How to make a pack a bag

Earlier this year, I was asked if I would like to do a blog post for a new website, Seams and Scissors.  I came up with this packable bag idea, and it was featured in early September.  I thought it was high time it also made an appearance on my own blog.

The idea for my pack away bag came from a really useful bag I was given as a present a few years ago, and I finally got around to trying to replicate it.  It is surprisingly easy, and and doesn’t require masses of equipment. These fold away bags are small enough to bung in your handbag, and very useful when I go to visit my family in Wales (where you have to pay for plastic bags). cocojude pack a bag tutorialIngredients

  • Cotton fabric (a nice, thick good quality one is recommended. I did try version one with thin cotton, and it was a bit of a nightmare. My bag is made from some very retro curtain fabric)
  • Cotton thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Sharp scissors for cutting fabric

Recipe

To make the main body of the bag

  1. Measure and cut a piece of fabric to 44cm by 70cm.
  2. Hem the top edge, fold in half width ways and sew around the bottom and open side. Zig zag the edges for a tidy finish. bag finished edge
  3. To make the straps, cut out two strips of fabric, each measuring 60cm by 9cm.
  4. Fold in half length ways, right sides together, and sew down the length. Turn the right way out and iron flat.
  5. Turn the bag inside out, and sew the straps securely into place, by sewing backwards and forwards a few times.  Make sure they are evenly spaced! sew strap into place

To make the mini pack bag

  1. Cut out two rectangles of fabric – one measuring 13cm by 16cm, and the other one 13cm by 22cm. Hem the top edge of both rectangles. pinned mini bag
  2. Lay the bigger rectangle right side up on your workspace. Fold the hemmed edge to make a 5cm flap.  mini bag ready to sew
  3. Right sides together, lay the smaller rectangle on top. 
  4. Pin everything into place and then sew around both edges and the bottom. Zig zag the edges for neatness. finished mini bag

Assembling the pack a bag

  1. Turn both the big bag and the mini bag inside out. Stitch the bottom of mini bag to the bottom of the big bag. sew mini bag into place
  2. Ta da! Your bag is now finished! To pack it away, all you need to do is stuff the big bag into the mini pack bag. completed bag
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Map picture artwork

Personally, I love maps.  I studied geography at university, which probably has something to do with it. I made this at the start of the year as a present for one of my sisters friends, but it took a while to get to her!framed map heartsWhile browsing in a posh shop, my sister saw a map picture she liked. However, it was nearly £40, so she asked me to make one as a present for her best friend (who I know also has a soft spot for geography). Now her friend is Irish, so the first step was to rip out the Irish map pages from my mums road atlas (sorry mum!) and pick out some meaningful locations. My mum has since got horribly lost when driving as a direct result of some other key pages becoming loose and falling out. I then got my husband to buy a Ribba frame from Ikea on his way back to Brighton.

I did think about buying a heart shape punch, but in the end decided to make origami hearts.  I used instructions from Origami Club which I found on Pinterest. origami instructions

I did a sample origami heart first, and marked on it the sections of paper which form the top of the heart. I had to jiggle around the template to make sure the requested locations were visible on the origami hearts.

I then had a think about backgrounds. I could have stuck with white (boring) but then I tried using the map as the background instead. One of the hearts was more sea than land, so it looked fine on a map background, and the other heart was more land, so I manoeuvred the background around so it was on mostly sea. I then glued it down with a few dabs of mod podge and left it to dry. Check out the finished frame below. I’m pretty pleased with it! 

My friend (also a geographer) pinned this link to lots a map crafts – enjoy 🙂

Drift wood craft

I love beachcombing (also skip diving and scanning the streets in Brighton, where people often leave stuff on the pavement to give away – anything for freebies!) Unfortunately, not much exciting gets washed up in Brighton. So every time I go home to Wales, I try and get some beachcombing in. Last time, I got some great pieces of drift wood which I have used to decorate our living room shelves, as well to build a small decorative woodpile in our (broken) fireplace.

Anyway, I thought I would share this link, as it is by far one of my most pinned pins. There are some really good ideas in there – I would love to make one of the Christmas Trees, but there is not really enough room in my house to store it!

drift wood craft

Fabric and denim flower tutorial

A couple of birthdays ago, my friend gave me a lovely bag which has this tweedy flower charm on it. She always said she thought it was something I would make myself, and I have finally got round to it. tweed fabric flowerIt took a bit of poking around the work out the design, and I ended up doing something slightly different, as I found it was a bit bulky otherwise. My version is below – made from denim and cotton fabric, and accessorised with a button (of course!) The denim came from a favourite old pair of jeans which had ripped because they were so worn. I chopped off the legs, so may still use them for something else.completed fabric and denim flowerIngredients

  • Cotton fabric
  • Denim fabric (tweed which doesn’t fray too much would also work well)
  • Circle template
  • Cotton and needle
  • 6 inches of denim seam offcut or sturdy twill ribbon
  • Keyring
  • Button

Recipe

  1. Using your circular template, cut out 5 denim circles and 4 fabric circles. The 5th denim circle is the back.fabric flower circle template
  2. Match each denim circle with a fabric one, with right sides facing outwards.
  3. Start folding your petals! Fold the circle in half and then in half again, as shown below. Do this until you have 4 petals.how to fold fabric flowerhow to fold fabric flower 2
  4. For the keyring hanger, I used cut off from the leg seam of a pair of jeans, but some sturdy twill ribbon would work just as well. Sew it firmly in place into the centre of the spare denim circle. sewing the back onto fabric flower
  5. Next, arrange your petals onto the backing circle, as shown below. Sew each point firmly firmly into place, and if needed, make strategic stitches elsewhere to get the petals to sit straight. arranging fabric flower
  6. The final step is to sew a button in the centre of the petals. Again, make sure it is sewn securely.

Although I made this as a keyring for my garage keys, it also looks nice as a bag charm (especially if you match your fabrics well). denim and cotton fabric flower