I admit, I love to knit bags, they are beautiful and soft. But yarn handles and bags can become stretched out. After taking the time to make the perfect bag, take the time to line them and give them some structure, then your bag will be totally wonderful, lasting and you will amaze even yourself.
These are tips, that I discovered during my great summer binge of purse felting.
Handles, if these are knitted, reinforce them.
If I am making an i-cord handle I often put several strands of cotton yarn (or cotton cording, I have also crocheted a chain of cotton yarn and used that), together and string it up the middle, then take a few stitches on each end of the handle to anchor them. This keeps them from becoming too stretched out. I do this even if I’m felting the I-cords, but if felting don’t stitch them until post felting, just safety pin them to them ends, not tightly though, leave some give). Nothing is worse than handles on your purse that keep growing. (my big pet peeve) Your nice under the arm purse ends up hitting your butt and you have to contend with putting some knots in the handles to take up the extra room.
If knitting flat purse handles, that maybe OK. give them the pull test, I mean really pull on them. How much weight are you going to carry in that purse? If they don’t have much give, (if it is a felted purse) they could be good to go. If you get them to stretch, consider taking fabric and lining the underside of your purse handles. (use the same as the lining or contrasting, or you can match the yarn color).
Bottom, and possibly sides, reinforce them
I use to take a piece of cardboard, in the shape of the bottom and hot glue some fabric to it and stick it in. This is good, but it usually bends, folds and things get wedged underneath it (usually that thing you absolutely have to have right now!) But I have found the holy grail for me. Foamies, these little cheap pieces of foam are great! They are available in almost every color you can think of, come in varying, thickness, I usually use the 2mm, I have gotten the 3mm once, that was really heavy duty. Cost, wait for it, less than $1 per piece. They can be found at practically anywhere, from Wal-Mart to your local craft store.
Foamies, usually one or two sheets. (< dollar a piece) Sturdy and washable
Take your finished bag and decide on what section you need to reinforce (example, I always do the bottom if nothing else)
Get your Foamies out, and place your purse section on top and roughly draw a line around the section you want to reinforce. Now cut this out, bigger is always better, (we can trim later, but can’t add on)
Now pin onto bottom of purse, and cut any excess off, now overcast stitch all around with needle and thread. Don’t worry this is inside and no one will ever see it. So no need to be perfect.
If you wish to reinforce any other sections of your bag, repeat for those areas (sides, pockets etc…) I always do the bottom, it really gives your bag some shape that holds up, and is, yes, washable.
Lining, yes, do it you will be glad
I always line my bags, even a beginning sewing can line a bag simply and add even one pocket on the inside. This will make your bag more functional. Fancy or simple, add zippers if you wish.
All of these steps will make a purse that you will be proud of and last and be functional. If you took the time to knit the purse, please take a leap and do some finishing. You will not be sorry
This is a very simple lining, with pockets, ok, a lot of pockets, no fancy closures.
All packed up and ready to go.
Below are some links to a few excellent tutorials, there are many out there on great blogs.
Discover how to properly line your purses in a way that your mother would be proud of, see these links and find some of your own.
Simple lining from My Recycled Bags.com
How to add pockets to your lining from Tiggersong on Instructables
Simple, great looking bag lining tutorial from Future girl, and others.
May your needles fly as fast as dragonflies..