Monday, July 07, 2008

T-shirt Bag (updated)

The latest challenge on The Purse Project was to make a purse using one or more t-shirts.
I started out with three tees: a thrifted green with a cute yoga lady, a thrifted green with a wave design, and my own shirt from People's (an organic foods co-op in Ocean Beach where I am a member) that just didn't quite fit right.
Barb, before
(click on photos to enlarge)

I knew from having recently made Amy Butler's Madison bag that the pattern called for using Craft Fuse, which is a fusible interfacing that is a relatively sturdy stabilizer.
I figured if I used this product, that I could turn a stretchy knit into something that would act like a woven.
So I decided to sew the Uptown version of the bag--a pattern with short handles and an open top (the bag I made previously, the Downtown, had a long strap and a flap).

It worked!
Barb, T-shirt bag, yoga side

Barb, People's tee side

I used the wave tee for the lining as well as the base.
Barb, wave tee base

Because the pattern pieces were so large, they extended into the armhole of the yoga tee.
It worked okay, but I covered one side with a heart cut from the Peoples tee, and a star shape cut from the green lining.
Barb, detail

I used magnets inside the tabs to close the bag, versus the velcro called for in the pattern.
I used four small magnets (two stitched into the corners of each tab).
I also sandwiched a heavy piece of Pellon (similar to Timtex) between the exterior and the lining of the base piece, to give it additional stability (knit is so lightweight, it tends to sag).

I found that stitching on the knit fabric was a bit more difficult than I had expected.
The handles were a problem in that no matter how careful I was, or how slowly I stitched, the seam line wasn't perfectly straight.
"Good enough" is not a phrase in my vocabulary.
Initially I ripped out seams and tried again, but it just wasn't working.
Finally I got an 'aha' moment, and realized I could mask the flaw with a decorative stitch.
Viola! Not only did it look nicer, but it made the handles lie flat also.
So that's my little lesson for this challenge.
And really, that's the point of this whole thing--to try new ideas (in this case, sewing a knit using a pattern for wovens), and see how things work out.
I was able to get a nice straight edge stitich on the top of the bag, but went over it with the decorative stitch anyway, to give more continuity to the look (and to help the lining hang a little more flat too).

A new challenge is posted, as well as the gallery of seven other bags participants created.
I hope you will consider trying the current challenge--Say Cheese!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Barb! I like the colours too. I have an overlocking stretch stitch on my machine which I'm meant to use on knitwear. It looks like a zigzag with a straight stitch all in one. >I sort of appearance.

Sorry I couldn't join in this challenge- too much on. It did look like a lot of fun and a good re-use of fabric. Well done for thinking it up.

1:22 AM  

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