Monday, November 28, 2011

In The Meadow We Can Build A Snowman...

You should all be very thankful that you can't hear me singing! Even though I think I sound pretty good, I have it on trusted authority that when someone strikes up a tune, I should keep my mouth shut. Instead of singing about snowmen, I'm going to stick to telling you how to sew one. Use this photo for reference, I don't have step-by-step photos to share - but I know you can do it if you just follow along!

This great big gift bag is the perfect alternative to paper gift wrap for those of you that are going "green". Totally machine washable and cute as the dickens, this bag can be used year after year. Why not start by personalizing a bag for each recipient? I used a basic blue dot fabric for the body of the bag, but for those that don't like snow, how about a Hawaiian print? Pink candy cane stripes for the girly girl in your family or what about an ultra conservative plaid for Dad? Check your stash, you know there are fabrics in there and you can't remember why you purchased them. This is a great opportunity to put a nice size piece to good use.

To make one bag you are going to need:

1 1/8 yard of bag fabric, trimmed to 36" by the width of fabric

1 yard of black or whatever you like for the hat

1/4 yard of red, or any color for the hat band or 2 yards of wide ribbon

scrap of orange for the carrot nose

scrap of black for the eyes and mouth

18" square of PUL waterproof fabric for the face, you can order that here:

18" square of flannel for lining

2 yards of cord for the drawstring

threads, fusible web and basic sewing supplies

I have an instruction sheet that details exactly how to make the bag step-by-step and also includes the applique shapes for the snowman face. If you order the package of PUL fabric we will happily include one with your order. You are probably wondering why you need PUL for the face. You don't. It is just a beautiful bright white fabric with an exceptionally smooth texture and it makes a great looking snowman! The 18" square of flannel is to be used as lining for the PUL. Like any white fabric, depending on the print you are using behind it, you might get some shadowing. I like to line the white to make sure that doesn't happen. After all, you will be looking at this bag for years to come!

Step one is to construct the snowman face. You are going to draw an 18" circle on the PUL. If you have a Quick Trim & Circle Ruler that I designed for Creative Grids, flip the ruler over, find the center, count 9 spaces away (that's half of 18) and draw the perfect circle. If you don't have a ruler, start rummaging around the kitchen for something round that is around 18" that you can trace. If you want to see what else the Quick Trim & Circle Ruler can do, click here to see the video:

Now that you have seen it, I'll bet you want to order one, click here:

Now back to our Snowman Bag:

Layer the PUL on top of the flannel and draw the circle that will be the snowman's face. If you have the pattern, trace the eyes, nose and mouth pieces onto the fusible web. Press the fusible web onto the appropriate color fabric. If you don't have the pattern, cut the shapes out freehand. You know what a carrot looks like - just cut! How bad can it be? Coal comes in all shapes, you can't get that wrong!

Fuse the facial features to the PUL keeping everything inside the circle. You will want to use a pressing cloth when you iron on the PUL. Stitch the features down before cutting the circle out. If you have kids, get them involved with arranging the face, they know how to create personality!

Now stitch the face centered on one 36" edge of the background fabric. The head should extend past the edge of the fabric by about 2 inches. This helps it to look like the black hat is on the snowman not hovering above it. Trim the snowman's forehead even with the edge of the fabric.

Cut the black hat fabric into two sections measuring 18" by 36". Match the raw edges and stitch one section to the top of the snowman's head and the other to the opposite side. If you know how to make the pillowcases with the finished cuff seams (we call it the hot dog method) add the hat fabric using that method and all of your raw edges will be concealed.

If you have never used the roll-it-up method before, my friends over at American Patchwork & Quilting have a great step-by-step tutorial on their Million Pillowcase Challenge site. You can click here to see it:

Now cut the hatband fabric into 2 strips measuring 3 1/2 inches by 34 inches. Fold about 1 inch of fabric to the backside on each end of both pieces and press. Stitch both pieces into a long tube. Press the tubes flat. Center each of these strips 1 1/2 inches up from the seam line on the black fabric. Top stitch along both long sides on both fabric strips. You can also use a nice wide ribbon to make these casings - faster and easier, but don't forget to finish the ends!

To assemble your bag, fold it in half with the right side showing, matching the seams. Stitch both sides using a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance. Clip the corners and turn the bag inside out. Stitch the side seams a second time using a heavy 1/4 inch seam allowance and all of your raw edges will be hidden.

Insert the cording through the hatband to use as a drawstring.
Enjoy - for years to come!

1 comment:

banjo795 said...

Wow! Great instructions, especially with all the links you provided! I made drawstring bags out of Christmas fabric when the kids were young, and I still use them. But mine are just plain fabric - I really like the snowman on yours!