And bagged again…

I’ve been having a bit if fun with the Morsbags idea this week. If we’re to do stalls from time to time, we needed a banner…


They are real little bags, complete with French seams and zigzag handles, because that’s what looked right! Then someone asked whether anyone had done a P&Q Morsbag, which I couldn’t help seeing as a challenge…

Quilted Morsbag -front

…so three of my machines have had a good workout this week; my everyday Jones Medium CS treadle, my Singer 320K and the old semi-industrial 15K. Nothing else I own could have tackled however many layers of real, heavyweight velvet there are when you attach the handles… The velvet, and the bag lining & foundation fabric, came from an enormous pair of curtains that I “rescued” some time back. Most of it will be made into coats & skirts, but there’s plenty left over…

A fellow-Bagger asked for some instructions, so I’m going to post them here too, in case anyone else feels inspired to have a go.
“I’m a novice quilter who’s given up on ever being able to afford to do City & Guilds, & just decided to go my own way rather than wait, seeking advice from friends, in books & on the Web. How I did it:

1…Picked my fabrics! Decided on the main fabrics, i.e. the velvet & the curtain lining, then jumbled up scraps in the right sort of colours and sorted them out until I was happy. Decided to use biggish bits, roughly triangular, and cut them roughly. Wouldn’t advise anyone to use real heavyweight velvet for the “frame” & handles unless they have access to a semi-industrial sewing machine!

2… Made handles, as per normal. (See – click on “Make One.”) Cut out two sets of lining/backing fabric, slightly larger than a normal bag as it’ll “shrink” as it’s quilted. Placed the fabrics roughly how I wanted them on one set & re-jigged until I was happy & the lining fabric was completely covered. Pinned carefully… Using a zigzag machine & a tight zigzag stitch, stitched carefully over the edges until all the pieces were securely sewn down & nothing was likely to fray. (Stitching it to a backing fabric like this is called Foundation Quilting, I think. Proper  crazy patchwork is a bit more involved, but I suspect our ancestresses weren’t daft & would have used a machine if there’d been one that would do the job!)

3… Placed each side onto a layer of waddding, then a layer of lining/backing fabric and pinned, using lots of pins & checking often that I hadn’t trapped any wrinkles.

4…Then, using my normal machine, quilted happily for hours! I just followed the shape of each piece, removing pins as I went, in a sort of spiral shape, quite widely spaced going into the centre, then turning & coming out again in between the “inward” lines. Used the zigzag lines to get from one “shape” to another. I go quite slowly & rythmically, & find this much easier on a treadle machine than I ever did on an electric – it’s much more controllable!

5… Trimmed excess wadding, backing etc. away from the edges. Otherwise there’d be too much fabric under the handles & in the French seams, even for a (probable) sailmaking sewing machine!

6… Made up the bag as normal, except for adding bias binding round the inside seams. Velvet’s very thick & frays dreadfully; I didn’t even trust a French seam to hold it!”

I ended the day with a sore back from sitting down too much, but happy… roll on the day when I can have a proper workshop. I know I wouldn’t make any money selling the actual items that I make, but I think I might from providing space, equipment, ideas & advice (nearly all of it recycled!) for other people to “have a go” too, not just at sewing but also at felting, papermaking, restoring old tools and tapping into that part of all of us that’s aware that throwing all these resources away is a very, very destructive habit…

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