A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the Dominican tradition of giving gifts to our kids’ teachers at the end of the school year. It is a small token of our appreciation for their patience and love for our kids. It’s the least we can do, I mean, lets face it, elementary and preschool teachers have a thing or two to teach Job about patience.
This year Nadia’s head teacher got a much-welcome, handmade, personalized laptop bag. I chose an outdoor fabric for outside, and a happy, flowery print for the inside. The outdoor fabric is stain and moisture resistant, and working with kids I am sure this is a great feature. On top of it I “scotchguarded” the cotton lining to make it even sturdier.
I thought of making a pattern for this bag, but I soon realized that this is a very complicated piece. And seeing as I am not exactly an expert on pattern-making I dropped the idea. I’ll show you how to use fusible fleece, and why I use it, a question that has come up in the past.
Do you see how the bag stands on its own. That’s what fusible fleece does. It gives the fabric body, it makes it thicker. Without it the bag would not hold its shape. Below you’ll see how I made the sides of the bag using two products that come really handy when making my own bags.
First I cut two small circles containing a flower. I pinned it down, the reverse side of the main fabric facing the front of the flower print. I drew a circle with a vanishing ink pen so I had a line to follow when sewing it. I then stitched three lines following the circle I drew.<
On the right side of the main fabric I cut inside the stitched circles, revealing the flowers behind.
The bag has fixed short handles and a removable long strap. On the reverse side I machined-embroidered Ms. C’s name.
Inside it has a large pocket that can hold books and notebooks. On the opposite side I placed an elastic strap to keep the laptop in place. The bag is fairly roomy, and it fits a 17″ laptop.
With a green thread I free-stitched the stems and a leaf. I then attached the fusible fleece to the back of this piece by ironing over the fabric. The rough side of the fusible fleece is the one with the glue that melts with the heat of the iron, that one has to face the fabric.
I then applied two-sided fusible stabilizer to the lining. First by ironing the fabric, which would be in contact with the side that does not have paper. Once the fabric fuses to the stabilizer, then I let it cool and peel off the paper.
This is how I assembled this piece (using double-side iron-on fusible fleece):
The first two photos are how I made the appliques.
The fusible fleece was sandwiched between the two layers of fabric (back side of the fabric facing the fleece). I then ironed it. After ironing the lining will stick to the back of the fleece, that now is glued to the front fabric.
This is the piece after everything is fused (last photos). The outdoor fabric is a bit too thick for the fusible fleece, that’s why you see wrinkles. Regular, quilt-grade cotton fabric does not have this problem. As you can see you need to cover the edges with bias tape (which I made with the lining fabric).
This looks a lot better than my own ugly black vinyl bag, a cheerful bag for a great teacher. I hope you too liked it.