Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Recycled Tapestry Bags Galore... and a tutorial. Of sorts.

Alrighty. I have completed not just one tapestry bags but TWO!

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a glimpse of the journey I undertook. This might not be 'the' way to make a bag, but it's my way.

1. Play about with your tapestries until you have a layout that pleases the eye. This may take several days.

Ignore any funny looks you may get from your family during this procedure.

I personally like having the plain background pieces next to the busy background pieces.

2. Press them flat under a damp tea towel, fuse some fusible interfacing on the back (I think this might add strength to the flimsier bits and also hold it together better when you start cutting.)

3. It's unlikely that your pieces will be square. Square them up with a try square from your toolbox.

4. Do not use marker pen to do this as you'll get marker pen on the ironing board. Oops.

5. Zig zag those raw edges. Twice. Because you don't want the whole thing to unravel.

6. For the next piece, repeat the steps above and make it the same height as the first then pin them, right sides together...

This is really just a gratuitous shot of my fingernails as I've been growing them and for the first time in 27 years I have hands like a laydee!

7. That makes it sound like I'm 27 years old. I'm slightly older than that. Stitch together with a generous 2cm seam allowance and press seam open...

Yes it does look wonky.

Better from the front thankfully.

8. Carry on with your next row pressing the seams open. If you offset the joins it will stop the back getting bulky and will run through your machine better when you join your rows.

9. Join your rows. Press seams open.

10. Check for squareness again. Mine needed re squaring for some reason. If you chop bits off, zig zag your edges again. You can add a strip of the bag backing on to the top if you need to, to give you a decent fold over so you're not losing too much of the design.

11. Ignore the voices in your head, nagging you about the ironing pile that needs doing. Don't stop. If you stop you'll NEVER pick it up again. This is a scientifically proven fact. Stop taking photos of your work to save time. Who needs to see a photo of a seam pressed open anyway?

12. Cut a back piece the same size as the front. Zig zag edges, place right sides together and stitch 3 sides together leaving the top open. Clip corners and zig zag over them. You can also add a gusset at this point if you have nothing better to do or like a roomy bag.

13. Turn inside out and fold in top hem. Stitch this down.

14. Add your handles.


And the other one? I took off the handle to use on the bag above and found a leather belt in a charity shop to use as a handle. My local independent and quite attractive cobbler riveted it on for me and I left the ends of the belt on for added quirkiness. That jangly buckle is going to drive me insane though...

Do come back in a year or so when I'll be finally attempting to LINE the bags. I have now earned a much needed break from sewing and I have to tackle the ironing.

I shall be taking my bag to Kirsties Handmade Fair this weekend where I will no doubt be mobbed by women wanting to stroke it. It's very tactile.
Kirstie will want to commission one and I will tell her I did all the tapestries myself and charge her hundreds of pounds. In spite of this we'll become best friends. We'll go to Magaluf together where we'll get up to all kinds of mischief.

So I'll let you know how I get on with that. 

Linking with...

 Savvy Southern Style


  1. I love the way you FINISH stuff (so alien to me ...). I confess, I didn't understand most of this post, no idea what 'off setting' joints or 'ironing' means but gusset gave me a schoolboy giggle and your nails look FAB! Love that fact that you left the belt intact, I think it makes the bag even if it does drive you nuts. xx

    1. Thanks Sarah, my family did actually starve on Sunday with no one to make their tea but I think it was all worth it. Gusset is a rude word to me too! Glad I'm not the only one!

  2. Haha, love your commentary and love the bags. I can't even say the 'g' word!
    M x

  3. I love the recycled belt handle, it finishes it off a treat! You're on a roll. Good to have an attractive cobbler on hand to assist! xxx

    1. I may have to think of other things I need rivetting. xxx

    2. That actually sounds really smutty. I didn't think that sentance through...

  4. They look bloody marvellous. You are a stitching goddess and I cannot WAIT to hear all about Magaluf. Could you perhaps tie the belt buckle shut with a sneaky piece of thread, so you're marginally less jangly? xxx P.S. Lining schmining; finishing stuff properly is overrated

    1. Genius! You are the jangly buckles nemesis.
      I bought some lining today which was a good effort I thought. xxx

  5. Have you ever tried woven cotton fusible interfacing? I love it for projects like this and think it's better than the usual stuff. You can get it cheap at Fabricland. I only discovered it a year or so ago and now keep a stash in my drawer.

    1. Ooh no, never heard of it. Sounds great as I melted the polyester sort all over the iron. I never know if you're meant to do it dry or through a damp tea towel so I try both. Then it all goes wrong. I don't let it stop me from doing tutorials though. I think it's inspiring when you read a tutorial and think, ''Phhtt, I could do so much better!''

  6. Looks stupendous Emma Kate - what a good way to use needlepoint. Seriously impressed. I think you are on to winner there. Completely reloved and recycled - like the belt and buckle strap.



  7. Loving your bags especially the cows there gorgeous :-) Have a great time at the show this weekend, dee xx

  8. Bloody gorgeous, you clever old (more than twenty seven) stick. Having trouble imagining Kirstie in Shagaluf though!

  9. Hiya, I came across your blog today whilst googling, as you do. At the risk of sounding a bit stalkerish I've just read the past couple of years' posts (well it is Sunday) and notice that Fiona Made in a Muddle is one if your followers, she's one of my followers too - Hi Fiona :) Love your kitchen and your dining room and your daughters rooms, hell I even looked up hand mitre saws on Amazon !
    Anyway, looking forward to more posts xxx

    1. Welcome Jill! So thrilled to hear you're excited by mitre saws. You are SO in the right place.
      I had a look at your blog and all the beautiful things you make. I love textiles but rarely get to dabble unless I get completely obsessed by something. xxx

    2. Thanks for the return visit :) Hope to see you over at Emerald Cottage soon :)

  10. You are so bloomin clever! This is amazing!x


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