Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Dozen Bags- March/April- Small tote bag

Time to finish the bag. You should have something that looks like the photo above. Take the piece and fold it so that the the 3 squares on the left meet with the 3 on the right. Sew them together and just let the 3 on the bottom dangle for now. Then fold the bottom 3 so that the meet with the bottom of the "circle". Sew around- do the one side, then the bottom 3 then the other side. This is where you'll be happy you started and stopped sewing about 1/4 inch from the beginning and end of a row. You'll have room to turn those bottom corners. Make sure you reinforce where you start and stop- especially on the bottom of the bag.

Then sew one line of stitching 1/2 inch from the edge all around the top opening of the bag.
For the handles, cut 4 inch wide strips by the length you want your handles. You probably want them to be somewhere between 30 and 40 inches long. My suggestion is that you just cut your strips by the width of the fabric and then adjust them when you go to attach them.

Fold in half, then open back up and fold the ends into the center fold. This gives you a strip that's 4 thichnesses of the fabric. I like this instead of the tube method because you don't have to turn the tube and because it's thicker and stronger. Sew a line right along the side of the strap to close it up. I suppose there are lots of ways to make the straps- this just seems like an easy method for a simple bag. Now attach them to the top where you like them. I did mine about half way between the center and the outsides. I sewed roughly one inch squares and then sewed an "X" in the middle of the square to reinforce the place where the straps attach.

Your bag should look like this.
Now it's time to clip. This is a good place for a favorite tv show or a hands-free phone call to a friend. Snip the seams right up to the stitching line, being VERY CAREFUL not to clip the stitched seam. Notice that this is the only time in this pattern that I have told you to be careful.

Snip away- all sides and all directions. It will look best if you do a lot of clipping. I clipped about 4-5 clips per inch. Clip the top opening, too. That's why we stitched the line around the top edge.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND RAG SNIPS for this. You can get away without them for a handbag but you'll have blisters on top of blisters if you try to snip a whole quilt with regular scissors. Rag Snips are amazing. My son used my rag snips to cut automobile carpet. I got tired of everyone borrowing mine so I got my sons both their own pair one year for Christmas. I carry them on my website but as far as I know, different brands all work well.

All snipped. Now comes the "magic". Throw in in the washer and dryer a couple of times. I like to throw in a pair of jeans to rough it up a bit. Keep checking your lint catcher. As you can imagine- it generates a lot of lint.

Here's a close up of the clipped edges after washing and drying twice. Isn't it cute how they fluff up? The inside of the bag has nice clean seams. The bag is actually reversible, but I'm not sure why you'd go to all the trouble of fraying the edges and not show them.

For this technique you can adjust the size of the squares. Make the inside square an inch smaller than the outside squares. Some people use 3 flannel squares the same size and fray them all. That's up to you. Just play around with it. It's pretty hard to mess up.

I'll be doing a second frayed edge bag and I'll show you some quilts with this method... probably next week.

If you make one of these bags (or any of the other ones) I'd love to see a picture!


ByTheSea said...

I love this purse cant wait to see more.