Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Super Teacher Bag

Teacher present number 2...

I'm not going to attempt a complete step by step explanation of how I made this, partly because it's on the late side (again!), and partly because I think I'd just be very confusing! But, assuming a reasonable knowledge of sewing and maybe a basic understanding of bag construction, you might be able to see how it came together from a few photos. 

It was actually very easy and straightforward. Largely because I made it out of an old pair of linen shorts. Here they are before I started...

I'd already had a slice off the bottom for something else!
 So chopped up they looked more like this...

I really wanted to use the pockets...

They were a good size and closeable, and I always think pockets are essential on bags. Once it was all cut up, it occurred to me that I could make use of the waistband too, for the top of the bag.

I wanted to add some colour, so I made a quick couple of strips of patchwork to sandwich between the main fabric and the waistband top of the bag...

I've just trimmed up the main fabric piece to an oblong shape, and there's some machine embroidery I'll show you in a minute.
Here, I've just sewn on the patchwork sections...

I then sewed these together (right sides together obviously) and pinned them to my 'waistband' piece (again right sides together). I needed to gather it up slightly as I went since the waistband was a little smaller. Here it is with a patchwork strip added as a strap, through the belt holes.

I made another bag in blue fabric, the same size, for a lining. And ironed over a narrow hem at the top, then machine sewed it in place around the waistband piece. Here it is pinned...

Since I always like a pocket inside my bags too, I had cut out a pocket from another, very worn out pair of shorts, and just sewed the complete pocket on with a tight zigzag stitch before adding the lining bag. So here's the bag inside out with that pocket...

I used a couple of bag buckles with the straps so that they're adjustable.

And the machine embroidery on there...

Very difficult to photograph well, it's a bit on the pale side, if you can't make it out then it says 'I teach, what's your Super Power?'

And Venetia had done me a drawing of her teacher, dressed as a super hero, which I copied on to it in machine embroidery too.

Sort of my favourite kind of repurposing - I love making something which transforms the original piece completely so you almost wouldn't recognise it as being from the original. And personally, I wouldn't look at this bag and realise it was originally a pair of shorts. But also I love being able to keep and use original features, like the pockets and waistband, in the transformation - which obviously happened here too.

 What do you think - did you realise it was actually a pair of shorts before I mentioned it? And have you done any nifty repurposing recently yourself?



  1. Can I come and live with you for a week or two, and we can just drink tea and you can pass on some of your wonderful sewing skills? I love this!

  2. I had no idea it was a pair of shorts until I kept reading! Well done. The extra splash of pieced color is great, and I love the super power embroidery!

  3. I didn't know it was made from shorts until you said! What a great job. I love how the straps go through the belt loops of the waistband.

  4. That's so clever - and Venetia's drawing is awesome!

  5. All in all, another creative and wonderful project. I love the embroidery and I'd never have guessed it was from a pair of shorts.


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