In praise of fabric ‘lucky bags’

I have a great affection for ‘lucky bags’ and fortunately there is a shop not too far away from where I live (The Fat Quarters at Blackhall Mill in the North-East of England) which sells them.  I go at least twice a year to take a good look through the enticing bags of off-cuts, which are kept in a tall basket at one end of the shop.

Perhaps the phrase ‘lucky bags’  is reminiscent of the thin paper bags of sweets you could buy with your pocket money at the post office in the village where I grew up. They were known as ‘lucky dips’ and there was always the thrill of prising open the top of the bag  to see what you had got.

It is not dissimilar with these bags. Although they are sold in a clear plastic bag, they are tied at the top and you can’t be sure exactly what is within.  I do look quite carefully at them from the outside. It is very hard to choose from the different bags on offer. My rule is usually to pick a bag with some fabric in it that I would never normally buy! This means that I extend my range and allow the possibility of  being jolted out of using the same colours of fabrics – or choosing similar designs again and again.

As soon as I get them home, I wash them all by hand. I do this with every piece of fabric I buy (see why here). This is what my latest haul looked like all hung out on the dryer – that’s quite a collection.


As soon as they are dry, everything is ironed. This is actually a pleasure as I get a good look at each one. Here they are laid out to view, grouped by colour.

Lucky bags laid out on bed

I’ve written elsewhere (see here) about how I store my smaller pieces of fabric, so into the baskets will go all these lovely new pieces that might inspire me, send me in a new direction or prompt a particular design idea.

And speaking of colour, did you know that in my monthly newsletter, I include a photograph designed to inspire you to consider new combinations of colours? This was the photograph for September, prompted by elderberries growing in the hedgerow.

Colour inspiration for September, elderberries

If you would like to receive the monthly newsletter, you would be very welcome – just let me know.

As as for the lucky bags – do you ever buy fabric like that?


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