Monday, 21 May 2012

Making the Big Blue Bag

I Love my new big blue bag (even if S thinks it looks like it has been branded by IKEA because of the yellow and blue).

My Big Blue Bag!

The fold-away shopping bag my Grandma gave me.

As the basis of my pattern I used a shopping bag - it is a pretty cool bag because it folds up really small and fits into even my smallest handbag. Since the new rules about having to pay 5p per carrier bag at the shops it is really useful to keep a bag like this with you. I am really pleased that the Welsh Assembly has passed the new regulations about carriers. It is really good that everyone here is doing their bit to be eco-friendly by re-using canvas bags!

My Template

Anyway, I folded the bag in half and drew around it to make my basic template. I then added a few centimetres to the handle side to give the bag depth and a few centimetres to the top of the strap so that it will go over your shoulder easily.

Bag template on the fabric.

Next, I folded my lining fabric in half and laid my template out on it with the bag centre up to the fold. Unfortunately as I was using the leftover fabric from my dress the 'scraps' were not quite tall enough for the template. To fix this problem I had to cut the straps from another bit of scrap fabric. Doing this I had to remember to leave a seam allowance on both pieces so the strap was the correct length. Remember to make two bag shapes from the lining fabric.

I then cut two more bag shapes using the blue cord fabric.

Bag lining with darts

In the above picture you can see where I attached the extra fabric for the straps. You can also see that I chose to put two darts at the bottom. I basically just drew two triangles and made sure that they were positioned symmetrically on all four "bag shapes". This simply gives the bag some depth and looks really good combined with the extra fabric added by the bit I drew on the bag template on the outside of the straps.

Inside of one of the "outside" blue cord fabric bag piece with pocket

The next thing I did was add a pocket with a zip. I did this at the top of the bag outside piece I stitched the zip along the top and then to the pocket piece. I then used the yellow thread to stitch the pocket down - and in doing so it made a decorate stitch pattern on the outside (although I think I may go over this with yellow embroider thread to make it more defined).

Next, place the right sides of the lining fabric pieces together and then do the same with the blue cord "outside" fabric. Stitch the sides and bottom of each the bag pieces together. So now you have what 'almost' look like two bags!

The two 'bags' inside each other.

Turn the blue outside 'bag' the right way out and then place the blue outside 'bag' inside the yellow lining bag. So the right sides of the yellow and the blue fabrics are together. Sew up the top edges of the bag yellow to blue. Stop sewing about half way up the handles as you need to sew the top of them together and turn the bag inside out.

Where to sew the bags together

Cut a fringe into the the curves of the top of the bag so that the seams are not 'lumpy' when they are the right way out.
Cut a fringe into the seam

Next, turn the bag the right way out. Pull the bag out through one of the open ends of the straps. Be very careful that you don't damage or break the stitching on the strap as it is very easy to do.
Turn bag the right way out.

Now the bag is the correct way out connect the straps at the top seams- yellow to yellow and blue to blue on each side of the bag.  Now pin the sides of the straps together, tucking the raw edge of the fabric in.

Connect the straps at the top seams
and pin them at the sides
Again I used the yellow cotton to do the stitching. However on the finished bag the stitching is not very distinct so I think I will go over this with yellow embroidery thread (the same as the pocket). Plus, I think I will add a few decorations as the bag is rather plain - but I need to think about that.

The finished bag:

The finished bag

Inside out bag!



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