Sunday, 15 April 2007

Feedsack Knitting Bag - Instructions

The weather has been absolutely glorious here, so we went off for two nights of camping at our local campground. I took my knitting, the other tank top that I am knitting in the Colinette Giotto ribbon yarn, and decided that I am tired of keeping my knitting in a plastic bag (even if it is a lovely little Cath Kidston plastic bag that my new brolly came in). Inspired by the bags I saw in her shop in Covent Garden last weekend, I picked some really pretty Feedsack prints and made up my own knitting bag, sort of a riff on the Eleanor Burns vintage tote bag that I made a few weeks ago.

I plan to replace the cords, that was just some cotton yarn left over from my tank top which I could put my hands on quickly - would rather have some white cotton cord, like piping cord, will have to go to our local sewing shop to see if they have any. My one rather inspired idea was to sew a tape measure on the inside of the handle, for all those times when your knitting instructions say something like "knit four inches then bind off for neckline".

If you would like to make your own knitting bag, then here are some instructions. I am kicking myself for not taking pics as I was putting it together, but I was in a rush and also distracted because my sewing machine is making that d**n knocking noise again so I am going to have words with Repair Guy tomorrow. Oh, and the third box from my delivery turned up the next day, so we were really pleased and opened them all up yesterday (it was a set of garden furniture) and the table top is damaged and needs to be returned....and they aren't open on Saturdays so I couldn't complain to them. Never buy anything mail order from Robert Dyas.

Cutting List:

2 x outer sides - 15 1/2 " x 10 1/2"
1 bottom - 4 1/2" x 10 1/2"
1 handle - 2 1/2" x 15"
2 x lining pieces - 10 1/2" x 17"

To stiffen the bag, fuse medium fusible interfacing on all pieces except lining as follows:

Handle - fuse a one-inch wide strip of interfacing down the centre of the handle all along its length on wrong side.

Bottom - cut interfacing to same size and fuse on wrong side

Outer Sides - cut two pieces of interfacing 10 1/2" x 13" and fuse to wrong sides, so that two and a half inches of each side is left as bare fabric (this will form the cord casing and top frill of bag).


1) Handle. Fold handle in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew 1/4-inch seam along long side. Centering seam on one side, sew across one end. Turn through and press, with seam centred on wrong side. Edge stitch along both long sides. Stitch a tape measure to the wrong side, over the seam, if desired, but leave about one inch free at the closed end for attaching later.

2) Button holes: On the 10 1/2" sides of Outer Sides, mark centres. You are going to make button holes 1/2" above where the fusible interfacing stops, centred on each side, parallel to the 10 1/2 inch edges of your outer side. I also fused a scrap of interfacing behind where my button hole was going to go. Your buttonhole has to be wide enough for your doubled cord to slide through easily.

3) Attaching handle: On one of the Outer Sides, pin the closed end of your handle, centred, level with the top of the fusible interfacing (so this will be about 1/2" below your buttonhole). Pin the raw end of the handle at the opposite end of the side piece, centred, and baste in position 1/8th from edge (so basting will be hidden in seam). Firmly stitch the closed end to the Outer Side - I sewed a little box and then sewed diagonally across the box.

4) Optional rick-rack: The unfused edge of your outer sides, above the button hole, will be the top of your bag. If desired, stitch rick-rack along this edge by stitching down the middle of the rick-rack so that your stitch line is 1/4" from edge.

5) Adding Sides to Bottom: Stitch outer sides to bottom piece with 1/4 inch seam, one to either side of bottom piece, catching in the raw end of the handle. I reinforced the stitching over the handle. Press seams.

6) Place a piece of lining right sides together over outer side, and stitch 1/4 inch seam along rick-rack edge of bag. Repeat on other outer side. You now have a long strip of fabric seamed together in this sequence: lining, outer side, bottom, outer side with handle, lining. Wouldn't this be easier to understand if I had taken a picture at this point?

7) To form the bag, fold your long strip in half, with the bottom as the half-way point, right sides together. Pin where seams match, e.g. the two bottom seams, and the two top seams (where the rick-rack is). Starting from bottom piece, stitch down one long side (using 1/4 inch seam), along the end of the two lining pieces, and back up the other long side finishing at the botton piece again, BUT (very important) leave a gap for turning in one long side of the lining pieces.

8) Before turning through, form the corners of your bag and lining by folding the side seam towards the bottom piece to make a triangle, and stitching across one and three-quarters inches above the corner. Repeat on lining. Do not trim until you have turned bag through and checked that you are happy.

9) Turn bag through the gap you left in lining, and push lining down into bag. If my instructions have made any sense, you now have a long cylinder which is closed at the bottom and lined inside. Check if you are happy with the corners you have sewn, then turn the bag inside out again and trim off the 'dog ears' of the triangles to reduce bulk. Turn right side out again, and stitch the gap in the lining closed (I just machined along the folded edge).

10) The last step is to form the casing for your cording. Press your bag, especially the top edge where your rick-rack should now be peeping out of your top seam. Find your button holes, and imagine that they are centred in a casing approximately 1/2 inch wide. A casing is basically a channel of stitching, so you will need to stitch all the way around your bag above the button hole, and all the way around your bag below the buttonhole, and the lines should be about 1/2 inch apart.

11) Insert your cord with a bodkin or safety pin. Go in one button hole, all the way around and out through the same button hole. Cut and knot. Repeat on opposite buttonhole. To close bag, pull on cords. Leave the cords long enough so that you can knot them together to lock the bag closed.

If I were going to make this bag again, I think it would look better if the top frill were longer, which would just be a case of making the 15 1/2 inch measurement a few inches longer, and leaving more than 2 1/2 inches unfused. Keep the buttonhole and casing in the same place, but you would have more 'frill' above the casing.


swooze said... on earth did I miss this the first time?? I love it!

honeybee33 said...

*brilliant* idea to sew the tape-measure into the handle!!! And luv the shape - perfect for "commuter-knitting."

~ hb33 ~

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