Claire November 27th, 2010
Here’s the instructions and information for the second of the tutorials for foldaway shopping bags, the strawberry shopper. I do hope that you liked the previous tutorial - if you make anything from these tutorials please let me know, I’d love to see them!
For the strawberry bag you will need:
- Pillowcase (try and find one that doesn’t crease too badly – maybe one with polyester in it. Since this gets stuffed into the strawberry you don’t want it to come out looking like a dish rag!)
- Square of red polka dot fabric 26cm x 26cm (you could use plain red and embroider or paint the dots/ seeds on if you wish/ have the time)
- Strip of green fabric
- Green bias binding (I used cotton, but you could always make a small strip for this bag from fabric; I’m just being a little lazy here!)
- 3 metres of bias binding to use around the handles (this should be more than enough so don’t worry if you have less in)
- Green cord suitable for a drawstring
- Matching thread – green, red and something to match your bias tape or pillowcase.
- Sewing machine
- Patterns for leaves and cut outs:
- Strawberry bag handle No1
- Strawberry bag handle pattern No 2
- Strawberry leaf pattern 1
- Strawberry leaf pattern 2
To make bag:
To prepare the pillowcase for being turned into a bag, you need to first undo the “flap” that is on the inside (the bit that keeps the pillow in place – you don’t need to be too careful in removing this, unless you are as tight with fabric as I am and plan on using it for something else. Otherwise just snip along the line of sewing it’s attached to.
Once you have snipped the fabric away both sides just pull it out and leave it. Then you need to mark a line (I used pins but you may want to use chalk if you prefer) 50 cm from the bottom edge of the bag, like this:
Place the patterns on for the side and top cut outs onto your bag, and cut out. You will be left with what looks like a carrier bag but the handles being open, like this:
You now need to join the handles together; turn the bag inside out, and pin along the raw edge at the top of the handle, then sew using a small stitch a couple of times in the same line. I used a 1cm seam allowance for this – remember it is this seam that takes the weight of what you have in your bag so you want it to last!
You are now ready to attach your bias binding round the handles. I use bias binding because it not only gives you a chance to tie in some colours (I used red because of the strawberry) but also because doing a hem on a curved edge isn’t that easy. Fold the bias tape in half, creasing with your finger, and with the resulting “V” shape fit this over the raw edge of your fabric. Pin in place, remembering to tuck in or join your strips together so no raw edges are sticking out. I started from the seam so that it wouldn’t be really obvious where the bias tape began. You also need to attach bias tape to the opening of the bag – try and make sure you don’t have any bulky seams or joins where your hands would be when you are carrying the bag; you want the bag to be comfortable to use. Sew in place using matching thread.
Once you have given it a bit of a once-over with your iron, the bag part is complete. Now you need to make your strawberry.
To make your strawberry: Cut the square in 2 diagonally, and place right sides together, pinning like this:
Using matching thread sew along the 2 shorter sides of the triangle. Clip the corners off to redce the amount of bulk and turn round to the right side. Iron.
Now you need to assemble your strawberry:
Using something like your finger as a guide, place the stawberry you have just sewn over the right hand corner of the bag (you can put it on the left if you want, but it will be on the right hand side when you turn it over!). I tend to poke my finger into the corner of the bag, and place the strawberry on top, and wiggle it a bit to make sure it is in as far as it can be, if that makes sense. Pin your strawberry in place, making sure you don’t pin both sides together!
Next you need to add your leaves – they should lay across the top of your strawberry (if you have done slightly less of a seam allowance then you may need to gather or pleat your leaves slightly to make them fit properly. Pin in place, on both the front and the back. Sew them down either by tacking by hand, or really close to the edge of the fabric (so that it will be hidden once you put your binding in place) like this:
Once you have your leaves and strawberry sewn in place, you need to add your bias binding. Cut a strip of binding long enough to cover the raw edges of fabric, and fold under about 1 cm each side. Pin in place, starting from the middle and working your way to the sides. When you reach the edges of the channel (which are at the sewn seams of the bag/ strawberry) you need to tuck the ends under so that they form a neat line, like this:
You need to have an opening at both seams to be able to thread the cord through and tie it. You may choose to only have one opening, in which case I suggest that it would be on the side edge of the bag, and you may want to use a taggle or something to help draw the bag in and keep it that way.
You now sew along in a continuous line all the way around, making sure that you overlap your stitches from where you started, as this area gets a lot of stress when you use the drawstrings. Remember to use a small stitch for strength, and a matching thread for your fabric on the top and bottom.
Once you have sewn all the way round the top and bottom of your bias binding, you are ready to add your cord. You can make the ties as long as you want – mine were cut to 80cm. If possible (if using synthetic cord – it won’t work if it’s cotton!) singe the ends of the cords to seal them either by passing them through a flame or putting them near some heat – be careful when you do this however as molton cord is painful if it hits your skin, and you don’t want to start a fire! You will need 2 cords that are long enough to tie in a knot after being threaded through the bias binding.
Using a sfaety pin, start at one opening, thread your cord all the way round until it comes out next to where it went in. Tie this off in a knot at the end of the cord. Next thread your other cord, and start at the other gap in your binding, threading it all the way round until it comes out and tying it off. Now it should look like this:
Give your bag a final press with the iron, taking care that you don’t melt the cord! Your bag is complete now – just stuff the bag into the strawberry, pull the cords and you’re ready to go shopping!