Bag With Kraft-Tex Base

A while back I made a bag for carrying stuff to guild meetings and used some scraps of Kraft-Tex to reinforce the base. I have enjoyed that addition, both because it helps the bag stand up on its own and because I don’t have to worry about putting the bag on the floor.

Kraft-Tex for bags

Then recently I saw this Alexander Henry fabric and of course I was forced to buy it ūüėČ

Alexander Henry fabric showing melodramatic “sewing woes”

I decided to make another tote bag using this tutorial from Bijou Lovely Designs, Holly DeGroot’s blog.¬† Her tutorial includes the free pattern, so go make it if you want to.¬† Her instructions and illustrations are excellent.

Here are my modifications for making the base of Kraft-Tex.

Holly’s instructions used the same fabric for the bag lining and the base, so of course I didn’t do that.¬† I cut the Kraft-Tex base 1/2″ narrower (top to bottom measurement) than Holly’s instructions, because the base on her bag is joined with a 1/4″ seam and then pressed back.¬† I just appliqued the Kraft-Tex to the bag.¬† Naturally, that required clips rather than pins–don’t want holes in the Kraft-Tex!

You can see that the fabric wasn’t printed entirely straight; the other side was straighter.¬† Luckily, this bag is for fun.

You can see my top-stitching here. This is the straighter side ūüôā

When it came time to press the seams open, I just folded back the seams that contained Kraft-Tex, then ran the handle of my scissors along the seam to crease the Kraft-Tex into place.

You can also see where I stitched around the edge to hold the Kraft-Tex in place before assembly

The seams were not as bulky as I had anticipated, and gave me no trouble.  The only difficult part was turning the bag right-side-out through the opening in the lining.  The Kraft-Tex was a little stiff for that, but not too bad.

The Kraft-Tex stood up but the bag sides above it drooped

When I got the bag done, the Kraft-Tex part was great, but the rest of the bag was limp despite interfacing.¬† I took the bag for a shakedown cruise when we went to the big city Saturday, and it was a pain to get things in and out of it because the sides collapsed.¬† So…

I took out the top seams, inserted pieces of Peltex cut to fit, and stitched all around them.  They needed to overlap the Kraft-Tex a little to make the whole thing stand up.

That makes this “Holly’s bag with significant modifications”, but you can still get the measurements and construction details from her blog.¬† I like the bag now, and it is a good size.¬† Next time I’ll use Peltex from the get-go, probably still with the Kraft-Tex.

Review: Kraft-Tex for Bags

I’ve had my eye on Kraft-Tex for some time.¬†It’s a paper product made by C&T

Kraft-Tex review

Kraft-Tex, made by C&T but sold many places

and¬†advertised to sew and wash like fabric but look like leather. ¬†As I’ve probably said before, I’ll try almost anything once ūüôā ¬†(And just for the record, I purchased the material used for this project and this review is entirely my own opinion.)

I decided to use Kraft-Tex as the bottom of a tote bag. ¬†There was a helpful video on You Tube (of course!) showing how to use it and showing what it looked like both washed and unwashed. ¬†Because I didn’t want to wash the drapery¬†fabric I was using for the bag, I didn’t wash the Kraft-Tex.

The Kraft-Tex was very stiff right out of the package, so I wadded it up hoping to soften it a little before folding it to make the bag bottom. ¬†I didn’t really need to do that; it folded and sewed very nicely. ¬†It remained extremely stiff but was not at all difficult to stitch with my Bernina, even when it came to sewing through 4 layers as I boxed the bottom of the bag.

Kraft-Tex review

Tote bag made with Kraft-Tex for the bottom section

When I got it all put together it provided a nice substantial bottom for the bag, as I had hoped. ¬†It did not even THINK about tearing like paper when I was working with it. However, I really think it LOOKS like a brown paper bag rather than “like leather” as advertised. ¬†Maybe that’s just because I used it to make a bag. ¬†As you can see from this detail, it did stitch very nicely.

Kraft-Tex bag

Detail of Kraft-Tex and Drapery Fabric Bag

However, the claim that Kraft-Tex “handles like fabric” was absolutely untrue! ¬†It was so stiff that I decided to wash what remained along with the rest of the drapery fabric. ¬†Both washed and dried well on gentle cycle, and the Kraft-Tex was slightly softer after washing. It didn’t handle any more like fabric, though–turning that stiff outer bag through the opening left in the lining for that purpose was “challenging”!

Here’s the second bag, made with washed Kraft-Tex. ¬†Sure enough, it looks the same¬†after washing. ¬†I quilted the upper part of the bag, which gave it more substance than the previous one, so it went better with the stiff Kraft-Tex bottom.

Kraft-Tex review

Bag made after washing the Kraft-Tex and fabric

The pattern I used for this bag was free at Bijou Lovely¬†and was very well written and illustrated. ¬†I’ll probably make the bag¬†again, but I’ll find another use for the Kraft-Tex!