Friday, November 22, 2013

How to Make a Little Bag

The kids have been sick for about a week now so I have had a quiet week at home and the chance to catch up on some jobs - yay.  I have made cracking start on christmas gifts I don't think I have ever been this far ahead in my gift preparation by November.  
Project Bags with external decorative zips. 
This is how I make little project bags with an external zipper.  I am not sure if this is technically the right way so proper sewers best look away now.  I hope this makes sense...

Start with a zip,  2 pieces fabric for the outside of the bag and 2 pieces fabric for the lining.  The outside fabric needs to be the same width as the zip and whatever length you would like.  I cut the lining fabric a good 1.5cm larger than the outside pieces. 
I start by taking one top piece and one lining piece, wrong sides facing out and join with a single seam about 1 cm from the top.  Turn the fabric the right way out and press seem down.  Do the same to the other two pieces of fabric.  
You should then have two sides of your bag and be ready to attach the zip.
Pin the zip to the top side of the seam you have just pressed and sew down one side, do the same for the other bag side.
Fold your pieces out with the good sides of each fabric type facing each other and the zip closed in the middle.  Like pic above.  Pin the sides together making sure that the two ends of the zippers match up, like pic below
Match the zipper ends and pin.

If you want a side grab handle on your bag, insert it now.  I use a loop of ribbon, and insert between the pinned pieces of the top fabric, just below the zip.  The two ends of the ribbon should poke out so they can be caught in the side seam, see pic below.  
Ribbon ends poking out.
Open the zip and sew a seam down the two sides and along the bottom of the top fabric only.  Make sure the lining end (blue fabric) is left open at the end.  Trim away excess fabric.
Now,  I make the gusset shape.  This is made in the fabric that will become the outside of the bag.   Pin the corners according to the shape bag you would like (see above).  You can put your hand into the bag via the lining end, make the triangles larger or smaller depending on the gusset side you would like.      Sew in a seam and cut off the excess corner so it looks like the pic below. 
Corners done
This is what it should now look like.
Turn the bag the right way out, keeping the lining out like the pic above.  It should be starting to look like a little bag now. 
I measure how long I want the lining to be by folding the bag over the top of the lining like this.

Fold in the raw ends of the lining, pin and sew the seam like above.
Tuck the lining in, tidy it all up and TA-DA, you should have a lovely little bag with a feature zip.


  1. Excellent tutorial!! Me thinks I will just have to make some pretty li'l bags. I love the fabrics that you have chosen, they are very pretty!! Lucky recipients, who get these beauties!!

    1. Awesome, make sure you share your photos, I'd love to see what you make ;)

  2. I've been meaning to make some little cases - thanks for the refresher... the plan is to be uber organised for 2014 - so that will mean sorting all my crap into cases.... don't hold me to it though!!!

    1. Love the sound of that Uber Organisation!

  3. They are so lovely, and I love the fabric! Good on you for doing the detailed tute, I can be kind of lazy that way lol.

    1. I hope it works though, that's the danger with these things. I know what I mean but do you understand it?!?