Wednesday, March 23, 2011


just a drive-by brag post...
(sorry... did I just shout?? I'm a bit excited...)

On the lower right corner... that one's mine. Cool, hey??

What's RedBubble? It's a site where I have uploaded some of my favourite photos, so that people can buy prints/cards/posters/whatever.

So, yeah. If one of my pics here, or on my 365 blog, or my flickr stream catches your eye, and you'd like to buy a print of it, just let me know and I'll put it onto my redbubble page, and you can order it through them.

And in the interests of full disclosure, yes,I do get a small percentage of what you paid.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

messenger bag tutorial (part 5)

Wow, it's almost done!! Just the finishing touches today!

Part 1: fabric requirements and cutting
Part 2: outer bag assembly
Part 3: lining and side seams
Part 4: flap and assembly

First things first, you'll need to determine what kind of strap you want, and how long it needs to be.

The strap can be either a fixed length, or adjustable; in which case, you'll need to add a 1.5" rectangular slide to your list of requirements.

To determine how long the strap needs to be, attach a measuring tape to one buckle with a bull-clip or paper clip or some such non-marring fastening system; hook the tape over your shoulder, and adjust it to where it feels comfortable. Voila, you have your basic measurement. Add 3-4" to this number to allow for fold-overs.

I am using my full fabric width of 56", and making the strap adjustable.

So, to start with, fold your strap fabric in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press. Open it up, then fold each raw edge in to the middle, and press again.
Open up the folds again, and fold each short end in 1/4" and press; then re-fold the strap again, enclosing the raw edges, to make a 1.5" wide strap.
Stitch the usual double row of stitching along each of the long sides of the strap.
If you are making the strap adjustable, feed one end of the strap through the slide, and stitch the strap together in a box-with-an-X configuration.

Feed the other end of the strap through one of the side strap rings, from the inside of the bag toward the outside, and then loop it through the slide.
Now loop the free end of the strap through the other side ring, from the outside toward the inside of the bag, and stitch it down with a box as well.
If you are not making the strap adjustable, just stitch each end to one of the rectangle rings, as shown above.

That's the strap done.

Now, following the instructions that accompany your snaps, apply one set of snaps to the fastening strap as shown here:
To close your bag, just loop the strap through the center rectangular ring, from top to bottom, and fasten the snap.

And you're done!
If you have any questions, or if any of my steps seem unclear, please let me know, and I'll try to explain better.
And if you do make one of these bags, I'd love to see it!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

messenger bag tutorial (part 4)

Okay... getting back in the swing of things...

Part 1: fabric requirements and cutting
Part 2: outer bag assembly
Part 3: lining and side seams

And now, to make the flap and put all the bits together.

First of all, take the 3.75"x12" front strap piece, and trim it down to 10" long. Fold it in half lengthwise, and stitch down the long side and one short side. Trim the corners at the stitched end, turn strap right side out, and topstitch two rows of stitching along the three sides.
Place the raw edge of the strap, centered, on one right side of the 12"x12" flap, and place the 6"x12" flap lining over it, right side down. Stitch along the 12" side.
Press seam allowances toward the lining, and stitch a double row of topstitching along the seam.
Fold flap in half, crosswise, and stitch the two edge seams.
Trim the corners, turn right side out, press, and stitch a double row of topstitching along the three finished sides, making sure not to catch the strap in the stitching.

Baste the flap onto the outer bag, right sides together, with the outer side of the flap on the zipper-pocket side of the bag, making sure that the flap is centered on the middle section of the bag.

Now, we're going to pleat the sides, and attach the shoulder strap hardware.
Cut two more 2.5" sections of the strap that you used for the rectangle ring in part one. Thread each of these through two more rings, and set them aside.

Make a mark 1.25" on each side of the side seams.
Fold the bag at these marks, and bring them toward the seam, creating a box pleat.
Pin in place, and baste a ring strap in place over the pleat.
Do the same on the other side, and set the bag aside for now.

Find the 4"x10" strip of coordinating lining fabric. Fold it in half lengthwise, and press. Then open it up, and fold each side inward to meet the center fold line. Press in place, then fold the strip along the original center fold.
Stitch along each long side, and thread this strip through the 1" swivel hook. Baste the raw edges to the outside of the flap, close to one of the edges. (Sorry... forgot to take a picture of this... but the last photo will show where it ends up.)

Mark the center front and back of the bag and lining.

Turn the outer bag inside out, and place the lining inside it, right sides together (the lining will be right side out), making sure that the pocket side of the lining is on the flap/zipper-pocket side of the outer bag.
Pin the bag and lining together, matching the centers first, and working toward the sides. Pin the excess lining into pleats at the sides, to match the pleats in the outer bag.

Stitch around, leaving an opening on the flap side of the bag, for turning.
Carefully turn the bag and lining right side out, and slip-stitch the opening closed.
Press the seam flat, and stitch (I bet you can guess) two rows of topstitching all the way around, keeping the swivel-ring strap pinned out of the way on the flap.

Now all we have left to do is the shoulder strap and the snap!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

iron craft 11

Yay! I'm back in the swing of Iron Crafting!! I missed a few weeks because my life was taken over by the play... I will be catching up on those weeks' challenges, just on principle, but for now, here's this week's challenge.

Green, as in the colour.
But I thought, hey, why not see just how green I can get with this.

So here is my green-ness:

1. I used both fabric that is green, and fabric that has green in it; thus fulfilling the main requirement of the challenge.

2. Both fabrics are natural fibres: the solid green is linen, and the print is cotton. No synthetics.

3. Both fabrics are thrifted... the linen was found at Value Village... apparently someone changed their mind about using it. The print is a vintage sheet that I got at the Sally Ann.

4. I used my green, recycled fabrics to make a re-usable lunch bag that is exactly the right size to carry my...

5. (not plastic!) square container in which I transport my...

6. ...salad!

So pretty. And so very, very green!

Edited to add: I totally forgot to mention that the bag is adapted from the Lunch bag pattern in Akiko Mano's book Linen Wool Cotton. Sorry about that...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

messenger bag tutorial (part 3)

In this installment: the lining and inner pocket, and the side seams

Part 1: fabric requirements and cutting
Part 2: outer bag assembly

To make the inner pocket, fold the pocket piece in half, or put the two pieces right sides together in such a way as to make a 5"x9" rectangle. Stitch a 1/4" seam around 3 (or 4) sides, leaving a small opening through which to turn the pocket right side out.

Trim the corners, turn right-side out and press.

Lay lining fabric out, and place pocket on it, approximately 3.5" from one of the 17" edges, and centered on the lining; making sure that the turning opening is at the bottom of the pocket, where it will be stitched down in the next step.

Mark the lines where you would like the pocket divided. I have put 3 3/4" pen pockets roughly in the center of the pocket piece, leaving two larger pockets on each side. Stitch around the three sides of the pocket, and along the dividing lines.

Now it's time to sew the side seams on both the lining and the outer bag.

Fold the lining in half (with the 17" sides across the top) and sew a 1/2" seam along the two sides. Snip the seam allowance open at the bottom fold, so that you can press the seam open. Lightly press a fold line along the bottom of the lining.

To box the corners, match up the seam line with the fold line, starting at the bottom corner of the lining, and mark a 3.5" line perpendicular to the side seam. Stitch along the marked line.
Press the resulting triangle toward the bottom of the lining, and top-stitch close to the seam.
Do both corners in this way... and that's the lining done. Set it aside for now.

Fold the outer bag in half, the same as you did the lining, but this time, stitch a 3/8" seam allowance. Press both seam allowances toward the back of the bag, and stitch a double row of top-stitching as far down toward the corner as possible.

This will involve a little bit of wrestling, and maybe a few bad words, but it is possible to get fairly close to the bottom of the seam.

Now, box the corners of the outer bag and stitch them down, exactly the same as you did with the lining.

And there you are.

Next up: assembling the flap, and putting the pieces together.

Monday, March 14, 2011

messenger bag tutorial (part 2)

I lied. I couldn't wait til tomorrow. Here's the next chunk of instructions.
Previously: Fabric requirement and cutting

Time to start assembling the main outer bag!

Oh, I should mention right off... all seam allowances are 3/8" unless specifically stated otherwise.

First, make the strap piece from the 3"x12" rectangle that you trimmed after cutting the side bag pieces. This will be cut into bits later on, to hold the rectangle rings in place. Fold and press the edges of the strip toward the middle (wrong sides together), and stitch two rows of top-stitching down each side. Yes, this leaves the raw edges exposed, but it will not be a problem, as you will see later on. Set this piece aside.

Next, make the pockets.

For the front pocket, stitch together one outer fabric and one lining fabric 6"x12" rectangle, right sides together. Press the seam open, and then turn the pieces wrong sides together and stitch two rows of top-stitching along the seam.

The back pocket is made in a similar fashion, but it has a zipper inserted into the seam. Make sure that you have the right side of the zipper facing the outer fabric when you pin it in place.
Stitch the 1"x12" fabric to the other side of the zipper, making sure to line up the fabric with the zipper closed, so that the pieces are not off-set. Press the fabric up away from the zipper, and then turn down the raw edge to meet the seam underneath the zipper and press down. Set aside til later. (Do not topstitch this piece yet.)

Now assemble the pocket unit.

With right sides together, place the 5"x12" rectangle on the bottom (non-zipper) edge of the back pocket. Stitch the seam, and press the raw edges away from the pocket.

Stitch the other side of the base piece to the front pocket, leaving a 2" gap in the center of the seam, and again pressing the seam allowances away from the pocket.

Now it's time to attach the pocket unit to the main (22"x17") bag body piece. Fold this piece along the 22" sides to find the center, and mark it on both edges.

Also, find and mark the center points on the edges of the bag base piece, by folding it so that the two seams match up. Make sure that you do not just fold the entire pocket unit in half, as the two pockets are not the same depth, and this would make your bag lop-sided.

Place the pocket unit on top of the body piece, pocket wrong side to bag front side (so that both fronts are facing up), matching the marked center points. Pin in place along both edges.
Topstitch (two rows, again) along the edge seam of the base piece on the back pocket side. Then, making sure that the pocket is flat, topstitch along both sides of the fabric strip above the zipper.

Again, making sure that the pocket unit is flat and even, make a line in the center of the front pocket, and make a double row of stitching to divide the pocket into two sections. Make sure not to stitch into the base fabric where the gap was left earlier.
Now cut a 2.5" piece of the strap that you created earlier, and feed it through one of the rectangle rings, with the raw edges to the inside.
Place this piece into the gap between the base and the front pocket, and then stitch the two rows of top-stitching along the front edge of the base.
There! Now you've stitched down the whole pocket assembly to the main bag section.

Now take your two 3.5"x22" strips, and sew them on; one on each side. Trim off any  extra zipper after the side piece is sewn on; press (with both seam allowances toward the side pieces), and topstitch.
And there you have it - the main outer body all finished... two front pockets, a ring for the fastener strap, and a big zipper pocket on the back.

Next installment: creating the lining and sewing the side seams.