corners and seam allowance to reduce bulk.

bag step 7

8. Sew up side seams and trim seam allowance.

9. Turn bag the right way out.

(If you are not lining your bag then omit step 10.)

10. Cut front, back, base and sides from lining fabric and sew together as in steps 7 and 8. Place inside bag making sure that the seams and corners line up. Pin in place around top edge, and if necessary, trim to align with top edge of bag.

bag step 10

11. Bind top edge of bag (and lining) with bias binding.

bag step 11

12. Cut the handle piece and fold into three lengthways. Stitch bias binding flat on to the front, covering the raw edge.

bag step 12

13.Pin handle in place, lining the centre up with the stitched pocket seam on the front (turn under 1 cm to neaten edge). Stitch in place. Repeat on the back bag piece.

bag step 13

(If you would rather have two handles, repeat step 12 and stitch the handles to the front and back pieces aligning the ends with the centre of the pockets rather than the centre seam.

finished bag

gardening tote bag

Additional materials required for apron:

3 metres of bias binding

50 cm x 35 cm lining fabric (optional)

Apron Instructions:

1. Bind top edge of pocket with bias binding.

2. Pin or tack pocket onto apron, aligning along bottom edge.

3. Mark centre and stitch vertically from top edge of pocket to the bottom.

apron step 3

(If you are not lining your apron then omit step 4 and hem around the side and bottom edges of the apron and pocket.

4. Pin or tack the lining to the apron, right sides together, and stitch along sides and bottom edge. Turn right side out and press. Top-stitch around sides and bottom edge.

apron step 4

5.Cut remaining piece of bias binding in half and pin one piece to the top edge of the apron front matching the centre of the binding to the centre of the apron. Pin the other piece of binding to the back of the apron, matching to the first. Stitch all the way around the binding (top edge, ends, and bottom edge) to create the waistband and ties.

apron step 5

gardening apron

You are now equipped to go out into the garden in style – hopefully the sun will continue to shine so that you can make the most of your practical yet stylish accessories!




6 Replies to “Gardening in Style”

  1. I heard about the Hilary competition before. Love your bag. Looks great and I bet it’s useful. Good luck with your entry! x

  2. Beautiful fabric, I can see why you fell in love with it. Thanks for sharing your pattern for the bag and apron – they both look gorgeous and great for some gardening.

  3. This looks like a really strong entry and I love the outdoor shots they look very professional. Your sewing is always such high quality and inspirational – Good luck!

    1. Thanks Josie – I photographed them at the garden centre where I work (fortunately the sun was shining), plenty of free props to make the picture look good!! I’d love to win but I’m sure there are some great entries out there, it’s really hard not knowing what anybody else has made.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.