Saturday, August 25, 2012

Week 34 or Chalkboards and sails

It's a transitional time of year, so I've made a transitional bag. One side nods to summer, with big red numbers on the field of a white sail. The other nods to school, with chalkboard fabric wiped clean and ready to start anew.

The last time I made a bag out of this sail and used the numbers, I was flying in a trapeze show that night. Tonight the theme is Angry Birds, so I was thinking of something that would fit with that. The black fabric was a start. The fact that we use a lot of chalk on our hands only adds to the connection. Plus there are little kids in the show family, so they can draw on the bag while they wait for a turn or a parent to return.

Not much of a tutorial to write, as it's a fairly simple bag. I cut 2 squares of fabric, 21" each. Sewed them together on 3 sides. I reinforced the seams with another round of stitching, since it's pretty sturdy material and I'd hate for the bag to fall apart at the seams. I made a box bottom and that was it for the main sewing.

I cut another rectangle, about 6" x 12" for a chalk pocket. I folded that nearly in half and sewed the edges shut. With the extra flap, I attached the pocket to the center of the top edge of one side. And that was it for all the sewing. I realize now it would have been more secure to have the opening of the pocket facing the fabric of the bag rather than the open middle. As it is, it's really easy to get stuff out, but it's also easy for things to fall out. It's all in what you need the pocket for.

I folded the top edge in about 2.75", to neaten up and reinforce things. The sail cloth is so tightly woven that it doesn't really unravel. The chalkboard cloth is rubbery with a thin woven mesh (like cheesecloth, a construction similar to oilcloth) on the back, so it doesn't unravel either. So there was no need to make a hem or sew the whole thing down. I attached grommets for a rope handle and then added 21" of rope, knotted at the ends, for handles.

I'm not such a fan of shoulder-carried grocery type bags. I don't know exactly why. Probably something to do with habit and the fact that until a few years ago, grocery bags only came in paper and had short handles. So I made short handles. In hindsight, it's probably best not to carry a bag covered in chalk too close to your body. Which is also why I didn't make both sides out of chalkboard fabric. I had a vision of myself walking along in stylish black pants and getting completely covered in chalk dust.

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