Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tote-n-Go Panel Project--The Abbey Bag

I am really wanting to learn how to sew better.  I can sew a straight line, most of the time, and I can do the basic functions on my sewing machine.  You know, threading the needle, winding the bobbin and loading the bobbin.  Things like that.  Oh that reminds me of a Scottish kids song.  It's called "Wind the Bobbin Up".  I'll share it at the end of this post.  I'm easily distracted.  

So when I was at JoAnn's, one gloriously kid-free afternoon, I came across a section of these Panel Projects by Fabric Editions, LLC.  I have always wanted to make my own bag or purse and they had several designs to choose from.  I picked out the Abbey Bag.  It has the whole project on one big fabric panel.  It's all sectioned out for you and shows you what each part is and the directions are printed on the fabric panel also.  I thought this might be an easy way for me to get my feet wet, so to speak, and try making my very first bag.  If you think it's cheating, I'm sorry.  I just feel that, for me, it's a step in a learning process and has boosted my sewing-confidence to make a bag without the extra help.  Now it says on the package that you can make it in less than 3 hours.  It took me at least 3 hours!  I had multiple interruptions in the form of little people.  They are really cute interrupters.

So I must say the instructions were pretty easy to follow.  I mean I know what sides of the fabric are right and wrong and some other basic sewing jargon.  I had trouble with the gussets though.  Mainly because I really had no clue as to what that word meant.  Now a smart person would have gone to their computer and searched (on Swagbucks of course!) for the meaning of this word.  I guess I am not that smart...but, I figured out that it meant the way the purse kind of gathers and sits on the bottom.  So I did what I thought was right and I am pretty sure it turned out okay. 

There's all the pieces cut out.  The directions, a pocket, 2 pieces for the tote part, 2 pieces for the straps and 1 square for the closure flap.

That's the pocket put on.  You see the fabric is panelled so it looks like you stitched different pieces of fabric together but really it's all one piece and you just stitch a line between each section.  So there are 3 pockets on the front. 

There's a corner of my gusset.  I guess that's my new vocabulary word for the day! 

It did take me a while to turn the straps right-side out but they were easy to sew...straight lines.

There are my straps sewed on and my closure flap.  Now, they wanted me to use velcro for the closure but I wanted a button and I had found a really cute button that matched and so I made a loop for the button out of elastic.  So that is how my bag closesI wish I had thinner elastic but I just made do with what I had.   

Here's the finished project.  I think I won't mind carrying it around!  All in all, I think the Tote-n-Go Panel Projects are worth doing and are pretty easy for a sewing novice to accomplish.  It was fun and now I have a new bag! 

Okay here's the song I promised. 

"Wind the bobbin up.  Wind the bobbin up. 
Pull, pull, clap, clap, clap!" (clap hands when you say 'clap')
"Wind it back again.  Wind it back again.
Pull, pull, clap, clap, clap!"

"Point to the ceiling, point to the floor. 
Point to the window, point to the door.
Put your hands together.  1, 2, 3."  (clap as you say 1, 2, 3) 
"Lay them down upon your knee."

I will sometimes do this song before I read a story to the boys and end it with the "lay them down upon your knee" part.  That way they get a little movement out of their systems and then they know where their hands should be during the story.   

I found the song on youtube but the words differ a little.  I learned it when I lived in Glasgow, Scotalnd and took my kids to story time at the Partick Library.  Man, I really miss hearing those accents!

**I did not receive anything from Fabric Editions, LLC for writing this interview nor buying their product.  I only expressed my opinions and thoughts for the sake of helping a fellow "newbie" sewer. If you have a product that you would like me and my family to try I am happy to review it.  Please contact me through email.**


  1. Super! Loved the bag and the little song!!!

  2. I bought this same bag and I threw away the part that says which part is which. I wish I could ask you a few questions on how to make
    This thing.

  3. Hi, Di-Zee! I looked at your profile and couldn't find a way to contact you but if you see this comment and want to email me I will be happy to try to answer any questions.

  4. I'm making this bag too! Guess where I got stuck? The gussets! What does that mean and how do I do it? On step 3 it says to stitch around all 4 sides leaving 5" open to turn. But which side do you leave open? What side do you make the gusset on and how do you do it? PLEASE HELP!!!!

  5. Hey Andimama. I didn't see a way to contact you so I hope you look back here. I don't remember the exact directions but I remember them being confusing at that part. So the gussets are the bottom of your bag where it's kind of a pleat of sorts at the edges of your bag. I don't recall step 3 and I am trying to figure out which four sides it is talkin about and what 5th one you would leave open. Sorry I'm not much help. If I recall anything more I will let you know.

  6. This is awesome. So much more affordable than buying one from the store. I've always wanted to learn how to sew. You truly are a craft of all trades. This type of bag what be great for carrying my business supplies.


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