Frida Kahlo Tote Bag Tutorial

Frida Bag_1

I recently had two birthdays to celebrate, that are near each other in the calendar.  I cut up my precious Frida Kahlo canvas fabric (made by Alexander Henry), yielding two bags from one yard.

So I wrote a little tutorial, for everyone should know how to make a bag out of fabric.  Hope this helps.

Frida Bag_Fabric Cutting

Do the same cutting with your chosen lining, trimming 2″ off the upper edge of the lining, as you want the lining to be slightly shorter than your Frida fabric.

Keeping Frida on her feet, seam the selvage sides Right Sides Together (RST), and then sew across the bottom.

Sew the lining bag sides, then across the bottom seam BUT LEAVE A 7″ OPENING IN THAT SEAM at the bottom of the bag.  You’ll need an opening later in this construction process, and leaving the bottom seam with a gap will later allow you to turn the bag.

Frida Bag_2

To make the bag have a flat bottom, you’ll line up the bottom seam with the side seam (where there wasn’t a seam, I pressed the side edge with my iron).  When you get them lined up, pin.  I went for a six-inch bag bottom, so I lined up the middle of my ruler along the seam, and drew a line.

Frida Bag_2a

You can see the faint pencil line here, on the lining. This is from the folded side of the bag, and you can see the ironed crease in the side, heading up to the point.

Frida Bag_2b

Stitch along that line, then 1/4″ away from that line, into the peaked corner.

Frida Bag_2c

Cut off the excess, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.

Frida Bag Illus_2

Frida Bag Illus_2a

Frida Bag Illus_3

Matching the edges, stitch around the top of the bag using a 1/2″ seam.  Turn inside out through opening on bottom.  Line up the bottoms of the bag and lining, allowing the Frida fabric to roll over into the inside:

Frida Bag_3

I pressed the seam towards the lining fabric, into the bag.

Frida Bag_3a

Stitch in the ditch, just above the fold of the lining, using thread that matches the Frida fabric.

Frida Bag_3b

Stitch the opening in the lining bottom closed, by topstitching the two edges together.  It can also be done by hand with tiny stitches.

Frida Bag_4

Time for handles.  On the front of the bag, find the center (matching up sides).  Mark with a pin.  Each bag handle is placed 3-1/2″ from the center.

How long to cut the webbing?  It depends on your use and how tall you are.  I wanted these to go over my shoulder, yet stay off the ground when using the handles to carry, so after pinning it at different heights to try it out, I finally cut two pieces of webbing 27-1/2″ each.

Pin them to the bag, making sure each handle stays on the same side of the outside.  In other words, don’t attach one end to one side of the bag and one end to the other.  The bag handles should be attached the same side of your bag (otherwise it won’t open widely).

I placed the handles lower than the top edge of the bag, leaving an inch free.  I then sewed them down with a cross-in-a-box design:

Frida Bag_4a

Back, showing the stitching pattern for handles.

Frida Bag_5

Done!  I marked one side of the bag, so the user can find the “front” easily.  One has Frida’s Garden selvage label (shown above).

Frida Bag

The other one has a woven ribbon that says Ahali, which means “family relations.” (It’s for my sister.)

Now you have a quick tote, that is perfect for everyting, and because it’s lined, it’s sturdy and looks neat.  It took me a couple of hours from first cut, to this photo, for both bags, but having done this multiple times, I’m kind of fast at this sort of thing.  My grocery sack tutorial is a similar bag, but unlined. That site has a downloadable instruction page, if that works better for you.

tiny-nine-patches

I wanted to close out this post with a couple of photos from two women who attended my workshops.  It’s always a delight to see how others interpret the pattern.  If you have made one of my patterns, don’t hesitate to send me an photo!  You can also tag me on Instagram: @occasionapiecequilt.

Sheri MSquare

Merrion Square, version by Sheri

Charlotte HomeSHome

Home, Sweet Home, version by Charlotte

 

The Visual Story of a Sewing Kit

Rescue boats fill a flooded street at flood victims are evacuated as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Okay–here’s what helps keep me busy while I’m watching hours of footage about the Hurricane Harvey disaster: hand-sewing.  So I came up with my own little sewing kit.  Start Here, with this rough sketch of a pattern: Sewing Kit_opquilt-pattern

SewingKitESE_1and these dimensions:
SewingKitESE_dimensions
Cut out.  Quilt Soft & Stable lightly to backing, as you just want to hold it in place, you don’t want to distort it. NOTE: although it doesn’t show really well, I cut two of the notions pocket (thimble and thread glide); the dotted one (you can see it below) is the lining.  Remember to cut with wrong sides together, as the pattern piece is not symmetrical.

SewingKitESE_2

Stitch it together along the curvy top, and the right side.  Turn inside out, topstitch along the curvy edges. and make the pleats.  Top stitch along the two sides and the bottom, holding it in place to the inner lining. I like light linings, so I can see what’s going on.SewingKitESE_3

SewingKitESERefer to above photo for the rest of these sketchy detailed directions.

Sew down one long side of the scissors pocket; turn and press.  Turn in 1/4″ on the other long side; press.  Top-stitch the scissors pocket onto the lining.  Slide your scissors into place, and figure out where the ribbon needs to go: backstitch a ribbon into place.

Match up the backing with the lining and all its decor, putting wrong sides together and pin. All the edges will be raw edges.  Find the center line (where you will fold this closed) and stitch down the center to anchor the parts together.

Insert the zipper between the two zipper pocket pieces, cutting zipper down to size after sewing thread tacks on each end to keep the zipper on its track.

If you want a needle holder, cut a piece 1-3/4″ by 4″ and stitch to the zipper pocket as shown in photo above.  Then fold the zipper-pocket-assembly in half, creating a pocket.  (You can see the aqua ribbon sneaking into the pocket in the above photo.)  Place zipper pocket on right side of lining and stitch around this narrowly–just to hold it in place.

Lay a spool of thread on all the corners and trace; cut the edges into a rounded edge.  You can omit this step, and just do the corners like a quilt binding.

Bind the edges with a double-fold binding: cut a piece approximately 20″ long and 1-1/4″ wide.  Fold raw edges into the center and press.  Open out binding; first stitch WST with binding to back.  Fold to the inside, pinning or glueing to keep in in place, then topstitch.  Make two other double-fold pieces, roughly 12″ by 1-1/4″ and zig-zag.  These are your ties.  Stitch them to either side of the outer edge (refer to photo way below).

SewingKitESE_3a

Add other trim: two buttons for the “String & Button” closure (yes, that is its official name).  I found some interesting thick string and sewed that through the little pocket at its tallest point and then knotted it behind the pocket.  I used Fray-Chek on all raw edges of string and ribbon and ties.  To close, you wrap it around the button (shown, above).

SewingKitESE_4

SewingKitESE_6SewingKitESE_6aSewingKitESE_7SewingKitESE_8SewingKitESE_9

I use the Superior Threads Bobbin Donut in doing my hand stitching.  I tried and tried to think of a way to get it attached, and finally resorted to sewing a ribbon to the center. SewingKitESE_10

I also tried it out on their new Super Bobs box, which is what is replacing the Donut.  They still have a few donuts for sale on their website if you hate to see it go.  Truth: I probably won’t shove the donut or the box into the sewing kit…but I might.

I realize that I assume you have some sewing knowledge when I posted this, but another Truth: it’s also for my reference if I ever want to make another one.  The very cool fabric on the outside is from Timeless Treasures Fabrics a few whiles back.  It’s called Lux, if you want to go looking.

Why did I make this?  I have lots of pouches and bags and I love them all, as most came from friends.  I also have a couple of sewing cases, too, but I found myself toting around my stuff in a zipper baggie, as nothing quite suited me.  So I know this is what works for me, but maybe you can find something in here that will work for you.

SewingKitESE_11

It matters little how much equipment we use; it matters much that we be masters of all we do use. ~Sam Abell

I have to say that my attention has been preoccupied with the victims of the Houston flooding.  My son and his family moved there a week ago (I know!), and I try to keep tabs on them as much as he is able to.  I’m not the only one focused that way, with loved ones being flooded.  We’ve contributed to the Google Hurricane Harvey Response (they’ll contribute matching funds), and there are many other charities where you can donate.  Please consider helping in this way, as this is catastrophic.

And One More Thing: Get your own Emergency Supply Kit.  Have water, basic necessities, food that’s portable.  None of us can expect that rescue will be a part of our community’s offerings, in case of disaster (and you know what your own disaster can be).  We have to expect that we’ll need to help ourselves first.

Samaritans help push a boat with evacuees to high ground during a rain storm caused by Tropical Storm Harvey along Tidwell Road in east Houston, Texas, U.S. August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTX3DRSF

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A New Purse/Tote Bag

I went looking for a new purse the other day.  I’m headed up to Utah to help celebrate my father’s 90th birthday and needed a new purse so I won’t embarrass myself with my three other fabulous high-fashion sisters, who buy purses like this:

PurseDooneyBourkePradaPurse

I suppose I could do that, but it would eat up my fabric budget for about six months a year. I first pawed through the ranks of ho-hum-department-store purses, then saw a few of these:Purse_chips Purse_fringe Purse_milk

My nieces and a few younger quilters thought they were terrific, but when you are up against Prada, you know Betsey Johnson is going to be just too out there.  (But I did kind of like the milk carton.)  I realized that a purse I had purchased in 1988 looked just like the $150 purses on the rack that I liked, I decided to take that one with me.  But at the very least, I still wanted a new tote bag.Totebagblue_1

The fabric is called Geishas and Gingkos from Lonni Rossi, and it’s not only cool on the print side, but I flipped some around for that peek-a-boo pocket in the front, too. It’s probably the first time I haven’t thrown the fabric in the back of the stash cupboard, but instead turned into something current.
Totebagblue_2 Totebagblue_3

I used Two Pretty Poppets Stand Up & Tote Notice, whose name I tried mightily to figure out, but never did.Totebagblue_4 Totebagblue_5

I wasn’t in love with this pattern, but I can’t really fault it in anyway either.  Her directions are pretty good, with lots of photos, but it took me a day of working up my courage to jump in with printing off the PDF, aligning everything, re-tracing it for a pattern (which often didn’t align with the other part of the pattern) to figuring everything out.  It does earn points for that very cool  front pocket, the interesting angled top and pretty good directions.  I wish it had a picture of all the pattern pieces with their names and what to cut out of what; I kept the PDF patterns close by while sewing. You’ll probably have an easier time of it, so give it a try before you pass judgement on it.
Totebagblue_6I couldn’t figure out how big it was in real life, even though the dimensions were all listed.  I found out only later, that the medium (the size I made) was just about 1″ too short to fit my iPad in below the snap closure.  I can get it in sideways, so I’ll probably do that.  I also change up the pockets in all the patterns I make, so mine are a bit different.
Totebagblue_7 Cool front pocket.  I spliced it so I could enjoy the purple flowers from this fabric line, but used the backside of the fabric at the top.
Totebagblue_7aIt calls for foam in the middle.  I used Soft and Stable from ByAnnie.Totebagblue_7bWhen sewing the lining in, I found this problem again: mis-matched size of pattern pieces.  I made it work.  No big deal.

Totebagblue_8So, I’m all ready now except for the fact that I’m now obsessing about what to wear.