Mar 17, 2011

Broken Umbrellas Aren't Trash

I'm not sure whether this project fits better under last month's challenge, or this month's. The idea and materials have been in my stash for at least a year, so it's definitely a stash project. And I'm not sure if this is what Janice had in mind for trash, but then again, I can't think of many things more useless than a broken umbrella. In any case, I'm so excited about my recycled umbrella bags!

This is not my original idea, some other brilliant soul came up with it, but here's my version. First, carefully remove the umbrella cloth from it's metal frame, so you have this:
At this point, carefully remove that little velcro strap and save it for later. Fold the umbrella in half (underneath you can see a similar bag I bought a few years ago that I used as a template):
Then fold the sides in to make a rectangular type shape:
Iron the creases, then just sew down the creased lines. Cut the extra 'wings' off, and optionally, but highly recommended, run a zigzag or second line of stitching along the edges. If, like me, you carry library books in these bags, they're going to need to be tough:
Now the body of your bag is done, and it's time to make straps. The pictures below illustrate how I took those wings and turned them into straps. Basically I just sewed two rectangles onto each half (for a total of four rectangles), cut them out, turned them right side out, and joined them end to end to create two straps:
For the second bag I made I did it slightly differently to avoid that awkward join. I didn't take step by step pictures, but you can see below, I just opened up the wings (duh) and sewed two long rectangles and cut them out, then turned them right side out:
Sew the straps onto the top of the bag and ta da! You have a bag, which is very cool. You can see below how I did them, I did each bag slightly differently:
But to take it to the next level and have a bag that rolls up neatly into a tidy package, there's one more step. Take that little velcro strap you saved in the beginning, and sew it onto the bottom. In order to figure out the placement of the strap, fold your bag as below:
Mark the placement of the strap with a pin, then sew it on. Then roll it back up and it fits in the palm of your hand:

Now you're done!