As I Walked Out One Midwinter Morning…

bag-detail

It’s a little ironic that as someone who loves sewing clothes, I have spent the past four years, walking around three times a day, wearing this across my body…

dog-walking-bag

Disgusting, isn’t it? It’s my dog walking bag and despite its sorry state, I’ve loved it dearly. Purchased from the brilliant Edwyn UK when Ella was a puppy, it really has been the perfect cross-body tote for dog walks. The fabric means it doesn’t slip around my body and hit Ella in the face when I bend over to put on her dog lead. It’s big enough for all the dog walking essentials – poop bags, hand sanitiser, tennis balls, dog treats, tissues – plus I can pop shopping in there whilst I’m out and about. Lots of pockets. Lots of memories.

But I started to glimpse myself in mirrors and saw how awful the bag looked. I’d happily have bought a replacement from Edwyn UK, but they weren’t making them any more. Which is why I didn’t feel too bad about reproducing it.

ella-bag

I bought half a metre of grey canvas from Saeed Fabrics and took apart the original bag for its hardware and internal pockets. On the suggestion of an Instagram friend, I even managed to rescue the original screen printed pocket to create an internal purse.

screen-printed-dog-face

My gorgeous velvet external pocket was made from a scrap of House Of Hackney velvet (remember this dog cushion?). A couple of hours’ sewing, and my dog walking bag was returned to full health!

It’s bizarre to have made something that fits so automatically with all my muscle memory of the past four years. I move to place my house keys in the exact same pocket at the exact same height. I reach for a tennis ball and know which corner of the bag it shall be nestling in. There shall be more muddy paw prints and torn corners, more cuddles on the bus as the bag is shoved around my hip. By the time this bag wears out, Ella might be nine years old. (Cue jets of tears spurting from my eyes as I type.)

I’m so very glad I rescued scraps and reinvented the original bag. Memories are truly sewn into the fabric of our days with items such as these. And now, I’m not sure I could ever bear a version of my life that didn’t involve a filthy canvas bag slung over my shoulder, a dog at my heel and a pub to walk to.

dog-walking-bag-ii

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29 Responses to As I Walked Out One Midwinter Morning…

  1. Sharon Gustafsson says:

    What a lovely blog and lovely bag. Enjoy x

  2. Lucky Lucy says:

    Awwwww, too sweet. You have given me a great idea. In fair weather we travel in a large motor home. My big black lab, Lucy, is always anxious to get out and walk. We have trekked every interstate parking lot dog walk from one end of the country to another. I tend to stuff my pockets with all the items you mention. Why, why, why did I not think of this? Great idea!

  3. Linda says:

    Lovely! I love that you kept the little pocket to make a little purse. I made myself a dog walking bag with canvas with little dogs on, but it’s not as nice as yours! I’ve been thinking of making one a bit bigger to carry essential stuff! You’ve inspired me. X

  4. Ann says:

    Great job! By the way my dog is nine years old and she is still wearing me out with her energy, so 9 is not necessarily so old — no tears!

  5. Juls says:

    Job beautifully done! Looks very pretty! 🙂

  6. Becky says:

    I have never considered having a dog walking bag. DOH! I’ll have to think about that. Your bag is lovely. Yes, those little pups insinuate themselves into our lives, don’t they? They are so good for us in so many ways!

  7. looloolooweez says:

    Ooh, pretty. What a great idea, recycling (upcycling?) the hardware/design of the old beloved bag. The little pocket purse with the dog print on it was a great idea too.

  8. Circus Mum says:

    Such a lovely idea! I love that you were able to save your precious bag xx

  9. PsychicKathleen says:

    What a brilliant idea! We all have things that we love and use everyday and hate to see the end of because they are almost impossible to replace – why not make it ourselves! Inspiring and lovely bag 🙂

  10. Jean Elwell says:

    Wow, you are an inspiration! I have a brand new puppy, and no beloved threadbare bag, so why not copy yours? Thanks so much!

  11. This is sewing at its best…stitching old and new memories together. Love it.

  12. lizafrica says:

    Great post as always – I do believe your blog is my very favourite one!!!

  13. SFord says:

    Love this! I use a cross body leather satchel complete with all the necessaries! I think every coat I own has supplies of poo bags, ready to use. My (very active) springer spaniel broke his leg 8 weeks ago and has had two plates and lots of bolts and screws. He has been on three, five minute walks per day since then and is getting VERY bored now! Roll on hydrotherapy and physiotherapy and when we can start to increase his walk times!!! I really miss the walks, even in the cold and rain!

  14. norma says:

    I have just thrown my dog walking bag away, so I must make a new one. Have to admit to stuffed coat pockets at present.
    Nine isn’t old – one of my dogs will be 10 in a few days but he’s still full of energy on his walks.

  15. What a lovely bag and how great that you wee able to recycle part of the old one. Doesn’t make it so painful to say goodbye to it then. You little purse is sweet. I love that House of Hackney velvet. You will be the envy of all the other dog walkers. Xx

  16. Neez says:

    Lovely bag, and the internal pocket is extra special. What an inspiration to just get off my chuff and recycle/make things I know I’m perfectly capable of doing.

  17. Kathy Lynch says:

    I love the luxurious velvet pocket on such a humble, useful item. May it accompany you & Ella on many wonderful walks. Happy New Year, Karen! 🙂

  18. Allison says:

    Looks great!!! May it serve you well!

  19. Are you allowed to take Ella into the pub for a drink? I’m in Australia and not sure we can even take a dog into the outside beer garden part of the pub!

  20. Anne-Marie says:

    That’s a beautiful bag and a lovely write-up. A couple of years ago I crocheted a large blanket from all my remnants of wool, and from remnants given to me by a friend who was leaving the country for three years. When she returned I showed her the blanket and together we found the different threads that reminded us of jerseys we had knitted – sometimes 30 years ago – for our children or for ourselves. I’m very fond of my beautiful blanket!

  21. Jo says:

    You have nailed that replica in a great colourway. Jo x

  22. Tracey says:

    So glad you kept the Ella face . I have rammed pockets on Ludo walks and my big learning has been snood/infinity scarf rather than one that dangles so that it doesn’t interfere with the essential bend dip scoop action……also you won’t get strangled by any bouncy dog pals who think it’s a tug rope.

  23. sewandsnip says:

    A great bag, love the little recycled purse, & a lovely blog. I always used a handy bumbag that had a bottle holder as well when dog walking. Sadly we lost our dog almost a year ago (he was nearly 14 but still a puppy at heart) but we are left with wonderful walkies memories.

  24. What an excellent idea! I have two dogs and, like others here, go dogwalking with pockets stuffed with poo bags, biscuits, phone, inhaler etc etc. In summer I have next to nowhere to put all these essentials so a bag like yours would/is going to be great! Thank you.

  25. esewing says:

    What a lovely post , a fab resurrection !

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