When the WiiU came out with The Legend of Zelda Hyrule Warriors game, I decided I was going to make my son the awesome scarf that Link wore. I bought some fabric, but I never got beyond that point. Yes, kids love to play dress up, but this scarf would be too awesome to not wear it outside. The only problem is that the weather here is not cold enough to warrant wearing a scarf. So saith I. The idea was put on the back burner. My best friend got me on the idea of making tote bags for my kids…yeah, my kids…/cough cough. I made some My Little Pony bags to match a skirt that I had made my daughter. Then my son had to have a Minecraft bag. Which I made reversible with hidden pockets. As I am writing this blog, I realize where my kids get their need to always “one up” each other. My husband’s side. Yeah, right… I think not.
Anyway, I was sitting around thinking of what my next project would be. What would be better than MLP and Minecraft? Link and the Triforce… duh. Let me tell you what, my brain was going crazy with ideas. How could I pull this off? The most awesome bag ever?
(A little side story) I got this wild idea about a year ago to make my own couch covers. They are expensive and every couch is made differently, so I researched online and found that lots of people were making them from canvas drop cloths. I got lucky. Home Depot was selling a promotional 2 pack of drop cloths for the price of one. I also topped that by using a Harbor Freight competitor coupon. Score. I washed and dried them, to prevent any additional shrinking. I started cutting and pinning the first couch cover. Now, the good part. My husband came home from work, looked at my work, and said “No”. (politely, of course) Scratch that whole idea. The cut up fabric got folded up and tossed into a bag. End of side story.
Ding, Ding, Ding… light bulb! A painted canvas tote bag, FTW!
First, I had to figure out what size bag I wanted to make. I wanted it to be bigger than the MLP bags, but smaller than the Minecraft bag. Second, I had already found the clipart I wanted to use, from when I thought I wanted to make a scarf. I imported the clipart into my Silhouette Cameo program, sized it to fit the bag, and then cut it out on freezer paper. Let me just say that peeling freezer paper off of that sticky mat tried my patience. Finally, after measuring the placement of the graphic, I ironed the stenciled freezer paper onto the fabric.
So, a few notes about freezer paper I have learned. I cut the freezer paper both shiny side up and shiny side down with my Silhouette. I preferred the shiny side up, but I really did not see a dramatic difference. I wish there was a setting for freezer paper, but if you don’t use your own custom setting, the closest one would be Washi Paper. When I ironed the freezer paper, I set my iron around 4 and no steam. (I would set the iron to be the same as the material being used.) At first, I thought it was going to be hard to iron down the rolled up mess, but if you start from one side and work your way to the other, it will work just fine. I don’t recommend starting from the middle. It’s kind of like pushing air out of a sandwich bag. You start from the bottom and work your way to the zipper top. When you get the paper ironed down, you can go back and press down any questionable spots. Once that paper is ironed down, it’s down.
Painting the fabric was fun. I had to use two different brands of paint, due to color choices. The red and orange were Martha Stewart satin acrylic. The yellow was Craft Smart acrylic paint. I also used Martha Stewart’s Fabric Medium. (All paints were purchased at Michael’s with a coupon). The Martha Stewart paints were thick, but with the fabric medium they thinned out. The Craft Smart paint was already thin, so I only needed a few drops of the fabric medium. If you are using different colors and they are close to each other, here is a trick that I used. I took a post-it and placed it over the spot where the yellow triforce symbol was going to be painted. That way I wouldn’t accidentally get red paint on the yellow triforce spot. Before you start to paint, make sure that you put a piece of cardboard underneath the fabric, for the paint does seep through. First, I started with the red paint and did all the red areas. Second, I painted the orange. Lastly, I did the yellow. When painting each color, I painted the area and then went back and did a light second coat and made sure that I didn’t miss any spots. Now, I just needed to clean up the mess and wait 24 hours for the paint to dry. The next day, I peeled off the freezer. I used a straight pin to help pick up any stuck pieces. There were a few spots that bled a little more then I had liked, but I think it turned out great for my first try. I now have to heat set the paint. I grabbed an old bed sheet that I have been cutting up for scrap fabric, placed it underneath and on top of the painted fabric, and heat set the paint with my iron. Using the setting for the fabric and no steam, I moved the iron back and forth for about 3 minutes and then flipped the fabric over and ironed it again for another 3 minutes. I am glad that I had the sheet over/under the fabric for the yellow paint barely lifted off. When I say lifted off, I don’t mean that the paint came off. When I looked at the sheet, I could see a very faint impression from the yellow paint.
Before I started sewing the pieces together, I decided I should probably Scotch Guard what will be the bottom of the bag. I laid down some newspaper, put the main fabric right side up, and then placed two pieces of newspaper over the painted parts leaving about a 3 inch strip. I sprayed the fabric and quickly removed the newspaper, because I didn’t want the ink from the newspaper to bleed onto the fabric. I put the fabric in front of a mini fan for about 5 minutes and it dried super quick.
One of the things I love about tote bags like this one is you can make it reversible. As long as you pick out the right lining fabric, it can be done. If you are going to make it reversible and add a pocket, make sure that you measure where the pocket goes correctly. If you add gussets to the bottom, as I have, you want to make sure that you don’t sew the pocket on too low. Also, you don’t want to put the pocket too high, because items could fall out of the pocket and worse…out of the bag.
Time to sew… I made the straps and sewed on the pocket to the lining. Then, I pieced everything together and sewed it all up. One thing I will mention about working with canvas drop cloth is the edges unravel if you are not careful. I would suggest sewing a small zig zag stitch along the edge or surge, if you have one. The most important part about making your sewing projects look professional is to make sure you utilize your iron. If you look at sewing blogs, the most repeated thing I read is about pressing your seams and ironing. It is an important step, so do it. Just saying.
p.s. After doing a bit of research, the best tutorial I found is by Amy at Diary of a Quilter. Her website is great. She makes it simple and easy to understand. You can adjust the measurements and steps to fit your needs, if you know your way around a sewing machine.
*The Legend of Zelda, Triforce symbol, N64, and WiiU are all trademarked by Nintendo. My Little Pony is trademarked by Hasbro. Minecraft is trademarked by Mojang & Microsoft.