The Bag in the Bag of Bag Scraps

March 5, 2014

Not long ago, I came home from school pick-up to find a collection of bags on the front verandah.  There was yarn in one, machine knitted samples in another and fabric scraps in the other…refugees from a friend’s de-stashing. The bags got as far as the lounge room floor.

The next day, a few hours before kinder pick-up, I had a peek in the fabric scrap bag while uploading files which were taking ages…and ages.

IMG_1707Oh goodness, that bag was a treasure trove!  It was full of small scraps of Nicola Cerini fabrics.  Nicola Cerini makes bags and rugs and homewares.   Her designs often feature Australian flora like banksia and grevillea.

Nicola Cerini is a Melbourne phenomenon, a textile designer who was able to turn her fabrics into a sustainable, successful, international business.  She began by using her fabrics to make bags – hardwearing, utilitarian bags featuring blocks of beautiful screen printed fabrics.  

My first Nicola Cerini bag was a sample bought at her open studio sale in the late 90s.  It was all I could afford.  Later, when I was more grown up and financial, I bought a striking orange and red banskia bag from a real shop.  I wore it till it was so scuffed and worn, it looked more like an artefact than a bag.  You can see the fabric in this next picture.

IMG_1706As I waited for those files to upload, I pulled out more and more bits and fiddled around with them. So many of the fabrics, were designs I recognised and desired over the years.

IMG_1705Before I knew it, I was sewing pieces together and cutting up other bits.

IMG_1710The screen printed fabric was bonded to a heavy duty cotton canvas, perfectly prepared for making a bag.

IMG_1815I lined the bag with some sturdy Indian cotton remnants I had.


And the bag was celebrated with a trip to the market.

That bag of bag scraps had sat at my friend’s house for a few years. It would have sat at my house for years too, waiting for me to get around to making something with those really useful looking bits and pieces….but for the boredom of waiting for files to load, a few precious hours and that the bag just happened to be next to me.

IMG_1835Sometimes, creativity is just curious happenstance. It is the pleasure of doing something not on any list. It is the joy making something useful come into being from scraps.




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  1. Hi Rebecca
    Thanks so much for sharing your creative window of opportunity and the amazing results. I love to see what people do with my fabrics and the bag looks fantastic!

    I had a similar moment last week when I took time out from a frustrating IT issue and upcycled a Fibre Red woolen wrap top I’d been meaning to dye for a couple of years. (I’m sure Kim would approve!) It was a very pale bluey -grey and now it’s a deep grassy green. It not only gave me a new piece of clothing but also an unexpected creative moment. And, I decided to get a new Macbook as I dipped the wool in the dye. I’m sure these things happen for a reason!

    Have fun creating, Nicola X

    PS I can send you a pic if you like?

  2. That bag is gorgeous!! Amazing what you can do with a few solo hours and a bag of stunning scraps. Clever clogs as per usual.

  3. That is the most cheerful market bag I have ever seen! What a great job. And the greens are so vibrant! Can’t wait til Spring………..

  4. A bag of Nicola Cerini scraps is like finding treasure!! I’ve got 1 piece that I saved from a bag of hers that I used to death. You have certainly brought your pieces to life with your wonderful bag.

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