Spring Time Birdie Bag Project

When intern Mandy Murray from Blessington sent us her gorgeous, nature-inspired Birdie Bag project, we just had to share it with you. It features all of this year’s Spring/Summer colours and is a real eye-catcher! She has used the Accuquilt fabric cutter and dies to cut out the design shapes.

Last year Blessington launched a Designer Diva Competition calling for crafty people between 17 and 30 years of age, with the prize being a 12 month internship opportunity with this market leading company. A talented young Home Ec/Hospitality teacher from Queensland named Mandy Murray was selected and made the big move to Sydney with her partner and her enormous craft collection!

In a recent chat with Mandy we discovered one of her main inspirations is Nancy Judd, an artist and environmental educator who creates couture fashion designs from recycled materials. Mandy derives much inspiration from nature, incorporating the colours and textures of her surroundings in her art as well as using marine litter like plastic bags, bubble wrap and aluminium.

We hope you enjoy making her beautiful Birdie Bag by following these steps and look out for more of them here at Into Craft.

You will need:

  • 45cm x 90cm white waffle weave fabric
  • 45cm x 90cm Pellon
  • 45cm x 90cm pre-quilted lining fabric
  • 45cm × 90cm Tearaway
  • Four 15cm co-ordinating fabrics for birds
  • 20cm × 25cm rectangle of fabric for internal pocket
  • 15cm Vliesofix
  • One brown felt square
  • 3 to 5 different coloured felt squares for flowers
  • Seven 20mm wooden buttons
  • Three 10mm white buttons
  • One 8mm white button
  • Large pre-purchased sew-on handles
  • Variegated thread for birds and leaves
  • Contrasting thread for embroidery on flowers
  • Heavy weight thread
  • Fabric paint for leaves

Tools needed:

  • Sewing machine, open-toe foot, free motion foot and sew-on button foot
  • Accuquilt GO! or GO! Baby
  • 6×6″ 55137 cutting mat
  • 6×12″ 55112 cutting mat
  • Dies:
    • 55324 birds
    • 55331 stems & leaves
    • 55334 fun flower
    • 55326 crazy petals
  • hand sewing needle
  • Size 90 universal machine needles
  • Iron

Cutting:

  • Iron Vliesofix onto the reverse side of the four 15cm fabrics for the birds.
  • Position the fabric onto the Birdies Die and cut four birds and wings using either the GO! Baby or the Go! Fabric Cutter.
  • Cut branches out of the brown felt square using the Stems & Leaves Die.
  • Using the Fun Flower Die, cut three different coloured flowers out of the coloured felt. There are two die cut shapes per flower.
  • Using the Crazy Petals Die, cut 20 of the large individual petals from two different coloured felt squares.
  • Cut the waffle weave fabric, Pellon and lining into two 45cm × 45cm squares.
  • Iron the Pellon squares to the wrong side of the waffle weave fabric.

Method

Bag Exterior
Step 1.
Using one of the squares of the waffle weave fabric, position the felt branches and pin in place.
Step 2.
Place Tearaway under fabric and select a blanket stitch on your sewing machine. Stitch around the outside edge of the branches using brown thread.
Step 3.
Remove Vliesofix paper backing and arrange the birds with their wings around the branches, ironing in position. Using a variegated thread, blanket stitch around the outside of the birds and wings.
Step 4.
Repeat this process on the other square of waffle weave fabric if desired, as per example.
Step 5.
Machine or hand sew the 10mm white buttons onto the larger birds and the 8mm white button onto the smaller bird using black thread for the eyes.
Step 6.
Set free-motion sewing on your sewing machine (refer to your instruction manual). Free-motion leaves using a green variegated thread. It may be helpful to use a fabric marker or chalk to draw the leaves as a guide. Using the same process free motion the words ‘tweet tweet tweet’ onto the back of the bag and give your birdies some little legs!
Step 7.
Select a decorative embroidery stitch on your sewing machine and a contrasting thread. Sew down each petal of the Fun Flowers.
Step 8.
Position five petals to create each flower onto the front side of your bag. Place flower centre 5cm from top edge to allow for seam allowance. Free-motion in position, ensuring that you only sew half way down the petal to maintain a 3D effect. Position and pin the other flowers alternatively along the top and repeat the process. Machine or hand sew wooden buttons into the centre of each flower.
Step 9.
Optional: Paint the leaves and heat set to fix (following manufacturer’s instructions). Mandy used water colour paints with a textile medium, blending Lemon Yellow, Sap Green, Green Deep and Phythalo Blue. Other options are acrylic paints, fabric pens or stamps.
Pocket
Step 10.
Fold the rectangle for the pocket in half lengthways so that right sides are together. Start stitching on the longest length around the outside with a ¼” seam allowance, leaving a gap of approximately 5cm. Clip corners, turn inside out and press. If desired, create a nice top edge of the pocket. Using the side which is open, fold down 1cm and repeat, topstitch in position. Position onto the right side of the lining fabric, 15cm from the top and topstitch around the other three sides.
   
Bag Construction
Step 1.
Place the front and back piece of waffle weave right sides together, pin and sew using a ½” seam allowance around the two sides and the bottom, leaving the top open.
Step 2.
Repeat this step with the pre-quilted lining fabric, however leave a 10cm gap in one side for turning.
Step 3.
The next step is to box the bottom corners, creating a base. With right sides together, pinch corners so that the front and back seams are aligned vertically, creating a triangle. Measure 2″ from the point and stitch horizontally across the triangle. Cut off triangle ¼” from stitching to reduce bulk. Repeat on the opposite corner and lining.
Step 4.
Place the outer bag inside of your lining so that the right sides of the outer bag and lining are together. Pin the top edges and align the side seams.
Step 5 & 6.
Sew completely around the top of the bag using a ½” seam allowance. Turn bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Pin the outer bag and lining together at the top seam and topstitch along the edge.
Step 7.
Measure along the top of the bag and find the centre. Depending on the size of your handles, measure 8cm either side of the centre marking. Machine or hand sew the handles on, using a heavy weight thread for added strength.Step 8.
Slipstitch the opening in the lining closed and press your finished bag!

While she is busily immersed in learning about the Blessington products – Pfaff, Husqvarna Viking, Singer, Handi Quilter and Accuquilt – Mandy’s absolutely favourite part is sewing and creating new samples and projects. Here’s a look at some of her other work:

Life’s a Beach
Spines of Diversity
Wall hanging created using recycled products, designed to encourage people to consider their environmental foot print. It also embraces recycling with materials such as; bubble wrap, aluminium cans, plastic bag and cork. This wall hanging has a fully beaded 3D echidna. Using a variety of different shaped and coloured beads to represent the diversity of our land and its people. The piece mixes both natural and synthetic materials.
Vintage Bird Bag
Parrot
The bird was hand drawn with fabric pens and then the technique of thread painting was applied. The bag was made using a variety of recycled materials such as zippers, buttons, doilies, lace and recycled handles covered with pages from an old book. Who’s a Pretty Boy? Group Project, created with my mum, Leanne Murray and Friend, Vicki Leverton. Created for the Bundaberg Quilters 25 Years of Quilting Calender.

Mandy’s five favourite handy sewing tips:

  1. Always use the right presser foot for the job.
  2. Test your stitch before you sew.
  3. Always start each major project with a new needle in your machine.
  4. Try using the wrong side of some fabrics to increase your choice of fabric.
  5. Don’t be afraid to break the rules, try incorporating unique materials or recycled products into your projects.



 


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