The Typewriter Bag

Joanne of Sew Little Time is entirely responsible for this make. Why? She left a comment on my recent blog post about The Village Haberdashery, saying how much she liked the typewriter fabric.

Typewriter fabric? Typewriter fabric?! You’re saying that to me, with my literary weaknesses? Thanks, Joanne!

I checked it out and next thing I knew, I was ordering half a metre with some matching solid turquoise cotton. Those two half metres made me this bag with mere scraps left over, just enough to make a little pocket for my keys on the interior:

This is the fourth time I’ve made this Amy Butler Swing Bag. I love this bag. Every summer I like to make myself a new version. It’s a real tardis – not too big, but you can carry half your life around with you. I fear it’s out of print now, but Amy Butler has loads of other groovy bag patterns, details here.

Because I’m a plonker of the highest order I fouled up the cutting out and had to sew two sections together to make one of the panels. I decided to use a flat felled seam to make this an ‘interesting detail’ instead of a ‘mistake’. I genuinely think it’s a cool interesting detail! No one ever need know. (Shhh, don’t go telling on me.)

The fabric is unbelievably great, cool and high quality. The saturation of colour on the solid turquoise is a beauty to behold. I can just imagine the beautiful quilts to be made from this. Sigh, I’ll never find the like on Walthamstow market. Am I developing champagne tastes? My purchases from The Village Haberdashery (including thread and delivery) came to £16.95. You could probably buy a high street handbag for something close to that, but dang – it’s still a reasonable spend! Perhaps prosecco tastes, what say you?

This make involves sewing through several thick layers, so I decided to finally break out my walking foot:

I’ve had this for about two years (it came with my machine) and have never used it before this make. Why not? Because I was terrified of it, that’s why! But I decided to be all brave and strong and tackle this. I looked up Youtube tutorials. Jeez, there are lot of people out there pretending to supply tutorials when they’re actually just trying to sell you stuff. Stop it! Go away! If you want a genuine tutorial on how to attach this behemoth foot to your sewing machine you can watch this.

Here are my tips. Have the needle lowered as you’re trying to wiggle the foot onto your machine, then raise the needle when you want to fix the clamp in place to hold the foot on. The first time you try to put this foot on your machine, it will take about five minutes and some head scratching. The second time you try, it will take two minutes.

What does a walking foot do? It stops layers of fabric from shifting. This had always been a problem on this make as a layer of canvas is basted to the exterior fabric:

What can I tell you about using the walking foot? It’s brilliant! I’m tempted to use this on a lot of makes, now. But they’re not cheap. I was lucky to receive mine as part of the deal when I bought my machine, but otherwise they’re retailing at £85 a pop. Eek! I now feel very embarrassed that I’ve allowed this expensive piece of equipment to languish in my drawer because I WAS SCARED OF IT. Don’t be like me. Please.

Anyone out there have hints and tips about walking feet? Anyone else out there have sewing equipment that gives them nightmares?

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33 Responses to The Typewriter Bag

  1. ooobop! says:

    That fabric has your name all over it! Such a striking bag. And regs champagne taste, you would never find a bag in that fabric, in that style, lined and made so well on sale in any high street store. You might find one hand made by someone else but you’d pay a lot more than £16.95 for sure! In the meantime, until someone steals your idea, you have one fabulously original show-stopping bag. 🙂

  2. ooobop! says:

    Oh … and by the way… turning corners with a 2mm rolled foot hem… aaaarrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I have made the Swing Bag a few years ago and still love it, being reversible its good to rotate it now and then and enjoy both sides of the bag! You are so right about its TARDIS like capacity.
    That Bernina walking is a fantastic piece of equipment and after you figure out attaching it, its fast and easy. Before long you will have it down to one hand attachment in a few seconds. You can also take the needle out so you have no chance of skewering yourself on the needle when attaching it. I also find approaching from the rear and holding the fork up with one finger, then tipping the cone slighlty down and to the left makes it easier to attach.
    I have been using my walking foot for all sorts of things not only for quilting and bag making but taming all manner of slinky and slippery garment fabrics.
    And not long ago I bought the extra sole with the centre guide foot for edge stitching or stitching in the ditch. Its brilliant and makes it easier on the eyes, because you can move the needle around to where you want the topstitching or edge stitching to be, and run the edge along side the centre guide blade. Wonderful consistency with walking foot feed capability- is there anything better?

  4. Jill says:

    First of all, adorable bag. Second, I LOVE that you refer to it as “a real tardis” 🙂

  5. Hannah Jean says:

    I got my walking foot from Amazon for around $25, and haven’t taken it off for most sewing since I got it in January. Maybe I should? In short, it’s amazing.

    • I only heard of the walking foot relatively recently and had till then assumed that the reason I couldn’t get checks, etc, to line up was because I was totally rubbish. I’d like you converts to tell me is there any reason to take off the foot (apart from when you need another specialist foot). What are the disadvantages? It does look big and scary.. (BigFoot?!)

      • Hannah Jean says:

        Hmm.. I’ve gotten so used to it that it’s almost like using a regular foot, aside from being larger. It feeds stripes, satins, elastic etc much better. I can thread and everything while it’s in! I think when I was researching I heard someone say it could be bad for your machine somehow to keep it in all the time, but I haven’t seen any of that. I guess I should check with a sewing machine repairman and find out? It’s well worth it in my opinion!

  6. Shivani says:

    Love the bag! I’ve had my eye on that fabric too, but not sure what I’d do with it. The accidental flat seam makes a nice feature too 🙂

  7. Laura says:

    The bag looks great… it’s really you!

    Funny you mention the foot today – I had a debate with myself just yesterday about buying one of these for silk fabrics. I was so split I even wrote about it! The Singer one is 30£ and I decided against it for now, but I must admit I’m tempted to go back and get it.

  8. ruth says:

    what a fabulous bag and the fabric is perfect!

  9. What a fabulous bag. I seriously love that fabric. And I would love a walking foot. I’ve never tried to get one for my machine but I suppose it might be possible. Perhaps I’ll put it on my Christmas wish list!

  10. OMG, I love that bag! I’ve had my eye on the typewriter fabric for a while… Lovely make and you’d never get a bag of that quality on the high street for £16.95, plus it’s personal to you. Off to investigate a walking foot for my Janome…

  11. tinygoldenpins says:

    I have a Bernina and after many chunky and funny looking quilt mishaps, I decided to get a walking foot. But, wow! They were about $150.00 us dollars. I was able to find an imitation one on Ebay that fit my machine. It costs about $25.00 or so. The seller was a reputable buyer and had all positive feedback. The walking foot works perfectly. So….I’d suggest checking out Ebay, ladies and gentles.

  12. Sarah says:

    I ADORE this bag! As a secretary, I have a huge weakness for typewriter prints, too! Well done!

  13. Lazy Stitching says:

    That fabric is to die for!

  14. Sewing Princess says:

    I love my walking foot. Very handy. Never had issues with attaching it though a bit fiddly

  15. Marie says:

    Love, love, love that fabric (and your bag of course)! Considering using it to make some fancy cushions to go with our new sofa!

  16. Sue says:

    I really love the fabric! The colors are great and it’s such a cute print. I wonder if it could be used to sew clothing….

  17. Roobeedoo says:

    Ooh fab-u-lous! I had my eye on that fabric in lime green to make a lap-top case – you may have pushed me over the edge!

  18. neeno says:

    such a cute print!!!!!

  19. MrsC says:

    I LOVE my walking foot so much it rarely leaves my machine. I tend to take it off to do other jobs like buttonholes, rather than put it ON to do jobs. It is fantastic for sewing checks, velvet, quilting and anything else where layers are involved, but yes also chiffon, organza and other really fine slippery beastie fabrics. It’s a lot of hardware where there didn’t used to be so takes a wee while to get used to, but once used to it, it’s all good. The genuine Bernina ones are a terrible price it is true but I have found I’ve had the value from it like noone’s business!
    Ironically I bought mine because I am a quilter but actually I rarely use it for quilting as my passion is free motion quilting, where you drop the dog feed and use the little ring shaped foot instead. Can’t beat it though for binding and stitching in the ditch around blocks.
    Convert? Abso blimmin lutely. And I was older than you when I discovered them too!

  20. atelierfargo says:

    Ha! I’ve been drooling over that fabric at B&J’s, but telling myself it’s cost-prohibitive for what I wanted to do with it. Brilliant what you did, making a bag, limited yardage but maximum usage. I absolutely adore this!!!

  21. Joanne says:

    ooh, so glad to have inspired such a fab project! it is really lovely fabric and i really love what you’ve done with it! thanks for the mention of my new little blog!

  22. grenouille78 says:

    Nice that typewriters can live on in fabric at least! Alas, I do not have a walking foot. I would really love to add a few more specialty feet to my collection, but the money for that usually gets diverted to fabric or yarn. One of these days, I’ll just have to bite the bullet and get one.

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  24. I love this bag. I wouldn’t have picked the pattern from the original pattern photo – it’s a bit twee for my taste, but yours is fantastic. I was so taken with it that I just ordered the pattern off Etsy. Your flat felled save on the cutting error is great – you matched the pattern so beautifully it looks like a design feature.

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