Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Weekend Bag - Instructions

I have been making bags for the last 7 years. I love bags; for shopping, storing stuff and trips. This is my first time writing instructions, so hope they are complete and understandable.  I posted this bag Dec. 16th as a finished project. 

I started with a pieced rectangle and cut it down, squared up the corners ending with a 16” x 32” rectangle. The finished bag is approximately 15” x 12½” x 4”; it has 3 internal pockets and a lobster clasp.


Here are the instructions and a list of items needed for the bag. Adjust measurements if you want a different size bag.

Fabric & notions required:
16” x 32” rectangle for bag outside
17” x 33” medium weight interfacing (batting will give a softer bag)
1 yd fabric for lining
1 jean leg, including pocket if you want it on your bag
14” zipper, match color to lining
1 lobster clasp

Instructions: 

Prepare your bag outside: either pieced or 1 whole piece of fabric. I usually piece, quilt and then square up and cut the fabric since size changes slightly during the quilting step. If you have a directional print (animals or flowers),cut (2) 17” squares fabric pieces, rotate as needed and sew a ¼” seam in the bottom of the bag. Quilt the bag outside using 2 layers; bag outside and interfacing (or batting for a softer bag). Cut the quilted fabric to size, squaring up the corners (approximately a 16”x32” rectangle). Measure you final piece and write it down.
Take the jean leg and open it up by cutting up the leg close to the inside seam. From the jean leg back, cut (2) 3”x22” pieces. Remove the back pocket if you want it on your bag. From the jean front , cut (1) 7” x17” piece. If the knee is too worn, piece 2 sections together, open the seam and top stitch seam open. Note: I usually make this as wide as possible, 7” – 10” x 17”. A wider piece will give a taller and more visible cuff at the bottom of the bag. Along each 17” edge, turn under 1/2” and press. Pin this to the bag outside, lining up the bottom center of both pieces. Pin the edges of the jean piece. Top stitch 2 lines along the 17” edges of the jean rectangle, one close to the edge and another a quarter inch away. Trim the jean fabric even with the side seam of the bag.

    Pin jean pocket approximately in the middle of one of the front panels, 4½” -5” from the top. Sew the pocket on, top stitching, using the same stitching lines as used when it was on the pants. To make the straps, use the (2) jean pieces, 3”x22”; fold each strip lengthwise in half, with wrong sides together, press. Unfold the strip and fold each long edge towards the center crease, press. Fold in half and press. Top stitch close to the edge along both sides. After sewing measure the straps and trim if necessary to make them even. I like my straps long so I leave them at 22”; but you may want to pin them on the bag and see if you want them trimmed.
    Pin the straps so the outside edge of the strap is 3½” from the sides of the bag on the outside of the bag. The ends of the straps should line up with the bag top edge with a loop going towards the bottom. I usually pin them with the seam inside the loop. Make sure you pin them with the loop “straight”, don't twist the straps. (Yes, I've done that!). Sew 2-3 lines through the top of each strap, or make a “Z”.
     
    Fold the bag in half with right sides together and sew the side seams together using a half inch (½”) seam. To make the bottom corner gussets, open up the side seam and fold the bag back onto itself so the side seam lines up with the center bottom of the bag. Then mark the sewing line with a Easy Square ruler lining up the 45 degree line with the fold line and the 2 inch line on top of the center seam. The sewing line will be 4” long. Sew, repeat for the other corner. Turn the bag right side out.
     
    Cut the lining: Cut the main piece of the lining 2 inches longer then the outside of the bag. I cut mine 16”x34” (32+2). Also cut (2) 3”x17”, (2) 3”x4”, (1) 17”x 14”, (1) 3”x12” Inside 3 pockets: Fold the 17”x14” with right sides together into a 17”x7”. Sew a 3/8” seam along the 17” edge. Turn right side out and press with the seam approximately 1” up from the bottom. The blue line shows where the seam is.
      
    Pin the pocket 3½“ from the top of the right side the lining. Pin with the seam inside the pocket, towards the bottom. The pocket is wider then the lining, it will be trimmed after we sew the (3) pockets. To make the 3 pockets, start sewing at the top of one side of the pocket and sew down the side; stop ¼” away from the bottom with your needle in the fabric, lift your pressure foot and pivot the fabric to sew along the bottom of the pocket. Sew along the bottom 5½” from the side seam. Stop and pivot to sew up and finish the first pocket. Stop, pivot and sew back down 1/8” away; stop ¼” away from the bottom, pivot and sew along the bottom another 5” ; stop and pivot to sew up and finish the second pocket. Stop, pivot and sew back down 1/8” away; stop ¼” away from the bottom, pivot and sew along the bottom until you are ¼” away from the side seam. Stop, pivot and sew up the side seam. The photo has blue lines to show the sewing lines for the 3 pockets. See below. Trim the pocket fabric even with the side seam of the bag.
     
    Lobster Clasp: I used a 1½“ Lobster clasp, with a “D” ring swivel. Use the (1) 3”x12” lining piece; fold the strip lengthwise in half, with wrong sides together, press. Unfold the strip and fold each long edge towards the center crease, press. Fold in half and press. Top stitch close to the edge along both sides. Put the strip through the “D” ring of the clasp. Pin both ends just above the pocket at a slight angle. Sew the strip ends onto the lining using a ¼“+ sewing line. 
     
    Zipper: use the (2) 3”x17” lining pieces; fold each strip lengthwise in half, with wrong sides together, press. Remove the zipper out of the package, press the fold out if necessary, use a cool iron. I did not use a zipper foot for this, but you can if you want. Move the needle all the way over to the left on your machine. Place the folded strip on top of the zipper, ¼” away from the middle, centering the zipper along the 17” strip with the zipper pull up. Top stitch the folded strip onto the zipper, close to the folded line. When you get to the zipper pull, stop with your needle down, lift up your pressure foot and pull the zipper open, pressure foot back down and continue sewing. Repeat for the other side. Start with the zipper open, sew the first 3", stop with the needle down, lift up the pressure foot and close the zipper. Put the foot back down and continue sewing.
       
    Zipper ends: use the (2) 3”x4” lining pieces; fold each strip into a 1½“ x 4”, with wrong sides together, press. Pin one of these on top of the end of the zipper piece sewn together in step above. The fold should come up to end of the zipper at one end and come up to the beginning of the zipper at the other. Sew these pieces together and trim the excess material as needed, square up the ends if needed.
       
Place the bag lining on the ironing board with the pocket side up (right side up) and fold the lining top edge down to meet the pocket top (should be 1¾“), press. Open up the fold. Place the zipper piece down with edge almost on top of the fold line, zipper pull up. Re-fold the edge down and pin the layers. Sew the layers together using a 3/8” seam. 
     
    Place the other end of the bag lining on the ironing board, right side up. Fold the top edge down 1¾“. Press. Open up the fold. Place the zipper piece side down with edge almost on top of the fold line, zipper pull up. Re-fold the edge down and pin the layers. Sew the layers together using a 3/8” seam.  
     
    Sewing the side seams: Lay the bag lining down with the top of the lining up. Pinch the zipper together so the teeth are up. Fold this up so it lines up with the seam line made above. The photo shows up to this point, it needs the other side folded up. Then fold the other side of the lining up so the tops match. Pin both sides. Sew 1 side with a ½“ seam allowance. Sew the other side 3½“ up from the bottom, leave a 4” opening for turning; and then sew the rest of the way up. 
       
    Open the zipper! 
    Make the bottom corner gussets in the lining similar to making the corners in the bag outside. Open up the side seam at the bottom and fold the bag back onto itself so the side seam line up with the center bottom of the bag. Then mark the sewing line with a Easy Square ruler lining up the 45 degree line with the fold line and the 2 inch line on top of the seam. The sewing line will be 4” long. Sew, repeat for the other corner. 
     
    Sewing bag to the lining: This is a good time to press the bag and lining if desired. Turn the bag inside out if not done already. The handles should be down, if they are pulling sideways safety pin them so they will lie straight. Then put the lining inside the bag with right sides together. Open up the side seams and match up the seams. Pin the lining to the bag. Sew a ½“ around the top of the bag. Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Yes, it is small, just pull gently and it fit. Smooth out the bag and lining, unpin the safety pins from the straps. Check the top edge. Then either slip stitch the opening in the lining close or make a small machine stitched seam. Press the bag's top edge and top stitch ¼“ from the edge; or make 2 lines of stitching if desired.
    Hope you have fun making a bag!


2 comments:

jamala said...

Thanks Jana

Donna Rawlins said...

Love the bag, I'm going to make one! Thanks for the instructions