Canada 150 — In the Bag: Popping the Cork

We’re celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial on July 1, and there’s a lot going on across the country. In fact, if you ever thought of visiting us, 2017 would be the year to do it because you can get free access to all the national parks for the entire year. Bring extra luggage because we are considered the second best country to live in, and you may want to stay.

But another important celebration flew by under the radar. A few weeks ago, Montreal, the city of festivals, celebrated its 375th with live performances, free public transit and a brilliant light display on the Jacques Cartier Bridge.

Montrealers love a good party and will use any excuse to host a festival — more than 100 times each year, in fact, and that’s not counting the minor ones. That’s a lot of celebrating. And in the midst of all the summer festivities is where I am with my computer and sewing machines.

The best laid plans… around here, you can be almost guaranteed they will get tossed over in favour of an impulsive idea. The plan was that I would only write the intro and wrap-up posts because I had enough to do with organizing and coordinating the tour. At the 11th hour, I hatched the thought, “Hey! I wanna sew too!” And that is how my cork got popped!

It wasn’t enough to do it all by myself, though; I had to implicate a friend. And that is how Amanda’s cork got popped!

Sample pack from MM Cork Supply

My sample pack of cork. Yummy!

It’s not as bad as it sounds. We had both bought sample packs of cork from MM Cork Supply and we both fell in love with the Cat-Eye Zippered Pouch pattern from Thread Riding Hood. (I know these two have already been covered by other bloggers in the tour, but I felt left out, ok??)

Sherri, the amazing blogger and designer behind TRH, gave me a PDF copy of the pattern, but Manda used the free online tutorial. She chose to go with all cork. My pouch was a hybrid of cork and fat quarters from Camelot Fabrics (also Canadian).

Camelot fat quarter

I only used the fanned 3

The only other difference in what we did was I used my little portable domestic Janome and Amanda sewed her pouch on one of the vintage workhorse machines in her brand new Atelier Fiber Arts. My little Cutty Kaye (that’s my machine’s name), fairly danced through two layers of cork plus 3 layers of fabric. (And that might explain why my stitching looks a little drunk. Don’t dance and drive, people!)

Manda wasn’t so carefree with her layers of cork. Here’s what she had to say about that:

“I first tested sewing through 4 layers of cork using my industrial Brother straight stitch because I wondered how well it would do, but it didn’t like it. The top thread kept breaking no matter what tension I tried, even presser foot tension. Next I tried my Singer 99K, a lovely old black vintie, but alas, it also didn’t like it. So I figured that a Slant-O-Matic is my last hope. I decided to try it on my 403A, and it had no troubles. Even when I had to baste the edges of the two front pieces down over the Fussy Cut piece, and then when I had to stitch the front to the back. That was 5 layers of cork! I turned the hand wheel manually just to be sure it did the job, but it was easy to turn. I am impressed with my machine.”


Manda’s cork pouch. Pretty, even topstitching.

As far as the pattern goes, we both agree that it was as easy as pie. Well, easier than pie because I’ve tried to make pie and there’s nothing easy about it. Ok, the pattern was nothing like making pie; it was as easy as eating pie. So easy, in fact, that Amanda is planning to use this as one of the patterns to teach in her beginner sewing class. (Maybe not with cork, though, Manda.)


Marsha’s half-cork pouch. Trust me to go off half-corked!

With all my rambling, you’d think I’d forgotten this tour is all about important birthdays. Happy birthday, Canada! Happy belated birthday, Montreal! A toast!

Everybody knows that once you pop the cork, you can’t put it back in the bottle. Now that I’ve had my first taste of the champagne of fabrics … speaking of champagne, I think I’ll go visit Manda’s shop with a bottle of the bubbly and pop yet another cork.

It’s your turn now. You know you want to pop your own. Think of that soft, buttery tree bark gliding under your presser foot. Have you tried cork yet? Are you still a cork virgin? If Sheri and I were to give you a sample pack of your own, what would you make with it?

Comment below for a chance to win an exciting sample pack courtesy of MM Cork Supply. On June 12, I will choose a comment at random. (This is a separate prize from the main giveaway; a little bonus for reading this far.) The giveaway is open internationally, but a winner outside of Canada may be required to pay the shipping costs.

So go on! Leave a comment.


Marsha Law Sig2

PS. See more about MM Cork here, and about Thread Riding Hood here.

PPS. Read more about Amanda here.

* Cat-Eye Pouch is available as a PDF for any donation, or as a free tutorial.


Each blog has an exclusive giveaway, so be sure to visit them all.

Tour Discounts

  • 10% off!
    Tangled Blossoms Design
    is offering 10% off anything in stock for the duration of the tour. Offer expires June 10, 2017. Use discount code HAPPYBIRTHDAYCANADA
  • 15% off!
    Bringberry Handbag Hardware and Design
    is offering 15% off anything in stock for the duration of the tour. Offer expires June 10, 2017. Use discount code LOVECANADA150

Tour Stops

(These links will be active on and after the day they are scheduled.)

June 4

Emmaline Bags

June 5

Tangled Blossoms Design  With Love in Every Stitch  Happy Okapi

June 6

Michelle’s Creations  Barabooboo  Soca Sewing

June 7

Glitter in my Coffee  Michelle’s Creations  Seam of my Pants

June 8

Seam of my Pants  Creative Roots Sewing  Happy Okapi

June 9

Seam of my Pants

June 10

Giveaway ends at midnight EDT (North America)

July 1


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Tour Sponsors

Please join us in thanking our tour sponsors by visiting their websites.

* Jewellery is the Canadian spelling.



  1. With a sample pack I would use it on Emmaline Bags NCW or Blue Calla’s Clematis

  2. Hey Marsha! So good! Thanks for featuring the Cat-Eye pouch so nicely. Looks amazing in cork. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m so tempted!

  3. Thanks so much for the comments on cork! I’ve been curious about what it’s like to sew with it. Your pouch is lovely!

  4. Kathy Koehler says:

    I am enjoying your blog. Thanks for sharing your experience with using cork – I think now I’m going to try it.

  5. carolyn montgomery says:

    i would love to try sewing this cork; thanks for a chance to win.

  6. Great post! I didn’t realize Montreal just had their birthday too. Wow. That is a city with history. Cork sounds amazing. One day…

  7. I’m still a cork virgin but I would love to try it – I’ve seen the bottoms of zippy pouches done in cork and they look wonderful. I have one wallet that uses cork and I love the feel of it!!! And the varieties of pattern and colours are great!!! I probably would try a wallet or puch with it first! thanks for the chance! churcae(at)auburn(dot)edu – a Canuck transplant!! :0

  8. Those pouches are so cute!! Gonna have to try some cork!

  9. I haven’t tried it yet – it seems so exotic, yet I’m starting to see it used in so many ways, and in so many colours and designs! I would definitely start with something small – an embellishment on a zipper or tote bag, I think … just to get a feel for it 🙂

  10. Super cute pouches! If I were to win, I would make several smaller window zip pouches for my DILs, sis, mother…and maybe one for ME! I have yet to try using cork.

  11. MoeWest says:

    I’m still a cork virgin but I want to try it. I think I would start with a cork wallet.

  12. Wow, that bag turned out really nice! I’ve been wanting to make a NCW with cork.

  13. I’m so excited by these cute little pouches in Cork. Already have my pattern, waiting on the cork (if I am so lucky). Planning on making these as gift bags for my girlfriend’s for the amber treasures I picked up while in the Baltic region for them. And heck, I want one for me! 😊

  14. sweet pouches, love the fussy cut feature. I haven’t tried cork yet, i have some waiting for me to be brave and cut into but i think once i do i will be addicted the colors and texture are fantastic. I’m new to bag making but i am already addicted to it so what’s another addiction to add lolol

  15. Arlene Martini says:

    Love the cork. Thanks for the chance to win.

  16. If I were to win a sample pach of cork, I’d be putting cork everywhere. I love to see bags, and give them as gifts. Christmas is just over six months away!

  17. I have not made anything with cork, nor have I even touched it, I have no idea what it is like. But I am very curious about it and would love to win a sample pack.

  18. Love your pouch and the cork! I got a sample cork pack a while back too…now all I need is a real place to sew and make a few more bags 🙂 your post inspired me!

  19. Pouch is so cute with part cork. I’ve not used it yet but have seen so many interesting examples. Would love to try the cat’s eye pouch first to get a feel of this lovely product.

  20. lillian says:

    Happy birthday Canada I would love to win some fabric I am new to sewing so I want to make something for everyone oh did I say I was enjoying it

  21. Rho Haroldson says:

    I would love a chance to try sewing with cork, always up for a new challenge!

  22. Very pretty, I haven’t tried cork yet and was very interested in the sewing machine comparison. If I do try cork, I will make sure to dust off my 401A.

  23. This is a really cute bag! I’m ready to make a few in lovely cork.

  24. Megan smith says:

    I love MM Cork Supply, Sherri’s stuff. Thanks for the chance to give her stuff a try!

  25. Kristin F says:

    Thank you for the great giveaway!

  26. Lisa Thibault says:

    These pouches are sew, sew lovely! I find cork sews well on most of my machines but sometimes I have to hand crank over the super thick sections. You did an awesome job!

  27. I’d love to try the cork. Thanks for giving us the opportunity.

  28. I have a piece, just haven’t cut into it yet. Next week!

  29. Great post Marsha! I haven’t made the pouch but need to. I did buy some cork but it is in a safe place… so safe I haven’t yet found it, even through packing … I could do with a sample pack I think!

  30. I still haven’t popped my cork!!!!! They’re so pretty, I look but then I can’t decide on what to get ahhahhaa. Love that Cat Eye Pouch it’s such a great pattern.

  31. I haven’t used cork fabric yet. My first project would be a phone case. After that I’d feel more comfortable using the cork with a bag pattern.

  32. Pouches are so lovely and I’d love to try cork. Thank you for sharing.

  33. Really wanting to try cork. All the bags I’ve seen on blogs using cork look wonderful. Thanks for the opportunity to win

  34. Linda Anderson says:

    I am a cork virgin and would love to give it a try! I loved the bag in the blog. Happy HAPPY birthday Canada 🇨🇦 From this American/Canadian. 😍

  35. Trying cork for the first time!

  36. I bought a piece of cork last month and I am scared to do anything with it! Thanks for sharing it was interesting! If I win I would be trying something new!

  37. Cheryl Miller says:

    I have not tried sewing with cork. Looking forward to it. I would make a pouch or a purse. Thanks!

  38. Would love to try some cork fabric for bags! I’d probably end up designing a special bag for it! 😀

  39. Treena Squires says:

    Wow beautiful

  40. Roberta says:

    I love the cat eye bag! I really want to experiment with cork for making wallets

  41. Jenni L. says:

    I’d love to have a sample pack of cork, I haven’t tried it before. I’d probably use it as an accent on a tote bag to start. I’d really like to make a full cork bag one day, I’ve seen so many amazing ones!

  42. I’ve got the NCW pattern kicking around, maybe I need to try out a cork wallet? And one for my mom & mil to, if it works out! Though I really like the look of the little pouch in this blog post…:)

  43. Love the idea of samples of cork to try them out! And, for the information about the free park admission during 2017 in Canada!

  44. Tiina Mikkonen says:

    I’ve used cork before, and I’m absolutely in love with it. I’ve been thinking of doing some wallets with it next, maybe NCW or swoons pearl…

  45. I keep drooling over Carla Peicheff’s lovely cork creations and would love to try some myself. I’ve tried to find it in Mumbai but with no luck so far.

  46. I’ve been meaning to try both Cork and the NCW, so that would happen! But your cat-eye pouch looks awesome too, so if there’s enough…

  47. Sherry McFall says:

    I just started with making the mini NCW wallet and a sample pack of cork would be wonderful to try.

  48. Sheila Hlushak says:

    Thanks for the fun read and I love the pouch.

  49. Brenda M says:

    Both of your pouches look great! I have sewn the Cat Eye Pouch (from TRH) and used Cork (from Sheri) but would never have thought to put them together.

  50. Stephanie says:

    Your cat eyed pouch is fabulous! The cork makes it ultra special!

    have a great 150th Canadian Birthday in July, best English wishes to you and all your fellow Canadians!

    York, England

  51. Melissa Layman says:

    I’ve always loved the Cat Eye Pouch, and all of these beautiful bags are inspiring me to want to try sewing cork. 🙂

  52. Donna W says:

    Great pouches. I have never used cork but think I should try it.

  53. Both of these came out really nicely! Love seeing the different colour corks too!

  54. I have not tried cork yet, but I want to. Cute little zip pouches to start with.

  55. Oooh! Phone case is a great idea!

  56. y0gasweetie says:

    I’m a cork virgin. I’d love to win a sample pack to play with!

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