As I mentioned earlier in the week, Husband is taking me to Carmel. As all good ladies know, when going on vacation, you absolutely must look put together.
So first I made myself a new, casual necklace (more on that here), and now I have made myself a new bag.
You see, I wanted a bag to carry my camera, snacks, sweater in case I get warm, and other things that I may pick up. But I also wanted the bag to be stylish, and not look like I was necessarily going to the beach.
I found the perfect bag on another blog, Say Yes to Hoboken, and say YES! I did. I started with a trip to the fabric store.
The store was having a sale for the fourth of July, and many of the fabrics were already marked down. I found a yellow and white striped fabric, but it was for outdoor use. Oh well, I thought, that will make it more durable, and stand up to the elements. Then I found a grey cotton fabric that had a similar weave to the stripe, and it was marked down 30%. I got one yard of each, and a new roll of all-purpose white thread. At the register, I got 15% off my total purchase, and handed over just under 13 bucks for my spoils.
I’ve heard you should pre-wash all your fabrics before sewing them because they will shrink. My outdoor fabric? It was dryclean only. I figured it would just shrink a lot, and after, I’d be able to wash it again, so I tossed it, and the grey cotton into the wash. When they were finished, I had learned something. You should wash unfinished fabrics in lingerie bags to prevent unraveling. It was like Weazer was inside my washer. I lost nearly 2 inches of fabric on my grey cotton, and that dryclean only stuff? It shrunk an estimated 30%. I still had plenty, though.
I ironed, and then cut my fabric into 20×20 inch squares. To do this, I pinned my stripes onto my grey, and measured. Then I set to slicing. Unfortunately, I was at my dad’s house, and had forgotten my scissors. His were like chewing through the fabric with my teeth. Heck, my teeth may have done a better job. But I got through, and once I returned to my own house, I set to sewing.
I unpinned my panels, and then repinned the striped fabric with the right-sides facing in (the future outside of the bag). Then I stitched down the sides. The instructions had me turn the seams to the center of the bag, and then stitched the bottom.
Then the instructions said to measure in 1″ on the corners, and stitch a straight line. I wanted a larger bottom bag, so I did some pinning, and looking, and settled on 3″ in.
I pressed the corners down to give myself a nice straight line to stitch down. And that ruler? I found it at my Dad’s, and I love it. Sure, it wasn’t made for little wives sewing, but it’s solid, straight, and folds into a 2.5″x8″ bar. Great portability.
After the stitching was done, I opened the bag to check my job, and then trimmed the excess corners.
The steps then have to be repeated for the lining fabric, in my case the grey cotton, except I messed up. I forgot to turn the grey fabric so the seam went down the middle, but it ends up that I like the lining seams on the sides, even though the outside of the bag has its seams down the middle. I love serendipitous moments.
So I now had a bag with a lining, but they weren’t attached, and I wanted a pocket to put smaller things, like my phone or keys, into. So I folded my grey fabric, to get an idea of the actual size, and did some measuring. 8″x8″ inches seemed like a nice size for my pocket, so I broke out my drafting supplies — might as well use my architectural education for something.
I cut out my pocket square, and took it to my ironing board. Since my fabric unraveled easily, I decided to fold and iron my top hem twice, so that the raw edge safely protected inside the fold. Then I ironed it all down. I used to never iron when I sewed, but then I realized that ironing holds the fabric in place, and saves you from having to pin so much.
I then stitched two rows of stitches to hold down that folded edge; it is my top edge of my pocket. I then folded and ironed the three other sides, and pinned it on my grey lining fabric.
I decided to divide my pocket in half, so I ran a line of stitches down the center.
Instead of doing the logical thing, and sewing my lining and outer fabric together, I decided to make my handles. Call me scared to put it all together.
To make the handles, I veered from the instructions a bit. I had some white, woven fabric on hand, left over from hemming my curtains, that I decided to use for my handles. The instructions called for 20″x5″ strips for the handles, but I didn’t have that much fabric. I only had 3.5″x20″. Oh well. I folded my fabric in half, and stitched two of the side. I then flipped my tubes inside out, so that the hems were on the inside. I then ironed the heck out of them.
I measured my handles, and pinned them. Then I folded the handles, and ironed some more. And went back to the sewing machine. I sewed the handles between the pins. The original blog said that this woud make the handles more comfortable to hold. I like that it looks more like a professionally made bag.
Finally, I decided to bite the bullit, and sew my bag together. After stuffing the lining into my stripes, I folded the striped fabric inside, and then the grey fabric outward, so that the excess was sandwiched between the outside and inside. Once I had it how I liked it, I ironed again, and then trimmed the excess fabric off (nearly 2 inches from the grey lining). I did anotherr two-row stitch around the top of the bag to attach it all. I then hung it on a chair and started supper.
You see, I’m not a fast seamstress, and it took me all afternoon to do what I did.
When Husband came home, he saw the bag and was really impressed. I glowed.
What do you think?
Ok, so I haven’t attached my handles yet, but I will, and I will use a stitch that forms a box with an X to make them secure and strong.
What do you think? Have you made your own bag before?