Sunday, November 3, 2013

Shhh! Don't Tell!

My granddaughters don't read blogs yet, they are only 3, 5 and 8. So I can share one of the Christmas presents that I recently made for the two older girls.  But, don't tell them! They can't open until Christmas!

Both girls take dance lessons at a local ballet studio.  Their Aunt Jenna took lessons at the same studio for at least 10 years so it's been fun to have a second generation attending. A year or so ago, I saw ballet bags on Etsy and other Internet spots that resembled a ballerina's tutu.  So, I decided to try to make some. 
They weren't that difficult to do.  A little gathering and simple stitches and a cute bag was done! I will fill them with some ballet tights and the girls will have a useful and original Christmas present. If you have a budding ballerina in your family I'm sure she would love a tutu bag!

Materials needed:

1 canvas tote bag (can be found at any hobby store)
1 spool of 6" tulle
4 yards of 1/5" or 2" grosgrain ribbon
Large safety pin
Thread in coordinating color

If you want to embroider a name or applique a design on your bag do this before beginning your project. I don't have a monogramming machine so took my bags to a local monogramming shop.  The charge was very minimal. Make sure the monogramming is placed in an area of the bag that won't interfere with the tulle ruffles.

I'm no pattern-writer so apologize if my instructions aren't real concise!

1.  With a water soluble marking pencil or chalk, make two marking lines around the tote bag. You have to "wing" the first marking.  I wanted the edge of my tulle to be at the bottom edge of the bag so made my first mark so that would occur.  My second marking was 1.5" above the first marking line.

2.  Gather enough tulle to go around the bag with a small overlap.  You can do this with a traditional gathering stitch or with the ruffler attachment of your sewing machine. I am learning to use my ruffler attachment and found it very easy for this step. (If you have a ruffler attachment but are intimidated by it here is a great video that provides a lot of guidance Bernina Ruffler Attachment.)

3.  Pin the first gathered strip of tulle to the bottom marking line, overlapping at the starting point.  Use lots of pins for this!

4.  Using a straight or zig zag stitch, slowly sew the tulle to the bag adjusting as you sew around the bag.  Do not sew over the pins.  If your sewing machine has a detachable free arm the process is much easier. Make sure not to get the bag handles in the way!

5.  Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the top marking line.

6.  Cut a piece of ribbon 32" long.  Fold under  the raw edges 1".

7.  Just above the top line, find the center of the bag (back of bag) and mark with a pin.

8.  Pin the ribbon around the bag, starting and stopping at the back center. (Please note that I neglected to do mine this way, I started and stopped on the front.  I think it would look much nicer on the back which is why I have written the instructions this way! Just keeping it real here, I am definitely not perfect with my endeavors!)

9.  Beginning with the bottom of the ribbon, stitch to bag.  Again, the detachable free arm works great for this.  Repeat at the top of the ribbon.

10.  Cut another 32" piece of ribbon.  Make a bow.  If desired, cut an inverted "V" in the tails and/or use Fray Check to keep the edges from raveling.

11.  Attach bow, at center of bag, with a large safety pin.

Note:  if you want a thicker tulle look you can use two layers of tulle for each line on the bag.

See how they look like a tutu! So cute!

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