For a long time now I have wanted to make a reusable bag made from nylon and recently I did using a self drafted pattern.
I won’t go into the issues that plastics bags have on the environment as we are all know this. I will not be hypocritical I’m guilty of using plastic bags but where at all possible I try not to use them preferring to use my own bag/s. The reason for wanting a nylon tote bag in particular is confession I buy takeaway sometimes and I wanted a lightweight bag that was kind of waterproof that I could use instead of the plastic bags I normally get given for carrying my takeaways home. We all know takeaway containers sometimes leak or there is sometimes grease on the outside of them so I didn’t want a cotton bag that would easily stain I wanted a fabric that was a bit more robust and easy care. Earlier this year in a fabric swap I picked up some nylon so it was a good way to try out my idea without having to spend money on fabric (save money wherever you can)
I had a rough idea of the base measurements I needed for the bag, on previous takeaways I had mentally measured the size of the container (on one occasion I think I held a tape measure of it) Once I decided on my base measurement square I just worked out the height of the rectangles for each side. I added ½” seam allowance to each side on all my pieces and cut out all my fabric. The bag is double thickness so made of 2 bags then stitched together. I’m sorry I am totally unorganised and have misplaced the actual measurements for all my pieces… I’m not good at this blogging thing am I 🙂
For the handles I cut them from some leftover side rectangle fabric, from memory they are about 16″ long. I made them in the usual fashion of folding them quarter folds and top stitching them closed before attaching them to the bag. When I was originally cutting the fabric I thought I could get it entirely out of the pink fabric so I cut my pieces double thickness. When I discovered I wasn’t going to have enough and would have to use both fabrics instead of cutting a base out of the khaki fabric I used the second pink one I had. It adds a pop of colour to the bag. To add strength to the base of each bag I did use a triple stitch when attaching all my pieces to each one, this gave it that bit of reinforcement. For the sides I just used a regular straight stitch.
I am really pleased with how this bag turned out. As you can see I have road tested it and it holds the takeway containers well. I thought I had made this maybe a fraction too big but it actually turned out better to make it larger as it was easy for the vendor to put the food in easier as they weren’t struggling to get the containers to sit flat in the bottom of the bag. They were happy that I had my own bag to use. This actually seems to be my go to bag at the moment since I finished making it a few weeks ago. I have used it shopping, to take Christmas gifts to the post office that would otherwise be awkward to carry. I have brought nylon now and I will make this bag again in this size but I may also make it from cotton as it is great size. It is big enough to hold everything but not too big.
In my last post I talked about fabrics that I thought might be a skirt but I know won’t, the denim fabric used on this project bag falls within the same category. I picked the piece up at a charity shop last year. It measured about 50cm wide x length of fabric, I wanted to make a skirt from it but there was no way I could unless I added other fabric to it. When I was rearranging my storage area and culling fabric I came across it. I couldn’t let it ago so I decided to make a bag from it.
The pattern I used was Essential Wristlet by Dog Under My Desk. I have made this pattern a lot now. I used the enlarged size that I made my rose bag and toiletry bag with. It is a nice size and holds a lot. Because of the thickness of the denim I didn’t use any lining in this bag. It does have a few dimples but for the most part there is enough structure in the denim for it to hold its shape.
On the inside I used some leftover fabric I again found in my stash. I used this fabric on the binding on my first ever blanket. As well as liking hearts I am a big fan of stars so I really like the combination of this bag having both. It is a stiffer quilting cotton so again works well to hold its shape. This fabric does soften a lot once it repeatedly washed and used but in a project bag you are not going to wash it a great deal. I added a simple little pocket that wasn’t lined or interfaced. The purpose of the pocket is so you have an easy place to stick a crochet hook or row counter, small notions you don’t want to lose in the bottom of your bag or get caught on things.
Within minutes of this bag coming off my sewing machine I was already using it. I am delighted that I have used the random piece of heart fabric that I came across in a practical way. No more sitting in my stash it now holds my little projects with a purpose.
Last weekend I talked about how I have lost my sewjo and maybe what I needed was to spend some time at my sewing machine working on something simple, well that’s exactly what I did.
There was so many projects I thought of doing but I ended up making a drawstring bag. Drawstring bags are very practical for me as I can always use them. In my stash I found some fabric already washed and ready to go. Earlier this year I brought what was remaining on the bolt of this button print fabric. I had no idea what I would do with it but I knew it would get used somehow. The bag is a little longer than originally planned as when I was cutting it out I forgot to trim the length down that’s ok because it still very usable.
The bag is fully lined in the same fabric as are the casings and drawstrings. The casings and drawstrings were very easy to make. For the cases I folded the raw edges in 1/4″ and slip stitched them closed by hand. I attached them to the bag with a triple stitch to add strength. To make the drawstrings I folded the raw edges into the center to enclosed them and top stitched together.
I am going to use this as a project bag for my knitting. It will easily fit a couple of balls of yarn, needles and a project in there. I can see myself making a lot more drawstring bags for knitting on the go bags in the future. I think I mentioned it before but I use a canadian crutch (forearm crutch) to walk with, when I am knitting out and about I often hang my project bag off it or if I have a backpack on I hang my project bag via a clip I have. Drawstring bags are perfect for this. Next time however I don’t think I will make fabric drawstring instead I will just use ribbon. Also I may not bother lining the bags instead just doing the seams on the overlocker. These two changes will make the bags lighter.
I actually feel like sewing again so I think my sewjo is back!
The built in wardrobe where I store the majority of my dress fabric and yarn has been bugging me for a while, it had gotten way out of control. I’d get something new and just dump it in there. At times I’d move one thing and everything would fall out. I had some non craft stuff hanging in there and the big white box is my finished gift box. At times this had so much stuff on it I wouldn’t even bother trying to get in it I would just put the next finished gift on top… I know what is the point of having the box then if I can’t get to it.
The middle blue tub is where I stored all my wool I use in WIRES pouches so I was forever going to it to grab another ball. That was a nightmare to get into as I would have to try to open it without toppling the pile of things that surrounded it. Just by the weight of everything the lid had broken and I was almost cutting my hand as I was pulling the yarn out. I may of even pulled yarn out through the crack in the top which wasn’t good but it worked kinda…
Something had to be done as it was making going into the cupboard not fun. Recently in a facebook yarn group someone showed a picture of some new storage boxes that Kmart has that are stackable and flip open at the side so you don’t have to remove the lids to access the contents. Yesterday I measured my space after checking out the dimensions online and today I picked up 3 containers. I cleared out everything from the side space and the containers fit perfect. The bottom one has all my cottons that I use for dishcloths. The middle one has WIRES yarns as they are all 100% wool. The top one is my everything else yarn. There are half a dozen cottons in there but they will be made into a scarf. I’m currently venturing into new different types of yarns so they are all in there. If I run out of space in there I can’t buy more yarn so an incentive to start knitting and crocheting!
As I moving my fabrics about I was looking at each one and thinking if realistically I would use it or not. I culled a lot of fabric from my stash. In October Sydney Spoolette’s are having our Spring Fabric Swap day and this lot will taken to that. Some of it is offcuts that I know I won’t use again. Some of it is fabric I purchased new but it isn’t screaming make me into something. Some of it I have brought second hand or gotten at previous swap days. There is no point of it sitting in my wardrobe when it might be perfect for someone else.
I noticed as I was sorting through was I had a lot of things in plastic bags. I only have one thing in a bag now and that is a set to make a tank top everything else I took out of the bags. These bags will now be sent back to my local supermarket tonight for recycling. I think I am less likely to use it if it still in the bag. Another thing I have to remind myself just because it is blue doesn’t mean it has to come home with me. I have both some yarn and fabric that I don’t really need and I know the only reason I’d gotten it was due to the colour.
The wardrobe is better now. I culled some other non craft stuff from it. I’ll be honest and say it is not ideal but for the time it will do. I basically have the fabric stacked in the open container that used to have the WIRES wool in it. On the other side of the room I do have some fabrics in containers but I don’t really want to put the fabrics in containers in here as I know I will never bother to go into them. The fabrics I do have in containers are really specific like fleece or felt. All the stuff in here is dress fabrics – some knits, some wovens, some heavier fabrics. If I am going to make clothing this is the pile I am going to head too. I can still access it all in here. Maybe I might look to see at some point if I can fit some narrow shelving or something in there but for the time being this will work.
Now I just need to get my sewjo back and start sewing again!
Polka Dot Pup is based on Madame Sausage by Ric Rac. I have had this pattern in my stash for a number of years but never got around to making it.
I say Polka Dot Pup is based on the pattern as I haven’t done it exactly like the pattern. The pattern has little Miss wearing clothing, I used polka dot fabric I found in my stash instead to create interest, had I just chosen a plain fabric I think she would still looked ok. This polka dot fabric I was finding hard to use in any project so it was good to use it in this. Sadly little Miss sat in pieces for weeks (or maybe a month or two) before I recently had a deadline and finished her. It didn’t take long to stuff her and attach her arms. I think she is rather cute looking.
Did I learn anything from this project? Yes don’t put off doing the finishing a project. Had I not put her aside once she was assembled I could have had her finished in no time. I suddenly put myself in time pressure to finish things for a deadline when I didn’t need to had I finished them in the first place. Sometimes I have the attention span of a fruit fly and jump from one project to the next but that sometimes (ok often) means I don’t get projects finished. I think I need to stop and refocus and finish things to the end so I get them completed and off my to craft list.
I have mentioned before I have an owl loving niece. I’m always looking out for new owl patterns so I can make her a different one each year. Sadly this year the pattern I chose wasn’t working for me so I put it in the naughty corner and this little guy came to the rescue.
I made this pattern for this years Softies For Mirabel toy drive. The pattern is Simplicity 1549. I found this fabric in my stash and thought it was perfect. The fabric is very crisp so it holds its shape for the toy well. I really like how it is the same print but in the contrasting colours, the print isn’t too distracting either. Once again I added pellon to inside the wings as you don’t stuff them. For the face I thought she needed lips so I added pom-pom trim and for the eyes used flat front shank buttons.
Sewing wise this was a really easy toy to whip up as the pattern pieces are very simple. If anyone is after a really basic soft toy pattern this would be a great pattern to get started on as there not too many pieces or difficult construction. I am sure I will make this toy again.
I have made another Funky Friends Factory Platypus. This is a really great pattern as it is very straight forward.
When I first thought of making this toy I imaged it would be purple and yellow. I’m not sure why I wanted this combination maybe I was thinking the colours would be a nice contrast to each other. I poured through my stash finding suitable fabrics and hit the jackpot. You need less than 2 fat quarters to make her. Once again I put pellon in the feet on both sides just to give them some texture as you don’t stuff them and the pattern doesn’t call for you to line them. I wanted eyes to stand out so I found some in my stash, I have never done red eyes before.
Once again on its own I thought it need something else so I made her the V Stitch blanket. I tried desperately to get matching yarn but the yellow they had in the shop looked more like a dark mustard/brown and not yellow so I went with pink and purple instead. You can never go wrong with purple and pink when making gifts for young girls.
Miss Purple Plattie has arrived at her new home and is settling in nicely.