Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Big Bag Tutorial

This may be the longest post ever. After a few requests, I have decided to share my design. I made the bag for Shannon. We were the Amy Butler Bag Swap hosted by Suzee. Sew here it is.

It is a very roomy tote. Great for hauling around all the important stuff we girls need to have on hand. There is one large pocket that will fit a magazine or a book and a row of pockets on the opposite side for glasses, cell phone, pen etc...

One of the best things about it is the handle.

The handle draws the bag closed.

You can have one long handle or two short ones.

So here we go! Pick two fabulous fabrics. Please read all directions before starting. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Remember this is my first tutorial, be kind.

You will need:

2/3 yard fabric for the outside of bag and handles

1 yard fabric for the lining, pockets, key fob, handle tabs and base cover.

2 yards Fusible Shirt tailor interfacing

2 yards Fusible Fleece

4 key rings (JCaroline has some really nice ones)

1 swivel hook for the key fob/leash (again JCarloline sells these)

coordinating thread

denim needle, you will be sewing through multiple layers.

sewing machine and all the usual sewing/quilting tools

foam core board 4 3/4"x 14 3/4"

Cut the following:

outer fabric:
two 16" x 21"
one 4" by width of fabric (usually 4o to 44 inches)
2 1/2 " x width of fabric for pocket binding

lining fabric:
two 16" x 21"
two 11 1/2" x 21" for pockets
4" x 10" for key fob
10" x 4" for handle tabs
10" x 18" to cover foam core base

Shirt Tailor:
four 16" x 21"
two 11 1/2" x 21"
4" x width of fabric
4" x 10"
10" x 4"

Fusible fleece:
four 16" x 21"
one 2" x width of fleece
one 2" x 10"

I lined all pieces of fabric with and interfacing called fusible Shirt Tailor. You can doe this before you cut your pieces if you want. It gives the fabric a nice body. If you are using a thicker fabric then you may not want to add the Shirt Tailor, that is entirely up to you. I also used fusible fleece to add even more body to the bag. I like a bag that will stand on its own. So I leave the interfacing up to your personal preference. There are many choices out there.

Here are the lined cut pieces. I also add the fusible fleece to inside and outside now.

Now when making the pockets. Fold one piece long ways to make a row of pockets. This one is folded wrong sides together.

Make binding from 2 1/2" strip folded and pressed.

Apply to long raw edge of folded pocket piece. Top stitch. Do not worry about raw edges they will be encased in side seams of bag. Set this piece aside.

Take second 11 1/2" pocket piece and fold in half right sides together.

It should look like this. 11 1/2" x 10 1/2" when folded. Using a 1/4" seam sew down the two 10 1/2" sides.

Trim folded corners.

Turn right side out. Be careful to bring out the corners neatly.


It should look like this.

Bind raw side. Leave a little hanging over edge to fold under for a finished look.

Fold ends of binding under and top stitch.

Center pocket side to side and 2 1/4" from top of a lining piece. Top stitch down sides and bottom of pocket reinforcing at top of sides.

Now your magazines will not get munched! Yay!
Now for the row of pockets. Place pocket piece 4" from top of the other lining piece. Stitch across bottom and stitch in a few places to form the size pockets you desire. I usually stitch up from the bottom take a stitch or two over and then go back down again.

I also grab the stuff I usually carry to use for a guide of how wide each pocket should be. It's personal preference thing.

Now for the key fob/leash. Keep in mind your swivel hook may vary from mine. I folded the fabric to fit the opening (mine became approx 1" wide) and top stitch it. Place swivel hook on prepared fabric strip.

Top stitch in place being careful near the swivel hook. It should look something like this.

Place 3" down from top edge of one side of lining and stitch 1/4" from edge.

Now lets make the strap. This is the 4" x width of fabric.

Cut a 2" x width of Fusible Fleece.

Staying away from ends of strap. Carefully iron fleece to middle of wrong side of handle piece.

Pull back fleece ends, stitch short ends together. Run over this two or three time to reinforce the seam.

Press seam open seam, over lap fleece by 1/4" and trim away any excess fusible fleece. Can you see how the fabric seam and the fusible over lap are a couple of inches from each other? I thought that would reduce any bulk. I was right. You will really have to search to find the seam later on. Yes, I left the selvedge edges here, so what? It is a bag not a quilt! ;-) If it bothers you trim them off. It's your bag.

Okay now here is how I make all my handles. Fold in fabric over the fusible fleece.

Then fold that in half and pin.

Also prepare your handle tabs the same way. Using the 4" x 10" fabric and 2" x 10" fusible fleece.

Top Stitch time. I top stitch two rows of stitching on each side. You can use a double needle for this if you like. Do the same for the tab piece. After you are done topstitching the tab piece cut it into 2 1/2" pieces. Set these aside.

Double stitch down sides and bottom of outside pieces using 1/2" seams. Yes 1/2". remember to leave 8" opening in lining for turning bag later. If you forget you will have to unsew with you trusty seam ripper and you will be mad.

Now mark a three inch square one each of the lower corners.

They should look like this. Do this on the front and back of each of the lower corners. Outside of bag and lining.

Now open up and fold matching seams and pin.

Triple stitch accross marked line to form box bottom of bag.

Trim excess.

Now place right sides together.

Remember those tabs. Fold them in half and stich down 1/8" from cut ends. Yes. you could do this before putting the bag and lining together. I like to live on the edge, the selvedge edge. ;-)

Place tabs 5" from seams on both sides and pin.

Pin matching seams and double stitch around top of bag using a 3/8" seam.

Remember that opening, I hope so. Turn the bag right side out. It is like giving birth with no pain, unless you left a pin in there somewhere.


Now you can sew this opening shut. I use my machine for this. You could do it neatly by hand and then your bag could be reversable.

Not me, I want to finish.

So now you have this. Now you need to put on the keyrings. I added them to the strap first then the tabs. There is no photos of this step. I was to happy to remember to take any.

Oh yea! I almost forgot that I like to have a board on the bottom. Duh! Fold 10" x 18" fabric in half right sides together and stitch down side and bottom using 1/4" seam. Trim corners and turn right side out. Slide in foam core board and fold open end in to itself. You could hand sitich the opening closed. I like to have it open for a secret pocket.
Place in bottom of bag.

Ta da! You did it! Pat yourself on the back.

Look how cool it is.

Oh yea, time to fill it with goodies!

Please let me know if you make one. Leave a girl a comment. I would love to see photos too! Please feel free to share my pattern but please do not sell it or mass produce items made from my design for profit. That would be rude.