Regular readers will know that I make frequent use of the Instructables website, both to post my own tutorials (craft-related and otherwise) and to learn from others’ efforts. Instructables regularly runs themed competitions to encourage users to post high quality projects, and when I had a look on the site the other day I noticed that a bags competition had just started. Well, that was all I needed to make me sit down and type up a tutorial for the shopping tote I made (in duplicate) to give as Christmas presents. Of course, I don’t actually have either bag any more, but fortunately I took lots of photos as I went along.
You can find the full instructions in my Shopping Tote Bag Instructable. If you like it and you’re an Instructables member (it’s free), you could even vote for it and maybe I’ll win a lovely prize – or yet another Instructables T-shirt as a runner-up. If I get too many more of them I might have to start cutting them up to make T-shirt yarn that I can knit into baskets. I haven’t quite reached that stage yet, although just about everyone I know even vaguely in my gym now wears an Instructables T-shirt for their work-outs.
I spent a couple of hours on New Year’s Day experimenting with a new (for me) type of smocking which seems to be generally known as Canadian smocking. Unlike the English type (on the right in the photo below), Canadian smocking is worked on the back of the fabric and the aim is to make the stitches invisible rather than a decorative feature.
The sample above left is a waves design, but there are plenty of others that can be achieved with a different sequence of working across the grid. I started by ironing interfacing onto the back of a piece of cotton and then ruling a grid on it. I then worked up and down, and across, the grid taking small stitches at selected grid intersections to draw the fabric together with small tucks. I’m pleased with the end result, and I’m going to try it again with some purple satin that has been in my fabric stash for far too long.
The receipt was still with it, and I see that I bought it from The Shuttle in November 1990. Time it got used. I planned to make a pair of evening trousers with it. What can I have been thinking? Shiny purple fabric all over my a*s*? It’s a good job that garment never saw the light of day. But an evening bag made from smocked purple satin might be OK.