Carry on Cahoning (bag Part 2)

So, if you have a cahon that needs carrying and have prepped your fabric, next you need a plan, right?

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My orginal plan was quite literally back of the envelope. The zip down front, for easy cahon insertion and removal, rucksack straps and quilting all stayed. The pocket got ditched (the cahon is so bulky you really don’t want any extra sticky-outiness) as did the idea for a drawstring top and fold over flap. After much musing I decided that drawstring tops and zip down front are inherantly incompatible.

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My bag consists of a squarish base piece, a front piece, a main piece that wraps around the other 3 sides and a lid. After cutting my pieces to size, I sewed the zippers onto my front piece. These are separating zippers, because that was my only option locally, later I hand stitched just above the base to make them into non separating zippers.  The wrong side where the zipper is attached to the bag is is bound with some extra wide bias binding.

Next it was time to attach the other side of the zip to the main piece. As I happened to have the salvaged fabric from an abandoned broken tent lying around (as you do), I cut off some strips (already with one edge bound in black) and used them to make a facing for my zip to help keep the rain out that handily bind my raw edges at the same time.  I sewed the zip to the right side of my main piece (teeth pointing inwards), then flipped the fabric over and sewed the facing to the back (aligning the raw edges). Then I folded the zip so the teeth were now pointing outwards and my raw seam allowance was at the back, flipped my facing over my seam alowance, covering my zip, flipped back to the front side and topstitched everything into place. (Nope, I didn’t pin either. #sewingdangerously).

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Then the front and main pieces were sewn to the base. The same pale green extra wide bias binding that you can see is also used to bind all the raw edges on the inside seams. There is also a flap of tent fabric at the bottom too, for extra weather proofness.  (Sorry, I have completely failed to take a decent photo of it, you’ll have to use your imagination).

Once the main bag was assembled, onto the straps. I wanted them quilted, to add padding, so rather than sew a tube and turn it, I pressed a centre fold into my strap piece, pressed the seam allowances, quilted some batting in place, attached the webbing to the bottom, folded it up and topstitched everything in place.

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Then I could baste the straps in place to try them out. At this point there is a grab handle in between them at the back, that later got moved. Oh, and I should mention that the bottom of the adjustable straps had already been sewn in place when the main piece was sewn tot he base. (And those sliders are reclaimed, all rucksacks die eventually and when mine do I salvage all those bits and put them in by Box of Useful Bag Bits. Those things are really expensive if you buy them new!).

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Last up the lid, which is sewn into place on three sides and then has a flap that goes over the front. It doesn’t need to lift off, as the whole front unzips. I used more tent salvage to bind the top of the front piece and the flap of the lid before sewing the lid in place.

The lid fastens in place with a magnetic bag clasp (this I did  buy new). I managed to get one part into the facing of the flap before sewing it down, (with a little rectangle of fleece offcut for extra stability), but for the bag front I attached it to a patch of denim and sewed it in place.  I didn’t fancy trying to get the clasp through the quilted front, and if I did I was worried that the holes would fray. (The patch has some classy red nail varnish acting as fray stop, which you can just make out around the clasp. Oh well.)

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The grab handle is some ribbon threaded through another reclaimed bag bit and sewn across the centre of the lid. I thought this would be more stable for lifting a bulky item like a cahon than a loop behind the straps on the back.

So now, finally, months after I started, LSH has a bag for his cahon. Woot woot. I will try and get you an action shot update once dance out season is underway.

Of course, as soon as a certain someone saw the cahon in its bag he had to put it on his back. I foolishly mentioned that it was nearly as big as him, and so he had to test it out.  He’s just slightly too big to have it zipped up.

Now this monumental project is finished I’m not sure what to do next. Something simple to clense my palate maybe.  In the meantime, I may just stare at it a little more….

Cahon Carrying – Part 1

“What is a cahon?” I hear you cry.   It’s a box that you sit on and drum with a hole on one side.

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A cahon can also double up nicely as a seat/table when camping. Can you spot it?

How do I know this? Cos last year Long Suffering Husband (LSH) bought one because even though I have manage to severely curb his string instrument purchases he is still addicted to buying instruments for Essential Morris Dancing Reasons (EMDR).

It flat packs, for easy carrying. I even found LSH a tote bag we already had to put it in (one made by yours truly way back when).

But life in our household is never that simple. Next up LSH acquired a foot pedal for said cahon (an essential accessory for all those who want to Drum ‘N Strum). And then he decided he needed to carry his amp around too. The amp will fit inside the cahon, but not in the bag alongside the cahon. So, the need for a specialist cahon bag was established. And that is when the fun started. ..

First up, the fabric. Good little stashbuster that I am, I suggested that I use a denim from my stash that I bought online yonks ago and never used, as when it came it wasn’t quite expected. One side is orange, one side is yellow, both quite in your face kind of shades. My thought was that the orange side would show the dirt less, but LSH preferred the yellow, because EMDR meant the ideal colour for the bag was green, and yellow was closer to that.

In the end I screen printed it, due to mental wincing at how much a light yellow bag would show up the dirt. First with green squares (the screen from the boys trousers), and then with leaves over the top (oak leaves would’ve been better, but the sycamore screen I had was deemed acceptable and suitable autumnal colours were approved).

Next up, high on my previous quilting success (and with the left over batting burning a hole in my stash, plus some left over burgndy polycotton, which was ok’d for the inside), I decided to quilt it. First the base (which I didn’t bother to screenprint cos it will hardly be on show much). It came out quite nicely, if I do say so myself, with a grid of inch squares mimicing the squares screen.

Then, I waxed it, to make it more weather proof. Thread Theory have blogged several times about Otter Wax. I was intrigued and this seemed the project to try it out on.  I couldn’t get Otter Wax in the UK so I used Greenland Wax instead, as it seemed to be very similar and surely Greenlanders must know a thing or two about making things water proof? The whole family had fun using a hairdryer to melt it into the fabric (we really know how to have fun in our house) and then dropping water on it to check out how well it worked. (That last pic, bottom right, shows the difference between untreated and treated fabric, impressive eh).

And then I tried to quilt much larger piece that would be the sides. Despite basting it in place all properly, it started slipping and my lines wouldn’t stay straight and Morris Dance Out Season (yes, there are seasons, like in Sportsing, they dtend to practice in the winter and inflict themselves on entertain the public in the summer months) was over, so it got Put On One Side.

Some time later, when LSH requested it be finished for his birthday, it got mentally moved up the To Do List When he started complaining about having to lug the cahon to and from practices dropping hints about Buying A Cahon Bag, I a) cursed him for fooling me into making one when you could buy one and b) resolved to finish this one so as to not have wasted all the effort so far. I didn’t quite manage it for his birthday, but close enough.

Anyway, for Quilting Attmept 2, with a fresh pair of eyes after several months break, I decided to ditch the regular squares, that made any deviation from the plan show up as a glaring mistake,  and instead adopted a more random approach, which I called “aim for the biggest gap” and that took the pressure off. I also took the executive decision to ignore any creases that had been sewn into the fabric. So don’t show this post to any Proper Quilters.  Finally, some shoulder aching time later it was done. Well, except for the bit when I realised I didn’t have enough fabric prepped for the top and had to print, wax and quilt another bit of cloth. Which, with practice under my belt and a smaller piece of fabric, came out much better, but left me resolved Never To Quilt Again.

Next up, an exciting How The Bag Was Made From the Painstakingly Prepared Fabric post. Bet your excited now, eh?

Triplets

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Production line sewing, three bags, made from three canvas remnants from my “bag stash” that were bought from my local fabric shop.  Two to be gifted this week and one spare.

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The broad stripes lead nicely to a little playing (and you gotta have a pocket, right?).

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These totes are pretty roomy and have nice thick straps to help spread the load.

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Plus the ubiquitous mitred corner. Oh and solid colour base, cos white would not be practical!

Hopefully they will all gets lots of use.

The Next Generation

This young lady associates my house with sewing for some reason! Usually it’s monsters, but today hand bags for teddy bears. One to keep and one as a present for her cousin (she’s getting ready for Christmas already). I was looking after her for the morning but she asked to stay for the afternoon too so that she had time to sew!

Of course, The Girl had to do some sewing too. She designed a handbag for herself, complete with star on a ribbon hanging down, you saw this new trend here first! The star was cut from the reflective band on an old cycling vest and she drew around a pastry cutter for the shape. The pocket, I confess, was my idea, but she embraced it, and my mitred corner suggestion.

I even managed to knock up a quick bag myself, a little too quickly perhaps (the pocket isn’t quite centred and the ribbon, while very cool and matching, is probably too thin for straps).

All in all, quite a productive afternoon.

Arrrghhh

Today is the last day of term, then we have one day to pack and sort out and then we’re going away. I do not feel organised at all. On the sewing front I have a pair of trousers cut out to make and take and a half made t shirt. On the campervaning front I’m a feeling in quite a bit of trepidation about the whole traveling thing. My friend has just started a blog prior to journeying around Europe with  her 4 kids, which has made me feel in equal parts inspired and completely disorganised in comparison, so now I’m busy printing out car bingo and downloading podcasts from the BBC before we go.

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I did however run up this bag last night for The Girl’s teacher, the fabric just screamed “tote” to me when I was in the shop. It has a denim bottom, mitred to add depth and is lined in red polycotton with a patch pocket inside. I really rushed it and it’s not quite as good as I imagined (I didn’t have enough webbing for my plans for a start), but I’m still pretty chuffed as it looks pretty professional.

 

 

Anya The 3rd

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What do you do when someone returns some fabric you offloaded gave to them with extra’s?  I gave a friend the two fabrics top left last summer as potential pockets for a skirt and then all of this little lot turned up in a parcel (whilst I was trying to have a sort out no less).

 

Merchant and Mills Union dress.  It started off life as a skirt.  Then I decided it had to be a dress, but made a mess of the button holes.  The button panel fabric is courtesy of prolificprojectstarter - used with many thanks!  Finished today, but started in 2015 :-):

I’m pretty sure that this placket (no sniggering at the back there) is all she used it for too so I must’ve got back nearly all the stuff I gave her.

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Well I can’t stand for that sort of nonsense. How’s a woman supposed to reduce her stash with that kind of thing going on? (She’s even just joined the stashbusting group at my suggestion, this was not what I had in mind).  So I did the only logical thing I could in this situation, I made her a bag with the fabric she sent. I reckon it’ll nicely match her Merchant and Mills dress don’t you think?

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Another Anya bag no less. All from stash, mainly the left overs of my skirt that she’d returned, but also some bits of my old jeans for contrast, one of LSH’s old shirts for a lining and some snazzy bronze piping that I think I might have actually properly installed. Oh and some bias binding to help me eek straps out, finding a big enough piece of fabric to make the straps as directed always seems to be my biggest headache when using this pattern to scrapbust. It was a straightforward make, apart from having to unpick things as I’d sewn a strap on twisted.

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Oh and I made sure I filled it with a little something extra before returning the fabric to her. That’ll learn her.

 

 

A brace of Anya’s

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So, all that thinking about making bags reminded me that I hadn’t made the Anya Bag pattern up yet that I won before Christmas. It was a condition of winning that I blog a bag within 4 months, but, you know the drill, all opinions are most definitely my own.

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I had a plan to use this to make something for my friend (as I’m not really into handbags), but that idea wasn’t with scraps. Now Zoe herself says this bag is a great scrap buster and as I know that she is into reducing the impact of her sewing and as I had just posted all about sewing bags from scraps, I thought I really should have a rootle in my scrap bin for something appropriate to try the pattern with. What I found there was some left over cerise boiled wool from making a Princess Anna inspired cape   – perfect.

There were two little problems I found when cutting out. The first was that it was, err, oh so very very pink. Extremely pink. I felt it needed breaking up a little. So I had another rootle and found some more boiled wool scraps, green this time (from a waistcoat for LSH) and improvised a little leafy design. It came out rather well if I do say so myself. As the boiled wool won’t fray I didn’t have to worry about finishing edges or even sewing them down. I just cut the leaves out, tried some arrangement, pinned when I was happy and then sewed them freehand on my normal sewing machine.

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The second problem was that I didn’t have a big enough piece of fabric left to cut the straps and by this stage the bag was looking quite smart so I didn’t want to piece some together. Instead I bought some from my local fabric shop. There was a limited range of colours, so I chose navy, which matched the print on the lining.

The lining wasn’t techincally scrap, but it did come in a bargain bundle of fabrics and I’ve never been quite sure what to do with it. It’s perfect for a lining though, pale yet interesting, and the tree’s inside match the leaves outside.

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Next up, bag number 2, for my friend, who is not really a pink kind of person. I was quite happy to make 2 in a row as this is a fun, quick pattern and I also wanted to see how it looked in different fabrics. This is my Zombie Apocalypse version with a blood splatter velvet pattern on a soft drapey denim. This time, the outer is new fabric, and the inner uses scraps, red for the yoke and white waterproof lining fabric for the inside (which was hell to work with).

So, pattern review then.

PDF: short and sweet (4 pages), taped together easily, full marks.

Instructions: very comprehensive, lots of photo’s, in fact, I was finding them a bit too detailed, then I found the condensed 1 page version at the end which was just what I wanted. So something for everyone. Full marks again.

Difficulty: Fairly easy, there are pleats, curves and an optional buttonhole (but you could use a secret snap/popper) and all well explained so I think a beginner would be fine with this but maybe not as a first project.

Pattern drafting: Good, everything matched up tickity boo.

Trickiest bit: The button tab, surprisingly. My first attempt ended up a little wonky and unsymmetrical and it was really noticable. So then I traced the stiching line onto my interfacing before ironing it on and used that for a guide which worked much better. Oh and the buttonhole, but me and my machine aren’t seeing eye to eye with buttonholes at the moment, on a different machine that would be fine (and you can leave the tab off).

Overall: I got two very professional looking bags that don’t particularly look home made, especially the boiled wool one. What I didn’t get to do is add a pocket (I’m a bit of pocket addict), the pattern doesn’t have one and I couldn’t think where to put one what with all those pleats.  This pattern is great for using up leftover fabric and there’s lots of scope for playing with contrast fabric and decoration (piping along the yoke seam? or maybe ric rac bumps sticking out?).

Make again? Maybe, as I said, I don’t really do handbags, but if I wanted to give one as another gift this is a quick make.