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…
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.
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.
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.