when it's a table mat?
when it opens flat?
or when it looks like this.....?
When I need to take a break from dressmaking, or need something fun to get me motivated to sew, what usually works is sewing something crafty. I read about a craft competition on the LiveitLoveitMakeit blog. Hillary's (a company that focuses on window blinds and window dressing and are also established in Ireland) have been holding a Craft Competition, to make something from one metre of curtain/upholstery fabric. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to have a bit of fun. Hillary's provided a choice of 1 metre of their curtain fabric from a selection of 4 designs, free. All I have to do is show what I make.
Having 4 children who need lunches has made me very critical of the general design of lunch bags and how difficult they are to clean, so this is what I think will help.
It's a lunch bag that really is not a bag at all! It opens flat to provide a clean surface for eating. The fabric is 100% cotton so can be washed at 60 degrees. I prewashed the fabric at this temperature so that the fabric would preshrink. One of the versions I sewed has an acrylic-coated oilcloth lining which makes it both food safe and very easy to wipe clean.
The design is quite basic, and involves sewing ribbon, binding, elastic and hook and loop tape to rectangles of fabric. Small rectangles form side flaps and large rectangles form the main body of the bag. One metre of curtain fabric was enough to make two lunch bags, one with a different lining, and including handles.
Many useful details can be included, such as pockets in the side flaps to hold cutlery or napkins.
Or elastic on the side flaps to hold a drink when the side flaps are folded closed.
I was planning to use these as gifts for the younger children's teachers at the end of the school year. I sewed the version with contrasting striped ribbon handle and striped binding first as a practice version, thinking that the colours wouldn't work as well as the second version with the matching grey ribbon handle and purple binding. I was surprised how much I like the contrasting version, and it seems I was ahead of myself when planning for teacher gifts. My daughter hugged it when she saw it, and has been waiting for me to take pictures so she could claim it.
If you get a chance to see what other bloggers sewed with their metre of fabric, be sure to have a look. There's a gorgeous waistcoat, a picnic bag, a chair covering, lampshades that are divine, and lots of more. I'm sure they will all be posted or linked to, from Hillarys website in the next few days and I will post that link here when they do.
Edited 15/4/2014 to add: All the 130+ entries have been pinned to the Hillarys.co.uk Pinterest board, and they are all so creative.
The lunch bags got an 'Honourable Mention' and wonderful feedback on the Hillarys Blinds blog
"Crafting a design that is eye catching, highly practical and appealing to children is no easy task, but Sewnbyangela cracked it with her pair of colourful lunchboxes. Beneath their stunning exterior lies a function-filled centre, with an easy-clean acrylic lining, plus pockets and slots for storing cutlery and napkins"
(Thanks to Hillarys for the fabric and a fun competition to inspire crafting!)
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