Bag For Shuttles And Pick-Up Sticks
I go to the Inkle weaver’s group almost every Friday, at Yarnworks Yarn shop. There are two ladies who have these “wonky” bags they tote around with them. I have no idea what they carry in theirs, but I think they use them as purses. They’re wonky because they’re essentially a tube from a rectangle with a zipper and the ends are sewn shut in opposing directions. The lovely thing about this is they sit up nice and don’t roll over or flop out of shape. I decided I had to have one. I know they have a pattern to make the bag, but I didn’t want to copy the pattern or buy one. Additionally, I wanted to tailor the bag to fit all my shuttles and weaving tools to weave narrow bands on the Inkle and with tablets. I measured my tools and knew it had to hold something at least 12″ long and wide enough for a hand-full of wooden tools and maybe a mini cone of Perle Cotton. After measuring, I knew I would want it 14″ long and 8″ wide. Additionally, I wanted to quilt the fabric to cushion my delicate tools.
As luck would have it, I was cutting out a skirt pattern from a two-yard length of fabric that I thought would be great for this bag, and I had enough left over to make this bag. I cut out two rectangles 16′ x 9″, and I have a 16″ zipper for it. I wanted to quilt the fabric, but I lacked batting as I’m not a quilter. However, I found some craft felt/flannel left over from another project and cut it 15″ x 8″. I figured it would be easier if I kept the seems thinner without the batting, and I used a 1/2″ seam allowance. Having never quilted before, I thought it would be pretty simple to just sandwich the lofty felt/flannel between the fashion fabric with right sides out and start in one corner and sew diagonal lines. Then sew lines in the opposite direction into diamonds. I used a quilting guide that came with my sewing machine to keep the lines straight. I sewed three lines before I realized the importance of finding the true 45 degree line and marking it and starting in the center rather than a corner. So I picked those quilting lines out, and I marked my fabric and started in the center. Quilting left the edges ragged and uneven, so I sewed the edges with my serger to give me a straight edge and a finished seam. Step one was done, and I have my rectangle that’s roughly 15 x 8.5″. The first step in constructing the bag was installing the zipper, but I wanted to add a handle to this part. I made a handle by folding a narrow length of fabric, with the raw edges in and sewed it together. I pinned the handle pieces to the seam on the side where the zipper pull would be when it was closed. I sewed this seam so the zipper and handle were on the top, and this placed the zipper at the top of the bag’s highest point. On the opposite side, I sewed the seam so the zipper would be in the middle of the seam. When it’s done, one seam will run vertical and the opposite seam lays horizontal. I’m happy with this bag, and it’s lofty and cushions the tools. Also, it matches a skirt that I made a day later, It doesn’t roll or flop around and it keeps its shape nicely. I only wish I had more of this fabric so I could make another for a purse to go with my skirt.
I like having the zipper longer than required, as it’s easier having it too long than too short. So I always buy at least one inch more than I need. This zipper is two inches too long, so there is an extra inch on each end. There are a few things I learned, such as when quilting in a grid I should mark a guild-line in both directions, and be generous when cutting fabric that will be quilted as the edges will need to be cut even. Something that I knew but didn’t remember until I was done is, when sewing the last seam in a zippered bag, be sure to unzip the zipper at least enough to get your finger in. This was not the first time I’ve spent 20 minutes trying to unzip a zipper from the wrong side after sewing it all up nice and tight.