Monday, July 5, 2010

Baggy Ideas

These are pictures hubby took of one of my favorite bags--it's really a big size. For several years it was used when going to hydrotherapy. Holds a lot of stuff!! Now, it's being used to store some WIP's--non-quilting types, but mostly sewing things. I wanted to put it on here to illustrate how I make bags most of the time. Just love the sort of randomness of them. To start I make combo strips--sometimes I try to get similar sized pieces, but a lot of the time, it's just whatever I have on hand and then add little strips to make the pieces fit the one before it to make a strip as long as needed. Wish I'd taken process pictures while making it, but that was several years ago. When I make bags I have a size in mind and make combo strips that will be long enough to go around, or strips long enough for the height of the bag plus the bottom of it and a couple inches for turning under at the top of the bag. Sometimes the combo strips are sewn together with a plain narrow strip between them, other times without. You can see two combo strips in the picture of the whole bag with red strips on either side of them. There's a blue strip on each end.

You have two options for a lining--actually three, I guess if you want it more sturdy than I usually worry about. Usually I just lay out the fabric I've now created for the bag and cut a piece that's the same size, pin the pieces together and start sewing pretty stitches on each seam. I love to use a different stitch for each seam and usually different colors too--I'll do the same stitch and color randomly on a few seams, change color and stitch and do a few more seams, etc., etc. You can do the pretty stitching just on the fabric if you want. You can make a lining by making a second bag that you sew inside. You can also make the bag quilted by using batting, fleece, or there's a really thick pellon if you want something with lots of oomph. For this bag, there are four combo strips and six narrow red strips and two blue strips that all got sewn together into a tube after the pockets got sewn on. Sometimes I'm not paying attention and pockets get sewn on later when it's really inconvenient--like after the whole bag is just about finished--what, me??? I've been known to add velcro to pockets very late in the game. Anyway...after the tube stage, the bottom was sewn across, and then the corners were squared off. shows how to do it really nicely.
For handles, I just use strips about three to four inches across and turn under on the long sides. I like to sew down both sides with a pretty stitch--this works to give them a little stiffness and makes edges stronger. I do make sure to sew them on really well. Also sew the pockets on well with a little triangle stitching at the top of each side. You can add inside pockets if wish.

Hope you find this useful. People seem to like the vividness of the bags I make for them. As I showed in a previous post, I try to personalize them for the colors they like and their interests. I usually do add a little ladybug embroidery and/or hearts someplace to most of what I make. Since this was for me there's ladybugs, hearts and flamingoes--a little thing between hubby and me. Have fun trying this idea out. I'd love to see what you come up with!

1 comment:

janet said...

That is just adorable! I have a thing for bags, and yours are just too cute. I never think to use decorative stitching like you've done here, such a great idea.