Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Your support of Sewing Mamas when you click through our links is appreciated!
Today’s project came from a lovely tutorial from ikatbag.
It stands up all by itself, even when it is empty!
Suggested fabrics for this pouch are a heavier weight home dec or similar fabric for the outer and then a lining fabric. The lining fabric shown in the tutorial is a ripstop nylon. I did not have any ripstop nylon and opted to use quilter’s cotton for both the outer and lining fabrics. I also considered and then ignored the suggestion of reinforcing the outer fabric with a thicker piece of fabric.
I did, however, use two pieces of fabric for the base/front wall piece. Since this is attached with bias binding, layering the two pieces together was an easy-peasy way to add a bit of strength. I did consider using a piece of denim there, but the idea of sewing through denim + double folded bias binding + three layers of quilters cottons (inner, outer and template plastic holder) + the zipper tape seemed like more fun than I was ready to handle this afternoon.
The piece that contains the template plastic is visible inside the pouch. I am not sure what the reasoning was on this. It seemed like I could have put this on the wrong side of the lining piece and it might have been less noticeable. If I make another one, I may try it that way. (And then I will probably have to come back and tell you there was a really good reason for having it the way it is!)
The original has a little pocket on the piece that is referred to in the tutorial as the base/front wall, which is the blue solid that is surrounded with white bias binding in the photo above. When the pouch is zipped, the pocket would be folded and could not contain anything substantial. I left it off. The tutorial does not have any photos that show anything in the pocket, so I am not sure about its intended use.
At one point, use of a separating zipper is suggested. What is not mentioned (or I missed it) is what size and length of zipper should be used. I did not have a separating zipper in a suitable length, so I ended up just using a non-separating zipper, which worked out fine. I believe the one I used was 14″, as the instructions called for a zipper at least 3″ longer than the opening. I left it at that length when I put the tab on the end, but I feel like it would work just as well if I had shortened it to have less extra.
My stitching on the zipper is a bit too close to the teeth near where the front wall attached and the pull gets stuck sometimes. I will be more careful next time to leave more of the zipper tape visible so the pull has more room to zoom about. If I were going to give this to one of my kids, I would probably also use a zipper with bigger teeth, though this one works.
Attaching the zipper is not difficult, getting the base/front wall piece on is much more fiddly – and annoying. I did pin the center and lined up what ends up being the top of the front wall to keep the sides even. This ended up being the most challenging part. Normally I would use wondertape on it, but I didn’t want to do that here since I wasn’t planning to wash the bag. (Wondertape washes out, and it is great to keep wiggly things in place while sewing.) There are also some small Wonder Clips out now that I think would be worth trying for this. I have this size Wonder Clips, but the new smaller mini Wonder Clips might be better for this situation.
Having the contents of the bag upright is a really nice feature, particularly if you are using this for colored pencils or markers. With a regular zip pencil bag, the color you want always seems to be at the bottom. You either have to dig through everything over and over or pull everything out and just leave things out while you are using them. This upright bag is a portable pencil cup, perfect for occupying a preschooler in a restaurant as well as a tween who wants every color available for her latest project.
This bag has 50 colored pencils in it. As you can see, there is plenty of room for more!
I thought it would be a good idea to give the instructions a test run before handing everyone materials at retreat. These little bags are a great way to practice free motion quilting – and as you can see, I clearly need more practice!
The blue one was first, and making it was a learning experience. First, I didn’t make the tabs on the zipper come up far enough. See how the zip is all crazy at the end?
I decided to run the side seam through the serger, but that resulted in the thread pulling and being more visible than I liked when I turned the bag right side out.
(And check out my quilting – you’re feeling better about your occasional wonky stitch length now, aren’t you?)
So, when I made the red bag, I sewed the seam on the sewing machine and then just used the serger to finish the edges. I used a narrower 3-thread overlock stitch for the finishing, especially on the zipper where there just wasn’t enough space to get in there nicely with the serger foot.
Also, because reading directions is not always my strong suit, I forgot to topstitch the first side by the zip before I had attached the other side. This meant topstitching both sides while it the bag was in a tube shape, which was not fun. It probably would have been faster to just rip out one side to at least topstitch the first side more easily. But where’s the challenge in that? Ha.
See how the top of the zip looks so much cleaner when I placed the zipper tab in the right spot? Directions. Crazy how much reading them helps! One note, though – as long as you have a rectangle, the dimensions can be whatever size you want. You just need a zipper that is long enough for your bag.
Don’t you love these cute little charms attached to the zipper pull? It took way too long to connect the pile of charms to split rings, but they are such a fun addition. Definitely worth it!
My daughter requested a couple of these. I told her she can have the one with the flowers, I’ll keep the slightly wonky blue one. She wants one for her basketball bag, one for her school locker, one for her backpack… I see zipper sewing in her future. :)
Pop over to the Moda blog, read the instructions better than I did, and have fun making some of these!
I ordered this dress from Athleta on super sale.
It was only $20 (down from $69!), and it was a size Medium Tall, which I do not usually find in the sale sections. So, I bought it hoping to dye it.
All the dyeing I have done in the past has been with Dharma’s Procion dyes. Procion dyes are really easy to use. Unfortunately, this dress is a nylon/spandex blend, 75/25. This sent me into the scary world of Jacquard Acid Dyes.
This is a scary thing, right? ACID dyes.
As it turns out, it really is not scary. First, I had to find a stainless steel pan that I was willing to never use for food, and it had to be big enough to hold the dress with room to move around. I picked up one secondhand for $10. That seemed like kind of a lot, but I have been scouting the second hand shops for a while, and apparently big stainless steel pans either go fast or don’t get donated very often.
The thing that makes it an acid dye is that you use vinegar. Vinegar is not scary.
First step is to put hot water in a pan (stainless steel or ceramic) and turn on the stove. Then you add the dye to the pot. I used half an ounce of dye, because that was how much I had. Dharma recommends 1/3-2/3 oz per pound of fabric. After mixing the dye in the water so it seemed well dissolved, I put the wet dress in.
After it had been in there for a while and the whole mess was almost boiling (but not, because it is not supposed to actually boil), I poured in 1/4 cup of vinegar. I just used regular white vinegar from my kitchen cabinet. It was only smelly for a minute or so. The directions say not to pour the vinegar on the fabric, so I just kind of mushed the dress over while I poured in the vinegar.
After all that, I just stirred it for half an hour. Pretty easy. And not scary.
Now, the directions are pretty clear in saying that you should keep the temperature between 185-200, and not boiling. I did not have a thermometer that I wanted to put in the dye bath, so I just tried to keep it from boiling. It is possible that once it did get hotter than it was supposed to and I had to turn it down a whole bunch. However, it seems to have turned out okay, so try not to panic if you do this and that happens.
After the half hour, I dumped the whole thing in my laundry sink. There was momentary panic when I saw some of the color completely running off. Then I remembered that the lining of the dress is polyester, so that part was not expected to hold the dye. Whew!
The wooly nylon used in the stitching dyed, but the thread in the needles was likely polyester, that did not hold the dye at all. I think the contrast with the navy blue is okay, though.
I tossed it in the washer with some Synthrapol and hoped for the best.
No blue bubbles, thank goodness.
Here it is all done. It really is a nice navy blue.
Have you used acid dyes? It was much easier than I expected. I am thinking about picking up a purple acid dye and giving tie-dye a try on the second dress I bought.
This tutorial was created by Barb, who is fw221 in the Sewing Mamas forums. Thanks Barb!
- 2/3 yard of 60″ wide fabric for exterior
2/3 yard of 60″ wide fabric for interior
1 yard of 44″ wide fabric for exterior
1 yard of 44″ wide fabric for interior
- Thread to match
If you want to use a lighter weight fabric, be sure to match it with a heavier weight. Two light weights won’t be substantial enough without interfacing. Two heavyweight fabrics will be tough on your machine (but not impossible).
Part One: Cut Your Fabric!
We’ll need from each fabric:
two cuts of 15″ (tall) x 18″ (wide)
one cut of 13″ (tall) x 15″ (wide)
one 3″ wide strip across the entire length of the fabric (we’ll cut this down later)
Part Two: Boxing
With the exterior fabric, take the two cuts of 15″x18″ and sew around three sides (15 – 18 – 15). Seam allowance should be 1/4″ to 3/8″, just be consistent. Be sure to secure the beginning and end by sewing back & forth a few times.
With the interior fabric, take the two cuts of 15″x18″ and sew around three sides (15 – 18 – 15) BUT leave a hole around 3″ wide in the middle of the 18″ length to turn the bag.
Press both pieces FLAT.
Pinch the corner and put seams together. Flatten out the corner on a grid and draw a diagonal line (My grid is 0.5″, so measure your diagonal at 2″ on each side).
Pin to keep in place, then take to sewing machine and sew along the line.
Cut excess off.
Do this for both corners on interior and exterior fabrics.
Press what seams you can.
This is what the corners will look like now:
Part 3: The Flap
Put interior & exterior fabrics right side together. Round off the bottom corners (flap will be 15″ wide by 13″ tall). I used a CD to round the corners, but a plate or glass will work too.
Sew around 3 sides and clip the corner.
Turn right side out and press!
Topstitch and then press again.
Part Four: The Strap
Place right sides together and sew up the long sides. Turn in your favorite fashion (I have a Turn-It-All set).
Press and topstitch.
Cut to desired length. I used 42″.
Part Five: Putting it all together
This will come as a great surprise… Press everything again!
Center the flap onto bag interior, like fabrics together and pin.
Center the strap ends to the seams, like fabrics together and pin.
Stick the exterior of the bag inside the interior, right sides together and pin.
Sew the whole thing shut.
Check the seam to make sure you sewed through all the layers. Then turn right side out through the hole you left in the bottom of the interior fabric.
Sew the bottom shut. I used my machine to sew right next to the seam, but hand stitching looks better.
Put the interior inside the exterior and press again
A HUGE THANK YOU to Barb for taking the time to put together this fabulous tutorial. Hope you have fun creating your own messenger bag!