I have a wonderful new pattern in the shop: the scarf Rocaille, designed by my friend Circé aux Belles Boucles (see the first three photos to the left).
This beautiful scarf is easy to stitch. Circé used wonderful colours in a lovely 100% alpaca yarn from the French yarn company Plassard – and you can too. A kit is available, including the pretty wood button used to close the scarf.
Lining a bag:
Often crocheters don’t like to sew. Many people even shy away from patterns that require pieces to be assembled by sewing. However, a tiny bit of sewing can go a long way to make your projects look even better. Sometimes a few stitches can also improve the quality of your work and make it more useful – for example, when you add a fabric lining to a bag.
In this newsletter I will show how I line a simple crocheted bag. There are, of course, many ways to do it – this is mine.
This bag is made from two square pieces: one for the front and one for the back. Start by blocking the pieces. A good way to ensure that you get the same dimensions for the front and the back is to pin out and block the first piece, then pin the second one on top of the first and block it, too.
Measure the pieces and draw a paper pattern to those dimensions. I don’t use the crocheted pieces directly to cut out the lining. Crocheted pieces that look square rarely are. In this case, the border around each piece is worked in the round, and even with a good blocking, the corners will not be exactly a square angle. This doesn’t matter when you’re working with forgiving crochet. When cutting and sewing a fabric lining, however, square angles will make your life much easier. Another reason to make a paper pattern is to be sure you will not damage your crocheted pieces when cutting and marking the fabric.
I am a sewer (at least occasionally), so I have a lot of sewing gear. I use a special tissue paper designed for patternmaking. You don’t need this, of course. However, using a rather thin paper makes it easier to pin the pattern to the fabric.
Fold your fabric in two, wrong sides out. Put it on a flat surface and pin the paper to the fabric, through both layers. Draw a line approximately 1.5 cm (o.6″) away from the paper edge, all around the pattern.
This is my very sophisticated drawing tool: soap. I save those last slivers of hand soap when they get too small. Once they’re dry, they make great fabric markers – which also wash out perfectly. You will never be able to find a cheaper marker in your sewing store.
Cut out the fabric following the line you drew.
The fabric added around the paper pattern is called the seam allowance. It is there to make sure that your seam will not break easily if strained or if the fabric ravels.Now you will need to mark the sewing line, which is the actual edge of your paper pattern. Since I have more sewing equipment than I have patience, I use a tracing wheel and special carbon paper for fabric.
You can also use the soap (or a crayon) again, following the paper pattern on one side and placing pins through the fabric when marking the line on the other side. Measuring the distance between the edge of the fabric and the edge of the pattern and marking accordingly will also work.
Now we will do the actual sewing. Sew three sides of the square, leaving the fourth open for the opening of your bag. I use a sewing machine, but you can also sew by hand – or ask a friend who knows how to sew and likes to do it!
Once the seam is done, trim the corner as shown in the picture below, to avoid bulk in this area.
I like to make some extra stitches in the seam just at the corner (perhaps you can see them in the picture), since this is a potentially weak spot.
Now, on the three sides that are seamed, fold the upper layer of seam allowance up against the fabric and press with an iron. Turn the lining over and do the same thing on the other side.
At the opening, fold down the seam allowance (which is actually a hem in this spot) following the line, and press.
It is useful to hold the hem in place with pins.
Now, you will need to assemble your bag. In this particular case, I also attached the handles before lining the bag. I wanted to sew them to the outside of the bag without the stitches showing once the bag was lined.
Once the bag is properly prepared, simply put your lining inside.
Pin it to the upper edge.
Now, using a sewing needle and sewing thread, sew the border of the lining to the crocheted fabric, trying to make the stitches as even as possible. It is fairly easy to sew evenly – the crocheted stitches are your guide. To make sure the lining will stay in place, you can also make a couple of stitches at each bottom corner.
Look, it’s pretty!
See you soon!