It’s been a while – so long that I had better explain -Bob’s Project is about upcycling the things we don’t use into things we will. I was hunting for something in the cellar, when I came across these cushion covers that I must have had for over 20 years without using.
I still love them but they just don’t work with the furniture I have now. So I started thinking project bag. This is a simple tutorial that makes the most out of the existing construction, and you can make it simpler still by leaving out the elastication.
So here is the how to…
You will need
A no longer used cushion cover
1/2 meter fabric for lining – we used an old curtain
1/4mtr 1cm wide elastic
Two handbag handles – we used bamboo ones – you should be able to find some in your local haberdashery or online.
A water soluble marker pen would be useful but you can use another pen.
Firstly see if there is a back zip and unpick and remove if there is. Ours was a slip cover so no zip. Pin the two pieces of the back in line to be able to sew later on.
Now turn the cushion cover to the right side and position the handle about 3.5cm down from the top edge and central to each side. Mark 0.5cm in from the inside of the handles.
Having done this, measure 9cm ¬†down the side from the top and put a pin here – this is the level of the finished side. Now use a wine glass to create a smooth curve 1cm away from your marked handle position and 1cm higher than your side position. This is allowing for 1cm seams. I used a water soluble pen to mark the curve and a ruler to extend the curve into straight lines as shown. Once you are happy with the shape cut along the line.
Now using the piece that has been cut away, flip it over and draw around the opposite corner to replicate. Next lay your lining out doubled and position the cushion shape over it. Draw around the cushion shape accurately but add 1cm to each long side. Everything else can be exactly the same dimensions as the cushion. (You don’t need to allow for a seam at¬†the bottom – it will just make the lining sit a little bit shorter in the bag, which is the best way)
Now unpick the short top edge of the cushion cover.
Use an edgestitch to sew along the back zip opening.
Zigzag 1/2 cm away from the cut edge of the curve, if like us, you have cut through embroidery that might fray or undo.
With right sides together, pin the sides and bottom of the lining. ¬†Mark an opening 14cm long on the bottom that you are going to leave open.¬†Stitch using a 1cm seam allowance down one side, turning the corner with the needle down in the fabric and lifting the presser foot, and stitching up to the point¬†you are leaving open – making sure you off securely. Start on the other side of the opening and continue until you get to the top of the other side.
Using an iron, press the edges of the opening in the lining back on themselves to make it easier when you are sewing up. Now push the cushion cover into the lining, match up the top edges and side seams, pinning along the curved shapes you have cut out. ¬†Sew with a 1cm seam allowance from one top edge around, over the side seam and back around to the other top edge. Repeat on the other side, leaving the top handle edges open.
Trim the 1cm seams back to be 1/2cm and then snip carefully at the curves to allow the seam to be turned back on itself later.
Elastication ( You can skip this step if you are time poor!)
Cut a 10cm piece of elastic for each side. Measure 9cm each way from the side seam and mark with a pin. Line one end of the elastic up to one of the marks and secure to the lining only with a zig zag stitch. Then position the other end of the elastic at the other marked point and stich in place in the same way. You might spot I could only find buttonholed elastic – elastic never has a proper home in my crafting kit.
Turn the bag inside out using the hole you left at the bottom of the lining.
Press the turned edges flat and edgestitch – you will have to stretch the elastic but keep it out of the way as it still needs to be free to move. Pin through all layers where you have sewn the elastic in with zig zag and then pin about 1/2 cm away from the lower edge of the elastic to create a casing. Check that the elastic is still free to move. Starting where you have pinned, topstitch down from the edge and then turn and sew 2cm away from the edge to make the casing, turning when you get the the point you have marked for the end of the elastic and heading back up to the edge. You will have to stretch the elastic out whilst you are sewing.
Place the handles over the top extensions. Fold over 4cm and pin edge in place. Topstitch a straight line from one side of the bag to the other to secure the fold into position. Originally I was going to slip stitch onto the lining but if the bag is going to take any weight the handle needs to be supported by the stitching going through both the main body and the lining.
Edgestitch the lining opening on the bottom, to close it and then push the lining inside the bag. The bag is now finished and ready for some knitting, sewing or other crafty moment.