Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Bag for All Seasons

Guys, I love costumes. And dresses. And skirts. And anything wearable out of cool fabric. You know this. But sometimes I like to make other things, like quilts or purses or A BAG FOR ALL SEASONS!


Okay, sometimes I just want to make something for a friend but sewing them clothing could be weird and time-consuming, so it's nice to have other options up my sleeve. I found some fabric that reminded me of one friend and thought HEY SHE COULD USE A GYM BAG!

Not a duffle bag though. For one, I didn't have enough fabric. For another, that didn't seem her style. Plus it'd be a lot more work. So I decided to make a nice sturdy bag with a handy pocket. I had a half-yard of this gorgeous cotton print, and then salvaged some lining and chintz from my fabric stash to create the interior.

(The body of my bag is three rectangles - one for the back, and two for the front that combined are a little bigger than the bag to accommodate the zipper seam allowances. You can make yours any size you want - you can even make the zipper horizontal or diagonal instead of vertical!)

From reading different sewing blogs, I'd picked up that one secret to making a good bag is to interface the heck out of it.

So I did.

I made one long strap, but you could also do two shorter ones, either grocery bag style, or backpack strap style.

And I topstitched because toptstiching is just cute when used right.

This is the pocket. It's basically a square that cut and sewed out of lining fabric. It will fit between the cotton and the chintz, with a zipper opening!!!

Sewing the outside of the pocket zipper is pretty simple, just follow your normal zipper instructions.

The inside is a little trickier. I sewed the open edge of the pocket to both interior sides of the zipper. I didn't actually do it very efficiently, so I recommend checking out a helpful video tutorial like this one rather than trying to figure it out from my photo up above.

I then stitched one end of my pocket into bottom seam of my bag and basted the other to the open top of the bag.

Then of course I serged the edges to prevent any fraying that would weaken the integrity of the bag.

Look at dat!

The inside is pretty simple, just replicate the exterior of the bag, minus the pocket. Unless you want another pocket on the inside, in which case, cool!

Now, I didn't want the lining of the bag popping out, so I lined up the bottom edge of the lining and the bottom edge of the bag, wrong sides out, and overlapped them by about a third of an inch, sewing a seam down the center of the overlap.

Then, turn the exterior of the bag rightside out, pulling the lining in with it. Now you should have a nearly completed bag, with two raw edges at the top. Turn these in and topstitch them together, inserting the straps as desired.

(If you wanted a drawstring top, you'd just sew another line of stitching about an inch from the top, leaving a little gap between your start and stop for the drawstring to poke through. Then thread a cord through the tube now created between your topstitching and your second row.

And then you have a beautiful bag. (Or a really nerdy one, if you take advantage of the awesome selection of licensed prints now available all over the web.)

(No, my friend does not belong to the League of Assassins. That's just what happened to be on my dressform. She does love the bag though!)

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