Friday, January 30, 2009

My really big bag

Finally, the tute for my big bag. My sister asked for a new diaper bag recently as she is pregnant with my newest nephew. Yay! Being the loving Auntie that I am I happily obliged. The bag I made for the tute is a bit different since it is for my crochet stuff and not for a baby, but I will add directions to make hers along with mine. This differences are pretty small.

This is the one I made for her.

Materials needed:

fabric and lining



sewing machine




The size of this bag is really up to you. I wanted a really big bag so I cut my fabric (2) and lining (2) pieces 17 1/2" x 11 1/4" cut on the fold. It is just easier to measure it if I cut it on the fold. To make the corners of the bag I cut out a 2 5/8" x 2 5/8" square. You do not have to make your corners like this. It is just easier for me to make them this way.

You'll also need:
4 pocket pieces- I cut mine 8 1/2" x 11 1/4 " cut on the fold. I wanted about half the height of the bag for my pockets but you can go taller if you like. My pockets did come out kinda short.

4 handle pieces- I cut mine 72" x 2". I really cut them long just because I like having the option of making them shorter if I don't like them. Again, you can cut theses however long or wide you want them.


2 zipper gussets- I cut these 22 3/4" x 2 1/2". Just make sure that they are as long as the top edge of the bag.

If your are using interfacing, now is the time to add it to the corresponding pieces.

To get them out of the way, I sew the handles first. For this bag I wanted the raw edges to show, so I just sewed them wrong sides toghether.
For regular handles, sew them right sides toghether. Once you've sewn down both sides, turn your handles right side out, press if you like, then topstitch the long edges.

For the pockets on both bags, I lined up the short edges right sides together and sewed them. I then used a zig-zag stitch over the seam allowance to minimize fraying.

Now you'll want to hem the pockets. I turn under the raw edge about 1/4" and pin in place from the other side. Then I turn the hem under again and sew as I turn, removing pins as I go. Do this for both pockets and set them aside for a moment.

I did not take pictures of this next part, but all you do is line up the short edges of your bag pieces and sew together. I did mine wrong sides together for the outer fabric and right sides together for the lining. Turn lining pieces right side out.
For the normal bag, sew both sets of bag pieces right sides together, then turn bag right side out.
With wrong side of pocket to right side of outer fabric/lining, pin pockets to bag, lining up lower raw edges and matching side seams. This is done for either version of the bag.

Now you'll add your handles to your bag. On the outer bag, I went in about 2" from the corner square and lined up the raw edges of the handle and bag. Once you pin it in place try it on and make sure you like the length. Adjust the strap until you get a fit you like and then repeat the process for the other side.

Sew your handles in place on the outer bag. I started at the bottom and worked my way up, stopping about 2" from the top of the bag. I left my needle in the fabric, lifted the presser foot, and pivoted the entire bag to sew a straight line to the other edge of the strap. Then I sewed back down.

Now make pocket lines on your lining pockets. These can be as big or as small as you need them. As this bag will be my crochet bag, I made slots for my crochet hooks to go. I made 13- 3/4" wide pockets and 6- 1" wide pockets. On the other pocket side I just sewed a straight line down the middle of the pocket. Here you can also add velcro or snaps as a way to close your pockets. The pockets on the outer bag are made automatically when you sew the handles in place.

As I mentioned earlier, you may have a different preference when it comes to making the corners of the bag. I simply find this easier.
Here you have the corner square of the bag.

You want to match the seams of each side. Think of Pacman. The raw edges are his mouth and you need to close it. Open the "mouth" and bring the seams together. You can pin this if you like. As I sew I make sure that each seam lies in a different direction. That just makes the seam less thick. Repeat for both corners on the outer bag and the lining. For both bags I did these right sides together.

fter the corners are sewn you'll put your lining inside the bag. For both bags, you'll do this wrong sides together. Stitch along the upper edge. For my bag you're all done. Sit back and admire your work. I tossed mine in the washer after I was done sewing so that I could get that frayed look.

If you would like to add the zipper gusset, baste the upper edge instead of stitching, and set it aside.
Using a zipper foot, stitch the zipper to the long edge of the zipper gusset. Do the same for the other side of the zipper using the other gusset.
Fold the gussets back away from the zipper and topstitch in place.
I decided at this point that I did not want a zipper after all on my bag so I did not take anymore pictures. I'll try to explain as good as I can.
With the zipper closed and righ sides together, fold the gusset in half along lengthwise, matching the raw edges. With the zipper edge at the top, stitch down the short edges.
open the zipper and pin raw edge along the top outside edge of the bag, matching side seams and
right sides together, and stitch.
Trim seam, flip gusset to inside of bag and topstitch along upper edge.
I hope that wasn't too confusing. Let me know if you have any questions.

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