Mak­ing a cur­tain bag

A use­ful holdall is easy to make from a re­cy­cled cur­tain and an old leather belt

Landscape (UK) - - Contents - ▯ Project: Rachel Hawkins ▯ Pho­tog­ra­phy: Richard Faulks

an old cur­tain and a leather belt are given a new lease of life as a stylish and use­ful bag, lined with a pil­low­case. No pat­tern is re­quired as the bag fol­lows the shape of the pil­low­case, so it is sim­ple to make. The heavy weight of the cur­tain fab­ric means the bag will be hard wear­ing. It has many uses, rang­ing from a handy shop­ping bag to car­ry­ing beach tow­els for a day at the sea­side. In­doors, it will keep all the com­po­nents of on-go­ing craft projects to­gether.

To make the bag

1. The cur­tain is washed and ironed. The pil­low­case is turned in­side out and ironed.

2. The in­side-out pil­low­case is placed on a flat sur­face. The top sec­tion, where the pil­low is nor­mally tucked in, is re­moved by cut­ting through the full thick­ness of the pil­low­case. This forms the lin­ing bag with a raw top edge. The cut off sec­tion is not used.

3. The header tape and any hemmed edges are cut off the cur­tain to leave a piece of fab­ric with four cut edges. Care is taken to make sure the edges are straight.

4. Two pieces of cur­tain ma­te­rial are cut us­ing the lin­ing bag as a tem­plate. If the cur­tain has a pat­tern, care is taken to en­sure this is the right way up be­fore cut­ting. Cen­tring a re­peat pat­tern gives neat fin­ish.

5. The two cur­tain pieces are pinned to­gether with right sides fac­ing. Again, care is taken to en­sure the pat­tern is the right way up.

6. The pinned cur­tain pieces are ma­chine stitched to­gether us­ing run­ning stitch, form­ing the sides and bot­tom of the bag. The seams are the same dis­tance apart as those on the pil­low­case so that an iden­ti­cal bag is made. The top of the bag is left raw at this stage, but the three seamed edges may be sealed with a zigzag stitch to give ex­tra strength.

7. The bag lin­ing is turned back the right way and placed in­side the in­side-out cur­tain bag. Care is taken to en­sure right sides of both bags are fac­ing to­gether. The side seams and top edges of each bag are aligned. The two bags are pinned to­gether around the top.

8. Run­ning stitch is used to sew the bags to­gether ⅜in (1cm) in from the top edge. A 6in (15cm) hole is left, enough to put a hand through.

9. The whole bag is pulled through this hole. This forms an ob­long with cur­tain fab­ric at one end, pil­low­case lin­ing at the other, and the join and 6in (15cm) hole in the mid­dle. No raw seams are vis­i­ble. The lin­ing bag is pushed down into the main bag to form the lin­ing.

10. The top of the bag is pinned around en­sur­ing a neat top edge. Run­ning stitch is used to sew around, ⅛in (3mm) down from the top to firmly hold the lin­ing and bag to­gether and close the 6in (15cm) hole.

11. The top of the bag is now folded in by 2⅜in (6cm) and pressed. Run­ning stitch is used to sew around the top and bot­tom of the folded down band. Ex­tra care is taken as this stitch­ing will be vis­i­ble on the out­side of the bag. It forms a stiff­ened band for at­tach­ing the han­dles.

At this point the bag may be left square or turned in­side out and stitched di­ag­o­nally across at the bot­tom cor­ners to make a clipped shape. A small tri­an­gle of fab­ric is cre­ated on the two in­side cor­ners when cre­at­ing a clipped shape. This can be left on or cut off and the edge sealed with zigzag stitch if de­sired.

To at­tach the han­dles

1. The buckle is cut off the belt and the re­main­ing length cut in half. The ends are trimmed to a pleas­ing shape.

2. The belt han­dles are at­tached to the bag us­ing the orig­i­nal holes. Ad­di­tional holes are made in the leather with a ham­mer and nail over an un­wanted block of wood. Care is taken to po­si­tion the pieces of belt against the bag and check the length and po­si­tion of han­dles be­fore ad­di­tional holes are added. If longer han­dles are de­sired, one whole belt is used for each han­dle. See pic­ture for po­si­tion of holes.

3. Each of the four han­dle ends are firmly hand-stitched to the out­side of the bag. Con­trast­ing thread gives a dec­o­ra­tive ef­fect. Us­ing the holes in the belt they are stitched through the full thick­ness of the top band.

Once fin­ished, a gen­tle press gives the bag a crisp fin­ish.

En­sur­ing the han­dles are po­si­tioned so that all stitch­ing is within the stiff­ened band gives the bag ex­tra strength.

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