Posts Tagged gold

Sewing: drawstring bag tutorial

Before I begin, here is my sewing machine!

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Since I’m amalgamating a couple of drawstring bag tutorials, I thought I’d show you one from start to finish. I’m using Scrapstore fabric again – pretty gold/ochre with bird and leaf print, and a white lining.

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First of all, cut your fabric. I have two 9×12″ pattern pieces and two 9×12″ lining pieces. I’ve sewn my Beads of Courage and BCCA badges on to the front (much easier when you remember to do it first!) – just zigzagged all around their edges. You can see I made a measuring grid too – it’s much easier to make sure your right angles remain right angles if you measure with a grid rather than a ruler. Slightly annoyingly, this grid is 11×11″, so I later also made a cardboard template for these pieces that I can just draw around. This grid was made with the cover from a fabric sample book.

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2. Pin a lining and a pattern piece together along the top, face-to-face. Do the same with the other two. This will be the top of the bag, so make sure your pattern pieces are the right way up. Sew a 1/4″ seam along the top. Do a few reverse stitches at either end to hold it (aka stay-stitches). I also do the trick where you pull on one of your trailing threads and use it to pull the other side through just enough that you can catch it with a needle and pull that thread through to the same size – you can then knot them together and snip them off. You don’t need to do both, I just don’t like cutting off ends on the right side of the piece, so I pull them through to the wrong side if possible.

I’ve drawn on 1/4″ seams in pencil all the way round – I don’t always, but it can keep things neater. If your pieces aren’t perfectly the same size, draw your seams so that the smaller piece is on top, since this means you will be able to see the edges when you sew it (and make sure both sides have the same total useful width, or your seams won’t be exactly on the edge creases).

I kinda prefer when my initial measurements and cutting don’t have to be perfect, but it does make things simpler if they are reasonably close!

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3. Open up your piece like a book and press open the seam you just sewed. (Repeat with the other half). I made the marks for the two drawstring channel gaps on the back (wrong) side of the pattern fabric. They are at 2″ and 2.5″ from the centre of the seam. If you move them closer to it, you’ll get a bag that has more usable volume inside it when closed, since the drawstring will be closer to the top. This is up to you – I think these ones look quite nice closed.

If you are using a wide flat ribbon rather than a round cord, you might want to make the gap bigger.

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4. As well as those two channel gaps on the pattern side, leave a biggish gap near the bottom on one side of the lining. You’re going to pull the whole bag through this later to turn it rightside-out. The original pattern suggested leaving this at the bottom – I find it shows less if you have it at the side instead.

Place one of your pattern+lining pieces on top of the other, right sides inwards, pattern-to-pattern, and with the seam in the middle lining up. Put a few pins in to hold it together, and sew all the way round, leaving the gaps you just drew. The photo is after sewing – you can see the stay-stitches next to every gap.

If you forget to leave a gap, then put stay-stitches at the edges of where it should be, and go back and rip out the stitches between. This is really annoying, so hopefully you only do it once…

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5. Snip off your corners to remove extra bulk and press all the seams open on both sides. Especially press where the unsewn gaps are, because this will keep them neat and the raw edges inside.

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6.Turn the whole thing inside-out through the side gap!

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7. This is what you should end up with – use a long pokey thing through your gap to poke the corners fully out (pencil, mandrel…) and press it nice and flat. You now have a closed tube with the pattern at one end and the lining (currently inside-out) at the other.

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8. Here is the gap you left, with the neatly pressed edges. The original pattern says to handsew this closed. That does look better, but also takes ages, so instead I just sew straight stitch as close to the edge as I can.

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9. The gap is closed! This also shows up less if you use thread that matches your lining, but rethreading the machine a different colour in the middle of the bag is not going to happen.

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10. Push your lining inside your bag so everything is in the right place and you now have your proper bag shape. Here’s a pic looking into the bag – you can see the sewn gap if you look for it, but all the other lining seams are lovely and clean. (This is why I moved it away from the bottom – if you look straight into a bag in normal circumstances without stretching it open, there’s some looser fabric at the sides so the bottom is what you see most).

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11. Now you have the drawstring channel to sew. I made a couple of bags where the lining was slightly smaller than the outside, and wondered why I kept catching creases on the outside. Then I remembered that the first bag I made, I sewed on the outside when I did the channel and after that I’d sewn on the inside. Sewing on the outside means that you can keep the outer smooth, and if you do have any mismatches you can catch them inside or have a tiny extra fold at the seams.

So, you’re going to sew around the top of the bag like this, keeping the area you’re currently sewing on nice and flat. Start at the edge of one of the gaps you left in the pattern fabric seam. It’s easier if you draw a line on the outside to sew along too – I didn’t do this here.

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12. Here’s a view from underneath the fabric where I’ve lifted it up so you can see where the foot is holding it down – I don’t have a free arm so have to be careful to keep the other side of the bag well out of the way and not sew the two together.

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13. Sew all the way around the top and bottom of the channel, enclosing it so your cord can’t go anywhere else. Pause often and pull more fabric round towards you so you always have a reasonable amount to be sewing on. Eventually you will be back where you started and can stay-stitch to finish.

This is why you might want to draw a line… I ended up with rather a curved channel on the back. I don’t have any tailor’s chalk so just use pencil, which can take longer to remove and is why I didn’t draw one here.

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I got my front side nice and straight, though! And a drawstring bag is rarely completely flattened out when in use, so you won’t notice the curve most of the time.

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14. Add your cord. Put a safety pin through one end and go in through one of the side gaps, all the way round and out again. Then repeat for the other side. Tie your cord ends off and there you are.

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15. Finished bag!

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Here are a few previous bags. In the closeup you can see what I meant about catching a fold when sewing the channel from the inside.

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This one below was not Scrapstore fabric – the teddies came from eBay and the blue lining is 100% polyester that actually makes a pretty good lining for a bag like this (also used as the lining just above).

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I saw this spaceman fabric in one of the little theme bundles at the Scrapstore and grabbed it because it is perfect for BoC bags! There tend to be a lot of florals, other nature-themed prints and elegant patterned upholstery fabric there, but things like this are rarer. The pieces aren’t big enough to cut a full 9×12″ piece so I will combine them with another fabric.

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52 earrings: #41 Figure In Grey

I cut small pieces off one of my earlier kumihimo braids to make these earrings, and wound them into figure 8s.

#41 Figure In Grey

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This braid was done in sky blue, gold-beige and chocolate brown, and made with C-lon/K-lon thread rather than embroidery thread so is tougher and holds its shape better. (Embroidery thread is nice and soft). Because these were pieces from a longer braid, I bound all the ends quickly after cutting them – they held together pretty well without unravelling after cutting, though. I then put a pair of my lampwork big hole beads in mystic grey on to the braids. Mystic grey has something of a shampoo sheen to it. I formed them into circles, used a bit of fabri-tac to hold the ends together, left that overnight to harden, then re-bound the joined area. After that I gave them a twist into the figures of 8 and bound the join so they stay in shape.

I made the earwires in sterling silver. These are nice large, visible earrings, but are also very light.

52 little things links
Craft Pimp Week 40 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk

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52 earrings: #28 Spiral Hoops

Some spiral kumihimo loops with lampwork beads on them this week.

#28 Spiral Hoops

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The kumihimo spiral braids are in purple, teal green, gold and baby blue. These are the ones with the looser spiral – if you make them the other way you get a tighter spiral. I added a pair of big hole beads in dark turquoise I made previously. (I also had some in Lauscha turquoise which doesn’t have the grey sheen, but they were a little too bright, I thought). Copper earwires.

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52 little things links
Craft Pimp Week 27 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk

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52 earrings: #27 OctoKumi

And here are the next pair of kumihimo earrings! These are the octagonal braid and I put all sorts of beads on the tassel ends.

#27 OctoKumi

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There’s a little lampwork spacer hiding in there on each earring, along with Czech crystal, wooden rondelles, acrylic beads, crackled crystal and little seed beads in teal and brown. These are long but still comparatively light. The tops are wire-wrapped in the end of my flame patinated copper.

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52 little things links
Craft Pimp Week 26 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk

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52 earrings: #26 Urda Kumihimo

This week’s earrings use a flat kumihimo braid and more wire-wrapping.

#26 Urda Kumihimo

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They’re quite long! I flame patinated the rest of my thin wire for the wire-wrapping and did a chaos-type wrap around the knots. I added a pair of dyed blue riban jasper coins that matched the colours well.

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52 little things links
Craft Pimp Week 25 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk

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52 earrings: #25 Kumihimo Hoops

The same kumihimo braid pattern as last time: this time I made them into hoops.

#25 Kumihimo Hoops

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I was going to add more wirework at the top but didn’t have the wire ready, so I will probably readjust these ones.

The hoops have been ready for a while – last night I added the lampwork dangles and earwires.

52 little things links
Craft Pimp Week 24 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk

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52 earrings: #24 Woven Around

A lot of my friends are doing kumihimo at the moment, there was a full kit on sale a few months ago… I’m sure you can guess the rest. Kumihimo is rather addictive and I can do it in my lunch breaks. (It takes me back to the knotted friendship bracelets I used to make when I was a teenager, too). I made a few long braids, then decided that the pattern on this one would look good in short earring-length pieces.

#24 Woven Around

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So I made the braids, wrapped up the top ends in thread so that they couldn’t come undone, then added the copper wire-wrapping. Which should have been simple, but I will now have to digress into the evils of anti-tarnish coated wire…

I said I was going to patinate last week’s earrings with liver of sulphur. I have the gel variety, followed the instructions and put them in a little pot with warm water and a few drops of gel. So far so good. I put in some textured washers I’d made beforehand too. They sat in there for a while and I noticed that the earrings weren’t getting any darker, unlike the washers. I’d got this wire in a sample pack of different sizes: some of them are anti-tarnish, some aren’t, and they don’t say so on the packaging. I got everything back out, neutralised in bicarb solution and went looking for how you remove the coating. I tried attacking it with micromesh, steel wool, nail polish remover and had another go. This time I used much hotter water and got little bits of black, but only on the top side of the topmost wrap of wire. So my previous earrings are now backwards from the usual finish, where everything goes dark and then you polish back the highlights!

These earrings were made with the same wire and the copper was too bright for the braid, so I’d wanted to patinate these ones too. I’d been going to just paint the LoS on the surface of these, because I didn’t want to soak the cord in the solution in case it absorbed the smell. But after all the faffing about above I obviously wasn’t going to be able to get the effect I wanted this way!

Instead, I knew the coating burns off easily because I’ve seen that before when balling up wire, so I unwrapped all the wire, carefully went along straightening both pieces out with my pliers and then passed them through my torch flame in sections. The coating burns off quickly (and with a green flare) and at the same time the wire gets flame patinated and reannealed. I ended up with darkened varicolour wire that was easy to wrap back around my braids. Hooray! They will probably get darker still over time.

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These are shown on my niobium earwires and I am wearing them right now. They’re nice and light for long earrings.

52 little things links
Craft Pimp Week 23 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk

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