September 23, 2009

New padded shoulder strap for the tea towel tote

I recently made a tote bag from a tea towel, but I wasn't satisfied with the shoulder strap. Last night I carefully unpicked the top of the bag and removed the strap.

I decided I wanted a shorter handle that was double the width and had a little padding. I have some Sew Easy 100% bamboo batting (140gsm) for just such purposes.

The three most common ways to make handles seem to be
  1. Fold long strip in half lengthways & hem down the side. Turn inside out, iron so that the seam is on one side & topstitch down both edges. This is the method bunny bum uses for her market tote.
  2. Fold long strip in half lengthways & iron. Open up and fold raw edges of both sides towards the center fold line. Fold the sides together along the original fold line and iron. Topstitch down both edges. This is the method cindylouh uses for her simple reversible tote.
  3. The Morsbag method which is detailed in the downloadable PDF instructions. It ends up with a seam down the middle of one side.
I decided to go with option #3 because it seemed to be the easiest to accomplish with batting sandwiched inside it.

I did a little math, and decided I needed a 40"x12cm wide piece of green fabric (blue pen) and a 40"x5cm wide strip of batting (red pen):

Notice my mix of metric and imperial measurements? Heh...

It easy easy to adjust the diagram for a different-sized shoulder strap. The formula is:
  • Work out the width of the final strap (here 5cm).
  • The fold on the right in the diagram will be half that width plus 1cm (here 2.5cm+1cm=3.5cm).
  • The fold on the left will be the same width, only you will iron 1cm under.
I ironed in the creases, then unfolded it, placed the batting inside and ironed it closed again:

I ran three sets of stitches the length of the handles for strength & looks (for the latter I need to improve my "ironing and sewing in a straight line" skills!):

(I swear I'm not endorsed by Sunbeam!
Just my trusty ironing board cover...)

I carefully placed the new strap in the bag and sewed it all up. The resulting shoulder strap is just right length. It sits near my hip and can go over one shoulder or diagonally across the chest & it doesn't cut into my shoulder like the last one did.

I've put the bag in my "presents pile" - it'd make a nice gift for someone overseas (I feel a bit silly having Aussie merchandise).

Also, the old strap won't go to waste: I cut it in half and soon it will be the set of handles for another Morsbag. I have already chosen a new teatowel (from my beloved local op-shop). It's designed by the same person who designed the tea towel I used for this tote!

It has joined my "to do" pile, which is growing ever so sneakily...

Related posts: From tea towel to tote!, Morsbags & Morsbags from tea towels


Anna Bartlett said...

Hi Jen
Love seeing your very detailed instructions. House is a tip right now, but when it's tidy enough to get the sewing machine out again I'll definitely be attempting a morsbag.
Have you seen Anna Maria's teatowel-to-bag conversion at ?
Very cool stuff.

JenMeister said...

Hi Anna, thanks for your comment :)
I have gotten so much out of detailed tutorials on other sites that I always try to do it myself when I can. I also do it for myself - I am more than liable to forget things as I go along. The blog helps me remember the little things I work out from time to time.
I hadn't seen Anna Maria's tutorial - thanks for that! The teatowels she has are so cute! But I'm definitely only allowing myself to use materials found in op-shops at the moment. I spend far too much on crafty goodness :D

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...