Crochet Tote Bag

Crochet Tote Bag

finished tote bag

 

i like to roll down the top when using it

 

I made a crochet tote bag a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been using it ever since to store and carry around my knitting or crochet projects. It’s been perfect for that purpose, so I thought I’d share the basics of it.

*Please note that although this is a very simple project to make, I have not written an introduction to crochet, so you will need to know the basic stitches before starting.*

Materials needed:

2 x 100gr chunky yarn for the base and bottom half,

1 x 100gr of chunky yarn in a different colour for the top half,

5mm crochet hook, which is smaller than recommended in order to achieve a tighter and sturdier texture. Although this will depend entirely on your tension so you may want to experiment with different size hooks.

The process:

First you need to make a flat round base. Start by chaining 4 stitches and connecting them to make a loop.

In row 1, chain 1 then single crochet 6 stitches, slip stitch to first single crochet to join the round.

In row 2, chain 1 then increase by single crocheting 2 in each single crochet. Slip stitch to first single crochet to join the round. You should have ended up with 12 stitches.

In row 3, chain 1 then increase in every second stitch, slip stitch to first single crochet to join. You should have ended up with 18 stitches.

the start of the round base

Continue to increase 6 stitches (equally dispersed) in each row for 16 rows until you have 96 stitches.

*Note that if you line up your increases in each row, your round base will be more of a hexagon than a circle, which is perfectly fine for this project but if you wish to make it more of a circle as in the photo above, than you need to stagger your increases starting from row 5. Meaning you need to make the row 5 increases in the middle of those in row 4 and so on.*

From row 17, I used a rib stitch for the body. You create this stitch the same as single crochet but you do not hook through both loops of the previous row’s single crochets, just the back loops. No increases from here.

hooking through two loops for regular single crochet

 

hooking through the back loop only for rib stitch

 

Otherwise, simply single crochet in the round without increasing and continue for 14 rounds. Change colour if you like and crochet another 14 rounds.

To create the handles, single crochet 16, chain 20, skipping 16 stitches then connect from the 17th and single crochet 32, chain another 20, skip 16 stitches then connect from 17th and single crochet 16. Slip stitch to join the round.

view of finished handle

In the next row, chain 1 then single crochet in the round, making sure to crochet 20 single crochets along each of the two handles. Continue for another two rounds to finish.

That’s it, you’re done! I hope you enjoy using it and don’t be afraid to make it your own by changing the size of it, playing with different colours, etc. There’s lots of variations to experiment with.

Drop me a line if anything is unclear!

Dhurata x

Oven glove tutorial and free template

This is a quick and easy, stash-busting project and a lovely gift idea if you’d like to surprise someone with an oven glove that matches their kitchen colours. You’ll need the free pdf template which I’ve created, 2 x 30cm pieces of contrasting fabrics (or if you’re a quilter, 2x fat quarters will be more than enough!) and 30cm of insulating wadding. You can find this in most fabric and craft stores. I got mine at eternal maker.

Please make sure you print the pdf at 100% scale otherwise you might lose some of the content or end up with a really tiny/huge oven glove. Unless you’d like to do that intentionally, of course 🙂

Cut the template along the outer solid line then use this to cut 2 pieces for each of the fabrics and the insulating wadding

. main fabric                   lining fabric               insulating wadding

Lay the lining pieces side by side wrong sides up, place the insulating wadding shiny side up and then place the main fabric pieces on top with right sides up. Secure the three layers together with pins then quilt either by machine or by hand using your choice of pattern. I chose to follow the pattern of the fabric and formed diamond shapes with a contrasting pink thread. Once you’ve finished, make sure to snip any loose threads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lay the two quilted pieces on top of one another with right sides together and pin along the edges.

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Cut the paper template along the dashed line and use this to mark the stitch line on top. Stitch these together with a straight stitch around the sides but not the  cuff opening! (Just thought I’d mention that…) Trim the seam allowance to 6mm, make a few snips just in the narrow curve between the fingers and the thumb and then zigzag around. Nearly there…

You’ll need a piece of fabric 30cm long and 5cm wide to bind the raw edge around the cuff opening. You can cut this on the bias if you wish but it’s not necessary so it can be cut on a straight grain. Join it to make a loop and pin around the cuff right sides facing on the lining side. Stitch leaving a 1cm seam allowance and then press away from the glove. Fold 1cm of the other edge of the binding towards the wrong side and then fold this over to bind the seam. Pin and topstitch along the inner edge… and there you have it – your very own handmade oven glove! Ready to bake : )

 

Wrist pincushion tutorial!

Amongst other dressmaker-y supplies, I got these gorgeous pins from my little boy for my birthday. They’re so delicate and beautiful that I just didn’t think it was right to use them on an old pincushion! So there I was the other night, (while cooking dinner!) cooking up this idea for a new pincushion, worthy of my new fancy pins! I’m a big fan of a wrist pincushion and use them all the time when sewing.

     

I happen to be near the bin/recycling corner while trying to think what to use on the base of the pincushion to stop the pins from going through my wrist… when lo and behold, a plastic bottle lid caught my eye. Just the thing and about the right size at 4cm diameter. Perfect! I swiftly rescued it and gave it a quick wash.

I then drilled two holes through it about 2cm apart.

For the strap I cut a strip of double sided very heavy fusible stabiliser, measuring 24cm x 2.5cm and a strip of fabric for covering the strap measuring 49cm x 3.5cm.

To make the strap, I placed the stabiliser on one half of the fabric strip, leaving 5mm all around three sides. I folded the short end of the fabric over the stabiliser and fused it to it with a dry iron, I flipped it over so the fabric was on top to fuse it quickly then flipped it back so the stabiliser was on top again. Folding the edges of the fabric over the stabiliser, I carefully fused them to it with the edge of the iron making sure the iron was not touching the glue of the stabiliser directly. I continued to fold over and press 5mm of the edges around the other half of the fabric then folded it on top of the stabiliser.

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I fused this in place with the iron then top stitched it around the edges on the sewing machine.

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I cut a circle of fabric to cover the lid measuring 9cm in diameter then put double sided tape around the inside of the bottle cap rim. I placed the fabric circle wrong side up under the lid, folded the raw edges up and in to the inside of the rim with my fingers and stuck it to the double sided tape firmly. Once done, I attached it by hand, much like you’d sew a button, to the middle of the strap using a strong button thread.

          

I attached 5cm velcro to the two ends of the strap, making sure one half is on the top of one end and the other half is on the bottom side of the strap, on the other end, ensuring they form a circle when sticking together.

          

I cut a circle for the cushion measuring about 11cm, ladder stitched around the raw edge of it then pulled the thread ends slightly to form a dome. Packed it firmly with toy stuffing. When done, I pulled the thread ends a bit tighter to hold the stuffing in, tied them together and sniped them.

       

I used a generous amount of glue with a glue gun to attach the cushion to the base and pressed it down making sure it was  meeting in all the sides but glue was not pouring out. I even used the handle of a small crochet hook to tuck the sides in. The glue dries very quickly so had to be very quick with this step. But that was it, all done and here it is below… looking pretty but most importantly very useful! I so look forward to using it! Very pleased to be able to make something that I’ll be using all the time from a few scraps of fabric and a plastic bottle lid that I rescued from the bin.

       

The Curlew Shirt, Hacked!

The Curlew shirt and dress pattern is from the Merchant & Mills Workbook and I’ve already made two versions of it. The one I’m sharing here is the third one, so you can probably tell I like it quite a bit!!! It’s a lovely pattern to make and I love the fit. You can probably see from the  second photo below that it’s cut on the bias so it hangs and shapes to your body really beautifully.

       

I had 1.3m of this gorgeous Alison Glass plus print from her ‘handcrafted 1’ collection. As much as I liked the pluses, I thought they would make perfect ‘kisses’ when cut on the bias… and so it came to be!

       

Having cut each of the front and back pieces as per the pattern instructions, I then prepared them by stay-stitching the neckline and armholes, as well as sewing up the bust darts. I did not use any *tape* around these edges but I did use strips of woven interfacing when joining the shoulders. I joined the sides using a very narrow zigzag and then finished the seam allowances.

*please note, I only used one layer of fabric for the body*

I like to do things back to front sometimes and before even starting with the sleeves I finished the hem on the body as well. I did this by turning and pressing first 1cm and then 2cm towards the wrong side. I used a blind stitch on the sewing machine, but you can hem it in any way you like.

        

 

I was using the pattern pieces I’d cut when I made a long sleeved version and didn’t want to alter these, so to make the short sleeves I just folded the pattern piece up to the length I wanted. In this case 7cm down from the armpit. This included 3cm hem allowance.  While I’m at the hem, there’s something I forgot to include in my sleeve alteration process so had to correct that swiftly. I did not allow the right angle at the seam for the hem to sit flat when turned up. Please see the third photo down captioned ‘correction’ to understand what I did to fix this. When joining up the sleeves, I had to stop at the hem allowance point (3cm), put the needle down, then pivot and continue stitching out towards the corner of the hem. This allowed sufficient width to fix the issue (before it became an issue!). I prepared the sleeves for hemming by turning and pressing first 1cm and then 2cm towards the wrong side. I hemmed the sleeves using the same blind stitch as on the body. The sleeves were now ready to be attached. Please note that I did sew two rows of gathering stitches on the caps prior to sewing up the sleeves. These really do help when easing the sleeves into the armholes.

*correction*

 

Once the sleeves were attached, I was ready to think about the neckline. It took a little while to decide on the best way and proportion but once i worked that out and decided on a funnel roll neck, I just went for it. I calculated that (I made the size 10 UK) I needed a piece 20cm wide and 65cm long cut on the bias and joined into a loop. I then folded this lengthways and attached the raw edges to the neckline, stitching it together and finishing the raw edges together.

      

And that was that… because, remember, I had already done all the hemming earlier so there wasn’t anything else to do. Can’t wait to wear it… sometime in the future… when the sun decides to shine!!!

P.S. I wrote this last week when it was still ‘winter’ here in the UK… but the sun is certainly shining today and I managed to get a photo of me wearing it : )

 

Talvikki Sweater Turned Dress


Well, here we go, my first personal sewing blog post.

I have to begin by telling you how much I love this pattern by Named Clothing. It brings together simplicity, elegance and practicality in just the right measure. The first one I made was not exactly worth writing about. I used a plain black jersey fabric which didn’t do the pattern any justice. It’s still lovely to wear, you just can’t see the delicate details. This one, on the other hand, makes me veeeeery happy!

Just to clarify, I’m not writing a blog about how to make this pattern as this is perfectly clear on the actual pattern instructions and there’s not much I could add to it. The blog is about the adjustments I made to the original pattern to make it into a dress, in the hope that someone might feel inspired or find it useful.

I made the size 8/10 UK (36/38 EU) and since I had enough fabric I really wanted it as a dress. I also wanted to add pockets, of course! If anything can have a pocket, then I really think it should! The fabric is not stretchy enough for the neck opening so it needed to have a zip on the back, as well. I love the curve of the hem too much to lose it, so decided to keep that but omit the vents. To make this work I had to equalise the back and front lengths.

Having laid the pattern pieces on top of the fabric (all 1.70cm of it), I calculated I could add exactly 25cm to the length of the front. That was perfectly enough for what I was trying to achieve. After marking the darts carefully, I drew around the front pattern piece only down to the waistline. I marked this point then dropped the pattern piece 25cm down. I drew a straight line from armpit to hemline then around the curve of the hemline – missing the vent allowances completely.

For the back, as I was adding a zip, I had to have a seam in the centre so I added 2cm to allow for this. Also added length but please note that the back doesn’t need 25cm added length as it’s longer than the front to start with, so just added enough to make them equal on the side seams (from armpit to hem).

Sleeves stayed exactly as they were on the pattern.

The lovely wool mix fabric I was using has multicoloured specks, with red ones being the most prominent, so I chose to use some leftover scraps of red fabric to complement them. I used this red for the neckline facing and pockets only. For the pockets I used a simple pattern I’d previously self-drafted for a skirt, which worked just fine.

Sewing it up!

First things first – darts! They are the main feature of the pattern so they deserve some care. After marking them I tacked them as to make sure they were perfectly symmetrical when machine sewn… and symmetrical they were!

 The next step was stitching the centre seam and inserting the zip. I used a 20cm invisible zip.

The pocket placement is really up to the individual. I placed mine 20cm down from the armpit, making sure they’re not hanging too low towards the hem. I then pinned and stitched together the shoulder seams as well as the side seams, including around the pockets.

I did not make any changes to the sleeves. I simply prepared them according to the pattern and attached them to the main body.

The neckline facing needed to stay open in the back since I’d added the zip. Attaching it was pretty much the same as in the pattern instructions apart from the back where I turned what was supposed to be the seam allowance towards the wrong side of the facing. True to my habits, (I love invisible stitches!) after pressing the facing back to the wrong side, I blind-stitched it along the zip and also tacked it discreetly in the points where it meets the darts so it stayed securely in place. The pattern instructions may very well tell you to do the same, but the truth is I have not read that part… and that’s another one of my habits!

To finish the hem I turned 2cm towards the back and machine blind-stitched it. That was it… and then I wore it 🙂

My gorgeous 11 year old son took the photo!