Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shoop-Shoop Bags - The Tutorial

A re-post from Apron Valley Road... Nadine says:
Happy Sunday from Ta Town! I did a citizen ride-along with the Wichita Police yesterday and "we" (as in the Royal we) caught two bad guys and booked them into the Sedgwick County Jail. Boy, was that scary! Those big steel doors make a heck of a noise when they clank shut behind you! You don't have to tell me even ONCE to behave myself because I don't EVER wanna be in jail, except as an observer like I was yesterday :-)

Well, enough of that stuff - today, as promised, Aunt Pitty Pat and I are going to show you how to make Shoop-Shoop Bags. What are Shoop-Shoop Bags and how did they get their name?
Well, many, many years ago, I was making some wall-pockety things to hold Christmas cards. I made a LOT of them to give as gifts that year. The pattern called for a large strip of fashion fabric, backing fabric, and cotton batting, cut crosswise and then trimmed to an exact size. At the end of my wall-pocktey thing extravaganza, I found I had a REALLY BIG stack of leftover pieces, approximately 7 1/4" by 10 1/2" from those crosswise strips. What to do with them? I folded them in half...and thought about it...and thought some more. They were all Christmas fabrics, so that made their potential use a bit narrow as well. As it happened, I had purchased my first Christmas gift the day before and had the receipt sitting nearby. The wheels started turning (and smoke was coming off the top of my head!). Ah hah! I had a plan!

I stacked the outer, backing, and batting fabrics right sides together and slipped in a couple pieces of folded heavy ribbon. I sewed around the edges, leaving an opening for turning. After clipping and turning, I applied some Velcro on each end, then folded the whole mess in half and sewed up the sides, which also closed the opening I had left for turning. I grabbed that receipt and stuck it inside! I tucked my new, cute little bag into my purse and thought "One gift down, and umpteen more to go...and if something doesn't work out and needs to be returned, I know EXACTLY where to find the receipt!"
Well, after I showed a coworker my clever plan, everyone wanted one. I cranked them out and gave them away. Christmas came and went, and I decided to make some non-holiday-themed wall-pockety things. The leftovers from those got made up into the little bags and were used to store my and my coworkers' cash, makeup, and other goodies. One coworker, upon receiving hers, sat there pulling on the ribbon tabs to open and close the bag several times. She said "The Velcro sounds like it's saying Shoop-Shoop!" After that, we all started calling them Shoop-Shoop Bags. Such a simple thing, and I've seen little bags that are similar, but none that have the "handles" which make them so easy to use. I love challenging projects, but sometimes you just want a project that is quick, easy, and useful that you can assembly-line produce, with no hand sewing. This fits the bill!

Here's what you need:
  • 7 1/4" x 10 1/2" pieces of outer fabric, lining, and cotton batting such as Warm & Natural or Warm & White (or a couple layers of cotton flannel)
  • 5" piece of 3/4" wide hook-and-loop tape, such as Velcro
  • 5" piece of 1" or wider grosgrain ribbon, or a 1" x 5" piece of Ultrasuede, cut in half to make two 1" x 2 1/2" pieces
  • Thread, sewing machine, pins and basic sewing supplies
I prefer the Ultrasuede for the tabs, but didn't bring any with me to Ta Town, so I'm showing the grosgrain ribbon for this tutorial. I'd advise not using other ribbon because it just won't hold up. The Ultrasuede is really ideal, but not nearly as widely available as the grosgrain, which you can find almost anyplace ribbon is sold.

Here are the lining and batting pieces, cut and ready for sewing. I think the outer piece was hiding under the lining in this pic...
Find the center of each short end of either the outer or lining fabric and mark with a pin. Fold the ribbon pieces in half (remember, you cut them in half to make two 1" x 2 1/2" pieces) and pin them on the short ends, raw edges together - use two pins for each to keep them in place so they don't skew sideways. (Also, you may notice in the pic below that in this case, I've used a "one-way design" fabric, so I cut two pieces, 7 1/4" x 5 1/2" and seamed them to make a 7 1/4" x 10 1/2" piece with the design going in opposite directions.)
Sandwich the batting on the back, and the lining on top, right sides together, and pin everything together to hold in place.
Starting near a corner, on a long side, sew all the way around with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 2" opening.
Clip the corners - clip across the corner, then again at a steeper angle for best results:
Turn the bag out through the opening and use your favorite device to pull the corners out nicely. I love a Bamboo Point Turner and Creaser for this job. You'll want nice, sharp corners on your bags. Here are a few I assembly-line sewed, ready for the next step:

On the inside, center the hook and the loop pieces of Velcro on each short end, close to the edge, and stitch all around, being careful not to catch/shred your thread when sewing the hook part.
Fold the bag in half, insides together. The Velcro will hold it closed and in place for sewing the sides. I always sew more than one at this point - it's much easier to butt one up against the previous one, since the bags are slightly thick - sewing from one to the next helps keep the presser foot level and moving smoothly. Backstitch on both ends to make the bag secure, since it will get a lot of stress when pulling it open. The opening you left will be closed automagically during this step - no handsewing!!!
It's that easy - you're done! You can add embellishments such as fabric flowers, fabric yo-yos, hot-fix crystals, etc. Now get thee to thy sewing machines and start making Shoop-Shoop Bags! Give them to your friends and say "Use this bag as THE ONE PLACE for all your receipts when buying your Christmas gifts! They'll all be in one place if you need to return something!" But don't forget to keep one for yourself! Then, make some more in non-Christmas fabrics to give and use for other stuff. Personally, I keep my cash - both bills and change - in one, and makeup in another. I recently had a friend pull one out of her purse to pay her lunch tab...I about gagged! It was so old and nasty looking! I told her "That's just soooooo WRONG! I shall make you a new one!" And the next time we had lunch, I had a pretty new one for her, but she wouldn't give up the old one - ugh...I wanted to burn it! So, give them a try and let me know how you like them :-) This really is my original design from about 20 years ago - as I said above, I've seen some similar, but not with both the Velcro and the tabs for easier opening. But I like to spread the joy, so feel free to make as many as you want :-)

Also, you may notice the very cool "fabric Ric-Rac" embellishment on some of the bags - here's the link to the tutorial for that - REALLY easy to do and it's just fabulous! I made some at the size recommended, then experimented with narrower versions. Zig-Zag Pillow


Val said...

I LOVE this! Thank you.

JVH said...

I totally love the idea of the Shoop-shoop bags! Thanks for the tute!