If you’re ever at my house for dinner and request a recipe, be prepared for me to photocopy the recipe, make many crossings out and revisions, and then hand it over to you looking like a completely different recipe. What does this have to do with today’s post, you might ask? Well, for years, I’ve used a very lovely bag tutorial that has served me well. And just like my recipes, I started to tweak it slightly, here and there, every time I made one. Different fabric weights, different handles, different construction, different measurements… you get the idea. And slowly, it turned into its own thing. And it deserved its own tutorial, not a bunch of chicken scratches over a recipe, so to speak.
Here I am today, bringing you that tutorial. And I encourage you to also make it your own. Add pockets! Change the handle placement! Add a snap closure! You get the idea. Make it, hack it, tweak it, and enjoy it! And most of all, bring it along on every adventure!
Need some inspiration to help make it your own?
- Check out this tutorial by Homemade Emily Jane for adding inner pockets!
- Use orphan blocks or make improv panels!
- Exterior Main Fabric – 1 fat quarter
- Exterior Base Fabric – 1 fat quarter
- Handles fabric – 1/3 yard
- Lining Fabric – 2/3 yard or 1 yard for 2 bags (see note in cutting instructions)
- Fusible Foam Interfacing (I like this one)
- Thread that matches chosen fabrics
- Sewing Supplies: Iron, sewing machine with walking foot, scissors, ruler, rotary cutter, and mat (shop my favorite supplies)
- From Exterior Main – (2) 8.5″ x 19.25″
- From Exterior Base – (1) 15″ x 19.25″
- From Handles – (2) 5″ x 29″
- Lining – (1) 19″ x 29.75″
(Note: If you are planning on making more than one bag, it makes sense to buy 1 yard of lining fabric to cut two linings by cutting 29.75″ x WOF and then subcutting into (2) 19″ x 29.75″)
- Fusible Foam – (1) 19.25″ x 30″, (2) 1.25″ x 29″
The most economical way to buy foam is by the package, which is 36″ x 58″. From this you can make 3 bags by cutting the foam as directed in the diagram below.
* All seams are sewn with 1/2″ seam allowance unless specified.
1. Fuse the exterior main fabric to the top and bottom of the foam. Pay attention to placement of directional fabrics, they should both face OUT. Add quilting if desired. (walking foot quilting from WALK is such a fun added touch!
2. Press back 1/2″ on the 19.25″ sides of the exterior base fabric. Find the center, and line it up with the center of the foam and fuse in place
3. Topstitch the base fabric to the main fabric with a 1/4″ seam allowance and a 1/8″ seam allowance. Repeat for the other side.
4. Press the handles fabric in half, open, and press both halves towards the center. Place foam inside one folded part and fuse in place. Repeat for the second handle.
6. Stitch on both sides of the handle approximately 1/8″ away from the end to secure all the layers.
7. Find the center point on the foam on the 19.25″ side and measure 3″ from the center on each side. Pin the handles in place and stitch down with 1/4″ seam allowance to baste in place. Repeat for the other side.
8. Fold the foam in half, right-sides together, and stitch down the two sides, making sure to line up where the base fabric meets the main fabric.
9. Measure and cut a 2.5″ square EXCLUDING seam allowance from one of the two bottom corners. Fold the corner open to create a boxed corner and stitch. Repeat for the second bottom corner.
10. Turn bag right side out and set aside.
11. Fold lining fabric in half to create a 19″ x 14.875″ rectangle. Stitch down the two sides.
12. Cut a 2.5″ square, excluding seam allowance, from one of the bottom corners, fold the corner open to created a boxed corner and stitch together. Repeat for the second bottom corner.
13. Lining is complete! Time to put it all together!
14. Stuff the whole bag exterior into the lining fabric, right sides together. Pin across the top of the bag, and stitch all the way around, leaving a 6″ opening for turning.
15. Turn bag right side out, topstitch to close opening at the top of the bag. Optional: Add stitches on the bag where the handles are concealed to reinforce.