Today I’m introducing the fabulous OriginalStitch who have a beautiful and simple bag tutorial plus a delicious giveaway. They’re utter geniuses (genii?) who make and sell beautiful fabric products from second hand and recycled items. They’re really hot on sustainability and having a low carbon footprint. Not only do they sell their own products they also have patterns available, so you can make gorgeous items at home with your thrifted and vintage finds, if I can get my sewing machine to work again I’m thinking of trying out the pencil rolls for my nieces. If you fancy treating yourself enter the code ‘Thrifty’ at the till for a 10% discount.This is a really beautiful tutorial and I look forward to seeing some of you giving it a go. Enjoy!
We are soooo all about recycled fabrics here at OriginalStitch but we have a few rules about using ‘em, so that our stitchers don’t spent 47 years on one product and earn 0.02p for their love and hard work. So when A Thrifty Mrs asked me to do a thrifty refashioning tutorial it was a chance for us to step outside our box a bit and do something we’re not normally allowed to do. Whoop whoop! Evil laughter and over-excitement, yes? This gorgeous bag should cost you mere small poundage, or nothing at all if you use scarves you have at home, or steal some from your mum. It’s lined, would you believe, it’s reversible, it has adjustable handles, and it’s so quick and easy to make you could have loads to match all yer outfits, you fashionable young thing, you.
Now silk scarves are several things.
a) Rather slippery and tricky to cut and sew – so we don’t ordinarily use them in our stuff! But for you lot – they are also….
b) Gorgeous and silky and oooh
c) Numerous – I found millions in the charity shops
d) Fantastically vintage! I mean, seriously, there are some amazing ones…put it this way, I bought rather more than I needed. Ahem. I’m thinking I’m going to be making these as Christmas presents.
So first things first, grab some pennies, hotfoot it down to your nearest gaggle of charity shops and rummage for silk scarves.
You are looking for:
1 Square scarf – size doesn’t matter
2 One long rectangular scarf – size doesn’t matter
You’ll also need:
Some scissors, a safety pin, sewing machine/needle and thread (bright, contrasting colour), pins.
Here’s the fortune-teller bit. Coz I’m sad to say, this bag won’t actually tell your fortune, but the first thing we do is some folding, like those little things we all used to make at school where you flippetty flapped your fingers in this paper thing, and made people choose a number, then a colour and then told them Rishi or Keith want to kiss them or Robert wanted to go out with them. (That may just have been my class, that last bit). Is it just me or did you ever even know they had a name? I didn’t. Only discovered this name recently, so have stolen it for this bag. Sounds kinda mystical, dudn’t it…
Anyhoo – place your SQUARE scarf right side down on your work surface, and fold each corner into the middle, like so:
Measure and place a pin approximately 2 inches in from each corner – this is where you’ll start sewing. This will leave a hole where you will be threading through your long scarf.Now you’re going to pin this all down, like in Fig 2 – ready to stitch.
We always use a sewing machine here at OriginalStitch, but you can just as easily hand-sew this. If machine-sewing use a really wide zigzag stitch setting, but medium length – that way you take in both edges of the fortune-teller folds. If you’re a handstitcher and you’re pretty good – you can do some fancy embroidery stitch here if you want to go off-piste; otherwise stick with zigzag stitch – it looks great. It’s our total favourite. If you’re using a machine, switch your stitch length to zero at the beginning and end of stitching, so that you are stitching several times in the same place – this will help lock the thread. Now stitch all along the fortune-teller folds so they’re stitched down good and proper.Remember to start where your 2 inch pin-marker is, leaving the opening free of stitching. At this point you can see why I suggest a contrasting thread – because it’s pretty tricky working with one that’s the same. At OriginalStitch, whenever I make something I literally use whatever colour’s in the machine. Which in this case, whooda thunk it, was the same colour. Tie off all loose threads well, so that your stitching doesn’t come undone. I had to very professionally switch half-way through this project to a zingy lime so you can actually see what the devil on seven horses I’m trying to show you. Ahem. Sorry.
Take your long scarf, and cut in half, to make your two handles. (If your scarf is rather short, you could cut it lengthways, so you have narrow but still long handles.) Now attach a safety pin to the end of one of your long scarves, and pick up one of your ‘open’ corners.Pass the safety pin inside the opening, and feeling for it through the scarf, push all the way to the next corner (not a diagonal one). Now pull out and tie your two ends in a double knot. Now repeat on the other side of the square scarf with the remaining long scarf.
See already how the silk ruches beautifully when you pull the handle tight? Isn’t that lovely? Now you’re going to stitch the sides of the bag. Find each corner, and if you like, mark it with a pin, as shown here. Now pick up opposite corners (make sure you have the correct corners – you want to have one corner from each ‘Handle’ as in this simplified diagram. Fold the bottom corner up to the top corner, and pin along these two sides. Use lots of pins – it’s very slippery stuff! Now you are simply going to topstitch from the beginning of the Handle opening, all the way down the side. Then repeat on the other side…et voila – you have a bag! Now in theory, you can give a sigh of pleasure and say, job done, because that’s a bag ain’t it? And you know what, it’s even reversible! A lined, reversible evening bag with adjustable handles. Gorgeous. Or…if you’d like a really professional finish you can add some shape to your bag by creating ‘boxy’ sides.
Arrange it so the corners are all flattened out, as in , and place pins as shown, approximately 2 inches in from the corner. Now, simply stitch from pin to pin so you are making a triangle (use straight stitch this time, not zigzag) as in Fig 6b. You can then trim this corner if you want, but I didn’t – I quite like the feel of it inside the bag! Turn the bag the other way out, and give it a good shimmy inside to add a bit of body. Adjust your handles any way you like – you can tie huge bows or small bows or have knots.