Making a new project bag for me part 1


This is a follow-up to my previous post about a crochet project bag swap taking part in a group that I'm part of on Facebook (Kiwis who CAL and Crochet). I was feeling a bit better about my sewing skills after making a nice fabric lining for my crochet project bag for the swap, so I decided to go back to finish off a bag that I'd started for myself 2 years ago. 

My old project bag has been deteriorating slowly over at least the last 2 years (probably more like 3 years) but I hadn’t been motivated to finish it off. While from the outside the bag still looks OK. As you can see in the photos below, the wooden support on one side is totally gone and the other is slowly being held in less by the fabric. There is also a hole in the lining at the bottom on the inside and having a single tiny pocket isn't particularly useful when I have so many little things that I'd like to keep handy.


The original project bag ideas

When I started working on a replacement project bag nearly 2 years ago, I had big plans for it. I decided that it would have plastic canvas and wadding in the sides and base to protect the things inside.

The seams were all going to be hidden with contrasting fabric inside and outside. I made pockets on the inside on one side and added button elastic and buttons on the other side for holding little containers of buttons and embroidery thread etc.

I wanted to have a zip that let the bag open right up on 3 sides so that you could get to everything at the bottom. I was also ambitious enough to think that I could have 4 D-rings attached and straps that could either work as a shoulder bag or be swapped out to ones to make a backpack. Sadly, it was all a bit too ambitious for my skills – especially as I didn’t have a pattern that I used and didn’t measure out the fabric properly before cutting it thinking that I could just wing it and get things to work by using the plastic canvas as my template. After doing some of the initial work on it, I ended up putting it in the too hard basket for a long time.

Making the bag

I brought it out again after I finished the one I'd made for the bag swap and began by “frogging” (undoing with the seam ripper) some parts of it and then doing some proper planning with what was there. I decided not to add in the D-rings because that was getting a little too tricky with all the rest of the sewing. As much as possible the outside (strawberry print side) was done using a sewing machine and I tried to do some of the inside stitching with a sewing machine too when it worked out. However, I ended up having to do some of it with hand sewing. I also covered up some of the messiness with an extra piece of strawberry print on the base of the inside. The photo below shows the outside shell of it. The zip goes almost all the way around on three sides and the base and larger sides have wadding and plastic canvas inside them.

The next two photos show the finished inside (including my not so neat looking hand sewing and the strawberry fabric covering some mistakes at the bottom) with a few of my notions in. I wish I'd gone back to the original photos I took for the inside before re-starting this project as I ended up making the blue pocket smaller than I had originally intended. However, it should still be OK.

Because I left off the D-rings from the seams, in order to use it as a bag, it needs to have some other way to add a strap to it. I also realised that, while it can fit 4 x 132 g balls of yarn (or 6 if you are very careful with squashing in the other 2 balls), it isn’t as big as the one I made for the bag swap (which fits 8 balls of yarn).

In order to give my bag a strap (or rather straps), I decided to use what I had made as the lining for a crochet bag rather than it being simply a fabric bag. The outer shell was done using some cotton DK weight yarn I had in my stash and a 5 mm crochet hook. I made a simple rectangular base and then began work on the sides for a couple of rounds. I then had to work each side and part of the ends of the bag separately due to the large zip around the outside of the bag. The design wasn't anything special and because I used a large hook, it worked up reasonably quickly. I added some rings at the top so that I could attach 2 straps and then handstitched it onto the outside of my "lining". The results can be seen in the photos below. I sewed the sides of the crochet bag close to the zip on the sides but kept it open on the top so that there would be room for the O-rings to join to the bag


As I've said, it isn't perfect but it makes the bag useful while I decide what to do next. I have some ideas for improving the capacity of the bag but I"ll leave that for another post. In the meantime, this bag has been quite useful and has allowed me to quickly find things that I need, much better than my original craft bag. It has the added advantage that I made the straps long enough that it can sit comfortably on the handle of our double stroller for those times where I take my youngest for long walks. Plus, as you can see in the last photo above, the lobster clips used to join the strap on, can be used to hold my keys.

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