Mock Up Carpet Bag

After finding the Humphrey Carpet Bag instructions, I got ambitious to make one. Since 19th century carpet fabric isn’t that easy to find, I figure I will start with just upholstery fabric which is practically everywhere. This started as a zippered throw pillow sham that I picked up at Goodwill.

Upholstery fabric most often, rayon is soft and squishy which are not qualities you want in a carpet bag. I flat lined the fabric with canvas buckram, which gave it just enough body, but it was still thin enough to use a sewing machine. Since it was the only fabric I had, I was limited to exactly the size of the sham, and not cut into it, to make the bottom or sides different sections. So essentially I cheated and went with the standard flat square and marked a box bottom. With an actual rug or carpet, too thick to do a box bottom, I will use a heavy gauge needle to hand sew a pieced bag.

All the feet I could find quickly were the Domed Glides where the prongs are only long enough to go through the fabric. These should be added while the fabric is still FLAT, if I had the traditional TACK feet, I would still do it when before sewing the bag together, much easier to swing a hammer.

To GET the width for the bottom, I pinned the entire bag together at least four times, and marking my seams and making sure I had enough fabric to wrap the frame. I cannibalized a photo album cover for the bottom. And cut it to fit the width and punched holes in it to stitch it to the the bag. AFTER the sides are sewn up.

I probably wrapped the fabric around the frame three or four times before I was satisfied with the gathering and I definitely sewed the sides and unpicked them TWICE, to figure out how much of the hinge should be visible. if you gather too much fabric around it, it won’t close nicely, and I wanted the visible crease to be symmetrical.

As this was a mockup, I wasn’t going to use real leather handles. I bought a bonded leather donor bag at Goodwill. and was very careful about their removal.

I have yards and yards of ticking to reuse from a duvet cover I made 30 years ago. I simply measured it against the outside of the bag and sewed it to fit. then attached it with a whip stitch.

On one hand I am satisfied with what I have learned making this mock carpet bag on the other hand, things will be much more difficult when I try doing this with an actual hooked rug for material. I think I will be making a Second Mock-up from more upholstery fabric, as cutting into the sacrificial carpet will be a one time thing. So in the tradition of Measure twice, Cut Once, it will be Mock twice, Cut once.

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