Sunday, 12 August 2012

Every Gold Medal Winner Started with One of These - The PE Bag Tutorial

I have to tell you that I am exhausted after a fortnight of the Olympics... my sofa is suffering and I know it could have been me... I just know I could have been there... if I had had the right equipment, dedication, physical strength, nerve, stamina, ability to fit into a leotard and of course, a decent bag to keep my gym kit in.  Actually I got so carried away, I even looked at what sports were available locally and watched a trailer for the mountain biking... these people are lunatics, they ride down rocks, at speed on their lycra!  So I have decided to become part of the Olympic legacy by making a PE bag for the next generation... so let's get to it, there is not a moment to waste before Rio!
You will need
A piece of cotton weight fabric 40" (long) x 18" (wide)
2 yards of ribbon
Scissors and/or rotary cutting wheel, mat or ruler
Iron and ironing board
Safety pins x 4
Experience as a Girl Guide or Brownie

Let's get started by ironing your fabric ready to cut out, cut one piece 40" long by 18" wide.
Fold under 1/4" at each end and sew it down
Take your ribbon and fold over the top of the fabric to cover it, do not be mean, make sure it doesn't barely cover it but gives you plenty of room for movement, then insert a pin.  Using a 5/8" seam allowance sew down each side, making sure that you have reverse stitched at the top to make sure that seam is strengthened.
Iron the seam open and fold over the fabric and iron into place, on the right side sew down the seam 1/4" away from the edge, when you reach the join sew a 1/4" beyond it, keeping your needle in the fabric, turn the work 90 degrees sew across to the other side, keeping the needle in the fabric, turn 90 degrees again and sew up to the top.  Now repeat this on the other side.  Use a pair of pinking shears or a pinking wheel to cut away the excess, to create a prettier seam.
As you know, I like making bags with flat bottoms, so the next step is optional. Press open the side seam and lay it over the fold line of the bottom of your bag, measure 2" from the point of the triangle you have created on each side and mark it with a pin, sew straight across to create the base of your triangle and trim away the excess and repeat this on the other side.  Now turn your bag right sides out.
Go to the top of your bag, fold over the top seam so it lies just below the opening, sew around the top of the bag to create the casement for your ribbon.  You should now have two openings at the top at the front and at the back.
Get your ribbon, I am using Jane Means 15mm stitched ribbon which is sturdy enough to take the weight of an Olympian pair of trainers, yet attractive enough for those publicity shots of an emerging athlete.  Cut a yard and seal both ends with a match, now put a safety pin in both ends. Pin one end to your fabric and feed the other end through the casement, keep the ribbon flat whilst you are doing this and feed it through the front and the back... if you get too vigorous you can find the other end flying through which is why you have been very clever and pinned it.  When the ribbon is all the way through, pin the other end down too.
Now, you need to feed the other yard of ribbon through from the other side, in exactly the same way.  If all the PE bags at school are the same colour and your children are not yet reading, using a coloured ribbon is a great way for little one to know which bag is theirs.

It is now time for you to revive you knotting skills, if you were a Brownie or a Girl Guide and I say reef knot to you, I know that you are reciting with me, "Right over Left and under, then Left over Right and under."  And that is how you knot your bag.

So if you are currently playing that game of nerve which is also known as, do I buy new school uniform now and hope they don't grow, or do I risk waiting and everything being sold out... you could crack on and make this now as I promise they will not outgrow it!

Well, now it is time to go over to Handmade Monday and see what else the Olympics have inspired amongst the crafts peoples posting there.

PS. I am watching a review of the Olympics before the Closing Ceremony and I keep crying...  I may have to keep a mega supply of hankies in my bag now!
And this was Charlie after he had barked Mo Farah home in the 5,000 metres... he ran all the way with him!


Anonymous said...

I watched the mountain biking and thought of you! Love your tribute to the Olympics!

Lyn said...

I think you could get a gold for your sewing Ros!

This is an excellent tutorial for this time of year - and I was a Brownie and I did recite the reef knot words with you. Took me right back to the old musty dusty hall where we polished our shoes on the back of our socks as we stood in line for inspection!

Unknown said...

I bet Lynn knows three verses of God save the Queen and has six special items in her pocket :) One of those is a piece of string long enough to tie a reef knot!

Jane Means said...


Wendy said...

That gym bag could make all the difference to a young Olympic hopeful, Ros. Superb tutorial.

Pickle Lily said...

Fab tutorial - and great commentary from the tutor! I enjoyed singing along to the closing ceremony as well at the highlights programme before it. Makes you proud to be British!
Have a good week Jo x

CatkinJane said...

Great idea, and good timing - must be back to school time soon and sport has to be the in thing.
Perhaps if I'd had a PE bag like that......

Free Spirit Designs said...

a great idea to support the next generation of olympic hopefuls :)

if you do decide to give mountain biking a go, make sure someone is there to take pictures!!! x

Bev Newman said...

Fab idea re supporting the next generation of Olympians - could spark some really fun designs. I remember Mum used to make our bags like this when we were small and my one lasted years :-)

Kat Shenton said...

I agree with Lyn, gold for the sewing :)

Where do you get all your tute ideas from? They just keep coming. Not that I'm complaining... you just keep giving more things I want to make lol

Handbags by Helen said...

Ha, ha! I love the idea that we all have something in common - a PE bag. Never really thought about it before, but i guess you're right!

Hannah said...

Great tutorial! I have never had a go at one of these before x

Fiddly Fingers said...

I wonder if we could organise a Crafters Olympics!

Carolee Crafts said...

Oh don;t talk to me about pe bags having just made 60 for The Royal school and more being added to stock. Great tute

Christmas Pie Crafts said...

Definitely a god medal winner, Ros, I can see you now on the craft rostrum collecting your medal and bunch of flowers. A great tutorial, many thanks. Hope you have a good week.

Susie said...

That's a wonderful tutorial, and so many things a bag like that could be used for! I wish I had learned to sew as a girl, it would have been very useful instead of waiting until now! :)

fatmonica said...

Love the PE bag!The Olympics were great weren't they!

Corinna said...

Is Charlie a boxer/bulldog cross? He looks so much like our own dear Pru.

Unknown said...

Yes, Charlie is a cross between a British and an American Bulldog, which means he has a much squarer jaw, a bit like a Boxer. However he is very sweet natured and a total people magnet :)