Tag Archives: sewing

Bag Sewing Tutorial: the Caroline bag

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Bag Sewing Tutorial: the Caroline bag

This bag, which I have named for my sister, is a cute sewing project which can be used for many purposes. Being a knitter/crocheter, of course I think of small yarny projects, but it could hold all sorts of things. The finished dimensions are 11″ wide by 7″ tall, and the base is about 2″ deep. It’s closed with two snaps (no zippers or Velcro to catch your yarn) and the inside pocket is also closed with a snap to keep small bits safe, like stitch markers.

I used my walking foot to sew this bag, which gives me a neat 3/8″ seam when I line it up along the edge of the fabric. This is the fourth version I’ve made. I’ll put a photo at the end of the other three. You can use a solid piece of fabric for your exterior, or piece together scraps to get the size required. Just allow for seams so that you can trim it to size. Don’t do what I did and mix up the width and height!

Cutting guide:

Exterior: two pieces of quilt cotton, 12″ wide by 9″ tall (or pieced work to equal the same size)

Interior: two pieces of quilt cotton, 12″ wide by 9.5″ tall (this is deliberate, you’ll see why later)

Thermolam (fusible fleece) or other interfacing of your choice, or batting: two pieces 12″ wide by 9″ tall, and two pieces about an inch square

Pocket: one piece of quilt cotton, 6.5″ wide by 8.5″ tall

Handle: one piece of quilt cotton, 12″ by 3″

3 KAM snaps

For this bag I decided to make the exterior with two fabrics, the paisley floral and the solid. In the photo above, I have already seamed them together. The next photo shows the Thermolam fused to the back and a line of topstitching across to secure the seam allowances. I used a stitch length of 2.2 for seaming and 3.0 for topstitching. If you use batting, you may want to add some quilting.

Pocket: fold the 6.5″ by 8.5″ square in half, right sides together (so that it’s now 6.5 by 4.25). Sew around the three open sides, leaving a couple of inches in the long side open for turning. Trim the corners. Turn right side out, using some sort of pokey tool to push the corners out. Press.

Insert a small square of Thermolam or interfacing inside the pocket, up near the fold and in the centre. Press again and topstitch across the folded edge, securing the interfacing.

Place pocket on one of the lining pieces, centred, about 2.5″ – 3″ from the top edge. Pin and sew around the sides and bottom. Fuse a small square of Thermolam to the back of the lining where the snap will go.

Install a snap near the top of the pocket.

Handle: take the 12″ by 3″ rectangle, fold in half lengthwise and press. Open out, fold raw edges to centre crease and press, refold and press again. Topstitch down both long edges.

Place one exterior piece and one lining piece right sides together, matching top edges. Repeat with the other two pieces. (If the front of your bag is different from the back, take care to attach the pocket/lining piece to the back exterior.) Sew. (Lining will extend half an inch beyond the bottom of the exterior. This is intentional.) Press seams, pressing lining and seam allowances in the same direction.

Fold handle in half and baste to front exterior, close to top, matching raw edges.

Place the two pieces right sides together, matching exterior to exterior and lining to lining. Pin or clip, being careful to line up centre seams. Sew around, starting at the lining bottom, and leave a few inches open for turning.

Box bottoms: Draw a 3/4″ square at all four corners, measuring from the seamline, not the edge of the fabric. Cut along the drawn lines. Squash the corners so that seamlines meet, pin or clip, and sew across each corner.

Press seams open (I used to skip this step but it’s especially important for the seam allowances to be flat for a neat finish around the top of the bag). Caution! Don’t iron your snap!

Turn right side out and press, avoiding snap. Allow lining to do what it wants to do naturally, which is extend about half an inch above the top of the bag. (A thinner interfacing may be more malleable, but the Thermolam wanted to do its thing and I liked how it looked. If you would prefer the lining not to show, cut it the same size as the exterior.) Topstitch “in the ditch” around the top of the bag.

Install snaps: mark centre top of bag, measure out 2.5″ from centre, half an inch down from seamline. Insert snap on front and back (I used my awl to just poke a hole straight through both layers at once), then repeat 2.5″ from centre on the other side.

Sew up gap in lining. And you’re done!

The black/scrappy bag was my first one. The scrap strip was built up on adding machine paper and had been sitting around my sewing room for months. Because I didn’t know at the time that the lining was going to want to stick out, it’s not quite deep enough. The toucan bag came second, and I figured out the better-fitting lining. And then I wanted to make another one. And another one. They are quite addictive! Hope you enjoy making one. Let me know if you do, and whether you made any modifications.

What a weekend!

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Three days off in a row, and it feels like a holiday!

Sewed practically all day Friday (and took a couple of daylight photos of the bag)…

Saturday, did the grocery shopping and the library followed by a nice toasting in the sun. Pulled out some coconut oil that wasn’t being eaten and put some on my skin, and threw a blanket and a towel on the grass. Later we went to the gym. Enjoyed some reading time with one of my library books.

Sunday we were out early and had a walk along the lake…

Stopped for a tea at our favourite tea shop. Home for lunch then a little more sunshine time on the back deck.

There was still time for some more sewing and I made a drawstring project bag which required a lot less thought than Friday’s project. A palate cleanser, as it were, before I tackle another Yoan tutorial.

Then dinner and more reading.

And now my weekend is almost over. I hope you enjoyed your weekend and that all is well with you.

What the Fox?

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Now that I have stopped distracting myself with other things, I have made great progress on the knitting/crochet project bags for charity. I have decided to sell these for $24, with 75% of that going to CritterAid farm sanctuary in Summerland, BC. I have been posting pics of these to Facebook and one friend has already called Dibs on the What the Fox bag.

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The quilt panel has 12 animals on it so once all 12 bags are made I’ll make a bit more effort to sell them, probably posting to Facebook Marketplace. I’d rather sell locally rather than pay postage to send them elsewhere.

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The bags that I’ve made so far are similar – animal panel on the front, patterned quilt cotton on the back and for the casings, denim upcycled from old jeans for the base, cotton batting, and turquoise organic cotton for the lining. They measure about 10″ across and 10″ deep, and have a boxed bottom that adds a third dimension to fit more stuff! They also have a denim tab and keyring for attaching stitch markers or keys or whatever.

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Five made so far, seven to go. I really hope I can (a) maintain my enthusiasm and complete all twelve and (b) sell them all.

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What do you think? What’s your favourite?