I’ve always got something on the knitting needles, more often than not a few things so I wanted a nice big bag to keep them all in. Everything used to make this bag was in my ‘stash’, really it was a good excuse to play with the buttons and trims.
Method (of sorts…)
There are no working photos of the construction as I made this before starting the blog but it’s not a complicated pattern (no actual pattern was used, you’ll get used to my ‘make it up as I go along’ method. I started with a large rectangle of the thick blue Linen fabric and a matching sized rectangle of the red cotton (liner). I folded the fabric in lengthwise so that I could mark the bottom of the bag with tailors chalk. I also drew a line with tailors chalk where I wanted the pattern to stop at what would be the top of the bag. At this end I left enough fabric to sew in pleats when I’d finished decorating and to bend over the bamboo handles.
Next was the fun bit, sorting out the buttons and trims into a pleasing pattern. I love stripes, there’s something nice and organised about them! Most of the trims used were remnants or recovered (taken off old items to be reused) vintage trims so I had a limited amount to play with. Luckily I had enough of each to get two rows, although I have to admit the size of the finished bag was slightly dictated by the trim I had to use.
The navy blue with white key line trim used top and bottom of the pattern were from a fancy chocolate box and was really quite stiff. I decided to use this as everything else was pretty flimsy and I wanted to add some strength.
I could have used a sewing machine to apply the ribbons and trims but I’m a bit of a sadist (and still practicing sewing straight lines with a sewing machine) so sewed everything on by hand. Yo could of course use a sewing machine! The buttons of course had to be sewn on by hand and a contrasting thread was used.
I added a pocket to the backing fabric before stitching the front and backing together. (You can see this detail at the bottom of the page) In hindsight I would have made this of thicker material, or added some iron on Vilene to make it more ridged as it’s a bit floppy. Firstly the square was hemmed then stitched into place by hand, using back stitch with red embroidery thread. I added a red elastic loop and a cute little apple button that matched the pocket fabric to hold it shut.
Making up the bag
I laid the backing fabric on the floor face up and placed the blue fabric face down on top (so the decoration is, at this stage, inside the bag). On the sewing machine I ran stitching down the two sides of the bag, leaving the two ends open. When the bag is turned right way out you now have two neat side seams.
The pleats were added so that the material fitted neatly over the bamboo handles. The only tricky bit was making sure that the backing and front fabric were folded into the pleats together. I pinned them in place and then stitched with red embroidery thread using a neat running stitch just to make them into more of a feature on the front of the bag and hide the stitches against the red backing fabric.
The top and bottom bands were added to cover all the messy ends and cover where the pleats started.
The pleats were folded over the handle and stitched into place and lastly I stitched the sides of the bag together just over half way up to make sure that there was plenty of room to get in the top (I hate rummaging around in a dark bag, so frustrating!)
I really enjoyed making this bag, not just because I got to play with buttons but mostly because I did kinda make it up as I went along. I did have an idea of what I wanted but it evolved along the way. It’s in use all the time and often gets used as a handbag too.