The INSIDE of the Ms. Poppins' Bag
Knitted stitches have a lovely drape, which is one reason we love them so! That drape is created by having lots of small holes between the yarn fibers—in general, the bigger the holes, the more drape something has. Think of the difference in drape between a felted piece of knitting, where the holes between stitches have been compressed together, and a traditional lace shawl, where the holes are the whole point of the knitting!
Those lovely holes can cause problems when what you are knitting is a bag meant to hold stuff, however. How do you keep your keys (or your knitting needles!) from poking out through the sides of your hand-knitted bag?
Felting the knitted fabric is one solution. But felted or unfelted, a separate sturdy inner lining not only solves the poke-through problem, but will give your bag a more professional finish, too.
I don't have a fabric store nearby, so I often have to get a little creative about what to use for my bag linings. If you are lucky enough to have a local fabric store, then just walk around there for a few minutes—you'll find plenty of ideas!
Alternative Bag Lining Ideas:
Plastic/vinyl shower curtains: Find a cheap one on sale, cut it to size, and you'll have a durable, wipe-clean-able lining for your bag!
Cloth napkins: I buy linen or cotton/poly dinner napkins at the discount store to match my yarn. Or why not find a cloth napkin in a colorful print to line your bag? (Imagine opening the pink bag above only to find images of bright, cheerful cherries peeking out at you.)
Partly worn-out canvas tote bags: Do you have a tote bag with a broken handle, or an ink stain, or a hole in it? The non-ruined part of the tote will make an excellent lining fabric.
Old blue jeans: Finding it hard to part with a favorite pair of blue jeans that are the wrong size to wear? Use the denim as a bag liner and you can carry your favorite jeans everywhere you go.
Make a paper pattern for your lining:
After knitting the pieces of your bag, lay them flat on a large paper bag and draw around the edges with a pencil. Cut along the pencil lines, and you have the perfect pattern! Be sure to plan ahead: Do you want to fold the unfinished edges of the lining fabric under, or add a seam somewhere? If the answer is yes, draw a second pencil line outside the first—the outer line is your cutting line, and the inner line is your "fold-under" (or seaming) line.
Don't forget to handle your handles!
If your bag handles are knitted, and you want to give them a little more stability, consider stitching or gluing strips of the lining material (with raw edges folded under, if necessary) to the inside of each handle. The outside of the handle will still show off your pretty knitted stitches, but the extra layer of fabric will keep the handle from stretching or flopping around.
Knitting Needle Knitting Bag
More reader ideas:
From Patricia: Try lining your bags with favorite t-shirts that you don't wear, but can't bear to part with either. (Guilty). Washable, totally softened and you still get the pleasure of seeing an old friend when you look into your bag! Most t-shirts have more than enough fabric to use and you can use the sleeves for small pockets if they are regular T's.
From Susanne: I have always had the idea of lining a bag with parts of an old pair of pants, the top part, turned inside out, so that you can use the pockets as 'pockets'. Just have not been brave enough to experiment with it. But the idea keeps popping up and I will give it a try. A number of jeans are just waiting to be used again as they do not fit me anymore. hehe.
From Kat: I was given some old but not tattered curtains to strip up for making rugs. They will make absolutely PERFECT linings.
From Lynn M: I use bandanas or scarves to line knit bags. They're already hemmed, come in many colors and patterns, and you can usually find the right size for your bag.
From Ada: A couple of years ago, I took a class in finishing bags from Lorna Miser, the original owner and creator of Lorna's Laces yarns. Some great tricks I learned from her included using double-sides adhesive web to bond fabric to the inside of a knit bag.
Thanks to EVERYONE who commented about their bags this week! So many great ideas…!
Next week: We start a new regular feature on Knitting Daily—come check it out!
Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.
What's on Sandi's needles? I'm finishing up a pair of Evelyn Clark's Waving Lace Socks for a friend whilst awaiting the fate of the yarn for Nicholas' cabled pullover.