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Stitch Rope Beach Bag

Stitch Rope Beach Bag

So the other day I took a bunch of blue fabrics, some aurifloss and some tulip sashiko needles home.

I didn’t have a clue what it was going to be, it was just a case of being inspired by the fabrics, finally getting around to having a play with the tulip needles and the aurifloss together (match made in heaven, just so you know).  I spent the evening stitching up a patchwork panel and then thought, what now?

In work the next day we brainstormed some ideas – I had it pretty much in my head that a make up pouch of some description would be the final outcome, but I wasn’t sold.  Then someone mentioned a beach bag, someone mentioned rope handles, we fiddled around to do something a little different with the handles, and then – the Stitch Rope Beach Bag was born.  It’s a bit of a mouthful, yes. 
I’m not gonna lie: there’s a lot going on in this bag.  There’s patchwork, there’s quilting, there’s rope.  There’s more rope.  But overall?  I think I quite like it.  

Here’s what you need to make one all of your very own:
40cm of main panel fabric (this can be made up of scraps, or for a simpler look, just one fabric)
10cm co-ordinating gusset fabric
50cm lining fabric
50cm wadding
10cm + scraps handle fabrics
5m x 10mm piping cord or rope
If you want, some variegated Aurifloss is a pretty good addition!

1.  From your main fabric, your lining fabric, and your wadding, cut 2 pieces measuring 40cm x 32cm.  If you want a pieced main panel, sew your scraps directly onto your wadding.  I’m not going to tell you how to do that bit, just use your imagination and creativity.  If you’ve decided to do some quilting, now is the time to do that.

just a simple large quilting stitch should do the trick

see how pretty that Aurifloss looks?

2.  Pin your main panel and gusset pieces to your wadding pieces, wrong sides facing.

3.  Now find your centre points of the bottom of each main panel, and the gusset strip, and pin together.  Then sew with a 5mm seam allowance.  Your piece should look like this now (complete with patchwork, if you’ve done this).

4.  Put this to one side, we’re going to concentrate on the strips that hold the handles in place.  These strips need to be 9cm x 30cm.  You can make these out of one fabric, or you can piece them, as long as you end up with 4 strips of this size.

5.  Press under each side of each strip 5mm.  Sew each short side down.  Find the middle of each strip, and mark a line along it’s length.

6.  Measure in 6cm from the side of one panel, and pin one strip here.  Sew a couple of millimeters in from the outer edge.  Sew this line not just once, but twice.  This needs to be super secure because it’s these strips that are going to hold all the weight you’re going to put in your bag (if you are anything like me, then it’s a lot).

7.  Take your rope, and make your ends a little loose and thready.  Smoosh them up a bit.  Then stitch across them several times back and forth, to secure your rope into one big loop.  Then take a bit of tape, and wrap it around the stitched section, making back into a round.

The rope goes on the outside of the bag – encased by the tubes on the side, and open to the bottom:

8.  Tuck your rope under your handle tube that you’ve sewn down, and push towards the stitches.  Then stitch along the centre line you drew earlier, fully encasing the rope.

9.  Continue stitching the handle tubes and rope into place on the bag in the order shown in the diagram below. 

Stitch the flaps down, and feed the rope through, until you have something that looks like this.  Disclaimer: the rope will totally get in your way, and will get all twisted up, and you’ll trip over it and strangle yourself whilst it’s going on.  Don’t worry, this is okay (unless you hurt yourself, in which case, it’s not okay, and I’m sorry).   Once you’re all in, fiddle about with your ropes until they are even on each side.

10.  Once your handles are all attached, pin the gusset edges that are flapping out to your main body, and sew all together to make a bag shape.

11.  Cut a 10cm gusset strip from your lining fabric.  Repeat steps 3 and 10 with your lining fabric, to create a bag shape.  Leave a 4″ gap along one edge  With the lining bag inside out, place the main bag (right way out) inside the lining bag, so the right sides are facing.  Pin along the top edge, matching all the seams of the lining and the main bag together.  Keep the handles tucked in between the two layers.  Sew along this top edge, and then pull out through the hole in the lining.  Stitch this hole closed.  Top stitch around the top edge of your bag.

12.  With the remaining scraps, make two 5″ squares (patchwork or plain).  Press in each edge, and then wrap around the ropes on each side where your hands will hold the bag.  Stitch into place.  You could use some of that lovely Aurifloss again whilst you do so.

That’s it!

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