I’ve seen everyone doing all these really fun looking swaps via Instragram and other social media and I’m always a bit jealous. I never join them for a variety of reasons mostly to do with my weirdness and the size and uncertainly of the swaps and swap-ees. I thought it might be fun to do one on a much much much smaller scale so I put a call out on Instagram for someone that might want to swap with me. Simple rules – any medium, less than six hours from start to finish, no extras, no stress. How lucky was I when Kristy from Please Excuse My Craftermath answered my call? Kristy is one of my favorite online people. I find her way smarter than me, fearless, and a bit nerdy birdy – all things I really admire in other people. I happen to have picked up that she’s a Pathfinder so I thought she might like a gamer’s bag to carry around dice, cards, figures etc. Since I can digitize – it seems like making it personalized is just a natural extension of what I do. I took notes along the way and saved the machine embroidery files in several formats should you want to make one for your gamer!
- Embroidery machine with 5″ x 7″ hoop space (files provided below in “The Embroidery Files” section. Formats are .pes, .jef, and .vp3. If you need another format, please drop me an email)
- Synthetic woven apparel weight suede (at least two pieces 11″ x 14″, I like a little larger)
- Bag lining (same size as suede)
- Pellon 931TD iron on stabilizer
- Cut Away embroidery stabilizer
- Leather Cording (Find it in the leather section near feathers etc of the craft store)
- Large Metal Eyelets (Can buy a kit with a tool for a few bucks at most sewing stores)
- thread, needles, other general sewing sewing supplies
Wait – what the heck do I mean by Synthetic woven apparel weight suede?
- Synthetic – Polyester
- Woven – woven and not knit. Basically – it doesn’t stretch like t-shits/sweaters (except on the bias of course).
- Apparel weight – find it in the clothing section of your fabric store. If you find home decorators weight – go for it!
- Suede – You want texture like a suede. Most of the fabrics are labeled “suede” despite being very polyester
Preparing the Suede
The first thing you’re going to notice about our suede is that is really slinky. It has a lovely drape for clothing, but not so great for bags or heavy embroidery. I fused a medium weight stabilizer Pellon 931TD on the back side of both pieces of my suede. This gives it a much nicer hand and will help hold all those stitches we’re going to put in there. I don’t think iron on stabilizer is quite enough for the density of the stitches, so I hooped my suede with a cut away stabilizer too.
Stitching the Design
Fair Warning – I’m not a digitizing professional. I’m still learning and my files are never perfect – thus I give them to you rather than sell them to you!
This design stitch out is pretty straight forward. I do use color changes to make breaks so I would NOT use the color list from the files to pick your colors. It is usually pretty close, but surely not exactly right all of the time. If you have preview software, I highly recommend you watch it stitch out on screen before taking it to you machine. You can make sure you’re going to get colors where you expect them and get an idea of the stitch order etc. There is one file for the front with the dragon and one file for the back. The back file provided does not have a custom name on it. You can stitch it exactly as it is without the name, or personalize it by adding a name with your favorite software and font.
Cut out the Bag
I used the line of wingdings at the top to measure and cut out my bag. This way, my design gets perfectly centered and everything is where I expect it to be when it gets sewn together.
Using Tailor’s chalk I make a straight line across the top and bottom of the wingdings 1/4″ from the edges.
I use the top line as my horizontal line and make a vertical line at 90 degrees 4.25″ from the center of the dragon on both sides.
I then used the two vertical lines to place lines for the top and bottom of my bag. The top line goes 3″ above the top wingding line and the bottom line goes 7.25″ below the bottom wingding line.
On the back of the bag, I go through the same process using the wingdings as my guide. If I cut them both the same, I’ll have the same size front and back when I finish.
Layer two pieces of the bag lining and cut them to the same size as the bag. If your cut size of the back is awkward (8.18″ etc), make a paper template by tracing the bag shape onto the paper. You could be crazy brave and just use the bag as the template, but if you get drunk with the rotary cutter, you may damage the embroidered suede and have to start over.
Sew the Bag
Start by marking the space for the metal eyelets in the center of the widget lines (in the image, the pins are marking the tailor’s chalk widget lines).
With right sides together, sew a 1/4″ seam from the top of the bag to the top eyelet line. Lock and cut your thread and begin again at the bottom eyelet mark. Sew all the way around to the bottom of the second eyelet mark breaking the thread and finishing from the top of the eyelet mark to the top of the bag.
Sew the lining right sides together without making space for eyelets.
Box the corners of your bag. FYI – I boxed my corners at 1″ and wasn’t happy with the way it looked. I kept the box and shortened the bottom seam which means these are imperfect instructions. You can work with your bag bottom any way you’d like. Follow in my footsteps and keep shortening and testing the finish by turning right sides out or use your more professional thoughtful math like way to get it right the first time. However you box the corners, repeat it with the lining leaving an opening in the lining at the bottom of about 3″.
Following the manufacturer’s instructions, insert the eyelets. If you started and stopped right at the eyelet line it should fit right in. If it doesn’t clip one stitch a the time until the eyelet fits snugly. Dont clip too many stitches at one time or you’ll end up with a funky opening on the side of your bag.
Place the bag inside the lining with right sides together. Match the seams on the side of the bag and lining and sew all the around the top. Turn the bag by pulling it through the hole in the lining. Close the lining with a whip stitch. Sew a finishing stitch around the top edge of the bag. Sew the cording channel from the front of the bag by following the tailor’s chalk line on the top and bottom of the wingdings made in the marking steps.
NOTE: I had a problem with this step and ended up with very stretched suede. Since the lining didn’t stretch, the suede ended up being pinched. I knew the bag was going to have a pull cord, I just let it be cinched because it really didn’t matter. If you’re a sticker for details, I would suggest double checking your lining measurements, using a walking foot and starting at the seams on opposite sides of the bag for each wingding line.
Attach a safety pin to the end of a length of leather cord. Start by pushing it through one eyelet and threading it all the way back around to the eyelet you started in. Complete the threading a second time with another length of cording beginning and ending in the other eyelet. Cut the cording to desired length (with bag pulled open). Add large beads or other embellishments (how about drilling a few D20s??) and tie a knot to secure it.
The Embroidery Files
Ta da! A Gamer’s Dice bag of Holding with a fluffy cute dragon. Here’s both the front and back embroidery files in .pes, .jef, .vp3 designed for a 5 x 7 hoop. Please note that I share embroidery files under a creative commons share alike attribution license (wordy version). You’re welcome to share the embroidery files with attribution (link back to theboredzombie.com). Please feel free to use the embroidery design on items you sell with attribution, “Embroidery Design by Susan Owenby at TheBoredZombie.com”
Enjoy it and remember – there’s nothing I love more than seeing your projects! If you make one of these bags I want to see it and hear about it! Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Best Swap Ever
So you know – I’m totally the less awesome swap giver in this exchange. Look at what showed up in my mail box – custom y’all.
Here’s some images of the original sketches for this project (and I had a visitor when taking pictures of this bag!)