Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Shopping Bag Tutorial - Part Four (final)

We are now onto the next stage of the shopping bag; making and attaching the bit so that we can carry our goodies home. I don't have any fancy gadgets to help me turn tubes of material and use this following method for all sort of projects.

Spray strap fabric with some starch and firmly iron the wrong side together lengthwise with raw edges neatly meeting. When you open the fabric back, you are able to see the centre crease along the length of the material.

With fabric opened up, fold the raw edge of the material to the centre and press. Do this to both sides.

Now fold the folded edges to the centre and press. Do the same with second strap and now the sewing will start.

Using my Blind Hemmer foot and needle position to the left, I proceed to sew down both sides of each strap. The straps are now ready to sew to the bag, but first we must hem around the top edge of the bag.

It is entirely up to you how wide you hem the top of your bag. My first fold was one inch and I tucked a 1/4 of that under then using my blind hemmer foot with needle to the left, I sewed all the way around the top edge then pressed.

I have measured and marked 2" in from all the side seams on the main body of the bag at the top. I have also measured 8" down on the outside of the bag for the strap placement, which will give it more strength, rather than sewn just to the top of the bag for those times when carrying very heavy items such as tin food.

Pin the strap so that the long edge meets up to the 2'' measurement and the narrow width meets the 8" mark. Tuck under about a 1/2" of the raw edge on the end of the strap as you see in the image.

Starting from the bottom of the strap and sew to the top edge. Once you reach the top, sew an "X" so that the strap is securely held into place. Continue then to sew down to the bottom and finish with a box, once more making a strong secure finish. Sew all ends to the bag and then you are finished...... or are you!?

Make it easier for the checkout person; add a loop: I nearly thought of making this another post but already so many photos; may as well add four more. :D

My daughter has also been waiting patiently for this bit, because she does not have a bias maker. All you need is an ironing board, iron and needle....can't get any easier than that! :D

For the loop I did not cut the 1" wide fabric on the bias, because it isn't necessary. The fabric is 41/2" long.

Folding the long raw edge to the centre of the fabric, hold it in place on the ironing board and weave the needle through the ironing board cover, as you see above making sure you do not poke the needle through the folded material. There is only just enough room for the fabric to move through when I pull the end of the material, so that area would not be much wider than 1/2"

With a hot iron, press the end as you see in the above image. Pull some more of the folded fabric through and press. Continue doing this until you have the length of your material folded and ironed to the centre. As you will see, you can make any width bias using this method.

As you did with the straps for your bag, fold along long edge so that they meet, press then sew. I sewed on both sides.

Attach to your bag, as you see in the above image.

A neater way would be to sew the ends of the loop inside the top hem when you are at that hemming stage, then sew back up along loop to the top to make it stay in place, but it really doesn't matter. A small zig zag stitch soon has the ends tidy.

Hint: For a very strong bag, making the straps long enough to go under the bag. Some of the goodies in the bag then would be actually supported by the straps, which would make the bag last longer. As you can see, it is really up to your imagination with what you can do with a very basic pattern.

Quick Links to making this bag:

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shopping Bag Tutorial - Part Three

My apologies for the delayed update with this tutorial. Now the silly season of Christmas is out of the way, I now can concentrate on editing the many photos that are a part of this tutorial. There will be more photos yet but I think twelve is more than enough for this post. My apologies to those on slow dial-up.

Why so many photos? This tutorial has been done with newbies to the sewing scene in mind. Don't forget to click on the images to see a larger view.

Because this bag is not lined, I decided that 'French Seams' would be much tidier and also reinforce the sewn areas so that they are much stronger.

If you don't know how to make a French Seam, you are about to see how it is done. The fabric is sewn with wrong sides together. Lay the fabric as you see it in the first image matching the centred narrow end of small short side panel to the centre of the long edge on the large panel.

Ops! I realised when sewing up this bag that only the bottom end of the smaller panel needs to have the centre marked. Oh well I am on a learning curve with making a tutorial..... says she blushing!

Now starting from the marked centre, pin the small panel to the large one. Take your time doing this as you are going to pin the large panel around the corner of the small panel. Pin all the way to the end of the top of the bag as you can see in the bottom left hand side of the above image. Pin from the centre to the other side so that you have the small panel completely attached to the large panel to form the side of the bag.

Note: I found it easier to sew with the smaller panel on the top side. You may find it easier to sew with the larger panel up. If this is the case, you will need to pin on the side of the large panel.

You will find as you pin the large panel around the corners of the small panel, it will be tight and not sit right, so snip about 3-4mm into the large panel so that the fabric relaxes and allows you to turn the fabric around the corner to continue on pinning. Look at the image above to see what I did. It is only one cut, I did not cut a square out.

Be sure that the snip on the large panel matches the corner on the small panel. Once the fabric opens up as you pin around the corner, the cut will open up forming that square that you see in the above image. Do not cut/snip the small panel.

This image shows you the small panel pinned to the large panel and is what you should have if you are making this bag. Well that is if you can follow what I am saying! :D

Taking a small 3-4mm seam, start sewing from the top of the bag and stitch around the three sides. You may need to lift the foot and gently rearrange the material in the corners when you sew them. I found it best to sew one stitch, rearrange the material and sew another stitch and so on. Be sure to catch both sides of fabric because it is easy to miss the underside. This is why I have used many pins.

Basting may also be helpful to those that struggle to keep narrow seams together. Can you see the corner that has opened up on the image above from that original snip? If you find that the snip is past the seam, don't panic as the next step will resolve it without any M&M's falling through the corner hole. ;)

Sew up the second side as you did the first one.

Turn the bag inside out and press seams...... I promise you will have no ugly seams after this next bit of sewing.

Now I want you to pin the bag again, but this time you will be encasing the first seam inside the next one that you sew. Make sure you pull the first seam out and finger press it as you pin so that you have the first row of stitches right to the edge that you are pinning. Once more you will be pinning around the two corners but will find it much easier this time. There will be no cutting into corners when you pin or sew. You will also see that you will be fixing any cuts in the corner that may have been made too long from the previous seam by sewing this second round.

This second seam will be made wider because it needs to encase the first seam so that it is hidden on the right side of the bag. Depending on what seam you made previously, I would suggest 5-6mm seam this time to finalise the 'French Seam'. If you have just sewn your first French Seam, Give yourself a pat on the back. I love to make this seam. It is very useful for joining material when making curtains... Eek and I am getting off track here now.

Sew the seam starting from the top edge around all three edges. Repeat for the other side.

Turn and press..... See no messy seams on the right side! :D

Please do come back again to see the final installment of this bag. All going well it will be tomorrow.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shopping Bag Tutorial - Part Two

Fabric Shopping Bag

Well I know in future to finish a tutorial so that I have the finished item on the first post or you won't know what it is all about.

Many years ago I did buy quite a bit of the Hambours Fabrics to make clothes for my family. The fabric for this shopping bag, as well as two other bags are products from that leftover collection that resides in my cupboard. The bags work out at $1.00 each.

I am the first to say this shopping bag isn't pretty but it is practical and most of all, cheap! No stripes or pattern match and at the time I really wasn't concerned about it because it wasn't originally for a tutorial, plus I wanted to get as many bags as possible out of the material. Hey thats another reason to finish a project before making it into a tutorial, not that the pattern is 'stripe' friendly.

I do have many photos to edit and post here so watch this spot for the final installment of this shopping bag.

Until then, happy sewing!

Edit: After completing this tutorial I am adding the following links to make it easier to find all posts for the Shopping Bag.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shopping Bag Tutorial

With plastic bags becoming a thing of the past I have been poking around in my stash of material from years ago and come across flannel material that I really didn't want to be sewing up into shirts anymore. Not wanting to waste this material, I am turning it into three shopping bags, two of which have been sewn up.

This is the pattern I am using with more to share with you as I sew up the bag (I hope I don't mess this up! :D). Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image. Also once you can see the larger image, if you use Ctrl and click on the + a few times on the keyboard, it should become larger again. This will help those that are on a slow Internet connection to view my images.

Until the next installment, happy sewing!

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Little Fabric Quilted Basket

My sister put me onto this little fabric basket and knew straight away that I would want one to put on my dresser in the bedroom. To be a little different I have added a fabric flower although I am not sure if it is too big. Those that have seen it in real life though do say it looks good. Also I purposely put the handles on the sides rather than the ends because it was the look that I am after.

I think it will serve its purpose of keeping odds and ends tidy on my dresser.

If you would like to make one yourself, the tutorial for this basket can be found at Pink Penguin

Note: I am very much aware how blogs can take a long time to load up for those that are on slow connections to the Internet. I am often in the situation myself when I come across a blog that has a large number of posts on their first page that I sometimes give up because of the images that seem to be never ending. I have used the medium thumbnail for my first image although may use the smallest one in future. Also I am limiting my post per page so that I can show you more images without slowing the loading page too much. I do hope this makes my blog a friendly place to visit for those on a slow connection.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hello from me to you

I thought it appropriate to write a little about myself in my first post.

It has been some years since I have done any serious sewing although in the past I did sew nearly every piece of clothing for my family. Well the sewing machine recently has been well and truly dusted off with projects already sewn up or items still in progress and I have enjoyed every minute of it abate feeling a little rusty.

My pride and joy is my sewing machine, which is a Bernina 1130. Old yes but very reliable, although sometimes I do look at the new machines like a kid looking through the window of a candy shop with no money to spend. Only because new machines seem to be geared more to crafts, especially quilting and 'oh those beautiful embroidery stitches'. :D

This blog at the moment is very bare although I do plan on changing that, so if you come across me please visit again, because there will be more to see as the weeks pass with images to go with my post.