Category Archives: Bags

Magic Softshell Bag II

Remember the Magic Softshell Bag I shared last month? Well I’ve finally got it finished – and it turned out exactly as I’d hoped!

I haven’t added in poppers on the front pocket flap, but so far it looks like the combination of softshell, polycotton and a piece of clear pvc (for extra waterproofing) is doing a good job at holding that flap down.

I could have added in some extra pvc to the back of the front panel where the pockets are, just to make sure nothing can soak through. However, I’m hoping that the softshell will be waterproof enough without that.

Because most of my winter walks result in me walking back home in the dark, I added a couple of reflective strips to the strap. They aren’t so large that they stand out in daylight and look weird, but hopefully it’ll be an added ‘safety feature’ for those dark walks. I’ve never tried using this reflective tape before, and I was struggling to get it to sew evenly so I fused some Heat ‘n’ Bond (the non-sew variety) to the back, and just ironed it into place.

The pockets were originally going to be softshell with a polycotton lining, but I decided it looked better if I used the polycotton for the outer, and the softshell as the lining. The bit of red softshell that’s visible at the top of the pocket, makes the pocket easy to find (otherwise it’d just blend in with the lining a little too much).

Hopefully if I get caught out in torrential rain again, this bag will actually keep the contents dry, and not absorb any of the water!


Pattern: Messenger Bag by Crazy Little Projects
Fabric: Magic Softshell from Mibs Fabrics

Bear Phone Case

I couldn’t decide on the fabric to make Mum’s phone case – so I made her two! This one is made from the same fat quarter design as her baseball cap, in case you’re wondering where you’ve seen it before!

Thankfully Mum’s phone is quite small, as when I tried testing the case for size with my phone, the strap wouldn’t meet the front section so there’d be no way to close it.


Pattern: Smartphone Case Tutorial by Dragon’s Flame Designs
Fabric: Fat Quarters from Hobbycraft

Woodland Phone Case

I never know what to make my Mum for her birthday, so it is always helpful when she puts in a request! This year one of the things she asked for was a new phone case… so of course I need to go one better and make her two.

This is made from my Phone Case Tutorial, although due to user error in marking out the pattern pieces, this is a little shorter than the original. As luck would have it, Mum’s phone is quite small, so it still fits perfectly!

Because it was a little shorter than it should be, I added in a popper and strap to close the case just to give a little ‘wiggle room’ in sizing. I do need to redo the popper though, as it has actually fallen off since then (oops).


Pattern: Smartphone Case Tutorial by Dragon’s Flame Designs
Fabric: Fat Quarters from Hobbycraft

Magic Softshell Bag – take two

I started a Magic Softshell messenger bag earlier in the year, almost finished it, then realised the dimensions I’d used for the pocket weren’t quite right. After some (unwise) unpicking, where I ended up making a small hole in the lining, I shelved the bag in the depths of my UFO pile.

Then I made the mistake of going for a 3 mile walk in torrential rain…. which came through the waterproof bag I had taken with me. So I realised I was going to have to make a replacement waterproof bag before the winter, as being England it’s likely to be quite wet!

Luckily I had enough of the Magic Softshell left over to cut a fresh bag, and armed with some patterned polycotton which I had left over from a previous project, I set to work cutting out a fresh bag, using current favourite bag pattern from Crazy Little Projects.

It’s not the easiest thing to get a photo of (the original softshell colour I was after, didn’t get enough interest to make the preorder, so this one was my second choice), but when the fabric is wet, the pattern of clouds and stars appears.

I’m sticking with my previous ‘hack’ of the pattern, to include a patch pocket with flap on the front flap, rather than messing with a zipped pocket. This actually makes it a lot easier to open, and there’s less things that can go wrong (like the zipper pull coming off when I try using the pocket!).

All the seams are sewn with a triple straight stretch stitch for strength, and I also zigzagged the curved corners just for ease of mind if I put anything heavy into the bag. The main seam stitches should be fine without that, but I like to be certain.

Just the lining to sew, then I can start putting it all together!


Pattern: Messenger Bag by Crazy Little Projects
Fabric: Magic Softshell from Mibs Fabrics

Showerproof “Quilted” Bag

I’ve had enough of soggy bags when I’ve been out for a walk in the rain, so I thought it was time I tried sewing one in a showerproof fabric. I spotted this laminated cotton with a nifty quilted picture printed on it at Mibs Fabrics, and thought it’d be ideal. I picked out an airtex mesh for the lining, and because that obviously has holes in it, added in a sew-in interfacing just to strengthen the lining a little.

The mesh was an experience to sew, having never used anything like that before! I found that backing it with interfacing also helped my eyes, as being able to see the dark table through the holes in the fabric was starting to get challenging.

Originally I was going to add a zipped pocket to the front flap, but I made a mess of the sewing on that, and had to improvise. Thankfully I had just enough fabric left to cut a (slightly short) replacement panel, and salvaged some of my mistake piece to make a basic patch pocket with a flap closure instead.

I think the flap works better for a bag that’s likely to get caught out in the rain though, as in theory the rain should just run off the flap, and not end up in the pocket itself!

I didn’t bind my seams with any waterproof tape, so I know the bag won’t be 100% waterproof, but I’m hoping it’ll be a great deal better than my usual bags bade from canvas!


Pattern:  Crazy Little Projects
Fabric: Laminated Cotton and Airtex Mesh  from Mibs Fabrics

Fabric: Laminated Cotton and Airtex Mesh  from Mibs Fabrics

Beachy Sunday My Way

Something a little different today, and my latest Sunday “My Way” bag! I wanted to try out my sewing machine’s decorative stitches, and what better way than on the top stitching for the pockets?

I added in a clear popper to both pockets just to help keep it closed, while hopefully not detracting from the stitching. 

I struggled with the curved edges this time – the lining ended up caught up in places, and even gets caught in the zip! I think that was down to inaccurate cutting in the first place…. maybe the lining is a bit bigger than the bag itself? 

I had added in some extra height to the bag, so I can fit a water bottle in it – I forgot to change the markings to enable me to match the front and side pieces together, which would’ve helped tremendously if I’d remembered those!

It’s still a usable bag (as long as I’m careful with the zip) though, and that’s what matters.


Pattern: Sunday “My Way” bag
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

Criss Cross Card Holder Wallet

I’ve made several card holders before, but they’ve either not had a closure, or relied on either velcro or a button and hair elastic to hold them closed. After a friend mentioned how easy she was finding poppers to install into sewn items, I thought it was time I tried them out; and as luck would have it, I also came across the pattern for these Criss Cross Card Holders.

Although I haven’t made any ‘real’ new year’s resolutions, I do want to try and use up some of my fabric offcuts, so the triangular sections on these card holders might be the ideal use for some smaller offcuts. As a first attempt at the pattern, I used some of the ‘Skyline’ canvas-type fabric I had previously made a bag and notebook holder from.

It took a little while to get the placement right to make sure the skyscraper was visible…. then I realised that once the card holder was folded, the top of the skyscraper would actually be upside down (whoops!).

 

But it is perfectly functional as a card holder. The only thing I found which I wanted to change, was the card sections being a little too wide. I had a feeling that the cards might slide out a little too easily from that, so I decided to try making a second card holder that might be a little more suitable.

This fabric came from Hobbycraft last year – I’ve been waiting for the ‘perfect’ project to use it, and what better than a little card holder? I didn’t quite line up the popper perfectly, hence the slightly wonky front, but it’s still usable.

I increased the seam allowance when sewing the front and back together, and also increased the top stitching to 1/4″ which holds the cards in much tighter.

I’ve made some notes on the pattern so I know what alterations I need to make for future card holders.


Pattern: Craftsy
Skyscraper Fabric: Local fabric shop
Tigger fat quarters: Hobbycraft

A New Wallet

Mum had asked for me to buy her a new wallet for her birthday; it had to match the look of her old wallet, complete with a zipped pocket, and velcro closure, but that was easier said than done, as nowhere seems to stock a wallet that style now!

So instead, I decided to be reckless and have a go at making my own from scratch. After a rummage through my fabric scraps bag, I came across some suitable fabric, a zip I’d unpicked from a failed bag attempt, a small amount of velcro that Mum had let me have, and some bias binding that I think was originally earmarked for binding the seams on a bag.

With some measurements taken from the original wallet, and a little planning on paper to ensure I was able to put the zip in without too much trouble, I ended up with a passable wallet that looks almost the same in style as the original! The original wallet did use a more sporty fabric than the polycotton I’ve used, but this way Mum can have a unique wallet rather than something mass produced that everyone else might also have.

The only disadvantage of making Mum a wallet, is that now she has plans for a wallet for every season! But at least it means I’ve already got an idea what I can make her for Christmas.

 

Notebook Folder the Third

In the run up to my Mum’s birthday, I was trying to think of something I could make as a present. I’m not confident enough to make clothing for her, and she didn’t need a new bag – so what could I possibly make her? I did notice, however, that she was using a reporter’s notebook, which gave me the idea of a new notebook folder for her. The original one I made was on Mum’s sewing machine, and proved a struggle to sew through all the layers of fabric. The second one was easier, although I still used non fusible wadding, so I had to quilt the inside cover.

This time, I was determined to follow the pattern (almost) exactly! I used two fat quarters, a small amount of dress lining fabric, and some fusible fleece, so there was no need to quilt the inside cover.

I ensured the button and strap were the right way around this time, as the first attempt had the strap on the inside of the cover, with the seam allowance sticking out… rookie mistake!

I left out the pen and card holders, as Mum prefers to keep her pen separate to the folder, in case the pen leaks.

I cheated on the inside of the notepad pocket, as it seemed a waste to use a fat quarter when you weren’t going to see the pattern. So I used some cream dress lining fabric instead.

The angled pocket was slightly wider than the fabric I had left over, hence the small piece of the second fat quarter in the right corner. But rather than that looking like a mistake, I think it just adds to the quirky appeal of the folder.


Pattern: Notebook Folder Tutorial from Riley Blake Designs
Fat quarters: Hobbycraft

 

Sunday My Way bag

The last couple of messenger bags I’ve made haven’t quite gone to plan – either the lining hasn’t co-operated as I’d hoped, or the pockets aren’t quite the right size. Either way, I decided it was time to try making a different bag completely. So, I thought I’d use some of the polka dot canvas I had in a remnant pack from Abakhan, and some burgundy polycotton I had left over from the previous messenger bag, to make the Sunday My Way bag.

bag-back

It’s a completely different style to the others I’ve tried making, with a slip pocket on the front, a long zip with tabs on either end, and straps that look like they go all the way around the bag, but don’t actually cross the bottom piece.

bag-front

If I made another one of these, I would probably change a couple of the methods – topstitching the strap over the existing topstitching was almost impossible to get it accurate. For my own bag, that’s not something I’m too concerned about, but if I was making one for someone else then I’d want it to look neater than that!

bag-top

The lining is inserted in a different way to any other bag I’ve made before, attaching it to the seams of the main bag body. That went reasonably well (other than the lining already being puckered where I couldn’t get the seams to lie totally flat), but sewing the lining to the zip seam was a real challenge. Again, you have to top stitch over the existing stitch lines…. as I did that, the lining shifted slightly so some of my stitching didn’t catch the lining at all. In the end, I hand stitched the lining to the zip, which gave it a neater look.

bag-open

I didn’t add any interior pockets to this one – I decided it’d be a useful shopping bag to hold any purchases, rather than needing pockets for a phone and a wallet!