Why bother with a lining? This post provides good reasons for lining crocheted bags and shows my method step-by-step.
Whether a lining is added or not is personal choice. Ask:
- How will this bag be used?
- What will it carry?
This bag of mine will be for carting around my 'take-along' crochet projects.
The bag could be used without a lining to carry a couple of yarn skeins because they are large items but soft and light; the bag would be less suitable for hooks and notions because they could easily poke through the crocheted fabric or catch on the stitches.
The most important reason for a lining: without it, a crocheted bag risks stretching out of shape as soon as anything heavy goes into it, (knitted bags, even more so than crocheted ones because knitting is very, very stretchy).
Some bags are designed to be stretchy, like string shopping bags that expand to accommodate groceries etc.–the stretch enhances the functionality of the bag–but it may not be so pleasing to have a fashion bag stretch out of shape or around its contents to reveal the visible outlines of personal items to the world!
I don't want my bag to stretch (even if it does increase the capacity) and I plan to be carrying fine steel hooks that I don't want to lose in my travels.
- Block bag
- Wash and press the fabric
- Gather materials and tools.
Materials & Tools
|Materials & Tools|
Clockwise from top: sewing machine,
fabric, scissors & rotary cutter, steel rule,
blocked bag, quilter's rule, pins, thread.
Background: self-healing cutting mat
- Crocheted bag, blocked
- Fabric, washed and freshly pressed
- Sewing thread
- Sewing machine or hand-sewing needle
- Scissors or rotary cutter to trim the fabric
- A ruler of some sort; e.g. steel rule, quilter's rule or set square
- Pins for holding fabric edges together while sewing
I chose a cotton fabric because it doesn't stretch and will help the bag to keep its shape under load. Cotton is washable and strong with a fine weave. I won't lose stitch markers or hooks because they won't be able to poke through easily.
My choice of cotton echoed the colours in the variegated sock yarn. The main colour is golden yellow with subtle swirls of green and purply reds; it has a 'paisley' feel to it, even though it is not a true paisley pattern.
The fabric pictured here is 100% cotton designed for quilting.
Pattern: RobertKaufmann"Fusions" screen print D#5572 (copyright Judy Hand).
Thread: 100% polyester general sewing thread Gütermann CA02778 / colour #412.
- Measure fabric
- Cut fabric
- Insert lining into bag
1. Measure Fabric
The lining will be one piece of fabric folded vertically with a seam along the bottom and on one side. The top will need an allowance for a hem. Decide upon your desired size for seam allowances and hems and include that in your measurements.
One can measure roughly 'by eye' (also called 'eyeballing' [verb]) or use a rule for more precision.
|1. (a) Measure the Length|
Remember to allow for hems and seams.
Measure the length of the fabric according to height of bag plus seam/hem allowances.
Lay out the fabric with the right side (RS) facing up and place bag on top to get an estimate of the fabric needed and whether there will be enough.
- By eye:
Place bag onto fabric so that the fabric is a little larger than the bag. undo ties at bottom of bag to see dimensions clearly.
Fabric length = the height of the bag +
[x] inches/cm for bottom seam allowance + hem.
My fabric was just taller than the bag–the perfect height.
- Using tools:
Use the grid on the cutting mat or a ruler for precision if you wish: measure height of bag and add seam allowances for top hem and bottom seam.
|1. (b) Measure the Width|
When using a ruler,
check measurements from different places.
1. (b) Width
Fold fabric along the vertical axis until the it is the same size as the width of the bag plus a bit extra for the seam allowance.
With ruler, measure in three places (top, middle, bottom) to accurately determine the width. Fabric needs to be twice the width of the bag plus the width of the seam allowances (remembering that there will be a seam allowance on each side of the fabric when laid flat, unfolded).
If my bag measures 16 cm/6.25" across,
the fabric needs to be (16 x 2) + (1.5 cm x 2) = 35 cm
or (6.25" x 2) + (0.5" x 2) = 13.5 inches wide.
2. Cut Fabric
Either mark the fabric (with a 'disappearing ink' pen or tailor's chalk pencils) and cut with sharp fabric scissors or use a ruler and rotary cutter on a cutting mat.
I used a quilter's rule and rotary cutter on a self-healing cutting mat.
|2. (a) 'Square up' the fabric.|
- Fold the fabric horizontally so the top and bottom edges meet.
- Align the horizontal fold along a horizontal line on the grid.
- Adjust the position of the fabric along the line until the selvage is just past a gridline on the cutting mat.
- Line up the quilter's rule horizontally with the fabric fold/gridlines; line it up vertically with the gridline just before the selvage. Using a rotary cutter along the ruler's edge, cut off the selvage.
- This 'new edge' is straight and at right angles to the horizontal fold.
2. (b) Cutting the fabric to correct width
- Line up the ruler's edge with the grid so it is the correct distance from the 'new straight edge' created in step 2 (a).
(the correct distance is twice the width of the bag + [2 x seam allowance]).
- Use the rotary cutter against the ruler to cut the left hand side of the fabric.
|Measuring & Cutting the Correct Width|
I want my folded lining to be 7 inches wide, (a bit wider than the bag)
so I will cut the fabric 14 inches from the new straight edge,
cutting parallel to the first straight edge on the right hand side.
|You will be left with a piece of fabric, at least twice as wide as the bag with a parallel straight edges on both sides.|
2. (c) 'Square Up' and Trim the Top Edge
The top edge will be hemmed. In order to have a straight hem, it helps to have a straight, square edge!
|The straight sides meet on the left.|
The fold is on the right.
Align the straight edges with the grid.
|Squaring off the top edge, ready to hem.|
3. Hem the Top Edge
|3. (a) Fold once and press …|
|3. (b) Fold again and press.|
3.(a) & (b) Fold over the top edge twice (half inch once, half inch again, approx. 6 mm folded twice). Press each time for crisp, neat folds that will stay folded during sewing.
|I double-checked the size of the hemmed lining against the bag.|
3.(c) With hand stitching or sewing machine, sew down the hem.
I used a basic straight stitch.
Two seams: along one side and along the bottom. Decide upon your seam allowance and use a straight stitch.
I allowed for a generous seam allowance and then trimmed it back to remove bulk after the stitching was done.
4. (a) Side Seam
|1. Fold the fabric right sides together so that the two side edges line up. |
Secure with pins. This will be the side seam.
|2. Check how wide the seam allowance needs to be by comparing it with the bag.|
|My folded fabric is 1.5 cm (half an inch) wider than the bag which is the same amount as my calculated seam allowance.|
|3. With right sides together sew side seam half an inch (12 mm) from the edge.|
|A completed side seam.|
4. (b) Bottom Seam
|1. If you are not sure how deep to make the seam, put your lining next to the bag, so the top hem is level with where you want it in the bag. The bottom seam will be level with (or very close to) the bottom of the bag.|
You may think it is a bit long, but the crocheted bag will stretch to accommodate the lining and contents. The amount of stretch is limited by the size of the lining (unlike an unlined bag which will stretch unpredictably).
If the lining is still too long once you have tested it, you can always stitch another bottom seam a little bit higher without the need to unpick the first bottom seam.
I have chosen a quarter inch seam for the bottom (6 mm).
|Still with right sides together, feed the lining into the sewing machine, beginning at the side seam and working towards the fold, finishing at the fold.|
|Top hem, side seam and bottom seam complete.|
4. (c) Finishing the Lining
1. Trim threads and check fit within the bag.
|2. Trim wider seam allowances; |
e.g. I trimmed my half inch seam (12 mm) by a quarter of an inch (6 mm) to reduce bulk.
|3. Finish the raw edges (unhemmed edges) by overcasting with a zig-zag stitch or with an overlocker to prevent the fabric from fraying.|
|A zig-zag stitch will protect the raw edges from fraying.|
|The finished lining, ready to go into the bag.|
5. Insert the Lining
|1. Insert the lining into the bag.|
|2. Pin hem to the inside of the bag's border.|
|3. Stitch the lining to the bag.|
One could use a sewing machine to attach the lining but I find it neater to do it by hand.
I used a whip stitch with a sewing needle to attach the lining to the bag at the hemline by hand.
|My stitching was loose to allow for stretch|
–a little too loose perhaps!
My whip stitching was a bit loose with too much distance between stitches. When the bag is fully drawn open, the lining sits snug against the bag but when it is relaxed, the lining comes away from the bag at the top as you can see in these photos (above & below).
|I will need to re-stitch this to make it neater and tighter.|
|Voila! A finished product.|
|Adjust the length of the straps |
and you're good to go!
Related Posts on Lupey Loops
"How to Turn a Drawstring Bag into a Backpack". 8 October 2015: http://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/how-to-turn-drawstring-bag-into-backpack.html
"WIP Project Bag: Progress Photos at Last!", 17 September 2015: http://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/wip-project-bag-progress-photos-at-last.html
Designer, Pattern & Project details for the crocheted bag can be found at the end of this post.