Red stripe messenger bag

>> Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I've just finished this striped messenger bag, which my friend is going to give to his sister. It's so easy to make, it's just one long rectangle folded into thirds, so you get a flat bag plus flap. I sewed a strap (padded with quilt padding), and a simple lining out of the same fabric.

The best part is that I started with plain cream coloured wool, which I dyed with Kool-Aid, mixing to get lots of great colours. Dyeing with Kool-Aid is so great, it's not toxic (although it makes you wonder what you're drinking), no mess, inexpensive, and the colours are permanent.
(If you search online you'll find lots of ways to do it, the following is based on my experience.)

How to dye with Kool-Aid:
Note: this works best with 100% wool for strong saturated colour, with cotton or synthetic blends you generally end up with pastel colours. Wool really absorbs the colour best.
1. Wind your wool into a big loop and tie it together on either end to hold it in place
2. Wash your wool (warm water and dish soap works fine) and rinse well
3. Drop 1+ packets of Kool-Aid into a big pot with enough water to cover your wool, and stir to dissolve the crystals. Use more packets for stronger colour, mix flavours to get different colours.
4. Add a teaspoon of salt to help the dye absorb into the wool without streaking. (Mix the Kool-Aid and salt into the water before adding the wool)
5. Simmer on the stove top until the water turns clear, stir gently
6. Rinse out the yarn and hang up to dry - you're done!

5 comments:

Anonymous,  December 07, 2005  

oh, a BAG?...

Claire Louise Milne December 07, 2005  

Very funny, how can you be mocking when it's for you??

Maxine December 09, 2005  

This is great. Its true i do love your blog - thanks for visiting mine! I have been meaning to try a messenger bag for ages. By the way - have you ever felted sweaters? I tried last week and it didn't work - the jumpers were a chunky knit maybe that's why?.

Claire Louise Milne December 09, 2005  

This would be a great beginner project, it's basically the same format as you felt purses! Just one big rectangle, and I can see you already know how to sew. If the sweater was 100% wool, not synthetic it should felt, it doesn't matter how chunky. It may have been a blend, partly synthetic fiber, or a kind of wool that's washable, and it's designed not to shrink and therefore won't felt. You gave me an idea for today's post!

maxine December 09, 2005  

Thanks for the advice Claire. You are probably right about the sweaters, I imagine they were a kind of mix. I will try this experiment again after a visit to a thrift store for a 100% wool sweater!

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