22 November, 2015

Retreat Bags


I cut into my cherished Echino Airplanes (Kokka).
They have been waiting to be used for several years. They were folded carefully and then tied off with twine.  Lovely to pet.

The blue jumped to be first up in making Retreat Bags. The Retreat Bag is a free pattern from Emmaline Bags. She has awesome bag bling too. The bag utilizes wire frames to keep the bag open wide

 Emmaline Bags carries those zipper ends. So much easier to use than sewing fabric tabs onto the ends. These look very polished. The airplane charm was traded for.

 Those wire frames really help to keep the bag open. I made a second one in the elephant fabric that i recently used in a boxy bag because it was out.

I made a New Year's resolution to use up fabrics once I took them out of stash. To keep sewing until it was used up. But I can't do it.

I was able to cut into my blue echino airplane but I can't cut anymore. I am overwhelmed with the need to save it and parsimoniously eke it out in various small projects to the end of time.

Similar sized bags with long zippers.

The boxy bag is  similar to a men's Dopp Bag. I really like the Retreat Bag better as it opens wide to allow you to see all the contents at once. The boxy bag can be a black hole.

Each bag has it's own version of a handle. I've added carrying handles to the Retreat bag before for my great-nieces. The Retreat Bag is easy to pick up and carry because of the wire frames.

 You can add two slip pockets. I added two in the airplane bag, one for the elephant, and none at all for the great-nieces.

You could dress it up with a zipper pocket inside and even on the outside. The bag starts out at 13 1/2" across but the available pocket room is around 6 inches (centered) x 4" deep.

For this Echino fabric - not a quilting cotton - more like a canvas - I wanted a zipper with metal teeth and I was a little frustrated that I couldn't find one in the right color. You have to understand I have at least 200+ zips in my stash. I scored a big zipper haul earlier in the summer at an estate sale. I was going to settle for an off-white one with #5 nylon teeth (big teeth) but then I found this orange which was the right orange.

There was a black zipper with humongous brass teeth that would have looked awesome but it was way too long and I would have struggled taking some of the teeth out. This one works. I can't really explain why the nylon one would not have worked  - this one worked better. The off-white was safe, the orange makes you think twice.

Thanksgiving is Thursday. I'm having 7 people here.  A bit small this year. We've never had giant gatherings - 13-15 is our average most years.

I cleaned house Saturday between work shifts so I could chisel out time to sew today.
I also wanted to make Apple Cider Caramels for my workmates and for Thanksgiving, along with Butternut Squash Soup for both dinners this week and as a starter course on Thursday.

Working 12-hour split shifts through Christmas now.

 These are all cut up and wrapped, ready to be put into containers.
I actually made two batches this morning. My first went swimmingly until I poured it out -and realized I forgot to add the butter.

These bags were made to help me out at Christmastime and for Elm Street Quilt's BAG IT series this month. Patty has coughed up a very organized month of sewing bags with accompanying tutorials and tips and the whip (prizes!) to make you sew some fun bags.
This week was non-zippered bags  - storage box bags.

I didn't need any open storage nor could I thing of someone who would so I did my own thing. Which is normal for me and entirely fine for the BAG IT series.


  1. You have the canniest knack for choosing the best linings and zipper combos. Both of these turned out so nice!

    1. Giant stash. It really helped me to arrange my quilting cottons inside an open bookcase. I've been steadily hanging up my other fabrics to visually see them. I rarely thought of them inside boxes.

  2. Great looking bags. I can see why you kept that fabric around for awhile but it looks awesome as a bag! Thanks for sharing as part of the Bag It series!

  3. WOW I didn't know it was possible to actually USE Echino fabric - I thought it was only supposed to sit in stash and age gracefully - I haven't been able to cut into mine yet, lol. That airplane fabric is adorable - it seems to be to be a very Kathy fabric ;) I should take a picture of my zipper stash - I'm pretty sure I can match or beat your 200+ number - I'm big on Ebay shopping ;) BTW - the orange zipper is PERFECT with that print!

    1. The rest is being put away. I cannot bring myself to cut further into it.

  4. I've never heard of a retreat bag.. should I know what that is? They are gorgeous!

    *H*A*P*P*Y* *T*H*A*N*K*S*G*I*V*I*N*G*!*!*

    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    1. The name was given during a sewing retreat. The testers named the bag.

  5. Wow! Bag wires! You are starting to get into "stunt sewing"! I love the shape it makes open and closed. Nice job. Plus, those apple cider caramels are the bomb!

  6. I have never seen a bag that stays open like yours. I'll have to check out the tutorial. Love the aeroplane fabric and the zipper pull to match.


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