Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Handmade Christmas Craft-along: Week 1: Travel/makeup bag

Sometimes things don't turn out quite how you expected. This is one of those things. I meant to make a little clutch that I could toss my phone and wallet in, along with a few pens. I'm not a fan of measuring stuff, so I guessed and I guessed wrong. The happy news is that this works in just about any size. You can make small ones or large ones and this little clutch will still be a perfect gift. You can fill it with candy or other goodies. You can make a set for the traveler in your life. You can use it to wrap other small gifts. Whatever you use it for, it's a great little versatile gift for just about anyone.

What you need:

  • You'll need a small amount of fabric. I used about a quarter yard. You could easily do this with a fat quarter from the quilting section or with any of the various scraps you may have lying around. I always have little bits of fabric I need to use up.
  • A zipper that matches the size you're aiming for.
  • Thread 
  • double folded bias tape
  • a small brass ring or D-ring (I got mine at a hardware store)

What you do:

  1. Cut one rectangle of fabric that, when folded in half, is the size of the finished bag + seam allowance. I like a 1/2" seam allowance.
  2. Line up half of the zipper on the top of the bag so that the "public side" or right side of the fabric is facing the outside part of the zipper. Like this: 
    Now, sew that in place with a simple, straight stitch, using your zipper foot, which looks like this:
    The zipper foot just has less of the flat part so that the bumpy part of the zipper can slide past. If you don't have one, it's a worthwhile investment. 
  3. Turn the fabric over like this:
    So that it looks like the outside of something with a zipper should look. Then, with a straight stitch, sew it down like this:

  4. Now sew the other half of the zipper to the other side of the top of the bag in exactly the same way. The only difference will be that you might have to do some textile gymnastics to get the second half on without accidentally stitching it to the other half in a tragic mess. 
    Trust me. . . it can be done. Just take your time. And watch out for the zipper. If you get out of line, this will happen: 
    Basic sewing tip from me to you: always have extra needles on hand.

    5. Next (leaving the zipper unzipped - trust me on this), turn the tube inside out and sew up each side. The bag will look basically done at this point, but you'll have some raggedy ravel-y edges on the inside of the bag and nobody wants that kind of mess. This is where our old friend bias tape comes in. Just fold it in the center over the seam and sew it on to cover the raw edge. This will give the seam a little more structure, will help prevent raveling and stray threads, as well as it just plain looks nicer.
    6. Last, but not least, we'll sew on the ring. This just takes a small length of bias tape 
    Which you will double over with the ring on it and sew to one of the corners on the inside of the bag. 
    Make sure you sew back and forth over this one a few times so it's nice and sturdy.
    7. Turn the whole bag inside right again and viola!  You could iron it if you're really ambitious, but I'm not. 

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