Friday, 15 August 2014

Sing a song of sixpence ...

A while back I saw a Miss Marple episode called 'Pocket full of rye', which brought the old nursery rhyme back.  I don't really know why, but despite being a Welsh speaking family, I don't really remember many Welsh nursery rhymes from my childhood.  We were living in Chester at the time, so that is, presumably, part of it.

Anyway, if we 'sing' the whole nursery rhyme, we might get to the topic of this post ...
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
Wasn't that a dainty dish,
To set before the king?
The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlour,
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.
And before you ask, no, I'm not going to give you tips on catching blackbirds, or baking pies, but rather show you how I went about making a peg bag for my parents.

Many years ago I made a peg bag for my parents, which is now literally falling apart at the seams.  A little more recently (but not a lot) I made another with some cross-stitch decoration.  Unfortunately, this one is too small to hold all of DP's pegs, so I've combined the size of the old one with the design of the second to make another for DPs.

I wanted a finished bag that was the width of a standard coat hanger (the hanging 'mechanism' for DP's 'dying' peg bag and approximately 35cm) by 45cm long, so I cut a piece of fabric twice this length plus 1.5cm for each seam allowance by 45cm wide plus seam allowance. To add a bit of strength and give a better finish, I also cut another piece the same size in a plain 'lining' fabric.

I had decided to make the opening 15cm down from the hanger, so I measured 15cm plus the seam allowance from one end of the outer fabric and centrally marked a horizontal line the width (also 15cm) I wanted for the opening.

As I wanted to embroider around this opening, I then tacked some scrap embroidery/tapestry canvas onto the right side of the fabric to act as a guide for the cross-stitching.  Unlike the original bag, I decided to pick out two colours from the fabric and embroidered the design beneath the opening in one colour and the text in the other and then alternated the colours for the peg designs either side of the text.

Now that the embroidery is complete, with the right sides of both fabrics together, I sewed a narrow rectangle around this horizontal line.  I then drew lines diagonally from the central line to the corners of the stitching, to mark the cutting lines.  Carefully, I cut through both layers and press the seam allowance towards the lining fabric.  If possible, understitch the seam allowance to the lining as closely as possible to the seam.
Pulling out the softened waste canvas - took FOREVER!

Now turn the fabrics the right sides out.  Fold the lining fabric up in half, pin and tack and stitch up the two sides and trim the seam allowance.  NOTE - don't sew across the top of the lining yet! You could sew a slightly wider seam allowance on the lining so that it is a fraction smaller than the outer bag and thus reduce some of the bulk in the seams.

Next, pin and tack the outer fabric, right sides together, and stitch up the two sides (with a slightly narrower seam allowance than used for the lining, again, trim the seam allowance.  You should end up with two bags attached at the opening, a bit like 'conjoined bags'.
Understitching the opening of the bag

After pressing both sides, turn the outer fabric bag right side out, over the lining bag.

Carefully, fold down the top section of the outer bag to free access to the lining bag.  Insert the hanger just inside the lining and pin/tack the seam allowance along the curve (if it has a curve) of the hanger.  Carefully stitch along this line, taking care not to damage the machine/needle with the hanger!  Trim the hem.

The outer bag can now be unfolded over the rest of the bag.  Turn the seam allowance in along the upper edge of the hanger and hand stitch (slip stitch) closed.

Et voilĂ !
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