Sew, What's New?

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Last spring I made a Beach Bag for Sue using the Totes Ma Tote pattern by Emmaline Bags in this nautical print cotton canvas and Royal Blue cotton duck canvas.  It looked smart and carried quite a lot inside, and secured with a recessed zipper.

When I saw her over Christmas she asked if I could make a bag for hubby to carry.  They liked the idea of something like the old fashioned Sailor's Kit Bag.  This was a long cylindrical bag with a drawstring closure, and a round base with a grab handle.  The outside was a heavy cotton canvas and it had a lighter cotton lining.

Happily my old Style pattern 4143 includes a similar drawstring bag (View 4) which I decided I could use, with a few modifications.  As you cannot buy this any more if you want to make one you can cut your own pattern pieces, the Body is a rectangle 35" wide and 24" high, the Base is a circle with a diameter of 12".  The eyelets are positioned 7 1/2" inches down from the top.

  1. This pattern is unlined so I will be adding a lining. 
  2. The grommets are positioned to go through a single layer of fabric, even though the top is turned down 3", so I will adjust this so they go through a double thickness. 
  3. The original Sailor's Kit Bag had a grab handle across the base but I don't know if I should add one.
  4. I want to add a zippered pocket on the outside for quick access to keys and/or mobile, and maybe a slip pocket or two. 
  5. The original bag was carried slung over one shoulder, but I will lengthen the drawstrings so they can be used to hang it on the shoulder instead, or even backpack style, like this...

The fabrics we have chosen are another printed cotton canvas in red blue and white stripes, with a plain navy lining in either cotton or ripstop nylon.  Other notions will be a navy zipper, eyelets/grommets and rope and a piece of Soft and Stable.  A pretty short shopping list compared to many bags!

I made a mock up with some curtain lining to check the size, and decided to add an inch to the height above the fold line, so when it folds back the eyelets will be on double thickness, triple including the lining.  So I added a 1" strip of tissue paper above the fold line, increasing it to 4".  

I cut two squares of the outer fabric to reinforce the corners where the rope will go through the bottom eyelets/grommets to form the shoulder strap.  I applied them with some Bondaweb (Wonderunder) then topstitched them in place across the top and outside edge.  The bottom and inside edge will be caught in the side and base seams. 

Once the side seam was stitched, I turned down 1/4" along the top edge and topstitched it in place, then turned down 4" and gave it a good press.  I made a long lined pocket to go all the way round the exterior of the bag.  I used the lining to form a co-ordinating trim (a method I learnt from making Chris W Designs's "Stow it All" bag) which I can divide into sections later.  Leaving that to one side I added a zipped pocket, centred opposite the seam.  Then I  positioned the slip pocket so the top edge was 1" above the zipper, stitched it in place and divided the pockets into three.

Shop Arrow Cabinets!

Once the main body was assembled I decided to add some cushioning to the base before I attached it.  I used a piece of Soft & Stable cut without the seam allowance, then a piece of fusible woven interfacing with the seam allowance fused over the top to hold it in place (a method I learnt from Swoon Patterns).  The base then went on as usual,  used a zipper foot to machine along the edge of the Soft & Stable and then pinked the seam allowance rather than notch all round the curves (cos I'm lazy).

Now the bag was beginning to come together, here it is with the outer slip pockets in place, and you can see the hidden zipped pocket just inside.  I thought that would be a good idea for carrying keys, cash or a mobile, safe and out of sight!

I made the lining up out of ripstop nylon as it will handle wet towels better, and they slide in and out easier than if I had used cotton, and didn't add any pockets inside as the towels would catch on them.  I cut it 4" shorter than the outer so it just comes to where the outer folds over. 

I dropped it in, pinned it in place then topstitched by going over the previous topstitching on the inside, then added another row about 1/4" down from the top edge.  I had bought a pack of Prym 11mm nickel eyelets and followed the instructions to fit them.  (NOTE TO SELF - The eyelet (the bit with the neck) goes on the outside or right side, the washer goes on the inside or wrong side).  The pattern has 10 eyelets marked which creates 5 folds, 3 on one side and 2 on the other, so if I made it again I think I would go for 8 or 12 instead, to get an even number of folds each side.

Once these were in place I just threaded 3 metres of 9mm cotton rope around the top and down through the lower eyelets.  I tied knots in each end inside the bag, out of sight again.  I chose cotton rope because it is softer on a bare shoulder but it then occurred to me I could add a shoulder pad.  I have made one before, just a simple wrap with a strip of soft and stable to pad it and a velcro closure.

The final job was making and fitting a fabric cord lock.  I don't know what else to call it but I have made them before, and I did a quick tutorial for the ChrisW Designs Fiona's Freeway here

On it's own it collapses in a heap, which can be annoying but does make it easy to pack ! Once the towels are inside it stands up okay.  I hope he is happy to carry it!

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Comment by Karen on May 19, 2018 at 9:36am

Okay Jo, the Body of the bag is 35" wide and 24" high, the Base is a 12" diameter circle.  I may go back and add the measurements to the post in case others want to have a go.

Comment by Jo A Holden on May 17, 2018 at 9:59am

I don't have this pattern . Would it be possible to get the measurements of fabric cuts you used , so I can make this Jo Holden

Comment by Susan on May 11, 2018 at 8:23am

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