Or maybe a better question is, what can I use these magical strips for? My cousin showed me the answer when I visited her last fall. She was making cute bags that snapped open and closed on their own, like a frog opening his mouth wide to "ribbit." The secret was a metal tape measure.
As soon as I got home, I ran to the nearest thrift store, found a few old tape measures, and began making tablet sleeves. So easy, and you can pound one out in less than an hour.
Here's how to make your own "snap bag."
1. Cut 2 rectangles out of complementary fabrics (cotton, denim, corduroy and fleece work great). The rectangles should be the same width; the fabric you'll use for the bag lining should be about 7 inches longer than the other piece.
To make a sleeve for a full-size iPad, I cut rectangles that measured 8 1/2" x 21" (outside) and 8 1/2" x 27" (lining). In the photo, the fabric is folded in half.
2. Cut a rectangle of fusible fleece just slightly smaller than the outer fabric piece. Iron the fleece to the wrong side of the fabric. (Use a damp cloth to strengthen the bond between fleece and fabric.)
3. If you want, sew a pocket to one side of the bag. Make sure the pocket is centered and straight.
4. Lay the outer rectangle on top of the lining rectangle, wrong sides together. Make sure that the outer rectangle is centered on top of the longer one, so that the ends on either side are exactly the same length. Baste the two rectangles together.
5. To make the casings for the metal strips, fold the lining over twice, once so that the end meets the edge of the out fabric and once more over the outer fabric itself. Make sure the two casings are the same width, then sew each down, about 1/8" from the edge.
6. Pull out the measuring tape and cut a length about 3/4" shorter than the casing width. (Don't use your good scissors!)
7. Cut another strip the same length. If the metal is very thin (thanks, Dollar Store), cut 4 strips and double up. Round off the edges and then cover with a strip of duct tape. Trim the tape to fit the rounded edges.
8. Insert the strips into the casings. Be sure that the front of the strip (the side with the numbers) faces away from the outside of the bag.
9. Fold the bag in half, right sides together, and sew the side seams. I used a seam width of about 3/8". Before you sew, make sure that the casing edges line up exactly.
10. Trim the raw edges of the side seams and finish using an overlock stitch or a simple zig-zag.
11. To give the bag a flat bottom, sew across the bottom corners.
If you'd rather buy one ready-made, visit my shop.
- For a soft lining, use fleece or corduroy. Gently used corduroy pants work well. Since corduroy is thick, you may need to lower the feed on your sewing machine.
- Instead of using a single long rectangle, you can sew 2 pieces together. The seam at the bottom of the bag is hardly noticeable.
- Instead of fusible fleece, you can use batting (for quilting) or regular fleece. Baste to the outer fabric before attaching the lining.
- Look for girls jeans with embroidered designs on the leg. These make great bags, like this one.
Small: 6" x 16" (outside), 6" x 22" (lining)
Medium: 7" x 19" (outside), 7" x 25" (lining)
Large: 8 1/2" x 21" (outside), 8 1/2" x 27" (lining)
Small: 15.5 cm x 41 cm (outside), 15.5 cm x 56 cm (lining)
Medium: 18 cm x 48.5 cm (outside), 18 cm x 64 cm (lining)
Large: 22 cm x 53.5 cm (outside), 22 cm x 74 cm (lining)