Confession. I would have never thought to use a broken umbrella for….well anything at all. In the trash it would go. So I was more than curious when Lisa from cucicucicoo sent out a call for pattern testers that used a re-purposed umbrella to make a shopping bag. I have thrown away my share of umbrellas so a use for them would be nice.
Now confession number two. I have sewn quite a few shopping or market bags in the past and have only really liked exactly NONE of them. The problem with most shopping bags is they are the size or larger than a purse and not very portable, thus more often than not I never remember to take them shopping or have to figure out a way to carry them with other things I must carry. They usually languish on our coat rack until they are donated or given away because they are almost always forgotten.
Lisa has overcome my portability issue with her Carry Everywhere bag! And in the most delightful way. A small pouch is sewn on the inside of the bag and the bag is stuff in to the pouch until ready to use.
The thing about nylon, which is the fabric umbrella’s are made with, is it is very srunchable so the inside pouch doesn’t have to be very large. After stuffing my pouch it is about 10 cm long. Her design works very well and is super portable. First shopping bag I have ever made that I actually carry and use on a regular basis. Yay!!
But not only is it convenient to carry, my bag is quite large when opened.
I used a large full size umbrella that I found at the local thrift store. Unfortunately here in Indiana one won’t find umbrellas laying by the roadside or left in weird places such as trees. I had to actually go purchase an umbrella. Lucky for me there was a broken umbrella for $2.99 at the local thrift store. Kind of stupid that it was even $2.99 as it WAS broken and of no use to any one, except me! But not much could be done about that.
My bag can easily can hold 20 pounds plus of stuff.
Another wonderful thing about umbrella nylon fabric is it is super strong!
Although I found the pattern very well laid out and easy to follow, I did find working with the nylon to be somewhat of a challenge. Here are a few tips for when you sew up this bag;
1. Use a size 65 Microtek needle. These needles are designed for lightweight fabrics and have a very slim point which proved useful when sewing through the thin nylon.
2. Use a teflon pressor foot if you have one.
3. Pin like crazy to cut out the pattern and also as you sew. The nylon is very slippery and will slide and shift. I pinned and pinned and pinned and it made things go much easier.
4. Reinforce all your seams by using the straight stitch on your machine that sews forward and backward and then forward. It is the stitch that is used often on bags and sometimes knits. You need very sturdy seams. As you can see from the picture above the bag has the capacity to hold a lot but if you don’t reinforce your seams, they may pop. There is over 20 pounds of stuff in my bag above.
Other fabric could be used as well. Another thrift purchase was a flannel backed plastic tablecloth with stars and sunbursts that has been in my stash for a while. I plan on using this pattern and the tablecloth as a stashbusting project to post on the Stashbusting SAL 2015 facebook group. (pssst…come join us, we would love to have you!)
Lisa is offering the bag for free to those who sign up for her email list which is pretty generous. Personally, this is a bag that I would buy.
This is a pretty cool project because you are using someone’s junk to make a truly useful item. Also, you will be able to forego those horrid plastic bags! Because of the size of the Carry Everywhere Bag it would be no issue to have two or three.
Snugly fitting in to my purse below.
If you are interested in seeing some other bags and get a chance, here are a couple of other bloggers who will be featuring Lisa’s bag. Can’t wait to see how their’s turned out!
Thursday, February 12 – Ingrid from kuka & bubu
Monday, February 16 – Irene from Serger Pepper