How to upcycle fabric scraps into a quilted tote

With sustainability at the forefront of our minds it’s really important to think of ways we can reduce our impact on the environment. Using our fabric offcuts is a small way we can reduce waste and landfill and make something beautiful that we can use for years to come.

As sewists we all have a few (bags of) fabric scraps! 

I’ve been using lots of Ruby Star Society fabrics this year for various projects and collected every little scrap to be used at some point. 

I was going to make a scrappy quilt or cushion cover with all the off cuts, but then I changed my mind and actually a decent sized tote bag would be more…handy!

I cut up all my bits of fabric and just randomly sewed them up just enjoying the process and not really planning how it would look. That’s the thing with scraps they tend to be haphazard!

I used some left over batting from another quilt project and some larger pieces of fabric from my stash for a lining. My pieces ended up measuring approx 14″ x 13″. I used my machine to stitch some quilting lines throughout the bag pieces. I then stitched the sides and bottom on the bag together.

I made box corners on the inside at 2.5″ up from the corner, trimmed them and turned the bag right sides through. At this point you can bind your unfinished edges if your machine can cope with the layers. I finished the top edge of the bag with bias binding which I turned to the inside of the bag and top stitched.

I had some faux leather bag handles in my stash which were just the perfect match and stitched them on with some strong thread.

I love how this bag looks, it will be perfect for popping to the shops or for a sewing project bag and the fabrics are so fun! I can’t imagine throwing away such gorgeous fabrics, my scrap bag is still growing and I may tackle a quilted jacket at some point!

How do you use your scraps?

Back to school – DIY Project bag tutorial!

I can’t believe we are thinking about back to school already…it’s been such a bizarre year! Back to school may mean the return to school for your kids, you if you are a teacher or nursery carer or just marking the start of the Autumn and a new begininng!

When it comes to Autumn I get excted about the prospect of cosy evenings snuggled up with a hot drink doing some mindful stitching or making some new garments with more of a winter feel.

This year it’s also going to be about getting organised and trying to get back into some sort of routine. 

 

I’ve been scouting Pinterest for a useful bag to store projects or for my daughter to use for school (PE kit etc) and have found some really gorgeous drawstring cotton bags. I’ve adapated the design slightly and come up with a good sized bag perfect for carrying a few craft bits, knittong, make-up, school stuff or just for your wallet keys, face mask etc! It’s an adaptable pattern and could also be used for a lunch bag with some wipe clean fabric.

This works brillaintly in the Rico cotton canvas in Rose   but would also work brilliantly with quilting cotton….a little patchwork one would be fabulous! I’ll definitely be making a few more of these!

You will need:

1/2 metre fabric for lining and main body of bag. I used the same fabric for both but you could make the top drawstring part of the bag from a contrast fabric.

1/4m iron on interfacing (I used a heavy weight one as I wanted a very structured bag but be mindful this created very thick layers to work with whilst sewing!) 

28″ of 25mm webbing or similar

64″ cotton cord

Scissors

Cut the fabric as per the template below and use a 1cm seam allowance unless otherwise instructed…

Step 1.

Pin outer bag fabric with right sides together and stitch along long bottom edge. Press seam open.

Step 2.

Press interfacing to wrong side of outer bag fabric. the interfacing is slightly smaller than the main fabric

Step 3.

Once you have ironed on the interfacing, fold this piece in half with right sides together and stitch down each short side.

Step 4.

Now we are going to make some box corners. Pinch the corners making sure the seam line down the side of the bag matches with the fold line along the bottom .

Step 5.

Measure 2″ up from the point and mark a line across the corner. Pin in place and stitch across this line and trim the excess away. Repeat for the side.

Step 6.

That is your outher bag ready for the rest of construction! Give the seams a little press and marvel at those box corners…so very satisfying!

Step 7.

Take your two pieces of webbing and pin to the outer bag 3″ in from each side seam on both the front and the back and stitch in place using a small 0.5cm seam allowance.

Step 8.

Now to prepare the lining. Fold the lining piece in half with right sides together and stitch down each short side, leave a gap of 3″ in one of the side seams, this is where we will turn our bag through later!

Step 9.

Prepare the box corners in the same way you did for the outer bag in steps 4 & 5. You don’t need to turn the lining right side out as it will be attached to the main bag as it is.

Step 10.

To make the top drawstring part of the bag. Fold each piece of bag top fabric in half length ways with wrong sides together and give them a good press with a hot iron

Step 11.

Pin the two top pices together with right sides facing and at each short end mark a 1″ point either side of the centre crease you ironed into the fabric in step 10. This will become the channel for the rope later. Stitch down both sides leaving this 2″ gap open on each end.

Step 12.

Press the seams open and top stitch down each side of the seam you have just sewn, close to the edge, to make a neat opening for the cord to go through.

Step 13.

Fold the channel in half with wrong sides together and the raw edges meeting and press.

Step 14.

Mark a line 1″ from the top fold (where the holes for the cord are) and stitch all the way round, this will be the channel for the cord.

Step 15.

Now we are going to attach the channel we just made to the main bag. With right sides together pin the cord channel to the bag making sure to match the side seams. Stitch al the way around.

Step 16.

Now to add the lining! Pop the bag inside the lining, right sides together and pin the raw edges. stitch all the way around using a 1.5cm seam allowance.

Step 17.

Turn the bag through the hole we left on the lining. Stitch the gap closed. Give it a press and then top stitch all the way around the bag just below the handles to hold the layers neatly together.

Step 18.

Add the cord drawstring by thread through one of the pieces starting at one end (I used a safety pin to help puch it through) then do the same on the other side of the bag and tie both ends in a knot.

There you have it! This is a really great make…we can’t wait to see yours! If you do give this a go make sure to tag us on instagram using #sccrafty

Simplicity bag project

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all keeping well and are able to distract yourselves from the mad world we find ourselves in. I normally live and work in London but decided to decamp to my parents’ house for the duration and luckily brought my sewing machine with me, so have been finding some escapism in that every evening.

I decided on this project before any dreams of a holiday were dashed, so I’ll just have to enjoy my new toiletries bag from home.

I fancied making something that wasn’t clothes and have had this pattern in my stash for years – I think I bought it in my first year of sewing. It’s described as a jewellery roll in the pattern but it’s quite big – I never take that much jewellery away with me – so I think it’s better used for toiletries. I though it would be a nice, easy project but it was actually quite time consuming. I’ve never quilted anything before and that was quite a long process, so I can’t imagine quilting a whole, bed-sized quilt! Quilters of the world, respect! But I had my trusty walking foot which was essential and made the process a lot easier.

I used the lovely rainbow fabric (now out of stock but this is also lovely)  with a pink contrast cotton (similar here )with the pockets made from this mesh and clear PVC 

 

I did enjoy seeing it come together, and it was fairly easy once I got my head around how it was constructed. You quilt the main body and top and bottom pockets, and then sew the middle pockets and zips together separately. Then you attach them all at the end and bind around the edges.

It was a bit tricky to sew by the end as it gets quite thick with all the layers and on my machine you can’t adjust the presser foot height, but we got there in the end. I foolishly cut my bias binding too narrow so it was quite hard to attach, but it’s fine if you don’t look too closely!

I’m really happy with the finished object and will definitely be using it to keep my toiletries organised. I also added a cute Kylie and the Machine label so everyone knows I made it (though I’d probably tell them first anyway)! I might try to add a popper too to keep it closed when it’s rolled up. There are plenty of other items in the pattern set but I’m not sure I have the patience to make a whole bag!

 

What have you been making while you’re stuck at home?

 

 

Fennel Fanny pack review- with A Beautiful Mess fabrics

Bum Bags are back in a big way…and I for one am grateful! I love them for gigs, festivals and dog walking, so I can be hands free but access my phone/ keys/ money/ poo bags really quickly if I need! I also feel safer with my valuables where I can see them!

So when I saw the Fennel Fanny pack all over Instagram I was keen to give it a go. 

It’s a downloadable pattern from Sarkirsten.com and it’s only $12! So I bought it and printed it off, then the hard part was deciding on fabric…

I went with the ABM Flower Market range but decided in the end to use the Succulents green fabric for the inside and out, I just love that sage green and thought it would go perfectly with the pink hardware I bought…so summery and fun!

I made a few mistakes and got myself in a pickle while making this I’m not going to lie! I thought the instructions for the side tabs could have been slightly clearer as I managed to put them in upside down the first time! I also found stitching round the corners of the bum bag a real pain…but that’s probably because I mis-read the pattern instructions fo the front of the bag…this picture shows that I somehow left the top of the bag above the zip too big…not sure how that happened but I trimmed it down and carried on!

The finished result, however, is incredibly pleasing and I can see how this bag is an addictive make! It would be a fabulous gift for a friend and you easily make a whole bacth of these up for Christmas pressies! Hey, why not start on them now and get ahead of the game!

I’ll definitely be making more and will remember my mistakes from the first time…that’s how you learn right?!

Who else has made one? What did you think of the process?

Just a heads up, there will be a discount code in this weeks Newsletter so make sure you are signed up to recieve this, you can do this on the homepage…scroll to the bottom!

Carols Summit Back Pack for Sew My Style 2020 #SMS20

The Summit pack...

Hey, you guys, I’m really excited to share my make with you all this time.

Its February and that means I’m leading Sew My Style this month!

If you aren’t aware of what this is, it’s an international sewing challenge, where each month discount codes are issued to makers who are signed up to the subscription list, for both the two chosen patterns that month. Then at the end of the month a winner is chosen at random from all the entries, so you don’t have to worry or feel excluded if you are not the most experienced maker. 

Anyway, my point is I’m leading, eek…and the lovely Sammy is this month’s sponsor! 

The winner of the February make will win a £50 voucher to spend in The Samantha Claridge Studio!

So, I really wanted to choose some fabrics to showcase the fabulous range on Sammy’s website!

I’ve coveted the delightful quilting cottons on Sammy’s site for such a long time. But as I’m not really a quilter I haven’t used them much so far! But the pattern I’m making for months sew my style is the Cloudsplitter Summit Pack which conveniently suggests quilting cotton for the inside and outsides. 

I had a really tough choice though, as I couldn’t decide whether to go for these really cheerful summery ones. Which I know would be amazing as a summer bag or a holiday bag.

Left: Ruby Star Society

Right: Sweet bee sweet blooms

Or whether to choose these Figo Lucky charms, in Denim and Charcoal, which eventually won me over.

I chose these two as I decided that in this colour palette I would get absolutely loads of wear from the bag. The colours will be really hard wearing and not look too grubby even if I’m using it every day to walk to work with.

I chose the main colour of the exterior in the denim blue with the charcoal as an accent…

The charcoal is also used for the gadget pocket and card slot inside so that gives a great contrast to the interior. I used a left-over piece from my stash for the inside as I’m all about using up what I’ve already got in the interest of stash busting and sustainability.

All in all, I’m absolutely thrilled with my Summit pack, the Figo fabrics look as fabulous as I hoped they would. 

That’s all for now, but why don’t you come and join me on sew my style this month, you could use the same Figo prints as me or maybe you’d like a summer bag!?

 

Follow Carol @chatterstitch on Instagram to see her #sms20 makes! 

 

DIY circle bag

Romy's perfect cross body bag!

 
 
Back in the summer I saw a bag for sale on the high street that I really liked. I prefer to have a handbag with a cross body strap and it has to be big enough to fit all my paraphernalia so I was tempted by this one, but at nearly £40 it was a bit pricey.

 

 

So I left it and thought I’d check if it went in the sale, but within a few weeks I found the Everyday Circular Bag on The Makerist for the grand price of $2 (on sale). 

The pattern is pretty much identical to the high street one, so I snapped it up and set about making my first bag!

I used half a metre of the leatherette fabric in black, and got some lobster clips and a zip from eBay. 

 

 

 

Other notions I needed were a leather needle (I used size 100), a walking foot, heavy duty polyester thread (though I used normal thread in the bobbin to reduce bulk) and some wonder clips to keep the pieces together. You can’t really use pins as the holes will permanently mark the fabric. On one occasion I had forgotten my clips and had to make do with hair clips, though they worked pretty well!

 

 

The bag came together fairly easily, although I did have some head scratching due to some mistakes in the pattern. For example, it asks you to cut 2 gusset pieces, but you actually only need 1. The instructions also refer to a Bag Side piece, but this is called the gusset on the pattern piece, so I was looking around for an extra piece that didn’t exist! There is a video to accompany the instructions which is useful, although it doesn’t show the making of the straps and this is the part I had trouble with, as my pieces seemed to look wider than theirs. I’m still not sure why this was but I muddled through and just trimmed an inch off the strap piece to make it fit the lobster clips.

 

 

 

 

 

The fabric sewed well and looks nice and professional with the topstitching:

 

 

 

 

 

You can lightly press the fabric on the wrong side which helps to remove any creases, but you can’t iron the right side or you’ll have a melty mess. I just finger pressed any folds and topstitched to help them lay flat. The trickiest part was sewing in the side pieces as you have to ease the circle in, but with plenty of clips and patience it worked out in the end.

 

 

 

 

I also decided to hack the pattern a little bit to add an inside pocket for my phone so it’s not rattling around inside. The stitching for this is covered by the outside pocket so doesn’t show:

Overall I’m pleased with my bargain, high street-inspired bag, although in hindsight some interfacing would have helped it to hold its shape, as it’s not quite stiff enough. The instructions bizarrely tell you to topstitch each side piece once inserted, which I did for the first piece, but for the second it’s physically impossible as the zip hole isn’t big enough. Another argument for pattern testing! I might try sticking down the seam allowance inside to help stiffen the shape, but might just have to live with it for this one and remember to interface next time. I also decided to lengthen the strap as it was quite short, but this is personal preference.

This fabric is great for bag making and could be used for other accessories too, like purses, toiletries bags and luggage tags. 

That’s all for now, see you again soon for another project!

Project Tote!

Steph's shopping bag/ project tote!

Autumn is my favourite time of year. It heralds the return of blankets and cosy hoodies, Halloween and of course my annual pilgrimage to Alexandra Palace for the Knitting and Stitching Show. My mother-in-law and I have been going for several years and in the last couple of years we have also been joined by my best friend. It’s become a tradition of ours to wear something handmade to the Show – whether it be a dress, a pin badge or a necklace, so when it was time to choose my latest Design Team Project i knew it had to a new bag to take with me to the show! 

I decided to use the Noodlehead Trail Tote as my base pattern for this bag – its a fabulous pattern on the Robert Kaufman website, and its totally free to download! I had made one of the smaller sized totes so i knew it was a fairly simple pattern but had lots of potential for customisation. I have a lot of projects on the go and I tend to keep each one in a bag to keep all the bits and tools in one place, so i knew that this bag could double up as a brilliant project tote with the addition of one of my favourite things – POCKETS!

The original Noodlehead tote pattern has a small zip pocket included in the pattern but i knew that wasn’t  going to be enough for me (plus i’m not a huge fan of installing that kind of zip), so i did a little modifying and added pockets on the outside of both the front and the back of the bag.

Whilst i was scanning through the Samantha Claridge Studio website the utterly adorable Food Truck cotton range caught my eye, and as soon as i saw there was a donut print i knew i had to use it for my tote! I used both the pink and the blue version of the print and decided to use a little bit of the Sweet Bee blender in mint to break up the pattern a little. I chose a bias binding in the same mint colour too finish it all off. 

For the main part of the bag I used the large Noodlehead pattern piece but made it slightly wider (to accommodate more fabric purchases!). I used the pink Food Truck donut print cotton for the outside, and the blue for the inside and the outer pockets. I attached a band of the Sweet Bee blender at the top and use the bias binding on top of the pockets to give a little colour contrast.

With the addition of the strap my new shopping/project tote bag was ready to go! I can confirm that the inside of the bag holds several fabric purchases and a couple of quilting projects, whilst the outer pockets are super helpful for storing threads, scissors, tape measures and acrylic quilting templates. Unfortunately for my bank account, Samantha Claridge Studio has more super cute Food Truck range prints that are just calling out to be made into totes so there may just be a couple more of this bag pattern on my cutting table very soon.