Sunday, 19 February 2012

Charity shop finds & drawstring bags

I love rummaging in charity shops and am always on the look out for books, ceramics and fabric. I was slightly shocked last week when in a local charity shop to find some familiar Laura Ashley dresses (probably circa 1980) marked as 'Retro'-I suddenly felt very old! Having overcome the shock I found a lovely collection of fabric- a mixture of new and used pieces, and amongst it was some unused Irish linen ( marked Made in Ireland). Somebody must of had a big clear out and I felt I couldn't possibly not give the material a new home.
My little stash of fabric at a bargain price.
I will always find a use for the fabric and have plenty of ideas. I have put together this drawstring bag with some it. I'm a big fan of drawstring bags- they're very simple to make and useful. Once you get the hang of making them (not difficult) you can alter the dimensions to suit your needs. You can make anything from a small gift bag to a large laundry or stuff bag. I use them for storing bits and bobs round the house, they're great for holidays as toilet bags or to put your undies in.
This bag is lined- I prefer to line bags for several reason: to hide raw edges and seams, to strengthen the bag and to give more shape and body.
You need 2 rectangles of fabric measuring  55cm by 35 cm, your main fabric and the lining fabric. Pin the 2 pieces together along one of the long edges and sew them together with 1.5cm seam allowance. Open the fabric out & with wrong side facing press the seam towards the main fabric.
Fold the fabric in half matching the long edges together (ensure the seam between the two fabrics matches). Pin and mark to allow gaps in the side seam 1/ in the lining ( approx 10cm gap) to allow you turn the bag out 2/ in the main fabric between the top seam about 2.5cm for the drawstring.
 Sew round the edge to form the side and bottom seams- remembering not to sew the gaps! Clip the corners, press the seams open and turn the bag out.
Stitch the opening in the lining side seam closed.
Push the lining into the main body of the bag- press the top seam making sure the lining lies flat within the bag.  To make the casing to hold the drawstring- match lining and main fabric side seams, and on the opposite side of the bags match the side folds in the lining and the main fabric- pin in place.

To make the casing stitch around the top of the bag about 0.5cm from the top, and a second line of stitching 2.5cm from the top.
Using a safety pin pull the drawstring through. Then tie the 2 ends of the string together- you could finish the bag here but I like to put a little fabric pull on the end of the drawstring.
The pull is made from a 10cm square of fabric- fold in half and sew along the long edge- 1cm seam allowance. Press the seam open.
Turn the tube open half way- matching the side seam from a double walled tube.
With a small running stitch sew around the top of the tube ( top= raw edge) then place the tube over the end of the drawstring- raw edge closest to the knot.

 Pull the running stitch tight, and secure the thread.Turn the pull over the knot to cover it. Finish the pull by folding the edge together and place a few stitches in the centre, fold the opposite way and place further stitches to form the bud shape.

I'm very fond of this apple print cotton-  a drawstring bag is a nice way to make something useful from a favourite fabric and it can then be displayed on the back of a door or coat rack ( pretty & functional).
The canvas drawstring bag with its skull and cross bones design was made as laundry bag but would work equally well as a toy bag, and of course is ideal for any voyage your little pirate crew may be embarking on.

So now for the rest of the fabric...