Sewalong – Shoulderbag

Month 5 in the Zo geknipt sewalong, and project 12 to sew: a medium-sized shoulder bag. Good timing, since my own handbag had given up on me, and I’ve been using hubby’s man bag for over a month now.

Zijzaak

I’d carefully chosen the fabric for this bag: I was going to go for the golden autumn fabric I had, and use black cotton as contrast colour. I could already see the result right in front of me.

autumnAlas, turned out the fabric wasn’t wide enough. Actually, it turned out that the greater part of all the fabric I have lying around wasn’t wide enough.

Fortunately, the pile of fabric that my cousin gave me had the answer: a piece of reddish pink denim. Also a nice match for the black cotton.

Since the fabric was just the one plain colour, it looked rather dull. So I decided to add some spice, and I cut out a frame.

Zijzaak

Then, I added part of the lining to the frame.

Zijzaak

To avoid that my bag would become the usual trash bag in which I have to dig deeply to find what I need, I thought long and hard about how I could organise all the junk I tend to carry around.

Zijzaak

On the one side, I added a double-welt pocket with zipper, following my own guidelines.

Zijzaak

For the other side, I took a strip of fabric, and carefully placed it around my stuff.

Zijzaak

Then I stitched through, and as such I created room for pens, ears and lip balm.

Zijzaak

On the sides, I added a pocket for my phone, and a ribbon for my keys.

Zijzaak

The outer pockets have the ideal size to hold my train pass. To make sure I wouldn’t lose said train pass, I added kamsnaps.

Zijzaak

To toughen up the bottom, I cut a piece from a placemat, as explained in the book. That left me with 2/3 placemat. So I used that to make a bag organizer. I cut the remaining piece in 3 pieces, wrapped them in fabric, and sewed some extra pockets on.

ZijzaakZijzaak

Not as sturdy as I would want it to be, since the placemat is very flexible, but it does help to divide the bag up in compartments, making the whole content more organised.

Zijzaak

Zijzaak

It took a while before I had assembled the whole thing, mainly because I added so many extras. But I am very happy with the result!

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And one more thing: while I was playing around with the bag to get the pictures right, I accidentally shot some pics from myself? A self portret from a goofy angle, I cannot not share it 🙂

Zijzaak

Used materials

Reusable bag

At the end of last year, the sewing book Zo geknipt 2 was published. And as with the first book, a sew along for the second book was organised. And I’m participating again. My first contribution: not one, but two reusable bags.

Zo geknipt - Herbruikbare tas

For this project, I recycled a hand-me-down Beatles t-shirt from my hubby. Therefore, the measurements are slightly smaller than what the pattern dictates, since I needed enough t-shirt to make 1 bag.

Zo geknipt - Herbruikbare tas

For lining, I wanted to use some leftover yellow cotton that would match nicely with the Yellow Submarines. Unfortunately, I did not have enough yellow fabric left. So I divided both sides in two, used the yellow fabric for the top, and added some old curtain fabric at the bottom. This way, you can only see the yellow at the top, and the curtain fabric can only be seen by those who stick their noses in my business bag.

Zo geknipt - Herbruikbare tas

The triangle is bigger than what the pattern states. It measures 15 by 15, as was advised by other people participating in the sewalong. To make the triangle stand out a bit more, I reused the original t-shirt label, and I finished the edge with a decorative stitch.

Zo geknipt - Herbruikbare tas

I used the same decorative stitch for the handles and the upper edge as well.

Zo geknipt - Herbruikbare tas

Except for this Beatle bag, I also sewed a gnome version. This way, my little boy can carry some groceries when he comes along shopping.

Zo geknipt - Herbruikbare tas

On the outside, I used Stenzo fabric with a gnome print (well, mushrooms actually, but it always makes me think of gnomes). For the inside, I had no other choice than to use red fabric with white polka dots.

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The measurements for this smaller bag are 42 high, 31 wide and 12 by 12 for the folding triangle. I made the handle slightly smaller as well, by removing 2 centimeter from the middle. And for this bag too, I used a decorative stitch to finish it all.

Zo geknipt - Herbruikbare tas

Zo geknipt - Herbruikbare tas

Now both my guys can go grocery hunting together.

Zo geknipt - Herbruikbare tas

My tips for this project:

  • Iron the seams flat after you’ve sewed the roll, and before turning the roll inside out. It will help to get the fabric in place.
  • Edge stitch the triangle, the handle and the top edge. It will help to keep the fabric in place.

Nap(py) time

Even before our son was born, my hubby and I had already decided we’d use reusable nappies. To work on our environmental footprint. And I must say, it’s going pretty well.

People often ask me about the amount of work that comes with it. To be honest, it’s not that much extra work. I have more laundry to get through, that’s true. But all in all, that’s just pushing Start, isn’t it? It does require some organising. I do have to keep an eye on how many nappies I have left. But isn’t that just the same for disposable nappies? You have to make sure to buy new ones in time, right?
Our day care was willing to use our nappies as well. So every morning when I drop off my son, I drop off a bag of nappies as well. And I pick both of them – slightly dirtier – up again in the evening.

A bag of nappies could be stylish as well, I thought to myself. I got (p)inspired by Hilde’s duffel bag and used saltwater-kids’ tutorial to make one myself. Easy peasy.
Nappy bag / Luiertas
My first idea was to keep it retro and make a duffel bag in classic royal blue. But in my fabric stash I found an old curtain I got from an aunt, and it had these cute drawings.
Nappy bag / Luiertas
Father and son, out and about together.
Nappy bag / Luiertas
And father and son saying goodbye to each other.
Nappy bag / Luiertas
Cute, isn’t it?
And then – way too late, since I had nearly finished this bag – I decided I really wanted to add a lining. Not because the bag needed it. But because I wanted to add a pocket with a zipper.
Nappy bag / Luiertas
I mean, my little guy needs a place to put his keys, doesn’t he?
Nappy bag / Luiertas
How about you? Do you have any experience with reusable nappies?
Nappy bag / Luiertas
Materials used

Edward bag

My friend Karmen threw a big birthday party at the beginning of October, together with some friends. Theme of the party: twilight. Her favourite: Edward Cullen. So I thought I’d knit her something up. My thoughts immediately went to the Poster boy pattern, which you can find in Debbie Stoller’s Stitch ‘n Bitch nation. And which better way to go than to have Karmen’s beau Edward on it. So I started my quest: a nice picture of Edward with the correct size and which could easily be changed into a black and white picture, while remaining recognizable. Easier said than done.

Getting the picture right
I spent hours searching google images to find a picture I wanted to use. I tried more than one. And the worse part is, I was so focused on trying to get it all right, that I don’t even remember which websites I used… Then the thing took me several more hours to get the black and white right. The book says to alter the picture in Photoshop. That’s all great if you have a license and all that, but a bit expensive if you just want to use it once. So I downloaded GIMP instead. Freeware, and it allowed me to do the thing I needed to do for this project. Simply put, you just need to carry out the following steps:

  1. To remove the colours from the picture, choose Image > Mode > Grayscale.
  2. To get the grayscale to black and white, choose Colors > Curves. In the Curves dialog box, you’ll see a diagonal line. You need to bend this line twice, so it looks more like an S. You just need to click the line somewhere and then drag it up or down, so it looks somewhat like this:

    You will have to play around with it for a while to get it right, but if you select the Preview check box, you will see the image change as you are bending the S. This will help you get the hang of it soon enough.

  3. For the perfectionists among you, you can then still change the colour and contrast of the image. To do so, choose Colors > Brightness-Contrast.In the Brightness-Contrast dialog box, move the sliders. If you have selected the Preview check box, you’ll once again see what effect your changes will have. Once again, you’ll have to play around to find out what’s best.

Now, once you have gotten the image right, you still don’t have a knitting pattern of course. To get this, I stopped fooling around in GIMP, but used Microrevolt’s KnitPro instead. Upload your picture, click Submit and there it is, a perfect pdf.

The knitty gritty
So I finally got everything ready and started knitting the bag somewhere end of August. Piece of cake, I thought, it’s just a tube. OK, some fair isle work as well, but I had done that before, and face it, fair isle is nothing more than keeping count. Of course, you also need to find the time to actually knit. And that is where my biggest problem was. In the end, I finished it by the end of October. The different parts that is, I still needed to get the pieces together then. In the end, I told Karmen about a week before we were getting together that I would have a present for her. Quite the motivation!

So, here it is:

Edward bag

Edward bag

I was a bit afraid at first that it would look all lumpy. I had misread the end of the pattern, and I had cut off the yarn I need for the image and then knit some extra rows just in black. But no more fair isle means that there’s also no strain left, and suddenly the top of the bag was a lot more elastic. This in turn made it wider at the top. Luckily, it needed a lining as well, and I was able to solve this problem.

Lining it

Getting the lining done was fairly easy. I measured the width and height of the bag, got some leftover fabric and sewed it together. I got some little side pockets in as well, because I like those myself.

Edward bag

I worried a bit that the bag would be rather small and that only a magazine would fit. But in the end, I could fit both New Moon and Eclipse in there. So not only did Karmen finally get an Edward present, she also got her books back.

Now, does anybody know whether or not I am allowed to make the Edward pattern available online? Are copyrights involved here, or not? I have three different patterns, and after all the time I spent working on them, I would love to share them, so other people can enjoy them as well.

Update on 13 March 2011: I’ve finally uploaded the Edward pattern pdf.

Granny’s no square hand bag

A girl can never have enough bags. Nor shoes, for that matter, but that’s a different story.
Feeling crochety, I thought I’d make myself one. Pattern of choice: Debbie Stoller‘s Granny no square handbag. Basically, you just need to crochet a number of so-called granny squares. I used the pattern described in Debbie’s book, but it goes without saying that you can use just any pattern, as long as they are squares. You can make as many squares as you want to get the bag as large or as small as you want. I did just what the book prescribed and made twelve of them.
Once you have all the squares, you only need to crochet them together. Inside out, it then looks something like this:

crochet bag

That’s the less fun part of granny squares, a lot of loose thread that needs to be tucked in. It takes a while and can get rather tiresome, but once this is done, the only thing that’s left to do is the shoulder strap. And that goes really fast.
To decorate the squares, Debbie advises to get some rivets. Not knowing what rivets were exactly, I asked the shop lady for them. Unfortunately, the only rivets she had were with holes in them, like the ones that are used in belts. And having holes in my bag, no matter how small, is not exactly something I wanted. So instead, I used the upper half of press on buttons. And now it looks like this:

crochet bagcrochet bag
The crochet part is now finished. Now I still want to make a lining for it. Something that just went on the to do list.

crochet bag