Monday, February 27, 2012

Project #10: Handy Little Handbag

OK, friends. This is truly the easiest bag to make. Ever. Unless you have a magical way of making bags that require no sewing and no cutting, this "pattern" can't be outdone in terms of simplicity! It can be reversible, or you can add pockets. This is the bag in its simplest form, but there are sooooooo many things you can do with it.

You're going to need about 1/2 yard of 2 coordinating fabrics... and that will allow you to make about 2 or 3 purses, or a purse and coordinating wallet, plus a little extra. It's awesome.

I will also use this into to offer an apology for the fact that this is going to get confusing if you're an overly visual learner like me. I made two of these bags, and took pictures of both, so you are going to see some steps from both bags, so apologies if the constantly changing color scheme confuses you.

Here we go!

Step 1: Creating the Pattern.
Take a piece of computer paper (8.5x11)
Round off the two bottom corners.
There's your bag pattern!

Step 2: Using your "pattern," cut two each of your lining fabric (the black and yellow stars from the first picture, and the brown fabric here) and your bag's main fabric (the black and yellow scrolls or this awesome circle fabric).

Step 3: Cut a piece of fabric about 4x24. This will be your strap.

Step 4: Fold your strap fabric in half, right sides together. Sew along the raw edge, leaving the ends unsewn.
This will give you a "tube." You'll want to turn the tube inside out, so the right side of the fabric is out.

Step 5: Take your right-side-out strap fabric and fold it in half again. Sew up each side with a straight stitch.

Not pictured
Step 6: Put your lining pieces right-sides-together and sew along the edge, along the sides and bottom. Leave the top unsewn.
Put your bag's outer pieces right-sides-together, and do the same.  

Step 7: We're going to add a button now! To strengthen the fabric, I recommend using a small piece of interfacing.
My interfacing is great... it irons on and is a heavier weight, so it will make the fabric much sturdier than a light interfacing.
All you have to do for the button is attach a small square, right where your button will go, on your OUTER FABRIC ONLY! Attach the interfacing to the WRONG side of the fabric. The iron-on kind definitely works best for this, but there's no law saying you can't sew it on. You want to do this before adding your lining so that the stitching for the button isn't visible through all the layers of your bag.

Step 8: Then sew on your button! (This is obviously the back of the button.)

Step 9: Admire your button's prettiness.
(Go on, you deserve it!)

Step 10: There are a few ways to attach the lining to the bag. I think the easiest way is to insert your lining into your bag (make sure the seams of your lining are trimmed CLOSE so that it doesn't have weird wrinkles in it when you assemble the bag.) You can just have your bag right-side-out, and have the lining right-sides-together, so that when you put it inside your bag you don't see any bad sides.
I promise, it does make sense.

Then, just fold in the top edges the whole way around and sew 2 straight-stitch lines the whole way across, inserting the straps between the lining and main fabric at each end.

You will want to add a 3-inch piece of elastic cord (folded over into a loop) in the side of the bag opposite your button. Use a small stitch so the cord is securely in the seam, and backstitch a few times over it for extra security. (I didn't do that and I used a larger stitch size and my loop came out the first time I stretched it.)

Sorry... of course I forgot to take pictures during that whole part because I was so excited that I was almost done! I'll be making more soon and uploading those pictures as soon as I have them... probably not until the weekend though.

Pretty much, if your bag has a strap, a button, and a loop, and you can't see any raw edges, you did it right.

Ta-Da! My finished bag! You can see the button loop sticking up there.
I'm terrible with button holes, so the loop is MUCH easier for me, and I think it's adorable.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you are able to enjoy some great little bags out of this! You can always sew a button to the inside, too, using the same steps, and then your bag will be reversible!

The matching wallet tutorial is coming next!

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