Not that I’ve ever done that yet, mind. I really want to go to Richmond for the fall NASCAR race–who knows when I’ll live this close to a racetrack again?–but I’ve yet to actually make it to one.
But when I do go to a race, I’ll be knitting. And what better way to carry knitting than in a NASCAR-themed project bag?
But what if Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t having a great race? Well, just turn the bag inside out, and…
…ta da! I’m a Mark Martin fan.
Actually, I’m not. I mean, I like Mark Martin, but he’s not one of my favorite drivers…which is ok, since this bag isn’t for me. It was a swap gift for a knitter whose favorite drivers are Dale Jr. and “51-year-old Mark Martin” (which is what his birth certificate reads, if you listen to some NASCAR announcers). It was quite well received, so I wanted to share it.
First, this pattern is not original to me. I’ve seen various versions of it online, but this is my recreation of the one I liked best…that I could not for the life of me find when I prepared to make this bag (if anyone recognizes it, let me know so I can add the link to the original site).
The project started with large pieces of fabric, one red and one orange (since I was trying to do the project bags using the drivers’ sponsor’s colors), and cut 2 pieces from each color. I don’t remember the measurements I used; just cut them all the same size, to whatever size you feel would be most useful for a project bag (remember you’ll lose about an inch in both dimensions for seams). I added some additional optional embellishment–the drivers’ numbers (using fusible web and a decorative blanket stitch on my sewing machine) and a pocket on both sides using some left over checkered flag fabric. This will give you an interior and an exterior pocket at all times. I opted not to add fastening of any kind on the pocket, but you could add snaps (I’d advise against buttons or hook-and-loop tape, both of which could snag yarn and knitting). Any embellishments/pockets you do choose to add, you’ll want to add before step 2.
Sew one piece of fabric A to one piece of fabric B, making sure you sew the “top” of each piece together (if your fabric isn’t directional or you haven’t added any embellishments/pockets to give you a definite top and bottom, arbitrarily assign a top and bottom). Do the same with the 2nd pieces of fabrics A and B. I put the numbers opposite the pockets so I wouldn’t end up with the pockets on the same side of the bag (to cut down on bulk).
You’ve now got 2 long pieces of fabric; place them right side together with fabric A on top of fabric A and fabric B on top of fabric B (in my case, that’s red on red and orange on orange). This gave me a bag that was red on one side and orange on the other; if you want a different look, orient your fabric accordingly.
Sew 1/2″ seams around the outside of the fabric sandwich, but leave 2 gaps where the 2 different fabrics meet (one on each side!). This gap serves 2 purposes: it’s how you turn the bag right-side out, and it’s where the ribbon drawstring will be run. How big of a gap you want to leave is up to you, but remember: too big and you’ll have an unnecessarily large hole on both sides of the bag; too small and you’ll have a bear of a time turning the bag right-side out. I left about 1/2″ on either side of the seam between the 2 fabrics. I wouldn’t have wanted it any bigger, but it was just big enough to turn the fabric because of the fused numbers and extra fabric from the pockets.
Once you’ve got the fabric turned right-side out, it’ll look like the below (I took pictures of both sides). At this point, just push one of the colors inside the other, run a ribbon through the opening at top, and you’ve got yourself a bag!
Of course, you can make a project bag with any fabric or theme you want–it doesn’t have to be NASCAR (I’m aware not everyone shares my refined tastes for cars goin’ fast and turnin’ left). But I’ve already got plans for my bag to take to Richmond with me. See, my driver is Brad Keselowski, and he drives the #22 in the Nationwide series (ahempointsleaderahem) and the #12 in the Cup series. So I’ll be ready with just one bag to show my support for both races!