Tuesday, 30 September 2014

How I make a simple french seam shopping bag

As many regular readers will know I sew bags for the Green Bag Lady project (see the tab in my pages bar for more info) but I also make bags for my own use and as gift bags for quilt recipients. The buckets for the Green Bag Lady bags are sewn by Teresa who has a serger and we bagettes just sew top hems and handles on at home. Since I don't have a serger when I make my own bags I need to modify the bag making process because I do not have a serger. I also tend to make my bags slightly larger than the standard GBL bags.

So here is how I do it:

Cut a strip of fabric 40" x 20" give or take 2" is fine, so it could be 18 x 36 to 22 x 44 depending on what you will use it for, then fold in half right sides out:

Stitch a 1/4 inch seam down each side of the bag, the folded edge will be the bottom of your bag. Reverse a little at the top and bottom of the seams to ensure they hold.

Remember right sides out!!
 Now turn the bag inside out so that you now have the fabric right sides together and iron those seams flat:

Now stitch again down each of those seams with a 1/2" seam allowance. This envelopes your raw edges within the seam:

If you would like to you can even stitch an additional 1/4" stitching line along that seam for added strength if you'll carry heavier items in the bags:

Now to make the handles cut two pieces of fabric 4" x 18", you can make the handles longer or shorter if you wish again it depends on what you want to use the bag for:

Fold them in half lengthwise and press, then unfold and press the raw edges in towards the center fold line. Now fold the handle in half again to envelop the raw edges within the handles (like bias tape is folded)

Edgestitch along both edges of both handles to secure:

Trim the handle ends preferably with pinking shears to prevent fraying. Now your handles are ready to be attached:

Fold the top of the bag down 1/2" and press:

Then fold it down again about 1" to envelop the raw edges inside the top hem:

Mark points for your handles to be attached, I do this 2.5" either side of the center of the bag:

Now start stitching on the lower edge of the top hem, from a side seam (reverse a little to reinforce) go around the bag until you get to the first handle mark:

Place the handle on the mark, stitch over it to attach and reverse to reinforce, then keep stitching until the next handle mark:

Make sure your handle isn't twisted when you place the second end on the bag, Continue around the bag until all handles are attached on the lower edge,

When you get all the way around just swerve up to the top and continue around the bag again to attach the handles towards the top of the hem, stopping at the side seam where you began:

Turn right sides out, sometimes with french seams there will be some stray threads poking out, trim the bag seams to tidy up:

Your bag is complete:

This fabric was $3 per yard at Walmart so this bag cost me approximately $2 to make and if I use it every week when I am shopping I can save 52 plastic bags per year from ending up in landfill or having to be recycled.

And all it took was a straight stitch sewing machine, no zig zag or serger, just simple sewing. I truly believe anyone can make these even kids with a little help initially! Give it a go!

Or if you'd like a free bag or two sent to you contact me by leaving a comment with your email address or filling in the contact me link in my left side bar with your email address so I can contact you for a shipping address��

Monday, 29 September 2014

Pattern Testing

On Saturday I spent the day pattern testing the remaining blocks for my Free 2015 BOM. All the patterns have been tested edited if needed and are ready to upload monthly to the download site. Now I just need to get the blocks and sashing sewn together and a border added some time this week!

Join in anytime by downloading the free patterns at http://adventurousquilter.yolasite.com/  you can click on the link at the top of my left sidebar too it'll be there throughout 2015.

These are the blocks I have revealed so far:

Later in 2015

September 2014 Practice block
October 2014 Practice Block

Friday, 26 September 2014

Challenging myself into 2015

I recently cancelled my mini charm pack of the month club because I was drowning in mini charm squares.  But I do like a monthly fresh fabric stack to inspire me. For 2015 I considered doing one of the many fat quarter or yardage fabric clubs that many of my blogging friends do. I am always inspired by the awesome monthly post my buddy Val from http://myplvl.blogspot.com/ does when her Stash Stack Club arrives!! 

But I live in Denver and therefore am lucky to have access to the unique http://www.woodenspools.com/ a fabric revival shop that resells for $5 per yard, as new quilt shop quality fabric it acquires from quilters. 

So what does a smart girl do?? She decides to give herself permission to spend that $30 per month or less on fabric locally to support small innovative business, to save money and to challenge myself to refresh my stash in a purposeful manner with fabrics that I wouldn't normally buy at $13 per yard in a regular quilt shop!

So this month I decided to focus on modern prints!! This is what I got:

4 fat quarters
 These four will go together beautifully, I can't wait to start cutting them! And they cost me about $6 in total!

Then I grabbed these awesome fabrics! The red and white is about 40" and the paisley is about 12" so I can make a decent sized small quilt top with this fabric and it cost me about $7 total.

So I spent about $13 and have some great modern fabrics that'll make terrific quilts, I can add simple solids if need be to ensure the fabric makes good sized quilts or pull compatibles from my stash if I have any. 

I am soooo pleased I decided this months focus was to be on moderns I LOVE these choices.

Some monthly focus ideas for the fabric choices will be things like
  • dots
  • novelty prints
  • specific colors
  • stripes
  • plaids
  • solids
  • florals
  • animals
  • tone on tone
So I think this'll be a fun way for me to keep refreshing my stash whilst challenging myself to choose something different!