Friday, August 03, 2012

Teacher Gifts

Yes, the last day of school was June 28, and today is August 4.  So?  One benefit of school getting out so late up here is that I can read on all the American blogs what the cool gifts are this year.  These bags weren't actually from this year, but ikatbag mentioned in her teacher gift post that she had done them previously.  Having had one of these bags from years ago, I thought what a neat gift idea, especially if the kids picked out the fabrics themselves.  That sort of worked, sort of not.  LOL.

The tutorial is at:  Like most tutorials, I seemed to have trouble.  Mainly, it's just me, LOL.  Sometimes though the tutorial writer doesn't realize that something they are very familiar with is not easy to explain, or known by the masses....I got going on the first bag, got the zipper sewn in the wallet and had fun zipping it up to show everyone my little creation.  Do NOT zip it up at this point. 

To sew the bag on, you want the zipper laying just like it was when you sewed it--laying over the outside of the wallet.  Because I had zipped it up, the zipper was flipped to the inside, and I just could not figure out how/where to sew the bag on!  Finally, with fiddling, I clued in.  Then I sewed the wrong bag to the wallet :(  

Two other points--pin the bag to the wallet.  I thought I could just go ahead and sew it on.  But I kept ending up with too much fabric!  For these first three bags, I sewed new side seams to make them smaller (part of the issue seemed to be that my pattern printed out a touch small).  For the third one, after measuring the pattern, measuring the wallet, re-measuring, getting Rob to measure....I gave up and pinned the bag to the wallet.  And wouldn't you  know?  Absolutely perfect fitting!  My other concern was where exactly to stitch the bag to the wallet...I didn't want to stitch over the wallet fabric but it was hard to know while sewing how it would look.

Also, when I sewed the zipper on the first wallet, I didn't get fussy with the spots where the zipper starts and also sticks out at the other side.  On the other two, I tried to be fussy...and they were hard to zip up.  She has on her blog a tutorial on how her dad does it, using one side of the zipper tape only, but you have to buy the zipper part separately.

Keep in mind too, when you sew the bag to the wallet, where the handles are.  I read in the tutorial to make sure the handles are on the long side...I somehow misread it, and it wasn't until after I sewed it on that I realized the handles need to be centered on the long sides of the wallet.  

 The zipped up pink one above was Meg's pick for her teacher, along with the Celtic Michael Miller fabric on the right below.  And she wanted pink inside.  Not really what I would have done.
 The (pin strip) one on the left is from an old dress shirt of Rob's, and the blue flower fabric is some fabric I picked up at a thrift store, thinking it was a sheet, but it turned out to be a very long and narrow window topper.  Both of those have blue lining and blue cord wallets.

 I couldn't find 4" zippers, so had to stock up on 7" ones, as well as more long ones.  They were on sale though!

After I finished these three, I dug out my old bag to see how it differs.  Quite a lot!  the wallet is a foam backed vinyl, and the bag is only one layer.  It's shaped totally different, and would be much quicker to make and sew to the wallet.  But to find the vinyl.....
 I was quite excited by these bags, and thought I should make one for a visiting friend of my inlaws.  She's from England, she's known them since childhood, and comes every year for 3 weeks.  This year, it would be over the Canada Day holiday!  Since the fabric store had their special Canada fabrics out, what better gift?  It went much quicker and smoother this time.
 Not TOO Canadian, eh?
 The inside and wallet are red satin!  How decadent!  Lucy also made a Canada flag with our new Perler beads, and I finally gave her the illusion dishcloth I knit LAST year, with the maple leaf on it.
Red and White. Simple and classic!  Much of the inside fabrics and interfacings came from a huge gift of fabric and yarn from another of my mother in law's friends, back in the winter.  I hadn't looked too much at the fabrics (but I used a lot of the yarn making the donation hats/scarves).  These bags don't take a lot of fabric, so they're great to use up remnants.  I will mention though, that if you make the bags taller, and the handles longer, they might not squish up easily back into the wallet!  Take that into consideration when making changes.  My zippers were long enough that I could have enlarged the wallet a bit, but I didn't know this at the start--I just thought the bags seemed a little small and the handles short.  Also, don't use too thick of fabric for the bags--these aren't to carry a week's groceries home....more like wet clothes from the park, or an emergency stop at the library.

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