sewing a Pyramid WIP bag

I learned to make a pyramid WIP bag. I have one made by a friend of mine who is an accomplished sewist. It was my example and I used a bunch of tutorials on the net.

My bag:

Shell fabric is linen. I love linen.

My zip is 22 cm long. It will be 24 centimeter eventually. Plus 2 x 1,5 cm SA means the short side of the rectangle will be 27 cm.

This equals 1,73 where the long side will be 4.

27/1,73 times 4 = 55,5 plus 2 x 1,5 cm SA = 58,5 will be the long side of the rectangle.

Ack, I have a fat quarter and it’s 50 cm wide. I’ll have to reverse the math to determine how long the shortest side of the rectangle will be.

50 – seam allowance = 47 cm

47/4 = 11, 75 cm

11,75 x 1,73 = 20,4 cm  = the measurement of the short side that will carry the zipper. I will shorten the zipper at the bottom as needed. Add seam allowance to the side = 20,4 plus 2 x 1,5 = 23,4 cm.

SEWING STEPS:

  1. Cut two rectangles of 50 cm x 23, 4 cm.  One is outer fabric, one is lining.
  2. cut batting, slightly smaller (47 x 21 cm). Add batting to outer fabric with seams in another direction than parallel to the longest side. I did waves to avoid sewing over the kitties.
  3. make strap/handle from a rectangle folded in on itself. I used red thread for a bit of accentuation. And I made sure the kitties were positioned in an interesting way. Next handle must be longer: 40 cm.
  4. gave the top of the zipper a nice edge. With this you can make up for the difference in length between zipper and fabric. Working with the print and red thread for accent.
  5. attach zipper. 3 layers: top, zip, inside. Because my zipper extended quite a bit at the bottom, I was able to topstitch the second part of the zipper in one go.
  6. close bottom. The bag is turned inside inside out (yes, twice). Make some kind of butterfly to find the exact opposite points of lining and shell fabric in relation to the zipper. I sewed an extra time over the seam  to make it sturdy. Now I have some sort of batted cushion cover with a zipper in the front and the top open. I use a double sewn seam, for sturdiness.
  7. close the back seam, with the handle in between, but only sew the outer fabric (RS together. Leave the lining alone for now. Leave the zipper open for this part, otherwise problems with turning back right side out.
  8. sew the lining shut, first from the WS then from the RS. Make sure to catch it onto the top for a bit, because it needs a bit of support.

The slippery lining, the shell fabric with batting attached, the topped zipper and the handle:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Attaching zipper in between lining and shell fabric RS together:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

The back of the top stitching of the first part of the zipper:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Now fold and do the other side, remember to keep the zip open:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Determine the under seam, making sure the zipper is in the middle. Sew shut, encasing the end of the zipper:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewingcat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Now fold and do magic to determine how to sew the other seam/top part of it. The idea is to make some sort of butterfly shape and keep the lining inside outside in:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

It was fiddly and I can’t describe what I did exactly. But the top came out beautifully:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Just like the example bag I have:
cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

My handle wasn’t long enough so I couldn’t sew it at an angle so it would point upwards (making the bag hang straight down when on my wrist). But other than that this bag is very nice.

cat fabric pyramid WIP bag sewing

Notes:

  1. This time I used slik, slippery lining. It would be better if I caught it in some of the corners onto the shell fabric. Now it’s easy to pull the lining through the opening when I take something out of the bag. Other bags, with quality cotton for lining, stay in shape.
  2. The handle was too short to give it the right angle for wearing. It’s now at a right angle to the seam. The bag won’t hang straight when worn on the wrist but at least the hand can go through the handle. Next time: handle at least 30 cm long instead of 26.
  3. The whole bag can be bigger. This is a nice bag though, from one fat quarter with a print that is directed top to bottom. It’s sides are 25 cm long. It’s 21 cm high. It has 4 triangles that are all identical in size and shape, all perfect three sided triangles.

The fabric came from a gift I got for my birthday last year:

Isn’t that a nice idea for a crafty person? It has made me do little handsewing things all year. And now I knew I had the skill set to do the fabric and the zipper justice, they’re both from this jar.

These are the tutorials I used and the sewing steps I did:

I used this Flemish tutorial to learn about the proper measurements: link

I used this tutorial to learn about adding batting: link Loganberry Handmade

I used these tutorials to learn about nice endings of the zipper: link Het Leuvens Stiksel and link Ricochet and Away. (That last one shows you can add any length of zipper to any length of fabric.)

This tutorial again for sewing sequence: link  Loganberry. I found this to be the best tutorial.

This tutorial for turning things inside out: link Sofilles

and I used all three of them to learn how to make the bag. It’s a compilation of tutorials because one uses squares, another rectangles but no zip endings.

Failed: Trousers in dark grey linen.

My drafting lessons this Summer ended with a final fitting of my practise trousers. CB had to be taken in a lot at the top. My teacher divided some of this to the side seams which have now become too shaped to my liking (I’m very straight at my sides).

Therefor I have taken the skirt pattern, which I developed over the Summer and which fits me well now, and have laid it on top of my trousers pattern. I’ve taken the main lines and measurements from my skirt and only the CB and CF and width of legs from the trousers pattern. I then drafted all the pattern pieces from that: yoke, waist band, pockets.

UntitledUntitled
Over the past few weeks I took these SEWING STEPS:

  1. inner pocket
  2. waist band put together with its interfacing (non-iron). Including top stitching.
  3. staystitching
  4. attach yoke to back panels.
  5. sew the long seams, adding biais band to catch the raw edge
  6. zipper, good videotutorial from Threads here with excellent photo tutorial from Itch to Stitch here
  7. waist band
  8. fit.

ugh:

bad at sewing trousers...bad at sewing trousers...
The pocket openings “lubber” terrible… even though they are reinforced.

And the waist band… is too wide. Again?? I keep keeping trouble with the width of my waist band. Even though it too is reinforced and shaped checked and double checked and fitted onto both the pattern and my body.
bad at sewing trousers...
It can be the woven cloth that duped me, stretching. I also remember sewing Centre Front, at the zip flap, freehand. Perhaps I veered off to one side, adding wearing ease. The sideseams of the waist band do not match those of the legs precisely either. All of the above together?

The back sits alright. That yoke is designed while drafting, just a straight line getting rid of waist darts. Not sure about its succes in real life:
bad at sewing trousers...

The fabric is woven linen, meant for curtains. It frays quite a bit. So I was careful with handling it and I enclosed most of the seams with biais band:
Untitled
The back yoke, the side seams, the inner seams. Pretty much everything is enclosed.

I sewed a jeans zipper successfully, following this tutorial by Itch to Stitch. Very good. I feel confident about jeans’ zippers now.
Untitled

The inside before installing zipper. CF is closed (basted at the fly) and the seam is enclosed in biais band.

I’m laying this aside for now. I want to start on a shirt. I think I’ll take these trousers to a sewing teacher to see if it can be salvaged. The waistband is not fixed permanently yet and can be easily ripped free. Then we can rearrange the front parts, while I wear it. Perhaps it can still become something wearable.

Finished: light linen skirt on the bias

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

Cut on the bias, based on my self drafted pattern. With minimum ease as I figured that the biased fabric will have a lot of give.
Don’t know what happened but I cut it way too small. Had to insert a strip but didn’t have enough fabric left for that strip to be on the bias too. So it’s a design feature now.

I sewed it to one end of the front panel and then fitted it on me to determine how much overlap the back panel should have.

This made for an awkward angle of the zipper but I didn’t care that much at that point:

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

It has a little pocket which is better supported by fabric on the grain than fabric on the bias.  It only needs to hold my ear plugs and my pills which are all light weight.

The zipper catches the shell fabric and the lining. Shell fabric finished with pinking shears. Base of zipper reinforced with a few hand stitches. I even closed the top of the side seam by hand to make sure everything was fairly neat.

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

The waist band is just a straight rectangle folded double, reinforced with non stretch band and a few runs with the machine. The band is regular satin band, but the non stretchy kind. Light weight too.

Its ends are even more reinforced to hold the hook and bar. Or at least the hook. Because the bar had to be put back. I made sure to sew it to the areas where the satin band and the top seams are though, the sturdiest parts of the band. Will keep an eye on it with wearing.

I’ve already noticed that the top of the band wears down quickly. It being just a fold and not two pieces sewn together, in that delicate linen. Another thing learned.

What I also learned is that I’m way more shaped at the waist than that the top of my skirt indicated. I’ve now learned that straight waist bands don’t fit my body if waist bands are any higher than 1 cm/ half an inch.
sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

All my future waist bands better be (ridiculously!) shaped. (But how to reinforce them then? Don’t like iron on interfacing. My iron hates them and so do I. Will have to learn about this.)

With this final skirt I have now narrowed down my favourite type of skirt to wear: with pockets, with shaped waist band that closes with a hook and bar, with a straight line past the hips (no pleats, no gathers, no semi-circle) yet enough room around the legs to take strides in (flare, vent, inserted godets, fabric on the bias, it’s all good).

The lining is made of chiffon, slightly shorter than the skirt:
sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

Chiffon matches this light weight linen and together this is a lovely Summer skirt.

Which shouldn’t be pressed or ironed from the outside because the silver among the purple shapes melts.

Another thing I learned and that I can illustrate clearly: chiffon likes new needles. Here I am sewing the French seams in the silk chiffon lining and the old needle ravages the silk. I switched mid seam to a new needle and it went smooth from there on:
seeong

Finished: lilac linen skirt cut on the bias.

Tour de Fleeve 2016Tour de Fleeve 2016

Here still in progress, with its waist band not yet turned to the inside.

It’s a straight skirt which flares at the bottom. This is a look that suits me very well as I am a chandelier? a candle? I don’t know. I have no waist and I have no hips.

The pattern is self drafted, inspired by a commercial skirt I have (linen, on the bias) and with my previous self drafted patterns as starting points. I have inserted pockets into the front panel. The inside of the pockets is not on the bias.

The pictures show I have a problem with pointy darts on this skirt. None of the usual measures helped (run the foot as slowly from the fold as you can; shorten the stitch; don’t make a knot). This is because the cause probably lies in the fabric being cut on the bias. It stretches different from fabric cut on the grain.

Things that might work are the use of shrinking thread or to stitch a non-stretch fabric or silk paper together with the dart on the WS.
Or don’t use darts in bias patterns. Just loose them into the side seam. Biased fabric stretches anyway. That’s what I’ll do on a next skirt. My commercial skirt on the bias doesn’t have darts either. A clue.

the skirt:

  • 40 cm wide at the waist
  • 50 cm at the hip
  • proceed a bit straight and then flare.
  • front and back panel are the same. Previous skirts have shown me I don’t care for a slightly lower CF.

I’m now using the basic pattern I’ve devised over the last couple of skirts. In this skirt I placed the front/ back panel 1,5 cm away from the fold, but only at the hem. To give myself a bit more ease around the calves when walking. This skirt is below the knees.

the sewing:

Cut and stay stitch everything.

Add the pockets to the front panel, reinforce the opening with non stretching band.

Temporarily baste the pockets, especially at the waist edge, to prevent skewing.

Sew side seams but only once.

Try for fit. If good: finish side seams: fold to the front and add topstitching. This is a lapped seam? Felled seam? At the pocket I reinforced the side seam. Finishing seams with pinking shears.

lining

has 2×5 cm more width than the skirt

Pressed lining. Sewed the side seams with french seams. Where it meets the zipper I gve it a rolled hem. The lower hem was a rolled hem too.

Now the lining can be hung into the skirt. I pinned it to the waist.

Catch zipper and lining together in the seam allowance of the fashion fabric.

I reinforced the opening of the pocket with a non-stretchy band:
Sewing skirtsSewing skirtsSewing skirts

It has a lapped zipper. I like those.
Sewing skirts

A strange problem occurred during wearing: when walking the skirt swivels around and brings the sideseam to the front. Might have to do with the chiffon lining being tacked down onto one sideseam (the one with the zipper) but not the other.
UntitledUntitled

Yes, I still need to attach a hook and bar. But I’m already wearing this skirt in public 🙂 It wears wonderful, apart from the swiveling. It’s nice and light and a good colour and there is indeed enough room around my legs for fierce striding. The pockets hold up well.

The pattern works well for fabric on the bias. The darts are less pointy then on the first pictures but in a next skirt I will take them out (of the sideseams). Would add more sturdiness to the waist band though. Perhaps a second line of (top) stitching, about 1,5 cm from the top. Catching that non stretching band. It’s just that in previous attemps I have not succeeded in making this neat.

Finished: a straight linen skirt

linnen bloemenrok rechht

The pattern is self-drafted and fit the fabric just about. It’s light summer linen. I added a lining of silk shiffon.
linnen bloemenrok rechht

The side seam is sewn, folded down and sewn again.
linnen bloemenrok rechht

Raw edges of the side seam are then pinked. Lining is shorter than the fashion fabric and has a rolled hem. It’s chiffon silk.
linnen bloemenrok rechht

A handpicked zipper. The sides are uneven on purpose as I needed more wearing ease at the hip but less so at the waist and below the hip:
linnen bloemenrok rechht
After wearing a couple of hours the skirt grew wider and I didn’t need this solution. I even had to put in extra waist darts both at the front and back.

A non-stretching satin band reinfores the waist. It catches both the fashion fabric and the lining and both their edges:
linnen bloemenrok rechht

Same spot with the extra darts, needed after a few hours of wear:
linnen bloemenrok rechht

Zipper shows where I needed more wearing ease and where not. After thought front darts bulge a little.
linnen bloemenrok rechht

New front darts, on top of the old ones. They bulge a bit:
linnen bloemenrok rechht

I’ll get someone to take a picture of me wearing it, it looks quite elegant I think.
I now have a staple pattern for a long skirt that fits my body type. It’s quite slim fitting so very usable for fabric cut on the bias.

Altering a linen top.

Bought a linen top that was ecoprinted by independent dyer Annie Leynen from FeltingVilt in Belgium. The garment original was a tunic from MEXX. It had some nice details but its shape was all wrong for me.
10
6

Wrong shape and awful open armhole:
5

Nice detail:
3

Here it is after I played around with it:

modified mexx top. eco printed.modified mexx top. eco printed.modified mexx top. eco printed.

I put in waist darts at the front, two at each side. Ending in tucks at the underbust, something I haven’t used before. I also cut off some of the length.
modified mexx top. eco printed.
modified mexx top. eco printed.

At the back I elongated the vertical darts and put in TWO horizontal darts to accommodate my sway back. One runs from side seam to side seam, the other just between the back darts. Now there’s no fabric folds anymore at the back, it lies smooth.

I put in a triangle at the armhole, using the cut off hem piece:
modified mexx top. eco printed.

I made some pleats to match the front detail and played around with the stitching so I didn’t have to tie to many loose ends:
modified mexx top. eco printed.
Nothing fancy on the inside, just fold under and stitch. I did secure the point at/to the side seam allowance.
modified mexx top. eco printed.

I should like to put in a little thingy at the shoulder band that catches the bra strap so it doesn’t come peeking. But I probably won’t because of priorities and limited time/energy.

I’m very happy with my new shirt, showing off that intriguing eco printed fabric. I love how the sewing thread and the buttons took up colour too.
Garment wise I like the front detail, with the pleats and the panel, as a means to address bust shaping. With my body shape that’s where designing starts: how to treat the underbust. Otherwise: potato sack.

front pleat top

I’m inspired by this top:

and this book:

Buit Countryfair 2015

The book promotes quality fabrics and loose fitted garments.
The top Laricci Smunch sewed is pattern Burda 17/2012 #103 in a less drapey fabric than the pattern example.

I want a top that pleats as nonchalant as hers. That works with my broad shoulders and small hips. With pockets.
The book convinces me to go for a loose garment and to use some of the linens I’ve been hoarding. Reading some more about linen I found the site Fabrics-Store.com with some really encouraging tutorials. They say: just go for it! Just enjoy your linen!

Since I’m working without a pattern I’m making a muslin first, to work things out. I copied more or less the back of a longsleeve that fits comfortably.
I took that as a template for the front panel but I only used the bottom. For the top part I swiveled the piece to the right and the left so I would get enough ease in the middle for the pleat but still have matching side seams. I have not decided how I’ll do the neck.

Because the original Burda pattern has a non-desirable look in light fabrics (so frumpy!) I want to stiffen up my fabric. I cut an underlining. But I’m not sure yet how this will help in the middle of the front panel. Should I use fusing? Should I fuse the underlining to the shell fabric? Perhaps with little quilt tacks. I’ve got no idea yet.

WHAT I DID SO FAR.
Take off shirt and lie it on the fabric:
Front pleat top

Cut around it. One rough outline of a back panel:
Front pleat top

Match up the sides:
Front pleat top

For the front panel: cut the bottom the same but for the top part swivel it to the left: (picture is flipped horizontally)
Front pleat top

And swivel to the right:
Front pleat top

Match up the sides.
Now I have one back panel and one front panel:
Front pleat top

I also cut some underlining following the top part of these pieces. Now I’ll have a little cup of tea and a little think about how to proceed.

Finished: a little project bag

Made from a linen jacket I bought in the last century.
When you haven’t worn something in 10 years, you’ll probably won’t wear it again, won’t you? I know things come back in fashion every 25 years but not this jacket.
Nice fabric though. Pure linen.

Linnen projecttasje

It’s a knotted bag, with one handle bigger than the other. I love having project bags that I can wear on my wrist. It keeps the yarn while I walk and knit.
Linnen projecttasje

It is lined and has a boxed bottom. And a pocket.
Linnen projecttasje
On the inside there’s another pocket.
They were on the jacket. I just cut the lower half of the jacket away and made a bag out of it.

Embellished with darling Little Red Riding Hood tape I got from Nieslief, who is very lief. (“lief” = “lovable, lovely”)

Backside:
Linnen projecttasje

Wriggle Dress: lining it

For the lining I have a thrifted cotton shirt. Very long and very soft:
Untitled
It fits the dress
Untitled

after pressing the shirt and the now unbasted dress this is how my ‘template’ for the front looks:
Untitled
Start cutting. Remember to put the right sides to the right side.

(yes, you eagle eyed sewers, I didn’t unpick the bust darts in the dress in this picture! I thought I could get away with it. Not away from you but from sewing. They were in the perfect spot you see, following good lines. And I was afraid I would wither from too much work. So I cut the lining while the darts were still in the dress. This will distort the side seam of the lining. I will be sorry. I convinced myself that the soft cotton will forgive. It probably won’t.
This is why I wrote down the tip to myself to use a screamingly different colour thread for basting next time. So I won’t be tempted again to leave darts in if I am going to use a piece as a template.

After this picture I took out the darts because I had to resew them at a better stitch width anyway. It took al of 7 minutes to rip out 4 long darts… 7 minutes I can afford and could have spend easily before cutting the lining.

What convinced me to take them out was that the 2mm stitch width of the basting was tearing at the linen, which is a fairly loosen weave. It was the wrong width for the fabric.
But by then the lining was already cut. And I am already sorry.)

By the way, the reason that I am lining this dress, even though the pattern says not to, is because of this book:

Linen and Cotton by Susan Khalje

and because of this project:

May Challenge Panel Dress by Marina von Koenig on which Khalje advised.
I cannot stop mentioning these two, sorry.

I learned very much from what Marina is showing us about this dress and it really prompted me to use linen and dabble in couture techniques. I hope to repeat this experience, in different designs, as her project and her approach is very inspiring!

The lining makes the white linen I’m using less see-through; it will reduce wrinkling and enhance wearing comfortability. But putting in a lining in this dress which has interfacing and facing is a bit of a puzzle: which layer goes where?

At least I did know about grading the seams where the interfacing/interlining is concerned:
Untitled

For attaching the rest of the lining I basically use the instructions for the facings.

I’m doing the back now. I’ll need to attach the lining to the zipper-part. This seemed a logical solution: two openings on layers that go together.

Untitled
Logic, yes?

It would work better if the opening of the lining was as long as the zipper is…
Untitled
It needs to open all the way to where the pins are. Besides: it has buttons.

Untitled
There we go. Now I have a piece of fabric instead of the front of an old shirt.