Have you ever stared at something long enough and with such intent that an idea came to you simply to allow your brain to ponder other things? Me neither, but that’s what I was hoping for when this canvas bag spent a year of its existence hanging on the laundry room door. Although it has “bridesmaid” plastered across the front (and back) of it, I knew it could gain a new lease on life. With everything in my crafting arsenal, I was bound to be able to come up with a canvas bag makeover that would allow us to actually use the thing.
I thought of painting it, dyeing it, cutting it up, studding it up… You name it, I thought of it. I thought of a hundred ways to use this bag, but I did none of them. So it hung there. Until I couldn’t take it anymore. Here’s a glimpse at the ruflfes-gone-rampant results.
By the way, the title of this bit of craftiness, “Bridesmaid Revisited,” is not meant to be a take on Evenlyn Waugh’s story, Brideshead Revisited. Really, it’s not. Side note – the most I remember from Brideshead Revisited was the name, Cordelia. The rest of the novel? Eh, not so much. Tee.Dee.Us.
Back to the DIY…
I know you have one (or many) of these bags, right? This one is from David’s Bridal and is actually a sturdy little number. I have gotten one or two in the past and (sorry, friends) have donated them to the Goodwill. Because this one was from my sister’s wedding, there was no way that I could just pass it on. And no, my sister isn’t a witch with a capital “B,” but she did give me a bridesmaid bag instead of a Maid of Honor bag because… Well, um…
Well, okay there WAS a reason and she did tell it to me but I’ve had to dump that bit of memory to make room for the colors of glitter in my crafting cabinet or something cute my kid did. Anyway, this is a David’s Bridal bridesmaid bag refashion infused with snarky commentary by yours truly.
It’s such a simple project that a tutorial isn’t needed, but since I took the pictures I’m going to put it out there as a canvas bag makeover project. I have so many projects that I haven’t deemed worthy of sharing with you all, but that pile is getting too big. It’s like that big monster of “pending crap to write up” just keeps growing. And because I spent the last week reading a novel a day, I need to tap into that big, hairy monster’s stash and start actually using some of these ideas.
Because I did this project when it was late, or early depending on your timezone, the pictures are Horrible. Yep, that deserves a capital, “H,” people. I apologize but the only natural light was on the other side of the world.
You need a bag you don’t like and some fabric. I used knit because it seems I have an endless supply of it. Folks, I think it’s breeding like rabbits left alone to its own devices there in my fabric stash.
Instructions (A Term I Use Most Loosely)
Iron your bag if you washed it and left it hanging on your laundry room door for a year or so.
Measure the width of your bag and determine how much frilly, girly, ruffle-y goodness you desire. I desired twice the width of my bag because that’s how long the fabric was, but feel free to stitch pieces together. I chose to have 4 inch ruffles because I knew I was going to cover the top of them (with the layer above it), and I needed to cover from below the “bridesmaid” to the very top edge of the bag.
Instead of taking the extra step of sewing the strips of fabric together to make one long piece, I opted for 6 pieces of fabric (3 ruffles) and opted to overlap the ends when I put them on the bag. You can choose to make some ludicrously long pieces of fabric if you’d like, but just remember – UGH, they’re like ridiculously long. Here’s a gratuitous shot of the finished project to keep you going…
There are many ways to ruffle, but for this quick project I used the, “I’m going to be oh-so-lazy and not even switch out my needle for the right kind of fabric, let alone hunt down a ruffle foot” ruffle technique. Basically, I used the stitch and pull method (um, I doubt it’s actually called that). If you’ve never done that, set your simple, straight stitch to the longest stitch length allowed on your sewing machine. Starting at about 1/2 an inch from the edge of one of the long sides, stitch a straight stitch the full length of the fabric.
NOTE: do not back stitch (reinforce) at the start or the end. Those annoying strings at the ends are going to finally prove themselves worthy of your attention, I promise.
In order to ruffle the fabric, pull gently on the bobbin thread (the ‘back of the fabric’ thread) and move the fabric towards the center. Do this from both sides and you should get a ruffle. Don’t pull too hard, ‘cuz SNAP! and you’ll be re-ruffling that same piece of fabric.
TIP: You can choose to remove the ruffling thread after you’ve secured the fabric to the bag or you can leave it. I tried it both ways, and I’d say leave it. More on that later.
Ta-stinkin’-da. Ruffles galore via the lazy crafter’s method. It’s amazing what one can do when you really want to complete a project before the clock tolls 1 am.
Repeat and make as many ruffles as your heart desires. I made 4 pink (2 for each side) and 2 blue (1 for each side).
As you no doubt have guessed, the next step is to attach the ruffles. I started with the center ruffle because I was only initially only going to do two rows of ruffles, but you should probably start with the bottom ruffle. You will need to move the ruffle along with the string to get it just how you want it but once you have, pin it in place. At this point, you can tie together the ends of your ruffle thread and cut off the excess. If you are pulling the ruffling thread out, you might want to wait until the ruffle is sewn on to remove it.
Because I chose to work with smaller fabric strips instead of one ridiculously long piece that would be a pain to work with, I lined up the edge of the fabric just over the side seam of the bag. That way, full or empty, the ruffle still shows instead of the canvas bag showing through.
Repeat for the other ruffles. Take care when lining up the top ruffle with the top of the bag. My ruffles line up perfectly in some spots and in others, not so much.
You have a choice to remove the ruffling thread or leave it. I had to remove it on one side because I ruffled pink fabric with navy thread (hey, in my defense it was late) and I couldn’t leave it like that. Honestly, it was a bit of a pain in the bum so I just left the ruffling thread on the other side and sewed right on top of it.
All in all, this midnight project makes for a wonderful library book bag for my daughter. She loves it and perfectly lined up ruffles or not, that makes it a win in my book.
Maybe you could share this not-so-perfect project with your friends and followers? I’m sure someone you know has one of these canvas totes lying around! You could even use the handy Pin-It picture below.
If you’d like to see other not-so-perfect beginner sewing projects we’ve tackled, check out:
Where we party: our list of link parties we’ve shared Ruffles and Rain Boots’ playful creativity.