I now have 15 bags finished and/or nearly finished. The unfinished bags are just waiting for a button hole & button. Why unfinished? The buttonholer on my machine seems to be on strike. Not nice! I tried increasing the stitch size to compensate for the 2 layers of cotton and 2 layers of fusible interface the needle had to go through and it still keeps junking up. Argh. Any super crafty sewers out there have a suggestion? The buttonholer gets stuck at the backend of the process and makes a mountain of stitches in one section, repetitive in the same spot. Me and the seam ripper? We’re tight.
While I was making the bags….Penny kept trying to FLOSS HER TEETH with my string. Grabbed my camera is fast as I could…
Here are pictures of the process I use to make these bags. You can see these pictures MUCH bigger if you go to my Flickr account. Lots of people make these bags so I’m sure someone out there has a better explanation – and certainly better photography than me. Still, you asked…so here tis.
First and foremost…always use fabric that’s been through at least one wash/dry cycle. If you don’t, you’ll have a big mess on your hands if/when you ever want to wash your creation. Trust me on this one!
1. Pick out 2 cotton fabrics. It doesn’t matter what size, so long as they are trimmed down to the same size. The first bag I did started out as 2 pieces of cotton, roughly 12 inches x 20 inches each. You really just need a nice sized rectangle. Place the fabrics side to side on fusible interacing and attach/iron them. Fusible interfacing is about $1 a yard and it stabilzes the fabric and gives it some heft and structure. LOVE this stuff. See picture 1.
2. Fold the patterns towards each other so the pretty sides are kissing, know what I mean? Then, square off the corners so that you have 2 pieces of fabric that perfectly match each other in size/angles. Stick a pin in the middle so they don’t get wonky on you. See picture 2.
3. Using your hand, fold up one of the ends to see where you’d like to roughly have your bag fold up and the top fold down. Eyeball It, as my Mom & Dad would say. See picture 3.
4. You can do 2 different types of tops for the fold down portion, pointed triangle or rounded corners. I prefer the rounded corners. For the pointed triangle: Use a ruler and a pencil and make 3 dots. A dot on each side where you want the top to fold down and the 3rd dot at the top exactly in the middle. Then cut a straight line from the left dot to the top dot and another straight line from the right dot to the top dot. Making sort of like a roof line. If instead you want to do the rounded corners, use a drinking glass or something similar and draw the curve on one side of the fusible interfacing. You can later follow that line with your sewing machine to make nice matching curves. See picture 4.
5. Make sure to stick a few pins in your fabric sandwich so that it stays where it should. Ready to sew! Sew THREE sides only. Specifically, sew the left & right sides and the top, NOT the bottom. When you’re done sewing the 3 sides, turn it right-side out to see your pretty fabric. At this point it should look like a really pathetic puppet or a pot holder that will burn your fingers. Use your finger to push the edges. You could also take a quick press to them with the iron at this point, I didn’t. Lazy…
6. Time to attack your bottom! Using your index fingers, fold IN the bottom fabric and make a fake little hem, pin it to hold the fabric and then neatly sew straight across the bottom. See pictures above.
7. Decide which fabric is the interior and which is the exterior of your bag and fold up a portion of it. Top stitch around the whole bag. Keep this as neat as possible and go slow since you’re stitching through many layers! In the example below, the Amy Butler fabric is the exterior of my bag and the white muslin fabric (formerly a curtain!) is my interior.
That’s pretty much…it! You can now decide how you want the flap to stay closed…
You can either fold it in, sew in a button hole/button, use snaps or velcro. Whatever you’d like.
As far as sizes, like I said before, you can make the bags any size. I’ve made more than a dozen so far and they are all different sizes. Some will fit jewelry, others will fit things like dvd’s, books…a laptop, etc.
Hope this is helpful. If you make any bags please send me pictures! I would LOVE to see them.