Monday, December 6, 2010

bag {tutorial}

It's here- the tutorial I've been promising. Sorry for the wait! It ended up taking a bit longer than anticipated, but look! I have a new bag out of it and you have a tutorial on how to make it! 

This simple bag tutorial can be the base pattern for practically ANY bag: clutches, totes, and big purses or diaper bags like this one. And of course it can be modified in any way shape or form! 


You'll need:

Beautiful fabric for the outside {I used a print from Amy Butler's Love collection that I bought at Urban Arts and Crafts. If you're outside KC I'm sure you can find it on ebay.} I suggest a heavier weight upholstery fabric, and you'll need about half to three quarters yard depending on the bolt size. 

Fabric for the inside- I used a basic black quilting fabric- grab a yard just to be safe.

One or two yards of heavy {one side fusible} interfacing

Coordinating thread

Magnetic closures {optional}

STRONG needle {and a few extras in case it breaks}

{All the yardage will depend on how big or small you want your bag}


Start by cutting two pieces of your upholstery weight fabric to your desired size. For this bigger bag I measured them to be 27" by 14". Make sure you have your fabric design centered to where you want it.

{don't forget to factor in the depth of the bag when measuring your sides, in the end the width of each side will be 6" narrower.}


Next cut squares on the bottom two corners of your fabric. I measured 3.25" x 3.25" {or there abouts} - enough for the corners of the bag and the seam. After cutting one square I simply folded the fabric and copied the square to the other side so they would be the same. Repeat for the other piece.

Now trace your 'pattern' onto the fabric for the inside of the bag and interfacing. {Just a note, the inside fabric will need to be sewn just a bit smaller than the outside, so it will fit inside without any problems}

Cut out all the pieces. You will have 6 total, with each having squares cut out of their bottom two corners.

Now you'll need to fuse together your fabric for the outside of the bag and your interfacing. Make sure you read the directions on the paper that comes with the interfacing to be sure you're doing it correctly. 

Now it's time to sew. Grab your fused fabric and face the pretty sides together so your interfacing is out on both sides. Now sew three seams: down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side. Don't sew the top or the corners. 

Next you'll sew the corners. Take the seam on one side and the seam next to it on the bottom and have them touch {do you see your corner?} Now just sew it across! Do the same for the other side.

And you should have this:

Next sew the inside fabric the same way: pretty side facing pretty side except this time leave a gap in the bottom {it should be at least 6"} you don't need to worry about finishing the stitch on the bottom, you may need to seam rip it apart more before the end.

Now would be the time to add pockets if you so desire! 

Now you have two bags, one having a hole in the bottom. Flip both inside out {if they aren't already} so that the ugly is on the outside and the pretty is on the inside. Now put the inside fabric inside of the outside and pin it. Make sure the tops are aligned.

If you'd like a shoulder strap or straps attached from the inside, now would be the time to pin it in as well, the entire strap would be hidden between the fabric pieces except the ends of the straps that would be sticking out on either side.

I didn't make a closure for this bag, but they aren't hard to do, and there are many options. {I like magnetic closures- you can find them at fabric stores and they are very simple to attach} you'll want to attach them before you sew your two fabric pieces together.

Now sew it around and remove the pins.

Carefully reach in and pull the bag inside out. Then stick the inside fabric inside. 

Because of the stiff interfacing, you'll need to iron down your sides

and you have:

Now you'll want to sew the hole in your inside fabric {that is if everything looks ok and no more modifications need to be made}

Now it's time to make some straps- I used this strip of leftover fabric and cut it in half.

Next I folded it in on itself and sewed it together, flipped it, and ironed it. {Do that again for the other strap}

For an outside attachment, sew a square and an x in the middle {I went over each 3 or 4 times to ensure strength}

You can also attach the straps on the inside of the bag back when you attached the inside and outside fabrics.

Repeat that for all the straps and you're done!


  1. very cute. mom's group christmas gift???

  2. not a bad idea... I might have to!

  3. thanks for taking the time to document and post this tutorial. you are AMAZING! hopefully I can try it sometime soon. I love you friend. it was good to skype :)



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