15 Aug

Dip-dyed tote bag

dip-dye tote bag 2 jemima schlee dip-dye tote bag 3 jemima schlee

photographs Emma Sekhon

. . . transform a vintage food sack into a unique tote bag – perfect for market shopping or a visit to the beach . . .

You will need:

Vintage food sack

7cm x 84cm medium weight heavy cotton or linen fabric for the bag outer (this includes 16cm which folds in at the top of the bag to meet the lining)

Contrasting hand dye
37cm x 84cm linen or cotton for lining

Making notes

44cm x 84cm firm fabric stiffener

Thread to match your outer fabric colour

Scissors
Sewing machine
Key ring 35mm diameter 71cm brown leather handles Linen sewing thread
Large sewing needle

1

Make a basic ‘sack’ with your cotton outer fabric. Fold your material in half along its longest length. Sew a 1cm hem by machine along one long edge and one shorter edge. There is
no need to finish off the raw edges in any way as the bag is lined. Wash your basic sack without using fabric softener.

Attach the top edge of your sack to the central section of a
broom handle or wooden pole with masking tape or thumb
tacks. Roll it up around the pole smoothly so that if you
balance the pole across a plastic or metal bucket (I used my kitchen sink) the sack hangs down, it’s just above the bottom of the bucket or sink. Prepare your dye following
the manufacturer’s instructions.Lower the sack into the dye
and gently stir it, avoiding splashes onto the main body of
the fabric. Then leave for an hour and finish following the instructions on the packet. You can raise or lower your fabric
by turning the pole, thus affecting the depth of your dyed section  (Teo bags shown in photograph).

dip-dye tote bag 4 jemima schlee

2

Using an iron, flatten the base of your sack and stitch across the two bottom corners at right angles to the body and 7cm measuring along the bottom seam from the point, creating a
flat base and box corners for your bag.

dip-dye tote bag 5 jemima schlee

3

Prepare the lining by folding the lining fabric in half and stitching a 1cm hem along two long edges and one short edge. Repeat step 2 to replicate the box corners of the outer sack. Make
a key ring tab with a scrap of the lining fabric, 8cm x 11cm. Fold it in half along its length and press with an iron. Open
up the fold and fold the two long edges in to meet the centre crease, then fold in half again to encase the raw edges. Tack and machine a few millimetres from the edges along all sides.

Slot the lining (right side out) into the sack (wrong side out) aligning the top edges (the lining is shorter than the sack because the top fold will be along the edge of the stiffener, the outer fabric lining the top 15cm of the bag). Tack 1cm from the top edge. At the same time, take the key ring tab, fold it in half, and position it at the mid-point along one side between the outer and the lining

dip-dye tote bag 7 jemima schlee

4

Machine along the tack line. Leave a 12cm gap on the top edge opposite the key ring tab for turning out.

Turn the bag out and close the gap using slip stitch. Fold the lining and 15cm of the outer to the inside of the bag: this should be along the top edge of the stiffener. Tack along this fold over stitch through all layers 1cm from the top edge. Put the key ring onto its tab.

TIP

I used vintage French pasta sacks found in a car boot sale. If you are fortunate enough to find something similar, adjust your stiffener and lining material quantities to the same dimensions, remembering to allow for 1cm seams and calculate the fold in at the top where the outer meets the lining.

Some fabrics take dye better wet, some dry – try out two small scraps of your fabric first (one wet and one dry) – if the wet fabric ‘draws’ the dye better, quickly soak your fabric and wring out to dye it whilst your dye is still warm.

Resources

Dye: www.dylon.co.uk
Leather handles: www.bags-clasps.co.uk Linen sewing thread: www.coatscrafts.co.uk

 

09 Jan

Soft leather purse

soft leather purse 1 jemima schlee

Microsoft Word - winter 2015 sale images.docx

photographs by Emma Sekhon

…soft leather lined with Liberty Lawn, a great way to use up precious scraps of each…

 

You will need:

15cm x 25cm soft leather 10cm metal zip
13cm x 24cm printed cotton fabric for lining
Thread to match the leather Leather sewing machine needle Sewing machine
Zipper foot
Scissors
Tissue paper
Rotary cutter (or scalpel), cutting mat and steel ruler

1

Trim your leather to a rectangle measuring 13cm x 25cm using the rotary cutter or scalpel. From the scraps, cut a rectangle 2cm x 8cm. Cut your lining fabric to 13cm x 24cm.

soft leather purse 3 jemima schlee

2

Place one short end of the leather right side up on a strip of tissue paper. Position the zip centrally along the short edge and sew by machine using a zipper foot.

soft leather purse 4 jemima schlee

3

Tear the tissue away and, folding the other short end of the leather around to line up with the other side of the zip. With the wrong side out, stitch the zip to the leather, again backing it with tissue to help it move smoothly through the machine. You now have a tube of leather joined by a zip.

soft leather purse j5 emima schlee

4

With the leather ‘tube’ inside out and the zip open, position the lining rectangle right side down over the zip and leather so that the three short edges align. Stitch in place by machine through all layers.

soft leather purse 6 jemima schlee

Take the other short edge of the lining rectangle and align it with the other side of the zip and stitch by machine.

Now pin the folded long edges of the lining fabric, right sides facing, and sew one side from zip end to folded end
by machine. Do the same with the other side, but just half way down from the zip to the fold – this will leave you a gap for turning out. You will end up with what looks like two separate tubes.

Take the small leather rectangle and stitch a couple of millimetres in from either long edge to help it hold its shape. Stitch the full length of the two sides of the leather, from the zip to the fold, inserting the folded leather rectangle in one seam 1.5cm below the zip (make sure you do this with the zip at least half open).

5

Stitch at 90° across the bottom corners of the leather, 2cm from the point.

soft leather purse 7 jemima schlee

Do the same with the bottom corners of the lining.

6

Turn the purse through the gap in the lining so that it is leather side out and use slip stitch to close the gap in the lining seam.

soft leather purse 8 jemima schlee