Today I have a bit of a different post than my usual garment-sewing fare. I still love garment sewing, but lately I’ve shifted my attention back to an earlier passion: knitting. This year I made a commitment to level-up my knitting, after a realization that it had lingered — pretty much at the same level — for many years. Sewing is still involved, though, because you can’t knit without adorable cloth bags in which to hold your projects.
These are four bags I’ve made this year. I made them all with a pattern I bought on Etsy from Kandou Crafts, called Zipper Pouch in Five Sizes. It’s a great little pattern that I was able to customize quite a few ways. The pattern has sizing for a 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10″ zipper. The math for an 11 or 12″ zipper could be easily determined if you wanted to make an even bigger bag.
The first bag I tried was the Large size with a 9″ zipper. I selected heavyweight denim scraps from my Ellis Skirt and cotton Russian doll fabric given to me by my friend Amy. It was difficult to decide how heavy I wanted each fabric to be, and the ratio of base fabric to top fabric. My denim base fabric was pretty stiff, so I wanted the top to be equally sturdy. I used my favorite interfacing, Pellon SF-101 on the top fabric, which achieved a crisp and sturdy effect. I trimmed 2″ from the bottom pattern piece and added it to the top to show more of the Russian dolls.
On my second bag, I wanted to make something a bit floppier and with a taller base. I also wanted a seasonal bag, so I chose another fabric from Amy: rows of cats and hearts on a copper background. I used a lighter interfacing behind the cats, Pellon EZ-Knit EK130. The base fabric is an old linen tablecloth! I used the SF-101 interfacing on this. The lining fabric is happy little dots, also from Amy.
I made one misstep on this bag. I decided to disobey the instructions and topstitch the outer fabric and the lining at the same time, because I wanted the lining to lay down flatter than it did on my first bag. A problem arises when you sew close to the zipper all the way to both ends. You can’t turn the ends inside-out! This resulted in an ugly, puckered end. You can see the black cat in the fabric looking at it in horror.
I was able to solve this issue on the next bag by starting to sew at the zipper pull (when closed) and ending at the zipper stop.
My third bag is completely different. The base of this bag is not fabric but paper. It’s called washable paper and I bought it by accident at Michael’s, thinking it was construction paper. When I read the label at home, I Googled it and found it’s often used in bags as a vegan leather. I had to try this! I ran it through the washing machine and then cut it for the Small (7″ zipper) bag.
It does look a bit like leather and worked great as the base. Amy gave me the Eiffel Tower fabric too! The lining for this bag is from an old dress shirt that no longer fits my husband.
All the zippers I found at a local consignment store here in Portland, OR: Rerun 2. The size of zippers that I had and their color is really what determined the bag size and fabrics!
Last but certainly not least is my Peter Rabbit bag. I did not do a base on this bag at all because I wanted to highlight a special fabric. This was a tea towel I purchased at Beatrix Potter’s house in the Lake District, which I visited in July 2012. I wasn’t sure I wanted to cut it up, but I will see it more often and it will get much more love as a bag than as a tea towel.
My mom and I loved the Peter Rabbit books when I was a child, almost as much as we loved Winnie-the-Pooh.
I can’t wait to make more of these bags, and will soon need to as I currently have 9 knitting projects on the needles and others planned. -rp