49 In Creative Life

Canada 150 – In the Bag – Corktastic

I have the great privilege, on this cross-Canada tour of all things bag making, to feature the awesome material cork – brought to us Canadians by the lovely Sheri at MM Cork Supply!

Sheri is, of course, a wonderful bag maker herself.  I have long admired her work in the various bag groups.  She was making some stunning bags out of the new-to-me cork fabric for a while when she casually floated the idea to some of us Canadian bag makers about, maybe, perhaps, bringing it in for sale… My first thought? O.M.G.!  I was doubly excited to find out that Sheri is a fellow British Columbian so my shipment came fast and I found myself the proud owner of several gorgeous shades of cork. Cork I rolled up, unrolled and admired, re-rolled up and kept on my shelf for about three months…


Unlike many of the very talented crew on this Canadian tour de force – I am not a prolific bag maker.  I am, however,  prolific collector of all things bag-making related – fabric, interfacing, hardware, patterns, vinyl and eventually cork. I often find myself with more ambition then time so I slowly quickly amassed a collection of beautifully coloured cork fabric that I was increasingly having a difficult time finding space for.  I devoured the tips and tricks that other bag makers shared in Sheri’s Facebook group.  I admired the beautiful bags people were making with it and then one day…I finally popped the cork and sewed a bag.


So, I’m hear to tell you, do not fear the cork!  It’s not only delicious to sew with, it also adds a unique beauty and style to bags that is unlike any other fabric I’ve worked with.  A lot of folks compare cork to leather and vinyl – and while it does share some properties with these materials – it really is in a league of it’s own.

Sheri is enormously generous with her time and knowledge and answers loads of questions in her Facebook group and other bag making forums to help people in their cork sewing journey. Questions like:

  • Can I sew it on my domestic machine? (Sure! All my bags are sewn on my domestic Janome and vintage Singer)
  • Do you need to interface it? (No, but I do pair it with foam for very structured bags)
  • Where does it come from? (Cork is imported from Portugal)
  • What kind of needle should I use? (I going to say personal preference here – I use a Microtex 90/14 but experiment with what works for you)
  • What about the poor cork trees? (Cork is sustainable – harvested from cork trees every 9 years! It’s an environmentally friendly alternative to vinyl, a vegan alternative to animal leather and basically – like Canada – embraces all your life choices).


I hear people say that cork is a bit beyond their budget but you don’t need a lot to make an exquisite bag. A little goes a long way and cork can be used a gorgeous accent on almost any bag – from a contrast fabric, a strap or even just an cork tassel dangling from your beautiful bag.

And because I want to show you that a little goes a LONG way with cork, I’m featuring a lovely wallet by Canadian bag pattern designer and bag making supplier, Emmaline Bags! The Necessary Clutch Wallet, or NCW as it is affectionately referred to by it’s legions of fans, is a perfect match for cork. The main body piece of the wallet is about 16″ x 9″ so you can get a full outer body piece out of just one fat eighth of cork.

Emmaline has recently updated this pattern and it really is a perfect wallet.  There is a HUGE maker community for the NCW where you can get lots of tips, tricks and hacks to make your wallet even more uniquely you. Check out NCW Addicts on Facbook – among other communities – for loads of inspiration.

All the materials I used in this Canada 150 celebration NCW are sourced in Canada.  The two cork colours are red (main) and ocean (front flap accent).  Cork can be easily die cut so there are endless opportunities to create some fun, decorative elements. For the flap accent I die cut a maple leaf from the ocean cork and then backed it with fabric featuring my Provincial flower – the dogwood.  I used a fusible web to hold the fabrics together and sewed around it for reinforcement.

The fabrics are from the With Glowing Hearts collection by Grace Noel – sourced at my local quilting shop (happily as it’s sold out EVERYWHERE). Hardware is from Emmaline and Paccana, both in Canada.

I love the NCW as a practical, everyday wallet.  It holds a LOT! It will fit even the largest of phones in  front of the zippered pocket and includes slots for 12 cards (okay – I cheat and put multiple cards in each slot).  Although I like to carry a bigger bag for my bujo supplies, I often find myself just grabbing my wallet when I head out for a quick trip. I always add a wrist strap to make it easy to carry.  My mom carries an NCW with a shoulder strap and uses it as her only purse a lot of the time (though I think I owe her a new one soon..).


MM Cork Supply has a huge range of colours (the wallet above is in black with silver flecks) and even patterned cork to match all your favourite fabric collections.  Something I really appreciate about our Canadian suppliers is that they often work together to coordinate collections – whether it’s Bringberry bringing in metal zipper tape to match some of MM Cork’s popular colors or Sheri colour matching with fabrics from Tangled Blossom Designs – this spirit of cooperation is one of things that makes us uniquely Canadian.

This Snowdrop Satchel by Blue Calla (another wonderful Canadian bag designer) uses just the tiniest amount of purple cork – the last I had leftover from a well used yard – but you can see that a little goes a long way in a bag.

*CLOSED* POST GIVEAWAY! Thanks for making it this far.  Sheri has generously provided a cork sample pack as a giveaway for this post. Comment below and tell me the something surprising you keep in your purse that you can’t live without. For me it’s my Faber Castell pens(I always have about 10 colours with me). I will draw a random winner on Wednesday, June 13th (one week after this post goes live).

The winner is Valerie Zeiss!  I will be sending an email with details.

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


Giveaway Prizes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Canada 150 - It's in the Bag Sponsors

* Jewellery is the Canadian spelling.

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  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 6:18 am

    I really LOVE your Canada 150 wallet. I love your maple leaf on it. So beautiful. Well done!

  • Reply
    Rita Darlene Brown
    June 7, 2017 at 6:18 am

    Cork is something that I’m still wanting to try and your blog post about it reaffirms this for me! I love to make bags and since I am a Mom, the one thing I always have in my bag is tissues & hand sanitizer…LOL

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Great tips on using cork. Love your Wallet.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 6:38 am

    I’ve been eyeing this pattern for a couple of weeks now and I’m thinking that it really would be a perfect wallet for me. I’ve just gotten the fabric to make my first bag so this one is a bit beyond my skill at the moment, but I will get there for sure! As for something that I can’t live without in my purse…it has to be my Kobo. I never know when I’ll have to sit and wait a few minutes for something and I love always having a book available to pass the time. 🙂

  • Reply
    michelle trip
    June 7, 2017 at 7:04 am

    I love the reverse applique on your NCW! It looks awesome in cork 🙂

  • Reply
    Arlene Martini
    June 7, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Haven’t tried cork yet, although it is in my stash. I’m encouraged.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 7:45 am

    I always have a pair of little snippers with me, because you never know when you might need them! I L.O.V.E your NCW!! It is stitched so beautifully.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 8:09 am

    I loved your post! I too collect a lot more bag making supplies than I use. But I’ve made a few bags and I love them! I haven’t tried cork cork yet, and your post has inspired me to do that. Your wallet is gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Rose Lefler
    June 7, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I have been scared to use cork but the more I hear people talking about it and seeing all the gorgeous bags made with it, the more I think I have to try it.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 8:28 am

    I always have a 20 pence coin. There’s a story to it, and I would never leave home without it.

  • Reply
    Gina S.
    June 7, 2017 at 8:43 am

    I keep a pair of mini scissors in my purse, ya never know when you will need them.

  • Reply
    Fiona Kelly
    June 7, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Love all of your cork items but the NCW with the maple leaf cut out is stupendous! There are a few things in my purse I can’t live without… my small scissors, tape measure & tweezers! The tweezers are needed as our youngest loves to run around barefoot and always seems to get splinters but from now until winter I sometimes need them for picking off ticks {{{shudder}}}.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Your Canada 150 wallet looks so good! I love the maple leaf cutout and the cork fabric. I don’t really carry anything surprising in my purse but I couldn’t live without my notebook for shopping lists.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Love your wallet.. I am so intrigued by cork. I can see it as a future project. I keep dental floss in my purse.

  • Reply
    Valerie Zeiss
    June 7, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Just ordered cork and have been a little anxious about using it; thank you for relieving some of that anxiety.
    I always have a Young Living “Stress Away” roll-on in my purse. Don’t always need to apply it, just smelling it can bring peace and calm to those stressful moments in the day.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 10:27 am

    I bought one of Sheri’s sample pack. Love it. Your wallet is gorgeously beautiful! <3 <3

  • Reply
    Janice Regier
    June 7, 2017 at 10:33 am

    My must have is my Victorinox Classic Alox pocket knife , blade, small scissors, nail file ,screwdriver 2.5 mm, key ring, I can’t do without it !
    Thanks !

  • Reply
    Rosemary Griffin
    June 7, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I love the look of cork. You chose great colours for your projects. I can’t forget my eye drops!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Sewing with cork sounds intriguing and your wallet is very nice. I have a mini carpenter’s tape measure that my father gave me years ago in my purse and it has come in handy on more than one occasion.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Awesome blog post – I love the look of cork! i have one wallet with some of it as trim – would love to try it!!!

  • Reply
    Karen Christensen
    June 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I carry a tape measure so I can measure anything I want wherever I am. I love your wallet and your post on using cork. I love the look but have been on the fence about using it because of the expense.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    I put a loop in all my bags, and put a carabiner through it. My keys hang from it, so I always know where they are.
    I also have 3 or 4 lip balms, but that may just be a sign of addiction.

  • Reply
    Sue @ A Colourful Canvas
    June 7, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Your clutch is a knockout! So beautifully made!

    Hmmmm….can’t think of anything unusual that has to be in my purse at all times…but I love having my purse holder handy. Keeps my bags off the floor!

  • Reply
    Megan Smith
    June 7, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    MM Cork Supply’s cork looks amazing, what a great prize! In my purse I’ve always got a pair a nail trimmers.

  • Reply
    Kristin F
    June 7, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    I keep dog mace in my purse. I was attacked and bitten by a dog several years ago, so I like it for protection.

  • Reply
    Wendy Wilkinson
    June 7, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Love your wallet

  • Reply
    Wendy Wilkinson
    June 7, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Love the wallet. I always have my handy corkscrew tucked away you never know when you might need it

  • Reply
    Marsha Law
    June 7, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    That die-cut maple leaf is to die for. (Pun intended)

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Love that color combo!!!! Wow great job. Hmmm something in my purse???? Band-aid??? Haha

  • Reply
    Julia Martin
    June 7, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    You make a good case for cork. Another thing to drool over. I really like making purses but I don’t love using them. Give me something to carry my phone, drivers licence and cash/debit card and I’m good. I do however like to carry large project bags that could contain anything from knitting needles, a drop spindle, fleece or a hammer and various hardware, cause you just never know what you might need when.

  • Reply
    Barbara Kelly
    June 7, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Something in my purse that I can’t do without would be nail clipper. They cut the stray thread, embroidery floss for my hand sewing and even finger nails when necessary!

  • Reply
    Brenda Maxwell
    June 7, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    I have made some items with cork from MMCork Supply, and love how easy it is to work with. I don’t carry anything unusual in my purse, my Kobo is often in it. I do have a mini canoe paddle as a zipper pull on my current purse which I made for Canada 150.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Love the cork people use! Something in my purse…a tape measure.

  • Reply
    Jan N.
    June 7, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Your NCW is awesome! I have wanted to try the cork, but have been hesitant. Think I’ll just have to dive in and just do it.

  • Reply
    Carla M
    June 8, 2017 at 4:53 am

    Love the maple leaf wallet. beautiful. I cannot live without polysporin in my purse along with change for parking meters, a nail emery board (because its amazing how you can split your nails for no reason) and a small mirror.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 5:49 am

    I always have a fun little tape measure in my purse and they change frequently depending on new unique ones I find!! You just never know when you’re going to have to measure something!! I loved your article, and learning more about cork….something I hope to work with soon!!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Awesome NCW’s! I am intrigued by cork and am going to have to try it. I keep a tape measure in my purse.

  • Reply
    Georgina Stone
    June 8, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Love the cork, so many colours and styles. I carry dental floss in my purse.

  • Reply
    barbe price
    June 8, 2017 at 8:55 am

    You could be Me, lol I have a nice “little” collection of cork, i have plans for it all, but i am nervous of making a mistake with it, so for right now i have been working on my bag making skills and making “practice” bags. But next week i am cutting into my first piece to make bags for myself and my sister.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Thanks for your wonderful photos. Inspiration! I keep a small book in my purse that has 1/4″ grids just in case I want to draw a block design.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Super cute wallet! I would love a cork sample pack to play around with. I always have mascara in my purse. Gotta keep those lashes looking good!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    What a great wallet!
    I always have a plastic fork in my bag..

  • Reply
    Jenni L.
    June 8, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Thanks for the overview of cork, I recently been looking at it but was worried it was too advanced for me. I’ll have to give it a go! I keep a mini tape measure in my purse. I get the weirdest looks when I pull it out and use it, but it’s just so handy.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2017 at 4:20 am

    I can think of several uses for cork that I want to try.

  • Reply
    Swapna Eleswarapu
    June 9, 2017 at 4:27 am

    I doubt any of the content of my bags would be surprising… wet wipes, moisturiser, hand sanitiser, keys to cupboard at home, a pen… Oh yes, I do have a tiny figurine of Bastet I bought at the British Museum 🙂 I’m a cat person.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Lisa, that is the most stunning wallet I have ever seen!! It just exudes class & style! You are amazingly talented, I envy you.

    Regards to you and your fellow Canadians, have a superb 150th birthday in July!

    Best wishes
    York, England

  • Reply
    Judy Cooper
    June 9, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Your bags are marvelous. Haven’t tried cork yet.

  • Reply
    Sueann Walter
    June 10, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    I have bandaids of all sizes in my bag. The skin on my forearms has gotten thin and therefore tears very easily. I have bandaids on my arms a lot since I can’t convince myself to be less active and involved or wear long sleeves all of the time. 😊

    Your wallet looks stupendous . I have some cork just waiting to be used. Thanks for sharing your make.

  • Reply
    Sarah V
    June 11, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    I really love the ocean/red cork combo! I have a mini flashlight in my purse. It has come in handy quite a few times.

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