Thursday, October 22, 2009

Over the Shoulder: My Take on a Market Bag

I am a sucker for the craft magazines at most fabric stores. Recently I fell head over heels for a Better Homes and Gardens "Bags, Pillows & Pincushions issues. All the projects are insanely easy and I have to say I've enjoyed one in particular -- the market bag. There were a few things I had to change, of course. But the basic directions were easy to sew and made a tote that is roomy enough for a day out with the kids. It's also a great stash basher and I feel I could modify it to use more of these scraps. This time around, however, I used scraps from this project.

If you can come up with 24, 5" squares and a little bit of fabric for the sides, handles, and inside... you should do it, too. If you do it, take my advice... make some of the following changes:

1. Don't pleat the lining. The pattern calls for the lining to have a pleat (just as is done on the outside). This makes for a very bulky lump in the middle of the bag. So, when you cut your lining, just eyeball a top that is 1 1/2" narrower than the original (that's 3/4" on each side). You'll be much happier.

2. Try using twill tape in the handles for support (rather than batting). I can already tell these will be a little stretchy for heavy loads. Looks nice all quilted, but I think I like non-stretchy, sturdy innards for my handles. (And yes, I'm the type of gal that uses innards in conversation.)

3. To stiffen the pleats and ensure they will stay where you want them, go ahead and stitch them in place. I did this by stitching where it was folded (on the inside) and hidden inside the pleat. I only stitched about 2 inches down from the top, but it did help keep the pleat crisp. You could further this technique/look by stitching down the pleat with a nice contrasting thread and making it much the same way you would a kick pleat in a skirt -- which for the record I have never done.

4. Lastly, add pockets to your interior before sewing it in. The pattern doesn't call for any. But every good tote needs a pocket, even if it is a simple patch pocket.

If you do decide to make this bag, I have a few 5" squares I'd be happy to donate to the cause, just let me know -- Via comment -- and I'll ship them off. Of course, you have to promise to send pictures of your finished tote.
PS -- When I showed this to my husband he said, "Oh, very nice. Is it a Halloween purse?" Men!


African Kelli said...

Look at all of the great bags you are whipping up! LOVE the colors in this one and the quilting. Nice work!

Glenda said...

So, if it is a Halloween purse are you going to take it trick or would certainly hold a lot of GOODIES...Seriously, I love it. Orange and polka dots, nothing could be more cheery.

SunnyInspiration said...

Very nice bag! Love the fall color scheme too.