Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DIY fashion: Bag a suprise!


Would you believe this bag is made out of a... placemat?
I’m not fond of placemats as placemats – they get dirty distressingly quickly and then, the woven texture that looked so nice when you bought them proves to be very difficult to wash the dirt out of. But I was thrilled when I saw this tutorial for a placemat purse on JCaroline Creative. Small investment, big returns.  We got six yellow placemats from Crawford Market (thank you, Lalitha and Sharmeen), each for Rs 25, and got Sue into the picture.

The placement bags on JCaroline Creative

Sue, incidentally, gave up the ghost very early into the exercise, so most of this bag was done by hand, which means you will do fine even without a sewing machine, as long as you (hand) sew with small, neat stitches in a straight line.

YOU WILL NEED:
·         1 placemat (Rs 25)
·         1 set of handles (I got mine for Rs 180 from Pradhans in Colaba Market, but you will find some in your local sewing notions shop for sure)
·         Ribbon to attach the handles to the bag (Rs 16 for a metre)
·         Sewing thread and needle
·         Decorative element (my dull gold leaf thingie cost Rs 36 from Pradhans; make sure what you choose has enough little holes to let you anchor it onto the bag)

Begin by folding the placemat in half, with the right side inside and the wrong outside.



Sew neatly on both short sides, about a centimetre in from the side. It is important to stitch strongly to the bottom and the top, so that you can make the boxy bottom in the next step.



Holding the (closed) bottom of the bag in your hands, force the fabric at the bottom to make a boxy flat part. The two ends should form triangles (this one is not making good triangles because it is not sewn well to the end).



Now sew across the resulting triangles to make the boxy bottom.



Your bag will now look like this (keep in mind that we are still looking at the wrong side).



Now prepare the handles: Cut equal lengths of ribbon. Neaten the ends if required.  If your ribbon is non-fraying (like perhaps velvet), you may not need to hem the ends.  Stitch the ribbon onto the handles (more neatly than I have, but that should be very easy!).



Align the handles and the ribbon to the bag.



Sew on securely.



Turn the bag inside out and sew on your decorative element.



The total cost of this bag:  25 + 180 + 36 + 16 = Rs 257! The handles cost the most, so keep your eye out for things to be used as handles – hoops, etc – or scavenge them from other bags before you discard them. Enjoy!








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