Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Sewing: Making a BYO Mug Bag #waronwaste

It's been fabulous to see people responding to the War on Waste program that ran on the ABC recently.  What a great job he's done making us see the monster we are creating.  And in propelling us to make simple, yet powerful, changes.

I've been pondering why I don't take my own mug more often.  I'm quite keen to, but just don't remember.  I realised one of the problems is that it would be rolling around in my bag.  After some serious tea consumption and despite my best efforts, there may be a drop or two left.  As well as being a crying shame (to waste tea) it would also mess up the highly organised and streamlined crazy dumping ground that is my bag.

I've come up with a solution! A BYO Mug bag that can contain any drips, and be easily cleaned.

I have some laminated fabric taking up space in my stash of fabrics.

I'm sure there is something terribly bad for the environment about this fabric, but seeing as I already have it, I might as well put it to good use so it can redeem itself.

If you're interested in making one yourself, here's my tutorial.  This is a pretty simple project, as I designed this to simplify tricky sewing manoeuvres (basically, I'm lazy)  If you can sew a straight line, you can do this!

Step 1:  Make a cup of tea:
You'll spend the rest of your project-making time trying to avoid knocking it over while you wrangle fabric and sewing machines, but it will fortify you.  Do not skip this step!

Step 2:  Collate your resources:
Laminated fabric  - I bought mine years ago at Spotlight, it's pretty lightweight so I will line it with fleece to protect the mug a little (I will have a breakable mug because I can't bear drinking out of plastic.  Now I really sound like a tea snob...).  Oilcloth is another funky alternative that comes in some fabulous designs.  I've also heard it's possible to get an iron-on laminate for cotton fabric.

Laminate - Cut one 8 inch x 44 inch strip 
(this was the width of my fabric which was easy, and it's perfect for a Keep Cup, but if you have a taller mug, I think an 8 x 46 inch strip would be even better!)



Fleece - this was to provide a bit of padding for my mug, as well as to reinforce the outer fabric a little.  You could also use interfacing or flannelette for strength instead, just take care with ironing the laminate!

Fleece - Cut one 8 inch x 22 inch strip (or 8 x 23 if you do the longer length) - half the length of the laminate

Elastic - a narrow braided elastic is probably best.  I tried with Hat Elastic but it slipped out of the stitching.

Elastic - Cut one 15 inch length

Sticky Tape - the magic tape kind - Laminated Fabrics don't play nice with sewing machines, so you will use this on the bottom of the presser foot (the bit on the sewing machine that holds down the fabric as it goes through.  You only need to do this when the laminate is right side out.  Putting some paper over the project would also help here.

Sewing machine 

Seam allowances are 1/2 inch

Step 3:
Fold your laminated fabric so it has right sides together with the short edges matching

Place the fleece / interfacing on top of it, aligning with the edges of the laminate

Fold your elastic in half, and place between the right sides of the laminate, with the ends sticking out slightly (the loop is sandwiched between the laminate).  It needs to be in the middle (see the photo) - you can use pins to keep in place, but they will make holes in your fabric (not a big deal).  I avoid pinning at all costs
Elastic in between the right sides of the laminate.  The fleece will go on top once the laminate is placed back down

Sew a straight seam.
See where the elastic is poking out? Go back & forth over that a couple of times 


When you sew over the elastic, use your sewing machine reverse function to back up & go over this again to strengthen it.

Continue on your merry way sewing until you reach the edge.

Step 4
Turn the sandwich out the right way - the elastic loop will now be on the outside, and the laminate will face out.

The fleece will be inside the sandwich.
Right way out - laminate is wrapped around the fleece, and the elastic has been sewn into the seam you just made (it's hard to spot, but it's sticking out at the end)

Trim the edges if yours looks like a dog's breakfast (like mine) and /or you can be bothered.

Now for some tricks.

Step 5 
Remove your presser foot, and place a small piece of magic sticky tape on the base of it.
Once you have your sticky tape on the underside of the presser foot, trim the excess


Make sure it doesn't cover the hole in the foot that the needle goes through.
Pop the presser foot back onto the machine.

Take your sandwich, and fold it in half, lining up the short edges.

If you prefer one side to the other have it facing inwards (so it becomes the outside of the bag) - but really it shouldn't matter as both sides are the same.

This can be a bit tricky because of the laminate - you may have to push it through the machine a little.


Sew down each side of the bag.

Step 6:  Making a base for the bag

While it is still inside out.

Pinch one side seam and make it match to the crease at the bottom of the bag.
Underneath that seam, I have pressed the crease of the base of the bag.


Measure from the point of the triangle 1.5 inches along the base (crease) of the bag, mark, and draw a line across the bag (see picture)
That may not look like 1.5 inches, but trust me, it's supposed to be!


Repeat on the other side.
Those are the lines you will sew along. It takes a little bit of fiddling to line up each corner with the sewing machine.  Take your time!  It's like magic when it works

Keeping the side seam pinched to the base crease sew along the line you drew for both sides.

It can stand up all by itself!


Trim the corners off.


Voila!  A base to hold the cup in place

Step 7:
Turn the bag right side out.


Pop in your favourite travel mug.


Loop the elastic around to close it, and there you are.



Step 8:
Don't forget to take it with you!

And don't forget to take the sticky tape off your presser foot, or it will mess with other sewing projects you do!



Alternative Method
If you don't like the exposed seams on the inside, you could alter the process by cutting
four 8 x 22.5 inch strips of the laminate fabric, and two 8 x 11.5 inch fleece linings.

Or, you could cut two 8 x 22.5 inch strips of the laminate, and two 8 x 11.5 flannelette or fleece linings (which would absorb any drips, but not be quite so easy to clean)

Follow a similar process, starting with sandwiching the elastic between short ends of 2 of the laminated pieces along with a piece of fleece.

Repeat (sans elastic) for the other laminate & fleece.

While the laminate still has right sides facing (i.e. wrong sides facing out) stitch down the long sides of both sandwiches (one with elastic, one without).

Turn right way out.

Join at the short edge (that has no elastic) - that way only your base will have a raw edge. (You'll need the magic tape from this step)

Follow the rest of the process from Step 6.

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