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Thursday 31 January 2013

How to make a Fat Quarter size canvas bag: Venus EcoPunk!

My final VenusMcFlytrap bag • The one an only time a character design comes with a functional bag!!!

A Fat Quarter is a measurement used in quilting at 29" x 18" piece of fabric.

For this project I used my custom pattern Venus Eco Punk printed by Spoonflower in the Heavy Cotton Twill to give a canvas weight to the bag. It just so happens it was the right size fabric print to mimic Venus's bag.

What you will Need
29" x 18" of fabric
Match tread and bobbing
1 yard of Nylon straps that work with you pattern
(I picked pink because cream wasn't an option locally.)

Step 1: Prep your materials.

The 1 yard of nylon strap need to be cut in half so that you have 2 straps for your bag.
Once the straps are cut you need to seal the edge of the straps.

You can do this by lighting a candle and hold the edge of the strap next to (but not into) the flame to heat up and melt the plastic edge. This will seal the edge.

Be careful to not get to close to the flame as the nylon will burn and turn black.
sealed edge and rough edge

You can iron your bag fabric smooth at this point as well on the back side to preserve the pattern.

Step 2:
Pin the right side of the fabric together and have the wrong side facing out. Sew the bottom and one side shut leaving the top open. I'm my case I sewed the stitch line 3/8" inwards from where the pattern ended on the fabric piece.

Once done you can trim the extra fabric off and leave about 1/2 seam allowance

Step 3:
Pin the bottom corners flat to the bottom seam so that you create a triangle shape with the seam in the centre. 

Stitch the line and make sure to take 4 passes (reverse stitch on second and forth pass) at it to reinforce the bottom seam.

Iron the corners flat towards the bottom seam and the bottom seam while your at it flat.

Fold the bag right side out and this is what you should get

Left corner

Bottom of bag.

Step 4:
Ironing the top of the bag by folding the fabric inside the opening to get ready for sewing.
Iron the hem smooth before sewing

Stitch 2 parallel line at the top for strength and finishing.
You can also do a folded/rolled hem to hide the raw edge if you want.

Step 5:
Measure the width of your bag to get an idea of where you want the handle to sit. 

My bag was just shy of a full 14" wide so I measured 3" in on both side and marked with white chalk where to align the strap to.

Pin the strap down in place and repeat on the back side.

Note: You can choice to sew your straps on the inside of the bag to hide them with a matching thread (peach in my case), but I like the look of some of my canvas bag that has it on the outside.

Step 6: Sew the Straps!
I'm going to show you how to reinforced stitch these.Sew the Straps!

Start off by setting your sewing machine to the outside setting instead of Centre setting. The stitch type should be a straight stitch. I find this setting easier to work with as I wanted to get as close the strap perimeter as possible on the fabric body of the bag.

Once this is setting start at the top right corner and sew a box shape, stopping at next corner of each side while the needle is still down inside the fabric and strap then move the fabric it to the next side of the strap for a straight perimeter stitch. Stop once you made one box and have met back up to that top right corner.

At this point remove your pin with the needle still down through you fabric and sew the box shape 2 more time.

Top right Corner start.
Stop at top left corner and swing your fabric.
Stop at bottom left corner and swing your fabric. 
Stop at Bottom right corner and swing your fabric. 

Once your 3 box passes are done and are back at the top right corner, you then need to do a cross stitch inside that box.
At the top Right corner swing your fabric so that it lines up to the bottom left corner in a diagonal.

Stitch the line 6 time using the reverse setting or button to go back up to the top right corner on the second, forth, and sixth pass.

Once that's done swing the fabric again to the top perimeter side and stitch once across to the top left corner.
Top right corner
Across to top Left corner

Now at the top left corner swing the fabric again to line up with the bottom right corner on a diangonal.
Again repeat the 6 stitch pass from the top left corner to the bottom right corner to create that diagonal stitch.

Once done you can take a few more passes along the top perimeter stitch to further reinforce the top stitch. Try to finish at the same top right corner again.
Finish stitch on facing side of bag
Finished stitch on inside of bag showing raw edged hem

Repeat the same Box and X stitching on the next 3 strap ends.

For the extra thread I choose to do a hidden stitch by pull all the thread to the back/inside of the bag lip the bag. Then grabbing the loose thread in a hand needle and pull it through under the fabric  and between the strap from the left top inside corner to the the right top corner.
Once all 4 threads are through then it cut the excess thread sticking out.

And Your Finished!!!

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