Railfence Lined Zipped Tote Bag Pattern

Lined zipped tote bag

Lined zipped tote bag

I’ve made this lined zipped tote bag using the railfence quilt block and I’m really pleased with the finished bag.  I’ve plaited fabric strips for the straps which also makes the bag very individual.  The main body of the bag measures 16″ square and there isn’t a half square triangle in sight!  I have used 21″ of light blue fabric, 10″ of dark blue, 5″ of medium blue and just 3″ of the white ivory fabric, together with a 12″ zip.  You can buy these fabrics together in this week’s special offer.

Cutting requirements for the zipped tote bag

1.1/2″ strips:  three dark blue, three medium blue, three light blue, two white ivory

2.1/2″ strips:  four dark blue

16.1/2″ squares:  two light blue

One 12″ zip




Cut the squares

Cut the squares

Make the railfence quilt blocks

Sew together a 1.1/2″ strip each of dark blue, white ivory, medium blue and light blue.  Press the seam allowances all in one direction.  Cut this panel at 4.1/2″ intervals to make squares.  You should get nine squares from each panel of fabric so you need to make two panels.  You need to make eighteen of these squares.

Make the body of the bag

Make the body of the bag

Arrange the squares in three rows of three.  Alternate the squares with the stripes first horizontal and then vertical.  I have placed them so that the dark blue forms a staircase from the top left to the bottom left.  This forms the basic railfence design.  Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  This panel now measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make two of them.

Fold the strips lengthways

Fold the strips lengthways

Make the plaited straps

For the straps you need one 1.1/2″ strip each of dark blue, medium blue and light blue.  Fold the edges in towards the middle along the length of each strip.  Then fold the resulting folded strip in half.  This gives you a strip about 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide with no raw edges showing.  Sew along the length of the strip to hold the folds in place.

Plait the strips

Plait the strips

Pin the three strips together at one end.  Plait the three strips – simply take the right hand strip and place it over the middle strip and then take the left hand strip and place it over the middle strip.

Sew the ends and the middle

Sew the ends and the middle

Keep repeating this along the length of the strips.  My strip ended up about 32″ long.  Sew across the plaited strip at each end to make sure that the plait doesn’t come undone.  Find the middle of your plait and sew across it at two points about 1/2″ apart.  Now snip across the plait half way between these two middle rows of stitching.  This gives you two bag straps, each about 16″ long.

Pin the straps in place

Pin the straps in place

Assemble the body of the bag

I haven’t added the straps at the top of the bag because it would make the seam too bulky when I sew the zip in place.

Add the panel border

Add the panel border

Instead I have placed them on the railfence panel before I add the border.  Pin the ends of one strap either side of the central block.  Repeat with the second strap on the second railfence panel.  Now add the border: to each panel:  sew a 12.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ length of dark blue to the top and bottom.  Follow this with a 16.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ dark blue strip down each side.

Place the zip between the panels

Place the zip between the panels

Add the zip

Place one outer bag panel with right side up.  Lay the zip on it with right side down.  Add a light blue lining square with right side down.  The zip does not reach the ends of the two bag panels – it will be about 2″ short on each side.  I did this because I find that the corners of the bag can be very bulky if the zip reaches right into the corner.

Sew along the length of zip

Sew along the length of zip

Sew these three layers in place just along the length of the zip.  Your stitching is above the zip section.  If you have a zipper foot for your sewing machine then this will help you stitch close to the zip.  Open up the layers and press the two fabric panels away from the zip.

Add the second panel

Add the second panel

Now lay the second light blue lining  panel with right side up.

Place the zip on top of this with the right side of the zip facing upwards.  Now add the second railfence panel with right side down.  Once again the zip is sandwiched between a lining panel and a railfence panel.  Sew along the length of the zip.  Fold the bag panels away from the zip and press.

Complete the side seams

Panels joined by the zip

Panels joined by the zip

All the sections of the bag are now joined along the sides of the zip.  Fold at the zip so that you have the two railfence panels right sides together and the two lining panels right sides together.  You need to fold the zip in half lengthways to do this.  But first open the zip partially so that you can turn the project right side out after you’ve sewn the seams.

Sew the outer panels together

Sew the outer panels together

Sew the outer panels together first.  With right sides together, you need to sew across the small remaining section of the top then down each side and across the bottom.  You have now created the pouch of the outer bag.

For the lining sections you need to sew the short sections at each end of the zip and the sides only.  Don’t sew across the bottom of the lining squares.  These now form a tube with an opening across the bottom.

Turn the bag right side out

Turn the bag right side out

Hem the bag lining

Working from the gap across the bottom of the lining, pull the bag through to turn the project right side out.  Now you can hem the bottom of the lining.

Turn under a hem

Turn under a hem

Turn under a small hem on both sections of the lining and pin the two edges together.  Sew across the seam to close the bottom of the bag lining.

Push the lining back into the body of the bag, pushing out all the corners of the bag.  Lined zipped tote bag complete!  I have to admit that I’m really thrilled with this bag.

Here’s the video:

Thank you so much for all the helpful comments last week regarding my scissors.  I am really grateful that so many of you took the time to share your thoughts on them.

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum

My travels this week took me to Haden Hill House Museum, another hidden gem quite close to where I live.

The house is lovely but for me the wonderful part is that it is set in a huge area of parkland.  I couldn’t take advantage of this because it was raining when I went there, but I plan many return visits to explore the park.

To read more about it, click here or on the photo.

Pleated Tote Bag – Free Pattern

Pleated tote bag

Pleated tote bag

I made this pleated tote bag because I feel that it is more secure than some of my tote bags.  The opening at the top is narrower than the rest of the bag.  It’s also very pretty and is very easy to make.  The body of the bag measures roughly 16″ wide at the bottom and about 10″ wide at the top.

The bag is 14″ long.  I made the first prototype 18″ long, but it didn’t look right.  That’s why I went for 14″ long.  I’ve used 1/4 yard of lilac fabric with 1/2 yard each of blue and of the lining fabric.  I’ve also added an applique butterfly peeking out from within the pleat.  You can buy these fabrics and the butterfly at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Use as a handbag

Use as a handbag

Or a shoulder bag

Or a shoulder bag

The bag can be used as a hand bag or as a shoulder bag.

Cutting requirements for the pleated tote bag

14″ by 6″ rectangles:  four blue, two lilac

14″ by 17″ rectangles:  two in the lining fabric

2.1/2″ strip cut across the width of fabric:  one blue for the strap, one lilac for the binding

Make two panels

Make two panels

Make the body of the bag

Sew together two panels of blue, lilac, blue rectangles.  Lay them with right sides together.  Line up the edges and sew round three sides to create a pouch.  This will be the body of the bag.

Sew the bag lining

Sew the bag lining

Lay the two lining rectangles with right sides together.  Once again line up the edges and sew them together on three sides to create a pouch.

Turn the outer bag right side out but leave the lining bag wrong side out.  Push the lining inside the outer bag.

Push the lining inside the bag

Push the lining inside the bag

Line up the edges around the top of the bag and baste all round to secure the outer bag and the lining fabrics together.

Make the pleat

Make the pleat

Create the pleats

Make a mark half way across the lilac strip.  This should 2.3/4″ from either side.  Take the blue/lilac seam on the right hand side and pull it across until it rests on the mark.  Put two pins in to hold the layers together.

Now grab the blue/lilac seam on the left side and pull it across to the midway mark.  The two seam lines will now rest against each other, covering the lilac at the top of the bag.  Pin in place.  Repeat on the other side of the bag so that you have a pleat on the front and the back of the bag.  Sew all round the top of the bag to secure the lining and the outer bag together and to secure the pleats.

Sew the strap

Sew the strap

Make the strap

Cut the 2.1/2″ strip of blue in half to make two lengths about 21″ long.  Place these with right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam down each side to create a tube.

Turn the tube right side out by pulling one end down over the tube until the whole strip is right side out.  Press and sew a 1/4″ seam down each side again to hold the strap in place.

Pin the strap

Pin the strap

Pin one end of the strap to each side of the bag.

In order to do this, place the raw edges of the strap in line with the raw edges of the bag top.  At this stage the strap will be lying down the side of the bag on each side.

Make the binding

I often use facing at the top of a bag.  This doesn’t show on the outside of the bag.

Add the binding

Add the binding

For this pleated tote bag I decided to use binding instead.  That gives a good finish to the top of the bag.

Fold the 2.1/2″ lilac strip along the length and press.  Lay around the top of the bag with the raw edges of the binding and the bag together and the fold of the binding lying on the bag itself.

Sew all the way round, taking care to catch all layers of fabric in the stitches.  Join the two ends of the binding as for any quilt binding.

Flip the folded edge of the binding to the inside and sew it to the lining.  As an embellishment I sewed an applique butterfly to the lilac rectangle so it seemed to be emerging from the pleat.  That completes the pleated tote bag – I hope you like it as much as I do.

Here’s the video:

Unusual scissors

Unusual scissors

Last week I found a lovely museum not far from here.  It’s in a beautiful 17th century building and is called Oak House Museum.  These unusual scissors were among many delightful treasures within the house.  You can read more about my trip by clicking on the photo or click here.

Christmas Gift Storage Bag

Christmas gift storage bag

Christmas gift storage bag

The Christmas gift storage bag could of course be used at any time for general storage and tidying up.  However I thought that at this time of year it would be a useful idea for transporting Christmas gifts to their various destinations.  No doubt you are far more organised than I am and have already made all your Christmas gifts!

The body of the bag measures about 24″ high by 11″ wide by 7″ deep.  I’ve used just over 3/4 yard of the main fabric with 1/4 yard of an alternate fabric..  I’ve used French seams for the sides to make it stronger and the outer bag is made with cotton canvas for the same reason.




Cutting requirements for the Christmas gift storage bag

Main fabric:  two rectangles 25″ by 12″, two rectangles 8″ by 12″, on rectangle 23.1/2″ by 6.1/2″, one 2.1/2″ strip cut across the width of fabric.

Alternate fabric:  one 2.1/2″ strip cut across the width for the strap linings, two 2.1/2″ strip cut across the width of fabric for the facing.

Sew with right sides together

Sew with right sides together

Make the body of the outer bag

Place a 25″ rectangle and a 12″ rectangle with right sides together.  Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Repeat with the other pair of rectangles.  This gives you a normal looking seam.

Sew a second seam

Sew a second seam

Press the seam allowances and then fold the seam so that the fabrics are wrong sides together with the seam line running along the fold.  Sew 1/2″ away from the fold.

Sew the pairs of rectangles together to make a loop

Sew the pairs of rectangles together to make a loop

This gives you a box seam with the seam allowance on the outside of the bag.  This gave me the boxy look that I was hoping for.

Repeat with the other pair of rectangles and then sew the two pairs of rectangles together to make a loop, using the same method.

Add the base of the bag

I am not using French seams to sew the base to the bag.  I think that it would make the pattern more complicated – and I’m not bright enough to work out how to do it!  Actually I also felt that it was only the side seams that I wanted to strengthen so that the bag would stand upright, and I felt that the seam allowances at the corners would be very bulky if I used French seams all over.

Sew the base to the two long edges

Sew the base to the two long edges

With right sides together, sew the base rectangle to the two long edges of the bottom of the loop made earlier.  This will leave you with a gap at each side of the bag.  I have done this deliberately to make this part as easy as possible.  Very often when sewing the base to a bag you end up with inset seams or forming triangles to fold under.

Sew the sides to the base

Sew the sides to the base

I have tried to make this part of the pattern as simple as I can, so I have sewn the two long edges first.  Now it is much more easy to sew the two remaining seams to close off the sides of the bag where they join the base.

That completes the body of the outer Christmas gift storage bag.  I have not lined this bag because I felt that it didn’t need a lining – the inside of the bag is neat already because of the French seams.

Make the straps

For the straps I have sewn together the two 2.1/2″ strips – one in the main fabric and one in the alternate fabric – with right sides together.  Sew along the long edges to make a tube.  Cut in half and then turn the tubes right side out.  Topstitch 1/4″ in from the edges to give added strength and to hold the fabrics in place.

 

Pin the straps

Pin the straps

Assemble the Christmas gift storage bag

Pin the straps to the outer bag – one strap to each side of the bag.  I have positioned mine with the ends about 5″ apart.

On the alternate fabric strip press under a 1/4″ hem along one long edge.

Pin the facing around the top

Pin the facing around the top

Pin the facing around the top of the bag using the edge that hasn’t been pressed.  Turn under a 1/4″ hem at each end of the facing (the short edges).

The facing should be about 62″ long.  To be safe, I tend to cut the end when I’ve nearly finished sewing the facing to the bag.  That way I can be sure that the two ends of the facing just meet with each other.

Flip the facing to the inside of the bag and press in place.

Sew the facing in place

Sew the facing in place

Finishing the bag

In order to sew the facing in place I have begun by topstitching 1/4″ from the seam using a normal sewing stitch.  That holds the top of the facing in place.

In the past I have always hand sewn the other edge of the facing in place.  This time I decided to use an embroidery stitch in order to speed things up.  I selected a stem stitch on my sewing machine and used that to hold the bottom of the facing in place.  I sewed this on the outside of the bag – you can feel where the facing hem is as you’re sewing to make sure that you always catch this in the stitching.  Using this method saves time and also makes a feature just beneath the top of the bag.

That completes the Christmas gift storage bag.  I hope you’ve found this a useful idea.

Here’s the video:

Freemasons Hall

Freemasons Hall

One of the joys of visiting London is finding gems around every corner.  Yesterday I met some friends for lunch in London.  I was early so had a wander around the Covent Garden area.  The first building that struck me turned out to be the Freemasons Hall.  It’s a gorgeous building (regarded as one of Britain’s finest Art Deco buildings) and they have a museum that is free to visit.  It took me out of the cold so I had a look in the museum.  It was fascinating.

Throne for King George

Throne for King George

This throne was made for King George IV.  It seemed far too big for a person to sit on, but apparently he weighed 25 stones so needed a big throne!

Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House

Then around the next corner I came across the Royal Opera House – another gorgeous building.  This is somewhere I have always wanted to visit because when I see it on TV it always looks so luxurious inside.

Seven Dials

Seven Dials

Wandering just another block further I came across somewhere called Seven Dials.  I had never been there before but when I looked it up it turns out to be a very pretty area where seven streets meet up between Covent Garden and Soho.

 

Shoulder Bag Pattern – All Machine Sewn

Shoulder bag pattern

Shoulder bag pattern

I like my shoulder bag pattern – it’s going to be really useful when I’m travelling.  The only hand sewing I used was for the fastener.  The shoulder bag has two compartments and a long strap to go on the shoulder or across the body.  The body of the bag measures about 9″ wide by 8″ high and it is fully lined.

Cutting requirements for the shoulder bag pattern

Blue fabric:  one 9″ strip cut across the width of fabric, one 2″ strip cut across the width of fabric

Gold fabric:  one 9″ strip cut across the width of fabric

Wadding:  one rectangle 8″ by 9″, one rectangle 8″ by 20″

Fastener:  I used a pressed stud with a button for decoration.




Mark curves at one end

Mark curves at one end

Layer the fabrics

Lay the two strips of fabric with right sides together.  Make a mark at 8″ intervals along the length of the fabrics.  Mark curves in one end using a plate or something similar.  Cut along the curves.

You should now have one end straight and one end curved.

Lay wadding at the two ends

Lay wadding at the two ends

Lay the first (8″) rectangle of wadding on the straight end of the fabrics – to the right in the photo.  Place the second (20″) rectangle at the curved end.  One end of the larger wadding should be in line with the third 8″ marker while the other end should overlap the curved end.  You will have a 16″ gap with no wadding, only fabric.

Cut a curve in the wadding

Cut a curve in the wadding

Cut a curve on the wadding to match the curve in the fabrics.

Press strip in half along the length

Press strip in half along the length

Make the shoulder bag strap

Fold the 2″ blue strip of fabric along the middle lengthways.  Press.  Fold under a 1/4″ hem along one raw edge and press.

Top stitch on both sides

Top stitch on both sides

Usually I try and fold under the two raw edges at the same time, but I realised that it made much more sense to press one edge under first.  Then it’s much more easy to fold the other edge under to match the one that’s already pressed.

Top stitch 1/4″ in from the edge to hold the layers together.  Top stitch again 1/4″ from the other edge.  This gives extra strength to the strap and also looks neater.

Pin the strap to the gold fabric

Pin the strap to the gold fabric

Add the strap to the shoulder bag

Working at the curved end of the fabrics, fold back the wadding and the blue fabric.  Place one end of the strap on each side, making sure that the strap isn’t twisted.  Lay them so that they are on the fourth 8″ marker, making them about 8″ from the curved end.

Now tuck the rest of the strap down between the blue and gold fabrics (away from the edges) and fold the blue fabric and wadding back into place.

In the past I have always hand sewn the strap in place after I’ve finished the rest of the bag.  It was never very neat, so sewing the strap to the bag during the construction was one of the things that I wanted to achieve.  Luckily it worked!

Sew the layers together

Clip the curve

Clip the curve

Beginning somewhere in the middle, sew a seam about 1/4″ from the edge all round the fabrics.  This secures the three layers together.  Leave a gap of about 6″ so that you can turn the project right side out.  I usually leave this somewhere in the middle where there is no wadding – it makes it more easy to turn the project out.

Trim the seam allowance and clip in towards the stitching around the curve.  This gives a more even curve for the front of the shoulder bag.

Turn the shoulder bag right side out through the gap.  Pin the edges to make sure that the seam lies along the edge and press.  At this stage turn under small hems across the gap.  Top stitch all round the edge of the bag.  This closes the gap so there’s no hand sewing required there – another stage that I could never manage neatly.

Form the first pouch

Form the first pouch

Fold the sections of the shoulder bag pattern

Begin at the straight end of the bag.  Pull the end of the bag up to the second 8″ marker, so that the fold is at the first 8″ marker.  You may need to put pins in to re mark the sections if like me you had made your original marks on the wrong side of the fabric.  This forms the first compartment of the bag.

Make the second compartment

Make the second compartment

Now take the top of that first compartment (both layers) and pull it up to the fourth 8″ marker – about 8″ from the curved end.  This forms the second compartment behind the first one.  The top of the compartments should now be level with the strap.

Sew the sides of the compartments

Embroidery for the sides

Embroidery for the sides

I have always found sewing the sides of the compartments together a pain because there was too much fabric for me to be able to use my machine.  That’s why I designed this shoulder bag pattern so that there is wadding at the front and the back of the bag, but none in the two layers between.  I bet you were wondering why there was that area with no wadding on the fabric!

Because of the reduced thickness, I was able to use my machine to sew the sides together and I used one of the embroidery stitches.  I used a stem stitch which turned out really well.

Button just for show

Button just for show

That’s pretty much it now.  For a fastening I used a pressed stud to secure the front flap of the bag.  Then I added a button on the front of the flap just for show.  I’m sure that you will be far more creative in your embellishments.

Modelling the bag

Modelling the bag

I am ridiculously pleased with my should bag pattern.  It took no time to make because it was all machine sewn.  It’s sturdy and practical.  I think that it will be great for when I’m travelling – I can keep my passport and tickets secure by my body.  Or I could make several and match them to outfits.

Here’s the video:

Sherlock Holmes statue

Sherlock Holmes statue

I was in London last week and I was reminded of how much history there is around every corner.  I needed to walk to Baker Street station and outside there was a lovely big statue of Sherlock Holmes.  All the shops and pubs in the area seemed to be named after him as well.

MCC

MCC

On the way there, just round the corner from Marylebone station, I happened upon a square which was the original home of the Marylebone cricket club – now known as the MCC.  There were various plaques around the square detailing the history.  Both my sons play cricket so it was fascinating to see this cricketing history.

Pouch and Tote Bag – Free Pattern

Pouch and tote bag

Pouch and tote bag

This pouch and tote bag is something that I have wanted to make for a long time.  It seemed such a simple idea – but it took me about three or four prototypes before I was happy with the measurements.  Anyway, the idea is that the tote bag is attached along the base to a zipped pouch.  The tote bag can be folded up and tucked inside the pouch so it takes up no room at all in your handbag, but is always there if you need it.

I have made the pouch in cotton canvas for extra strength and the tote bag in poplin to reduce bulk.

Cutting requirements for the pouch and tote bag

Pouch:  two rectangles 4″ by 7″, one rectangle 12.1/2″ by 3.1/2″, one 18″ open ended zip (the sort where the two sides of the zip can be separated from each other.

Tote bag:  two 12″ squares and two 2.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric in blue.  In yellow you will need three 12″ by 4″ rectangles and one 2″ strip approximately 30″ long.




Curve the corners

Curve the corners

Make the pouch

Using a plate or something similar, mark a curve on each corner of the canvas rectangles and cut the corners along the curves.  Having curves rather than straight edged corners makes it more easy to attach the zip.

Pin the rectangle to the zip

Pin the rectangle to the zip

Start off with the zip intact just to make sure that you have everything the right way round.  Place the zip right side down and one of the rectangles on it also with right side down – so the right side of the fabric lies against the wrong side of the zip.

Pin the zip to the rectangle

Pin the zip to the rectangle

Pin the zip all round the rectangle.  After the first pin or two you can separate the parts of the zip to make the pinning easier.  You need to ease the zip around the curves in the fabric.

Repeat with the second side of the zip on the second rectangle.  Again you want the fabric and the zip both right side down.

Connect the two sides of the zip up again just to make sure that the two sides of the pouch match up.  Then baste all round each rectangle.

Zigzag with black thread

Zigzag with black thread

Finally sew the zip and fabric together.  I used a black thread and a small zigzag stitch – about 2 both for width and stitch length on my machine.

You can now put the two sections of pouch aside while you make the next section.

Make the tote bag straps

Make the tote bag straps

Make the tote bag straps

Sew together two 2.1/2″ strips of blue fabric along the length 1/4″ from each edge with right sides together.

Top stitch the straps

Top stitch the straps

Cut in half and then turn the individual straps right side out.  Press and then sew a seam 1/4″ from each edge to hold the straps in place.

Layout for tote bag body

Layout for tote bag body

Make the tote bag body

I’ve used yellow for the gussets on this bag in the hope that it will be easier for you to see what I’m doing.  I’ve used a slightly different technique to make the tote bag so that I can keep fabric bulk to a minimum.

Sew the sections together

Sew the sections together

Place a yellow strip to the right of one of the blue squares with a yellow strip across the bottom  Place a yellow strip to the left of the second blue square.  Sew the two side gussets to the blue squares.

The top section will be the front of the bag, the horizontal yellow strip will be the base of the bag and the bottom section will form the back of the bag.  Sew the two blue squares to the horizontal gusset.

The back panel will be folded up to make the bag.  I made the mistake here of placing both squares right way up.  In fact I should have placed the bottom square upside down so that it would be right side up on the finished bag.  Obviously this only applies if your fabric is directional.

Join the top to the base gusset

Join the top to the base gusset

Place the corners of the side gussets to the corners of the horizontal gusset as shown in the photo.

Join the bottom to the base gusset

Join the bottom to the base gusset

This joins the two side gussets to the base gusset.

If you are confident enough, you could then pivot and sew up the side seams but I am showing this as a separate step for clarity.

Sew the side seams

Sew the side seams

Fold the back section up so that it is right sides together with the front section.  Sew the two side seams, taking care at the bottom that you don’t include extra fabric in the stitching.

Pin the straps in place

Pin the straps in place

Complete the tote bag

Place a pin half way across the blue square.  You can then use this to make sure that your straps are the same distance from the middle.  Pin the straps in place.

Pin the facing in place

Pin the facing in place

Use the 2″ strip of yellow fabric for the facing.  With right sides together, pin it around the top of the tote bag, covering the straps.

Sew all round the top, securing the straps, facing and tote bag together.

Flip the facing to the inside

Flip the facing to the inside

Flip the facing to the inside.  Sew a line of top stitching around the bag to hold everything together.  Turn under a small hem on the bottom of the facing and sew it to the inside of the bag.

Pin the pouch lining to the tote bag

Pin the pouch lining to the tote bag

Join the pouch lining and tote bag

Pin the pouch lining to the base of the tote bag, right sides together.  I haven’t sewn them together across the entire length because I didn’t want to sew across the seam. Instead I have sewn these sections together by means of a square of stitching at each end.

Sew a square at each end

Sew a square at each end

The weight of your shopping will be on the base of the bag, not the pouch or its lining, so there’s no need to worry about the stitching not going the whole way across.  In the photo you can see roughly where I put a square of stitching.

Join the two pouch sections

Join the two pouch sections

Join the pouch lining and the pouch

Final steps now!  Zip up the pouch and mark a point where you can sew the two pouch sections together.  You need to have the zip done up to be sure that you get two points that lie next to each other.  Put a couple of stitches in to hold the two sections together.

Lay the pouch lining (with tote bag attached) on top of the pouch and pin in place.  Turn under a small hem and sew the lining to the pouch.  Here again I have not sewn right the way across because I didn’t want to get in the way of the zip.

Sew the lining to the pouch

Sew the lining to the pouch

I sewed around the short edges at either end and a short way along the length.  Then I just used a running stitch to hold the seam allowance in place across the middle. After that I resumed slipstitching around the other short edge.

The photo shows how the lining doesn’t reach to the edge of the pouch.  If I hadn’t been so short of time I would probably have made a new, larger lining.

You can now fold your tote bag up, tuck it into the pouch and do up the zip.  Ready to use.

Here’s the video:

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle

Last week I visited Kenilworth Castle.  This began life as a medieval fortress and then became a castle that Queen Elizabeth I gave to her close friend Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester.  He made huge developments to it in his efforts to please the Queen.

Windows

Windows

Although it is mostly ruins now, it has a real presence and you can just imagine it full of Elizabethan figures.  It happened to be the day that here in the UK we had a red sun so that really added to the atmosphere of the place.

My camera is refusing to give up the photos that I took, so I have used the English Heritage images from their site.

Wine Tote Bag Pattern – Tutorial

Wine tote bag

Wine tote bag

This wine tote bag has been made following a request, but it is something that I had thought about making before now.  I wanted to create a bag that would carry two bottles of wine without any risk of them clanking together and I think that I have achieved this.  I’ve put a padded ring around each bottle and used a gusset to help the bottles to stay upright.  What a great gift this would make.

The body of the wine tote bag is 14″ high by about 12″ wide.  You can buy the kit at wine bag tote kit.  The fabric required is 3/4 yard each of pink and white with 1/2 yard of green.  Obviously the choice of Love fabric for a wine tote bag is totally coincidental!  I chose to use green for the bottle rings and the facing mainly so that it would be clearer for you to see what I’m doing.




Cutting requirements for the wine tote bag

4.1/2″ by 14.1/2″ rectangles:  four pink, six white

2,1.2″ by 32.1/2″ strips:  two white

12,1.2″ by 14.1/2″ strips:  two pink

For the straps you need to cut a 2.1/2″ strip each of pink and white across the width of fabric.

For the bottle rings you need four 6″ by 13″ rectangles and two 4″ by 11″ wadding pieces.

Cut a strip 1.1/2″ wide by the width of fabric in green for the facing.

Sew the strips together

Sew the strips together

Make the outer section

Sew together four rectangles each of pink and white (4.1/2″ by 14.1/2″) to make a panel eight strips across by 14.1/2″ high.  Add a gusset strip of light fabric (2.1/2″ by 32.1/2″) across the bottom of the panel.

Sew the left and bottom seams

Sew the left and bottom seams

Fold the panel in half and sew down the right hand side and across the bottom to create a pouch.

Pull the fabrics apart

Pull the fabrics apart

In order to create a flat section across the bottom of the bag, pull the two fabrics apart at one bottom corner.

Fold the triangle down

Fold the triangle down

You’ll see a triangle forming in the corner.  Pin the sides of the triangle and fold the triangle down so that it lies flat across the bottom of the bag (the two 2.1/2″ white strips).  Sew the top of the triangle to the seam.

Sew the gusset seam in place

Sew the gusset seam in place

Turn the bag right side out and sew along the seam in the corner formed when you folded the triangle down.  You may find the video helps with this bit if you’ve not made gussets before now.

Outer bag

Outer bag

That completes the outer wine tote bag.

Make the bottle rings

Layer the bottle rings

Layer the bottle rings

I’ve made the rings to enclose the wine bottles in green for clarity.  Lay down two green rectangles with right sides together.  Add a wadding rectangle on top and pin.

Sew down the two 13″ edges to create a tube.  This stitching does not touch the wadding, so leave the pins in while you turn the tube right side out.

In order to hold the three layers together I have quilted a few squiggles just to stop the layers moving against each other.  You can just run a line of stitching along the middle if you prefer – it’ll achieve the same thing.

The wadding is cut smaller than the green rectangles to reduce the bulk in the seams.

Make the lining bag

Layout for the lining bag

Layout for the lining bag

Make the lining bag in a similar fashion, but using larger sections of fabric.  Place a 12.1/2″ pink rectangle and a 4.1/2″ white strip together twice.

Fold the green rectangles in half and pin one to the left hand edge of each pink rectangle.  The raw edges of the green rectangles are to the left with the folded edges to the right.  Sew the pieces together to create a panel 13.1/2″ by 32.1/2″.

Add a 2.1/2″ white strip across the bottom for the gusset.

Create triangles in the bottom corners

Create triangles in the bottom corners

Fold the panel in half and sew down the right hand side and across the bottom to form a pouch as for the outer bag.

Pull the fabrics apart in the bottom corners to make triangles, again as for the outer bag.  Sew these triangles in place.

Sew the strips together

Sew the strips together

Make the straps

With right sides together sew the 2.1/2″ strips of pink and white along the length.  Cut at the half way point to make two straps.  Turn these right side out and press.  Sew a seam 1/4″ in from each edge to strengthen the straps.

Pin the straps in place

Pin the straps in place

Assemble the wine tote bag

With the outer bag right side out and the lining bag wrong side out, push the lining bag inside the outer bag and pin the raw edges together all round the top.

Decide where the central point of the outer bag is and lay one strap so that the two ends are the same distance away from the middle point.  I’ve placed them so that the pink is against the outer bag.  Hold the straps up so that you can see that they aren’t twisted before you pin them in place.  The raw edges are at the top in line with the raw edges of the outer bag.  Repeat on the other side of the bag with the second strap.

Pin the facing

Pin the facing

Add the facing

Beginning at one side of the outer bag, pin the facing strip with right side down all round the top of the bag.  Turn back about 1/2″ at each end of the facing – shown on the left of the photo.  I prefer not to sew the two ends of the facing together at this stage – then I can adjust the end when I sew it.

Sew all round the top of the bag – the lining bag, outer bag, facing and straps can all be sewn together in the one seam.

Sew the facing to the lining

Sew the facing to the lining

Flip the facing to the inside.  Turn under a small hem and sew the facing to the lining bag.

Add the wine

Add the wine

Fill the bag!

Place a bottle of wine within a green ring to protect it and hold it in place.  Add another.

I feel that I’ve achieved what I intended with this wine tote bag pattern and I hope you find it useful – to make as gifts or for charity stalls.

Here’s the video:

Tewkesbury Abbey

Tewkesbury Abbey

Recently I visited a friend in Tewkesbury and obviously had to take a trip to the Abbey.  What a stunning building it is, with a real atmosphere inside.  It’s a former Benedictine Monastery and is the second largest parish church in the country.  According to Wikipedia work was begun on the building in the 12th century.  I’m sure we can rely on Claire to find some facts about the Abbey that I didn’t know!

Tewkesbury Abbey chair challenge

Tewkesbury Abbey chair challenge

They are holding a Chair Challenge for charity at the moment and there were decorated chairs arranged all round the interior – absolutely fascinating.

Peg Bag Pattern – Free Bag Tutorial

Peg bag pattern

Peg bag pattern

This peg bag pattern is easy to make and I feel that it is another project for those who wish to craft for charity or Christmas stalls.  Or to make for yourself, of course!  It can be used as a peg bag for hanging out your washing or it can be hung from a hanger to hold your socks or tights.  The bag is very approximately 11″ wide by 11″ long.

I’ve seen peg bags with applique washing lines and clothes on them, but I have gone for a much simpler strip of lace around the neckline.  It is intended to look like a small dress – but with a very large neckline so that you can easily pull out pegs or socks from within the bag.  Lace is also a great way of covering imperfections in the neckline!

To buy the kit click on peg bag kit.




Cutting requirements for the peg bag pattern

I have used a 13″ strip cut across the width of fabric for the outer fabric and the lining fabric.  In addition you will need about 28″ of lace.  Cut one of each template in outer fabric and one of each in the lining fabric.  You will also need two strips about 1″ by 9″ in the lining fabric for the tapes.

Click here for the peg bag front template

Click here for the peg bag back template

Pin the template to the fabric

Pin the template to the fabric

Cut the fabric

Lay your strip of fabric out across the length and fold back about 13″ at the end so that you have two layers of fabric for that 13″ stretch.  Pin one of the templates in place with the right hand edge of the template lined up with the fold in the fabric.

Cut one in the outer fabric (the sky fabric) and one in the lining fabric (Liberty Art fabric).

Make a new fold for the 2nd template

Make a new fold for the 2nd template

Fold the strip of fabric over by 13″ again to create a new fold and pin the other template to it, again matching the right hand edge of the template with the fold line.

From the scraps of the lining fabric cut two strips about 1″ by 9″ for the tapes.

Sew the outer front and back together

Sew the outer front and back together

Assemble the peg bag

Place the two sections of outer fabric (back and front of bag) with right sides together.  Sew from the edge of the neckline across the shoulder, down each side, across the bottom and up the other side.  This creates a pouch.

Repeat with the lining fabric but this time sew across the shoulders and down the sides only – do not sew across the bottom of the bag lining.  This creates a tube.

Clip into the seams

Clip into the seams

Clip the corners where the fabric sticks out and clip into the seam on the inward curve of the seams.

This will help to make the bag lie flat when you turn the sections right side out.

Turn the outer bag right side out but leave the lining bag wrong side out.

Make the tape

Make the tape

Sew the two tapes

Lay the strips for the tapes with right side down.  Fold the edges in to the middle along the length.  Then fold the strip in half along the length so that the raw edges are completely concealed.  Sew along the strip to hold in place.  One end of each tape will be concealed within the seams.  I usually tie a simple knot in the other end to prevent fraying.

Pin the tapes in place

Pin the tapes in place

Lay the tapes on the neckline of the lining fabric about 2″ either side of the central point.  One end of each tape will lie on the neckline while the other end lies down the back of the section.

Pull the lining over the outer bag

Pull the lining over the outer bag

Join the two sections of the peg bag pattern

Pull the bag lining down over the top of the outer section, matching the neckline particularly.  The tapes are now lying between the two bag sections.

Sew around the complete neckline so that the two bag sections are joined together.  I found the two shoulder sections a bit fiddly to sew – just where the back and front pieces are joined.  You need to sew these bits slowly so that you can ease the fabric as you go.  Don’t forget that the lace will cover the occasional bump in the fabric – although I’m sure that you are a more careful sewer than I am so you won’t have any bumps!

Pull the lining up

Pull the lining up

Pull the lining bag up over the top of the bag sections so that you can sew the hemline of this section.

Sew the hemline

Sew the hemline

Turn under the two edges to make a small seam along the hemline and sew this in place.

Push the lining back inside the outer bag, pushing into the corners of the sleeves and hemlines to make a good fit.

Topstitch the neckline

Topstitch the neckline

Pin around the neckline and sew a line of topstitching to keep the two layers in place.

Sew lace around the neckline

Sew lace around the neckline

Add the lace

That’s the peg bag pattern complete apart from the embellishment.  For this I have used lace for three reasons:  it looks like clouds on the sky fabric, looks like a pretty collar on the dress shape and hides any imperfections in the neckline.

The lace is sewn on by hand.  I began at the back of the neckline to hide the join of the two ends, although in fact the lace is easy enough to join so the join doesn’t really show up anyway.

Peg bag on the line

Peg bag on the line

You can see the peg bag pattern in action here with the tapes used to tie it to the washing line.

I hope that you’ll find this a useful pattern whether you make it for yourself or for your charity sewing.

Here’s the video:

Portmeirion village

Portmeirion village

Last week I promised you a little more on my Welsh trip.  One of the highlights of the trip was a look around Portmeirion.  This is an extraordinary village built on a peninsular in North Wales.

The architect, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, wanted to show that beautiful buildings could be built to highlight the natural landscape.  He was heavily influenced by Italian architecture and the result is a gorgeous village – although I wouldn’t want to live there and have to cope with all the hordes of tourists!

The Prisoner

The Prisoner

The village has been used in countless films and TV programmes.  Perhaps the most famous of these was The Prisoner, filmed in the 1960’s.  You can get the feeling of this looking through the bars on to the river.

 

Hint of Colour Clutch Bag Pattern

Hint of colour clutch bag

Hint of colour clutch bag

I’ve made the Hint of Colour clutch bag using a technique that I think gives a gorgeous bag.  I’ve made it in various different styles before, but the clutch bag is probably the easiest of bag designs to show you the technique.  This purse measures approximately 8.1/2″ by 6.1/2″.

I’ve used 3/4 yard of pink fabric and 1/2 yard of black.  The pink is an Ebor fabric going by the delightful name of Sangria.  For the black I have used cotton canvas, slightly stronger than normal quilting cotton but just as easy to use.




Cutting requirements for the hint of colour clutch bag

It is actually best to make two of these at a time to save fabric wastage.

1.1/2″ strips:  nine pink, ten black

9″ by 20″ rectangles:  one pink and one wadding for each bag

One button and about 6″ of ribbon for each bag.

Sew the strips together

Sew the strips together

Make the striped panel

Sew the strips of black and pink fabric together along the length, beginning and ending with black.  Press the seam allowances all in one direction.

This is not only the easiest way to press them, but also makes the sewing much easier as well.

Cut this panel into two 20″ lengths.  You actually only need one of these 20″ lengths for one hint of colour clutch bag, but if you make a second purse at the same time then you can use up all the fabric strips.  The instructions following are for one bag only from now on.

Form the pleats

Form the pleats

Form the pleats

Place the panel with the stripes running vertically.  Working from right to left, grip the pink/black seam and pull it across to the next black stripe.

Pull the black across the pink

Pull the black across the pink

With your left hand, gently push the pink to make sure that it is lying flat.  Pin the pleat in place.  Continue down each stripe.

Pleat across all the pink stripes

Pleat across all the pink stripes

Basically you are folding the black stripes across the pink stripes so that only black shows on the top side of the panel.

You will need to form nine pleats, one to cover each pink stripe.

Sew a zigzag stitch just inside the top and the bottom edges to hold the pleats in place.  You need to sew from the right edge to the left edge so that you are following the folds of the pleats.  Otherwise you might find your sewing machine foot pushing against the pleats as you sew.

Zigzag lines across the middle

Zigzag line across the middle

Zigzag line across the middle

Here I have a slight problem because I had started out planning a larger bag.  For this I had planned one fold in the pleated panel, with a pink square added at the bottom to form the third section of the clutch bag.

However this gave me a bag that was too deep and didn’t look right.  I decided to fold the pleated panel twice and forget about the extra pink square.  Unfortunately the video and my photos had already been taken with a line of zigzag stitching across the middle.

What I should have done is added a line of zigzag 7″ from the bottom and a further line 14″ from the bottom.  This holds the pleats in place along the lines where the panel will be folded.  You will then have two sections of 7″ for the pouch of the bag and one of 6″ for the flap.

Press the pleats with a steam iron, removing the pins as you go.

Layer the bag sections

Layer the bag sections

Add the lining and wadding

Measure the width of your pleated panel.  In theory it should be 10.1/2″, but in fact mine was 9″.  This is because you lose a little width with all the folds in the pleating.  Cut a rectangle of wadding and pink fabric to your final measurements – 9″ by 20″ in my case.

Lay the wadding down first with the pink rectangle on top of it, right side up.  Place the pleated panel on top with right side down, so that the pink and the pleats are right sides together.

Leave a gap in the seam

Leave a gap in the seam

Sew around three and a half sides, leaving a gap to turn the bag right side out.  I have left the gap in the middle of one of the long edges.  It is easier to slipstitch the gap closed along a black strip rather than across the pleats in the short ends.

Trim the seam allowances and clip across the corners to reduce bulk in the corners.

Slipstitch across the gap

Slipstitch across the gap

Push the bag through the gap to turn it right side out.  Turn under a small hem across the gap and slipstitch in place.  Press.

Slipstitch the two edges

Slipstitch the two edges

Fold the sections

Fold the bag across the 7″ line to create the pouch of the hint of colour clutch bag.

Sew the two edges together on each side.  I tried to use my machine but there was too much bulk so I hand stitched the seam.

Fold the flap down

Fold the flap down

Fold the flap down over the pouch of the bag.  It should finish about 1″ above the bottom of the bag.  This is intentional so that there is room for a fastener.  I have used a button on the flap with a ribbon loop beneath it on the pouch.

The beauty of this bag is that it’s simple to make and just hints of colour show through the black, particularly when you have something in the bag.  You can use any colour combinations to match an outfit, but I think that you do need to have a good contrast between the fabrics for it to be effective.

You might be interested in other bag patterns on my free bag patterns page.

Here’s the video:

Thank you so much for all the comments and emails that I received with regard to my addition of small projects to the weekly emails.  I hope that this pattern has proved to be helpful to you.  It certainly could be made for a Christmas gift, which I know many of you are looking for.

Chateau Impney

Chateau Impney

And I haven’t forsaken the travel section!  The photo this week is of a hotel called Chateau Impney.  The building has a fairytale castle look to it and it is set in beautiful parkland.

I have admired it from afar for many years so I was delighted when a friend offered to take me there to have a look around.  We thought that we would have a coffee and then a walk in the parkland.  Unfortunately nobody seemed interested in serving us coffee so we had to make do with just the walk in the park bit – but it was lovely to have seen the chateau from close up after all these years of admiring it from a distance.

 

Tote Bag with Gusset – Free Pattern

Tote bag with gusset

Tote bag with gusset

For this tote bag with gusset I have created the gusset through folding rather than by sewing an extra panel into the bag.  It is quick and easy to make and the gusset is perfectly adequate for making the bottom of the bag that bit flatter, so that a bottle would stand upright more easily in it.

Cutting requirements for the tote bag with gusset

Closer view of the bottom corner

Closer view of the bottom corner

Outer bag:  two 18″ squares.  I have used two different fabrics for this

Bag lining:  two 18″ squares.  Again, I have used two different fabrics here

Straps:  two 2.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric.  I have used one strip each of the two outer bag fabrics

Facing:  one 2.1/2″ strip. This shows at the top of the bag so it needs to be in a co ordinating fabric.




Mark a line on the bottom corner

Mark a line on the bottom corner

Making the outer bag

With right sides together, sew the two squares together on three sides – these will be the sides and the bottom of the tote bag.

On one side seam, mark a line 1″ from the bottom seam and extending 1″ from the side seam.  Do this to both sides of the bag.  Note that the two squares are still right sides together at this stage.

Form a triangle with the marked line as the base

Form a triangle with the marked line as the base

Pull the two squares apart from each other at the bottom corner.  You need to form a triangle with the marked line running along the base of the triangle and the seam line running up the middle of the triangle.  The corner of the bag will be the top of the triangle.  One half of the triangle will be the back fabric of the bag (black in the photo) and the other half will be the front (hot air balloon fabric).  Sew a seam along the base of the triangle.

Fold the triangle along the bottom seam line

Fold the triangle along the bottom seam line

Fold the triangle down so that the triangle runs along the bottom seam of the bag.  Slipstitch the top of the triangle to the seam allowance.  This is only to hold it in place – it doesn’t need to be strong. Do this to both bottom corners of the tote bag.

Now you can turn the outer bag right side out.

Make a gusset in the lining

Make a gusset in the lining

Making the bag lining

This is basically the same as making the outer bag.  Once again I have used two different fabrics in the hope that the photos will be more clear.  Sew the two squares together on three sides, mark a line for the gusset, sew along the line and slipstitch the top of the triangle in place.  The lining fabrics are still right sides together at this stage.

Make the bag straps

Make the bag straps

Making the tote bag straps

With right sides together, sew the two 2.1/2″ strips together on each side to form a tube.  Cut the tube in half so that you have two tubes about 20″ long.  Fold the top of the strap back along the strap so that you can turn it right side out.  Press and then sew a seam 1/4″ from either side to hold the fabrics in place.

Assembling the tote bag with gusset

Pin the straps to the outer bag

Pin the straps to the outer bag

Now you just have to put it all together!

Turn the outer bag so that it’s right side out.  Leave the lining so that it’s right sides together.  Tuck the lining into the outer bag and line up the two fabrics around the top of the bag.

Pin one strap to the front of the bag and one to the back of the bag, making sure that you only catch the two layers of fabric with each strap.  Sew all round the top of the bag to secure the outer bag, lining and straps in place.

Add the facing

Add the facing

Add the facing to the bag

Measure the length around the top of the bag.  In my case it was 35″.  Take the facing strip and cut a length 1/2″ longer (35.1/2″ for my bag).  Sew the two ends together to make a loop.

Place this loop around the top of the bag (on the outside) so that the top edge is in line with the top of the bag.  Sew in place.

Finally, flip the facing inside towards the lining.  Turn under a small hem and slipstitch in place just inside the seam line.  This means that you have enclosed all the seam allowance and have a neat finish to the top of the tote bag with gusset.

It takes slightly longer to make a bag this way, but it does give a very professional looking bag – and it will help your bottles to stand upright more easily.

Here’s the video:

Christmas Sweet Bag – Homemade

 

Christmas sweet bag

Christmas sweet bag

The Christmas sweet bag is I think the first time that I have managed to produce a festive project in July, in keeping with the Christmas in July trend which gives crafters plenty of time to make things for Christmas.  This is a very simple and easy to make bag, so that may be why I managed it now!  It would be great for either sweets or small trinkets and measures about 6″ square and a couple of inches high.

Cutting requirements for the Christmas sweet bag

10″ squares:  one each in green and red

cord:  about 40″of matching cord or ribbon

Place squares right sides together

Place squares right sides together

Making the Christmas sweet bag

Place the two squares with right sides together and sew around three and a half edges.  Clip the corners and turn the bag right side out through the gap in the stitching.

Close the gap with a small seam

Close the gap with a small seam

Turn under a small hem on the unsewn part of the seam and press in place.  Top stitch all round the edge to hold the seam in place.

Lay the square out so that the side that you wish to be the outside is on top – in my case that’s the red.

Turn a corner in towards the middle

Turn a corner in towards the middle

Lay the cord across a corner and fold the corner in towards the middle.  If you measure both sides of the folded section at 2.1/2″ then you’ll be sure that the turned in triangle is even.

Obviously in normal times the cord would have matched the fabrics, but most of my stuff is packed away ready for the move and all I could find was this pink cord – which is totally inappropriate, but illustrates the technique for making the bag.

Repeat with all 4 corners

Repeat with all 4 corners

Sew across the corner just inside the cord, but making sure that you don’t catch the cord in the stitching.  Backstitch at each end of this seam.

Repeat with the other three corners.

Slowly pull the cord from 2 sides

Slowly pull the cord from 2 sides

Tie the two ends of the cord together so make sure that they don’t slip out from inside those folded corners.  Slowly begin to pull the cord from two sides to draw up the sides of the Christmas sweet bag.

Christmas sweet bag with folds outside

Christmas sweet bag with folds outside

Keep tightening the cord until you feel that the bag is as tight as you wish it to be.  In the photo at the top I have the edges of the bag (between the folds) inside the cord so that they form folds within the bag, but you can see it here where I have pushed the edges to the outside -it’s up to you which way you prefer to arrange the fabric in your Christmas sweet bag.

I haven’t sewn the red folds in place on either of these versions, but you may wish to do so in order to make the bag more secure.  It really depends what you will be putting in the bag.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose