Bag Making Time

After three long weeks perfecting my new bag design I have managed to finish four! These two are tagged, bagged and ready to be sold. (The other two were sold as soon as they were finished!) As well as making some more of these I am also  in the process of designing and making some small recycled denim shoulder bags. Hopefully I will have a couple completed next week, ready for a preview here.

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These bags are made with recycled fabric. There is a zip, with hand sewn charm, and button closure at the top. A double slip pocket inside, and a large slip pocket along the front. The handles are long enough to be comfortable over the shoulder. The base is made using plastic milk bottles, (tutorial available here).

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Front view with button closure and my new labels

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Zip opening with ribbon and hand sewn charm, made with the same fabric.

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Two slip ockets inside trimmed with lace.

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lace trim on the outside pocket, with tiny recycle emblem charm

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Front pocket the whole width of the bag.

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Using my diy quilted fabric (tutorial here) has made them nice and sturdy, I love fabric bags that can stand up on their own. And they can be put through the washing machine if they get a little grubby. I hope you like them.

 

 

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My Hand Made Bag Bases Using Recycled Plastic Milk Bottles!!

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I have done alot of research on bag bases. Read almost everything on how people make their own. From cardboard, to wood to childrens hard back book covers, most of these have a separate fabric sleeve and have to be removed if you want to wash the fabric bag. I wanted mine to be part of the bag and able to put them through the washing machine without any worry of them distorting or melting away. You can buy the bag bases, I have never tried them, I am trying to stick to my ‘recycled’ ethos, and that includes not spending money when I don’t have to!!!
So this is my version of a stable, washable bag base for my hand made fabric bags.

Materials:
2 plastic milk bottles I find the big 6 pint ones give you more flattish plastic
1 piece of polyester wadding
sewing machine
needle and thread
Fabric to cover
How to do it:

My bag bases ended up being around 8″ x 4″

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So I cut the top off the milk bottles, with a craft knife, and the base. Cut down the seam and flattened it out. Because the bottles are shaped while being heated you will not be able to get them completely flat, But the next step will help a little.
Cut out the shape and size you will need x 2, and round off the corners.

At this stage check that the base will fit snugly in the bottom of your bag, once you are happy with the size go to the next step.

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Cut a piece of the fabric that you want to cover the base with, approx 1″ larger all round

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Place the two pieces of plastic together and with your sewing machine stitch 3 lines across the longest part. Your machine should take it OK if you go slowly, and gently push the plastic along, as the feed dogs on your machine may slip.

(Yes you can put thin soft plastic, like this, through your machine, just don’t try to push it through too much as you may break your needle. I have used drink cans,  on my machine and lots of other wierd and wonderful things!!!!)

Next, place the wadding on top of the stitched plastic base and run through the sewing machine once more stitching once down the centre. This will stop the wadding from moving in the base of your bag.

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As you can see you don’t have to be that neat, no one will see it once the bag is finished.

The next step is to cover the plastic base. Take the piece of fabric you have for the base and tack, or baste all round the edge.

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Place the plastic base, wadding side down, onto the fabric

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Pull your stitches, as though you are making a yoyo. and tie a knot so that the fabric is tight around the base.

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You can now slip stitch the base into place at the bottom of the lining of your bag.

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This is how the bottom will look when you are finished. It is sturdy and washable and won’t distort, and didn’t cost anything. It is soft enough not to leave a bruise on your hips!!!! but stable enough to give a nice flat bottom to the bag when it is full of all your bits and pieces.

SAM_2120If you have any questions please let me know and I will try to answer them asap.

New Handbag Made From My Perfect DIY Quilted Fabric

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So this is what I needed my quilted fabric for (Please see my DIY quilted fabric tutorial). It took ages for me to get the shape of the bag I invisaged and with the DIY quilted fabric, it gave me the substance for the bag I wanted for the design, and to be thick and strong, like a proper handbag.

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This bag is made from 2 recycled bed sheets and 2 plastic milk bottles. These I used for the bag base. (Tutorial to follow tomorrow for the bag base). Alot cheaper than buying ready made bases and, I think, perform the same way but for free!!

My design has an inside pocket, another pocket along the front, a zipper closure, with an added button closure at the top. The handles are long enough to either hold or sling over the shoulder. This is my prototype. Future ones will be for sale at my Etsy shop.

Now I have the design I can add patchwork, applique and red work. Can’t wait to make my next one!

Craft Fair Fabric Trees

I enjoy trying to make things that are different from everyone else for my craft stalls. So hopefully my stall stands out. Surfing the net the other day I found some pretty ’boutique trees’ and decided to try my hand at making some from the newspaper weaving. I have not mastered this craft yet, and didn’t really have the time to be able to do it, so maybe next year! I wanted something christmassy and sparkly for my stall so I created my own little pattern for these fabric trees.

SAM_1568It took a while to get the pattern right as I needed the curve at the top of the tree but also needed the shape at the bottom so that they were balanced enough to stand up with the tassel on top. I had some green and red recycled cotton sheets, so stitched the cone. Stuffed it with wadding and used cardboard from a cat food sachet box to sew onto the base.

SAM_1570Then went mad with ribbons, lace, seed beads, sequins and topped them off with tassels I made from seed beads.

SAM_1569These were so relaxing to do as the only bit using the sewing machine was the seam on the cone. Everything else is stitched on by hand. They came out about 8″ tall, so I will be enlarging the pattern and making some shabby chic ones next year, not christmas colours but some pretty ones that can be left on a shelf all year round.

My mum put a few of my things onto a stall that she had last week, I had crocheted some stuffed hearts and decortated them with sequins, a lady who bought a couple said that they would make lovely keepsakes for the family. That was such a compliment and I would love to think that alot of my hand made items will be around long after I have gone.

 

Where has 2014 gone!

Our tortoise has been put to bed for the winter, and the cats are refusing to move from the radiators, winter is here again and the Christmas Craft Fairs are upon us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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To my beautiful old Huffy, who never did get over his sorethroat, it was later diagnosed as a tumour, and so, very regretably, had to be put to sleep last month. We all miss him so much.

I really need to concentrate now and stop trying out new things (I’m sure I have said that before). I have 2 booked craft fairs for the beginning of December and I am really worried that I don’t have enough stock to cover them both, but I do also have another idea for next year. I am hoping it will help me to sell stock so I am not overloaded in the studio (when I get around to making some more).  Apart from putting money into a garden shed to store my stock I was running out of ideas. But I will reveal the new idea next year!

The business needs to prove itself, but I am so enjoying making things and experimenting that I am forgetting the practical side. The spreadsheets and accounts for the tax man are awful, I must get a grip next year and make a profit. The workshops will need to have more advertising and I will add the paper weaving as I have had alot of interest in that.  At one of the Christmas Fairs I have booked an extra table so that I will be demonstrating the paper weaving as well as selling the finished items. It will be good if I can book some people for workshops then, for next year.

I love, love making containers i.e boxes and baskets.  Things that are pretty, made from recycled stuff, and useful. I found a smashing little chinese pattern for a fabric teapot, but when I made it up I didn’t like the spout and handle ( I put it down to my sewing and interpretation of the pattern). So I redesigned it and made it into a container with a movable handle. Just like the old fashioned biscuit tins you could buy. They are so cute and are brilliant for using up all the small pieces of fabric that I keep for quilting or patchwork. The lids are made using cat food pouch boxes, and a lovely lady gave me loads of large wooden bead necklaces that I am using for the handles on the lids. I have found that by buying 4oz wadding I can stuff these little pots cheaper than buying the proper stuffing. All you need to do is tease the wadding and it is brilliant for stuffing, and isn’t so heavy as the real stuff.

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These are my prototypes!

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This blue one incorporates my favourite type of embroidery red work. But this one is in blue!

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These are so versatile, I have alsorts of ideas for future ones, different sizes, different pattern designs which will include patchwork, crazy patchwork, embroidery, 3d decorations………..

But now I must really go for it and get everything ready for Christmas, roll on 2015!!!!!!!!!!!