Secret Sewing #2

When I was making that skirt there was a large strip of fabric left over in both the green polka dots and blue floral fabrics as I cut my two long tier pieces sideways as they were wider than the fabric. Quite big pieces as the panels were only 8″ deep, so I had over half the fabric width left. Plus I had got my fabric over twice the length I needed although I didn’t realise it at that point. And I got thinking about bags, because I like making bags and I thought it would be nice to run one up that coordinated with the skirt.

As bags need more fabric than hats, I ran up this bag before running up the first three sunhats (the ones that were suppossed to leave me with cool scraps for the skirt pockets) because I wanted to cut the fabric first. That’s right I started a skirt, stopped it partway to make a bag, then made 3 hats, before trying to finish my quick make skirt which then lurked in my dining room for months unfinished. I did finish the bag really quickly but as I wanted to post it with the bag as a surprise extra that lurked with the skirt for months too. This kind of thing is is why my blog is called prolific project starter!

The bag was really simple. I was wary of making it too big (something that I’ve done in the past when winging bags for myself) especially as it was it quite a lightweight fabric so wouldn’t hold too much. So to get the size right I drew round one of my favourite bags, which is made by Skye Batiks and is a much treasured present from my big brother. I didn’t want a big flap on this bag though.

I made the bag in 3 pieces. The main piece, which is both sides and the base. And two pieces which are each one sides and half the strap. I hope this rather basic illustration gives you the idea.

The pattern

The pattern

The width of the main piece is the bag width plus twice the seam allowance (as there’s a seam each side). The depth of this piece is twice the bag depth, plus the width of the base, plus twice the seam allowance. I didn’t make the base very wide, about 3 inches I think.

The sides of the bag are the base width at the bottom and taper up to the strap width, which was not much less on this bag (the difference is more marked on a bigger bag) but helps keep the top opening together rather than bagging out. The length of those slopey sides matches the depth of the bag. Then the side continues straight as half the strap. I considered making the strap pieces longer but not joining them so they could be tied to the perfect length, but I actually just used my favourite bag measurements again as the person I was making it for is not much shorter than me. For the pattern I drew out the final panel size then added my seam allowance all around.

And I put a small pocket on the outside and inside, cos I love pockets, but not too many as then I can’t remember which one I need to look in! As I had decided to make my bag reversible, I made the two pockets as identical rectangles, flowery on one side, spotty on the other, so that when the spotty side was outermost the outer pocket would have a flowery lining to match the bag lining and visa versa.


Sewing up the bag is quite simple. There are two U shaped side seams joining each side panel to the main piece and giving the main piece it’s shape. They go down the front side, along the base, and back up the back side. Then the strap needs hemming in the middle. If you’re worried about measurements this can be done a bit later when joining the inside and outside together to make sure everything lines up. If the bag wasn’t lined or reversible I would’ve cut a fourth piece to line the strap, making it more comfortable and hiding the raw edges. Something I did do was sew an extra rectangular base piece on just attatched at the side seams on one of my fabric choices. This is invisible in the finished bag but adds strength. I could’ve ironed interfacing on the base instead.

As it was I lined up the two bags right side together with the pockets on opposite sides (so there wasn’t too much bulk in one place when the pockets have stuff in and also so if the outside pocket is on the front of the bag the inner one sits against the body, which seemed a good placing to me). I sewed one continious seam along one top side of the bag and round one side of the strap. The bag needs turning right way out at this point. Then I top stitched along both top edges and the strap sides.

Finally I decided to try something new with this bag. I added a button closure. It needed a buttonhole in the middle of one top edge, and two buttons, sewn back to back on each side of the opposite edge. This means whichever way out the bag is you can button it shut easily and you can see a button front and back on the bag. I was really pleased I worked out how to make a reversible button closure. Shame in all my excitement I didn’t put the buttonhole further down, my large buttons stick out over the top of the bag, which I’m not so chuffed about.

Overall I was pretty pleased. And it fitted the skirt in for posting. What do you think?





One thought on “Secret Sewing #2

  1. Pingback: Prolific Project Starter | Presido Purse no 2/1 aka Blue Birthday Bag

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