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27 September 2014

Guest Post Tutorial: Skirt Bag DIY

Hi folks! The lovely, talented Hannah from Rose Tinted Crafting is guest posting today and sharing her awesome Skirt Bag DIY! I can't wait to give this a go as I've got a tonne of skirts I don't wear any more and this is the perfect way to recyle them! So, without further ado, lets hand over to Hannah!



Do you have any skirts in your cupboard that you never wear but just can't seem to part with? Perhaps you love the skirt fabric but have nothing that goes with it, or you are waiting for the right occasion to wear it to that doesn't ever seem to happen. 

One way of keeping your skirt, while at the same time giving it a practical use, is to turn it into a handbag. I have done this to a number of skirts that I either no longer wear or have thrifted and I have been so pleased with the results. Instead of the skirts being hidden away for years on end they are now used regularly. It means that not only have I got my money's worth in purchasing them but I also get to use the garments I like for a useful and stylish purpose.




To make a bag out of a skirt you will need:

• A skirt
• Scissors
• Thread in co-ordinating colours
• Tailors chalk/pen
• Pinking shears (optional)
• Sewing machine
• A ruler
• Iron
• A strap. I used a ready made strap that can be cut to size. Other options for a strap 
include a belt, a scarf or a recycled strap from an old bag you don’t want or have 
thrifted. Alternatively, why not make a strap out of fabric, see below.




 



1. Start by turning your skirt inside out. Then using tailors chalk mark out on your skirt how wide and deep you want your bag to be. Make sure both sides are of equal width, a ruler really helps with this. You may want to baste stitch or pin along the markings first and turn the bag out to check you are happy with the diameters before sewing.

2. Sew along the sides and the bottom, where you have marked with chalk. The skirt I used was very flared so it needed taking in at the sides but if you are happy with the width of your skirt you can leave the sides and just sew along the bottom 

3. Cut off any excess fabric from the edges. To prevent the edges fraying zigzag stitch/overlock or cut with pinking shears.

4. To give the bag a flatter bottom and a more structured appearance you can box the corners. To do this you will need to hold up the bag and flatten down the bottom corners. The side seam and bottom seam (on each side) should both line up centrally to the corner points. Pressing the corners with an iron and using a ruler to measure will ensure the corners will be of an equal width. With your chalk mark a line across each corner approximately 4 centimetres (depending on the size of the skirt) from the point. Then pin in place and sew along the line. Cut off the corners, leaving about 1cm seam allowance to overlock/zigzag stitch.

5. Now for the strap. Decide how long you want your bag strap to be. It may help to pin it to the sides of the bag first and try on for size, so that you can make any adjustments. Next cut the strap to your desired length. Place the strap ends (about 3 centimetres length) inside your bag on each side and pin to secure. Now stitch in place. I prefer to sew a box shape with an X inside for extra strength and stability.

If the fabric of your skirt is quite thick and sturdy such as denim, you could leave your bag as it is. If, however the fabric is delicate or, like me, you carry around everything in your bag bar the kitchen sink, you may want to make a lining for it. A lining will give your bag extra re-enforcement, as well as provide a neater finish to the inside, with the raw edges concealed between the two layers.

When choosing fabric for your lining I would suggest picking a material that is quite strong, as a delicate material is more likely to tear or fray. The fabric also needs to be quite thin as the lining and skirt bag will be sewn together and bulky fabrics can be difficult to sew. I have used linen and cotton in the past which has worked well. I have also tried pillow cases which didn't work as well but it would depend on the quality. If in doubt ask the assistant at your local craft/fabric shop for recommendations. 




1)  To make a lining for your bag start by measuring the width and depth of your skirt bag. I like to make my bag lining using one rectangle of fabric folded in half. To do this you will need your bags width measurement with seam allowance added, and the depth measurement doubled with a seam allowance added to the top and bottom of the fabric. So, this is how I measure it:

• The bag's width + seam allowance and the bag's depth x 2 + seam allowance. (For 
example if my bag's width is 26cm I would mark 28cm (a centimetre either side 
for seam allowance) across on my fabric and if its depth is 30cm I would mark 
out 62cm (skirt's depth doubled, with added seam allowance). Mark your fabric 
with chalk using your measurements and cut out the rectangle of fabric.

2)  If you would like to overlock/zig zag your edges you may want to do this first before the lining gets sewn together as it's easier. Fold your fabric in half (right sides of fabric together) so that the short edges of the rectangle meet to make the top and the folded crease is now the bottom. Sew along the two side edges leaving a 1cm seam allowance on either side.

3)  Sew across the bottom corners (as in step 4 of the skirt bag above) and trim excess fabric.

4)  Fold over the top edge (seam allowance) of your lining so that the raw edges don’t show at the top. At this stage I press the top edge down with an iron. I then open all the seam edges and press those flat so that they are not bulky to sew over. 

Now insert the lining into the bag (you do not need to turn it inside out as the raw edges should be on the outside, which will now be concealed inside the skirt bag giving a neat appearance). Pin the lining and bag together along the top edges.

5)  Finally, sew all around the top edge.

If you want to enhance your bag further why not try adding a trim, a pocket, a zip fastening or a button/toggle closing to the top of your bag. Also, if you think your bag might be to flimsy you could use iron on or sew in interfacing to the lining (during stage 1) to give it more stability




Another option, if your skirt has a nice edging along the bottom, is to insert a lining and leave the bottom of the skirt open, like I did for the skirt above. 



So that is how to turn a skirt into a bag. I hope you found this DIY helpful and are inspired to upcycle an unused garment in your wardrobe.

Thank you so much, Hannah! What a wonderful tutorial! 

Happy sewing everyone!

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