Bag Tutorials

I’m back.

Those are dangerous words.  Perhaps I should have said, “I think I’m back.”  The last several months have been a wild ride, and have included the illness and death of a parent, packing up a house, moving over 600 miles further north, applying for graduate school, getting settled again, and some freelance web design work.  (This site is due for a huge redesign as well, but that’s probably several weeks down the road.)  So, while I hope to be posting much more frequently now, I won’t make any scheduling promises that I can’t keep.

I would like to write some more tutorials, but my sewing machine still hasn’t seen the light of day since the move.  Soon, though.  Meanwhile, I have some links to share with you.

First, a reader pointed out to me that The Buttercup Bag Pattern from Made by Rae is now available with a commercial license.  Your purchase will include the bag pattern in two sizes.  Thank you, Mayya, for letting me know about this!

i have to say always has great tutorials!  Here’s one for a laundry sack that is really too pretty for dirty laundry.

Elizabeth has a free pattern and instructions for the Diana Hobo over on her blog. I think this will be my next bag project.

And the fabric scraps pictured at the top of this post?  I’ll be making a patchwork pillow cover out of those.  Soon.  I hope.

Buttercup Bag

There are quite a few bag tutorials on the internet these days, but I have to say that the Buttercup Bag from Made by Rae is one of the best (and cutest!) I’ve ever come across.  I saw photos and references to this tutorial on several blogs, and just couldn’t resist it.  Rae provides a beautifully done pattern and instructions for download, and this bag is not only easy, but requires very little fabric as well.  If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know that I usually change things up a bit when I use other crafters’ patterns.  My only changes here were strap length and construction, the use of a button loop on one bag instead of a magnetic snap, and the addition of heavyweight interfacing on my bag linings.

On both bags, I made the straps with a 5″-wide strip of fabric folded in half lengthwise, then in half again (with raw edges on the inside), and topstitched both edges.  I attached the ends of the straps between the lining and the outside, instead of sewing them to the outside of the bag.  One bag has a shoulder strap, and the other strap is shorter.  I will probably omit the strap on the next one I make.

If you carry a lot of stuff in your bag, this one probably won’t work for you, but it’s so much fun to make, you might want to make a few for gifts.

Little Spring Floral Tote Bag

Spring Floral Tote Bag

I apologize for my lengthy absence from this blog.  I never intended to be away for so long, but due to a physically demanding part-time job with often grueling hours, and an all-out search for a full-time job that won’t kill me, I’ve lacked the time, energy, and motivation to sew.  I decided over the weekend that sewing might make me feel a little better, and since I had come across this great tutorial from Cicada Daydreams, I thought I’d dust off the sewing machine and give it a try.  I’m so glad I did! Not only did I make myself a great little tote bag, but now I also feel like I can begin to take on other sewing projects again without being overwhelmed.

I call this tote bag “little” because it’s not your typical shopping-size bag.  It finished to approximately 11-1/2″ x 9″ x 3″, which is still large enough to hold some reading materials and a few other essentials.  One thing I really like about this design is the accent fabric on the bottom, which also serves to make the bag sturdier.  I made my bag as directed in the tutorial, except that I fused lightweight interfacing to my lining because my floral fabric was very soft, and I used a different construction technique* for the strap.

Even if you’re not interested in sewing a tote bag, do go take a look at Cicada Daydreams.  It’s a lovely blog.

*Strap construction – I cut two 4″ x 13″ strips, pressed the long raw edges to the center, then folded in half and pressed again to enclose the raw edges. I then top-stitched the long edges. This resulted in sturdy 1″-wide straps.

Spring Floral Tote Bag

Picnic Bag

I think this bag is going to be my favorite.  I love that you can open it almost flat to easily find your stuff.  I won’t be using it as a handbag because it might be too easy for small items to fall out, but it’s called a picnic bag, and it will be perfect for carrying snacks to the beach.  Since on occasion it will likely be holding a significant amount of weight, I will be doing something to reinforce the handles, and I may use another method to attach the handles on the next one I make.

You can find a pattern and instructions for the picnic bag, along with some other great tutorials, at sewtakeahike.

Mini Wristlet Zip Pouch

As much as I like a zip pouch, I quickly grow tired of the basic pouch with a zipper along the top edge. So I’ve been trying to mix it up a little bit, yet still keep it simple.  When I saw this tutorial over at Javajem Knits, I knew this would be my next zip pouch.  Jody’s tutorial is for a larger pouch than I needed, so I modified the size and cut my fabrics as follows:

Front portion above the zipper – 1-1/2″ x 5″ (1 each of outer fabric, lining, and interfacing)
Front portion below the zipper – 2-3/4″ x 5″ (1 each of outer fabric, lining, and interfacing)
Back – 4-1/4″ x 5″ (again, 1 each of outer fabric, lining, and interfacing)

The finished size of my pouch is approximately 3-3/4″ x 5″.  Credit cards fit into it nicely.

For my strap, I cut a 10-1/2″ x 2″ strip, and ran it through my 1″ tape maker to fold it before pressing into a 1/2″-wide strip and topstitching the edges. 

I made my first pouch slightly narrower, forgetting that the head of the zipper would take up a little space and make the opening smaller.  It’s a tight squeeze for a credit card, so I cut the pieces for my remaining pouches 5″ wide.  And somehow, I didn’t notice that I cut my strap too long, so it ended up way too long to stay easily on my wrist.  To shorten it, I simply tied a knot in the end, and I really like the way it looks.  The side tab on my test pouch didn’t help me much with opening and closing the zipper, so I left it off all the others.  But if I make this in a larger size, I’ll probably include the tab.

Go ahead and try a few of these!  They’re easy and require very little fabric, and make nice little purse organizers or a way to carry some cash and a credit card without hauling around a larger bag.