Useful & beautiful bags
Begin with two pieces of linen/cotton fabric For each of these medium sized bags, I cut two pieces of coordinating fabric, each measuring 21 x 14 inches. It's fun to use two coordinating fabrics – or perhaps one plain, one patterned.
Make two identical bags by folding each piece of fabric in half, right sides together matching the two short sides and join side and bottom together taking about a half inch seam allowance. Take them to the ironing board and press the bags flat.
With me so far?
Open each bag up and turn it round so that the seam lines up with the fold, as shown, ready for a bit of origami.
A square is formed for the base of the bag and with a bit of careful easing, open up the seams and press gently into shape.
Now is a good time to check that things line up straight and even and to do a bit of maths. If you started with a piece of fabric 21 inches and folded it in half with a half inch seam allowance, then the bag will be ten inches wide. If there are four sides to the square base, each side will be 5 inches. Agree?
So, using a ruler to keep things straight and accurate as possible, draw a line at right angles to the bottom seam at the point where it measures 5 inches wide. You might need to have a couple of goes at this, but if you use tailors chalk you can erase any mistakes! A quilters rule is useful because it has 45 degree markings on it, which makes getting these lines in the right place much easier.
Do this on each side of the square base and use your sewing machine to stitch along the lines you've drawn to form the flat bottom of each bag.
Now you can turn the bag right way out and push out the corners. The heavy cotton/linen fabric is lovely to sew and creates good crisp seams.
Make both bags in exactly the same way – one plain and one patterned, or one dark and one light. Put the patterned bag inside the plain bag, right sides together, making sure that the side seam of one matches the fold line of the other (easier to do than to explain). This means that the seams on the base are at right angles to one another rather than on top of each other, making a neater and sturdier finish.
Stitch around the top edge, taking a scant half inch seam allowance and leaving a three inch gap to turn the bag through.
The two bags should fit together well, making this really easy and quick to do.
Turning them right way out is fairly straightforward and the whole thing can be teased into shape and given a shake out.
The small opening through which the bag was turned is easy to neaten and a line of topstitching around the top edge just finishes the bag off nicely.
Make sure all the triangular folds in the base are folded in, giving a bit of strength to the structure. If you did this as suggested, all four triangles should meet in the middle, forming a fairly firm base.
Give the bag a press, trim off loose ends and turn over the top edge a couple of times to make it stand up nicely
This is a really great project to work in series – cut out the fabric for several and get a production line going and in no time at all, you've got a nice collection of bags ready to put little gifts into.
What do little girls put into these bags? Teddies, glitter and felt pens it seems!
Though bigger girls and boys might use them for knitting bits and pieces, for chargers and wires and bits and pieces of makeup and toiletries perhaps. Larger bags can be used for home baked bread and loaves..my favourite use of all.
Extra Small (with perfume and handcream in above): cut fabric 16" (+ 1" seam allowance) x 10", base measures 4" square.
Small (with felt pens in above): cut fabric 18"(+ 1" seam allowance) x 12", base measures 4.5" square
Medium (Teddy and glitter size above) 20"(+ 1" seam allowance) x 14", base 5" square
Large (shown holding wires above, but could be used for bread) 24"(+ 1" seam allowance) x 16", base 6" square. I find this is about as large as I like to go without interfacing.
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