Sunday, November 14, 2010

Jelly Roll Bags

Today I am going to try and do my first instructional craft blog.  All my other crafty ones so far have just been the finished product.  This weekend I made some lovely little carry bags for some very special ladies for a Christmas gift.  I've made quite a few of these little bags over the years (my very clever aunty helped me come up with the design), but this is the first time I have taken photos as I went along.  I made them out of a jelly roll which made it even easier (less cutting), but if you don't want this look, you can simplify them even more by making them out of solid fabric (see my cutest little bags post for end result).  Enough talking, lets see if I can explain how to make them...

When you unroll your jelly roll, you will find lots of long strips of perfectly cut fabric.  I like to lay them out in piles (possibly my OCD coming through), but in doing this I found out I had more strips of my red fabric which is why I decided to use that fabric as my handles and base.
Next, cut the strips into quarter lengths - it just happened that this was approximately the width I wanted my bags.  If you want bigger or smaller bags you can cut accordingly.  I think mine were approx 28cm.

Then to the machine to sew the strips together.

Stretch the fabric out and iron the seams down, all in the same direction. 

While doing any type of quilting, I always have my iron on and close by - you'll need it a lot.  

Once you have the outside of your bag done, you will need to think about the lining.  I like a solid colour for lining, but it's your own choice.  I make my bags so they can be reversible, so if you wanted to you could use jelly rolls for the lining too.  It's just a matter of choice.  I have a bag filled with pieces of fabric (see above).  There are a few fat quarters in there, and a lot of it is left over from other projects I have done. (I don't throw much away - you never know when you'll need it!!).  Try to make sure the colours harmonise with your outside fabric.

So once you have found your lining fabric.  Lay the outside onto the lining and cut the lining to the exact same size.

If you can't find a piece of fabric large enough, you can always join two pieces together (see above).  It is lining after all, and you really won't notice it once it's all sewn together.  Once you have your two pieces (outside and lining) you can go on to putting them together.

Fold the pieces in half - right side in.  As you can see above, to make sure the seams align, I pin them together at each of the joins.  I think it makes a way neater finish, and it's worth taking a little extra time to do this.

Sew along both sides, leaving the top open.  Do this with the lining as well.

Back to the ironing board, iron the pocket flat to make a nice crease in the bottom.  Then you open up the bag and lay the side seam along the bottom crease.  Measure in a couple of centimetres and draw a line across the bag, and pin it along this line.  Hopefully the above picture will explain this well enough.  Do the same on the other side and sew along each of the lines.  You will need to do the same with your lining as well.

Fold the top edge of the bag over and iron it down, so that you have a nice neat edge.

Turn the bag the right way out and push your fingers right into the corners (where the triangles are in the bottom). 
Now it's getting exciting because it's really taking shape!

Again do the same with the lining.  Iron down the top edge. 
As you can see, even if you've cut a little rough, it's these stages that neaten it all up.  I also don't spend a lot of time trimming threads because they are usually all hidden once the bag is sewn together.

Push the lining carefully into the outer bag, making sure the triangles are sitting nicely on the bottom.  Again, push your fingers right into the corners of the bag at the bottom.  The lining should fit almost perfectly into the bag as they are the same size.   Pin them together along the top.  As shown above, pin the inner side seam to the outer side seam it makes it look heaps nicer.  (although normally the pins would be on the outside *Doh!*)

Next the handles.  I used one jelly strip - fold it over onto it's self and then sew right along that long strip.  I think I ended up cutting the strip into 3rds, so approx 37cm long, but again, it's your bag, so you can make the handles as long or as short as you want.  It's a lot easier to turn the handles right side out if they are shorter strips, so I cut them into their final lengths before turning them.  Then of course, iron them out flat.

Because I was making 5 bags at the same time, I had lots of handles here, but if you are only making one bag, you will only need two handle strips.

Before attaching the handle and closing up the bag, you can add an embellishment or two.  I haven't put anything on here about how to make them, because it can literally be anything, and it's also really an added option, 'cause it's not necessary for the function of the bag.

To add the handles, measure from the side seam to where you are placing the handle - it doesn't have to be a particular length, but I measure to make sure it will be the same on both sides.  Tuck the handle end in between the lining and the outside and pin them together.  Do the same on the other side.

Final stage.  Sew the lining and outside together and voilà! You're done!!

I've had such a wonderful weekend making these bags and catching up with friends.  I hope you have too.

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