Saturday, 30 May 2009

A Bag Tutorial - Not great but it's my first time!!

Right, here goes, my first proper tutorial. It's not great but hey - we all have to start somewhere. To make this bag, I bought some calico (£3.50 per metre) to line it as it's sturdy. You can use, curtain material/denim or anthing that you think will be quite strong. The pretty fabric is an old M&S pillowcase (purchased from a Charity shop along with the Duvet cover for £3.00, so loads of fabric left). If you look at the hand drawn diagram you will see roughly what fabric you need. I am new to sewing so have absolutely none of the proper lingo. PF means pretty fabric and L means lining and that's that. My pattern was based on a standard newspaper which is roughly the size I wanted. Think the front page of the Sun not the broadsheets.
So when you have finished cutting 2 lining pieces & 2 PF peices, you are ready to sew. Firstly sew up three sides of the PF (flowers/pretty sides together and you should have the back of the fabric showing) . As a guide I used the edge of the screw on the plate of my sewing machine as it's roughly 1 cm.

You need to leave a gap in the bottom edge of the lining to turn the bag out right at the end. So sew the two shorter edges, then do a bit either side of the bottom edging. If you are using calico, then you need not worry about right sides in, as it's reversable. If you are using patterned fabric, then your patterns need to face each other, it's called right side in.

I can't explain this very clearly but when you have two pockets, you need to squash the corners flat before turning out and sew a line across. I have drawn this in diagram 2 (if you click on this it will get bigger). Just make sure you line up the seams and do each corner the same amount. I cut the corners off after sewing and left about 1cm hem. I did sew again for stregnth.
Ok you should now have two bags. On L & one PF. Put these to one side and lets make the handles. I wanted quite long handles as I like to carry the bag on my shoulder but you can make them as long as you like. You should have 4 long strips of fabric, 2 PF & 2 L. Sew one peice of PF and lining together using a 1cm hem, PF on the inside again. Once this is done along both long sides, turn it inside out and iron. You should then have a perfect handle. Personally I would sew a couple of lines down the ironed edges just for strength.
Turn your PF bag out so it's got the pattern on the outside showing. Sew the straps to the tops of the outside with the straps hanging down. Just a short line of stitches to keep it in place. then turn inside out again, put the lining in so both right sides are facing and stitch a 1cm hem round the top. You can see in the above photograph how it should look before sewing round the top. The handles need to be sandwiched between the two patterned/lining fabrics.

Then when you have finished sewing round the top, turn inside out using the hole in your lining and it should look like the above picture. Iron seams, then turn to the handles. Because you left about an inch hanging up (see 2 pics up), you should be able to feel those bits in between the two bits of bag. I sewed a square into them to make them stronger.
You need to sew the hole in the lining up, preferably before ironing and you will have a bag perfectly capable of holding your favourite magazines etc.


  1. well done Mrs C it looks fab and I think even a novice like myself could have a go :-)
    I especially like "PF" = pretty fabric LOL
    Lesley x

  2. Love it, well done, your explaination was great, was amazed at the phrase "Right side facing" wow.........
    what ya gunna make and tute about next? :-)

  3. I am not sure, maybe a tent or wigwam"!"

    Only joking. Really am not sure. I will keep producing & trying and maybe go back to making cards with fabric. I have my daughters room next, so watch this space.