14. My Most Useful Bag Yet! A two hour project.

I am going to sew, yet another bag, because one cannot have too many bags now a days. With people choosing to go green and becoming more environmentally friendly, good sturdy bags are essential. This bag in particular has been the best, all time bag for me and it has outlasted other bags I’ve bought. The original bags I made are still around 16 years later. This above group of bags are just a few of the bags I’ve made over the years.

Early on in my marriage I took a sewing level 1 class from Chinook Collage, Calgary, AB. My first project was a bag.

This is my 2 hours sewing project this weekend, and will post finished bag ASAP.

Things you’ll need:

  • One meter by meter of sturdy fun fabric, the fabric I’m using is flannel. Nice and soft!
  • Measuring tape or meter ruler.
  • A sewing machine.
  • Thread.
  • scissors
  • You’ll just need to know how to straight stitch forwards and backwards.
  • Pins
  • Good music, or audio book.

I’ll walk you through how I will sew this bag. You can adjust this pattern to any size. Over the years I’ve made lunch bags for my kids and medium bags for my kids to fill up with knickknacks, grocery and knitting/fabric projects. You name, it you can do it.

On another note: I’ll tell you something I learned this week about cloth bags and the reason why we as a society started using plastic bags. This being said, I think there are other reasons we went to plastic, mainly  we became too complacent and didn’t see the over all effect this decision would have on our planet. But, let’s go back to what I heard on the radio a couple of weeks ago. Apparently years ago (I don’t know how long) but before my time. Plastic bags were brought in because of bacteria out breaks from unwashed bags. I’m not sure if this is true but I came home and washed all my bags.

Because of what I heard on the radio; I thought I’d share how I make the Sewing level 1 bag with you all, and the few changes I have made to it along the way.

Let me know, if you know the real reason behind plastic verses cloth bags? And when plastic bags came about. Ok! I looked this up, plastic bag started showing up in North America in the late 1970s but in Europe as early as 1965. You can look it up on the internet (A Brief History of the Plastic Bag). After reading this you’ll want to go green.

Step 1: For this project I’ll be using (1 m.) of flannel fabric. Wash and dry fabric.

Step 2: Cut fabric into sections. Do not cut fabric on the fold but instead layout flat. See fabric layout picture below.

  • Cut shoulder strap: 4 in. X 34 in. On the salvage/lengthwise grain. (right side).
  • Cut pocket strip. 8 1/4 in X 35 in. On crosswise grain. (top).
  • Cut 2 bag pieces: each 17 in. X 34 in. On salvage/lengthwise grain. (2 bottom pieces).
Bag layout

  Layout fabric flat.

Step 3: Shoulder strap:  Seam allowance is 1/2 inch.  Fold right sides together and sew down length of strip. Press stitches to set them (this is a bit like blocking a finished yarn project). Turnout to right side and press again. Then top stitch both sides of strip, 1/4 inch from sides. This will keep the shoulder strap flat. Note: This is a good time to play with different thread colours or decorative stitching.

  • Finished strap measurement is: 1 1/2 in wide and 34 in long.

Step 4: Prepare pockets. Cut your pockets to the sizes you’d like them to be. I like my pockets to be deep. These are my measurements.

  • Outside Pocket: Width: 8 1/4 inches by Depth: 10 3/4 inchs. These measurements take seam allowance (1/2 in.)into consideration. And the under fold at the top of the pocket = 1 1/4 in. The (1/4 in.) is a small under fold so you wont have a raw edge, you could also surge this edge.
  • Inside pocket: width: 8 1/4 in. by Depth 13 1/4 in. and use the same measurements for this pockets under fold as well.

On the sides and bottoms of both pockets fold in 1/4 in. and miter the two bottom corners then press folds down, set aside.

Top of pocket: First fold down 1/4 in., press, then fold down 1 in. Top stitch fold down  and press. Do this for both pockets.

Finished pocket measurements are:

  • Outside: width-7 1/4 in., depth-9 1/4 in.
  • Inside: width-7 1/4 in., depth-11 1/4 in.

Set pockets aside.

Step 5: Snip shoulder straps in half. And pin one at each ends of one bag piece. Do this on the right side of fabric, with the loops pointed towards each other. Stitch ends down at the edges. Sewing over the same spot a couple of times, seam allowance is 1/2 in.

Bag 10

Attach shoulder straps at both ends of         1 bag piece.

Step 6: Pin pockets in place at opposite ends on bag pieces, 3 inches from each end, the pocket opening should be towards the ends. Top stitch pockets down.

Bag 9

The paper pieces are where the pockets are placed.

Step 7: With rights sides together and pockets at opposite ends and straps tucked in. Pin and sew up ends.

Bag 5

What it looks like on inside before you pin ends to sew.

Step 8: Now it’s time to sew the sides of the bag. Now put the two tops together, right sides facing and pin together, sew. Remembering to leave a hole on one side of bag so you can pull bag right side out.

Bag 4

Sewing up sides, leave an opening so you can pull the bag to right side out.

Don’t forget to sew hole up.

Step 9: Before you turn bag out, you’re going to have to sew across all 4 corners at right angles. I do a 2 inch right angle.

Step 10: The last step is to top stitch the top edge of bag. This will stabilize this edge and give more strength to your shoulder straps.

Bags A

Top stitch top edge.

Last but not least Enjoy!

Please contact me if you have any questions about the bag.

 

 

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