FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Friday, 8 January 2016

Handmade Xmas - Orton Bag by Merchant and Mills

by Fast-Momma

My Mum-in-Law is pretty in love with snails. She has those giant snails as pets. So when I came across a Riley Blake cotton that was covered in a colourful snail print, I knew it would be perfect for her.

I've long been a fan of Merchant and Mills. Their patterns, their fabrics, the haberdashery items, the whole aesthetics of their brand, I just love it. I'm desperate to try out one of their patterns for myself, but have always had other projects on the go. One of my goals for this year is to sew a Merchant and Mills pattern for myself. I will cut it from some of their delicious linen, with a pair of their awesome tailor shears, and use their glass-headed pins...hmmmmm. Anyway, I, when I found out that Merchant and Mills have a free pattern on their website for the Orton bag, I was well happy and knew I could put this to some use.

The Orton bag is an oversized shopper, with short straps made to fit snuggly on your shoulder. I really like this type of bag - it's easy to use, can fit a load of stuff in it, looks stylish and can easily fold away for safe keeping. Who doesn't love a reusable shopping bag, especially one that's fashionable (and especially since the plastic bag tax came in!).

The pattern is extremely easy and straightforward to use. The bag came together really quickly - in about an hour. My next one will probably be quicker than that, as is always the case when reusing familiar patterns. I love that you only need a metre of fabric to make one, and the size is easily adjustable, so you can make them in a few different sizes to shake things up a bit. The only thing I added was some reinforcement stitching on the bottom corners, just to hold everything in place really. This is the triangle shape stitching that you can see in the picture below.

This is a great project for a beginner, and I think they make great handmade presents. If you have a lot of friends and relatives to gift to, you could make them a bag each, from a fabric that's individual and matches their personality, and you have a satisfying project to sew that is straightforward with no stress, and you end up with some very thoughtful gifts.

Have you made an Orton bag yet?


  1. Love my snail bag loads and it has been filled several times since Christmas xx

  2. Love my snail bag loads and it has been filled several times since Christmas xx

  3. Nice fabric although I refuse to buy anymore until I make a serious dent in whats down the cabin :-)

  4. Like that, will have a go at one; am sure I can find some fabric ;)

  5. Oooh that's lovely :) may have to make one when i find a nice fabric :) x

  6. I have an owl one, but not home made


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