Monday, October 11, 2010

a new drawstring bag from old jeans- kinda, sorta tutorial

Chinnu needed a new bag for sunday school. it had to have space for two books, a snack and a water bottle. I could just go out and buy a cute little bag, but then what kind of a crafter am I? ( One with tons of fabric in the guest closet, that kind).

So i decided to make a drawstring backpack. very simple, destri posted a tute to make one in 15 minutes
but did I make that? noooo. I like to make complicated things .

first, my favorite step.. browse the 'net for around 50 drawstring bag tutorials, read all of them, find out which ones have pictures, which ones have step-by step tutes, which ones look like the bag I want to make, etc etc(and read all the other tutorials on each blog, just for fun).
prudentbaby has a good one
noodlehead has an awesome tute with a zippered-pocket too
and of course, martha stewart has one

I started with the idea of making a denim bag. So, even though lots of cute fabric were waving and shouting from the shelves, I pulled out the 'mending' bin. (this is the bin that stores clothes that ponnu outgrew, but chinnu will never wear unless I cut them to half the width.) She had this really cute embroidered jeans that i think chinnu outgrew already, so i pulled that out,

Step 2...cut off the legs....

step 3. cut along the outer seam so that the embroidery was in the top corner.

Cut off the other leg and place it underneath, so both pieces are the same size after cutting.

step 4. The jeans had a slight flare , so I cut off a little around all sides (thru both layers) so it became a proper rectangle.

Now I have the two pieces, all it takes is to sew it up, right? Wrong. It has to have lining. It has to be a backpack- without buttons or grommets or anything like that. and, from my research(hem, hem) i know that denim will not gather much, so it needs a casing for the drawstrings.

okay, step 5. sew the bottom of the denim pieces( right side together), so we have a long rectangle.
step 6. Put it on the lining fabric and cut out the exact same shape. (it goes without saying that this is, in fact, The Lining.)

now, other people explain this way better than I do, so here is a picture.

so, i made the drawstring bag.

Now had to turn it into a backpack.
so i snipped the thread at the bottom side corners(wow. clear, much?),
inserted the ends of the drawstring at an angle and sewed it shut from the inside. et voila! I'm done!

heh heh. I totally ignored the directions for the drawstrings, thats because I just winged it. You can use rope, or backpack cording, or whatever you have.

I cut off (ripped) an 8" section from one selvedge to the other, (of the lining fabric, that is obvious from the pictures) folded it in half, then half again, cut it so i had two 4" strips. then cut it in half again so i had four 2"x44" strips. Sew two together end-to-end to get one loong piece, fold in both ends and sew closed like bias tape.

Now, I have the pocket of the jeans sitting idle.(no, the kids here dont like shorts.) I made a little wallet to take her tithe. just like i made it last year, with clear pockets.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

easy gathering fabric for ruffles

did you know that you can gather fabric without basting on a normal machine? just turn the tension dial to 9 or however high it will go, and sew with a normal basting stitch(longest stitch). the fabric gathers up like magic! you can control the amount of gathers by how fast you sew. (slowly, and you get light gathers, fast and you get thick bunched gathers.).

if you decrease the tension.. like turn it to 8 or 7, the ruffling decreases. You have to try this on a scrap piece to see how full you want the gathers to be.. you can adjust pedal pressure and play with the tension dial till you get the perfect fullness.

For most of the girly dresses i make, i set the tension at 7, sew the long straight stitch(basting stitch) to ruffle the skirt part, then turn the tension dial to normal (4 or5) and sew regular stitch to attach the ruffled fabric(skirt part) to bodice(top part).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Very easy bag

I made a bag last month. N1 wanted to buy a bag to take the big drawing book to art class. None of her other bags would fit this long book. like any self-respectng sewist, I decided to make her one. This is a simple book bag, just a long piece of fabric..

Easy instructions:
put book on  fabric , 2" from edge. Fold so book is enclosed and fold is the bottom of the bag. Leave 1/2" at sides and 2" at top. cut fabric. Take book out. Fold up, sewn on two sides, hem the top, attach straps. takes 15 minutes to make.

For those who like pictures, a tutorial can be found at ehow here , screenshot:

I took the prettiest pink i had in my fabric stash and made a simple appliq to embellish... a square of polkadot babypink, a length of satin ribbon for the N. just sewed on with a regular straight stitch. I pulled off a few threads from the square to give it a frayed look. Just big enough for her art book and color pencils case.

If you attach the straps lower, the top of the bag will naturally fall into the bag and make a closed look, because there is extra fabric at the top.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

sewing a bag

I made a tote bag. It is so easy, the easiest thing to sew... just sew 3 sides, box the corners, and then attach straps... like this
I bought the really pretty rose print canvas fabric from Daiso. it was a fat quarter and cost 7QR. the straps were from the same shop, thick webbing. I reinforced the bottom with iron-on interfacing and made the bag...

Turns out, I hate the bag... it is too wide and floppy; I think I should have used batting or something heavier. This big bag is not my style , though it is a really nice print. The problem is, I boxed the corners too big and so the bottom fabric cannot be seen at all. I had cut out the corners before bringing it right side out, so I did not notice this until it was too late… now I am thinking about giving it a deconstruction.
I browsed a lot of tote bag tutorials and this one caught my eye at HGTV . This was sort of like I wanted it, but it does not say where to put the handles. I love the look of the bag, but this looks too sophisticated. Will I be able to make it?
Then I found another tute at skip to my lou. Here everything had step by step photos and was the clearest tute I have ever seen. So I am going to un-sew all the seams in this bag and make a smaller tote.
Lets see how that goes.


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