Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The bag lady strikes again

Hello. I've done some more sewing today, in between dog walking and cat sitting. Busy busy again. I wanted to try another way to put a bag together. I have made this shape bag before, there is a tutorial somewhere on this blog. This is not strictly a tutorial, but I will talk you through it. 
I chose a thick piece of fabric from my Scrapstore stash, I think it is normally used for upholstery. First I cut the back and the front, two pieces the same using the template I made out of wallpaper. Then I put five darts in each piece along the top, to bring it in a bit and give it a more rounded shape. The sort of darts you might put in a skirt if you were making one.  
My usual way of making a bag is to make the bag and the lining separately, then join the two together putting one inside the other and adding the handles before sewing round the top. This time I am going to make it in two halves and then join them. The outer is pinned onto the lining, I am using a yellow pillow case for this, then cut the shape out. The right side is inside facing the lining, so at this stage it's inside out.
The handles I have made out of long strips of fabric, and these are slipped inside with the two ends showing at the top. They need to stick out about 1 - 2 inches. Next I sewed the two pieces together, starting near the bottom and going up one side, along the top, and down the other side. I left a hole at the bottom to pull it through and turn it the right way round.

Now I have half a bag. I have pressed it and machined across the top of it to keep it flat and give the handles extra strength so they won't pull out.

The inside with the lining already sewn in. I closed the hole at the bottom with some hand stitching. 
Then it was a matter of sewing the two halves together. I did it inside out, but because there are now several layers it made it too thick to squeeze underneath the foot of the machine, so I took the foot off and sewed it together without it. Here is the finished article, turned the right way round. The lining is now not a loose piece inside the bag, it is sewn in all the way round.

 The thick side seams which would not go under the foot of the machine.

I found doing it this way was much easier than making the lining separate and dropping it inside, then adding the handles before sewing it up. Much less fiddly to sew something flat rather than sewing around the top of the whole bag, and hoping that the lining is going to fit properly. I will probably use this method again, a lighter fabric might work a bit better, then the seams won't be so bulky.

I've not been shopping yet this week, will try and hold out a bit longer, but might have to go before the weekend. Tomorrow I'm going to go and have a look at my friends new purchase, another buy to let house. I shall be helping her with the garden again. I feel like I need to get stuck in with some more physical activity. We've had no rain today so I hope it stays dry tomorrow.
Toodle pip.


  1. I haven't been shopping for a while, but have been working my way through a lot of canned goods and rice, etc. I've been snowed in for 8 days now...just suiting up and going out to do the chores, and then coming back in again. Haven't done any sewing, but am finally knitting again, after a long break. I think it helps keep me sane, because it feels productive and useful.

  2. Hi ilona that bag is fab it reminds me of my grannies curtains in her maisonette they where really thick material floor to ceiling and I loved them :) I have her old singer sewing machine. She was a tailoress as a job I wish I had that skill. The bags you make are fab.
    Lynn x

  3. Gorgeous fabric, very west African. Love the shape, too! x

  4. Love the bag. I lined a bag in a similar way but I left the top open sewed the bag together, inserted the handles, turned in a hem and did two rows of stitching around the top. Your way seams so much easier. Thank for showing us,

    1. Hi Carol. Yes, I thought of doing it that way, but decided to make the two halves complete before joining them together. That way you don't have to go round the top, easier if it's a flat piece.