Tuesday, February 27, 2018

FO: The Best Knitting Bag

I follow a lot of knitters around the blogosphere and instagram, and when you see into a lot of knitter's home worlds you start to notice a few trends. I started seeing these very simple but very sturdy looking knitting bags pop up here and there months ago, and as time has passed it now seems that everyone has one of these bags. Everyone! I am talking about the one and only Field Bag by Fringe Supply Co. These are just awesome bags. They are made of canvas with a leather strap, they have pockets with grommets to help with multi colored knitting projects, they stand up on their own, and they are perfectly plain and ready for personalized embellishment. Everyone I see on Instagram with one of these bags has at least a few enamel pins on it - because why not? It's the perfect canvas. Oh right ... and they cost $65 each. Ouch. Now I know I'm cheap (I tout that here all the time), but $65? Do you know how much lovely yarn that could buy? I will say I appreciate that the bags are US made with sustainable materials, etc, so if you like these bags and like what the company represents, they are worth investing in. But if you are able to sew (which I am), then it just seems exorbitant to spend $65 on a knitting bag. Somewhere along the line I got it into my head to make one for myself - I've been planning it for a few months, but with Christmas gift making and then moving it just wasn't something I could get going ... until now! Meet my Faux Field Bag :)
I will confess - this is a blatant copy in most ways. I went to the Fringe website to get the finished dimensions, then drew out a diagram and added seam allowances. The bag's shape is not complicated, which is part of the allure to be honest, but it also made this very easy to draft. The bag is a basic box bottom with side seams. I wanted to make my bag out of this thrifted white denim because 1) I have a ton of it (4.75 yards for $2 - boo yah!) and 2) it would be the perfect way to show my pins. I lined mine with Pellon 40 (heavy sew in interfacing - great for bags) as well as a quilting cotton lining (I used two matching fat quarters), so the bag is opaque outside. I used the white denim for the inner pockets as well - two layers of denim with Pellon 40 between.
The inside is really cool - I wanted the lining to be light but still interesting as I didn't have any muslin on hand to totally copy the inspiration bag. I went with this neat medieval toile print - I bought two fat quarters in January at The Sewing Studio sale, and I liked how they looked for this project. Both of my cuts did not say the name of the fabric - anyone know? It's really neat with castles and a fully armored knight on horseback and a lady about to kiss a dude on a rock. It has a natural colored background with gray lines. Subtle but interesting. I like that it is light enough to really see inside the bag, which is what I was going for.
For the pocket, I totally copied Fringe. I made one as wide as the bag and tall enough to hold a folded pattern. I also added 3 grommets across the top to help with knitting color work should I choose to do that.
The opposite side has a pocket piece of the same size but that is sewn into sections - one larger on for smaller notions with 3 wide enough for a pen of knitting needles.
Another thing I blatantly copied was the handle, and this is something I've been planning since the idea first struck me. Months and months ago (probably 9 months or so), I rescued almost an entire couch worth of beige leather from the garbage at my condo. It's been sitting around all this time with no real use yet, so I'm super thrilled to have used a piece, even if it is incredibly small. I used a 1.5" wide strip and angled it down like the Field bag, making it wide enough for my hand to slide in as shown on their site. Since the leather was already beige, I just left this piece as it came, but it's pretty awesome to have so much of such a light (read: dye-able) color. This is my first time ever sewing with leather, and it seriously took no extra anything to do, which was surprising. I just stuck it in the seam and sewed. Granted I was already using a heavy top stitching needle because of the bulk of the other fabrics, but even so I was amazed it went in like a champ.
The drawstring casing was a last minute change. At first I had cut the bag with extra at the top to accommodate folding it over and making a casing, but when I went to sew that step I didn't like that the lining might easily be visible when the bag was closed. I wound up cutting off the extra 3" I had added and sewing the bag together where the outer and lining meet and flipping it right side out. I then used that piece I cut off as a binding, folding the ends in and top stitching (for the opening for the cord), then stitching it right side to the lining, then folding it to the outside and top stitching all around. This worked out great and I'm so happy with the finish - nice and clean everywhere and the lining doesn't show at all when the bag is closed.
Can you tell how thrilled I am with this bag? The day after finishing it, I carried it everywhere, and I have not stopped since :) There are a few decided differences between my bag and the Field Bag - mine does not have the raised seam down the center, nor does it have top stitching in all the corners. My bag also could use a slightly heavier bottom, which the Field bag claims. I've found that these really are not total necessities though, and my bag keeps its shape just fine. I'm planning a few changes for my next one (I bought some amazing Rifle Paper linen canvas for a fancy bag on New Year's), but they are small:
  • make the bottom one or two layers thicker
  • try top stitching the lining to the outside corners to reinforce the shape
  • double up the leather for the handle, making it tanned on both sides and thicker
  • make drawstring casing open on both sides with cords going through in each direction
  • make inner pockets taller (my pens don't like to stay put)
That's all I can think of at the moment, but maybe I'll want to make a few more small changes. Honestly nothing big, as you can see. I intended for this bag to be a first draft for the fancy fabric, but I seriously love this thing just as it is. This really is a "portable yarn bowl", and coming from always just using random cosmetics bags I liked and whatnot, this is an amazing change. I may not want to use my other bags anymore - this is the only bag I need :) I will probably just make a bunch of them, lol. So I'm grateful to Fringe Supply Co for designing such a practical knitting bag, and I'm even more grateful I was able to make one for myself that was decidedly less expensive.

Fabric: 1/2 yard white denim (thrifted) - $0.25, 2 fat quarters - $2.00
Pattern: Self drafted after Field Bag by Fringe Supply Co
Notions: 3 grommets - $0.70, 1/2 yard Pellon 40 interfacing - $1.00, white thread - $0.25, leather handle - free (repurposed), white cording - $0.25
Time: 3 hours
Total Cost: $4.45


  1. Oh I love your 'copy' it looks fantastic with the pins. I agree $65 will be better spent on yarn ☺. I have been reading your blog for a while and I love it. Anna at www.annatestadoro.com

  2. Thanks very much for the comment, Anna :) And thanks for reading my blog!

  3. Hi, I'm thinking of attempting this too! Any other tips or suggestions?

    1. Wow - sorry for the delayed response! My only advice would be to think through the draw string better than I did - I wound up making mine on the fly after just folding it over wouldn't have looked the best. I also would do the double draw string next time like the inspiration bag to get a tighter close. Good luck!

  4. I totally agree with you about $65 being way to much! I would love one though. Is there any way you could share your draft pattern please?

    1. Hi Whitney! I'll have to see if I still have the note sheet I drew it up on lying around my room. It was just a rectangle that I cut the corners out of - very simple box bag style. If I can find the paper, I'll post a picture of it.

  5. Fantastic work, I am curious if you are willing to share the “how to “ with folks who are interested in your pattern design? I would like to make one, as I cannot afford one and would really like the new design one they have posted in their website. I could, just like you buy more fabric or yarn with the savings. Love your design and your bag too.

    1. Hi Tracey! Thanks so much for the lovely compliment :) I'm actually planning on making a new bag with a few modifications (hopefully soon) so I will try to do a tutorial and link it here. When I planned this bag, I just got finished measurements off of a bag I liked the look of and then cut out rectangles. I tried to think of those paper boxes you can print out and then fold certain ways to make them 3D, so I cut a few smaller rectangles off of my original and went from there. If you try to do it at home, I recommend drawing up a schematic first so you can make sure to add seam allowances and whatnot. The glory of a basic shape like this is that it's all just rectangles :) Good luck!

  6. I'm working on making my own dupe of the Field Bag, and I was wondering how you handled the drawstring casing. Did you cut a separate piece, or folded down the main fabric and edgestitch, or have a facing? I'm debating the best way to make it look clean and finished.

  7. Great thanks thanks,going to make one


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