Tag Archives: DIY

How to Make a Market Bag…Plain or Fancy

…Or a road-trip bag, knitting/crochet bag, or gift bag.  Only basic sewing skills are needed.  Really.

Here’s the simple design, using folded paper.  You can make any size of bag by making sure that the length of each “B” =  half the length of “A” plus a half-inch.

And here is my overused homemade pattern, below, with a second photo showing what the folded fabric you’ll cut looks like when opened.  The bottom edge is placed on the fold of the fabric, as you’ll see next….

 

I’ve cut the inner and outer shells first, then cut quilted cotton to use as an interfacing.  Above the cut-out rectangles, notice that each side flap is about a half-inch wider than half of what will become the bottom of the bag–which allows for the side seams.  (The length of each “B” =  half the length of “A” plus a half-inch, as in the paper bag example.)

Use your pattern again to cut out the interior pocket lengths–quilted fabric can be added as interfacing, as in the following photo, but you could just double a sturdy fabric–such as canvas or duck, for use as interior pockets.

  Next, I pin the pockets where I want to sew them, leaving an inch and a half below each pocket strip, so the pockets are near the bottom of the bag.  Then I spaced and pinned the pockets on both sides about equally–with four pockets per side.

Sew around the entire pocket strip, turning the fabric and sewing up–and then back down–each of the individual pocket seams (I pause and add some extra stitching at the top, where the opening of the pocket might get heavier use), and then continue  along the bottom until I get to the next pocket seam.

After the pockets are sewn on, place the (backside) edges of one side of the bag together, pin, and sew.  Next, open the seams and tack down those seam edges.

Do the same to the other side, then flatten the bottom edges and sew those closed.

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Using the remaining fabric, decide on the length of fabric straps.  If you’re short on fabric, use the rectangular scrap fabric to make fabric tabs for four “d” rings, and buy handles at a craft shop.  (I used scraps, and made a fabric tab to hold a brass ring in the finished bag photo.)

By the way, I cut the quilted interfacing for the handle straps short on both ends–it makes it easier to sew the finished straps into three layers of fabric–plus trim!

Next, sew the interfacing all around the outer shell (this step can be done to either the inner or outer shell), and then pin and sew sides as before, with seams facing inside and tacked down.  Sew the bottom edges together next.  At this point, I turned over and tacked down the top edges, pinned piping trim and handles on (centered, about six inches strap-to-strap on either side).

Sew it all down–it’ll make it easier to handle once you join the inner and outer shells.

Insert the inner shell into the outer, and find the bottom corners, fitting tightly together and pinning, then sew them down before moving on, to fit and pin the top of the bag.  Before sewing the tops together, add any extras–like a key tag.  Then sew around the top several times.  Use a pattern or simply follow previous seams, but do get right to the top under the trim at least once, so the inner and outer bag edges meet well.

  Last, a stabilizing bottom pad can really help.  For this bag, I’ve cut out the same interior fabric, folded it to the size of the interior of the bottom, sewn it–leaving an opening–and inserted a cut-to-size piece of styrofoam.  (I got the end of a roll from a pool supply company for this purpose, but you can use any stiff, recycled material that will hold its shape and stand up to hand washing.  I’ve used cut, stained, and varnished veneer hardwood in the past, and skipped the fabric cover.)  In this case, I slipped the styrofoam in its pouch, sewed down the edges all around, and then sewed a tacking cross in the center of the finished support.

Total time:  about six to eight hours.

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Seafoam Medium Market Bag
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How to make a wooden wet painting carrier

selfie with homemade wet painting box

selfie with homemade wet painting box

DIY:  Wet Painting Carrier

I needed a wet painting box that would travel long distance.  Inside a small boat, on a trailer, bouncing down a thousand miles of highway.  …And I wanted it to survive the trip.

Sure, there are commercial wet painting carriers available, and plans shared on the Internet for cardboard varieties.  Most of them, though, are for canvas panels, and I prefer the gallery wrapped, heavy-duty duck, inch-and-a-half thick canvases.

IMG_1113So, I made my own.  They’re the four boxes sitting on top of my first try, a lovely lightweight shelving frame that would have fit perfectly between the bench seats on the boat.  I was finishing it, when my husband asked, “Will that fit through the door?”

Ummm…

Back to the DIY Project (no need to dwell):  For panels, wood supports, or thinner canvases, you can adjust the spacing on the dividing rails to the width of your support–but do add a bit of wiggle room.

Here’s how:  Select Your Size of Canvas, and decide how many you’ll wantstructure_2_close.up to carry on a field trip;  for the inch-and-a-half thick type, a box made of 6″ wide boards (which are not really six inches wide but we’re not in charge of that) will hold three canvases each.

Procure Your Lumber (the small box shown on top is made entirely out of scrap 1×6 pine boards, but the larger boxes are made from lighter weight, half-inch thick poplar boards and quarter-inch oak panels).

Measure and Mark.  I kept it simple (nobody comes around, asking me for dovetails).  Both top and bottom were the width of the canvas plus a quarter-inch tolerance (or a bit less).  Both sides were the height of the canvas plus the depth of the top and bottom boards.

I cut the wood and held the side board against the bottom board on a flat surface, drilled holes, and screwed each into the edge of the bottom board.

Dividers.  I used 99-cent, quarter-inch basswood from Michaels to basswood_divider_close.upmake rails along both sides.  There was just enough room for my three inch-and-a-half deep canvases, three basswood rails, and a bare eighth-inch extra in each space.

I plan to lay the boxes flat in storage, so wet paintings will be “shelved” facing up, and that extra eighth-inch might minimize smearing or sticking on the long trips home.

basswood_dividerMark, Glue, and Tack Dividers.  I started by laying the first basswood rail along an edge of each side.  This rail prevents the top of the wet painting in that slot from touching the inside of the completed box.

Next, I measured and marked, and glued and tacked in the two remaining rails.

Once the other side had its matching rails, I tested the rail spacing, and let it dry poplar_large_lay.inovernight.

 

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Only the two side boards received basswood rails.

 

Paneling is where I really slipped up, as you’ll see.  Theoretically, it’s simple:  cut your quarter-inch thin panels the same length, and your box will be square as long as your corners are square.

Ummm…  Maybe it was that quarter-inch tolerance, under “Measure and Mark?”

Moving on, it turns out that leftover window oops_wet_painting_carrierblind parts–the unused bits of wood squirreled away when a blind is cut down for a short window–make nice shims.  One could, uh, use shims.

Glue and tack as needed to correct any mis-steps which might cause one canvas to want to fall upon its neighbor.

If this is the case, use the slimmest possible shims.  …And, before the glue dries, make sure the canvases still fit in their slots.  Better yet, re-think my quarter-inch tolerance!

IMG_1109Finishing with stain and varnish was important to me because of the abuse I expect to heap upon these boxes.

I used leftover porcelain knobs from a kitchen project, plastic cable carriers as turnbuckles for the lids, and sewed some old webbing to brass D-rings to serve as straps.  For salt-water painting sites, I bought stainless steel screw-in tie-downs and stainless steel screws, but the SS snap hooks for the straps are costly.  I bought only one set;  the others are plated.  Brass snap hooks would work around salt water, but the hardware stores in my area are selling bronze in place of brass.  I’ll expect to replace the plated hardware.

Travel safe!