Thursday, February 12, 2009

Simple Ideas for Library Bags

I have been overwhelmed and heart-warmed by the response to my little idea for a sewing bee. We now have a TEAM....and it's growing by the hour!!! We have international and interstate volunteers as well, donations of bag-fillers coming in, and I've been flat out all day answering emails and phone calls. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!!! I can barely swallow for the lump in my throat.

A lot of people are asking what types of bags, what sizes etc....

The sizes can vary, the styles can vary, the fabrics can vary - it's all about giving something that is handmade with love and thought.... not a mass-production run. Your individuality of design and construction counts for a lot. We need bags for a range of ages and for girls and boys - so a good thing to do is think of the kids you know (your own or other people's) and think about what appeals to them. Think about the size they are and what they're likely to carry in a bag.
I prepared a little tutorial for a basic drawstring back-pack style bag, and made a start of a few others - which I'll have printed out on Saturday.

1. Cut 2 rectangles of fabric. I found these dimensions (on the pattern in the photo below) worked well for a toddler size bag. I made others at 31 x 35cm and they would be good a baby bag (and you don't have to make it as a back-pack - it could be a simple drawstring bag). You could also do a larger version. This is a simply a rough guide.
2.Notch a point at least 10cm (4") from the top on both side seams.
3. Think of a quick, effective embellishment idea.... a cute bit of applique', for example (this was just cut out of a fabric print as a square and zig-zagged on to the base fabric)
... or a strip of fabric can be made into a compartment pocket (pic below) or a patch pocket. You could sew on a few buttons, do a bit of stitching, printing, patchwork, a couple of yo-yos.... oh, it's endless.... and REALLY SIMPLE!!!
4. Overlock or zig-zag around the side and bottom edges of each rectangle.
5. Seam the two rectangles (right sides together) from notch to notch (side seams and base seam)with a seam allowance of 1cm. Leave the last 2.5cm (1") of from the bottom corners on the side seamopen. See pic below.
6. Press open the seam allowances all the way around. Stitch the seam alllowances above the notches open (as shown below).

7. Fold and press the top edge of the bag twice to make a casing of at least 2.5cm (1"). The one in the photo below is about 3.5cm.... it really doesn't matter how wide it is as long as it's at least an inch.
7. Stitch the casing to the bag about 2mm in from the folded edge of the turning. I also re-enforce the ends with little triangles of stitches.... but that might be just me being a bit hyper-cautious - as I'm apt to be...
8. Thread cotton cord or cotton tape (or straps made from fabric) through the casing from each side of the bag. On each side you will need enough strap to go through the casing and reach down to the bottom of the bag (as shown below) 9. Push the ends of the straps/cord through the gaps in the seam on the bottom corners and pin them into place.
10. Turn the bag through to the wrong side and re-align the pin to finish off the seam on the bottom corner - trapping the strap between the front and back of the bag. It's also a good idea to zig-zag or overlock the edges of the webbing or strap to stop it from fraying.

11. Turn it through to the right side and THAT'S IT!!! You've made a bag in under 30 minutes!!!


Unknown said...

oh, wish I could help with some sewing (I just broke my leg)...It's so amazing what you, and others have organised, and I am in awe. Have a blast at the sewing bee, and very cute tutorial too :)

CurlyPops said...

Fab tutorial Nikki. Thanks so much, I'm going to give it a go.

Anonymous said...

Hi - just wanted to say thanks for the tutorial and sorry I can't be at the sewing bee. I will try and make some bags and fill them with goodies and send them direct to Balwyn. A good excuse to use up some of my stash that is bulging at the moment (and then good reason to go out and re-fill the stash :-)

Bellgirl said...

Rock on, crafters! BTW Nikki, when I've made them, where do I send them? I've got some things to put in them too, packs of pencils, textas, glue, etc.

Bellgirl said...

Hi again Nikki, I've just found the list of drop off points, there's one just up the street from me too!

~ Kim ~ said...

This is fantastic. So simple and useful. I will go ahead and make some right now!

alviana said...

Hi there!

i have link ur tutorial in

Hope u dont mind =)

I Purr-Furr to Craft said...

Dear Nikki
Thank you for the lovely tutorial.
If it is ok, i would love to use it for my K Mart Christmas Tree presents. I am making 50 pairs of dolls this year from Jodie Carleton's Kinder Kids patterns, I have her blessing already, and i think this is absolutely ideal to put them in. Much better than my original idea and more useful than a wardrobe shaped box i was going to do.

Unknown said...

Great! Thanks Nikki. I feel like sewing one of those bags right away.Thanks for sharing.

Twinkle Mom said...

Great idea! I was curious if you have a copy of this provided in a pdf form? This sounds like a wonderful and easy sewing project to create a sewing bee to make for charitable donations

Sylvia said...

It's so hard to find cute things to give as gifts.. But I feel like I have hit the jack pot with this site! Your stuff is so cute. I have a daughter who would like one of everything... I'll get right on it. These library bags would be perfect for birthday gifts, and for Christmas.
Seiko Ananta

Corrinth said...

I just used your instructions to make a library bag for my little girl, who starts school next week. It worked beautifully. Thankyou so much.