Thursday, 30 October 2014

Tutorial for a simple straight stitch only reusable shopping bag with bucket corners

As many readers know I sew bags for the Green Bag Lady Project they use this pattern:  the pattern works best if you have a serger. I do not have a serger so when I make my own bags I use a slightly different method: the french seam and no bucket corners means this bag is straight stitch only.

But I wanted to come up with an easy shopping bag pattern for straight stitch only that has bucket corners!!

The prototype, see those bucket corners are nice and neat and the whole bag is straight stitch only!


Cut 23" from width of fabric (you can vary the size but I like a fairly large bag for bulk buy items) This is how deep your bag will be.

Sew the two selvage edges together (right sides together) using a 1/4" seam:

Now turn the bag right sides out and mark the bag 2" in from the seam at the base of the bag:

Mark the opposite side of the bag in the same place:

Do this on the folded edge of the bag too. So you will end up with two marks 4" apart at each side of the bag:

Now on one side of the bag bring those two marks together:

Make sure you are creating that W effect with the extra fabric going in towards the bulk of the bag:

Pin it and then do the same for the other side of the bag:

Now sew a 1/4" seam across the bottom of your bag. Yes it should still be right sides out!

Now turn the bag inside out and iron the seam flat, notice how my bucket corner flaps are folded to the top whilst I iron:

Now sew a 1/2" seam across the bottom of the bag to envelop the raw edges within a french style seam:

You can then sew a 1/4" seam line as well within that seam flap to re-enforce if you would like depending on if you intend to carry heavy objects in the bag - remember this is the bottom of the bag.

This is how the bottom corners should look once stitched:

At the top of the bag fold a 1/2" of fabric down:

Then fold another 1" down to envelop the raw edges into the top hem:

Mark your handle position, 3.5 inches from the center of the bag:

Cut a 4.5 inch strip from width of fabric for making the handles:

Cut the strip in half at the fold line:

Fold the strips in half lengthwise and press:

Then open them up and fold the raw edges in towards the center fold line and press:

Refold the handles enveloping the raw edges:

Stitch down either side of the handle to secure it and reinforce the handle:

Trim the handle ends that aren't selvages (with pinking shears preferably):

Now to attach the handles! Begin sewing at the selvage side seam of the bag, reverse a little to re-enforce:

Sew until you get to the first handle mark:

Place the handle on the mark sew over it and reverse to re-enforce:

Continue sewing around the bag until you reach the next mark, attach the other end of that handle - beware there are no twists in your handle, reverse to re-enforce:

Continue sewing around the bag to attach the other handle. Then swerve to the top of the hemline and sew around the bag again to secure the handles at the top of the hemline. This not only attaches the handles again to ensure they are well secured but makes a tidy finish for your top hem.

Because of my fabric and thread choices, you can see it better in the picture from my other bag making tutorial:

You are finished!

So there it is a simple straight stitch only bucket corner shopping bag! It can be done :)

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.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Oops Craigslist!

After a fantastic weekend at quilt retreat sewing on my vintage 301a I couldn't resist a traul on Craigslist Sunday night after my husband left for a 2 week trip to Peru. Of course that was a bad idea and of course there was a green Singer available, they are my Kryptonite!

So I met a man in a pharmacy car park to buy this 319w for $90, she has a box like the 301a all her parts and the manual, but boy was she in need of a clean and oil!!! It took hours to get her gleaming like this! She sews a great straight stitch now but I haven't been able to get the decorative stitches to work. If hubby can'f fix that the cams fit my friend Tami's 306 that had no cams with it when it was bought, so at least we can get one of them to sew decorative stitches LOL. But I sew mainly straight stitch so I am still really happy with her.

But of course sewing machine maintenance is becoming it's own hobby in my apartment, this was my kitchen table yesterday! I even started my own tool kit especially for sewing machines, I'm sick of borrowing hubby's heavy one that has lots of useless man tools in it.

I also pulled apart the motor on my featherweight to clean it; in the hope that it would run a little faster, but alas it is still a featherweight, they are not speedy machines. At least I know she has had a motor clean and is running at her optimum.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Fun at Retreat

I have just spent 3 days at a quilt retreat organized by the quilt club I attend. It was heaps of fun and I got heaps done!

I took my Singer 301a this time and she sews like a dream!It is a fairly fast machine which suits me just fine :) I took my featherweight as well but didn't use it because I was loving the 301a so much! This time I didn't forget anything but with all this sewing stuff plus my suitcase it took 3 trips to the car to pack and unpack!!

We enjoyed learning from one another, sewing, eating and laughing together, there were 23 of us in total:

I made lots of scrappy quilt tops and blocks:

 and this paper pieced top that uses one of my free to download pp patterns it is about 36" x 36":

In total it is 8 quilt tops and blocks for 2 more:

Not bad for 3 days work! This really used up a lot of scrappy fabric in fat quarter size or smaller that I had precut a few months ago in prepeartion for retreat. Some I will probably add borders to so I can make them a better size lap quilt. Some will be charity quilts and some will be gifts or for me I really like the green tumbler quilt top). I now have lots of quilting to do in the next few weeks.

I also got 4 rows of scrappy machine pieced small hexies put together for a small project yet to be determined:

And I made two bulk buy shopping bags out of vintage fabric. I made them like the ones in my tutorial:

so I had a terrific time and truly fell in love with my 301a which hasn't helped me gain control of my obsessive love of vintage machines