Next month, my sewing group is going on a retreat, and one member has generously offered to run a workshop during the retreat to make Mondo bags.
Initially, I thought I would not make a bag as I needed to focus on other UFOs. Then, I saw how cute some other friends’ fabric choices were. I started to wonder which of my scraps I could use up if I were to make my own bag. The next thing I knew, I had all the leftover French General fabrics from my Dear Jane quilt on my cutting table and I was hacking into them with a rotary cutter.
Plan to stay on track and finish UFOs – epic fail.
Inability to resist the temptation of starting a shiny new project – guilty as charged!
Because I had not planned to make a bag on the retreat, I did not order the kit as everyone else did (the group placed a big order!), and I had to improvise some things, like the handle and key loop measurements. I borrowed the instructions from Donna, who does all my long-arm quilting. Donna made her Mondo bags long ago, and it was her pretty fabric choices that finally made me decide I wanted one too. I knew I could have made something similar without the instructions, but the instructions help if you plan to add a pocket as I did on the large bag. The kit contains the gridded interfacing, which is a technique worth trying. I had to improvise and so used ordinary fusible interfacing, which I fused to the back of the pieced panel after I had randomly sewn all the squares together. Some sort of interfacing is a must to stop all that bias grain direction from distorting over time.
After cutting into my French General scraps, I started looking for something else to use to make the smaller, midi Mondo, which I think is a perfect size for a knitting bag. A charm pack of Tanya Whelan’s Petal fabrics was just the trick. I cut the charm pack into quarters, and off I went, using the same technique as for the larger bag. Once again, I lamented the fact that 5-inch charm packs are actually no bigger than 4¾ inches square, but in a bag like this it does not matter if all the squares – and the bag – are a fraction smaller than they ought to be. I can see how using the proper kit and the gridded interfacing would be a great help if you had inaccurately cut squares; the grid would help you to keep to scale.
I was still on a roll, so I found a handful of leftover charm squares from Fig Tree & Co’s Whimsy range and cut them into quarters to make these drawstring bags.
That is enough small squares for one week, I think!
Everything came from my stash, except for the fusible fleece that is used in the Mondo bags’ lining and the two lengths of ribbon for the drawstring bags.
I have a reason for finishing my Mondo bags ahead of the retreat (apart from crazy eagerness): I plan not to take my sewing machine on retreat. I want to take only hand sewing this time. I might not be making the bags with everyone else on the retreat, but at least I have bags to pack my sewing supplies in. My Dear Jane quilt can travel in its matching bag and perhaps I will finally make a start on hand quilting the thing. Has anyone noticed how quiet I have been on that front?