Making bags with Home Decor weight fabrics

Bags! This is a subject that's been on my mind this weekend. My usual sewing machine is in the shop, and while I am lucky enough to have a fallback machine, I am not so lucky that it works as well as my monstrous modern electronic Pfaff.

After an instructive evening of ripping out stitches, I decided that it's not a suitable machine for accurate piecing for quilts, and so my thoughts turned to bags.

I have a little collection of Echino fabrics. They have their own subsection in my stash. They are so wild and strange, I just adore them. So, this weekend I made a new Super Tote using the Noodlehead pattern. I call it my super loud super tote:

I used Kalmia in purple as the focal print- because it's a large print that needs that room to breathe, and the lining and the gusset and the straps are all other, older Echino prints. (Good thing I've been stashing them, right?)

Here is another Super Tote using Echino. This one was made by Samantha of Making Life Prettier, just to show that an Echino bag doesn't have to be insanely colorful, if you don't want it to be.

Melissa used Hide in Pink and Purple to make a Camp Stitchalot Bag:

She made this while attending the most recent Camp Stitchalot, which only seems appropriate!

Another fun bag I have made using Echino is Noodlehead's 241 tote. We don't sell this pattern, but it is available through Anna Graham's website.

These are older prints; I made this bag a while back, but one of the things I love about Echino is that while the designs change the colors are fairly consistent in each new line. The pink from Echino 2014 is the same pink as that pink Maruco Dot which was from two or three years ago. It certainly make coordinating prints easy!

And of course, we have many other fine bag patterns in our shop as well!

But about the actual making of bags - I use a denim needle when working with this heavy linen blend - but I don't go crazy with it - a 90 is plenty sturdy. I have been sewing them recently using Aurifil 40 weight thread, the 50 weight is a bit thin for the larger needle. I use Pellon Shape Flex as my interfacing of choice. Because it's a woven fabric rather than a pressed fiber mat, it doesn't get those annoying creases that handmade bags can sometimes get. And I always interface my straps, even when it's not explicitly suggested, to keep them from stretching out of shape!

Also I am a firm believer in these Bohn magnetic snaps that Pink Castle carries. They are thinner than every other clasp I have seen out there, which makes them more elegant.

But if Echino is a bit intense for your taste, Ellen Luckett Baker's last three lines for Kokka were printed on the same heavy linen blend substrate - and we still have yardage from a few of these prints in stock!

Garden bundle - Ellen Luckett Baker
Likewise, Melody Miller's last collection was printed on linen, though some of it is a lighter weight. (You have to be careful ordering linen online, as there are generally two weights, a softer clothing appropriate one, and the home decor weight - if you have questions about which print is on what substrate, please feel free to call the shop and ask! or drop us an email -

A few other great substrates for bags, apart from the Linen blend we've been discussing are Oxford (it's a bottom weight fabric, and hence quite sturdy), Canvas (it's the default bag fabric for totes, after all - and, oh, aren't those Cloud 9 prints lovely!), and the catch all category Home Decor.

Here's an amazing Oxford print crying out to be a bag:

Hungry Kitties in Yellow from Cosmo Textile
Well, I have a few more days before my Pfaff is back, so I can make at least one more bag... I guess I'd better pick out some new fabrics myself!

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