Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Sister's Bag Tutorial

Another feat for me this week:  I designed my very first bag from scratch, and made it!  My sister got her RN license in January, and is now working in the neuro unit.  She wanted a bag she could tote her stuff to work in that had pockets she could put her coffee cup in without it spilling.  Erin to the rescue!  So without further ado, I give you "My Sister's Bag."

You will need:
1 yard of fabric for bag exterior
1 yard of fabric for bag interior/accent
1/2 yard fusible fleece
lightweight fusible interfacing (optional)
thread to match fabric for interior/accent
1/4" elastic (approx. 8")

From your exterior fabric you will need to cut the following :

a.  (1) 32" x 15" (main piece of exterior)
b. (2) 14" x 6" (exterior sides)
c. (4) 9" x 5" (pockets on front and back)
d. (4) 9" x 8" (coffee cup pockets on sides)

From your interior/accent fabric you will need to cut the following:

i. (2) 2" x 15" (trim on exterior)
ii. (2) 2" x 6" (trim on exterior - sides)
iii. (3) width of fabric (WOF) x 4" strips (straps)
iv. (2) 2" x 5" (exterior pocket trim)
v. (2) 17 1/2" x 20" (lining)

From the fusible fleece you will need to cut:

(1) 34" x 15"
(2) 15" x 6"

If you are using the fusible interfacing for your "Coffee Cup Pockets," you will need:

(2) 8" x 9"


Constructing the EXTERIOR of bag:

Sew trim pieces to exterior pieces of bag (1 i. sewn to each end of a. and 1 ii. to one short side of each b. piece).  Press seams open.

Follow the directions to fuse your exterior trimmed pieces to the fleece.

To make the exterior front back pockets, sew (with RST) 1 c. piece to 1 iv. piece along short side of c.  Press seams open.  Pin and sew 2nd c. piece to trim.  Fold pocket in half, with the trim at the top, right sides together.  Sew along bottom edge only.  Turn pocket right side out and press.  This will allow your pocket to have a finished seam at the top and bottom.  You will hide the unfinished sides under the straps later.  Repeat for other pocket.

Place pockets 4 - 5" down from each short edge of the bag exterior.  Pin in the center of the bag, and using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew 3 sides onto bag, leaving the top of pocket open.

To make handle:

Sew short edges of 3 WOF strips together, pressing the seams open.  You will have a GIANT loop of fabric.  Fold in half and press, as though you were making double fold bias tape.  Open and press each edge into center like so:
Fold in half again along original crease, and press.  Using matching thread and a 1/8" seam allowance, top stitch closed along both edges.

Find center of strap and pin to bag, making sure you cover the raw edges of pockets.  You will want to make sure that your strap is going to be even on both sides of the bag.  Starting where the bottom of the bag will be, follow stitch line and sew to bag, stopping and turning at the trim line then continuing back down and around.

To make the side "Coffee Cup" pockets:

If using the fusible interfacing, fuse to 2 of the d. pieces.  Take one interfaced piece, and one NON-interfaced piece and pin RST.  Sew along short side, turn and top stitch 1/2" from seam to create a "tube" for the elastic.   You will now need to "box" your corners to give enough room for a cup to fit in these pockets.  

Measure in 1" from the side and bottom of the pocket on each corner (outer piece, and lining).  Mark this with a line as shown.  You will then fold the lines together, with the RST of the material and sew on the line like so:

Cut excess 1/4" away from the line you sewed.  Repeat on remaining 3 corners, and then again on the second side pocket.  

Cut a 4 - 5" piece of elastic (depends on how stretchy you want it to be) and using a safety pin, run it through the tunnel on the pocket like so:

Using 1/8" seam, tack elastic down at each edge of the pocket.  Pin pocket to side gusset piece and using a 1/4" seam allowance, stitch to gusset.  

With right sides together, line up your trim seams on the side gusset and front/back exterior piece.  Use 1/2" seam allowance and sew together.  Repeat on other side, the turn the bag right side out.

To Make Lining:

Pin lining pieces RST, and stitch around 2 short sides 1 long side, leaving a 5 - 6" opening in one side for turning bag.  Next you will box the corners of the lining.  Line up your side and bottom seams, pinching them together.  From the point you have just made, measure in 2 1/2" and mark a line across the corner.  Sew along this line.  Before you trim your seams to 1/4", make sure you are happy with the stitching.  Repeat along other corner.  

Attach lining and bag exterior:

You will need to tuck your handles into the front and back pockets so they stay out of the way.  Place the EXTERIOR of the bag, into the interior of the bag, RST.  Line up the side seams on the lining with the center of the side gussets on the exterior.  Pin and sew using a 1/2" seam allowance.  

Turn bag through the opening of the lining, and slip stitch the opening closed.  Push lining into bag and finger press the lining/exterior seam.  Top stitch around the top of the bag with a 1/8" seam allowance, keeping the handles out of the way.

Then take the handles and sew them with a box and "x" pattern to attach them to the top of the bag and give them strength.

Voila!  You now have a fabulous bag fit for any nurse to carry!


  1. I love it, my two favorite colors of all time! Look at you, not only a bag but a tutorial to go with it! YOU GO GIRL!!!

  2. Awesome tutorial! Looks like a great bag! So cute and functional!! Thanks for participating in my link party!!!


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