Wednesday, June 22, 2011

'Cause That's My Bag

I had been using an old "swag" bag more and more here.  The bag was the perfect size and weight for all sorts of things:  it fit my school books, I could easily add some shopping to the end of my day, it was a great over-night bag, and it even fit my art supplies without crumpling them!  But, it wasn't the prettiest thing :-) and one of the straps was safety-pinned on.

So, I decided the time had come to replace it.  I got a half meter of heavy drape material at Yamuni, and started sewing.  I ended up adding a few frills - now I just have to get used to the idea that I can abuse this bag too, even though it is quite a bit prettier :-D.
This version has a button-down flap (adjustable to a second button you can't see at the top), an umbrella-holder on the right side (also handy for other items I want to keep separate and easy to access), two inside pockets, and adjustable straps with quick-release clips.  I used nearly every bit of the 1/2 meter of cloth.

  1. Straighten and fold the material, making the fold become the bottom of the bag.  
    1. cut the main bag piece 24" long x 17 3/4" wide.
    2. cut 2 straps 4" x 32"
    3. cut 1 flap 5" x 10 1/2"
    4. cut 1 pocket 5" x 10 1/2"
  2. Overcast all edges
  3. Sew the sides of the bag, leaving gaps for the umbrella-holder:  
    1. 5 inches from the top, stitch around a sturdy elastic hairband
    2. 5 inches below that, stitch around 2 gaps, leaving space for a long shoelace
    3. Note: use a satin stitch around the gaps for strength
  4. Form the bottom of the bag:  fold the bottom of the side seam into a triangle, so that the end of the seam forms the tip.  Each side is 2 3/4" - Stitch perpendicular* to the side-seam.  Repeat on the other side.
  5. Sew the straps: 
    1. fold one long edge 1/2 inch and stitch
    2. add batting if desired, but only to the center section of the strap (not the ends, since this will make them too thick)
    3. fold the other long edge to abut the first edge and stitch
    4. fold the long edges together and stitch
  6. Form the top of the bag and attach straps:  
    1. place the straps 5 inches in from the sides
    2. fold the top edge of the bag under and stitch, securing the straps in place*
    3. fold the top edge of the bag 1 inch and stitch
    4. topstitch along the top edge, again including the straps
    5. stitch an "X" at each strap to further secure it to the top of the bag
  7. Add the pockets
    1. fold under all edges of the pocket material and stitch.
    2. determine where you want them - I put mine at the top edge, mostly along the back of the bag, but also opposite the umbrella holder, straddling the side seam a bit.  I wanted easy access for my phone and change purse, and that is the side that will be handiest for me.
    3. topstitch pocket to the bag around 3 sides (leaving top open, of course). 
    4. stitch a separator up the middle to form two pockets - you can vary the size
  8. Add the flap
    1. fold under all edges of the flap material and stitch - at one end, form a clipped-triangle
    2. make a button hole at the triangle end
    3. center the other end of the flap at the top of the bag (this is now the "back" of the bag) and stitch
    4. sew one button at the fully-closed position, and another at the top of the bag (for when the bag is very full)
  9. Add the clips to the straps (this is why you don't want batting at the ends - the straps will be too thick to fit through the clips)
    1. determine where you want your clips, and cut the straps
    2. overcast each end
    3. pull the strap through the non-adjustable end of the clip and stitch
    4. pull the other end of the strap through the adjustable end of the clip
* Caution - this is a tricky step, so double-check your placement and orientation before stitching


Jen said...

I LOVE IT Julie! Now, will I ever get around to making it????

Guenivere said...

Julie, I love it. Sooo clever of you! What a great way to recycle old drapes,as well!

Julie said...

say! I didn't think of recycling! I wonder if my old drapes are available...