Archive for the ‘Handbags’ Category

Grocery Bags

The first two grocery bags are finished and are on their way to be filled with groceries.  The first bag was sewn in the same way the paper grocery bag is put together but that was a huge hassle and took all day to sew.  The second bag was sewn in the fast tote-bag style with the bottom corners sewn across to square them off, plus some topstitching down the side folds, and that was so much easier and looked much better.  I love it when that happens – the easy way wins! I got the spouse to model the bag which is pretty much exactly the size of a brown paper grocery bag.

DSC01051When my daughter was here to pick up the bags, she said they should have a piece of cardboard or something like that on the bottom so the bag would keep its shape.  I suddenly thought of all the plastic cutting boards I had bought at IKEA a few weeks ago, so we got one out and cut it to size.  The cutting board was big enough to make two of the bag bottoms.  Here’s the product name:
DSC01054I cut the insert about 6 1/2″ x 11 1/2″  (I measured the bottom width of each bag because they vary a bit) and put it in the bottom of the bag.  I rounded the corners so that the plastic would not poke through the fabric. Cutting the plastic is easy to do since it cuts easily with scissors.  Here it is in the bag:
DSC01052The removable insert keeps the bag looking crisp and square and is washable by hand if some grocery item leaks on it.  It has to be removed before you put the bag in the washer and dryer, especially the dryer because it could melt all over the dryer drum.

Now I need to make a few bags for myself, and then I will continue in my effort to never ever pay for a grocery bag.


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Christmas Sewing

Some years I have sewn a lot of gifts, but not this year.  The only thing I sewed this year was a Christmas shirt for my husband.  His Christmas shirt had to be Christmasy but not too cutesy, so the hunt was on for the proper fabric.  Here’s what was eventually chosen:

DSC00943It has a navy background so will work with his navy flannel shirt if it is too cold for short sleeves.  I finished it up yesterday and hope to get a picture of it on him next week.  While shopping for other novelty shirt fabrics, this one also came home with me:
DSC00944Before I fell back into shirtmaking, I was busy making a handbag for my MIL.  She had asked for one a few months ago and drew out the size she wanted.  I managed to finish up the bag so that she could get it on her birthday.

DSC00941Here it is half done.  I put in lots of pockets and a zipper under the flap for safety.  We measured the strap on her to get the right length.DSC00942The bag is made of black denim, but I wanted it to be easy for her to see what was in the bag, so the lining is a light color.  The pockets are lined with scraps from the Route 66 shirt I made my husband.  I don’t have much of a picture of the finished bag, but here is one of my MIL carrying the bag downtown when we were on our way to the church Christmas concert:

Night Of The Christmas Concert At The Presbyterian ChurchYou can barely see it in this picture, but she obviously likes it, so mission accomplished.

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This poor bag sat around unfinished for months and months because of the thickness of fabric layers where the straps are attached to the bag.  My machine wouldn’t handle it so it needed to be stitched by hand with a lot of strength and a hemostat to pull the needle through.  The fact that it is finished is the result of a really good Korean drama I was watching.  I needed something to work on while I was watching the episodes, so now I have a finished object.  In case you are interested, the drama was The Greatest Love (also titled Best Love).



It’s hard to see on this print, but there is a pocket on the outer flap, pockets across the body front and back, and an adjustable strap.


The bag is lined with hot pink sheeting and the pockets are trimmed with bias cut from the print.  It’s been so long since I made this that I can’t remember what kind of interfacing I used, but I think there is a combination of interfacing and batting.

Well, scratch another UFO off the list.  This week I have been altering patterns and cutting out a few tops from my enormous stash of royal blue knit.

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Denim Bag Progress

Making bags is not hard but there is a lot of prep work.  So far, I have interfaced, applied batting, sewn on the velcro closures, sewn pockets on the lining, and made the strap:


The bag looks like it is going to be rather big, but you can’t really tell until it’s done since the seam allowances make a big difference.  Here’s a view into the almost completed lining:

DSC00256This is the first time I’ve thought to add pockets to the gusset  panels on the sides, but they should be handy for a hairbrush or small bottle of lotion or hand sanitizer.  It’s been way too hot to sit and sew in the afternoons, so the bag is progressing slowly.  Once I finish up the bag, I’ll be able to see if I like the size or not, then I can shrink it or rethink the pockets for the next version.

At my last visit to the thrift shop, I found three lengths of vintage doubleknits.  I like these for their bright colors and indestructibility.  I make tops out of them, and they always look fresh and crisp.  They don’t work in steamy weather, though, but here in California that’s not much of a problem.


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I was in the discount decorator fabric store two weeks ago and saw this fabric on sale.  My little niece  adores the book and is in that pink-and-purple stage, so I got a yard of the fabric and sewed up this tote bag for her.  The bag is lined with some yellow denim-type fabric.  The measurements for the bag came from a canvas Trader Joe bag that was hanging on the sewing room door except that I shortened the handles a little bit to fit her smaller hands.  The bag isn’t really as lumpy on the sides as it looks, it just photographed that way.

There needs to be  a tote bag for my nephew, too, but I don’t really have many manly embroidery designs for the pocket, so I will have to look around and see what I can find.  I have some nice denim that would make a good tote bag for a little boy.

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Butterick 5367 Bag Finished

I like the size of this bag, it is ginormous.  Here are a few pictures to show the size, one with a ruler and my hand, and another of the bag draped over Betty:

I gave the bag heft with a layer of quilt batting, and the lining bottom is interfaced with Peltex, and the outer fabric bottom is interlined with more batting.  Here’s a view of the inside:

You can see how I made rows of stitching around the oval bottom piece on the lining, and I also stitched the outer fabric bottom.  I used the strap pattern piece unchanged as to length, and I think it is a very good length and fits well over the shoulder, which is how my daughter likes to carry her bags.  This pattern is a good one, and seems to be well drafted.  You can always tell that when you try to inset a piece like the bottom oval into the constructed bag -will it fit, or will it be a colossal hassle to sew?  In this pattern it fit very well and was relatively easy to sew.

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Green Handbag

I know I said I was tired of making bags, but that wore off, and I like sewing the heavier stuff on the resurrected Kenmore sewing machine.   My daughter, A, chose this fabric, and I am using the same pattern as the orange bag I made for M.  Once again, I changed the handle to go from side to side.  I have already cut it out (yesterday), put in the lining zippered pockets, and started the other pockets.

On one of my recent projects, I tried out an iron-on batting.  It did not work out well for me, and I am left wondering how on earth you can iron on batting without squishing it flat??

I finished the apron, but still have to take a picture of it.  M likes it, so it will soon be off to a new home.

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