Monday, December 23, 2013

Bags and other vessels

Every year at this time, I find myself making small gift bags. I think it must be frustration with the reality that there is no time to make actual gifts. Something about small bags beckons to me.

Here is a draw string bag I made for a pair of fold-up scissors. It was a gift to take to a sewing group party.

Sewing these circular draw string bags is easy, starting with a tracing of a dinner plate. Trace and cut two circles. Use a dessert plate to chalk in the line for a channel, about 2 inches inside the outer circle.

The face fabric on this one is a scrap of cotton batik. The lining is a luminous silk scrap.

The first sewing step is machining two button holes on the outer/face fabric. I make the two button holes on opposite sides of the circle aligned with the tracing for the channel . Because this is just one layer of fabric, it helps to slip some stabilizer under the buttonhole area before machining the button holes.

Next I sew the two circles right sides together with a 1/4 inch SA, leaving an opening wide enough for my hand in the bias area. After turning these inside out, I steam press the circle. Then I invisibly stitch the opening closed. I find it easier to complete a smooth arc on the opening when I hand sew on the bias rather than the straight of grain.

Next I sew the channel. making it about 1/2 inch wide, centering the button holes on the channel.

Lastly I thread the cording, usually rayon rat tail, because it threads so smoothly. I make sure the cording passes through the channel twice as that makes it easier to use as drawstrings.

Sometimes I tie the ends together and make it decorative. Other times I machine stitch them together and make sure they are inside the channel and not visible.

Here is a gift bag I made for the gift certificate we gave the fabulous leader of that group. The gift certificate, an idea that I resist, needed a fabric vessel. This was an opportunity for sashiko, sort of. I love this primitive stitch.

The face fabric is silk dupioni; the interior is quilt cotton. The face fabric was interlined with cotton flannel to support the hand-stitch. The quilt cotton was beefed up with fusible interfacing. The interior has one plain pocket and one zippered pocket. The edges were finished with a standard bias binding.

I've made several draw string bags that are winging their way to the bottom of a Christmas tree. And then a few nights ago, feeling restless with a need to create, resisting the need to shop, I made this machine quilted bag.

Black silk dupioni, machine quilted with a rayon thread

Lastly there are these little fleece gloves made for 4YO grandson. Another vessel for the treasure of his cold little hands.

I think I'm done with vessels for the moment. Time to move on to the really last minute hand-made gifts.

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