Friday, April 29, 2011

The Ballet Bag Tutorial

I hope you enjoy my tutorial for a lined (and reversible!) drawstring bag of (in my opinion) perfect proportions.


For Side A: cut two 14.5" x 17.25" pieces (the 14.5" edge will be the top so keep it in mind for directional prints)

For Side B: cut two 14.5" x 17.25" pieces (same here: top edge is 14.5")


For Drawstring: 2 yards (72") of double faced satin ribbon (5/8" wide).

Let's get started! Place one Side A and one Side B right sides together:


Sew along one short side using a 1/4" seam. This will be the top of the bag so be careful if you're using a directional print. Press seam open (this will help your bag look more finished). Repeat with your other two pieces:


Place one of your pieces wrong side up. Mark lines for your drawstring .5" and 1.25" on both sides of the seam line. Repeat on the other side.

*edit* After making several bags since creating this tutorial, I now like to mark lines for my drawstring at 1" and 1.75". I like a little more fabric above the drawstring. Mark your drawstring at whatever height you prefer.


Pin your two pieces together, making sure that matching fabrics are layered together.


Sew the long sides only using a 1/2" seam. Backstitch when you get to the first pencil line. Move to your next pencil line and sew the space between lines (over the seam). Backstitch at the beginning and end. Move to the last pencil line, backstitch and continue sewing the long seam until you reach the bottom of the bag.


Repeat on the other long side.

Sew both short short sides using a 1/4" seam. On one of the sides, leave a 3" gap, backstitching at either side.


Now we'll make the gussets. Place your ruler on the stitching lines in one corner of your bag. Measure 1.25" from the corner on each side and mark with a pencil line.


Pinch the front and back sides of the bag and pull the fabric outward.



Your goal is to get the seams and your pencil lines to line up. I like to mark the pencil lines with a pin to make sure the front and back are lined up.


With your ruler, draw a line perpendicular to your seam line. The line should be 2.5" from edge to edge and should line up with your original pencil mark.


Pin and sew along this line, backstitching at the beginning and end. Trim the corner, leaving a 1/4" seam.


Repeat these steps with your three remaining corners.

Once you're finished with that, press your side seams open. This will create the opening for your drawstring. You don't have to press the entire seam, just be sure to press a few inches on either side of the top seam.


Check your bag for lint and/or stray threads and then pull your bag through the gap in the bottom.



Sew the gap closed by machine or by hand (I used a ladder stitch which is pretty invisible).


Push one of the sides into the other, creating the bag. We will be topstitching the drawstring channel so it's important to pin your layers together so they don't shift.


Be sure that the side seams are still open inside the bag. You should be able to insert a pencil through the side openings without it catching on any fabric.

To sew the drawstring channel, first stitch 1/2" from the edge. Backstitch when you reach the side seams. This is important if you will be reversing the bag since the thread at that point will be under some stress. Next, stitch 1.25" from the edge. I used a piece of masking tape to show where the edge of my bag should be while sewing this step. Again, backstitch a few times when you come to the side seams.

*edit* If you changed the location of the hole for the drawstring, make sure to change where you sew the drawstring channel. I now sew mine at 1" and 1.75".


Here is what your drawstring channel should look like. As you can see, I forgot to do the backstitching. It's ok to go back and add it later...I did as soon as I remembered.


Cut your ribbon into two 36" pieces. Using a bodkin or safety pin, thread one ribbon through the opening in the side and continue around until you reach the same opening.


Pull the top of the bag straight and tie a knot close to the edge. Trim the ends. I like to melt the edges with a match to keep them from fraying. Run the flame along the cut edge for just a second...don't let it melt too much or it will burn.


Repeat with the other ribbon, starting at the opposite side opening.


To reverse the bag, push the knots through the side openings and turn bag inside out.


Find something to carry and take your new bag on an outing!


As always, let me know if you have questions or if you need clarification on any of the steps. Thanks for taking a look at my tutorial and I hope you enjoy your new drawstring bag!

As with all my patterns/tutorials, once you make something from them, that item is yours to do with as you please. This includes selling it. I'd love it if you link back to my blog in your listing...I do so love new people stopping by!

Ballet Bag Winner

Just stopping in to announce the winner of the Ballet Bag, chosen by Clumsy Chord!

The tutorial for the bags will be up in a little bit.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ballet Bag Giveaway

My friend Karrie and I have been taking ballet lessons for a few months now. Every week we toted our tutus around in the plastic bags we got when we purchased our ballet outfits. I can't believe it took me so long to realize we needed cute bags to carry all our cute ballet stuff. Once I did, though, I couldn't rest until I'd created the perfect bag:

Ballet Bags

The Ballet Bag is lined and fully reversible...there's an opening for the drawstring to pop through either side.

Ballet Bags

There are also small gussets at the bottom which allows for a roomier bag. It finishes at about 13" x 15" which makes it the perfect size for carrying a change of clothes, a few books or a picnic lunch.

Ballet Bags

And the best part is that it's easy and fast to make. It takes me longer to pick out fabric than it does to sew the bag. You'll have to trust me when I say that these look even cuter in person. I'll have the tutorial posted on Friday so you can make your own if you want.

Today, though, I want to do a giveaway. The teal Farmdale bag is up for grabs. It's lined with pink dots from Denyse Schmidt's new line of quilting fabrics. Of course, lined is not really the right word because the bag is reversible.

Ballet Bags

Just comment on this post and I'll draw a winner randomly tomorrow evening. You don't have to answer any of the following questions to win but if you feel like chatting, I'd really love to know: Have you taken ballet before? What's your opinion on the new Denyse Schmidt fabrics? Do you have a favorite fabric line? Do you agree with T-Rex that asking questions at the end of a blog post looks desperate and pathetic? (I, obviously, don't agree with him.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Sewing Weekend

You guys, I am totally sewed out! Ian was out of town and I had a three day weekend all to myself! Friday I sewed for almost 10 hours straight. Saturday I sewed for 6 hours and then went to dinner and a movie with Karrie (Water for Elephants was really good). Then I sewed for an hour or so until bedtime. I sewed for another 10 hours on Sunday.

I pretty much did nothing but sew...I didn't even take pictures which means you get pictures of my new fabric instead. As most of you know, they're from Denyse Schmidt's new line of fabric sold exclusively at JoAnn Fabrics. I tried not to get carried away...I bought only the prints I loved.

ds quilt fabric

So, what did I sew this weekend?

First, I finished my log cabins and almost finished the top (just need to add the outer border).

Then I noticed that some of my new fabrics would match an old work in progress. I pressed the 84 blocks I'd already made, sewed the remaining 24 blocks, arranged them all on the design wall and started sewing blocks together. I have 1/3 of the top finished already.

ds quilt fabric

I made two stars for a project I'm working on with Jen. 10 stars down, 186 to go.

And last but not least, I made something that I'll show you later this week. There will be a tutorial AND a giveaway so stay tuned!

ds quilt fabric

I'm picking Ian up from the airport tonight. While I had a super fun weekend on my own, I'm definitely excited to have him home again. I took tomorrow off of work so we can hang out all day. Of course, he's a late sleeper so I'm sure I'll be able to sneak in some early morning sewing. Because I thought I was all sewed out...but looking at that fabric again reminds me that I'm really not.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Log Cabins

Did you know that the first quilt to ever capture my heart was a Log Cabin? At first, I was attracted to the amazing design possibilities using color and value.

These days, I'm drawn to scrappy log cabins surrounded by sashing, white or another color. I love how each block is displayed like a little piece of art.

I saw Rita's finished log cabin the other day and was immediately inspired to make one of my very own.

Log Cabin Blocks

I knew right away that I wanted to use my green and blue Modern Meadow prints along with matching fabrics from my stash. Of course, I was mistaken about how many Modern Meadow prints I had and I set about buying the ones I was missing. But before I hit "buy", I decided I actually wanted to use only fabrics from my stash, fabrics I might otherwise have hoarded and never cut into.

Log Cabin Blocks

And I like it! I'm making 12 blocks and all of them need one more row before they're finished. I'm thinking some white sashing will be nice and I even have the perfect backing fabric...a matching flannel from my stash. Perhaps a little Kona Olive for the binding? I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Catching Up

I can't believe it's been three weeks since my last post. A lot of things have happened since I finished my Bottled Rainbows quilt:

-I made lots of HST (orange and turquoise, omg!)

-finished the top for a secret quilt.

-went up north to visit my parents.

-went to the funeral of an old family friend.

-cleaned/organized the studio.

-went shopping for jeans...I hate shopping for jeans!

-started an 8 week ballet class and bought real ballerina clothes! Only three lessons so far but we're pretty awesome already!

-watched all the snow melt. Finally!

-did some gardening, mostly raking and tree-trimming.

-had to give baby-cat back to her real mom (my grandma came back from her winter vacation in Arizona)

Bottled Rainbows Quilt

-baby-cat was running outside at grandma's house and almost got eaten by a hawk!

-Grandma was scared so she sent baby-cat to live with us forever! Now she is mine to cuddle all the time!

nicey jane vs cat

-saw a few movies ("Paul" and "The Adjustment Bureau"...both were good!)

-had our monthly book club (Water for Elephants)

-started two new books (The Red Tent for book-club and Machine of Death for fun)

-did you know that season 3 of Robin Hood is available for streaming on Netflix?

-started a log cabin quilt for my bed (inspired by this quilt, of course). I'll have a few pictures to show you tomorrow.

Anyway, I feel a little aimless, quilting-wise. I'm working on a few projects but none have deadlines. All of them require white fabric, I really should order more soon.

Ian and I are planning to do a lot of gardening in the next few weeks...I'm not really "into" gardening but I'm willing to give it a try. Anyway, I expect to be blogging more often now that I can actually take photos outside. That's one of the main reasons I don't blog much in the winter. Stupid winter...