When I go travelling in the Motorhome, I like to take my craft with me. How to carry my knitting needles? At home they stand up in a cardboard tube but that wouldn’t work in the confined space so Nanny had to get thinking!!
I had a set of placemats so I took one and with some thought, fashioned a knitting needle roll!
I have made my 2 year old grandson a ‘Thomas’ playmat/bag and I intended making his twin sister a tea party playmat/bag but I have not been able to buy a suitable teaset. So back to the drawing board for Nanny!!
I decided on a pretty butterfly bag that opens to reveal crayons and notepad and I know she will just love it – I hope you do too!!
What you need:
fabric for outer and lining (multi-print and butterflies)
fabric for pockets (stripe)
bias binding (I used red and white)
stiffening – (I used shapewell)
plastic (I used plastic bags that my Mum’s curtains came in)
buttons – 4
rick rack – large (about 1.5cms )
snaps (or velcro)
A5 drawing pad – 21cm x 15cm
I drew a butterfly shape that incorporates an A5 size rectangle (21cm x 15 cm) You can get a copy here
Let’s make it!
I decided to use plastic to cover the fabric for the crayons – I didn’t fancy having my hard work immediately marked by crayons!! If you choose to omit the plastic you can skip that section.
From the Main fabric, cut:
2 butterfly shapes with 1/4″ seam allowance added
From the Lining Fabric, cut:
2 butterfly shapes with 1/4″ seam allowance added
From the stripe, cut:
a rectangle 17cm x 21cm (for the crayon pocket)
2 x rectangles 21cm x 15cm plus seam allowance
2 x rectangles7cm x 25cm (for the handles)
From the plastic, cut:
a rectangle 17cm x 21cm
a rectangle 15cm x 21cm
2. From the striped pieces, take the large rectangle and the handles and fold right sides together long ways and stitch around, leaving an opening for turning. Clip corners and turn to the right side. Roll between fingers and thumb and press.
(If you are not using the plastic, you will do this with the other rectangle as well)
5. You will now have to sew the lines to divide the crayons – about 3.5 – 4cm apart.
( I chose to put strips of tape where I wanted to sew – it just peels away when you are done.)
6. Place the crayon holder onto the other sheet of plastic, with all edges meeting along the bottom.
(This is the time to check that it fits in the prescribed place on the butterfly – trim if needed )
Take the bias binding and press it in half and then pin it down the sides. Stitch and trim.
Do the same along the top and bottom folding the ends in to finish. Stitch and trim. Don’t worry if this doesn’t look perfect – that’s what the buttons are for!!
7. Take your rule and align the pocket onto the right side of the butterfly fabric
8. Starting at the top, sew down a short side, along the bottom and up the other side – starting and finishing with reverse overstitching. This forms a pocket behind the crayons.
9. Using a strong thread (I used embroidery thread) sew the buttons over the corners.
That’s all the pieces made so let’s put them together!
10. Take one of the handles and one of the outside butterfly shapes. Measuring from the centre top of your butterfly shape, pin the handle so its outer edge is 3.5″ from the centre – pin and do the same on the other side taking care not to twist your handle. (Sorry for the change in tape – 9cm)
11. Put the outer and inner shape right sides together and pin. Repeat for the other outer, inner and handle.
12. Sew and trim around the outside of the shape, leaving all of the bottom of the butterfly open, Trim and clip the curves. (if you need a reminder you can see how to clip the curves here)
Turn to the right side
13. Take bias binding, fold in half and press, then pin and sew around the central curve at the bottom of the butterfly. Do this on both sides.
14. Take bias strip and pin the edges of the shapes, butted together. Fold the bias over to cover the inside as well, fold to finish ends. Stitch. Repeat on the other wing.
Once again, I am not too concerned with the finish as it will be covered by the rick rack.
15. This is a little fiddly but worth the effort! Take the rick rack and tack to hold on both sides and then stitch. By tacking, you will ensure that it is attached on both the outside and inside with the one row of stitching.
(I stitched on the inside of the bag, with just the peaks of the rick rack showing. This enabled me to overstitch the inside of the bag while attaching the rick rack to the outside. )
17. Attach snaps (or velcro) to the top of the wings.
Time to add the crayons and pad!! My pad is not quite A5 size but it was all Poppy could find when he went shopping…..
I hope you enjoy this as much as I have – I love the way it turned out!! Could I just ask that if you make one, that you post a photo for us to see? (There is now a button up on the right Care2Share – if you click on that it will take you to Flickr where you will be able to upload your photo – thanks heaps)
Until next time
I’ve seen so many new sewers on-line worry about patterns – remember they are just another tool!!
So, I thought I would invite you to come along with me and I will show you how I went about making the bag – without a pattern.
Now we need to trim our curves!! (and no exercise or diet required!!!)
When you sew a curved seam you need to do one of the following to ensure that your seam ‘sits right’.
For an outer curve like we have just done, you need to snip little triangles from the seam allowance . I have done it on the paper so you can see what I mean. Be careful not to snip through the stitching but don’t worry if you do – just go and sew again in a little more.
If, on the other hand, you sew an inner curve, you snip into the stitching as I have shown on the paper.
Turn the outer bag to the right side and ‘roll’ the seam between your fingers and thumbs to get the nice round shape.
Oh my goodness!! where is the moisturiser?????? :/
I then pressed the seams ‘open’ (just to make it easier to join)
Then we simply slide the inner bag (wrong side out) into the outer bag (right side out)
Then, taking care to match the side seams, pin the two together
Put that aside now while we cut the top border and the handle.
Take the other half of the A4 sheet of paper and fold it in half lengthways so you have a long strip. Cut along the crease. Take one piece and fold it in half, then in half again, and again. Open it up and you have 8 segments. Cut it off at 5 – so you have a piece 5 long and one 3 long. Screw the 3 one up and trash it! Keep the other long piece till later.
With the 5 piece you are going to use it to cut 2 pieces for the band. Fold your fabric so that the short end of the paper is on the fold and cut – do this 2 times. If you only have a short piece of fabric, of course you can cut 4 pieces – just remember to leave a seam allowance on both ends. See how understanding and forgiving this sewing stuff is!!!!
Take a strip and, with right sides together, stitch to join so that it now forms a circle. Now do the same with the other strip. Press the seams open.
(If you have 4 pieces you are going to join 2, right sides together at both ends!!)
Using the seam as one side seam, press your band to crease the other end. Now put the crease and the seam together and press both ends to crease. You have now divided it into 4. You can mark the edge of the creases with a pencil or cut a small slit to mark it.
Do the same with your bag.
We do this so that when we gather the bag to fit the band, we will have an even spread of gathers!
So let’s keep working…..
Take your bag that you have pinned together and use a gathering stitch (the largest stitch), sew around the bag – be careful of the pins (you can sew right over them if you pin them like I have – just go carefully till you see how it goes) and stop short of where you started – don’t oversew. Don’t start or end with a double stitch and don’t cut the threads off short.
Now do another row the same about 3mm away from the first (no-one’s watching so you don’t have to measure!!).
Take a thread from each row at the starting point and tie them together – you don’t need to remember your Girl Guide knots – just so they are secured.
From the end of both rows,take a thread (make sure you get both top threads OR both bobbin threads or they will lock) and pull them while sliding the fabric to form gathers with your other hand – carefully!
(If you don’t know your own strength and happen to break a thread, don’t panic! Just pull it out – it’s easy with such a big stitch. Then resew and tie off)
Take one of your border pieces and starting with matching the side seams, right side to right side, pin at each side and at the halfway slits/marks. Now ease the gathers to fit.
Sew around the top – careful with the pins ( but now you know to just sew on over them 😉 Press the border up away from the bag.
Now with your last piece of paper, cut a piece of fabric at about 3 times that length (no-one is watching so it doesn’t matter if its a bit shorter or longer!!)- if you have to join, take care to match the design, especially if you have used stripes!!
Take a piece of string/cord and lay it along the strip on the right side. Fold the strip in half , and with the cord in the middle, stitch along the short end and then down the long end, making sure that you catch the cord in the short end.
Now pull the string through to turn the strip right side out. Snip the cord off. Roll between your fingers and press.
Cut a piece of plastic tubing the length of your strip of paper. Thread it into the tube and gather it on. Stitch across each end to secure it to the plastic – do this carefully!!!!
Now pin the handle to each of the side seams and take the other border piece and pin, matching the slits/marks and seams. Sew carefully over the plastic and right around the bag.
Turn the border to the inside, roll seam between your fingers and press. Pin the edge and top stitch around.(top stitch is where we stitch fairly close to the edge about 2 or 3 mm)
I hope you enjoyed making this little bag with me and that it encourages you to ‘have a go’ more with your own sewing. It is meant to be fun so enjoy!!!
I would love your comments and if you make a bag, please send a photo to share! You might even like to tell me what you would like to do next………
Until next time