Thursday, 24 November 2016

Dolly's holdall

My granddaughter's Dolly had proved useless at looking after her own clothes, they were always getting lost. So I made her a holdall to keep them in (and it would also be useful should she go on holiday).

If you'd like to know how I made it (or to make one yourself) I explain it after the jump. This is for roughly a 15-16 inch doll but can easily be adapted.
I made this holdall with a rounded-shaped flap-over, but you don't need to do this. It would be at least as easy with a square corners flap-over.

I had some scraps of thin denim left over which I thought would be perfect, but any fabric will do as long as it's not too thick to sew or too flimsy to carry anything. You don't need a very big piece.  Half a fat quarter is more than enough.  So here are the materials you need:

  • 1 piece of fabric c  42 cm by 20 cm (16.5" by 8"). That is pretty minimal - if your fabric is an odd shape or has bad edges you may need an inch or two more.)
  • 84 cm (33 ") of tape for the straps, mine was about 2 cm wide or 3/4" (for this size holdall)
  • Just over a metre - in fact I used 1.06 metres -  of double fold bias binding tape (42").
  • Some little pieces of Velcro - or whatever fastening device you want.

First I cut a long piece of my denim to form the main body, and two circular bits for the ends. I've given the approximate measurements I used, but you could make it a bit bigger if you wanted. For each inch you make the ends greater in diameter, you need to extend the length (i.e.the 30 cm measurement) about 3 - 3 1/4". You can make the width (the 18.5 cm measurement) whatever you like, but it balances best if you don't make it too wide.
I do suggest you cut this out in some real scrap material first and try pinning it to the ends (as I did), before you use anything very precious. 

Next, I laid out my tape for the straps on the right side of the denim into a circuit like this:
I overlapped it a bit somewhere in the middle of one of the long straight bits. I pinned it along the middle so that about 16 cms, or 6 1/4" would be attached on each strap. In other words, the ends would be free to form two carrying handles. Then I stitched it (between the little black marks on the diagram) and reinforced the ends of the stitching by going back and forth a couple of times.

I used bias binding tape to finish the opening flaps - that's to say, the line on the left, which is the straight flap, and the curve on the right of the diagram, the curved flap-over, keeping the handles out of the way.

The next job was to pin the ends on. I pinned wrong sides together, as I would be covering the seam with bias binding .  I started about an inch and a half from end of the straight flap, again, that's the line on the left of the diagram, with about a half inch seam (that would be about 1.25 cm) allowance on the larger piece of material; and a bit less, maybe 1/2 to 2/3rds of that, on the circular ends. You need quite a few pins, and to ease the fabric round as you go. You should stop before the end of the flap-over, which you will leave free, and make sure there is enough space to get little hands in to put things in and take them out. This picture will give you some idea - you need a total gap of about 2 1/2" - 3" (6.25-7.5 cm). On this picture, you can also see inside, the back of the stitching holding one of the tape handles.
I'm sorry that I don't have a very clear picture of this, and what I have doesn't really reflect what I recommend. You'll see that I've ended up with quite a big flap on the straight end (left on the picture above), and the 'flap-over' (right side of the picture) isn't much of a flap at all, The result is that there are gaps at the end where the curved flap-over overlaps the front flap. (See below.) I could have solved this by cutting the curved end straight instead of curved at the longest measurement, in other words cut a rectangle 30 cm by 18.5; or by making the sides a couple of centimetres longer and retaining a curve. Hence on my diagram I've amended what was a 25 cm measurement to be 27cm. Ideally, you want a bit of a flap front and back, with one able to overlap the other by at least couple of centimetres (or an inch).

I decided to baste these seams before attaching the rest of the double-fold bias binding. The double fold bias binding for the ends starts at the place where the circular end joins the back where the curved flap is, goes round the top of the side opening edge, round front and the bottom of the bag and up the back, and up to join the bias bound flap. But make sure you don't sew the front flap in! Both the front flap and the back curved flap-over need to be free to form the opening. I had some slightly fiddly joins where the flaps join the top of the bag, which I hand-sewed.

 Finally, I added bits of Velcro to the flaps to keep it closed, and also small pieces on the ends (which you'll see on an earlier picture) to keep the ends from gaping.

You could use another form of opening, for instance an elastic loop and a small button, but Velcro is nice and easy for Jane to open and close, and easy for me to attach!

So here's the finished bag ready for Dolly to put her clothes in.
 And here is another shameless doll (not Dolly) modelling the bag.

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