Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's in the bag!

This year, like every year at Christmas time, I kick myself for not starting some homemade gifts a little earlier in the season. I would love to serve up some awesome sewn, stamped, or baked goodies to ALL my friends and family but there simply isn't enough time in the day/month/year!!

With that said, however, I have managed to prepare a few handmade goodies for some special people in my life. I came across some awesome fabric on Etsy (of course) for my sister who loves the colour orange (do you know people like this? People who like orange REALLY like's a strange obsession!!). I decided that I wanted to make her a bag to go along with some of the other items I had already gotten for her. Below is a picture of what I came up with for her!

I found a tutorial on-line (who buys patterns these days?!) and used it as my inspiration for the bag I ended up with. If you want to check out the actual full tutorial, I found it on a blog called Thimble here.

I started by cutting out 2 large pieces for my outer shell, 2 large pieces for my inner lining, 2 outer shell and 2 inner lining U-shaped pieces (for the top of the bag), 2 different shapes for inside pockets (which are also lined) and then one long rectangular piece for the handle. The dimensions that I used were the same as the tutorials but you could really use any dimensions you want - depending on how you want to shape your bag!

The first step to start with on your sewing machine is to create the pleated look for the outer fabric. On the wrong side of the material, measure and mark a small line at 3",4", 7",8", 11",12", 15",16", etc. until you reach the end of you material. Once you have them marked, pin your fabric (as shown below) and then stitch down about one inch.
Next I took my U-shaped pieces and applied some medium weight interfacing, which is sandwiched between the outer and inner fabrics (I used the polka dots material as the outer fabric in this case to act as a contrast to the larger part of the bag). The very bottom part of the U-shaped section will be hidden when the bag is complete so don't' worry about how perfect it looks right now. Next, I sewed the U-shape section to the top of the larger bottom piece.
After this, you are nearly done! I stitched two pockets (a square that closes with a button and a large pocket that could hold a water bottle) on the inside lining pieces. Sew those two pieces together along the sides and bottom but make sure to leave a hole in the very bottom of this piece that is big enough to pull the outer shell through later. Next place the inside lining inside and the outer shell piece (with the right sides facing each other) - the U-shaped piece should be facing down, sandwiched between the outer fabric and the lining fabric. Sew along the top raw edges. Once that is done you can pull the outer fabric through the hole you left in the inner lining fabric. Hand stitch the hole close to finish!

And finally, I took my long rectangular handle piece and finished all the raw edges. Then I stitched it to the top part of the U-shaped piece and voila, done!

Like I said, I just winged most of my project, based on the original tutorial. The instructions that I have provided are only a guideline so if you would like a bit more instruction, please check out the tutorial link I have provided above!

This is a great bag because it is large and can be used for some many different things! I love matching up contrasting materials too so I really loved the design. If you happen to make this bag, please attach a link because I would LOVE to see what you came up with! :)

p.s. Only 11 more days of crafting until Christmas is here!!! Good luck! :)


  1. Beautiful handbag! I take it that your sister already knows about her gift? I did know a woman many years ago. I think her closet was filled with every shade of orange. She looked good in every single shade too.

  2. the bag looks amazing Jen! your sister will LOVE it!

  3. Thanks guys!!! I'm soo excited to give it to my sis! - it is a surprise but I can pretty much tell you 100% that my sister doesn't read my blog! lol...she's too busy for crafts (so she says!). :)