Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Barrel Bag Sew- Along Instructions: Week 1

Are you sitting comfortably? 

Then let's begin our sew-along!

How To Make a Barrel Bag
How To Make a Barrel Bag 

Step 1 was to prepare your fabrics, which is why today we are starting with:

Step 2:

Cut Out Your Pattern:

Do you remember that I mentioned a 26cm diameter plate? Well, I'm sure you will have guessed that this is for making the ends of your bag! 

Draw around your plate (or use a compass to draw a circle this size), and cut a paper pattern (no need to add any extra seam allowance, this is already included).

barrel bag pattern
26cm Circle

Fold the circle in half both horizontally and vertically, and mark quarters around the edge (e.g. 12 o'clock, 3, 6, and 9). You can use a notcher here if you have one. 

Paper Pattern with Notches
Paper Pattern with Notches

Other Pattern Pieces: 

Cut a paper square with sides measuring 19cm for the pocket pattern, and cut a paper pattern for the main body of the bag measuring 76.5cm x 52cm.

It pays to be as accurate as you can be at this stage, so it is a good idea to check that your corners are right-angles and your sides the correct length. Again there is no need to add any extra seam allowance as it is already included. 

Cut Your Fabric:

Pin the pattern pieces carefully onto your fabric and cut as follows:

• cut two circles from main fabric,
• cut one piece for the body of the bag from the main fabric (line up one of the edges with the straight of grain),
• cut one pocket square from main fabric and one pocket square from contrasting fabric (again, cut along the grain line). 

Making Bias Binding:

Taking your contrasting fabric (my Marble Indigo cotton) we are going to make some bias strips, which we will use for binding and for piping. 

This is where your graders square (if you have one) will come into its own: line up one of the shorter sides of the triangle with the selvedge and mark down the long edge of the tool- this will be at 45˚ to the straight of grain, or the bias. Take care not to drag on the fabric as you go. 

graders square tutorial
Using Graders Square

You can then use the markings on the plastic (seen here in the bottom of the picture) to help you draw a series of lines running parallel to the first one, and draw a number of strips which run along the bias. 

If you don't have a tool like this, use a small set square to find the bias, then use it in conjunction with a long ruler to mark your strips. 

You will need roughly 2m of 4cm-wide binding, and 2m of 3cm-wide binding. Do all of your drawing before you begin to cut. 

homemade bias binding
Rolls of Bias Binding Ready to Use
notice the different widths

Cut along your lines to make strips, and join them together to make long rolls of bias binding as follows: to determine whether the ends of your strips can be joined, lay them with right sides (RS) up, and if the angles run parallel you will be able to join them.

homemade bias binding
Edges Run Parallel

Take one strip and turn it over, laying it on top of the other- now RS's face each other. 

joining bias strips
Joining Bias Strips

The stitch line will be 1cm from the raw edges, so make sure this is where the edges intersect, and that this is the point at which the right angles appear along the edges- stitch line drawn below. 

how to join bias strips
Stitch Line

Cover Your Piping Cord:

You will need to attach your one-sided foot to your sewing machine. If you're not sure what this looks like, take a look at the image below: I always think it looks like a ski. 

It will not sit in the middle of the ankle, you will have to attach it to one side- attach it so the foot it positioned to the right of the needle. 

In some machines, the position of the foot is adjusted by loosening the screw, sliding the foot to the desired position and tightening it back up. You can do this with the needle down to get a really close hold on the fabric. 

how to make piping cord tutorial
Making Piping Cord

Take your 3cm binding, and roll it around your piping cord. Take care that the raw edges of the bias binding are level with each other and that the cord runs down the centre of the bias strip. 

Using your one-sided foot as shown in the photo, sew a line of stitching running along the cord- don't stitch through the cord itself but try to keep the stitches close to it to hold it in place. 

Lesson One Done!

That is as far as we are going to go this week, I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to you sharing your progress with me on twitter and instagram

If you need anything to be clarified please go ahead and ask, and if you really don't do the metric system I may be persuaded to offer imperial conversions... 


Are you following #mmmay on social media? Me-made May is the perfect opportunity to show off your skills, so don't forget to add this tag too to your barrel bag pictures.

Following the Instructions:

I will be putting up other blog posts between the sew-along, so don't forget that you can click on the words 'sew-along' in the word cloud to the right to see everything in this sequence. 

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