Friday, June 11, 2010

My First Tutorial: A Shoe Bag made with a repurposed metal tape measure.

My DH gave me an old metal measuring tape from his garage. You can see that it has issues! I wanted to try making a bag using the snappy action of the metal tape to keep it closed. I have been wanting to write a tutorial too, so this is what I came up with! Hope this gives you ideas for Christmas presents. I think shoe bags will be great gifts for those on my gift list who have everything.
This is a picture of the finished bag . I used my embroidery machine to monogram it. You could add any kind of embellishment.  My bag is kind of boring. Next time I will use brighter colored fabric or maybe a fancy embroidery.
The next picture shows some of the supplies you will need. A half yard of home dec weight fabric, old measuring tape, Scotch tape, 1/4" wash away tape, rotary cutter, mat and ruler, old scissors to cut the metal tape with, non permanent marker, thread, sewing machine and serger if you have one, and embellishments of your choice.                        

This is great stuff! Wash Away Wonder Tape by Dritz.

First cut your fabric 141/2" wide by width of fabric, selvage to selvage (about 41-42 inches). I have mine folded in half.                                                                                            
Next mark the fabric for placement of your monogram or other embellishment. Mine is 8 inches down and centered on the front half of the fabric.
Embellish as desired.                                                                                             Then finish the top edge of both the front and back of your fabric with a 4 thread serged edge or zig zag stitch.                                          
Next fold down the top edge 1 and 1/4" on both front and back. Iron it to make a crease as shown on left. Take a piece of your Wash Away tape and place it along the top edge, front and back. Leave the paper on the tape for now.
 Cut your metal tape 131/2 inches long and round the edges on both ends. Cut two. Place one tape next to each fold, centered, and tape in place on each end with the Scotch tape (see photo below). Your metal tapes should be facing the same direction so that when the bag is closed they will spoon. In other words, the metal tapes have a curve and the front of one tape should be curved around the back of the other. Now peel the paper off the Wash Away tape and fold the flap down to make a casing, covering the metal tape. The Wash Away will hold the flap down. The Scotch tape will hold the metal tape in place away from the needle when you sew the casing down, which is what you need to do now.                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sew 1/4 inch from the flap edge, both front and back.  Make sure you know that you will not hit the metal tape. Leave the Scotch tape in place to continue to hold the metal tape in place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Iron a crease at the bottom fold of your fabric. Turn the fabric right sides together with the top edges meeting. Next you need to bring the creased bottom fold up into the middle of the front and back by 3 inches.  See photo below (enlarge it by clicking on it). This fold will create the flat bottom of the bag when sewn (next photo).Now pin and press this fold. If you will be serging the sides closed be sure and pin away from the edge so your cutting blades will not hit the pins. Serge or sew carefully along both long sides. Check the placement of the metal tape before you serge/sew next to the top (where the metal tape is). I started from the bottom and sewed to the top. I cut off only about 1/4" when serging.
Serge a tail then tuck the tail into the seam or just backstitch with your sewing machine. Ta da! You have a very nice shoe bag with a snappy closure, easy to pack into your suitcase. Hope this is a fun project for you! Let me know if any part of this tutorial is unclear.


  1. Great tutorial. I just need for DH to give me his old metal measuring tapes. I'm sure he must have some as he does not like to throw things away.

  2. Thanks for the cool tutorial, Yvonne! Very creative!

  3. What a great idea. I will have to try this. I am headed to your neck of the woods. My husband is being transfered to Ft Carson. Are you a member of either one of the guilds? Would love to chat with you about the area.

  4. This is clever. I don't think your fabric is boring.....I think it's classy! Kind of Pottery Barn chic!

  5. Lizyznbudy, I love your comment. Pottery Barn chic sounds so cool! Yvonne

  6. Great tutorial, I saw your bag and post on the SE list, I am not that involved with the list anymore but I do stop by every now and then to check it out.

  7. You know....sometimes craftspeople are just up there with NASA engineers!! How you thought of this idea is astounding....and then working out all the details was a real feat of engineering.
    P.H.D. Crafting.


  8. great idea gonna try this out!!!

  9. using the measuring tape to snap shut is such an excellent idea!! Love it:)


Thank you for your comments. I really enjoy reading them.