Oct 15, 2013

Green Pepper F865 - String Bag

In my son's middle school, they have restrictions on the size of the bag they can carry around. Last school year I made my own pattern thinking it would be easy but it ended up very involved. I used the one I bought from the school, at the beginning of the year for $15 that was coming apart at the seams as a guide. It was made from cheap nylon and no lining. My remake had a cotton print outside and a ripstop nylon lining inside with grommets in the corners like the original. I used some thick cording for the straps/drawstring and it worked. It took me all day to figure out and 3 hours to make but it held up the rest of the year and his friends wanted to buy it off him at the end of the year. 
It was successful but this past summer I saw this pattern at a Jo Ann's and decided to buy it.
It comes in mini to medium and the biggest size was within my 17" X 15" maximum limit.
It says on the back Level 1, without pockets, is quick & easy and Level 2, with pockets, is easy. Well I did it without pockets, at my son's request, and lining so it was super quick and easy! I bought 1 yard of 60" white cotton duck and cut out 2 bags but I have enough left over for another one. Since it was made of the heavier fabric, I chose the side pull version which uses 2 pieces of 1/2" ribbon or webbing for the straps, we chose both. The drawstring casings are sewn on separately so I first put together the body of the bag finishing the edges of the seam allowances together with a zigzag stitch for added strength and less fraying. Then gave it to my son and daughter to stamp and paint.

After heat setting the paint I went to finish sewing the bags together. I was very excited because their decorations were so awesome that I put the drawstring casings on wrong! I even finished the seam with zigzagging before I realized it! So I cut the seam off of just one of them and fixed it but I thought it shortened it more than I wanted it to be but it came out OK.

I stopped and thought about the second bag for a bit and then realized I could just over it up with some double fold bias. I actually just cut straight strips from some scrap fabric and encased the seam then I also encased the seams on the inside with it. It came out looking so great that I gave myself a pat on the back!

Now, I had to finish up the straps and stitch them into the bottom. So, on the bag I wasn't too happy with, I sewed in the straps as directed. First, it says to cut the straps the length of the bag and baste the ends in the corner to secure them in the stitching across the corner. I did that but I had problems, when I sewed across the corner of the bag the straps didn't catch, so I had to take it all out and do it again.  The directions had a good suggestion of sewing the straps together with the bag open on top so they won't separate. They put it at the end of the directions, so it wasn't as easy to sew with it secured in the corner. 

In the end, my son thought the straps were too short and doesn't like this one as much but it came out good. It's his emergency bag in case something happens to the other one or to use on the weekends.

The second bag has much longer straps and has the seam on the front, that I put in wrong, covered. I also sewed the ribbons and webbing together into one strap after threading it in but before securing in the corners.

I loved the way it came out so much that I'm going to add that to any more that I make! It's October now and the bag has held up good and gotten nice and soft. My son likes the ribbon/webbing straps much better than the cord. I think I spent a total of $10 on these two. Now that I've done it a couple of times, I could probably make one in under an hour. They should hold up much better than any commercially made ones and are custom. My kids even made some of the stamps out of fun foam, only the piano keys and clef sign were purchased. My son did the stamping and my daughter did the details in red. We're going to use the same stamping idea to make a quilt for my son's piano teacher. There should be a quilt posting soon!

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