I wanted to make something special for a friend for Christmas and she told me how much she liked the Egyptian Scarab beetle. So I searched the internet for a design that I thought would be colorful and represent the Egyptian period. Once I found the perfect picture, I downloaded it and printed it on an 8 X 11 sheet of paper.
Step 1: Egyptian Scarab Beetle Bag
I made 2 copies so that I could enlarge one of them and keep the other one as a visual aide as I worked on my scarab beetle. Then I cut the wings off next to the body and had 3 separate pieces to enlarge. Then I went back to the copier and enlarged them to a size that was big enough for me to get all of the colors and details in and really show how colorful it is. When I enlarged the sections, I used the black and white setting because I did not need the colors on the template.
Step 2: Color and Material
Next I selected the colors and material. I chose a vibrant shimmery material to really make it glisten like a real beetle. I purchased extra material in case I had to redo any of it since I was making this pattern all from scratch but you only need about 1/4 yard of each color of material for the wings and about 1/2 of a yard for the body color. But it never hurts to buy a little extra. It will save you a trip back to the store and you can keep on working. For the bag, I chose a heavy duty white canvas material and some black canvas for the bottom of the bag. I purchased 1 1/2 of white canvas and 1/2 yard of black canvas. For my thread, I decided I would outline the beetle in black to separate the different colors and keep them from fraying. Then I wanted to add some gold to add to the Egyptian feel of my design and accents on the bag. Also I needed some red thread to outline the ball. You will also need a roll of light weight fusible web for this project.
Step 3: Piecing the Wings Together
I used a lightweight fusible bond by Heat n Bond to stabilize the sateen fabric and make it fusible so that I did not have to pin all of the small pieces to my fabric. I copied my template onto the sheet of fusible web. You can do it with a light box. Since I did not have one, I took the template and the fusible web and placed it on a window with tape and traced my design on the paper. I would trace the sections for each color separately. This way I was able to use less of the fusible web and fabric by moving it to the next piece for that particular color. Then I ironed the fusible web sections onto the back of my fabric. Cut out each of your pieces and begin to assemble your wing. Next, I would iron each of the pieces into the area that i selected for that color. For the very small orange sections on the wing tips, I would just cut a strip of orange about an inch wide to go onto the fabric first. Then I ironed the blue wings on top of the orange strip. I continued layering the colors until the wing was completely fused to the scrap fabric. We will add the black outlining later.
Step 4: The Body and Ball
I fused the fusible material to the back of the green for the body. Then I decided that I wanted him to have a 3d effect. So I put one thin layer of quilt batting material between the beetle and the scrap fabric. Then I did a small zig zag stitch around the body to attach it to the scrap fabric with black thread. (this will be stitched over with a satin stitch later). Next I used some gold thread to emphasize the sections of his body and bring him to life. I used a satin stitch. (See a detailed explanation of the satin stitch in Step: 5 and how I did it). Since my machine did not have that stitch option, I used the zig zag stitch and reduced the length of the stitch and would adjust the width of the stitch to get the different patterns. For example, I made the small stripes using a 1.5 setting for the width. Where the upper part of his shell meets the rest of the body, I outlined the top section in gold with a stitch width of 3.0. Then I went around the outside of the wing shell on his body with the same stitch. I also cut out a red ball with a gold center to place between his front legs. I fused the gold to the center of some red material and then outlined it with a gold satin stitch. Then I put some fusible web on the back of the red material and cut my ball shape.
Step 5: Satin Stitch Procedure
I used my Brother SQ9185 computerized sewing machine. The ability to control the sewing speed with the machine selector switch and the foot pedal were extremely helpful for this project. I used my quilting/embroidery foot because it is clear and I can see the progress and how close the stitches are with it. Also it raises with the needle so that you can slide the material as you sew. I dropped the presser foot/dogs down using the switch on the back of my machine so that I could control how close the stitches are and easily outline the curves of my beetle shell to give him more definition. I set my stitch to the zig zag stitch number 4 and adjusted my width. The length setting of the stitches doesn't really matter since you are controlling how fast your material goes thru the machine. To define the top of his body from the hard wing section I widened the stitch width to 5. For the smaller definition lines, I used a stitch width of 1.5.
Step 6: Getting the Bag Ready
Next I cut out the front and back of my bag. I used a heavy canvas material. I measured how large my beetle was going to be. I added 6 inches to the width measurement of the beetle with his wings because I wanted 2 1/2 inches on each side of his wings for the completed bag and I left enough material for a 1/2 inch seam allowance. I added 24 inches to the length of the beetle to get my measurement for the length of the bag. Then cut 2 5" wide strips from your black canvas material. Make sure it is as long as the width of your bag. Iron both of the strips of black material. Then fold 1/2 inch over to the back side and iron that down. Do this on one side of each black strip. Iron both of your white canvas panels. Place your white canvas with the front side up. Then take one of your black strips and place it on top of the white canvas with your iron fold against the canvas and both raw edges aligned on the bottom of the panel. I attached my black strip 4 1/2 inches from the bottom of the white canvas so that I would have a double layer of material for the bottom of my bag. I just used a straight stitch with the walking foot. Now sew the black panel to the white canvas with black thread. Sew all four side of the black to the white canvas. I sewed it with a 1/4" seam allowance. Do this to both panels. All but one of these seams will be hidden later.
Step 8: Gold Decorative Accents
Next I sewed a decorative stitch on the bag panels with gold thread using the #9 stitch that is shown under the top panel of my Brother SQ9185 sewing machine. I used the walking foot again for this step. I made the pattern along the top of the black strip and again 1 inch from the bottom of the bag.
Step 9: Outlining the Design
Now set up your machine for the satin stitch as I explained in Step: 5. Outline all of the feathers and pieces on the wings in black using the satin stitch. Don't do the very outer edge. We will do this when we attach it to the bag. Outline the gold satin stitch on the beetle body in black as shown in the picture.
Step 10: Attaching the Beetle to the Bag
Finally we will attach the beetle to the bag. Place the beetle on the front panel of the bag, in the center of the white area and place the wings next to him and center it. Put a couple of pins in the body to hold it in place. Set the wings aside for now. Satin stitch the beetle body to the bag with black thread. Keep your stitches close together. I used a stitch width of 2.5 for this step. Before you complete the satin stitch, leave about 3 inches open at the bottom of his shell. Now if you want him to stand out more take some more quilt batting and push it under him. I used a knitting needle to push it in and smooth it out. Now finish sewing the base of his shell to the front of the bag. Now sew the wings next to his body using the satin stitch. Place the ball between his front legs and satin stitch it down with red thread. Leave a small area open to put some batting under it and then finish stitching the ball down.
Step 11: Bag Sides and Bottom
Sew the sides of the bag together using a straight stitch with a 1/2" seam allowance. I chose to make an oval base so that it would hold more and stand up. So after I sewed the sides together, I folded the bag in half so that it would stand up and I could trace an oval shape for the bottom. Kind of like turning the bag inside out but only half way. This way I could reach the bottom and draw my pattern. Then I placed it on some paper, shaped it into an oval shape and drew my pattern around the outside of the bag. Then I added 1/2" around the pattern for the seam allowance. I used the pattern to cut out 2 pieces of black canvas. Then I flattened the bag out again, turned it inside out and sewed both of the bottom pieces to the bag.
Step 12: The Drawstring
Next iron 1/2 " of the top of the bag towards the inside of your bag. Then fold 1/2" under and iron again to create an area for the drawstring to pass thru. Now decide where you want your drawstrings to come out and stitch a buttonhole pattern about 1/2" down from the top of the bag. This will be the area that your drawstring passes thru. Take your seam ripper and cut thru the buttonhole that you created to open it up for the drawstring. You want to be about 1/2" inch from the top of your bag. You will do this on both side of your side seams. Now sew around your bag with a 1/4 inch seam allowance to create your drawstring area. Next I sewed a gold pattern around the top, using No 9 from the top panel of my Brother sewing machine, to copy the pattern I used for the bottom of the bag. Now measure your drawstring. You want it to be about 6 inches longer than the circumference of you bag. Cut 2 of these. Basically, measure the top of your bag on one side, multiply it by 2 and add 6 inches. Now tape the end to keep it from coming unraveled, then attach a large safety pin to one end of you drawstring and feed it thru the channel that you created at the top of the bag. After you feed it thru both sides of the bag, tie a knot near the end of the drawstring. Now tape one end of the next drawstring and start at the end with the knotted drawstring and feed it thru the opposite way. Then once you have fed it thru both sides tie a knot with both ends at the opposite side of your bag. Viola!!! You are finished. Sit back and admire your fantastic work.
Step 13: Final Thought
I really hope you enjoyed this instructable. It was fun for me to create and the final project was a joy for the recipient. Now onto my next quilting project. Enjoy!!
Runner Up in the