When I was a child, our milk came in tetrapaks, which were like little pyramid-shaped cartons. You’d snip off a corner to pour out the milk.
This backpack is the same idea. If you make a tube and sew across one end, then sew across the other end perpendicular to the first seam, you get this shape.
So my bottom seams are perpendicular to my zipper.
I included D rings at every corner for straps, and when worn the unattached top corner folds over the bag. I made sure to keep it all flexible. No interfacing except for a small square at the top corner of each inside pocket. Slip pockets inside.
This bag, which I have named for my sister, is a cute sewing project which can be used for many purposes. Being a knitter/crocheter, of course I think of small yarny projects, but it could hold all sorts of things. The finished dimensions are 11″ wide by 7″ tall, and the base is about 2″ deep. It’s closed with two snaps (no zippers or Velcro to catch your yarn) and the inside pocket is also closed with a snap to keep small bits safe, like stitch markers.
I used my walking foot to sew this bag, which gives me a neat 3/8″ seam when I line it up along the edge of the fabric. This is the fourth version I’ve made. I’ll put a photo at the end of the other three. You can use a solid piece of fabric for your exterior, or piece together scraps to get the size required. Just allow for seams so that you can trim it to size. Don’t do what I did and mix up the width and height!
Exterior: two pieces of quilt cotton, 12″ wide by 9″ tall (or pieced work to equal the same size)
Interior: two pieces of quilt cotton, 12″ wide by 9.5″ tall (this is deliberate, you’ll see why later)
Thermolam (fusible fleece) or other interfacing of your choice, or batting: two pieces 12″ wide by 9″ tall, and two pieces about an inch square
Pocket: one piece of quilt cotton, 6.5″ wide by 8.5″ tall
Handle: one piece of quilt cotton, 12″ by 3″
3 KAM snaps
For this bag I decided to make the exterior with two fabrics, the paisley floral and the solid. In the photo above, I have already seamed them together. The next photo shows the Thermolam fused to the back and a line of topstitching across to secure the seam allowances. I used a stitch length of 2.2 for seaming and 3.0 for topstitching. If you use batting, you may want to add some quilting.
Pocket: fold the 6.5″ by 8.5″ square in half, right sides together (so that it’s now 6.5 by 4.25). Sew around the three open sides, leaving a couple of inches in the long side open for turning. Trim the corners. Turn right side out, using some sort of pokey tool to push the corners out. Press.
Insert a small square of Thermolam or interfacing inside the pocket, up near the fold and in the centre. Press again and topstitch across the folded edge, securing the interfacing.
Place pocket on one of the lining pieces, centred, about 2.5″ – 3″ from the top edge. Pin and sew around the sides and bottom. Fuse a small square of Thermolam to the back of the lining where the snap will go.
Install a snap near the top of the pocket.
Handle: take the 12″ by 3″ rectangle, fold in half lengthwise and press. Open out, fold raw edges to centre crease and press, refold and press again. Topstitch down both long edges.
Place one exterior piece and one lining piece right sides together, matching top edges. Repeat with the other two pieces. (If the front of your bag is different from the back, take care to attach the pocket/lining piece to the back exterior.) Sew. (Lining will extend half an inch beyond the bottom of the exterior. This is intentional.) Press seams, pressing lining and seam allowances in the same direction.
Fold handle in half and baste to front exterior, close to top, matching raw edges.
Place the two pieces right sides together, matching exterior to exterior and lining to lining. Pin or clip, being careful to line up centre seams. Sew around, starting at the lining bottom, and leave a few inches open for turning.
Box bottoms: Draw a 3/4″ square at all four corners, measuring from the seamline, not the edge of the fabric. Cut along the drawn lines. Squash the corners so that seamlines meet, pin or clip, and sew across each corner.
Press seams open (I used to skip this step but it’s especially important for the seam allowances to be flat for a neat finish around the top of the bag). Caution! Don’t iron your snap!
Turn right side out and press, avoiding snap. Allow lining to do what it wants to do naturally, which is extend about half an inch above the top of the bag. (A thinner interfacing may be more malleable, but the Thermolam wanted to do its thing and I liked how it looked. If you would prefer the lining not to show, cut it the same size as the exterior.) Topstitch “in the ditch” around the top of the bag.
Install snaps: mark centre top of bag, measure out 2.5″ from centre, half an inch down from seamline. Insert snap on front and back (I used my awl to just poke a hole straight through both layers at once), then repeat 2.5″ from centre on the other side.
Sew up gap in lining. And you’re done!
The black/scrappy bag was my first one. The scrap strip was built up on adding machine paper and had been sitting around my sewing room for months. Because I didn’t know at the time that the lining was going to want to stick out, it’s not quite deep enough. The toucan bag came second, and I figured out the better-fitting lining. And then I wanted to make another one. And another one. They are quite addictive! Hope you enjoy making one. Let me know if you do, and whether you made any modifications.
I worked all weekend. Now on Sunday evening I have my feet up on the couch, podcasts on the TV, a crochet project, a cup of tea, and a lovely view of my garden which has been greening up beautifully.
The yarn is Estelle Colourbraid and was a birthday gift from a friend last year. There are seven sections that progress from dark to light so I wound it into a large ball and started making a bag from the darker end.
I haven’t decided whether this will be a backpack type bag or a container for my pegs (clothes pins). The fibre content is 80% cotton, 20% polyester and it feels pretty sturdy. I’m using a 6mm hook and half double crochet stitches – nothing fancy.
The bag in the background of the photo above is from this pattern. I made View D, the smaller picnic bag.
This is not my best work. Using a paper pattern for cutting out meant my pieces were nowhere near as accurate as when I use a rotary cutter and ruler.
And the method of construction, especially joining the outer to the inner, was not as straightforward as other bags I have made in a similar style. So I won’t be using this pattern again.
Just as well it was inspired by the Dodgy Bag makealong that’s being run by Ali of The Little Drops of Wonderful podcast. Cos it’s dodgy!!
One of my lovely coworkers brought these Nanaimo bars to work today. They are from a local bakery that’s vegan and gluten-free. She felt that I miss out on a lot of treats because usually the ones that are brought in aren’t vegan. They are amazing and taste like they have my weekly allowance of sugar and fat in one bar.
I had two of the coffee ones, one at lunchtime and one after work. That’s it, no more I promise!
Another work day tomorrow and then a couple of days off. Have a great week and I’ll see you again soon.
Day 4 was a long day, mostly at home. There was library book reading, sewing and Ravellenics project planning.
I finally decided on a crochet project for the Ravellenic Games (on Ravelry, to coincide with the Olympics). I went for a bag pattern I’ve made before. It’s called the Feelin’ Groovy Drawstring Purse. It’s a paid pattern now but years ago I was one of the testers for the designer so I got it free.
I’m using Lion Brand Mandala in Chimera from the stash. I had to wait to actually start the project because the Games hadn’t started yet.
My exercise class on Thursday was Strength and Lengthen at the gym with Mr Fixit. That was a good class. The teacher was nice, which makes a huge difference.
Day 5, Friday, was an early spin class. I sweated a lot and had very sore quads afterwards. Once that was out of the way, I could get going on the crochet.
I decided I needed to make the base bigger and do six squares instead of five because the bag would have been too small. So I’ll be adapting this a bit as I go.
The sashiko on my tote bag pieces was done, so I made up the bag with a white linen lining and vinyl handles.
My muscles were glad to have a rest day on Day 6, Saturday. I cooked in the morning and we had lunch and games at our friend’s house. That took up the whole afternoon.
I finally finished Troubled Blood, the fifth Cormoran Strike novel, the one that weighs over 4lbs!
I also made more progress on the bag.
Six squares all joined up and the base circle complete.
My Little Drop of Wonderful wanted to be in my photos today, inspired by the fun photos of Ravellenic mascots in the Colourful CALs group on Ravelry.
She also came out with us today to our favourite tea shop and Costco.
I think I will name her Sparklii.
Day 7 isn’t over yet but the plan is to go to the gym for a weights workout later. And tomorrow I’ll be back at work.
Before inventory at work, I booked a week off. I knew it’d be something to look forward to, after the extra shifts and overtime, and now I’m appreciating my good planning.
Day 1: I looked at the week ahead and booked myself into some gym classes. Monday, I just did a regular self-directed workout, with some treadmill time and some weights machines.
I did laundry, cleaned up the kitchen and mopped the floor, and then treated myself to a few blissful hours in my sewing room.
This is another boro/sashiko project, probably a bag, but this time I’m covering the whole surface with stitching. I’m not rushing it, just stitching away while playing YouTube videos or Netflix, and it’s very relaxing.
The weather has been in the 30s every day, and even in the basement it’s been uncomfortably warm. Add to that the hot flashes that I’m getting every day now and sometimes I’m mopping my face as my glasses slide down my nose.
I’ve been reading a series of novels by Robert Galbraith (aka J K Rowling) which are detective novels. I read the fourth one in the series first, because I picked it up at the library not realising it was part of a series. And I only realised that J K Rowling was the author once I’d finished it. So I requested the rest of the books from the library and quickly devoured the first three.
The book above is the fifth one. Admittedly it’s a large print version, but still, it’s huge compared to the others. If you’re interested, the first book is called The Cuckoo’s Calling.
What do you think of this adorable pincushion? One of my co-workers left this week, and I gave her one of the bags I’ve made as a leaving gift. She gave me this with a lovely note.
I’ve been eating quite a few apricots this week. Our tree produced a fair few this year, and even though some fell on the ground before I could get to then and others were occupied by earwigs, I still got to enjoy those little packages of edible sunshine.
Our valley has been hit by smoke again this summer from the numerous wildfires around the province but I am grateful that we are only breathing smoke and not having to deal directly with fires in my neighbourhood.
My second foray into sashiko is a Japanese rice bag, which seems appropriate. I looked at the colours left in the pack of embroidery floss that I bought and they worked perfectly with this cotton fabric with foxes, hedgehogs and squirrels.
Each side of the bag is six inches square. I didn’t use a pattern this time. Having made a bag of this style once before I guessed I could do it again without a tutorial. It’s just five squares for the sides and bottom and the same in the lining fabric, plus four 2.5″ squares for the drawstring tabs.
The drawstring is a piece of craft rope from the dollar store and I added a little circle of denim around the knot to finish it off.
Even working downstairs in my sewing room has been challenging the last week because the house retains the heat from the day. Thankfully the temperatures have dropped into the 30s Celsius which, after 40+, feels so much more comfortable.
Have you ever made one of those purses that have a metal frame with holes for sewing it to the fabric? I showed you my first ever frame bag on January 26th – I used cotton fabric, lined and padded and found it very tricky to sew together. However I decided not to let it put me off, and bought another frame with the intention of crocheting a bag this time.
I started it this morning and finished it this evening, on a work day, so it’s a quick project. I don’t think it took even half a ball of Knit Picks Dishie (colour: Begonia). I’ll show you the step-by-step method I used. I didn’t follow a pattern but I did watch a minute or two of a YouTube video where the lightbulb went on when I saw the shape that was made to fit the frame.
I used this cotton worsted (medium) weight yarn and a 4.5mm hook. It’s a good idea to go down a hook size from that recommended on the ball band.
The frame I used was about 10cm by 4cm when closed. It does come with some basic instructions but they aren’t that helpful, in my opinion.
A square frame is probably the easiest shape to use. When you open it out it’s easy to make a crocheted bag base to fit.
With my hook and yarn, I needed 14 scs to make a piece wide enough. Then I worked 15 rows of single crochet.
Once you have the base made, you don’t turn your work to go back across for another row. You start working down the side edge, across the foundation stitches, and up the other side. You can just keep on doing scs or change to a fancy stitch pattern for the sides. If you’re doing single crochets, it’s simple to work 1sc into each row end and each stitch around the base. I chose to do a stitch pattern where I increased into every other stitch. In other words (2sc into next stitch, skip 1) around. On the next round I’d work the 2sc into the first sc of each pair from the previous round. But any dense stitch pattern would do. (Don’t increase at the corners because you want the sides of the bag to start forming straight upwards, not outwards.) I did joined rounds, but it did create a diagonal “seam” effect which I could have avoided by just working in a spiral.
When my bag was about 3.5″ tall, I fastened off then squished it to find the outer central points to match them up with the hinges on the frame. I used a couple of stitch markers to mark the spots.
I then used a doubled strand of sewing thread and a sewing needle to attach the edge of the crochet to the frame, pushing it up inside the hollow part as I stitched. This went a LOT better than the fabric one I made before. No swearing, no unpicking and redoing. Positively a breeze.
A lining would make it look even prettier but that would add bulk so I’m not sure I want to try that. I hope this helps if you decide to make one of your own. Since I took my fabric one to work, people have been a lot more interested in buying them.
I named this bag for the River Washed XL yarn from Scheepjes. Yet another project from the kit of minis, this scrappy bag was easy peasy. Just a foundation chain, around which I crocheted a small oval, and then straight up to the top, and then some rows worked flat on one side for the flap. A few decreases shaped the outer edge of the flap and then I single-crocheted around the top edge.
I still had some bits and pieces left, so added a little embroidery and a leaf-shaped applique to cover the ugly back of the magnetic snap. The cotton fabric for the strap and D rings was in my stash. It’s not lined, but that’s ok. (Hmmm, I did just have a bright idea – make a small bag that will fit inside out of the same fabric as the strap…if I have enough.)
Summer has truly hit here in BC. It felt like we had a cooler wetter start to the summer than usual, which was a blessing, but now the days are getting hot and, without AC, we often have to pull the blinds and close the windows during the day to try and keep the house cooler.
My geraniums are looking lovely.
Mr Fixit and I both have a love for geraniums. His mum was Swiss and there’s nothing so beautiful as a traditional Swiss chalet smothered in red geraniums. Also my grandparents, who lived in England, had a verandah full of geraniums every summer from which they took cuttings every fall.
I am feeling very thankful that inventory time is over for another year at work. And having yesterday and today off was a bit like a “weekend” for me after the crazy time, so I have really appreciated it.
My current reading is this. As a white woman, I figured that I had a lot to learn about systemic racism, so here I am, getting some education. I have other books on hold at the library but I am in longer queues for those.
And this is what I’m making. This is going to use up almost all of what I have left of the Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed XL mini skeins. It’s just a really simple bag that’s going to end up about 9″ square, in single crochet, and I’ve just switched from in-the-round to working flat for the flap. Not far to go now.
I will be adding a strap, which may well be fabric with swivel hooks attached, and the bits that hold the D rings on may also be the same fabric. This has been a great mindless project for this week, where I can just crochet around and around and enjoy the colours, because I’ve been tired out from all the extra hours at work. Three of my workdays have been 11 hours or more, thanks to inventory time. I have Saturday off, and then Sunday is another major day where we count all the packaged notions and estimate the yardage (meterage?) on the cut notions – basically anything that we haven’t already weighed on bolts this week gets logged on Sunday.
I’m thankful this only happens once a year. We even got audited this year but after a few hours at the store the auditor left happy, our supervisor left happy, and we now have the fun job of putting all the fabric upright and draped again, so customers can actually see it properly.