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Monday, February 20, 2012

How to make yourself a shopping/library bag

I made this bag for my son who has started prep this year and needed a library bag. My son (like many little boys) adores pirates, so pirate themed cotton fabric seemed like the obvious choice for this project.

Materials needed:           Fabric Measuring 36” x 17” or 91.5cm x 43cms 

                                            Cotton Thread (ensure you have enough for the bobbin too!)

                                             Ribbing or Webbed Strap (or enough fabric to make your own straps)

Tools:                                     Pins

                                                Sewing Machine

                                                Scissors and/or a Rotary Cutter

                                                Cutting Board (if using a rotary cutter)

                                                 Measuring Tape and/or Ruler

                                                Iron and Ironing Board

                                                Taylors Chalk/Pencil

Total Time:  Really dependent upon your skill at basic ironing, measuring, cutting and sewing.

Notes:  *For this project all seams had a quarter inch allowance.

                *Cotton Fabric or Ducks Cloth could be used for this project.

                *The fabric could also be quilted prior to construction of the bag.

                * Instead of Webbing for the straps, you could also construct the straps out of fabric.

Makes:  A bag approx 17” x 16” or 43cms x 40.1cms

Instructions:       Iron and measure prewashed cotton fabric. Fold fabric in half so the measurement is 18” x 17” or 46cms x 43cms. Then cut in half, so that you will end up with two pieces of fabric measuring 18” x 17” or 46cms x 43 cms. 

To make the edges neater and to avoid fabric fraying, fold and iron along one edge of the 18” (or 46cm) sides on each piece. Then fold over and iron again. Each fold should be approximately half an inch (or just over 1cm). (This will also create a nice look to the edge of the bag, as well as ensuring the bag’s durability).  *Note that this will be the top of your bag if you are using patterned fabric.

Sew this hem with roughly a quarter inch (approx half a centimetre) seam allowance. Then from that hem, line up the foot of your sewing machine and sew another quarter inch seam. (Or the double needle stitch could be used if preferred).

Then face the two patterned sides together and sew together along one of the 17” (43cms) sides. (Again with the double seam.)  Repeat this step with the other 17” (43cms) side. Then sew the bottom (the non double hemmed 18” or 46cm side). So what you end up with is an inside-out pouch.

Once the bottom seam is done, you may wish to go over the corners and give them a curved edge. I used a glass and tailors’ chalk to outline the curve that I wished to achieve.

Next take your strap and cut it in half so that it measures approx 64.5” or 164cms. Pin the straps to the inside of the bag approx 4.5” (or 12cms) in from the sides. While the straps are pinned, check that they are the length and the look that you require.

I chose to have the strap sewn on the outside; however the strap could also be sewn on the inside. I also decided to continue to use the white cotton thread against the black webbing (and I must admit that for demonstration purposes this stands out well!) however any colour thread, or webbing you choose is up to you.
Once happy with the strap placement, begin sewing a cross in a square. (Going over these seams when using cotton thread, is also advised to ensure durability). Sew on all four ends of the straps to the bag. Your bag is now complete!



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