Friday, July 11, 2014

Using Geometry Without The Tears

Have you noticed that women are kind of obsessed with bags?  You only have to look at Thirty-One, the company that makes its millions on bags, to know that it's in our genes to want bags.

We think we'll store everything in bags and everything will be neat and tidy.  But it doesn't really work that way, does it?  Bags get lost, things get put in the wrong bags and *GASP* bags get dirty and nasty.

I even wrote a post about my many bags and how I stay organized because of bags.  I really do use them to keep my sanity.

But I'm always fascinated when I see people's round and square bags that they make for storage.  Something about it captures my attention and it makes me think that in my sewing room or my classroom, these open bags will be the solution to everything.  The kajillion posts on the interwebs supports my theory that we all wish we could be organized and we think these bags and buckets are the solution!

Recently, I saw this post about making one of those round storage bags/buckets that everyone loves so much.  Her directions include some serious math, but I thought she might just have the key to making one of these actually look pretty decent.

The math involved diameter of a circle, pi, and degrees on a circle.

I got a little sweaty as I read it, but I liked the way she explained how to make assembling it work, so I got going.  I always get excited when I think I can use pieces of batting and fabrics from my stash.

First, you find a circle of the size you like.  I had a round container and traced it onto this peppers fabric.

I've had it forever and ever and ever.  I bought like 3 yards of it a long time ago and wanted to make curtains for the kitchen and k-ster outlawed it.  I have no idea why he banned it, or better, why I even asked what he thought.  He probably has no idea what our kitchen curtains look like right now, so I could have totally gotten away with it.

Wouldn't it be so cute in a kitchen?  And since I had dark wood in the kitchen, I thought it would be so perfect...

Anycurtains, I misread the directions, as I usually do, and I cut out a round piece for the bottom and for the inside of the bottom.  I didn't realize that I'd be making a lining, so all of this would be made with the batting on one side and material on the other, with no material over the batting.  So, the bottom has double the fabric it should have.

Because I always have trouble with linings, I would not do it that way next time.  I'd use material on both sides of the batting and finish my seams with the serger.  I would either use some kind of binding on the top or I'd roll down the top which is fairly common right now.

But, for this one, I did as I was told, except on this bottom piece.

Because this is a bag to store something at the barn, it absolutely doesn't matter what it looks like or what it's made of.  So this was the perfect place to use scraps of batting and hideous fabric.  There are places where there is no batting, but no one would know.  And the hideous fabric is only on the lining.

I used my favorite wavy quilting pattern with a green thread as the top thread.

My favorite part of the tutorial is where she explains how to make marks at 30, 60, 90 degrees.  Go look, it's pretty neat.  And it totally works for matching up the pieces.  I've never had such an easy time sewing something round.

Because the tutorial is very open about what size you will make the bag, you could make it any height you wanted.  Mine is about 12 inches tall.  Probably too tall for the bucket style but fine for a bag.
It ended up with way more of a Christmas theme than I meant to have.  It just wanted the green and red to go with the peppers!  It was all scraps that I had and still have plenty of.

Her tutorial didn't a strap but I thought I would put one because I will hang it beneath  my saddle rack.  Hers has side handles.  I ended up making the strap way too long and cut off two pieces that could have worked as handles, but I didn't see the need.

I put fleece in the strap as well.  I love the look of a padded strap.  It makes me feel like an expert seamstress when I do a padded strap.

Someone should just find me a padded cell.  Or better yet, I could just make my own.

The thing to remember when adding a strap is to sew it between the lining and the outside so it's fully embedded.  I don't like the look of straps added on after the fact.

A ridiculous statement for this bag because, as I said, it's going to hang beneath my saddle at a barn.  I could add anything I wanted after the fact and no one will even see it.

Because I was using scraps, and I was thinking you'd never see the inside, I grabbed this hideous Christmas fabric that was in an old stash of mine.  I'm not happy with this lining because a) it didn't come out the way I wanted it to and b) because as it turns out, you can actually see it.

I suppose I could tack down the lining so it doesn't come out every time I reach into the bag.  That's one of the main reasons I don't like the lining.  I don't want to be fighting with it!  But, I'm "done" with this bag, so I don't want to be bothered with sewing anything else on it.  We'll see what happens the first time I reach in to pull out something from inside.

I also wanted a little more structure for the base, so I did a little stitch around it.  She didn't have you do this in the tutorial.

It gives it a little more definition.  I'm toying with the idea of putting a piece of hard plastic in the next one so it's more sturdy.

I like these fabric bags/buckets but I don't like their flimsiness.  If this was shorter, it would work better as a bucket, I think.  But I wanted this one to hang, so it's fine.  I'm thinking 6 inches tall, max, would work well.

If I were to make storage for my sewing room, I would make it shorter, go without the lining, and probably fold the top down to give it a little bit more structure.  I don't like it when they collapse down if nothing is inside them.

I really like the tutorial and the math was totally right, even when I did it.  Geometry used in real life- who knew?

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