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Tutorial: How To Make A Faux Sheepskin Bag / Tote

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No, your eyes don’t deceive you, this IS yet another post featuring the lilac faux sheepskin fabric I bought last month. It really has been the fabric that keeps on giving as I have made not only a full length coat and two pairs of mittens, but also TWO tote bags!

If you would like to make your own, either from similar fabric or from a thick fleecy fabric, here’s a quick tutorial on how I did it.

Materials: Approx. 3/4yd of 45″ wide Faux Sheepskin or fleece

2 Magnetic Snaps

Cut pieces from your fabric following the diagram below (which is NOT to scale). If your fabric has a nap or a directional pattern, be sure to take this into account when cutting out.

You may have to adjust the size of the pocket to suit your particular ‘phone – this pocket is the perfect size for a normal (not ‘plus’) iPhone and you may well have to make it larger for a Samsung Galaxy or similar.

Sheepskin Tote Pattern

This photo shows the main pieces; front and back, gusset and interior mobile ‘phone pocket.

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Seam allowances are 1/4″ throughout.

All raw edges are left unfinished and the seams are constructed with WRONG sides together, making a feature of them.

If you have your own labels, sew them to all pieces before any construction takes place. This avoids any fiddly sewing later on.

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Sew your pocket to the inside of the BACK section of the bag around three sides only, leaving the top open.

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Apply the magnetic tabs according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the photos as a guideline for placement.

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Pin a tab to the top centre of the front and back sections.

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Sew in place.

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Pin the gusset to the back section with WRONG sides together. There will be surplus fabric to cut off later.

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Stitch with 1/4″ seam allowance, being careful not to get any puckers as you sew around the corners.

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Pin the front to the remaining long edge of the gusset and stitch as before.

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Trim the corners off the front and back sections to give a rounded finish.

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Onto the handles.

Fold in half lengthways with WRONG sides facing in.

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Stitch close to the raw edges.

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Pin handles about 3″ in from the sides of the bag, on the INSIDE.

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BASTE loosely in place if necessary, although I just pinned them.

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Take your 4 little squares – these will cover the ends of the handles to lend a neat finish on the inside of the bag.

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You will need to remove as much of the pile on the reverse side of the fabric as possible. This will reduce the bulk and leave a flatter surface.

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Pin each square over the raw edge of a handle and stitch in place, crossing your stitching to strengthen the base of the handles as shown below.

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And that’s all there is to it!

This is the first one I made.

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I even managed to make a second one using the rest of the scraps. There wasn’t enough to cut the main sections out in one piece, so I had to make a seam for the centre front and back, and I actually prefer this version.

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I added my label in a slightly different position and it looks just as good.

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The inside is nice and roomy with the all-important interior pocket to keep your ‘phone easily accessible.

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The magnetic tabs give an element of security and stop the bag falling open.

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As always, your own label adds a professional touch both inside and out.

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The handles are short enough not to have the bag dragging on the floor (if you’re around the 5″ mark like me!), but also long enough for you to carry over your shoulder if that is your preference.

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One of these is to be a Christmas gift for family and the other one may well end up in my Stitching Santa parcel, depending on who I get in the draw.

Which is your favourite?


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Birthday Gifts – A Purse (Wallet) And Matching Tote

We were invited to No.1 Son’s girlfriend’s parent’s house (are you with me?) at the weekend, for a barbeque.

It was his girlfriend’s mother’s birthday (keep up!) so we wanted to take a suitable present, but there was a tiny problem – we’d never met, so I had no idea what she would like.

Obviously I was going to make a gift and, after a little indecision, settled on a purse (wallet, for our U.S. friends) and a matching tote.

I found this great tutorial at Confessions Of A Fabricaholic and got cracking straightaway.

I had some leftover vinyl from the One Hour Ikea Bag and searched through my (massive) stash before whittling it down to these grey and pink coordinating cottons, using just the dotty ones in the end.

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The tutorial is pretty comprehensive and soon I had put the main pieces together.

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After sewing the outside to the inside, it was simply a matter of turning through to the right side and top stitching.

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Et voilá – one (very pretty) vinyl purse!

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I chose to fit a magnetic snap closure simply because I’ve got loads of them and they really do give the best finish.

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The inside is a purse of two halves – one side is pink, the other is grey.

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The grey side holds all the real money.

Coins are kept safe in the zipped pocket….

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….which is lined with the contrasting pink.

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Notes are stashed in the open pocket below.

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The pink side houses the ‘pretend’ money and can accommodate up to eight credit cards or similar.

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Just in case there was any doubt I included a label from Hobbycraft.

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I whipped up a simple tote using the same principle as the One Hour Ikea Bag but with dimensions and handles more suited to a shopper.

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Box corners makes for a more spacious interior.

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Matching grey webbing is perfect for two short handles.

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I think they make quite a smart set for nipping down to the corner shop for a loaf of bread and a pint of milk. (In my dreams. We don’t have a shop in our village.)

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All wrapped up and ready to go – complete with handmade birthday card!

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Update: The handmade purse (wallet) and matching shopper was a huge success fortunately – she loved it!


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One-Hour ‘Ikea’ Bag

Continuing the theme of ‘One-Hour’ makes (well, it wasn’t really a theme until just now when I realised that this project also took less than an hour to make), I’ve designed a simple pattern along the lines of one of those big blue Ikea bags.

You know the ones; they make great laundry bags, shopping bags, picnic hampers etc., but there’s one major design fault – they’re just so damned ugly!

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There’s a huge choice of suitable vinyl fabric out there, but I fell in love with this “Butterflies” print and ordered a couple of metres online which turned out to be more than enough.

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I did come across a tutorial but it involved printing off a pattern on about twenty sheets of A4 paper, piecing it all together, sellotaping and then cutting out, all of which would take longer than actually making the entire bag!

There had to be a better way so, after hours and hours of head-scratching, making sample after sample and at least a dozen pattern refinements (not really!), here is my somewhat simpler pattern: –

Cut one piece of vinyl fabric 90cm x 120cm.

That’s it.

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Now, vinyl is notoriously difficult to iron because, basically, it just melts and welds itself to your iron. So you can either buy it from a shop and ask them to roll it for you or put up with the creases which will eventually disappear. A hairdryer is said to speed up this process.

I didn’t bother:)

The only other supplies you’ll need are 2 1/2m of 2.5cm polyester webbing and some matching thread.

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Stitching vinyl needs a little bit of forethought as it can be tricky. Sewing right sides together is no problem but when top stitching you may need to change to a Teflon coated foot or improvise with masking tape on the bottom of your normal foot. Putting a layer of tissue paper between the machine bed and the vinyl works for the bottom layer, with the added bonus of ripping away easily afterwards.

Use clips instead of pins to avoid any tell-tale holes in the vinyl.

A longer stitch length is used too, as a short stitch can weaken the vinyl and it could rip between the stitches.

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Start by folding your fabric with right sides together aligning the two short edges and sew a 1cm seam along each side, leaving open along the edge opposite the fold.

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Bring the seam to the centre and lay flat to form a corner as below. Mark 18cm from the corner along the seam and draw a line all the way across at right angles to the seam as shown.

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Sew along this line.

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Trim the excess fabric leaving a 1cm allowance.

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Repeat with the opposite corner, then turn the bag right sides out.

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Turn down a 2.5cm hem and stitch close to the raw edge.

Cut some webbing: –

2 x 35cm

2 x 74cm

Lay a short length of webbing on top of a longer length about 1cm from the end as shown.

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Fold the overhang back over as shown below and tack together through all layers.

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Repeat with the other ends of the webbing, being careful not to twist it in the process.

Make the other set of handles in the same way.

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With the raw edges of the handles facing the wrong side of the bag, stitch in place 32cm in from each side seam.

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To ensure that there is plenty of strength at the point where the handles join the bag, I stitched a cross within a square as shown in the photo below.

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Attach the other pair of handles in the same manner.

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Finish with a second row of top stitching around the entire top edge about 4mm in from the first row.

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Fill with laundry and go peg your clothes on the line!

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Well, the girls seem to approve of the stranger in the garden!

Anyone tempted to have a go at making an Ikea style laundry bag?