Sewing with Cork Fabric!

I’ve been busy making another bag for my friend. I call it The Gemma© Bag! My friend told me what style of bag she liked and very nicely let me go with the flow! She had her choice of Cork Fabrics and chose these two beauties.


When it comes to choosing Cork Fabric, I learned that there are two kinds: Touch and Touch Pro. See the Sallie Tomato article link at the end of this post. I purchased both and you can really see the difference. The Touch was stiffer, not as flexible, and it might not have been suitable for the folds of my Gemma© Bag. I think I am going to see what Touch is like when I make my next Coffee© Purse with it instead. The Touch Pro on the other hand was thick and strong, and yet soft and bendable. It was lovely for this project!

The lining was my usual cotton reinforced with Pellon SF101 Shape-flex©, a light cotton woven fusible interfacing. As usual, I did a zipper pocket on one interior side of the bag with my zipper foot and a pocket on the other.

I seriously could sew row after row of topstitching on the strap with my 1/4″ seam foot. So fun! It was also fun to design what kind of stitching I would sew on to my zipper tabs too!

Finished Gemma© Bag! Insides – zipper pocket, pocket and lots of room!

The Front – a pocket with a magnetic snap closure.

The Back – I just love this … more topstitching!

The Sides and the Front – magnetic snap pocket, zipper top closure, and an adjustable strap.

I have found a few informative websites for anyone thinking of sewing with Cork Fabric. Sallie Tomato has a great article (that is downloadable too) here. U-Handbag has a great article too explaining how to sew with Cork Fabric and how to make straps and install rivets here.

Just to sum up all the things I have learned about sewing with Cork Fabric:

  1. Don’t iron it. Seam allowances can be held down with glue or topstitching;
  2. Don’t use pins that will leave irreparable holes. Use clips, Wondertape, glue;
  3. Don’t use fusible interfacing. You might not even want an interfacing or stiffener with Cork Fabric, which has lots of body and is thick on its own;
  4. Stitch length 3mm, 3.5 to 4mm for topstitching. Microtex 80 – 90 sewing machine needles. Thread is 40 wt.;
  5. If your strap ends are too thick for your sewing machine try Chicago screws. See the U-Handbag article link above;
  6. A Teflon Foot or a Walking Foot will help with the thick layers. The articles attached here say 3 or 4 layers can be done on a home sewing machine;
  7. Don’t backstitch to lock your seam ends. Pull the threads through instead and tie them off.

Cork Fabric is a wonderful replacement for leather or vinyl. It’s easy to sew and so ecofriendly! I plan on making more bags out of this unique product.

Have you ever tried Cork Fabric? Do you have any extra tips for us? Have I peaked your interest in Cork Fabric?

Happy Sewing! and if I don’t talk to you before the Easter long weekend, Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

STASH BUSTING WITH THIS PROJECT? Well, no change again! I had to buy the Cork Fabric to make this bag for my friend, and the lining was from my remanents bag. So still 131.2 meters left! But there are a couple of Sewing Challenges coming up for me next that should take a good bite out of my fabric stash – after I finish adding the photos to my Coffee© Purse pattern!

Another Rosie© Bag and the Circle Craft Christmas Market

The holidays are fast approaching and along with organizing and sewing for Designin’ December, I have been asked and have decided to make a few Rosie© Bags as gifts.  I have a few cut out and I’ll be slipping the finished Bags on here as they get done, so you can have a look at them too!

My first request was for one exactly the same as the one I made for my sister, with a lighter coloured lining though – if I had it.  After all, I try to use stash and repurposed fabrics and supplies so sometimes the colour choices, etc. are not available!  But I found enough for this bag, and maybe even one more!  

My pieces are cut and interfaced properly.

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Back again! Are you bored with me yet?

That’s good, because it looks like I’m only getting started … seems like I have been bitten by the “bag bug” and have made another.  My sister gave me a box of upholstery fabric (the cat “Sophie” is all mine) and I made my first bag with fabrics from it, my tote bag, which I have been using everyday to lug my possessions onto the bus to work and back again.  That bag’s big enough to carry my laptop, just to give you an idea of the size.  You can read all about that one here, if you wish!

Next I thought I might try a zippered cross-body bag. Smaller, but not too small that I can’t fit my iPad in it.

Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!

All my pieces are planned, measured, cut and fused with either fleece or interfacing.

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What to do with a box of upholstery fabric …

In my quest for the perfect bags, which seems to be a never-ending quest, I have been looking at plenty of styles and sizes, and learning a lot along the way!  My sister was kind enough to provide to me an overflowing box of upholstery fabrics she found while cleaning up and clearing out during their move.  Not only did my cats love acquiring so much free fabric, I did too!  I love using upholstery fabric for bags of all sorts, and jackets too, like this one.

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

So using my Graphics App, I drew up my plans for another tote bag, smaller than my last one, and went through the upholstery fabric box to find the perfect fabric to repurpose into a tote bag.

I pulled out my Singer 421G for this heavy duty job.  I used a lightweight fusible interfacing on my inner lining fabric to add a bit of shape and a fusible fleece on my outer fabric to add a bit of soft cushioning and shape.

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

Fusible fleece – and a peek at the striped fabric I chose from the upholstery fabric box!

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!! Continue reading

The “ins” and the “outs” of my new Tote bag!

I think I’ve already mentioned that I need to replace my Tote bag.  The vinyl is cracking at the corners and on the straps.  I have decided to strip what zippers and buckles I can from this one to ensure no waste … but the rest of it is too worn.

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

My family, friends and co-workers have heard that I like working with repurposed denim and other repurposed fabrics to make my bags.  They all kindly gift me with fabric and notions they find!  For this Tote bag I will be using an almost never worn pair of jeans that a co-worker has given me.  They are large so I have lots of fabric to work with!  (Thank you, Linda R!)   Continue reading

I have to have the perfect Zippered Crossbody bag … (Part 2)

I have really been enjoying this project!  My inspiration was the Sallie Tomato Zippy Crossbody Bag.  I started it last post here and finished it just this week.

There weren’t many details to finish it off.  Let me show you how I did it …

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I have to have the perfect Zippered Crossbody bag … (Part 1)

I used to buy more bags than clothes.  Every time I walked past a bag shop I would stop in.  After “just stopping in” a few days in a row, I’d finally buy what I had been looking at.  Now that I think about it, I pretty much always bought bags with the same “insides” but with a different style outside.  

I haven’t bought a handbag for myself, I think, since I started my RTW fast in January 2015.  I not only broke the clothes shopping habit, I also broke the bag buying habit!

I have been scouting around for a me-made replacement.  I bought this pattern from Sallie Tomato.  Although I haven’t tried the pattern yet, I love the look of it!  It looks almost exactly like what I usually bought.  One zippered pocket each for my bus pass, my keys, my wallet and phone, and one big enough for my iPad.  Oops!  It’s missing the space for my iPad.  

No problem!  I’ll just figure out a way to add another pouch on the backside of this Sallie Tomato bag … um … hopefully!

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!!

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What can I say? I still had some denim strips left!

And I’m certainly not one to waste recycled denim!  So let’s make another bag.  This one is not quite big enough to hold my iPad, not like the last one I made.  This one seemed to go together quicker too!  Perhaps it wasn’t as “fancy” or perhaps I’m actually getting used to throwing them together?!?

Again, I started by sewing my strips together, pressing them, ironing on the fusible interfacing, and trimming the two outer bag walls to the right size.

Nice dress!  Thanks, I made it!! Continue reading

How to sew a recycled denim handbag. Part 2

Back again!  To recap last week’s post … I wanted to make myself a 100% recycled denim bag, using denim strips like those bags I saw on Pinterest.  Last week I cut up my denim jeans, pieced and sewed the strips together and fused on the interfacing for my outer bag walls.  I sewed the pockets and the zipper pocket on my bag lining.  I sewed the bag strap.  I did my topstitching – I love topstitching and Amber, my Singer 421G was a work horse!  

This week, I continued on.  I prepped the opening zipper, cutting it to the right length and topstitching the zipper tabs on the ends.  I switched from the brown zipper to this blue one as it fit around my iPad just right.

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How to sew a recycled denim handbag.

I was trying to think of an eye-catching, mysterious title for my blog post.  I couldn’t.  I have too been immersed in bag making lately – sewing creatively, instead of blogging creatively!  

The only other handbags I’ve made I posted about here and here.  I made one of them for my sister – she’s seems to be happy with it.  I made her’s by copying something she already had.

This time I wanted to make a handbag for myself out of 100% recycled materials, specifically denim.  I have been collecting a few images on my Pinterest and I’m quite inspired by this recycled denim Chobe Bag with the denim strips sewn together.

Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!

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