Saturday, December 8, 2007

Knitting Contessa's Haute Sock Knitting Bag

Knitting Contessa’s Sock Knitting Bag ©

Okay. I’ll be honest up front. This is a GREAT sock knitting bag. Stylish, fabulous, wonderful, cute as pie. I love 'hard shaped' bags, think "Birkin", "Mulberry" or "Ricky"..... ahhhhhh! This is not an immediate gratification project, but then again it isn't something you can't do in a day either. There are 50 steps so don’t get all woozy on me….. it’s broken down into small little bites that you can do. Really! It is worth a bit of the fuss and bother to be sure, but if you are looking for a great sock knitting bag that is easy peasy I suggest you stitch up a rectangle of great fabric, run a casing through the top, add some really fabulous trim or fringe and call it good. This bag was designed by me and it goes without saying that it is copyrighted and protected by all of the laws and good stuff. I’m just sayin’.

I chose as the fabric for the bag a vintage feedsack fabric in a fun Asian print. I doubt they called it a fun Asian print in the 1930’s but instead thought of it as a utilitarian end use for an old bag of flour. I’m all about the whole double value, recycling thing, those housewives were just ahead of their time! The button on the front is vintage as well from my Gramma’s button box. The secret of the bag is in the shaping---- again, think of the Lauren “Ricky” bag, or a la Hermes Birkin bag. You have to use very, very stiff interfacing. I use Timtex, available at fabric stores. Timtex is kind of pricey, so ask them if they have something comparable. Don’t’ skimp, I’m warning you.

You will need:

  • 1 feedsack (available from specialty retailers or on eBay) (or your choice of fabric)
  • 1/3 yard Timtex
  • A fresh stick of fabric glue
  • Thread to match
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Water or air erasable marker
  • 1 square of wool felt in a coordinating color
  • 1 button

The project is machine sewn, so don’t run in fear! While it is not quick and easy, it is not out of reach if you have a bit of experience. Jump in and give it a whirl! The key is that the Timtex is very stiff and sometimes during the process you just have to be firm and show it who is boss!

Cut the following shapes/pieces from the Timtex:

  • The body of the bag: 15”x8 ½”
  • The bag flap: 8 ½” x 3” (You will shape it a bit later)
  • The bag sides: 2 ½” x 6 ½”, (shaped later)
  • The strap: 1” x 14”
The cutting out process using a good ruler, a self healing mat, a pen and good eyes!

Using the stiffness of the Timtex as a pattern, cut from the fabric the outer shell and the inner lining:

  • 2 body pieces 18” x 8 ½” (flap is included in the fabric measurement and does not have to be cut or added separately)
  • 4 bag sides
  • 1 strap 2” x 20”

Cut from the felt:

One flap
Pocket- 4”x6”, fold in half

Jump in and Get To It!

1. Shape the bag sides by measuring a little half inch square on the bottom of each side of this rectangle. Holding a straight edge at the outside top corner (without the ½” square) and going to the inside of the square you have marked-- (you will have a line from the top edge to the bottom of the rectangle, one half inch inside the bottom corner), mark a line on both sides. Cut along this line. You’ll have a long triangle shaped piece left when you make the cut.

The shape of the SIDE when the bottom 1/2" has been cut off, the shape tapers up to the top of the pattern piece.

Leftover little pieces when the sides are trimmed down.

2. Machine stitch the flap to the bag by holding the pieces next to each other along the long edge and slightly apart. This will facilitate the folding of the finished bag. Use a very wide zigzag stitch. The flap and body will be attached, and able to fold easily, like a gate hinge.

3. Now you will attach the sides to the body of the bag. Use a slightly fat ¼” seam allowance for the Timtex shell.

4. Bring the bottom edge of the bag to the zigzagged stitch line and fold. Make a tiny clip with scissors to mark this fold on both sides of the bag.

5. Fold the widest part of the bag side pieces lengthwise and clip at the bottom edge to mark. These clipped notches tell you where to sew the pieces together.

6. Match up the clipped notches and mark ¼” from each side on the short edge (bottom) of what will be the seam that attaches the bag to the side of the bag.

7. The first seam you sew is the short edge of the side piece. This short edge matches the clip marks.

8. You will start and you will stop ¼” from this short, bottom edge when you sew. The unsewn portion of the side will be what actually turns the corner when you stitch the long sides.

9. Begin stitching at the ¼” mark and stitch these two pieces, the side and the body of the bag.

10. Holding out the side piece that is stitched along the short edge you will see that the bag makes a sort of “T”.

11. Wrap the body of the bag around this “T” shaped extension. See how this will shape the bag?

12. Fold the body of the bag to the side piece of the bag, wiggling the part next to where the side stitches attach the bag.

The Timtex wrapped around the side piece. See the shape of the bag? The notch is cut at the bottom (or 6 o'clock position)

13. Match the top of the bag with the top of the side piece. Stitch from the top to the bottom where the side piece joins. The Timtex is stiff, show it who is boss! Repeat for the other side piece and repeat for the other side of the bag.

14. The hardest part is where the body of the bag meets the side stitches that are there. You are forcing the Timtex (and later the fabric and lining) to turn a corner. Be patient, wiggle it around and you will be able to do this step!

15. Yay! It is starting to look like a real bag now!

16. Stitch both side pieces to the body of the bag in the same manner. The flap will be above the now completed bag.

17. Create the outer fabric of the sock bag in the same way you made the Timtex shell. Use the same seam allowance on the outer fabric that you used on the shell.

The fabric body pinned to the fabric side piece.

18. If you want to add an inner pocket, this is the time.

19. For the lining, fold down the lining extension on the fabric and press. From the center back, mark 1 inch down from the fold where you turned the extension. Center up the felt pocket, which has been folded in half. The fold of the felt should be the top edge. Use a zigzag stitch or a fairly close straight stitch to attach the pocket to the bag. It is easier to attach the pocket when the lining fabric is flat.

20. Now stitch the shape in the lining using ½” seam allowance. You want the lining to be slightly smaller than the body of the sock bag.

21. Press, Press, Press. Nice flat seams, and nice crisp bottom corners will pay off later.

22. With the right side of the outer fabric OUT, put the Timtex shell inside the fabric. Line everything up just right. Pull the fabric tight around the shell and press if you need to. The fit should be fairly snug, the sides might have a little play, which is okay. Using a fabric glue stick, wrap the outer fabric around the shell. Fabulous!

23. Insert the lining with the pocket to the back of the sock bag.

24. Progress, sweet progress!

25. You will be able to pin the lining snugly to the top edge of the bag, just bring the lining and the outer fabric together a teensy smidge above the shell. The bag and lining should be smooth around the front and back.

26. If the sides have any extra, you can simply form a pleat and pin.

27. Now time for the felt flap lining. Lay out the felt, lay the bag on it’s back and trace around the flap, extending the felt piece about 4 inches so it will tuck in between the lining and the shell. Cut around the shape you have traced.

Trace around the sock bag flap onto the wool felt --Cut out the shape you have traced

28. Lay the shape on your bag flap. You want it to be JUST inside the flap so you may need to trim off a tiny bit on the top of the flap and down each side.

The felt pinned inside the bag

29. Fabric glue will help you hold it down.

30. Topstitch around the bag from 1” inch above where the flap meets the bag all around. Go around at ¼” from the edge. Check to make sure that you have caught the felt lining in your stitches.

31. The opening is where you will insert your purse strap.

32. The strap is easy. Press the fabric of the strap, fold it right sides together and pin. Stitch along the long edge ¼” from the edge and turn to the right side. Using a safety pin, insert the Timtex strap shape and pin the fabric to the Timtex ½” inch up from the bottom of the strap. There is more fabric than Timtex strap, that is the fabric will gather up as you insert the strap. Pin the other end when the fabric is all around the firm strap. Arrange the gathers evenly and press well on both sides. The fabric should lay rather flat.

The finished & ruched bag strap, topstitching in place

33. Topstitch very close to the long edge of the strap on both sides.

34. Looks great!

35. Insert the strap into the top flap of the bag just where the flap begins to fold over the top of the bag. You should have an opening in the felt flap lining here. Pin.

36. Stitch the strap in by machine, make sure to back stitch so the strap is nice and secure.

37. Top stitch around the flap of the bag, from the front. One row of stitching at a presser foot’s width, and one row very close to the edge.

38. Give the bag another good press with steam.

39. Cute bag! Almost done.

40. What button have you decided on? You’ll need it to determine the size of your button loop.

41. To cut the button loop cut a piece of your body fabric 4”x2”. Press that in half and stitch very close to the edge. Press and fold in half again. Press nice and flat.

42. Hold the loop so that you can get the button in and out easily. Now pin the loop to the center of the bag flap on the inside. The loop will point down toward the bottom of the bag when the bag is closed.

43. Mark with your fabric marker the place on the bag to sew on the button.

44. Stitch the button on, wrapping around the threads that attach it quite a few times to form a nice shank.

45. Now……… double check! Does the button loop catch the button? Does it need to be smaller, or larger?

46. When you have the button loop just right, machine stitch both legs of the button loop along the inside line of topstitching.

47. Almost done!

48. See where the bottom of the bag sits flat on the table? You will stitch the front and back of the sock bag along this edge, VERY close to the edge. It will make the bag sit better and it looks very professional.

49. DONE! Great job!

The finished bag hanging on a hook next to the door, at the ready!

50. Now, quick make one for yourself too!

No time to make one? No sewing skills whatsoever??? Leave me a comment and I'll randomly pick the name of a winner! Win-nah! I'll announce the winner next Saturday!


Past one solitary round on the Knitty hat I'd love to finish for so I can wrap gifts and mail to my oldest daughter and her family, not another knitting stitch happened for me yesterday, not a single one. One row hardly counts when there is So Much To Do. It's the thick of holiday portraits at the studio and that entailed putting up the set, three more trees and the backdrop and everything that goes along with that. We won't even mention the hauling and schlepping. By the time I got home late last night it was time to root around in the refrigerator and find something to eat and plop down on the couch long enough to get the energy to head to the shower and to bed.

One of our longstanding clients, a really wonderful woman with a lovely family is struggling with breast cancer. Her short remission post double mastectomy is over and this Christmas with her family is likely the last they will all be together. I'm just so sad. That's definitely one of the hard things about working in a photography studio, we are with families full circle from birth, and life and marriage--- and when death touches a family member it is always difficult. We have the honor and privilege of taking the last family portrait, one that will last for generations and preserve the legacy of this lovely woman...... but it is at the same time so hard to hold back tears. Please remember to make memories of your own, not for yourself but for those who will follow you. As I say all the time and will repeat again, it's all about the love!


Today is quite thankfully a new day, I do so love that each new day is fresh and clean! Tomorrow, Day Nine of Knitting Contrisstmas, brings an easy knitted project-- a great little giftie to create!


Tracey, in MI said...

comment comment comment--- hopping top win the most fabulous sock bag...;)

Tracey, in MI said...

see- I can't type.... sewing could be dangerous;)

Although I may be hopping- I'm actually hoping.... and while I may be the top commenter- I'm hoping to win....;)

Mintdee said...

That is a lovely bag tutorial! And an equally lovely bag. :)

Jenni said...

It's gorgeous! Okay...I have a new project to work on.

Aurita said...

ohh, it is absolutely gorgeous, Hopefully I ma on time and I can get my hands on one of this


Ruby said...

Great bag! Now I have another incentive to get the sewing machine out of storage.

And yes, it is all about the love! I'm going to go take pictures of my family now.

Donna B said...

Some people make me wish I could sew, and you are one of them. Some people make me wish I would win things, and you are also one of them. :-)

MelissaKnits said...

I think your html is broken. But I love the bag!!!

Lea said...

One day I may be brave enough to try to sew one...

barefoot rooster said...

this is beautiful! found you through the knit picks podcast. pick me -- i don't own a sewing machine! happy holidays.

Shannon said...

I would love a beautiful sock knitting bag! I am not gifted with sewing skills, but it sure is cute!

Anonymous said...

dang, I can't see the pictures...waaaa....
please repost the links! I wanna new bag pattern!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you are giving this fab bag away! I would love to be put in the draw.

Anonymous said...

Why oh why would you give such a fab-o bag away - and to a total stranger (please let it be me) yet? Ahhh, if only I could sew...

Seriously, even if I don't win (and I seriously don't sew), thank you for your generosity in the offering. May the winner (whoever s/he is) be truly blessed in receiving it, and use it often and thankfully.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!

KnittinChick said...

I love that this doesn't look like a 'stereotypical' knitting bag. This would be the perfect thing for me to take my sock WIPs to work as it would throw off everyone that it was truly knitting.

Please, let me be the one who gets redeemed from their granny status with this cool bag. I am only 32 and don't want to be too quickly jumping into the granny status... unless it meant that I could knit like I'd been knitting for 32 years!

Felicia said...

Oooh! And I love feedsacks too! I'll try tomorrow to see if I can get everything to load on my monitor. I'm enjoying your Days of Christmas posts.

Michele in Maine said...

I love bags of all shapes and sizes, but am particularly addicted to knitting-related bags. It's beautiful!

Jill said...

Oh my, that bag is gorgeous!! I just saw your blog for the first time (linked from Sheri's blog) and love it and couldn't stop reading! So glad, because then I saw this. :) Love your writing--I'll continue to read!

Anonymous said...

The bag is great. I knit socks and quilt so finding a sock knitting bag tutorial using feedsacks is awesome. I would love to win one as I won't have time to make one in the near future. Kathy

AmyT said...

I love the bag. I want to win it. Friday is my birthday. It would make a great present. Hee! Hee! Seriously, thanks for the great pattern. I am enjoying the blog. I found you through the Loopy Ewe. Happy Holidays to All!!

Janelle said...

That is such a beautiful little bag.... pick me! pick me!

MJ said...

Saturday the 15th is my birthday! Random karma says that lovely little bag was meant for me!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I found your blog through Sheri (The Loopy Ewe). I love knitting bags and would love to win your sock knitting bag. Happy Holidays! Kristi ~ Ohio

danielle said...

Beautiful bag!
I regret never letting my mom teach me how to really sew!

Angelfire212 said...

The bag looks fantastic! I'd love to make one...but winning one would be even better!