Friday, December 23, 2011

Introducing...The Morsbag!

I'm excited to tell you about the next swap I will be organizing (with my friend Wendie) on Craftster soon after Christmas--we will be making and swapping morsbags!  They are re-usable fabric shopping bags.  Click on that name to go to the website.  You will see that it is run by a group of people who are very dedicated to ridding the environment of harmful plastic, one morsbag at a time. 

I'm just a person who likes to sew, but if I can sew something that makes the world a better place--wow!  I'm all for that!  I hope you will be able to join us in the swap on Craftster, but if not, go to morsbags and make a few bags--for yourself, your family, or your friends!

There are morsbag instructions on the website, but I thought it would be helpful to any new sewists in our swap if I showed you how I made my morsbag.  Here's what to do:

1.  Go to morsbags and download the instructions.

2.  Choose your fabric.  Since this is for the swap, I am using nice new fabric (morsbags encourages people to make them by upcycling a bedsheet or other old fabric).  The finished size is large (18" x 16 1/2"), so a large-scale print works great.  You will need a 20" x 44" piece of fabric (I always like to have slightly more than I expect to need, in case of shrinkage or a cutting mistake!)

3.  Cut:
--cut two pieces 18" x 20" (the shorter sides are the top and bottom--keep that in mind if your fabric has a directional pattern).
--cut two pieces 4" x 18" for the handles.

(my fabric is a little busy, but this picture shows the four cut pieces, and my printed-out instructions)

4.  Make the handles.  The instructions say "fold a narrow hem on one side, and a wider one on the other, then iron".  I made my narrow hem 1/4", and the wider one 1 3/8".  When you fold the side with the narrow hem over, it will reach the center of the fabric., and your handle will be 1 3/8" wide.

(These two pictures show the handle fabrics ironed and folded.)

5.  Sew the handles.  Start by sewing one seam right down the middle, along the edge of the folded-over fabric; then sew near the edges of the two sides.

6.  Next, fold down a 1/4" hem on the top edge of each piece of the bag fabric, and iron it.  To set the handles in place, I measured 6" from each side and put a pin in the fabric to mark it.  I put one side of each handle against the outside edge of each pin, then pinned the handles in place.

The morsbag instructions don't tell you to sew a seam along the center of the 1/4" hem, but I did, just to hold it all together before moving to the next step.

7.  Fold down a 1" hem along the top edge of each piece of the bag fabric. Pin in place and iron.  Sew a seam along the lower edge of the hem.

8.  Now, fold the handle UP, and "sew a strong box and cross at the area of the handle and hem".  This is an important step to make the handles secure.

(My sewn "box and cross"--I hope you can see it!)

9.  Okay!  Now let's sew this bag together!  This part is easy to do but it might be hard to comprehend, because you will be making a French seam:  pin the two halves of the bag together, WRONG sides together, and sew a SCANT 1/4" seam along the three raw edges.  (I know this looks wrong, but it is right!)  You need to make this seam narrower than the next seam, that's why I said to make it a scant 1/4".

10.  Turn the bag inside-out and iron the edges flat.

Sew a GENEROUS 1/4" seam along the two sides and bottom.  This will encase the raw edges of the fabric between the two seam lines.

11.  Turn the bag right-side-out and iron it flat.

Ta-da!  It's beautiful!  Let's go shopping!
If you want to print out the "morsbags" label and sew it on, go right ahead!  I didn't do it on mine.


Wendie Koster said...

Wow Leslie! Those are gorgeous! Who wouldn't want to go out shopping with these environment-friendly bags? I can't wait for this swap to start!

A nice, clear tutorial too! Great work on that too.

I wish you a merry Christmas and see you on Craftster!

(I just wanted to take a peak on your blog, to find you posted this, what a coincidence)

Unknown said...

I love these morsebags and i love this tute!
Its a great first-swap of-the-year idea; everyone will have their specially made bags thruout 2012!

Leslie Andersen said...

Thanks, Susan and Wendie!

waggonswest said...

What fun! I'll have to make sure I don't miss this swap. Your tute and pictures are fantastic.

Suzy said...

Oh my gosh!!! I love this!!! I can't wait to make a few of these!!! Have you used them shopping yet? Does the fabric stretch or do the seams mess up??

Thanks for posting this!

Leslie Andersen said...

Waggonswest, I look forward to seeing you in the swap!

Suzy, I have not used these for shopping yet; my daughter has used one to haul things to college, and it seems sturdy enough. I guess you will have to try some and see!

Suzy said...

I gave in I joined craftster!! Got to get everything set up but I'm sure I'll love it!! I guess I need to become more than a "lurker" to do swaps??

Any tips you have I'd be happy to take! My username is beunruffled but there's not much there yet!