Last week we looked at clothes making from scrap fabric, this week it’s the turn of bags, purses, totes, pouches and all things you can stuff things into!
(I have to be completely upfront here: Rosemary has done all the heavy lifting on this post. My bag-making resume is sadder than sparse…it’s practically barren.)
I love making bags, lots of straight lines and no fitting! I mean, the pieces have to fit together, but if it comes out an inch longer than you intended, it’s no big deal. There are no scary FBA’s to do or anything. And here in the UK, with the recently introduced tax on plastic bags, handmade ones are bang on trend (err, did I really just type that?). Someone’s been spending too much time with the kiddos–busting out slang now…
There are a couple of approaches you can take to bag making. One is to start with with the fabric you have and go from there. “If I fold this piece in half, it’s about the right size to put X in”, or “I need something co-ordinating for the back”. Or, “this pieces is wide enough but too short, what could I piece it with?”. “Oh look, a jeans pocket, I could sew that on here.” And more power to you creative as-it-come types, but this approach terrifies me!
If this approach seams a little scary for you, (hand raised here…anyone else?), then the morsbag tutorial is a great place to start and they have loads of inspiring images and good motivation for getting going. (That website is fascinating, there are groups all over the world making and giving away these bags!) Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start playing around with sizes, adding depth to your bag with mitred corners, playing with pockets, decorating with trims, applique, fabric paint, screenprinting, the sky’s the limit. It really does seem like a basic bag is the best blank slate for using up all kinds of tiny bits as embellishments…
For instance, check out this bag entirely made from selvages, how cool is that (Sorry, I don’t know whose pic this is to credit them or link up). WOW, that bag is cool!
The other approach is to use a pattern. (Now you are talking my language!) There are loads of patterns out there, just search. Here are some of
our (lets face it) my favourites.
At the end of last year Sue over at Fadanista released a free Japanese knot bag pattern and over at the sew-a-long group we had great fun knocking these out, they’re a quick sophisticated make and ripe for embelishment and using up left over bits of precious fabric. (I’m embarrassed to say I still haven’t made one. But Rosemary has made them to use as gift bags. It’s a great colorblocking pattern.)
Melissa shared this wristlet pattern and tutorialwhich has a cool twisted tuck detail and is perfect for using up scraps.
Another favourite pattern of mine is Seamstress Erin’s Presido Purse pattern, which is just so large and useful – I call it my Mary Poppins bag. I have made this an embarassing number of times (2ce to keep, the rest as presents) and I’m quite the fan girl! It introduced curves to my bag sewing, upped my zipper game and has great tutorials. And all of the bags above are made from remnants, left over fabric, and in one case a cut up pair of trousers! It works well with thicker fabrics on the outer, such as home decorating fabric.
If you only have smaller pieces, check out this scrappy quilt panel tutorial – I used this technique to make the tablet cover above and just used fleece scraps instead of batting as I don’t quilt. It worked fine.
Looking for something a little smaller? I upcycled a pair of old trousers into a zippered pouch incorporating the back pocket. Here’s a tutorial for some even more gorgeous zippered pouches from scraps to get you started.
I have leftovers of boning, ribbon, velcro and some tent-red rubber-backed raincoating. Plus, I have lots of car trash. I need to make this car trash bag. http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2009/04/trash-bag.html
Drawstring bags make great presents for kids about to start school (or much bigger nieces who can’t find something large enough for their trainers!).
And, in a fit of madness, I sat up until midnight making personalised bags out of scraps as a more eco friendly alternative to the all pervasive party bag.
Oh, and on the not actually bags but still containers front, how about a purse/wallet?
Or storage baskets? (You could even use them to keep the rest of your scraps in).
But like I said before, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bag/tote/purse patterns, I’m sure you can find your own favourite and get busting.
We’ll be back next week with the last of our set of ideas, if you have any scraps left by then!
In the mean time, happy sewing!